Thinking about Evolution & Economics and Some Notes on the Natural Selection of Ideas
Part 14 - Historical Evidence -
- Complex Adaptive Systems & Evolutionary Economics understanding Biological History (Genetic Costs & Benefits)
- Moral Sentiments & Immunity from Parasites & Predators understanding Creating Money Out of Nothing (Cooperative Synergies & Defence)
- Wealth Creation & Synergies from Specialisation & Scale understanding The Industrial Revolution (Torts, Trade & Technology)
- Cultural Evolution & Rules of Thumb understanding Liberal Democracy (Tit for Tat, Satisficing & Know How)
Now God said, and I agree with him -
'go forth and multiply, be fruitful and fill the earth and subdue it.'
But the great unwashed & the hoi polloi just didn't get it and in Matthew Chapter 14 verse 31, God chided them something rotten -
'oh thou of little faith why did thou doubt' ...
Xenophanes was one of the first to hatch an inkling about what was going on -
‘The Gods did not reveal, from the beginning, all things to us, but in the course of time through seeking we may learn & know things better. But as for certain truth no man knows it, nor shall he know it, neither of the Gods nor yet of all things that I speak. For even if by chance he were to utter The Final Truth, he would himself not know it: for all is but a woven web of guesses.’
'A woven web of guesses' ... this all sounded very mysterious & worrying to us 'cos our Gran taught it simple -
'all things bright and beautiful, the Lord God made them all ... full stop'
but we were curious kids always asked awkward questions which were embarrassingly but quickly reposited by our gran -
'whys the wherefores and crutches for lame ducks'.
Admitting ignorance was not on for Gran she was supposed to be an expert and we all thought she knew all about the ways of the world.
But happenings were not only mysterious & worrying they were also very bothersome & difficult ... even perverse ... especially when we searched for evidence in history.
History was infuriatingly mutable ... even mootable ... it all seemed to depend on who writ it and where you looked ... it seemed there were always 'alternative facts' ... facts it seemed were conflicting, changeable, complex & scarce ... there was just too much for mere mortal folk like us to grasp ... so we just got on with the job ... and coped ... or not ... as the case maybe.
A very few folk suspected that short necked giraffes just died out ... and that was it ... but almost everyone thought long necks were designed ... and that seemed like a good description of how history worked?
But an even fewer very few folk believed that those folk who behaved badly tended to die young and have fewer surviving babies? ... and the fewer very few folk also asked awkward questions ... so where the hell did good manners come from? From 'tablets of stone'? That just didn't cut the mustard.
But why worry about all this? Most folk just didn't bother ... after all they had a Government Guarantee ... don't worry the 'powers that be' were working on it ... as if on a whim, and in a fit of pique, the laws of nature had been Nationalised?
Sure the 'powers that be' were always busy orchestrating happenings and writing history ... but they hadn't a clue ... they had no privileged access to 'know how' ... however they could write history. Perhaps such arrogant pontificating actually compounded ignorance 'cos almost all folk almost all the time thought 'the powers that be' were 'the powers that be' 'cos their mandate was bestowed on them from above, perhaps on the tablets of stone ... and ... if God was not behind it ... then who the hell gave them the necessary 'know how'?
Almost all folk almost all the time just didn't get it because they listened to the stories, they tuned into the BBC and they read history as writ. They were taught about plausible, deliberate, rational, purposeful, intentional, planning and the intelligent design of the Bishops, Princes, Generals and Bureaucrats ... and all sorts of other clever folk ... after all it was a 'fact' that the Boeing 747 was designed by highly paid aeronautical engineers with drawings and calculators ... we'd even met some of them and seen their manufactories at Broughton near ancient Chester?
It came to pass that untying this Gordian Knot of intrigue was terrible hard, the mind was willing but hands were tied by those damned indomitable laws of nature ... nobody seemed to be able to do anything about them, they just kept comin' at yer ... always makin' things more difficult ... and just to exacerbate the trauma ... lots of other folk, sometimes friendly folk, seemed to be in the mix, interfering & tying our shoe laces together.
So mesmerised folk persistently asked ... Wot on earth was going on? Who was in charge of history? Somebody somewhere must know? ... things didn't just happen?
Top Down History - History as Writ, the 'Intelligent Design' of the Bishops, Princes, Generals & Bureaucrats -
Some said the first writing was cuneiform around 3,000 BC in Mesopotamia ... then Egyptian hieroglyphics followed in 196 BC but we couldn't read such scratching until 'The Rosetta Stone' was was decoded in 1922 ... and surprise, surprise the stone told the well worn story of the top down orchestrator ... if it wasn't God it was the Pharaoh ... after all it was the Pharos's tax that funded 'good works' for the Hoi Polloi ... but the gifts turned out to be bribes to keep the Priests & the Army on side and to 'control' crowd trouble ... thus was top down history of the Rosetta Stone ... written, not on tablets of stone, but on a lump of rock!
The history of history as writ all seemed to be about orchestrated happenings ... but strange ... what was writ invariably revolved around the top pecks ... designers called them 'the powers that be' ... they were the custodians of the know how written on the tablets ... the divine righters and the winners of the wars ...but think about it ... they were the only ones who could write!
In this way history was top down going from first to last ... The Old Testament was writ a long long time before biological history was even thought of ... there was a chronology to history as writ -
political history was about 'Wars, Lords & Land' as the Bishops, Princes, Generals & Bureaucrats exercised their 'power' over Joe Sixpack. Old histories were stories & yarns about unproductive conspiracy theories and the competitive thuggery of 'nature, red in tooth & claw' ... tyranny & oppression as complexity, change, conflict & scarcity upset the apple carts ... God was always 'on our side' in an awful downward spiral of cultural tit for tat ...
Tommy Jeffers sussed out politics and he writ the 'Constitution of America' in 1779 where he started to make life a tad safer for diversity as those at the coal face began to go for cooperation rather than compromise and violence.
economic history followed and economics cut the mustard ... economics was all about 'Torts, Trade & Technology' as interactive folk 'trucked, bartered & exchanged', social cooperation was exciting and such fun was described late on during the 'Scottish Enlightenment' ...
Adam the Smith writ his 'The Theory of Moral Sentiments' in 1759 and 'An Inquiry into the Nature & Causes of the Wealth of Nations' in 1776.
biological history was a bonanza about an unbelievable, spanking new history of 'Homo Sapiens' and the intensely economic survival of a super social species who drank beer ...
Charlie Darwin writ the 'Origin of Species' in 1859 ... not so long ago.
genetic history tied up loose ends with real evidence
and the 'genes eye' view of biological processes proclaimed that the genes themselves
exploited synergies of specialisation & scale
'as if' they 'calculated' costs &
Dickie Dawkins received popular acclaim, building on the scientific giants from the past, he writ biological history books very very recently - The Selfish Gene (1976), The Extended Phenotype (1982), The Blind Watchmaker (1986), River Out of Eden (1995), Climbing Mount Improbable (1996), The Ancestors Tale (2004), The Greatest Show on Earth (2009)!
'Selfish genes' were doing things to history long long before history was writ. Top down history as writ turned out to be fake news ... bottom up biological history told about survival action at the coal face. The battle of ideas was engaged as empirical science started to erode intelligent design ... the genes couldn't write ... but they left their story recorded in DNA ... not on papyrus.
Bottom Up History - 'Biological History' as genes calculated 'costs & benefits' -
Folk at the coal face couldn't write ... but they could learn ... they had always been busy trying to survive ... but they hadn't a clue either ... so they learned by trial & error ... what else could ignorant folk could do? ... this embarrassment was not part of God's curricula ... but the results were spectacular.
Folk, it seemed, had a miraculous capacity to think up new survival tricks to try ... so they endlessly tried alternatives ... they experimented ... and eventually one or two of the tricks seemed to work. Folk also ... miraculously ... remembered things and developed a capacity to learn from their own mistakes ... and, more miracles, they learned from the mistakes of other folk ... most of the others were long dead! Folk leaned ... they relentlessly discarded their miserable failures and 'created' a little space in the population for the growth of the few survival tricks which worked ... and when ideas went wrong ... which they did all the time ... they were less enthusiastic about trying them again ... in this way there was no certainty just statistics ideas that didn't work died out.
So this was what big brains did ... they thought up new tricks and learned from mistakes. And it was the survival tricks that survived not the failures ... folk failed their way to success, after all, this was the way the giraffes got their long necks ... think about it?
Richard Dawkins was a great teacher and one of his mates, Daniel Dennett, described the learning process -
'competence without comprehension' ... 'Darwin's 'natural selection' unthinkingly created extraordinary competence' ... miraculous?!
Historical Evidence about how the cookie crumbled had been accumulated ever since folk started to talk ... and when folk started to write it all down things really got into their stride. Jefferson, Smith, Darwin & Dawkins were giants standing on the shoulders of giants, and they taught us that the big trick was to learn history the other way round ... bottom up ... because, for sure, for certain, that was the way history must have happened ... mustn't it? ... think about it? DNA built brains and brains built ideas & memory ...
But the killer eureka idea was that the complex adaptive behaviour of folk started to change the local environment, big time .. and the local environment fedback and influenced the survival chances of earlier level variants ... read that paragraph again.
For certain the the laws of nature were impossible to change top down ... Jimmy Watt experimented with a condenser on his steam engine but it was the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics that made it work!
