RE: Logic (to Vincent)

From: Philip Jonkers (
Date: Sat Jul 28 2001 - 09:44:22 BST

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    Subject: RE: Logic (to Vincent)
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    Philip said:

    > <Survival might relate to accidental events. A species
    > >might accidentally survive regardless of its possible
    > >maladaptative state. The addition of the word `fittest', makes
    > > sure that survival applies only to the most vigorous and best equiped, best
    adapted and most successful species.
    > >Even if it's tautological, that still doesn't diminish its
    > >significance of the success in explaining nature. Let's not
    > >waste our energy on petty syntactic
    > > matters, shall we. I say we stay focused on the more
    > >important issues of semantics instead!>
    > >

    Vincent replied by:

    > Maladaptive behaviours do not, in the long run persist. As
    > long as a species is adequately equipped to survive it will do
    > so, it does not need to be the most vigourous, the best
    > equipped, it just needs to be equipped sufficiently. Like the
    > old creationist argument about eyes being too perfect to have
    > evolved by chance, this ignores the gradual slight changes
    > over millions of years that led up to humans eyes, which are far from
    > perfect (goldfish can see further into both the infra red and
    > ultraviolet than we can). An individual may possibly survive
    > by 'accident' but a species will not prosper based on luck
    > alone.

    Philip says:

    First of all, with accidental survival I meant survival
    related to possible maladaptive but fortunate individuals of a
    species, not to the entire species per se. With survival of the
    fittest the maladaptive are precluded from survival, in a
    statistical sense anyway. Also `fittest' is not to be
    confused with `perfect', I never pretended (at least never
    intended) that there is such a thing as a perfect species.
    As long as the environment changes, and it does constantly,
    there is work to be done by evolution.

    Philip said:

    > <Why there's a myriad of different species and not one dominant?
    > > Suppose there's only one, to be antropocentric let's say the human
    > > species. We run into obvious trouble at feeding time: Where
    > >do we obtain our food? We necessarily have to resort to
    > >cannibalism then. The point is this: There's enough space on
    > >earth, enough resources and plenty of positions on the
    > > food-chain for a multitude of different
    > > species to thrive. Nature seizes on such possibilities through mutability of
    > > species via natural selection. Then there's symbiotic
    > > relationships. Often, one species cannot live without the
    > > existence of the other. To take it to
    > > the extreme, there are ample examples (bacteria, shit-flies) around of
    > > species living off of other species' feces!>

    Vincent replied by:

    > But this contradicts your earlier view of superior fit species
    > shaping their own evolution.

    Philip says:

    I'm sorry if this is source of confusion. I hope I can settle
    this once and for all. With `fittest' I do not
    mean to denote a species being superior in an absolute sense.
    More so in a relative sense instead. That is, I refer to
    the best adapted species compared to other species occupying
    the same positions in the food chain (better yet `food web'):
    peer-species, if you like. These are the species that compete
    one and other for the resources they are designed for to exploit
    by evolution (not creation!). Species taking no part in this
    relative struggle are bound to be engaged in other struggles.
    Each of these struggles, local competitions, has a winner
    : this is what I meant with the `fittest'.

    Anyway, hope this will do. I'm off for the weekend:
    dress warm and don't get a cold in Scotland Vincent!



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