Why Evolution Has No Goal

Why Evolution Has No Goal

Or: Metaphorically, it’s all about gene-copying success
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How evolutionary biology is being misunderstood The notion that evolution has a goal/purpose is a widespread misconception that comes in several variations. Many people falsely believe that evolution was working…

Cognitive Biases and Irrationality

Cognitive Biases and Irrationality

Stone age brains in a silicon age
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The human brain is a liar that relentlessly sabotages our success. For all its complex brilliance, the brain stumbles into a number of cognitive traps with astonishing regularity. The more often it does so, the less often we are able to achieve what we truly want.

Sphexishness

Sphexishness

A wasp’s attack on free will
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Douglas Hofstadter has coined the term “Sphexishness” after the digger wasp Sphex ichneumoneus. This wasp usually exhibits sophisticated and apparently intelligent behavior, but can easily be tricked into an action loop, where the wasp mindlessly repeats the same action without end…

What Is Life?

What Is Life?

“Life” is what you make it
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For the sake of neatness we could arbitrarily stipulate specific criteria for what qualifies as “life”. We could then draw a sharp line between life and non-life, but we would not thereby learn anything new. We would only clarify our vocabulary…

Replicators and Selection

Replicators and Selection

A lesson in navigating logical space
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This post is about (biological) replicators and (natural) selection, but let us start with some thoughts on network security (bear with us, we’ll explain later). Most people don’t want just anybody to use their wireless network and this is why they protect it with a password…