Re: Logic + universal evolution

From: Dace (
Date: Fri Aug 17 2001 - 20:18:08 BST

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    Subject: Re: Logic + universal evolution
    Date: Fri, 17 Aug 2001 12:18:08 -0700
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    > TD:
    > Obviously. The question is how the birds manage to maintain the right
    > distance, particularly when the whole flock turns on a dime. Either the
    > brain is running an incredbly elaborate motion program or the flock is a
    > morphic field in which the birds are "particles." While the latter
    > possibility might strike you as being "weird," the former possibility
    > would
    > require neural computing processes unimaginably more powerful and rapid
    > than
    > anything humans have ever devised.
    > JD:
    > No, just rapid reaction time, and the reaction times of birds, like
    > their heartbeats, are a lot faster than ours, crerating the illusion
    > that they are all changing direction at the same time when actually
    > there is a small reaction time involved.
    > Have a look round for a boids variant (most have probably seen it
    > already): Simple sim of birds (from The Bronx I suppose) with a handful
    > of rules (stay a rough distance from your neighbour, etc.) and they do
    > most of the things all flocks do - it looks really organic, but needs no
    > 'hand of god' style guiding force.

    Yes, all you need is a simple set of rules to account for this kind of
    behavior. But different species of birds produce different patterns of
    group-flight. Why this particular pattern on not another? Why do the birds
    all go left and not right, or right and not left? You're arguing from
    abstraction. It's not enough to account for the general outlines. We've
    got to fill in the details. A simple set of rules doesn't explain the
    specific flocking behavior of a specific set of birds any more than their
    rapid reaction time.

    > As for the intentionality of the
    > flock, just watch some crowd violence to see how these para-democratic
    > decisions are made.

    As this list demonstrates, humans are no less vulnerable than birds to
    collective mentality and behavior.


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