Lee Emmerich Jamison
A peculiar inconsistency reigns in the worlds of politics and religion. In America the religious right too frequently eschews the concept of evolution as a fact in the development of species while embracing it in the economy. On the other hand the other end of the politcal spectrum wholeheartedly endorses evolution among species while decrying it as a form of economic dynamism.
What goes here?
It is fairly simple, really. Neither side knows what the heck they are talking about.
In the link below you can read from an article by Jonathon Keats, published in the April 2006 'Popular Science' magazine. The article outlines the work of entrepreneur John Koza's "invention machine"
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We need to ask ourselves what intelligence is from time to time.
In an article some years ago, possibly in 'Scientific American' magazine, I read of an exploration of the algorithms of intelligence. This is the notion that the brain sets up numerous models of possible explanations for issues and then runs those models through a sort of obstacle course of the problems the explanation must face in our conception of the real world. By that method we do two things. We narrow the range of possible explanations we attempt to expose to the world (present to our friends, etc.) and, we are ourselves exposed to the disconnect between our conception of the world and the characteristics of the REAL world. (see "Reality" in "The Mind" section of the Sage Forge from last week)
This proposed model shows the environment shaping the idea making process in a way that refines ideas and encourages new ones. As long as information is preserved from one generation of encounter with the world to the next the capacity of these ideas to deal with the subtleties of the environment can be improved. That process is evolutionary.
Now compare the description of the process above with what Jonathon Keats writes in his 'Popular Science' article about John Koza's invention machine's method for devising a new telescope wide-field eyepiece:
"What Koza has done is to automate the creative process. To begin, the invention machine randomly generates 75,000 prescriptions. It then analyzes them in KOJAC, which assigns each a fitness rating based on how close it comes to a desired set of specifications—in this case, a wide field of view with minimal distortion. None of the 75,000 members of the first generation will be usable wide-field telescopic eyepieces. But a few of these primitive systems will be marginally effective at focusing a wide field of view, and a couple others might slightly reduce distotrtion in one way or another"
"From there, it’s Darwinism 101. The invention machine mates some systems together, redistributing characteristics from two parent lens systems into their offspring. Others it mutates, randomly altering a single detail. Other lenses pass on to the next generation unchanged. And then there are the cruel necessities of natural selection: The machine expels most lenses with low fitness ratings from the population, kills them off so their genetic material won’t contaminate the others."
"Koza asks Jones to pull up the stats on the wide-field telescopic eyepiece. Amid a rush of figures, he reads off the number “295.” That’s how many generations it took for genetic programming to engineer around the Koizumi-Watanabe patent. In fact, the invention machine’s lens is better than the Koizumi-Watanabe system: Because it keeps breeding until all design specs are met, often some performance requirements are exceeded by the end of the run. The final field-of-view for Koza’s eyepiece is a remarkable 10 degrees higher than the 55 degrees achieved by Koizumi and Watanabe."
Again, an evolutionary process. Evolution is all around us. I like to think of it as the mind of God at work in the visible world. What is interesting about the evolution to which we are exposed in the real world is that it so often is involved in the improvement on the best efforts of the minds of mankind.
The Langley aeroplane was more a work of human intelligence than the overtly evolutionarily produced Wright airplane. Langley, working with the assets of the U.S. government firmly behind him, never tested anything in a wind tunnel as the Wrights so assiduously did. He designed his craft as his intelligence demanded he should. In so doing he persisted in fatal error while the bicycle makers from Dayton built a working aircraft.
Once the Wrights had built their craft, however, they committed themselves to a fight over patent rights and abandoned the evolution of their "perfected" machine. By 1909 they had been left in the dust of the Europeans, their contributions consigned to history. Most airplanes today owe at least as much to Bleriot as they do to Orville and Wilbur.
The political Left thinks it important that intelligence be engaged in the planning of economic and even daily life. They decry the forces of economic dynamism that would leave decisions, bit by bit, with the common working stiff. This, when one sees the results of the rawest kind of accident as described above and how those accidents can outperform the best minds in any field, ranks at outright stupidity. The working stiff is smarter than the computer that designed the high-performance eyepiece above.
The religious Right can't imagine something so complex as a person being designed by, as they say, "accident". Ignoring how much "accident" seems to have been necessary in the development of such works of human "intelligence" as the airplane, the autombile, watercraft, law, and innumerable other things, they demand that God have created the world according to their prescription. Never mind that they embrace the highly evolutionary capitalist system of economics.
These objections to dynamic processes are simply logical inconsistency run amok. Both sides believe in evolution when it suits them, but run away from it when it seems to threaten their more dogmatically founded political strengths.
Evolution is a fact. Running away from it closes our minds to the understanding of all manner of things having nothing to do with species and how we will spend our tax money. It is all over politics, economics, the rise and fall of nations, and the comprehension of corporations and dinosaurs alike. (two things with more in common than you might imagine)
It matters not whether you believe in God or are an atheist. If you don't have a basic comprehension of evolution everything, EVERYTHING you think you know about the world is superstition.