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Daniel C. Dennett is Distinguished Professor of Arts and Sciences and Director of the Center for Cognitive Studies at Tufts University, Massachusetts. He is also the author of Content and Consciousness (1 ! "# Brainstorms (1 $%# Penguin, 1 $"# Elbow Room (1 %&"# The Intentional Stance (1 %$"# Consciousness Explained (1 '# Penguin, 1 ("# and Kinds of Minds (1 !".

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Daniel C. Dennett

P/,.U+, 4005S Pu6lished 6y the Penguin .rou7 Penguin 4oo8s 2td, '$ *rights 2ane, 2ondon *% 9T:, /ngland Penguin 4oo8s USA +nc., ($9 Hudson Street, ,e; <or8, ,e; <or8 1==1&, USA Penguin 4oo8s Australia 2td, )ing;ood, 1ictoria, Australia Penguin 4oo8s Canada 2td, 1= Alcorn Avenue, Toronto, 0ntario, Canada M&1 (4' Penguin 4oo8s (,:" 2td, 1%'>1 = *airau )oad, Auc8land 1=, ,e; :ealand Penguin 4oo8s 2td, )egistered 0ffices? Har@onds;orth, MiddleseA, /ngland 3irst 7u6lished in the USA 6y Si@on B Schuster 1 9 3irst 7u6lished in .reat 4ritain 6y Allen 2ane The Penguin Press 1 9 Pu6lished in Penguin 4oo8s 1 ! (9$ 1= %!& Co7yright C Daniel C. Dennett, 1 All rights reserved 9

To 1A, FU+,/

teacher and friend

The ac8no;ledge@ents on 7. 9%$ constitute an eAtension of this co7yright 7age The @oral right of the author has 6een asserted Printed in /ngland 6y Clays 2td, St +ves 7ic /Ace7t in the United States of A@erica, this 6oo8 is sold su6Dect to the condition that it shall not, 6y ;ay of trade or other;ise, 6e lent, re>sold, hired out, or other;ise circulated ;ithout the 7u6lisher-s 7rior consent in any for@ of 6inding or cover other than that in ;hich it is 7u6lished and ;ithout a si@ilar condition including this condition 6eing i@7osed on the su6seEuent 7urchaser


reface PA)T +? STA)T+,. +, TH/ M+DD2/

CHAPT/) 0,/

Tell Me !h"
1. '. (. &. +s ,othing SacredG 1$ *hat, *here, *hen, *hyHand Ho;G '( 2oc8e-s IProofI of the Pri@acy of Mind '! Hu@e-s Close /ncounter '%


#n Idea Is Born 1. '. (. &. 9. *hat +s So S7ecial A6out S7eciesG (9 ,atural SelectionHan A;ful Stretcher ( Did Dar;in /A7lain the 0rigin of S7eciesG &' ,atural Selection as an Algorith@ic Process &% Processes as Algorith@s 9'


$ni%ersal #cid 1. '. (. &. 9. /arly )eactions !1 Dar;in-s Assault on the Cos@ic Pyra@id !& The Princi7le of the Accu@ulation of Design !% The Tools for ) and D? S8yhoo8s or CranesG $( *ho-s Afraid of )eductionis@G %=

CHAPT/) 30U)

C0,T/,TS ()



The Tree of 'ife 1. Ho; Should *e 1isualiJe the Tree of 2ifeG %9 '. Color>coding a S7ecies on the Tree 1 (. )etros7ective Coronations? Mitochondrial /ve and +nvisi6le 4eginnings ! &. Patterns, 0versi@7lification, and /A7lanation 1==
CHAPT/) 3+1/

$. Stuart 5auff@an as Meta>/ngineer ''=

The ossible and the #ctual 1. '. (. &. .rades of Possi6ilityG 1=& The 2i6rary of Mendel 1=$ The Co@7leA )elation 4et;een .eno@e and 0rganis@ Possi6ility ,aturaliJed 11%




Threads of #ctualit" in Desi-n Space 1. Drifting and 2ifting Through Design S7ace 1'& '. 3orced Moves in the .a@e of Design 1'% (. The Unity of Design S7ace 1(9 PA)T ++? DA)*+,+A, TH+,5+,. +, 4+020.<
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rimin- Darwin/s ump *,& 1. '. (. &. 4ac8 4eyond Dar;in-s 3rontier 1& Molecular /volution 199 The 2a;s of the .a@e of 2ife 1!( /ternal )ecurrenceH2ife *ithout 3oundationsG 1%1