What really happened was that some structures in the evolving universe didn't survive the changes in the environment ... after all, some DNA structures died out with the dinosaurs ...?
But even the genes were not at the bottom of the bottom ... were they? ... so where to start the search for evidence?
Nobody said it was easy ... suppose evidence was buried in the science of complex adaptive systems?
We loved Wikipedia ... and Empirical Science ... especially Peer Review & Citation Counts ... but there was no doubt Complex Adaptive Systems were bewildering. There was at least an eightsome assemblage of unfathomable notions which really hurt the brain ... surely such pain was best avoided? ... unless there was an opportunity to understand a little bit about what was going on ... and help survive a bit longer ... and a bit better?
Stephen Hawking be on the ball -
'Some individuals were better able than others to draw the right conclusions about the world about them and act accordingly. These individuals were more likely to survive and reproduce so their pattern of behaviour and thought became dominant'
Such individuals let their imaginations run riot and their follow up experiments seemed to be out of our world ... awful 'ard and almost beyond our ken ... certainly they addled our brains ... but our bones suggested all eight of the eightsome difficulties were utterly relevant -
2nd Law of Thermodynamics (entropy & complexity always increased as temperature gradients provided opportunities for the survival of physical structures) = hard work - confronts complexity, change, conflict & scarcity ... the arrow of time
Myth - 'something for nothing' = bills had to be paid
Wrong - 'no shortage of energy' ... erosion of usable energy for work
Taught - 'disorder' ... statistical certainty of energy dispersal
Bender - necessity for hard work
Somehow - thermodynamics & physics, emergence & maths, molecules & chemistry, biology & folk
Whatever - increasing complexity
Anthropic Principle (inherited interconnectedness, everything was dependent on everything else) = self consistency - 'know how' accumulates across generations in DNA, in behaviour, in institutions & in cultures as patterns rhyme to the laws of nature ... one whole shebang & caboodle
Myth - 'blank slates & free will' = girls always danced backwards
Wrong - 'no outcome certainty' ... but increasing complexity, change, conflict & scarcity
Taught - 'fine tuning' ... but emergence of novel structures that survived.
Bender - everything depended on everything else
Whatever - coherence
3. Effects as Causes
Emergent Novelty (non-linear maths computer simulation & hierarchies of evolutionary stable structures) = discovery & accumulation - flip flopping emotions of restricted recursive minds were survival aids in an unknowable universe ... ignorance until the equations were run
Myth - 'blank slates & free will' = girls always danced backwards
Wrong - 'no outcome certainty' ... but increasing complexity, change, conflict & scarcity
Taught - 'fine tuning' ... but emergence of novel structures that survived.
Bender - everything depended on everything else
Whatever - coherence
4. Differential Survival
Natural Selection & Molecular Biology (neo-Darwinian synthesis) = copy/vary/select - simple processes of adaptation were incomprehensibly complex ... learning by trial & error
5. Cognitive Bias
Moral Sentiments & Evolutionary Psychology (self-conscious choices as flip flopping emotions of excitement & fear discover 'know how' and memory & reason accumulate 'know how') = torts - universal instincts of natural law; 'fairness of shares' & 'resentment of cheats' ... excitement & fear
Comparative Advantage &Theory of Mind (cooperative synergies of specialisations & scale) = trade - mutual benefits 2+2=5 ... wealth creation
7. Know How
Total Factor Productivity & Neuroscience (hierarchies of naturally selected neural networks & circuits as survival aids) = technology - compound growth of knowledge ... know how
8. Opportunity Costs
Blockchains & Biological History (gene/culture coevolution) = value - social animal synergies measured & accounted for in balanced Balance Sheets by supply & demand ... trust in strangers
There we have them ... but nobody bet on much understanding ... this was the blind leading the blind with more questions not answers ...
why did the 'experts' always seem to lose the plot in 'impenetrable jargon' when there were just a few 'pertinent points' to be made? ... why did they congregate in 'echo chambers' and 'polarised clubs' that tended to be 'exactly wrong' rather than 'vaguely right'?
why did curious Joe Sixpack rely on 'nous' & 'feel' as flip flopping emotions of excitement & fear complicated his grope to longevity? ... why did he 'look into the eyes' of the 'con men' who always had 'incentives to distort' and 'weaponise' each bit of know how that came along?
... but problems were opportunities ... with shattering implications.
We vowed in 2018 to try and understand a little more ... a sort of New Year Resolution ... but we needed help ... happenings overwhelmed individual brains ... suppose it all started with the thermodynamics of the Big Bang ... where else could it start? Help ... !
1. 2nd Law of Thermodynamics (entropy & complexity always increased as temperature gradients provided opportunities for the survival of physical structures) = hard work - confronted complexity, change, conflict & scarcity ... the arrow of time
The flawed myth of 'something for nothing' persisted but there was evidence in history that bills had to be paid -
A hot universe expands &
cools, temperature gradients disperse energy spontaneously &
irreversibly making it statistically certain that concentrations are eroded
as possible Boltzmann micro states become
increasingly 'delocalised' & 'diluted' & 'spread out' & 'randomised'.
As energy disperses a capacity for limited work is made available. Only over time,
in local systems, when energy is harnessed and work
done is there some
local fugitive order.
There is no free lunch, life is at the cost of energy dispersal.
It was daft to start with history as writ 'cos everyone agreed that history was happening long before folk even existed ... and long before folk could could writ. But come to think of it history was happening long before biology ... Daniel Whelan was certain it had all started with a big bang ... and we argued with grandchildren at our peril ... especially when they were learning.
So things 'just happened', it was the 2nd law that saw to that ... and we suspected that the 2nd Law was there at the start ... but lots of hard work was required before folk appeared ... and more before imaginations imagined.
Were the unfathomable notions & musings in imaginations really outcomes of physical & chemical processes which just happened?
Folk were perplexed but there was zilch evidence for any alternative explanation, there was nothing else was going on ... all things bright & beautiful was a good yarn but no one could find an intelligent designer anywhere ... and it was not for want of trying ... the Soothsayers had been searching since forever?
Jimmy Watt searched more than most ... he was sure he needed more efficient steam engines so he tried & wrestled with the 2nd Law at our alter mater. But why did putting a condenser on his steam engine help?
Watt did the experiments but Ludwig Boltzmann did the maths in 1872 and went balls down and suggested -
'useful energy was the underlying thing at stake as the universe evolves, as if struggling for existence'.
But was Boltzmann's statistical certainty of the struggle an opportunity to work for survival?
Dissipating energy streams over the temperature gradients drove recursive interactions which constantly changed in time due to the ravages of the 2nd law of thermodynamics. Wot happened at time (t+1) depended inexorably on happenings at time (t) but meanwhile entropy had increased?
The economic problem was that useful energy was constantly eroded as it dispersed and randomised ... happenings were massively inefficient ... only work worked.
All the time folk were learning; parts of nature itself were relentlessly subdued by physics, chemistry & biology ... by work.
This learning was important because when the bubble burst and folk wanted their money back. But 'the powers that be' always seemed to ignore the 2nd law and the process of creative destruction and went head first into intelligent design as they -
reverted to coin clipping and more taxes & wasteful spending and then
tried printing to create money out of nothing
And there was more as more & more folk learned crowd trouble raised its head ... 'the powers that be' hadn't a clue and the evidence was everywhere ... but it was very difficult to understand ... oh dear wot a 'mess' ... we told you it was mind boggling!
But don't get it wrong ... to top the lot there was never ever 'no shortage of energy' ... just always an erosion of usable energy for work.
Entropy was not about 'disorder' as we were taught ... but rather about the statistical 'certainty' of energy dispersion which provided opportunities for work.
The mind bender was how to get your head around entropy - the necessity for hard work ... energy dispersion and the notion that work created local order in a wasteland.
Somehow in one way or another thermodynamics was where Ludwig started, he loved Darwin and followed his thinks from thermodynamics to physics, emergence & maths, molecules & chemistry, biology & folk ... but were they all one and the same thing? ... the outcome of ancient processes of copy/vary/select?
Whatever which way there was a direction to history ... increasing complexity
2. Anthropic Principle (inherited interconnectedness, everything was dependent on everything else) = self consistency - 'know how' accumulates across generations in DNA, in behaviour, in institutions & in cultures as patterns rhyme to the laws of nature ... one whole shebang & caboodle
The flawed myth of independent 'blank slates & free will' persisted but there was evidence in history that girls always danced backwards -
One whole shebang & caboodle continually, physically & chemically evolves and
over aeons makes possible biological self
consciousness. Folk capable of imagining such fine tuned
There is no discontinuity, life on earth requires a pre-existing universe.
So history started long long before folk could writ and to understand history folk had to think about the laws of nature, interconnectedness and one whole throbbing shebang & caboodle ... and a long long continuity over a long long time ... big time.
Isaac Newton thought the universe may be clockwork ... but he was at the very beginning of understanding ... and he was humble about his ignorance -
'If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants, whilst the great ocean of truth lies all undiscovered before me'.
In 2006 Lee Smolin, Harvard Theoretical Physicist, suggested in 'The Trouble with Physics' -
'The tendency of groups of human beings to quickly come to believe something that its individual members will later see as obviously false is truly amazing. Some of the worst tragedies happened because well-meaning people fell for easy solutions proposed by bad leaders'.
