X-Message-Number: 21671
Date: Sat, 26 Apr 2003 09:02:19 -0400
From: Thomas Donaldson <>
Subject: CryoNet #21662 - #21670

A bit for Bob Ettinger:
Many would like to think so, but natural selection HAS NOT ENDED.
Instead, there's been a change in just what is being selected.
Natural selection comes from the individual choices of all of
us whenever we do anything, and the EFFECT of those changes on
our survival --- often the same as survival of our genes, but
essentially OUR survival. Not only that, but only a few evolutionary
theorists would claim that natural selection acts on groups. It
only acts on individuals.

Yes, we will soon be able to modify ourselves genetically and 
make all sorts of changes to ourselves. Whatever choice of such
changes we make can easily have unforeseen consequences --- 
even if we choose NOT to make any changes, that too will have
unforeseen consequences. That is how natural selection works.

A good book on evolution and natural selection is by GC Williams,
NATURAL SELECTION, 1992. GC Williams, incidentally, is the 
evolutionary theorist who pointed out that aging happened not
because it was selected for, but because the animals (includign
human beings) to wom it happened had lived past the time when
most members of their species had died. That is, they ran out
of program.

For Mike Perry:
You state that the symbolic world of creatures in a computer has
some reality, whether or not you (I?) choose to interpret it as
such. Yes, such creatures are REAL SYMBOLIC CREATURES, and 
they are put together with REAL SYMBOLS. Not imaginary symbols,
but real ones. 

What this means for our interpretation of them as real living
creatures remains untouched by your comments. I would hardly
deny that Huckleberry Finn was a real character in a book
written by Sam Clemens, but I don't expect to meet him when
I go into the town center of Canberra to shop there or use
the public library.

            Best wishes and long long life for all,

                 Thomas Donaldson

PS: I'll send you your book soon. Your credit is good with me,
so I won't wait for your check.

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