4iology +s En-ineerin*(0 1. '. (. &. 9. !. The Sciences of the Artificial 1%$ Dar;in +s DeadH2ong 2ive Dar;inL 1 = 3unction and S7ecification 1 9 0riginal Sin and the 4irth of Meaning '== The Co@7uter That 2earned to Play Chec8ers '=$ Artifact Her@eneutics, or )everse /ngineering '1'

CHAPT/) ,+,/

Searchin- for 1ualit" 1. The Po;er of Ada7tationist Thin8ing '. The 2ei6niJian Paradig@ '(% (. Playing ;ith Constraints '91


4ully for Brontosaurus 1. '. (. 1. The 4oy *ho Cried *olfG '!' The S7andrel-s Thu@6 '!$ Punctuated /Euili6riu@? A Ho7eful Monster '%' Tin8er to /vers to Chance? The 4urgess Shale Dou6le>Play Mystery '


CHAPT/) /2/1/,

Contro%ersies Contained 1. A Clutch of Har@less Heresies (1( '. Three 2osers? Teilhard, 2a@arc8, and Directed Mutation ('= (. Cui4onoG ('& PA)T +++? M+,D, M/A,+,., MATH/MAT+CS, A,D M0)A2+T<
CHAPT/) T*/21/


The Cranes of Culture 33) 1. '. (. &. The Mon8ey-s Uncle Meets the Me@e ((9 +nvasion of the 4ody>Snatchers (&' Could There 4e a Science of Me@eticsG (9' The Philoso7hical +@7ortance of Me@es (!1

CHAPT/) TH+)T//,

'osin- 4ur Minds to Dar;in 30+ 1. The )ole of 2anguage in +ntelligence ($= '. Cho@s8y Contra Dar;in? 3our /7isodes (%& (. ,ice Tries ( (
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The E%olution of Meanin-s ,+* 1. The Fuest for )eal Meaning &=1 '. T;o 4lac8 4oAes &1'



(. 4loc8ing the /Aits &1 &. Safe Passage to the 3uture &''
CHAPT/) 3+3T//,

The Emperor/s ,e; Mind, and 4ther 5ables ,.( 1. The S;ord in the Stone &'% '. The 2i6rary of Toshi6a &($ (. The Phanto@ Fuantu@>.ravity Co@7uter? 2essons fro@ 2a7land &&&

Dar;in-s theory of evolution 6y natural selection has al;ays fascinated @e, 6ut over the years + have found a sur7rising variety of thin8ers ;ho cannot conceal their disco@fort ;ith his great idea, ranging fro@ nagging s8e7ti> cis@ to outright hostility. + have found not Dust lay 7eo7le and religious thin8ers, 6ut secular 7hiloso7hers, 7sychologists, 7hysicists, and even 6iol> ogists ;ho ;ould 7refer, it see@s, that Dar;in ;ere ;rong. This 6oo8 is a6out ;hy Dar;in-s idea is so 7o;erful, and ;hy it 7ro@isesHnot threat> ensHto 7ut our @ost cherished visions of life on a ne; foundation. A fe; ;ords a6out @ethod. This 6oo8 is largely a6out science 6ut is not itself a ;or8 of science. Science is not done 6y Euoting authorities, ho;ever eloEuent and e@inent, and then evaluating their argu@ents. Scientists do, ho;ever, Euite 7ro7erly 7ersist in holding forth, in 7o7ular and not>so> 7o7ular 6oo8s and essays, 7utting for;ard their inter7retations of the ;or8 in the la6 and the field, and trying to influence their fello; scientists. *hen + Euote the@, rhetoric and all, + a@ doing ;hat they are doing? engaging in 7ersuasion. There is no such thing as a sound Argu@ent fro@ Authority, 6ut authorities can 6e 7ersuasive, so@eti@es rightly and so@eti@es ;rongly. + try to sort this all out, and + @yself do not understand all the science that is relevant to the theories + discuss, 6ut, then, neither do the scientists (;ith 7erha7s a fe; 7oly@ath eAce7tions". +nterdisci7linary ;or8 has its ris8s. + have gone into the details of the various scientific issues far enough, + ho7e, to let the uninfor@ed reader see Dust ;hat the issues are, and ;hy + 7ut the inter7retation on the@ that + do, and + have 7rovided 7lenty of references. ,a@es ;ith dates refer to full references given in the 6i6liogra7hy at the 6ac8 of the 6oo8. +nstead of 7roviding a glossary of the technical ter@s used, + define the@ 6riefly ;hen + first use the@, and then often clarify their @eaning in later discussion, so there is a very eAtensive indeA, ;hich ;ill let you survey all occurrences of any ter@ or idea in the 6oo8. 3ootnotes are for digressions that so@e 6ut not all readers ;ill a77reciate or reEuire.

