Re: Aunger speaks, London 11th November

From: Scott Chase (
Date: Wed 06 Nov 2002 - 02:48:20 GMT

  • Next message: Scott Chase: "RE: The terrorism meme"

    >From: "Grant Callaghan" <>
    >Subject: Re: Aunger speaks, London 11th November
    >Date: Tue, 05 Nov 2002 07:38:47 -0800
    >>Autumn Term 2002
    >>11th November
    >>4-6pm. Institute of Archaeology
    >>Room 612
    >>AHRB Centre for the Evolutionary Analysis of Cultural
    >>Major transitions in technology
    >>Dr. Rober Aunger
    >>Cambridge University
    >> Abstract
    >> In this lecture, I ask the question 'How did
    >>physical objects become so complex?' To answer this
    >>question, I use a recent theory developed to explain
    >> long-term biological evolution: major transition
    >>theory (MTT; Maynard Smith and Szathmary 1995). MTT is
    >>primarily concerned with identifying and
    >> analyzing discontinuities in the way evolution
    >>works. These transitions change the nature of the game
    >>Nature is playing - they are changes in the process
    >> of evolution itself. This is because new levels of
    >>organization (like cells or multicellular organisms)
    >>arise which change the way in which information is
    >> transmitted or stored for transmission into the
    >>future. Using this theory, I discuss technological
    >>advances that introduce significant developments in
    >> ability of artifacts to manage information. The
    >>number of inventions that qualify turns out to be
    >>rather small - although they cover the whole globe and
    >> millions of years of time. The transitions
    >>identified range from early tools (the first artifacts
    >>to store information outside the brain), to cave
    >>paintings (the
    >> first artifacts to accommodate iconic
    >>representations of information), to astronomical
    >>monuments like Stonehenge (the first artifacts to
    >> information), to computers (the first artifacts to
    >>perform symbolic manipulations of information). I
    >>conclude by discussing the implications of this view
    >>technological history.
    >That sounds like a great project. I'd be interested in reading it when
    >it's finished.
    As long as he steers clear of explaining basics of molecular cell biology
    (eg - DNA replication and/or ribosomes), he should be OK, though the cheerleaders would:

    a. not notice the gaffe(s) if made

    b. not care even if they did notice as long as the proper self-confirming bias buttons were pushed in sequence


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