Why believe in fine tuning when 'the six universal numbers' were inevitable in a universe where folk existed, could look see and learn?
The economic problem was how to speed up empirical science.
Empirical Science slowly began to map out a strange journey of change through chronological time from the Big Bang 13.8 billion years ago to planet earth 4.6 bya ... then to folk ... and on to the opening cadenza of Louis Armstrong's 'West End Blues' ... and some wags went on to include the Boeing 747 in 1969 ... but no one believed the wags.
Energy never dispersed and randomised smoothly into empty 'space' as temperatures cooled ... it changed its form ... and some structures were stable at the lower temperatures ... waves & particles, became atoms & molecules, became matter & galaxies ... and these coexisting differences interacted ...
The laws of nature knew of no discontinuities but they did know of fluctuations & graininess & cycles where everything depended on everything else as all the happenings happened now and were -
and novel ... as emergent cycles were also contemporaneous & interconnected & interactive & interdependent ... oh dear wot a 'mess' ... we told you it was mind boggling!
As soon as folk managed to grasp the idea of an arrow of time and the 2nd law, the Bishops, Princes, Generals & Bureaucrats were immediately confronted with the evolving shebang & caboodle ... sure folk experimented all the but the genes could not be stopped from doing cost/benefit analysis.
Einstein shattered our most cherished ideas when he glimpsed the problem of evolutionary time and increasing entropy when he couldn't disentangle space & time ... things that happened were clear until you started moving and then happenings happened earlier or later depending ...
But don't get it wrong ... to top the lot there was never ever no certainty ... just increasing complexity, change, conflict & scarcity.
The Anthropic Principle was not about 'fine tuning' as we were taught ... but rather about the emergence of novel structures that survived.
The mind bender was how to get your head around interconnectedness - everything depended on everything else ... dynamic systems, interactive, interdependent, contemporaneous & emergent ... a 'wholeness' and the notion that everything was 'included in' as effects were also causes and coherence was guaranteed as incompatibility could not, did not survive ... the laws of nature were unimpeachable.
Somehow in one way or another the laws of nature produced a complex adaptive system of a universe ... thermodynamics & physics, emergence & maths, molecules & chemistry, biology & folk were all part of a self consistent whole shebang & caboodle where only compatible, complementary novel structures survived?
Whatever which way history was not random chaos there were some ... coherence
3. Emergent Novelty (non-linear maths computer simulation & hierarchies of evolutionary stable structures) = discovery & accumulation - flip flopping emotions of restricted recursive minds were survival aids in an unknowable universe ... ignorance until the equations are run
The flawed myth of 'getting a grip on outcomes' persisted but there was evidence in history that co-operative synergies, two plus two made five, aided survival -
From local interactions at 'lower hierarchical levels', new novel structures emerge at 'higher levels'. The new structures themselves then interact as effects become causes. The mathematics of feedback is non-linear. Nobody knows from the initial conditions what bifurcations & patterns & structures emerge until the equations are run and the work done. There is no alternative to the hard work of experiments.
The scientists cottoned on to the laws of nature but outcomes remain stubbornly, bewilderingly mysterious ... and such pervasive ignorance sparked the quest for survival by more & more experiments ... what else could ignorant folk possibly do?
Albert Einstein guessed that -
'God doesn't play dice. God reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists'.
... but the last time he checked happenings were were a tad more complicated than he thought ... he needed modern computing power to run the equations and even then there were no answers ... only patterns.
In 1967 Benoit Mandelbrot, Polish Mathematician, saw the patterns, and asked a simple question -
'How long is the coast of Britain'?
There were no easy answers when things were fiendishly difficult?
The economic problem was that folk had to work hard for answers, and work cost.
Traditional scientific reductionism inevitably excludes emergent concepts which simply vanish when you focus on the individual constituent interactions. Undoubtedly there is some complex chemical cause and effect for economic behaviour but it is meaningless.
Interesting equations are of the type - the value of x at time 'n+1' = a function of x*(1-x) at time 'n' ... 'x' is multiplied by itself involving interaction, feedback and non-linearity. A nonlinear system is one whose behaviour is not simply the sum of its parts.
The ebb & flow of the trials & errors produced inevitable cycles. Folk hadn't a clue. It was a hit & miss affair, everybody was guessing, nobody knew what was happening, there was excitement & fear, booms & busts, 'Kondratieff Waves' as well as Business Cycles, runs on banks, stock market crashes, asset bubbles, currency crises, sovereign defaults ... and lynch mobs, riots and crowd trouble ... and on and on and on and on … how many cycles? ... all cavorting in a mad dance one on another, one with another ... crazy bewilderment ... in different places with different outputs at different times at different speeds ... as cycles interacted there were amplifications & suppressions, combinations & displacements ... big booms & busts and small booms & busts ... overshoots of euphoric experimental discovery... undershoots of odious experimental failure ... one damn cycle after another ... prices of coffee influenced prices of tea ... and some even suspected the price of potatoes influenced the price of holidays in Benidorm ... prices seemed to be all over the place ... especially after a failure of the rain dances ... and what of the stupendous puzzle of money itself, and credit, and new cowry shells and coin clipping inflation? ... no wonder it all went wrong so often?
Outcomes of such 'chaos & cacophony' emerged some semblance of order ... unknowable in advance ... unknowable not only because of complexity, change, conflict & scarcity ... but 'cos of a much deeper happening ... scientists were statistically certain time (t+1) was different from time (t) 'cos entropy had increased ... but they hadn't a clue which particular micro state existed at which particular time in which particular place ... 'the Gods did not reveal, from the beginning, all things to us' ... oh dear wot a 'mess' ... we told you it was mind boggling!
But don't get it wrong ... there was never no new laws of nature, no new particles nor wave functions nor forces just new interactions, strong enough to survive locally ... to top the lot there was never ever no repetition of history ... but history did rhyme.
Emergence was not about Laplace's 'clockwork' ... but rather about non-linear equations which had no solutions just patterns.
The mind bender was how to get your head around effects as causes & ignorance - the equations don't have solutions ... the notion that it was physically impossible to see the exquisite patterns of history until the equations were run.
Somehow in one way or another stable interconnected hierarchical levels of emergence were constructed which constantly fed back on themselves. Blind, relentless, recursive, thermodynamics & physics, emergence & maths, molecules & chemistry, biology & folk with behavioural processes of continuous hierarchical unknowable emergences.
Whatever which way all this malarkey gave history no advanced knowledge of unknowable novelty ... rhymes and patterns
4. Natural Selection & Molecular Biology (neo-Darwinian synthesis) = copy/vary/select - simple processes of adaptation were incomprehensibly complex ... learning by trial & error
The floored myth of 'plausible, deliberate, rational, purposeful, intentional, planning' persisted but there was evidence in history that short necked giraffes died out -
inherited variant with a survival advantage
in the local environment always increases in population frequency in the gene
pool as alternative variants die out. Thus the environment is changed
which then feeds back and influences the survival chances of any new variants.
This is natural selection not 'intelligent design', short necked giraffes died out.
Evolution was a general universal copy/vary/select process which generated vast diversity and differential survival. This was so powerful an idea that such a simple process ... in the course of relentless time ... explained everything ... there were grandmothers, jazz, beer prices ... and the Boeing 747 ... and a lot more ... everything we see in the universe ... and the evidence mounted day by day... there was nothing else going on.
Charlie Darwin was distraught in 1859 when he revealed his origins, a master stroke, but he also warned -
'it's an awful stretcher to believe the peacock's tail was thus formed, I must be a very poor explainer'
Charlie Darwin's process explained, neatly, clearly & cleverly, how happenings just happened to evolve ... a continuity which stretched all the way from the big bang to the Boeing 747 ... the Boeing 747 evolved!? ... you must be kidding? ... no wonder so many folk still believed it was a matter of 'intelligent design'?
In 1976 Richard Dawkins was beside himself -
'it's almost as if the human brain were specifically designed to misunderstand Darwinism, and to find it hard to believe'.
Folk couldn't see the wood they only saw the the trees ... the penny had to drop?
The economic problem was that betterment only came from innovation, which involved hitherto unconnected connections.
The genes did a pretty good job at building biological organisms which produced big brains, and big brains produced a diversity of behaviours as folk trialed & errored their way to survival. A hierarchy of survival behaviours emerged as ordinary folk discovered & accumulated synergies of specialisation scale.
Interactions had always been necessary for survival .. boys & girls had done it since forever ... and then interactions intensified in team work. And team work needed communication & language. And language needed a not only vocal muscle transmitters but also understanding receptors. And understanding needed empathy. And empathy was subconscious ... consciousness was a scene which became self consciousness as meaning emerged from hours of introspection and learning ... to survive.
The genes were relentless, they always did their cost/benefit calculations as they constructed niches in the environment without foresight; the watchmaker had no truck with intelligent design, he was blind.
For sure all this niche construction was mind boggling ... giraffes long necks, bird's nests, parasites & predators ... and the behaviours of folk were inseparable parts of the whole shebang & caboodle of nature ... the whole 'entangled bank' ... wot would Mrs Darwin say if things just happened without divine intervention? But there was more ... much more ... the differential survival of inherited variants was not confined biology ... there was a long long continuity ... maths, physics, chemistry, biology, genetics, economics, behaviour, instincts, ideas ... and culture ...
Evolution and genetic chemistry built from the bottom up ... how else could it be done?
