Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Five Cybernetic Hurdles for Darwinian Macroevolution and Abiogenesis

The essence of Darwinian theory of evolution can be expressed by the mnemonic formula: Natural Selection + Random Variation -> Biological Diversity. I briefly summarise below cybernetic challenges to the Darwinian explanation of the observed biological diversity.
  1. The hypothesis of unguided formation of high taxonomic entities such as classes or phyla is equivalent to asserting unguided (spontaneous) generation of prescriptive information. DNA/RNA is, demonstrably, recorded prescriptive information. However, the only empirically warranted cause of prescriptive information is intelligence.
  2. The only empirically warranted cause of true selection for potential function is choice contingency, not chance contingency or necessity. Reliance on haphazard functional preadaptational switches is a significant weakness of Darwinism and, although in practice is observed, is strictly limited in practice.
  3. The only empirically warranted cause of semantics is intelligence. The evolvability of biofunction is not unrestricted in practice.
Abiogenesis is collectively a group of hypothesis about the spontaneous emergence of life out of inorganic matter. These face the following challenges:
  1. The only empirically warranted cause of formalism and semiosis is intelligence. The translation/transcription of prescriptive information stored in DNA/RNA lies at the very heart of life and is demonstrably semiotic and formal. The formality and semiotic state of biological information transfer processes are demonstrated by the existence of an alphabet, syntax, language and semantics that enable it.
  2. The only empirically warranted cause of bona fide control defined as steering towards a goal using arbitrarty rules along with physicality constraints is intelligence. No self-organisation per se is observed anywhere in nature. What is observed is mere spontaneous self-ordering of matter giving rise to low-informational redundant regularity, such as fractals and crystalls in particular, standing waves or sand-dune-like patterns. No existing theoretic models of self-organisation account for this observation, including the edge of chaos by Kauffman, dissipative structures in highly non-equilibrium states by Prigogine and autocatalytic-replicative hypercycles by Eigen and Schuster, to name a few.
Particular hurdles stemming from the above are:
  1. The notion of genetic algorithms is oxymoronic as fas as undirected evolution is postulated because they assume the intelligent creation of a formalism (i.e. an algorithm) which exercises control (i.e. steers the potential/partial solution towards better utility however defined). On the other hand, that is done in order to model what is claimed by neo-Darwinian macroevolution to be an unguided process as a result of the coupling of Random Variation (in the form of mutations) and Natual Selection.
  2. The origin of noise elimination and error correction which are observable as part of the ontogenesis of a biological system is attributed in neo-Darwinian frameworks to selection acting over mutations that are by nature noise and errors, i.e. an epitome of error.
  3. Noise can never be interpreted as useful signal unless one a priori defines rules which make it possible. In other words, the only plausible and empirically grounded cause of this happening is a-priori intelligent tuning.
1. David Abel, The First Gene, 2011.
2. Communications on

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