Re: virus: Level Three-Belief and Utility.

David Leeper (
Mon, 30 Sep 1996 22:58:21 -0500

Kevin O'Connor, Richard Brodie,

> >> If you imagine the mind as a landscape of
> >> peaks and valleys, can you see how a Level-2 mind could easily get
> >> caught in a valley or a hillock?
> >
> >Replicators, including memes, have an unsupased ability to
> >not get caught in a "valley or a hillock".
> >

Kevin O'Connor wrote:
> Replicators also tend to reach and get stuck on sub-optimal peaks.

Richard Brodie wrote:
> That statement is in direct opposition to what scientists are saying
> about replicators. Dawkins, Dennett, and even Gould agree that getting
> caught at local maxima is an inherent quality of evolution by natural
> selection. That is why, for instance, our eyes have nerves coming out
> the front instead of the back.

0) Can't resist this: You must have some strange looking eyes Richard.

1) If evolution got stuck, it wouldn't be evolution. I challange you
to find _any_ evolutionist of repute who says evolution gets stuck.
Name dropping doesn't count, let's see something solid.

2) If you imagine the mind as a landscape of peaks and valleys and mutations
occuring which randomly move the replicators around the landscape, can you
see how it is impossible to get stuck in a local optimum? Mutations are
random, they don't seek out global or local optima, they just move their
replicators around randomly.

3) One of the most useful situations for writing Evolution-style computer
programs is when standard approaches get stuck in local optima. Why?
Evolutionary-style programs do not get stuck in local-optima. I refer
you to "An Introduction On Genetic Algorithms". It's written by the
brilliant Melanie Mitchell, published by MIT Press and is available at
the low cost of $30.00.

4) There are exceptions to 3). For example: W. Daniel Hillis and his
experiments with using GAs to discover sorting networks. However, his
experiments had a limit on 1) The number of generations allowed, 2) The
time allowed for the total experiment and 3) The processing power
available to throw at the problem. Real world Evolution suffers none
of these limitations.

Richard, saying that Level 3 prevents memes from getting stuck in local
optima is like saying that Level 3 enables balls to roll.

Kevin, this is why I choose not to stop participating in this thread.
Every new definition of Level 3 is either meaningless, useless, completely
personal, or contradicts several other definitions. CoV claims to have
some level of rationality and this so-called "Level 3" undermines this.
It makes us hypocrites.

David Leeper
Homo Deus  
1 + 1 != 2