RE: virus: 2+2 (Or, One cannot both Replicate and Reproduce)

Brett Lane Robertson (
Fri, 12 Sep 1997 08:41:42 -0500

Sent to nate and forwarded to list:

>Date: Fri, 12 Sep 1997 08:40:30 -0500
>To: "Gifford, Nate F" <>
>From: Brett Lane Robertson <>
>Subject: RE: virus: 2+2 (Or, One cannot both Replicate and Reproduce)
>Newer theories of reproduction take into account such things as the
permeability of the egg membrane (which suggests that the genes are not
stable but instead are still being influenced by the environment--through
replication). Other things which I have learned since my high school
biology class are: Genes may encode certain preferred patterns into
virus-like formats by which they organize their own development--memetics.
And that certain biological forms do not evolve by reproductive evolution,
they merely reach a stage of ineffectiveness and then become exitnct as a
new form takes over (implying that this new form is not orchestrated by
genetics...that genetics is inefficient).
>This last point suggests that "numbers" fail to capture a platonic "form"
because they are mere shells of that form (like chance fails to suggest any
kind of development but suggests merely a chaotic state ['chance'] which can
be used--like numbers--to represent the final form but which cannot claim to
have produced the form nor to move it forward into any new form...rather
chance averages things to zero-sum so that chance--or chaos--can prevail).
>On the other hand, the process of math shows that although we are dealing
with an infinite set (there are an infinite number of pieces which can add
to the sum "X") only certain combinations work (1+2=3, but 1+1 does not, nor fact, an infinite number of parts can add to "3", but only in
specific combinations): This does not suggest that "reality and the
platonic ideal
>currently only intersect under the most artificial and simple
conditions..." but that they intersect under only the most natural and
specific prime examples of a process minus the contrived
symbolic representations (as "math" the essence, not "mathematics" the
academic I'm sure if I ascribed to the academic
discipline--if I "take more math"--then I will begin to see how simple
products can be made complicated and fail to see how simple processes imply
platonic forms.
>At 08:40 AM 9/12/97 -0400, you wrote:
>>Brett wrote a bunch of arithmetic identities whose significance I frankly
>>did not follow ending with:
>>And finally here is the difference between Darwinism and Complexity:
>>Darwinism says that the parts of the original are shared between the
>>who destroy each other so that the parts can be reformed into an original
>>whole which is equal to the sum of it's parts (that 4 merely restates 1/is
>>the same thing and not a superior form)--and that "chance" determines
>>parts of this whole each parent can contribute--"REPRODUCTION".
>> Complexity
>>says that the entire original is taken in by the new offspring which
>>utilizes the processes of growth and development to reform the original in
>>such a was as to show a more complex relationship between the parts...a
>>relationship which better represents the original--"REPLICATION". And
>>again, why the hetero can't see this correlation--they haven't yet
>>internalized the original whole, or externalized their successor.
>>Which completely ignores the real biological process of ... meiosis or
>>mitosis I can't remeber which and my dictionary doesn't have entries for
>>either one .... The fact is Brett that the zygote is the result of the
>>melding of the gametes ... each of which carry half of the DNA from the
>>parent. That is the biological process of reproduction. I will concede
>>that there is a replication process that occurs post-partum. Confusing
>>replication with reproduction is to confuse cause and effect. Reproduction
>>is necessary but not sufficient for replication. In my mind what is left
>>when in replication when you remove reproduction is the essence from which
>>memetics is distilled.
>>As to your arithmetic identities .... I think you need to take more math.
>> If you take enough math then you begin to see numbers as a platonic ideal
>>space. You can prove "truths" about how that platonic space operates ...
>>and you can say reality can be modeled by those truths ... but it seems to
>>me what complexity theory proves is that reality and the platonic ideal
>>currently only intersect under the most artificial and simple conditions.
>> Most of the time the models we build of reality in the platonic ideal are
>>"close enough" .... Read Petroski's "To Engineer Is Human" for examples of
>>the what happens when its not.

Rabble Sonnet Retort
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Milo Bloom