4n the 4ri-in of Moralit" ,). 1. '. (. &. / Pluri6us Unu@G &9( 3riedrich ,ietJsche-s Must So Stories &!1 So@e 1arieties of .reedy /thical )eductionis@ &!$ Socio6iology? .ood and 4ad, .ood and /vil &%1

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Redesi-nin- Moralit" & & 1. Can /thics 4e ,aturaliJedG & & '. Mudging the Co@7etition 9=1 (. The Moral 3irst Aid Manual 9=9
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The 5uture of an Idea )** 1. +n Praise of 4iodiversity 911 '. Universal Acid? Handle ;ith Care 9'1





0ne thing + have tried to do in this 6oo8 is to @a8e it 7ossi6le for you to read the scientific literature + cite, 6y 7roviding a unified vision of the field, along ;ith suggestions a6out the i@7ortance or non>i@7ortance of the controversies that rage. So@e of the dis7utes + 6oldly adDudicate, and others + leave ;ide o7en 6ut 7lace in a fra@e;or8 so that you can see ;hat the issues are, and ;hether it @attersHto youHho; they co@e out. + ho7e you ;ill read this literature, for it is 7ac8ed ;ith ;onderful ideas. So@e of the 6oo8s + cite are a@ong the @ost difficult 6oo8s + have ever read. + thin8 of the 6oo8s 6y Stuart 5auff@an and )oger Penrose, for instance, 6ut they are 7edagogical tours deforce of highly advanced @aterials, and they can and should 6e read 6y anyone ;ho ;ants to have an infor@ed o7inion a6out the i@7ortant issues they raise. 0thers are less de@andingHclear, infor@ative, ;ell ;orth so@e serious effortHand still others are not Dust easy to read 6ut a great delightHsu7er6 eAa@7les of Art in the service of Science. Since you are reading this 6oo8, you have 7rE6a6ly already read several of the@, so @y grou7ing the@ together here ;ill 6e reco@@endation enough? the 6oo8s 6y .raha@ Cairns>S@ith, 4ill Calvin, )ichard Da;8ins, Mared Dia@ond, Manfred /igen, Steve .ould, Mohn Maynard S@ith, Steve Pin8er, Mar8 )idley, and Matt )idley. ,o area of science has 6een 6etter served 6y its ;riters than evolutionary theory. Highly technical 7hiloso7hical argu@ents of the sort @any 7hiloso7hers favor are a6sent here. That is 6ecause + have a 7rior 7ro6le@ to deal ;ith. + have learned that argu@ents, no @atter ho; ;atertight, often fall on deaf ears. + a@ @yself the author of argu@ents that + consider rigorous and unans;era6le 6ut that are often not so @uch re6utted or even dis@issed as si@7ly ignored. + a@ not co@7laining a6out inDusticeH;e all @ust ignore argu@ents, and no dou6t ;e all ignore argu@ents that history ;ill tell us ;e should have ta8en seriously. )ather, + ;ant to 7lay a @ore direct role in changing ;hat is ignora6le 6y ;ho@. + ;ant to get thin8ers in other disci> 7lines to ta8e evolutionary thin8ing seriously, to sho; the@ ho; they have 6een underesti@ating it, and to sho; the@ ;hy they have 6een listening to the ;rong sirens. 3or this, + have to use @ore artful @ethods. + have to tell a story. <ou don-t ;ant to 6e s;ayed 6y a storyG *ell, + 6now you ;on-t 6e s;ayed 6y a for@al argu@ent# you ;on-t even listen to a for@al argu@ent for @y conclusion, so + start ;here + have to start. The story + tell is @ostly ne;, 6ut it also 7ulls together 6its and 7ieces fro@ a ;ide assort@ent of analyses +-ve ;ritten over the last t;enty>five years, directed at various controversies and Euandaries. So@e of these 7ieces are incor7orated into the 6oo8 al@ost ;hole, ;ith i@7rove@ents, and others are only alluded to. *hat + have @ade visi6le here is enough of the ti7 of the ice6erg, + ho7e, to infor@ and even 7ersuade the ne;co@er and at least challenge @y o77onents fairly and cris7ly. + have tried to navigate 6et;een the Scylla of gli6 dis@issal and the Chary6dis of grindingly detailed

