RE: virus: Re:MS Flip Software Price

Robin Faichney (
Sat, 25 Oct 1997 14:32:25 +0100

> From: David McFadzean[]
> At 08:12 AM 10/22/97 +0100, Robin Faichney wrote:
> >Truth,
> >falsehood, consistency, etc, are of use only in
> >evaluating the behaviour of rational agents, i.e.
> >those with the intelligence to abide by the rules
> >of logic *at*that*level*.
> Animals have evolved traits and behaviors to
> deceive their competitors, which have in turn
> evolved methods to see past the deceits.
> If this is true, then I think it refutes your
> claim.
No, it just shows my bad thinking in trying to
explain it. You are right in that truth etc are
useful in analysing non-intelligent behaviour --
but I still say logic is not. Or look at it the
other way: to the extent that this is a matter
of logic, these animals are intelligent. (I.e.,
not very.)

> > low levels, all
> >computer programs have to be perfectly
> >logical, they depend on logic in absolute
> >terms. But at higher levels, program design
> >can be quite illogical, especially, eg, the
> >user-interface.
> Yes, it *can* but it there is a selective
> advantage if it does not (even for computer
> programs).
What about a user-interface that is so attuned
to typical human thinking that it's extremely
easy to use and popular, even though it departs
quite radically from logic?

David, is your parationality thesis meant to be
descriptive or prescriptive, i.e. scientific or

> >"Designed" normally means, did not come about
> >through sheer chance, unless you want to redefine
> >*that* word too! :-)
> I realize it is hard to imagine, but that is because
> it is relatively rare for humans. Are you familiar with
> Dawkin's Blind Watchmaker software?
I've read of it, yes. But I'm not clear what part the
user plays -- is it mutation? Because in that case,
it's unrealistic, because it should be random.

Actually, I think you can only view evolution as a
designer as long as you view it as an entity, like
god. Which is precisely, I think, where you go
wrong. It's a literally mindless process that just
happens to happen. Using <design> in this
context courts the danger of anthropomorphism,
and I don't see any benefit, any compensation
for taking that risk.