Some bright sparks with vivid imaginations did see some vague statistical uniformities, some path dependencies, and some were curious and tried to painstakingly fathom it out by empirical science ... some happenings, it seemed, were repeatable ... if you were careful.
But others, the soothsayers, the demagogues, the Fuhrers & the pontificators thought they knew it all from the start and just grabbed autocratic power with guns or by promising salvation, milk & honey for everyone and the elimination of parasites & predators ... but they were on a different utopian planet, real life wasn't like that. Using weasel words they appealed to interest group emotions & prejudiced conspiracy theories and when things went wrong they stumbled from rampant misunderstanding to abject denial to deliberate fraud ... they blamed the gods ... they blamed the bloody foreigners ... they blamed the rich ... but the failures were failures of promising promises ... folk were always ignorant of what is was they didn't know ... and in any case when push came to shove it was the girls like Mitochondrial Eve and who were taking the decisions ... but us macho fellas refused to believe it ... and it was the men who writ the history ... oh dear wot a 'mess' ... we told you it was mind boggling!
But don't get it wrong ... building from the bottom up did not stop folk experimenting ... and some ideas 'worked' and survived ... to top the lot there was never ever no random outcomes ... just random ideas and novel creation from the sifting of diversity in the rigours of reality.
Adaptations were not about 'design' as we were taught ... but rather about alternatives which died out.
The mind bender was how to get your head around differential survival - variants were pre-existing ... the randomness of variants and the notion that surviving genetic variants were not designed. The only ones that were seen on the entangled bank were those that just happened to survive.
Somehow in one way or another the thermodynamics & physics, the atoms, molecules & chemistry, biology, neurology & psychology led to a diversity of behaviour as folk tried for survival longevity ... the cookie crumbled inexorably ... and some structures survived ... biological economic systems didn't do blame because there wasn't a cause to blame ... effects emerged and became causes ... and some happenings survived ... there was no intelligent designer ... this was biological history ... there was a lot going on around 'Darwin's Entangled Bank' ... and Boeing 747s ... far more than met the eye.
Whatever which way history was continuous ... learning from empirical failure
5. Moral Sentiments & Evolutionary Psychology (self-conscious choices as flip flopping emotions of excitement & fear discover 'know how' and memory & reason accumulate 'know how') = torts - universal instincts of natural law; 'fairness of shares' & 'resentment of cheats' ... excitement & fear
The flawed macho myth of 'command & control' of behaviour persisted but there was evidence in history of an abundance of cheats -
It is physically impossible to control the process of
natural selection by human intention because human intention, not only
arrived late on the scene, but is an
integral part of one whole complex adaptive system. Rather natural selection
evolves universal human immune systems & moral sentiments as survival aids.
Cooperative team work produces synergies & stocks but as soon as their are stocks there is theft by parasites & predators. Cooperative systems & defence systems must co-evolve.
But synergies load the dice, cooperation trumps cheating, the rule of law trumps violence and production trumps theft.
All this hokum wasn't 'selfish' reciprocal altruism, not rational 'enlightened self interest', not intelligent design but more like worms in the head ... emotional biological dopamine kicks were economic sanctions & rewards ... biological morality ... you must be kidding!
Neural circuits that were laid down early on ... birds built nests and chimps were social animals but folk had more honed emotions ... rats didn't seem to have the tools to do much constructing but folk had the best tools of all ... instincts were bog standard survival aids ... it was useful to be frightened, jealous & suspicious because such sussed out the cheats but it was also useful to be honest, feel shame & guilt & love & compassion because such encouraged fairness and cooperation ... the bad conscience of the Jews, the inner light of the Quakers, the holy ghost of the Christians and the moral sentiments of Adam Smith.
Adam the Smith penned his profound idea that the 'moral sentiments' of 'Homo Sapiens' were on an unstoppable genetic trajectory which distinguished folk from rats ... but most thought about 'selfish survival of the fittest' and very few had noticed his opening paragraph -
'How selfish soever man may be supposed, there are evidently some principles in his nature, which interest him in the fortune of others, and render their happiness necessary to him, though he derives nothing from it except the pleasure of seeing it'
Of course the Smith knew nothing of the moral sense of Darwin ... and nothing of genetics at that time ... in 1759 he wrote 'Theory of Moral Sentiments', the framework for 'Wealth of Nations' in 1776.
In 1984 Robert Axelrod in 'The Evolution of Cooperation' tied up the link between morality, cooperation and economic science -
'the key to doing well lies not in overcoming others but in eliciting their co-operation. Individuals don’t have to be rational; the evolutionary process alone allows the successful strategy to thrive, even if the players do not know why or how'.
Was co-operation a prerequisite for wealth ... Adam Smith was a 'Moral Philosopher' before he wrote about the wealth of nations?
The economic problem was establishing trust in exchange with strangers who offered specialisation & scale.
Folk could not only construct niches but also test out options in the imagination before committing scare resources ... that way they had fewer failures ... and they could also learn from the failures of others ... could social behaviour which helped survival become internalised? Everybody knew everybody experienced excitement & fear, love & hate, pride & guilt ... folk felt ... the words had universal meaning ... 'feelings' were somehow within the human genepool?
In 1896 James Mark Baldwin had a brainwave ... perhaps the behaviour of folk changed the environment which then fed back and influenced the survival chances of new behaviours ... perhaps such feed back fed back and influenced the survival chances of pre-existing genetic predispositions ... perhaps cooperation and defence behaviours became permanent hard wired instincts ... both were essential survival traits as socially interactive folk couldn't survive without both cooperative synergies and some defence against parasites & predators ... but ... confound it ... the parasites & predators were also adapting and having their evil way with us ... it was an 'arms race' ... oh dear wot a 'mess' ... we told you it was mind boggling!
But don't get it wrong ... to top the lot there was never ever no genetic determinism ... the genes never had it all their own way because folk always had alternative ideas to try out, and some ideas worked better than others and affected the survival chances of the genes that built the folk.
The wealth of nations was not about 'selfish cut throat competition' as we were taught ... but rather about moral sentiments underpinning trust in exchange.
The mind bender was how to get your head around the cognitive bias - flip flopping emotions were genetically hard wired ... there was no blank slate, emotions emerged in the physical brain, when everybody had always believed that such worms in the head were 'supernatural', and there was a God behind every tree. But a 'natural God' in your head was far too far fetched for mere mortals.
Somehow in one way or another the thermodynamics & physics, the atoms, molecules & chemistry, the biology, neurology & psychology & the behaviour folk led inexorably to learning how to survive by cooperation and defence from parasites & predators ... some useful behaviour became hard wired instincts ... human intention was itself a product of natural selection ... it was not the cause of natural selection ... but it did influence natural selection ... it sped things up ... it enabled trial & error in the imagination to save some time.
Whatever which way folk history was, in the first place, about cooperation & defence ... flip flopping emotions
6. Comparative Advantage & Theory of Mind (cooperative synergies of specialisations & scale) = trade - mutual benefits 2+2=5 ... wealth creation
The flawed economics of 'Mercantilism' persisted but there was evidence in history of the failure of the corn laws -
Different folk, at different times, in different places,
with different opportunity costs & comparative advantages shape global
networks of deals as folk 'truck, barter & exchange' their skills,
aptitudes, merits, talents, efforts & know how to secure cooperative
synergies of specialisation & scale.
The genes calculate costs & benefits, it is not a zero sum game everybody have friendships to trade.
New biological insights explained the growth of economic synergies of specialisation & scale as Adam the Smith moved on from cooperation & moral philosophy to wealth creation & natural philosophy. The beer in the Clubs of Edinburg inspired the sages of the Scottish Enlightenment to chew it over and learn about trust & confidence and the synergies of specialisation & scale. Astounding economic interactions as folk traded their specialisations and secured economies of scale. Synergies were discovered & accumulated through trade deals if they were inclusive 'free' and 'fair' at market prices, there was no future for 'cheats', folk resented them and they lost their deposits. The Chinese silk road was good but the sea going trade was better as it intensified trade and spawned the industrial revolution.
Dickie Dawkins got it in one when he suggested a genes eye view of the world and a few cottoned on ... the genes were at work and they had a long reach they did cost/benefit calculations. Not 'what' happenings happened or 'why' happenings happened with all the unknowable complexity but 'how' happenings happened ... it was a sifting process of adaptation -
'what really happens is that the gene pool becomes filled with genes that influence bodies in such a way that they behave 'as if' they made complex, if unconscious, cost/benefit calculations'.
As interactions intensified the genes and the cultures mixed ... some tried violence & theft, but they missed out on trading synergies. It was the trading communities that adapted & survived. Seafaring mongrels were on a roll, not the raiders but the traders.
In 1996 Paul Krugman, Nobel Laureate, most recently became infuriated ... how best to explain David Ricardo's fiendishly difficult idea -
'Comparative Advantage like Natural Selection is an
idea that seems simple & compelling to those who
understand it, but about which intelligent people somehow manage to get
confused time & time again and find this particular idea impossible to
Of course, they say that they understand it, but they regard it as oversimplified or invalid in the modern world.
It is a harder concept than it seems, because like any scientific concept it is actually part of a dense web of linked ideas. It is truly, madly, deeply difficult.
But it is also simple, utterly true, immensely sophisticated ... and extremely relevant to the modern world.'