infighting, and ;henever + glide s;iftly 6y a controversy, + ;arn that + a@ doing so, and give the reader references to the o77osition. The 6i6liogra7hy could easily have 6een dou6led, 6ut + have chosen on the 7rinci7le that any serious reader needs only one or t;o entry 7oints into the literature and can find die rest fro@ there. +n the front of his @arvelous ne; 6oo8, Metaph"sical M"ths7 Mathematical ractices8 The 4ntolo-" and Epistemolo-" of the Exact Sciences (Ca@6ridge? Ca@6ridge University Press, 1 &", @y colleague Mody AJJouni than8s Ithe 7hiloso7hy de7art@ent at Tufts University for 7roviding a near>7erfect environ@ent in ;hich to do 7hiloso7hy.I + ;ant to second 6oth the than8s and the evaluation. At @any universities, 7hiloso7hy is studied 6ut not done HI7hiloso7hy a77reciation,I one @ight call itHand at @any other universities, 7hiloso7hical research is an arcane activity conducted out of sight of the undergraduates and all 6ut the @ost advanced 7ostgraduates. At Tufts, ;e do 7hiloso7hy, in the classroo@ and a@ong our colleagues, and the results, + thin8, sho; that AJJouni-s assess@ent is correct. Tufts has 7rovided @e ;ith eAcellent students and colleagues, and an ideal setting in ;hich to ;or8 ;ith the@. +n recent years + have taught an undergraduate se@inar on Dar;in and 7hiloso7hy, in ;hich @ost of the ideas in this 6oo8 ;ere ha@@ered out. The 7enulti@ate draft ;as 7ro6ed, criticiJed, and 7olished 6y a 7articularly strong se@inar of graduate and undergraduate students, for ;hose hel7 + a@ grateful? 5aren 4ailey, Pascal 4uc8ley, Mohn Ca6ral, 4rian Cavoto, Ti@ Cha@6ers, ShiraJ Cu7ala, Mennifer 3oA, Angela .iles, Patric8 Ha;ley, Dien Ho, Matthe; 5essler, Chris 2erner, 5ristin Mc.uire, Michael )idge, Mohn )o6erts, 2ee )osen6erg, Stacey Sch@idt, )hett S@ith, 2aura S7iliata8ou, and Scott Tanona. The se@inar ;as also enriched 6y freEuent visitors? Marcel 5ins6ourne, 4o Dahl6o@, David Haig, Cynthia Schoss6erger, Meff McConnell, David Sti77. + also ;ant to than8 @y colleagues, es7ecially Hugo 4edau, .eorge S@ith, and Ste7hen *hite, for a variety of valua6le suggestions. And + @ust es7ecially than8 Alicia S@ith, the secretary at the Center for Cognitive Studies, ;hose virtuoso 7erfor@ance as a reference>finder, fact>chec8er, 7er@ission>see8er, draft>u7daterN7rinterN @ailer, and general coordinator of the ;hole 7roDect 7ut ;ings on @y heels. + have also 6enefited fro@ detailed co@@ents fro@ those ;ho read @ost or all the 7enulti@ate>draft cha7ters? 4o Dahl6o@, )ichard Da;8ins, David Haig, Doug Hofstadter, ,ic8 Hu@7hrey, )ay Mac8endoff, Phili7 5itcher, Mus> tin 2ei6er, /rnst Mayr, Meff McConnell, Steve Pin8er, Sue Stafford, and 5i@ Sterelny. As usual, they are not res7onsi6le for any errors they failed to dissuade @e fro@. (And if you can-t ;rite a good 6oo8 a6out evolution ;itii the hel7 of this sterling grou7 of editors, you should give u7L" Many others ans;ered crucial Euestions, and clarified @y thin8ing in



