Logic and Design (was RE: virus: Re:MS Flip Software Price)

David McFadzean (david@lucifer.com)
Mon, 27 Oct 1997 12:00:02 -0700

At 02:32 PM 10/25/97 +0100, Robin Faichney wrote:

>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.)

If a bird displays behaviour in the forest and
no scientist is around to observe it is there any
logic present? I'm guessing you would say no, logic
is only useful for describing behaviour ("if the
chicks are hungry and the father bird is around
to protect them, then it will forage for food").
But I would say yes, the logic is embedded in
the bird's neural system which has evolved the
way it has precisely because it encodes the
kind of logic that causes it to behave in ways
that successfully pass on genes ("if the
chicks are hungry and the father bird is around
to protect them, then *I* will forage for food").

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


>> 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.

No, the user plays the part of selection.

>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.

As Dennett says, "The key to understanding Darwin's
contribution is *granting* the premise of the Argument
from Design." [emphasis in the original]. Check out
"Darwin's Dangerous Idea" pages 68-70.

David McFadzean                 david@lucifer.com
Memetic Engineer                http://www.lucifer.com/~david/
Church of Virus                 http://www.lucifer.com/virus/