Survival and creative learning, that Darwin left out

Comment on Dot Earth2/14/09 regarding Darwin, “On the origin and fate of species

One of the more curious omissions in the neo-Darwinian interpretation of evolution, still, is to account for learning.     Every kind of ‘foraging’ and ‘risk avoidance’ behavior is clear evidence of an individual complex system engaged in learning essential to its wellbeing.

It’s already part of our understanding of how things survive and thrive around us, but not considered as having a role in evolution.

That humans don’t appreciate how crutial that process of local environmental discovery is, seems to be one of those mysterious omissions we call “hidden in sight”.

It would greatly advance our knowledge of evolution and the world around us to realize just how very many kinds of natural complex systems:

  • a) are individual animated things that behave as a whole,
  • b) engage in active learning about their surroundings and
  • c) foil the universal tendency of decay to thrive instead by doing learning creatively

(even systems doing so by some means other than pre-cognition)
Continue reading Survival and creative learning, that Darwin left out

Unheard dissent – the “real world” problem

letter to NY Times 2/14/09

There’s a lot of important dissent on the economic “recovery” plan, and you’re not doing it justice at all.

From the “physical world” community, the scientists who study the economics of the environment and physical economy, the flaw in the plan is believing the phrase “lasting economic growth”.  Those who study how popular views are misguided seem always to be mostly unpaid or underpaid, for failing to support what is popular of course.

Spokespeople for the real world are treated as an annoyance.

As a community we also don’t really ‘do’ political speech well, tend to speak with original scientific thought, don’t have a “down pat” story line to offer, and have no particular soap box to get your attention from.     We do ‘thinking’ and ‘observing’ instead. Continue reading Unheard dissent – the “real world” problem

Science yearning for rules in a world of change…

re: Feb 14 2009 Science News – editor’s comment

Editor Tom Siegfried’s comment emphasizes that the main subject of science is understanding a world of change, but one might not know that from asking scientists.

Scientists have built their whole culture around finding fixed rules for things.    We call it “determinism” and the whole community is so set in its ways it still only adjusts the standard fixed rules by adding a little random variation to explain why things of the past keep changing the rules they work by.

Even after half a century of all fields intensely studying how complex systems evolve, we are still not publicly acknowledging that they do.

Complex systems frequently have independently changing individual parts, that express new behavior in new situations, and we keep following our rules of the past for them. That seems just disgraceful! Continue reading Science yearning for rules in a world of change…

Ever multiplying obligations – the “Gold” rule

Responding to Steve Kurtz 2/14/09

Phil, What evidence do you have to claim that my well-being is dependent upon
me “multiplying other peoples obligations” to me? Steve

It’s mainly a kind of “generosity” and show of “trust” that becomes an onerous multiplying obligartion.

We typically all act to multiply the obligations others have to us for performing financial and resource exploitation around the world in two ways.    You and I and everyone else buys products that are made by businesses that are given financing only if they return a profit.

It has to be a level of profit that assures their investors a rate of compounding returns, too, better than or equal to what is generally available.     Secondly You and I and nearly everyone else, have money in the bank or in the markets earning compound interest, acting in to be the enforcer of the first process from the investor side of it.

It has no limit but for those so obligated breaking their trust and failing to be able to do so, as when the economy as a whole ceases to provide net returns.

We choose to receive compounding returns better than or equal to what is generally available, or we move our money elsewhere to get a better compounding return.     With each choice we opt for using the surpluses of business to create real multiplying obligations for others to fulfill.   Continue reading Ever multiplying obligations – the “Gold” rule