doJens of conversations? )on A@undsen, )o6ert AAelrod, Monathan 4ennett, )o6ert 4randon, Madeline Caviness, Ti@ Clutton>4roc8, 2eda Cos@ides, Helena Cronin, Arthur Danto, Mar8 De 1oto, Marc 3eld@an, Murray .ell> Mann, Peter .odfrey>S@ith, Steve .ould, Danny Hillis, Mohn Holland, Alas> tair Houston, David Hoy, 4redo Mohnsen, Stu 5auff@an, Chris 2angton, Dic8 2e;ontin, Mohn Maynard S@ith, Mi@ Moore, )oger Penrose, Moanne Philli7s, )o6ert )ichards, Mar8 and Matt (the )idley cons7ecifics", Dic8 Schacht, Meff Schan8, /lliot So6er, Mohn Too6y, )o6ert Trivers, Peter 1an +n;agen, .eorge *illia@s, David Sloan *ilson, /d;ard 0. *ilson, and 4U+ *i@satt. + ;ant to than8 @y agent, Mohn 4roc8@an, for steering this 6ig 7roDect 7ast @any shoals, and hel7ing @e see ;ays of @a8ing it a 6etter 6oo8. Than8s also go to Terry :aroff, ;hose eA7ert co7yediting caught @any sli7s and inconsistencies, and clarified and unified the eA7ression of @any 7oints. And +lavenil Su66iah, ;ho dre; the figures, eAce7t for 3igures 1=.( and 1=.&, ;hich ;ere created 6y Mar8 McConnell on a He;lett>Pac8ard A7ollo ;or8station, using +>dea. 2ast and @ost i@7ortant? than8s and love to @y ;ife, Susan, for her advice, love, and su77ort.
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9eurath has li6ened science to a boat which7 if we are to rebuild it7 we must rebuild plan6 b" plan6 while sta"in- afloat in it. The philosopher and the scientist are in the same boat.... #nal":e theor";buildin- how we will7 we all must start in die middle. 4ur conceptual firsts are middle;si:ed7 middle;distanced ob<ects7 and our introduction to diem and to e%er"thin- comes midwa" in the cultural e%olution of die race. In assimilatin- this cultural fare we are litde more aware of a distinction between report and in%ention7 sub; stance and st"le7 cues and conceptuali:ation7 than we are of a distinc; tion between die proteins and the carboh"drates of our material inta6e. Retrospecti%el" we ma" distin-uish the components of theor";buildin-7 as we distin-uish the proteins and carboh"drates while subsistin- on diem.
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Se7te@6er 1


1. +s ,0TH+,. SAC)/DG
CHAPT/) 0,/

Tell Me !h"
*e used to sing a lot ;hen + ;as a child, around the ca@7fire at su@@er ca@7, at school and Sunday school, or gathered around the 7iano at ho@e. 0ne of @y favorite songs ;as ITell Me *hy.I (3or those ;hose 7ersonal @e@ories don-t already e@6race this little treasure, the @usic is 7rovided in the a77endiA. The si@7le @elody and easy har@ony line are sur7risingly 6eautiful." Tell @e ;hy the stars do shine, Tell @e ;hy the ivy t;ines, Tell @e ;hy die s8y-s so 6lue. Then + ;ill tell you Dust ;hy + love you. 4ecause .od @ade the stars to shine, 4ecause .od @ade the ivy t;ine, 4ecause .od @ade the s8y so 6lue. 4ecause .od @ade you, that-s ;hy + love you. This straightfor;ard, senti@ental declaration still 6rings a lu@7 to @y throatHso s;eet, so innocent, so reassuring a vision of lifeL And then along co@es Dar;in and s7oils the 7icnic. 0r does heG That is the to7ic of this 6oo8. 3ro@ the @o@ent of the 7u6lication of 4ri-in of Species in 1%9 , Charles Dar;in-s funda@ental idea has ins7ired intense reactions ranging fro@ ferocious conde@nation to ecstatic allegiance, so@e> ti@es tanta@ount to religious Jeal. Dar;in-s theory has 6een a6used and @isre7resented 6y friend and foe ali8e. +t has 6een @isa77ro7riated to lend scientific res7ecta6ility to a77alling 7olitical and social doctrines. +t has 6een 7illoried in caricature 6y o77onents, so@e of ;ho@ ;ould have it