Absolute advantage was the fare of experts and could be stolen by parasites & predators but comparative advantage was yours alone and up to you?
The economic problem was securing the synergies from the participation of everybody.
Way before Charlie Darwin, Adam the Smith identified the evolutionary trend which loaded the dice in favour of cooperation over violence. Moral sentiments were a prerequisite trade & exchange. Such moral urgency constructed wealth niches which fed back and favoured the survival of pre-existing propensities to cooperate. Social cooperation fostered cultural & social learning resulting in technologies that led to the transforming of the word to suit the needs of the species, the industrial revolution. Empathetic folk copied and imitated their mates and understood not what & why but how. If you know how he is doing it you can improve it! Thus learning from others is not just copying, it is copy, vary, select. Not only what's he up to? And why is he doing it? But how? 'Listen to me and use your imagination' it's discovery & accumulation by trial & error, the story of the industrial revolution.
To understand history folk had to think about economic systems which emerged from the economic biological interactions of ordinary folk ... behavioural rules of thumb which discovered synergies as alternatives to costly violence ... synergies from our very own differences ... we loved girls who danced backwards but struggled with different Gods and skin colours... oh dear wot a 'mess ... we told you it was mind boggling'!
But don't get it wrong ... to top the lot there was never ever no parasites & predators that didn't steal ... but there were immune systems ... hard wired biological instincts in folk ... 'fairness of shares' & 'resentments of cheats' ... cooperation & defence.
Trade synergies were not about 'competitive advantage' over others as we were taught ... but rather about differences in everybody's opportunity costs.
The mind bender was how to get your head around synergies - 2+2=5 ... cooperation, differences and trade, the notion of the difference between absolute advantage where the best prospered because their costs were lower and comparative advantage where everyone could prosper if they specialised on what they were better at and traded for the rest.
Somehow in one way or another the thermodynamics & physics, the atoms, molecules & chemistry, the biology, neurology & psychology & the behaviour folk led inexorably to learning how to survive by cooperation in trade & defence from parasites & predators ... as smart folk continued to discover & accumulate synergies of specialisation & scale and the industrial revolution followed.
Whatever which way economic history was about differences in the opportunity costs of folk as theft & destruction of stocks were trumped by synergies ... exchange trade
7. Total Factor Productivity & Neuroscience (hierarchies of naturally selected neural networks & circuits as survival aids) = technology - compound growth of knowledge ... know how
The flawed economics of 'throwing money at problems' persisted but there was evidence in history economic growth -
Know how, embedded in the knowledge base of
Empirical Science (observation, maths theory, testable hypotheses,
experimental validation, peer review), grows at 3% compound from simple rules of thumb
- Satisficing, Tit for Tat &
Economic growth comes from emergent institutional cultures and the discarding of failures from the past rather than whims of Bishops, Princes, Generals & Bureaucrats.
Some simple rules of ancient thumbs seemed to work ... more often than not. After many generations of replication, the replicators showed the 'appearance' of design for effective replication, but in reality they had just accumulated the copying errors that had successful replication as their effect ... read that again?
Joe Schumpeter & Thomas Kuhn explained how Empirical Science itself was a process of creative destruction from the relentless copy, vary, select of unfathomable notions -
'the essential point to grasp is that in dealing with capitalism we are dealing with an evolutionary process'.
The scientists themselves were experimenting, they were not designing, it was just copy/vary/select! They were learning from there own experiments ... and the experiments of others ... many of them long dead.
In 1970 Robert Solow described Total Factor Productivity in 'Growth Theory' and others somewhat irreverently quipped -
'TFP is a residual, a measure of our ignorance'?
Were the Factors of Production; land, labour & capital, inadequate for an explanation of economic growth?
The economic problem was the production of 'know how'.
Then the shit hit the fan ... who had access to the know how?
Copy = imitation = Religious Wars. The autocracies of religious & political dogma abhorred experimentation and hindered discovery & accumulation.
Vary = diversity = Bloody Foreigners. There were many heroic escapes from tyranny & oppression, and such immigrants were not needy beggars nor idle scroungers ... but then came the violent predators to be replaced by the hated parasites & free lunch merchants. Workers were always essential as they contributed diversity & competition into economic growth.
Select = synergies = Global English common Law & common Language. A river of innovative synergies from a stream of cultures from overseas. Everything that was useful, whatever the source, was assimilated & accumulated into the best of the existing.
Some 'rules of thumb', some behavioural traits survived & prospered because synergies were naturally selected and new cultures emerged. This was the way that the genes expressed all the Principles of Evolutionary Economics, not by violent acquisition of territory, living space & minds but by technological & organisational 'know how' which made the world safer for diversity as folk voted with their feet and joined a club of their choice.
Satisficing - experiment & learn
An alternative to command & control.
Tit for Tat - cooperate & defend
An alternative to parasites & predators.
Liberal Democracy - diversity & choice
An alternative to tyranny & oppression .
But solutions became problems became opportunities became problems again -
Due diligence & caveat emptor? I don't care I have a government guarantee? Who guarded the guardians? Bailouts rewarded bad behaviour for votes? Bankruptcy provided 'space' for economic growth? Ban the competition to secure jobs? Would you buy a second hand car from this man? If it's free put me down for two, please? Free but not free to harm others? What's your trade? Mind your own business? ... oh dear wot a 'mess' ... we told you it was mind boggling!
But don't get it wrong ... to top the lot there was never ever no fool proofing ... just a few habits which seemed to work more often than not ... so they were tried again ... and improved.
Economic growth was not about 'resources' as we were taught ... but rather about ignorance and know how.
The mind bender was how to get your head around know how - learning from dead folk ... the notion of cumulative learning across the generations & compound interest ... survival aids.
Somehow in one way or another the thermodynamics & physics, the atoms, molecules & chemistry, the biology, neurology & psychology & the behaviour folk led inexorably to learning how to survive by cooperation and immunity from parasites & predators and some useful behaviour became hard wired instincts and smart folk continued to discover & accumulate synergies ... synergies and know how ... or were they both the same thing?
Whatever which way modern history was about cultural know how ... across the generations
8. Blockchains & Biological History (gene/culture coevolution) = value - social animal synergies measured & accounted for in balanced Balance Sheets by supply & demand ... trust in strangers
The flawed economics of 'creating money out of nothing' persisted but there was evidence in history of lethal debt -
Nobody knows where the next good
idea is coming from and 'the powers that be' have no privileged access to
'know how' and always eventually resort to bribery & corruption to secure
'votes'. Synergies of specialisation & scale from cooperative deals grow
economic activity & stocks as supply & demand minimise
the inefficient costs of 'gluts & queues'.
Parasites & predators find it hard to cope with synergies detailed in double entry booking keeping.
In 2008 the powers that be taxed, wasted & printed monopoly money and Banks were bailed out as Balance Sheets refused to balance in a flood of lethal debt.
The Hoi Polloi played a bum note -
'I'm not worried, I've got a government guarantee'
But there was no money left so they printed more and government guarantees turned out to be yet another dose of lethal debt.
Satoshi Nakamoto was a smart cookie ... but nobody knew who he was ... he tried to open the door to global deals -
'peer-to-peer deals with trust in the technology'
In 2009 Satoshi Nakamoto wrote a piece of software which enable our mates to do deals with us ... if they wanted to ... and to keep track of who owed what to who, when ... with a secure, distributed, immutable, transparent ledger ... a measurement system where cryptology secured balanced Balance Sheets & trust ... this was Blockchain technology ...
The Blockchain was focused on accounting for wealth not lethal debt ... the technology was generally useful ... after all our mates wanted to do deals and to exchange valuable goods & services ... they wanted fairness of shares and they resented cheats.
In 2017 Hernando de Soto ... had a go at property rights in Chile.
In 2018 Maersk and IBM ... had a go at containerised global goods traffic.
Trade Finance to cover 'the impossible gap' involves 36 doocuments with 240 copies. Importer's bank issues a letter of credit. Exporters bank issues a green light for shipment. Proof of shipment is delivered to Exporter bank who arranges payment. The banks charge for risk and paperwork. Blockchain and tracking technology digitally monitors and records each transaction produces a decentralised transparent history of trust available to everyone - a track record of trust - valuable Big Data - know your customer - replacing Due Diligence & Caveat Emptor.
Speed, simplicity, no small print, more participation, no parasitic & predatory interventions and unfair distortions are necessary. (Poll Tax raises revenues output increases). Every ingredient in every pie monitored and recorded ... and available instantly to all ... 'saving' vast hoads of existing energy, paper, jobs spent on opaque paper small print.
Amongst all the 'Bitcoin' hysteria & misunderstanding, Blockchain was a shattering innovation in the mundane realm of accounting and double entry bookkeeping. A decentralised database stored across a network of computers, where all transactions were public and no single user had permission to alter other people’s accounts.
The most optimistic acolytes of this electronic book balancing breakthrough held that token based projects based on torts, trade & technology would be the foundation of the interweb’s next revolution. Limitless possibilities for deal making for folk & businesses that delivered more value for their customers at lower costs 'cos they were less dependent on rent-seeking politicos, middlemen & fake news advertisers.
Balance Sheets balanced & accounted for value. Value, money & price mechanisms measured, stabilised, balanced & lubricated deals ... leading to more synergistic interactions .... leading to more output per man ... increased productivity ... higher real wages.
