[ExI] Evolution

Ben ben at zaiboc.net
Tue May 26 08:34:06 UTC 2020

On 25/05/2020 21:56, bill w wrote:
> Classic case of 'good enough for who it's for'.  bill w
> On Mon, May 25, 2020 at 11:17 AM Dave Sill via extropy-chat 
> <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org 
> <mailto:extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org>> wrote:
>     On Sat, May 23, 2020 at 1:30 AM The Avantguardian via extropy-chat
>     <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org
>     <mailto:extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org>> wrote:
>         It is true that deleterious mutations are more common than
>         beneficial ones. It is the price that life pays for searching
>         fitness-space for greener pastures on the other side of the
>         valley of death. That being said, automotive engines display a
>         different sort of complexity than living systems. The
>         complexity of the car engine is imposed upon it a top-down
>         fashion. Because of that, the engine's parts are very
>         specialized and essential. This has the effect of making the
>         engine brittle and failure-prone.
>     No, engines are brittle because that's the way we design them. We
>     don't design them to last a million miles or to be inherently
>     redundant, we design them to be relatively robust, inexpensive,
>     and efficient. Would you pay $200,000 for a car that got 15 mpg,
>     performed like a Camry, and had an drive train that was unlikely
>     to ever need repair? Engineering is about trade-offs.
>     Manufacturers know what buyers will buy and design their products
>     to meet that demand.
>     -Dave

Precisely. Everything is a case of 'good enough', why would it be otherwise?

The important thing is that there are now intelligent, self-aware 
creatures whose 'good enough for' is not the same as evolution's. In 
fact we have many, so we end up with trade-offs, like the car engine.

Our requirements for our own bodies will be different again, and quite a 
long way from those of evolution. That's why we need to (and will, I 
think) redesign biology, from a very fundamental level. And yes, we will 
introduce brittleness in some areas where nature doesn't, where it won't 
matter to us, just like it doesn't matter that a car engine is brittle 
because we can easily repair or replace it, more cheaply than making it 
very robust.

Ben Zaiboc

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