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Is 9othin- Sacred=

co@7ete in our children-s schools ;ith Icreation science,I a 7athetic hodge> 7odge of 7ious 7seudo>science.1 Al@ost no one is indifferent to Dar;in, and no one should 6e. The Dar> ;inian theory is a scientific theory, and a great one, 6ut that is not all it is. The creationists ;ho o77ose it so 6itterly are right a6out one thing? Dar;in-s dangerous idea cuts @uch dee7er into the fa6ric of our @ost funda@ental 6eliefs than @any of its so7histicated a7ologists have yet ad@itted, even to the@selves. The s;eet, si@7le vision of the song, ta8en literally, is one that @ost of us have outgro;n, ho;ever fondly ;e @ay recall it. The 8indly .od ;ho lovingly fashioned each and every one of us ( all creatures great and s@all" and s7rin8led the s8y ;ith shining stars for our delightH that .od is, li8e Santa Claus, a @yth of childhood, not anything a sane, undeluded adult could literally 6elieve in. That .od @ust either 6e turned into a sy@6ol for so@ething less concrete or a6andoned altogether. ,ot all scientists and 7hiloso7hers are atheists, and @any ;ho are 6eliev> ers declare that their idea of .od can live in 7eaceful coeAistence ;ith, or even find su77ort fro@, the Dar;inian fra@e;or8 of ideas. Theirs is not an anthro7o@or7hic Handicrafter .od, 6ut still a .od ;orthy of ;orshi7 in their eyes, ca7a6le of giving consolation and @eaning to their lives. 0thers ground their highest concerns in entirely secular 7hiloso7hies, vie;s of the @eaning of life that stave off des7air ;ithout the aid of any conce7t of a Su7re@e 4eingHother than the Universe itself. So@ething is sacred to these thin8ers, 6ut they do not call it .od# they call it, 7erha7s, 2ife, or 2ove, or .oodness, or +ntelligence, or 4eauty, or Hu@anity. *hat 6oth grou7s share, in s7ite of the differences in their dee7est creeds, is a conviction that life does have @eaning, that goodness @atters. 4ut can an" version of this attitude of ;onder and 7ur7ose 6e sustained in the face of Dar;inis@G 3ro@ the outset, there have 6een those ;ho thought they sa; Dar;in letting the ;orst 7ossi6le cat out of the 6ag? nihilis@. They thought that if Dar;in ;as right, the i@7lication ;ould 6e that nothing could 6e sacred. To 7ut it 6luntly, nothing could have any 7oint. +s this Dust an overreactionG *hat eAactly are the i@7lications of Dar;in-s ideaHand, in any case, has it 6een scientifically 7roven or is it still IDust a theoryIG Perha7s, you @ay thin8, ;e could @a8e a useful division? there are the 7arts of Dar;in-s idea that really are esta6lished 6eyond any reasona6le dou6t, and then there are the s7eculative eAtensions of the scientifically

1. + ;ill not devote any s7ace in this 6oo8 to cataloguing the dee7 fla;s in creationis@, or su77orting @y 7ere@7tory conde@nation of it. + ta8e that Do6 to have 6een ad@ira6ly done 6y 5itcher 1 %', 3utuy@a 1 %(, .il8ey 1 %9, and others.

