The Blind Watchmaker (Ch. 1, 2)

These are a few parts of chapter 1 and 2 from the Blind Watchmaker that I could apply to my work.

” To simulate natural selection in an interesting way in the computer,we should forget about rococo ornamentation and all other visually defined qualities. We should concentrate, instead, upon simulating nonrandom death. Biomorphs should interact, in the computer, with a simulation of a hostile environment. Something about their shape should determine whether or not they survive in that environment. Ideally, the hostile environment should include other evolving biomorphs: ‘predators’, ‘prey’, ‘parasites’, ‘competitors’. The particular shape of a prey biomorph should determine its vulnerability to being caught, for example, by particular shapes of predator biomorphs. Such criteria of vulnerability should not be built in by the programmer.They should emerge, in the same kind of way as the shapes themselves emerge.”

“The systematic putting together of parts to a purposeful design is something we know and understand, for we have experienced it at first hand, even if only with our childhood Meccano or Erector set.”

” complicated things have some quality, specifiable in advance, that is highly unlikely to have been acquired by random chance alone.”

Our experience of electronic technology prepares us to accept theidea that unconscious machinery can behave as if it understands complex mathematical ideas. Sofar our intuition, derived from technology, is correct. But our experience of technology also prepares us to see the mind of a conscious and purposeful designer in the genesis of sophisticated machinery. It is this second intuition that is wrong in the case of living machinery. In the case of living machinery, the ‘designer’ is unconscious natural selection, the blind watchmaker.”

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