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Author Topic:   Does Evolution Have An Objective?
ProtoTypical
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Posts: 1792
From: Ontario Canada
Joined: 08-04-2010


Message 1 of 265 (618950)
06-07-2011 8:04 AM


What is the difference between something that has an objective and something that is merely a result of conditions? Having an objective denotes intent which requires sentience. Just because a hole holds water it doesn’t mean that it intended to. If we all are just the result of conditions what is the essential difference between you and a mud puddle? Where is the demarcation point and why is it there?

If evolution has no objective then how can anything be said to have an objective?


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Admin
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From: EvC Forum
Joined: 06-14-2002
Member Rating: 4.5


Message 2 of 265 (618952)
06-07-2011 8:33 AM


Thread Copied from Proposed New Topics Forum
Thread copied here from the Does Evolution Have An Objective? thread in the Proposed New Topics forum.
    
Wounded King
Member (Idle past 2291 days)
Posts: 4149
From: Edinburgh, Scotland
Joined: 04-09-2003


Message 3 of 265 (618955)
06-07-2011 8:36 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by ProtoTypical
06-07-2011 8:04 AM


This sounds like a very oblique way to raise the question of free will in a deterministic universe, is that what you intended?

TTFN,

WK


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Jon
Inactive Member


Message 4 of 265 (618962)
06-07-2011 8:55 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by ProtoTypical
06-07-2011 8:04 AM


If evolution has no objective then how can anything be said to have an objective?

Conscious critters have objectives, primarily because they define 'objective' based on their behavior.

Jon


Love your enemies!
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Dr Jack
Member (Idle past 301 days)
Posts: 3507
From: Leicester, England
Joined: 07-14-2003


Message 5 of 265 (618965)
06-07-2011 9:07 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by ProtoTypical
06-07-2011 8:04 AM


Dogmafood writes:

What is the difference between something that has an objective and something that is merely a result of conditions? Having an objective denotes intent which requires sentience. Just because a hole holds water it doesn’t mean that it intended to. If we all are just the result of conditions what is the essential difference between you and a mud puddle? Where is the demarcation point and why is it there?

I don't agree that sentience is required for objectives.

For a system to follow an objective requires that (a) the system identifies the objective and (b) takes steps to achieve it based on that objective. Thus a bee involved in nectar foraging behaviour can be said to have an objective, a computer AI can be said to have an objective (sometimes) and we can be said to have objectives but a puddle has no objective because it is not acting to achieve anything. Evolution meets neither criteria so it has no objective.

Or, alternatively: only entities can have objectives. Neither a puddle nor evolution are entities so neither can have an objective.


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AZPaul3
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Posts: 4266
From: Phoenix
Joined: 11-06-2006
Member Rating: 3.7


Message 6 of 265 (618969)
06-07-2011 10:03 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by ProtoTypical
06-07-2011 8:04 AM


Intent?
What is the difference between something that has an objective and something that is merely a result of conditions? Having an objective denotes intent which requires sentience. Just because a hole holds water it doesn’t mean that it intended to. If we all are just the result of conditions what is the essential difference between you and a mud puddle? Where is the demarcation point and why is it there?

You answered your own question.

quote:
Having an objective denotes intent which requires sentience.

But is this correct? Is a gray wolf sentient? When it is chasing a rabbit it is clear its “objective,” the wolf's intent, is dinner.

If evolution has no objective then how can anything be said to have an objective?

Is “evolution” sentient? Does evolution have an intent? Does a process ever have an intent?

The water cycle is a process that exists on this planet. Did it develop with an “intent” or did it develop as a result of conditions?

Humans are sentient. Some of the constructs of our sentience are “objective” or “goal” or “purpose” all denoting “intent.” Without human sentience these constructs do not exist.

Our present sentience had no effect on the processes that developed in the universe. Our sentience, and thus our concepts, are an artifact of these processes developed as a result of conditions are they not?.


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1.61803
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Posts: 2854
From: Lone Star State USA
Joined: 02-19-2004
Member Rating: 5.1


Message 7 of 265 (618974)
06-07-2011 10:24 AM
Reply to: Message 3 by Wounded King
06-07-2011 8:36 AM


Wounded King writes:

This sounds like a very oblique way to raise the question of free will in a deterministic universe, is that what you intended?

TTFN,

WK

Interesting that in a completely deterministic universe our choices would be simply a illusion. From the moment of the big bang, your choice to log on this morning was nothing more than a cascade of physics and chemistry. So despite apparent objectives, the inevitable choice was already made at the universes inception.
So if the universe is indeed fully deterministic, are our objectives simply a matter of course?