irresisti6le 7arts. ThenHif ;e ;ere luc8yH7erha7s the roc8>solid scientific facts ;ould have no stunning i@7lications a6out religion, or hu@an nature, or the @eaning of life, ;hile the 7arts of Dar;in-s idea that get 7eo7le all u7set could 6e 7ut into Euarantine as highly controversial eAtensions of, or @ere inter7retations of, the scientifically irresisti6le 7arts. That ;ould 6e reassuring. 4ut alas, that is Dust a6out 6ac8;ards. There are vigorous controversies s;irling around in evolutionary theory, 6ut those ;ho feel threatened 6y Dar;inis@ should not ta8e heart fro@ this fact. MostHif not Euite allHof the controversies concern issues that are IDust scienceI# no @atter ;hich side ;ins, the outco@e ;ill not undo the 6asic Dar;inian idea. That idea, ;hich is a6out as secure as any in science, really does have far>reaching i@7lications for our vision of ;hat the @eaning of life is or could 6e. +n 19&(, Co7ernicus 7ro7osed that the /arth ;as not the center of the universe 6ut in fact revolved around the Sun. +t too8 over a century for the idea to sin8 in, a gradual and actually rather 7ainless transfor@ation. (The religious refor@er Phili77 Melanchthon, a colla6orator of Martin 2uther, o7ined that Iso@e Christian 7rinceI should su77ress this @ad@an, 6ut aside fro@ a fe; such salvos, the ;orld ;as not 7articularly sha8en 6y Co7ernicus hi@self." The Co7ernican )evolution did eventually have its o;n Ishot heard round the ;orldI? .alileo-s Dialo-ue Concernin- the Two Chief !orld S"stems7 6ut it ;as not 7u6lished until 1!(', ;hen the issue ;as no longer controversial a@ong scientists. .alileo-s 7roDectile 7rovo8ed an infa@ous res7onse 6y the )o@an Catholic Church, setting u7 a shoc8 ;ave ;hose rever6erations are only no; dying out. 4ut in s7ite of the dra@a of that e7ic confrontation, the idea that our 7lanet is not the center of creation has sat rather lightly in 7eo7le-s @inds. /very schoolchild today acce7ts this as the @atter of fact it is, ;ithout tears or terror. +n due course, the Dar;inian )evolution ;ill co@e to occu7y a si@ilarly secure and untrou6led 7lace in the @indsHand heartsHof every educated 7erson on the glo6e, 6ut today, @ore than a century after Dar;in-s death, ;e still have not co@e to ter@s ;ith its @ind>6oggling i@7lications. Unli8e the Co7ernican )evolution, ;hich did not engage ;ides7read 7u6lic attention until the scientific details had 6een largely sorted out, the Dar;inian )evolution has had anAious lay s7ectators and cheerleaders ta8ing sides fro@ the outset, tugging at the sleeves of the 7artici7ants and encouraging grandstanding. The scientists the@selves have 6een @oved 6y the sa@e ho7es and fears, so it is not sur7rising that die relatively narro; conflicts a@ong theorists have often 6een not Dust 6lo;n u7 out of 7ro7ortion 6y their adherents, 6ut seriously distorted in the 7rocess. /very6ody has seen, di@ly, that a lot is at sta8e. Moreover, although Dar;in-s o;n articulation of his theory ;as @onu> @ental, and its 7o;ers ;ere i@@ediately recogniJed 6y @any of the scien>


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Is 9othin- Sacred= '1 are carefully left unarticulated, dis7laced fro@ attention 6y several layers of distracting re6uttal and counter>re6uttal. The dis7utants are forever changing the su6Dect slightly, conveniently 8ee7ing the 6ogeys in the shado;s. +t is this @isdirection that is @ainly res7onsi6le for 7ost7oning the day ;hen ;e can all live as co@forta6ly ;ith our ne; 6iological 7ers7ective as ;e do ;ith the astrono@ical 7ers7ective Co7ernicus gave us. *henever Dar;inis@ is the to7ic, the te@7erature rises, 6ecause @ore is at sta8e than Dust the e@7irical facts a6out ho; life on /arth evolved, or the correct logic of the theory that accounts for those facts. 0ne of the 7recious things that is at sta8e is a vision of ;hat it @eans to as8, and ans;er, the Euestion I*hyGI Dar;in-s ne; 7ers7ective turns several traditional assu@7> tions u7side do;n, under@ining our standard ideas a6out ;hat ought to count as satisfying ans;ers to this ancient and inesca7a6le Euestion. Here science and 7hiloso7hy get co@7letely intert;ined. Scientists so@eti@es deceive the@selves into thin8ing that 7hiloso7hical ideas are only, at 6est, decorations or 7arasitic co@@entaries on the hard, o6Dective triu@7hs of science, and that they the@selves are i@@une to the confusions that 7hi> loso7hers devote their lives to dissolving. 4ut there is no such thing as 7hiloso7hy>free science# there is only science ;hose 7hiloso7hical 6aggage is ta8en on 6oard ;ithout eAa@ination. The Dar;inian )evolution is 6oth a scientific and a 7hiloso7hical revo> lution, and neither revolution could have occurred ;ithout the other. As ;e shall see, it ;as the 7hiloso7hical 7reDudices of the scientists, @ore than their lac8 of scientific evidence, that 7revented the@ fro@ seeing ho; the theory could actually ;or8, 6ut those 7hiloso7hical 7reDudices that had to 6e overthro;n ;ere too dee7ly entrenched to 6e dislodged 6y @ere 7hilo> so7hical 6rilliance. +t too8 an irresisti6le 7arade of hard>;on scientific facts to force thin8ers to ta8e seriously the ;eird ne; outloo8 that Dar;in 7ro7osed. Those ;ho are still ill>acEuainted ;ith that 6eautiful 7rocession can 6e forgiven their continued allegiance to the 7re>Dar;inian ideas. And the 6attle is not yet over# even a@ong the scientists, there are 7oc8ets of resistance. 2et @e lay @y cards on the ta6le. +f + ;ere to give an a;ard for the single 6est idea anyone has ever had, +-d give it to Dar;in, ahead of ,e;ton and /instein and everyone else. +n a single stro8e, the idea of evolution 6y natural selection unifies the real@ of life, @eaning, and 7ur7ose ;ith the real@ of s7ace and ti@e, cause and effect, @echanis@ and 7hysical la;. 4ut it is not Dust a ;onderful scientific idea. +t is a dangerous idea. My ad@iration for Dar;in-s @agnificent idea is un6ounded, 6ut +, too, cherish @any of the ideas and ideals that it seems to challenge, and ;ant to 7rotect the@. 3or instance, + ;ant to 7rotect the ca@7fire song, and ;hat is 6eautiful and true in it, for @y little grandson and his friends, and for their children ;hen they gro; u7. There are @any @ore @agnificent ideas that are also Deo7ardiJed,

