Re: [pcp-discuss:] Re: Local minima in our collective behaviour?

From: John J Kineman (
Date: Tue Dec 05 2000 - 21:00:22 GMT

  • Next message: John J Kineman: "Re: [pcp-discuss:] Probleming through Florida"

    Yes, I think so. Individual decisions can lead the evolution of the
    culture, clearly.

    It's not just long-term, however. In the immediate issue of the
    election, "spin doctoring" can alter the perceptions of society and
    affect the outcome in only days.

    Also, carrying the analogy to organismic evolution, if phenotypes have
    minds, then they too, in a similar way, can alter the selective
    environment in intentional directions. This violates common assumptions
    in evolution that "phenotypes" (manifest characteristics) do not affect
    "genotypes" (causes) -- one of Rosen's points in "Essays" and the main
    point of my autevolution work. By introducing this causal loop, it
    complexifies the system such that normal linear mathematical models will
    no longer be practical for describing the system (like the n-bodied
    problem where each body is capable of initiating conditions).

    Menno RUBINGH wrote:
    > Hi !
    > John J Kineman wrote :
    > > I want to change the subject a bit to comment on the "Darwinian"
    > > process. I've done some work looking into J.M. Baldwin and a wrinkle in
    > > the Darwinian evolution process, as many on this list know. The
    > > technical difference is this. In a Darwinian process, we assume that
    > > variation is uncontrolled/undirected and that the selective conditions
    > > of the environment determine differential survival. In a Baldwinian
    > > process, intentions and decisions direct behavior, which can alter the
    > > selective forces in the environment, thus altering Darwinian selection
    > > and creating partially directed pathways. I would argue that the
    > > political process is strongly Baldwinian, because so much of it
    > > involves creating useful "problems" as Norm pointed out and cultivating
    > > public opinion, which then becomes part of the selective environment.
    > Swell !, interesting.
    > May I spell out a little how I think this Baldwin effect might be
    > present here ?
    > I think that, when looking at these things as Darwinian/Baldwinian
    > processes as we're doing here, the kind of things we're considering here
    > that are subject to the evolutionary processes, are: the ideas about how
    > politics and government should be done that are present in a ''people''.
    > Like this :
    > - The people in the country serve as a reservoir in which ideas are
    > stored about how politics and government should operate. These
    > (cultural) ideas of a large group are relatively hard to change --
    > much harder e.g. than the ideas of a single individual. (Many of
    > our cultural ideas are, I believe, essentially unchanged since the
    > Roman Empire.)
    > - As a consequence, it seems plausible to regard these conservative,
    > hard-to-change, cultural group ideas as similar to the genetic
    > information in the DNA of a living creature. I mean: it is *not*
    > the *same*, but it's ''isomorphic'' in the sense that it might make
    > sense to apply the same (or similar) models to them.
    > - This then IMO indeed allows us to see a ''Baldwin effect''
    > operative in here. The ''probleming'' and the ''rationally
    > invented'' ideas of/by single individuals affect the ''landscape''
    > in which the slow evolution of the group culture takes place.
    > Is this indeed how you see things w.r.t. the Baldwinian aspects in the
    > political process ?
    > ---
    > Best regards, Menno (
    > ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    > Ir. Menno Rubingh,
    > Scientific programmer, Software designer, & Software documentation writer
    > Doelenstraat 62, 2611 NV Delft, Netherlands
    > phone +31 15 2146915 (answering machine backup)
    > email
    > ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    > ========================================
    > Posting to from "Menno RUBINGH" <>
    Posting to from "John J Kineman" <>

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