Re: virus: Evolution (was Sexuality )
Wed, 18 Sep 1996 22:18:59 -0500 (CDT)

On Wed, 18 Sep 1996, ken sartor wrote:

> At 12:09 AM 9/18/96 -0500, wrote:
> >
> >
> >On Tue, 17 Sep 1996, ken sartor wrote:
> >

[CLIP--huge technical writeup]

> Hmmmm.... ok these are interesting tricks of math that i am probably
> not going to research throughly enough to despute. However, i do not
> think that the starting assumptions are reasonable. For instance,
> what is the chances in the above formulism that worlds with water
> can exist? Is the number time dependent? Does it say anything about
> the ratio of various elements to each other (e.g., hydrogen to
> helium ratio - relavant because if all we have is electrons or hydrogen,
> very little interesting chemistry is going to take place).
> When interesting chemistry takes place, random chance is supplanted
> by chemistry and physics - some reactions form stable compounds that
> can combine further to make even more interesting compounds. Certain
> environments tend to foster such chemistry much more than others (i
> know, this is obvious, but somewhere in the above formulism there has
> to be an accounting of this and i don't think there is).
> I guess i am trying to say that if by random you mean all patterns are
> equally likely, i agree, life did not arise that way. Certain patterns
> are much more likely to arise than others and once formed, to
> continue to exist. These patterns are not truely random, rather they
> are mightly influnced by the laws of physics and chemistry.

'Random' means that all patterns within a DEFINED category are equally
likely. Your comments above refer to how to define the 'candidate
space' to allow life. I'm assuming that [somehow] the 'candidate space'
is already defined, and meets absurdly trivial [except for the
many-worlds/steady-state assumption, and that we want conventional-matter
based life] assumptions.

While in principle 'all patterns' could be a defined category, it is NOT
an interesting one since the randomness assumption is outright false--that
is the point of the scientific laws. [for instance, the constraint that
quantum-mechanical particle must be somewhere puts a VERY severe
constraint on its 'state function'!]

The randomness assumption would cause problems on that scale as well,
because any particular pattern would have 'practically zero' chance of

In other words, I assumed that a 'reasonable' setup was already in place.
If there's a serious question of how likely such a setup is, that must be
answered as a separate question. [We shouldn't be too provincial; just
because we live on a water world with a blatantly bioformed atmosphere
doesn't mean all life must be vaguely compatible with this.

> ken
> BTW - von Neumann also 'proved' that we are alone in the universe.
> Cool proof but never struck me as convincing - perhaps you
> have seen it?

No, I haven't. Larry Niven describes empirical evidence that any previous
technological civilizations that may have arisen are not around now, which
is close. The specific reading's in 'N-Space'.

/ Kenneth Boyd