User:J. C. Martinez-Garcia/Notebook/HMS Activities/2008/10/20

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Writing an essay

The last days I wrote a little essay. The purpose of it was to expose my ideas to Jessica C. Flack from he Santa Fe Institute (this is her website: It was an interesting activity, because it allows me to understand what are my limitations to argue about the role of design in evolution. I send the essay (Media:political attitudes.doc) to Jessica and I hope that I will have an answer. The most interesting thing was to make me to think in terms of comparisons between evolved systems and designed ones (in fact I consider that design is one of the main consequences of instruction playing a key role in evolution and that there are no evolved systems free from design). I found when writing this essay that the only possibility to create a theory of robustness of evolved systems involves the notion of adaptation and optimality. the problem is that optimality seems to be a constraining mechanism in our mind, due to the fact -I think- that we evolve in a social structure that we inherit from our ancestors (and then our social development is conditioned by the existing structure). We think in terms of optimality because we see all the time the consequences of design as an evolutionary developmental mechanism. Is not easy to find optimality in evolved systems, well in purely evolved ones -i.e. basic biological systems-, but it does not mean that this 'thing' doe snot exists. I need to study more the question of adaptationism and optimality, and I think the right way is more thoroughly the following books:

  1. S. H. Orzack and E. Sober (2001): Adaptationism and Optimality. Cambridge Studies in Philosophy and Biology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  2. R. McElreath, R. Boyd (2007): Mathematical Models of Social Evolution - A Guide for the Perplexed. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

I realized that I cannot argue somthing if I have not mathematically supported arguments, but at the same I must be careful, because mathematics can be a tricky question. What is important is to find the true things.

Non Genetic Inheritance Systems

I was reading these last days the book by Jablonka and Lamb, and I found very striking all the information concerning the way epigenetic inheritance systems work. I will continue today with this lecture and maybe it is the right time to finish it.