Edited by 1.61803, : spelling


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Dr Jack
Member (Idle past 301 days)
Posts: 3507
From: Leicester, England
Joined: 07-14-2003


Message 8 of 265 (618983)
06-07-2011 11:10 AM
Reply to: Message 7 by 1.61803
06-07-2011 10:24 AM


1.61803 writes:

Interesting that in a completely deterministic universe our choices would be simply a illusion.

This does not follow. The universe could be completely deterministic, and we would still have free will and be making choices.


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Scienctifictruths
Member (Idle past 1034 days)
Posts: 32
Joined: 05-30-2011


Message 9 of 265 (618986)
06-07-2011 12:09 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by ProtoTypical
06-07-2011 8:04 AM


Dogmafood writes:

What is the difference between something that has an objective and something that is merely a result of conditions? Having an objective denotes intent which requires sentience. Just because a hole holds water it doesn’t mean that it intended to. If we all are just the result of conditions what is the essential difference between you and a mud puddle? Where is the demarcation point and why is it there?

If evolution has no objective then how can anything be said to have an objective?

Define your meaning of objective.

Perhaps organisms have environmental objectives? The animals Evolve in such a way as to best suit their environment, however this is the result of Natural Selection and not some transcendental being.


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New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 10 of 265 (618989)
06-07-2011 12:18 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by Dr Jack
06-07-2011 11:10 AM


1.61803 writes:

Interesting that in a completely deterministic universe our choices would be simply a illusion.


This does not follow. The universe could be completely deterministic, and we would still have free will and be making choices.

But those choices would be an illusion...


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Straggler
Member
Posts: 10285
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 11 of 265 (618991)
06-07-2011 12:30 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by Dr Jack
06-07-2011 9:07 AM


Mr Jack writes:

Thus a bee involved in nectar foraging behaviour can be said to have an objective, a computer AI can be said to have an objective (sometimes) and we can be said to have objectives but a puddle has no objective because it is not acting to achieve anything.

In the same sense would it be correct to say that genes have an objective? I.e. to pass themselves on.

Mr Jack writes:

Evolution meets neither criteria so it has no objective.

If genes can be said to have objectives then maybe evolution by natural selection could be said to have the "objective" of passing on a combination of genes suited to an environment?

I admit it is a pretty tenuous use of the word "objective"..... But I am not exactly sure what the OP is looking for here.


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AZPaul3
Member
Posts: 4266
From: Phoenix
Joined: 11-06-2006
Member Rating: 3.7


Message 12 of 265 (618992)
06-07-2011 12:33 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by Dr Jack
06-07-2011 11:10 AM


Probability
The universe could be completely deterministic, and we would still have free will and be making choices.

Or, this could be a probabilistic universe where a specific set of initial conditions does not lead to a specific future configuration but to a broad range of possible configurations. The interconnection and overlapping of billions of these broad ranges would give an almost infinite set of final configurations that may be achieved leading to the illusion of choice indistinguishable from free will.

Edited by AZPaul3, : No reason given.


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Dr Jack
Member (Idle past 301 days)
Posts: 3507
From: Leicester, England
Joined: 07-14-2003


Message 13 of 265 (618994)
06-07-2011 12:52 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by New Cat's Eye
06-07-2011 12:18 PM


Catholic Scientist writes:

But those choices would be an illusion...

Why?


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1.61803
Member
Posts: 2854
From: Lone Star State USA
Joined: 02-19-2004
Member Rating: 5.1


Message 14 of 265 (618995)
06-07-2011 12:53 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by Dr Jack
06-07-2011 11:10 AM


Mr Jack writes:

1.61803 writes:

Interesting that in a completely deterministic universe our choices would be simply a illusion.

This does not follow. The universe could be completely deterministic, and we would still have free will and be making choices.

How could something be a choice if it is predetermined?


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Dr Jack
Member (Idle past 301 days)
Posts: 3507
From: Leicester, England
Joined: 07-14-2003


Message 15 of 265 (618996)
06-07-2011 12:53 PM
Reply to: Message 11 by Straggler
06-07-2011 12:30 PM


Straggler writes:

In the same sense would it be correct to say that genes have an objective? I.e. to pass themselves on.

No, a gene has no concept of that objective, and takes no steps based on that concept to achieve it.

If genes can be said to have objectives then maybe evolution by natural selection could be said to have the "objective" of passing on a combination of genes suited to an environment?

What would hold that objective? What steps would it be taking in response to that objective?


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