Price fixing problems as spend, tax & print broke the system -
'almighty $' did not 'balance' marketable output. $s did not measure, store value nor lubricate interactions as $s were hoarded and just like mercantilist gold $s were not invested in productive assets.
Folk rushed to the 'safety' of the 'almighty $' and built imbalances 'detached' from the US economy.
$s rose as trade share went down. Assets values rose as profitable projects were neglected.
$s were unfairly 'strong' $. Just as German Euros were unfairly weakened by EU inefficiency.
baskets of $, Renmibi & Euro for money/trade were 'politically' impossible. SDRs? Mpesa? Libra? were not 'controlled' ...
Blockchain needed 'pulbic sector backing' for trust?
Decentralised Blockchain software established ownership of value in exchange via business logic of Balance Sheets.
Centralised Renimbi systems were used for surveillance of all the coolies. $100 bills in suitcases were anonymous.
No trust in decentralised anonymous systems
Satoshi Nakamoto 'used his imagination' ... Torts, Trade & Technology sped things up ... so did money ...
Did money attempt measure 'know how' growth at 3% compound? Was money 'created out of nothing'? Who had a stash of the initial coin offerings? Did it break the cycle of tax, waste & print? Was the Creative Destruction (diversity & sifting) of value still viable? ... oh dear wot a 'mess' ... we told you it was mind boggling!
But don't get it wrong ... to top the lot there was never ever no deals without trust -
any post deal CHANGES invalidates ALL future deals
REWARDS are accrued for work which adds VALIDATED deals to the chain
= a shared, decentralised, definitive record of entitlement but nothing about CAVEAT EMPTOR & DUE DILIGENCE of any assessment of VALUE ... garbage in garbage out ... there ain't no app for that.
Blockchain was not about 'Bitcoins' as we were taught ... but rather about trading value ... with or without a measurement system?.
The mind bender was how to get your head around trust in strangers - mutual benefits ... peer to peer global hand shakes ... at the touch of a technology button ... with no sign of an insolvent Bank.
Somehow in one way or another the thermodynamics led to deals in synergies and know how ... they were both the same thing after all?
Whatever which way post modern history remained all about ... trading value
Where to finish? Biological History - The View -
Darwin’s 'Natural Selection' of behavioural traits confronted 'Intelligent Designers' ... a very different bottom up history of social interaction at the coal face was contrasted with the top down designs of the Bishops, Princes, Generals and Bureaucrats ... this way round the history of battles against ignorance, complexity, change, conflict & scarcity were fought as survival tricks were discovered & accumulated.
Our very own words from 2001 -
Evolutionary Economics explains the unleashing of a process of technological & institutional innovation involving generating & testing a diversity of ideas which discover & accumulate more survival value for the costs incurred than competing alternatives. The evidence suggests that it could be adaptive efficiency that defines economic efficiency.
The wager - Synergies of specialisation & scale emerged from hard work (from entropy increase), honesty (from moral sentiments) & thrift (from investment in 3% compound growth) there were no discontinuities (one whole shebang & caboodle) just a focus on torts (scale from trust), trade (specialisation for innovation) & technology (know how) of economic activity.
Herbert Gintis -
'Biologists developed much better models of cultural evolution than sociologists or anthropologists, and it is a scandal that the latter disciplines have not absorbed wholeheartedly the body of scientific research discovered and accumulated by evolutionary population biologists and animal behaviour theorists'.
History didn't repeat itself because some social folk learned, they learned to experiment and discover & accumulate cooperative synergies which were communicated across the generations in cultural institutions and some slowly became hard wired in brains. History rhymed because as soon as there were stocks there were always co-evolving parasites & predators.
The Scottish Enlightenment of Adam the Smith was a remarkable anticipation of Charlie Darwin. The Smith explained not only the industrial revolution but also, although he didn't know it at the time, biological history. The better explanation which had to wait until 1859. Then in 1976 Richard Dawkins expanded the view when he suggested the genes themselves did the economics and calculated costs & benefits. Biological historians knew there were new generations but no discontinuities, this was ontology not analogy. Richard Dawkins & the Evidence of Biological History -
Chapter 11 Memes Cultural Replicators
Chapter 12 Good Guys Finish First
Memes in the imagination, just
like genes in physiology & metabolism, can be parasitic & lethal or
synergistic & beneficial and nobody knows the outcomes of variants until they are tested out
in the rigours of reality.
Truth trumps imaginations through the methods of science - observation, maths theory, testable hypotheses, experimental validation & peer revue.
We learn from failures as it is impossible to unlearn 'successful' outcomes because they survive by definition. - 'it seemed like a good idea at the time' but 'once bitten twice shy'.
The biology of morality is synergistically cost effective scientific truth and secures brain space at the expense of figments of deities which in the past have infected brain space but are now competitively wasteful & uneconomic.
Alternative interpretations of history must have been errors of the arrogant designers ... there was no evidence that anyone had privileged access to 'know how' for design work ... and 'know how' ain't what it seemed to be in the textbooks ... plausible, deliberate, rational, purposeful, intentional, planning ... just didn't cut the mustard.
Introspection helped folk to 'feel' that others 'felt' the same way ... some happenings like excitement & fear ... and empathy ... were universal ... it seemed folk 'used their imaginations' and happenings speeded up ... imaginations ran riot.
We were biased but not naive. In the long term we were all dead ... but our great grandchildren's children were certain to take a longer view ... and we have a wager in place!
Empirical Science - The Evolution of Evolution
Then there was more ...
Darwin's Theory of Evolution was a 'Special Theory' of biology but he clearly anticipated a 'General Theory of Evolution' ... explanetory power which went back into physics & chemistry and into the behaviour & ideas of men -
'In the distant future I see open fields for far more important researches. Light will be thrown on the origins of man and his history’.
The evolution of empirical science didn't stop it continued to throw up more and more 'mind benders' ... there were far more than an eightsome of difficulties. New ideas emerged, made by man but not designed by man. Intention was not what it seemed to be, the process was trail & error, guess and empirically validate.
Folk were both perplexed & excited, something important was going on ... but why shoul folk invest real $s in mind benders they didn't understand?
Getting your head round mind benders was a good way to survive and the best route to understanding was through Empirical Science - observation, maths theory, hypotheses, experimental validation, peer review. No universal truths just views that had yet to be shown to be false ... but that was progress.
Why should maths equations explain observable measurements in the universe? Pythagoras - Logarithms - Calculus - Gravity - Imaginary Numbers - Waves - Fourier - Navier /Stokes - Maxwell /BlackShaw - Einstein - Schrodinger ... wot a parade! Not a parade of great indiviuals, greart men were dwarfs on the shoulders of giants, picking ideas ripe ideas and running with them. A parade of great ideas which were encapsulated in 'know how' which helped understanding and thus survival. If it hadn't have been Einstein somebody else would have done the running.
Richard Feynman -
'First we guess the maths (Theory). Then we compute the consequences of the guess to see what would be implied if this law that we guessed is right (Hypothesis) . Then we compare the result of the computation directly with observation, to see if it works (Validation). If it disagrees with experiment it is wrong (the guess is wrong not the maths!). In that simple statement is the key to science. It does not make any difference how beautiful your guess is, if it disagrees with experiment it is wrong. That is all there is to it'.
Brian Cox -
'The complexity of the world can be explained by a small number of simple natural laws because at its heart the world is orderly and simple, otherwise it couldn't exist. The scientists job is to strip away the complexity and uncover the simplicity. Don't overcomplicate things, 'Occam's Razor', simple to state but surprisingly difficult to implement in everyday life.
Four forces act on 12 fundamental particles to build everything in the world we can see. The sun, moon, planets, solar system, stars and our own bodies. This all constitutes an astonishing simplification of what at first glance appears to be an almost infinitely complicated universe. The complexity of human brains and the products of the powerful synthesis between consciousness and the dexterous skill that we glimpse outside our windows (including the Boeing 747!) mask the underlying simplicity and elegance of nature'.
Adam Frank -
'Laws of Thermodynamics revealed general principles of evolution at work even in the most complex systems. Evolution was the key, the new watchword for science. Thermodynamics mapped the evolution of systems to the flow of energy. Emphasising change and transformation'.
Monty Python -
'just remember you're a tiny little person on a planet in a universe expanding & immense' ...
350 BC - Aristotle - nowhere exists to fix the origin of the xyz space grid, the earth is not stationary at the centreof the universe, so absolute observation & measurement of distance is impossible.
1543 - Copernicus - planet earth is not at the centre of the universe.
1610 - Galileo - absolute space is irrelevant motion can only be relative to something, absolute motion
without acceleration cannot be observed thus has no measurable
effects to sort the wheat from the chaff, 'common sense' is redundant for empirical science
where theory demands experimental validation.
There is no evidence for a God behind every tree. Decartes before the horse.
1687 - Isaac Newton - speed mph = distance miles/time hours = observable effects &
maths explanatory equations underpin human intuition
for survival on the African savannah ... but Laplace and the 3 body problem
emerged so never trust common sense because both distance & time became
dependent on the observers and relative not invariant.
But a force can be detected by measuring the effect of acceleration. Gravity = inverse square law.
Brian Cox posed the problem -
"The old model buried deep within our brains, has been reinforced over millions of years of natural selection. A way of thinking that confers a survival advantage became ubiquitous. The scientific correctness is irrelevant."
1831 - Michael Faraday - observation of an effect,
action at a distance - changing electric charges & currents in wire coils
cause magnets which were not physically connected to move - 'deep
connections' must exist between interacting
electrical & magnetic fields. Charges
& currents create electric & magnetic fields. Movement causes fields and
fields cause movement.
The induced emf in a circuit is equal to the rate of change of the magnit flux.
1849 - Fizeau - speed of light 186,000 mps +/- 5% from a spinning slotted disk and a 4 mile mirror.
1864 - James Clerk Maxwell - buiding on Newton's inverse square law of gravity and action at a distance ... equations not only unified, explained and predicted two apparently unconnected measured effects of magnatism & electricity but were also mathematically consistent ... and unexpectedly predicted the existence of traveling waves ... the speed of the wave = ratio of the strengths of the two force fields ... electrical force and magnetic force were related by the ratio of constants times a 'speed' ... forces were easily measured and nothing to do with distance or time and relative to nothing ... a constant of nature.
Newton had seen 'distance' Maxwell saw a 'medium' for wave propagation. Changing electric and changing magnetic fields created each other as waves moving at the speed of light ... not ossilating water nor air but ossilating fields caused by a 'pulse' of electricity or a 'push' of magnetism ... led to motors and generators.
All the action was unified in the massless fields and was consistent with Gauss (electic charges & no magnetic monopoles field lines & strength per area), Faraday (changing magnetic fields produce electric currents) and Ampere (electric currents produce magnetic fields).
Maxwell's mathematical consistency in capacitors required the inclusion of hitherto unconsidered displacement currents in Ampere's Law confirming changing electric flux creates magnetic field and transforming the relationships into unified WAVE EQUATIONS.
y (x, t) = A sin (k x - omega t + phi)
Vertical Distance (m) is a funtion of Horizontal Distance & Time described by Amplitude (m), SIN [Angular Wavelength (radians/m) times distance, Angular Frequency (radians/sec) times seconds and Phase shift (radians)]
Units? --- m = m * SIN (radians*m/m - radians*s/s + radians) i.e. m = m * SIN (radians) and SIN is dimentionless ... m = m .... OK!
Faraday did his experiments and then Maxwell did the maths and turbocharged the 2nd industrial revolution. Just as Watt did his experiments and then Boltzmann & Carnot did the maths and turbocharged the 1st industrial revolution.
Max Planc - theoretical physics
1881 Michelson/Morley = speed of light is a universal constant for all observers, independent of a nonexistent ether. There was no benchmark against which to measure absolute motion. Just as there was no grid to measure distance there was no ether to measure time. Light refused to change speed as reference frome changed.
A beam of light always streams away from us at the same cosmic speed, we can never catch up with a beam of light however fast we run because we are already traveling at the same cosmic speed.
1905 Albert Einstein - struggled with simutaneity of time and the synchronising of clocks - thought Experiments on entering a different frame of reference - watching a light beam 'whizz' by and riding on a 'frozen' light beam were very different experiences - just suppose speed of light is constant for everyone & a light beam zips away from you at a constant speed and you can never catch it up however fast you run - sooo wot are the consequences?
Axiom1 special speed of light is constant for all observers and cannot be exceded ... regardless of the motion of observers
Axiom2 absolute motion 'distance/time' is always relative so useless for science ... it cannot be measured by experiment
observe - guess wot's happening - compute conseqencies - validate experimentally - failure means the guess is wrong.
time slows - for a moving man nothing changes in his clock. For a stationary man light travels a
greater distance in a moving clock.
So, using only Pythagoras, you move and your clock must slow down. And ALL clocks must slow down at speed otherwise movement could be detected
T = 1/Ö(1-v2/c2)
distance shrinks - an muon of know life time can be accelerated to close tothe speed of light & can be measure as living 2.2 micro seconds BUT close to the speed of light in a particle accelerator it lives for 60 micro seconds. A real measured effect of time slowing ... the maths is easy. There exists no special frame of reference, so if you were travelling with the muon in the accelerator you too would experience the death of the muon in 2.2 micro seconds - something has to give if the speed of light cannot change and is limited ... so the accelerator dimentions must shrink ... time AND distance travelled must SLOW & SHRINK in the new frame of reference by the same proportion to maintain consistency ... space is 'malleable' & 'subjective' as well as time!
Distance & time change as you change frames ... simultaneity is meaningless ... so what is constant?
Empirical Science demands -
Invariance - 'astonishingly fruitful' - wot is it that is constant? Only measurements of invariant quantities can be agreed by everyone regardless of viewpoint. If cosmic speed is fixed, time & length must vary with motion. Light cannot speed up so moving clocks must slow down and lengths must shrink.
Causality - 'seemimgly obvious but profound consequences' - you cannot tell lies about the future - B cannot happen before A ... you cannot be born before your father ... travel into the future but not into the past.
Distance - 'Occam's Razor conjecture' -
Minkowski's geometry & hyperbola is more elegant than Maxwell's
algebra & Pythagoras ... Invariance and Causality result in hyperbolic
Distances between two happenings in SpaceTime are unchanging & the same everywhere, a blended interwoven invariant geodesic in 4 dimensions .
Simplifying assumptions - 1. Phythagoras and 2. Distance in SpaceTime is invariant
Guess Phythagoras with a +ve and a circle but it doesn't work because of Causality ... time cannot go backwards.
Guess Minkowski with a -ve and a hyperbola does work but with an interesting limit, a quota.
The 'calibrating speed' @ 45 degrees is a
limit ('a quota' for travel in space and time,
more travel in space means less travel in time) if exceeded would violate
the principle of cause & effect and 'time travel'.
At the limit speed 'distance' in space = 'distance' in time.
Convert distance and time in SpaceTime into the currency of speed (e.g. light years) and distance in SpaceTime becomes identical for all observers, one moving one static =
T = 1/Ö(1-v2/c2) = exactly the same speed limit from Minkowski as the ticking light clock from Phythagoras ! Unreasonable effectiveness of maths !!
Motorcycle Drive explained = distances
travelled in SpaceTime for everything & everyone are the same for everything & everyone, an invariant. Everything
& everyone are hurtling through
our motor travels in SpaceTime he can only travel north in time (from a
particular point of view) but can change direction anywhere in space within the 45 degree limit
(NB direct east & west are no go as time would have stopped at infinite speed).
Everything travels at the same speed in SpaceTime, the throttle is fixed.
(NB not the same thing as speed through space)
When moving stops in space there is still moving in SpaceTime, wristwatches measures the distance travelled through SpaceTime as travel is only in time. A distance everyone agrees on.
(NB moving clocks slow down when travel in space uses up some of the fixed SpaceTime speed quota).
Everything is already hurtling through SpaceTime at the same speed 186,000 mps but mass slows things down in space. Massless light travels only in time at 186,000 mps. If there is mass, travel will NEVER be able to catch a light beam as travel slows you down in time.
(NB Light just happens to use all its SpaceTime quota hurtling through space - speed is fixed but direction can change within the light cone).
Paradox explained = both twins wristwatches are right BUT there is no
universal time, they are in different
reference frames. BOTH are moving in SpaceTime at the same speed BUT each
travels different distances therefore
One moving astronaut observer travels (at near the speed of light) but is acted on by an accelerating force which changes reference frames - movement - slows clocks (and body clocks) this twin ages slowly and shrinks distances (even though they end up in the same place) ... real effects.
(NB acceleration causes more rapid aging than the slow aging during coasting).
One 'now' doesn't exist there are two 'nows' ... acceleration forces you into a new frame of reference.
(NB no such thing as time & distance, they are frame dependent).
One observer stays put and nothing happens, the 'fixed speed quota' is used up traveling only in time and ages faster than the twin. Both observers agree on distances in SpaceTime but they travel different distances in SpaceTime even as they end up in the same place
(NB force is necessary otherwise the astronaut cannot get back to the same place in SpaceTime, the force changes the distance equation) ... a real effect ... the astronaut twin is really really younger after completing a different distance through SpaceTime.
Counterintuitive Take Aways -
constant speed of light for all observers - nothing happens to measure in the absence of a force to change things
constant speed of communication for all observers - moving time slows moving length shrinks ... noticeable at very high speeds
universe expands faster than the speed of light so light from stars will eventually never travel fast enough to be seen ... light will fade away
'Here' & 'Now' are different for different observers, not invariant so not useful for science. No absolute grid for distance measurement, no absolute time for clocks tick - space & time became deeply connected since the big bang. SpaceTime is not the arena for the actors, SpaceTime is one of the actors ... waves travel in electro magnetic fields, there is no ether for waves.
1907 - Minkowski - geometry - 4 dimentions of space & time must blend/interweave into one.
1915 - Emmy Noether - theorem = mathematical symmetries remain unchanged and have an corresponding physical conservation law. There was an intimate link between the symmetries of nature and conservation laws for a transformation of a system in location (momentum), rotation (angular momentum) and time that leaves it unchanged there exists a physical quantity that remains fixed and hence does not fluctuate and is conserved -
mathematical symmetries remain unchanged and have an corresponding physical conservation law
'The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics' ... mathematical explanations of physical happenings. Mathematical equations 'work', they describe experimental measurements in physical reality - science uses maths to discover the invariant ...
An experiment in Scunthorpe which was repeated in the Antipodes 17½ nights later with the same result was meaningful evidence. There was a symmetry, something was conserved - consevation of momentum and conservation of energy.
Everybody & everything are hurtling through SpaceTime at the same constant cosmic speed 186,000 mps. If I accelerate off in space at near the speed of light (relative to you) my watch will slow down and my distance in space will shrink, you are traveling only in time @ 186,000 mps but I am traveling in time and space @ 186,800 mps so I end up 'younger' and in a 'different' place in space. My distance and time must change because my speed is the same as yours ... massless light travels along the 45 degree line but mass slows me down and I end up somewhere to the 'north' on the parabola ...
1915 Einstein General Relativity - (E=mc2)
Distance in SpaceTime is the same for everyone by definition of SpaceTime but it is not the only invariant. Everything in science has to be described in an invariant way! Newtons velocities do change with forces so gravity must be explained.
Perhaps Minkowski's SpaceTime was not flat? Wot if mass & energy distorted a flexible fabric of SpaceTime? Thus gravity would also distort time & distance.
Everything hurtles through SpaceTime at the same speed, the cosmic speed limit? Light just happens to use up its quota traveling through space.
4 fundamental invariant forces; electromagnetism, strong nuclear, weak nuclear, gravity ... act on 12 fundamental /invariant particles. That's all, that leads to everything! No one has ever found any evidence anywhere of a 5th force.
'Conservation of Momentum' is promising, but how do we find an invariant description of such concepts in SpaceTime? All agreed distance in SpaceTime, cosmic speed limit and maybe mass are invariant -
1. vectors in SpaceTime 4 dimensions, 4 numbers. Speed in SpaceTime is invariant but direction can change but only within the 45 degrees light cone and must end on the hyperbola.
2. special vector invariant is the sum of a host of other associated vectors.
In space direction the 'Conservation of Momentum', before Einstein was billiard balls, p=mv, but post Einstein we require SpaceTime invariants? p= gmv ... Speed in SpaceTime is constant at the cosmic limit and Minkowski s2 = ct2 - x2 thus g = 1/Ö(1-v2/c2)
In time direction what is gmc? 'Conservation of Momentum', gave a new law of conservation of energy ... kinetic energy ½mv and a 'new' mc2 ... so even standing still mass has energy associated with it !
Take Aways -
Momentum is a conserved invariant in SpaceTime. F=ma. More mass takes more shoving to get going.
Energy, mass & momentum are combined into a single conserved invariant in SpaceTime.
Mass can be converted into energy (latent energy) which is conserved in SpaceTime E=mc2.
Speed of massless light is c ... part of the electromagnetic spectrum and the cosmic speed limit.
SpaceTime described how Matter moves, Matter describes how SpaceTime curves.
Mass & energy, hard & soft, hot & cold, solid/liquid/gas?
Schodinger Quantum Mechanics ( )
1925 - Particles and Waves - Forces -
Max Planc - why does light change colour with temperature - red white blue ultra violet is invisible - photo electric waves. Light was ripples of waves in space.
Einstein - forget waves light a stream of quanta particles more energy at higher frequency in bluer light.
Nils Bhor (Copenhagen) v Albert Einstein - double slit experiment ... waves became particles but you don't know until you look.
entanglement (action at a distance 'cos of single origin) v. determinism (a pair of gloves left or rght from the start)
John Bell = wot is real? There is no way of knowing in advance! Bhor was right, something queer was going on.
Things only get real when you look.
Wot about this lot -
--- Artificial Intelligence (digital software coding '0's & '1's in silicon networks & circuits) = non-linear computation and iteration 24/7 ... discovery & accumulation of patterns from Big Data
The flawed dualism of the body & soul of the 'Cartesian Theatre' persisted but there was inevitable evidence in 'Turing Machines' of machine intelligence -
From the brute force of logical
algorithmic intelligence to the associations & patterns discovered &
m/c learning and the
processing 'big computerised data' from millions of folk to the deep learning of ever
larger parallel computer networks and continuous self learning from other m/cs.
Evolution of mutating software.
We remember (patterns), we imagine (creativity), we learn 'survival know how' (nous).
The Gods behind every tree and anthropomorphic reasoning curtailed progress but machines powered ahead during the Scientific & Industrial Revolutions - 1784 steam & mechanisation - 1870 electricity & assembly lines - 1969 electronics & computers - 2015 AI & robots .
Platonism (universe is inconsistently unstable) - we perceive only the shadows of a greater truth - common law principles of the 'reasonable man' from natural law
Logical Positivism (Godel maths is meaningless & not empirical) -
Formalism (the rules dictate) - the only truth is in the axiomatic system - civil law - Euclid Theorems - shortest distance between two points is a straight line but only in two dimensions. Neoclassical economics.
Alan Turing asked the big question, 'How to know if you are interacting with a computer or a human being?
1936 'Turing Machines' Alan Turing = '0' & '1's memory + read/write/move (if/then/else) +
Sotftware - algorithms - m/cs learn from instructions - rules based logic - 'if' 'then' 'else' - brute force - IBM 'Deep Blue' but infinite irreducible complexity
Big Data - m/c learning - m/cs learn from trial & error - neural networks & reinforcement - big data & big computing power - supervised pattern recognition - no new software - no one knows how it works but it does - Google Alpha Go was specific to the specific database.
AGI - deep learning - m/cs learn continuously from
patterns in other
machines, intelligence is physical - 'keep the best' 'kill the rest' - teacher / student again & again
- massive data from the
internet & computing power & speed from quantum/nano computers
from Moore's Law - sanctions & rewards - 'if you don't use it you lose it' - generalised
as the network can learn from any other m/c
discovering & accumulating new previously unknown patterns in
general data which results in survival (keeping the m/c switched on?) - automating brains
which have meaning & context and are not fooled by 'unknowable events'?
- writing, translation, images, speech, self drive cars, indistinguishable
singularity ... but
automating sensors, movement, emotions, empathy, culture?
Alpha Go Zero - deep learning - given rules (the laws of nature) & objectives (survival) ... random stimulations produce patterns which differentially survive ... no human data ... no human supervision ... plug & play ... the machine learns from itself!?
Nobody knows; 'the whole is beyond' comprehension. Learning how to survive; 'retain human users longer' they have to plug m/cs in!
Artificial General Intelligence - DeepMind ... study the infant Daniel Whelan!
Machina Sapiens mimics the brain as trillions of artificial neurons are 'free' to connect with trillions of others in circuits & networks which differentially survive (generalised patterns emerge) with Homo Sapiens as the reproductive agent (differential survival continuously optimises a model) -
generalised image recognition = two beer drinkers in a pub
understanding specific context = Colin & Keith, one glass full & one glass empty
communication of meaning = smile or scowl (see, hear, smell, taste, feel)
trial & error problem solving = flip flopping excitement & fear (emotional responses)
learning = collective cultural understanding - 'the penny drops' ('sense' of humour) ...
sense wave length meaning 'red' colour
sense printed paper meaning 'money' exchangeable value
Genetic metabolism builds neural networks & circuits which control body electro chemical functions for survival (allostasis) - basic 'ingredients' wire up 'recipes' which 'work'.
But don't get it wrong ... to top the lot there was never ever no alternative to learning how to learn -
SYNERGIES everyone becomes better
folk do not become REDUNDANT
= CAVEAT EMPTOR & DUE DILIGENCE of any assessment of VALUE ... garbage in garbage out ... there ain't no app for that.
AI was not about redundant folk as we were taught ... but rather about learning how we learn ... with or without a machine?
The mind bender was how to get your head around learning from machines - mutual benefits ... better folk from better machines ... peer to peer global hand shakes ... at the touch of a technology button ... with no sign of cutting the leash and machines taking over the world. Machines use folk as a reproductive system in the same way as cows use folk as a reproductive system.
Somehow in one way or another the thermodynamics led to deals in synergies and know how ... they were both the same thing after all?
Whatever which way post modern history remained all about ... learning
--- Synthetic Life (DNA software coding 'A's & 'T's & 'C's & 'G's for neural circuits & networks)
The flawed belief that life was from the grace of God persisted but there was evidence from Darwin to the Human Genome Project that life was DNA was software running on biological hardware -
From the deciphering of the DNA code to the 3-D printing of code assemblies from digitised code and booting up of synthetic nuclei in existing eukaryotic cells to the evolution of the cell itself.
Craig Venter stuck his head above the parapet when he suggested synthetic life.
'What is life?' Erwin Schrodinger 1944 to 'Life at the Speed of Light' Craig Venter 2013.
Eukaryotic Cells as manufactories - mitochondria and chloroplasts
DNA Printing - programmable living chemistry - software replicates the hardware -
Booting Up - in the nucleus of living cells
1859 GM = selective breeding
1975 Fred Sanger
2003 Craig Venter - Human Genome read.
2013 GE = CRISPE-cas9, editing individual A T C & Gs.
20?? Human Genome write.
Disease, health & safety, CO2 + H2O, biodegradable plastic, virtual defence, transport of 'know how', law enforcement ... biofuels, medicines, pollution-eating bacteria ... and we waste brain power arguing about politics?
History Timeline = 13.8bya Big Bang -- 4.6bya Earth -- 3.5mya replication molecules -- 2.4mya Apes -- 100,000ya talking -- 10,000ya writing -- 9 years ago Daniel Whelan!
john p birchall
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