tists and other thin8ers of his day, there really ;ere large ga7s in his theory that have only recently 6egun to 6e 7ro7erly filled in. The 6iggest ga7 loo8s al@ost co@ical in retros7ect. +n all his 6rilliant @usings, Dar;in never hit u7on the central conce7t, ;ithout ;hich the theory of evolution is ho7eless? the conce7t of a -ene. Dar;in had no 7ro7er unit of heredity, and so his account of the 7rocess of natural selection ;as 7lagued ;ith entirely rea> sona6le dou6ts a6out ;hether it ;ould ;or8. Dar;in su77osed that offs7ring ;ould al;ays eAhi6it a sort of 6lend or average of their 7arents- features. *ouldn-t such I6lending inheritanceI al;ays si@7ly average out all differ > ences, turning everything into unifor@ grayG Ho; could diversity survive such relentless averagingG Dar;in recogniJed the seriousness of this chal> lenge, and neither he nor his @any ardent su77orters succeeded in res7onding ;ith a descri7tion of a convincing and ;ell>docu@ented @echanis@ of heredity that could co@6ine traits of 7arents ;hile @aintaining an underlying and unchanged identity. The idea they needed ;as right at hand, uncovered (Ifor@ulatedI ;ould 6e too strong" 6y the @on8 .regor Mendel and 7u6lished in a relatively o6scure Austrian Dournal in 1%!9, 6ut, in the 6est> savored irony in the history of science, it lay there unnoticed until its i@ > 7ortance ;as a77reciated (at first di@ly" around 1 ==. +ts triu@7hant esta6lish@ent at the heart of the IModern SynthesisI (in effect, the synthesis of Mendel and Dar;in" ;as eventually @ade secure in the 1 &=s, than8s to the ;or8 of Theodosius Do6Jhans8y, Mulian HuAley, /rnst Mayr, and others. +t has ta8en another half>century to iron out @ost of the ;rin8les of that ne; fa6ric. The funda@ental core of conte@7orary Dar;inis@, the theory of D,A> 6ased re7roduction and evolution, is no; 6eyond dis7ute a@ong scientists. +t de@onstrates its 7o;er every day, contri6uting crucially to the eA7lanation of 7lanet>siJed facts of geology and @eteorology, through @iddle>siJed facts of ecology and agrono@y, do;n to the latest @icrosco7ic facts of genetic engineering. +t unifies all of 6iology and the history of our 7lanet into a single grand story. 2i8e .ulliver tied do;n in 2illi7ut, it is un6udge>a6le, not 6ecause of so@e one or t;o huge chains of argu@ent that @ightH ho7e against ho7eHhave ;ea8 lin8s in the@, 6ut 6ecause it is securely tied 6y hundreds of thousands of threads of evidence anchoring it to virtually every other area of hu@an 8no;ledge. ,e; discoveries @ay conceiva6ly lead to dra@atic, even IrevolutionaryI shifts in the Dar;inian theory, 6ut the ho7e that it ;ill 6e IrefutedI 6y so@e shattering 6rea8through is a6out as reasona6le as the ho7e that ;e ;ill return to a geocentric vision and discard Co7ernicus. Still, the theory is e@6roiled in re@ar8a6ly hot>te@7ered controversy, and one of the reasons for this incandescence is that these de6ates a6out scientific @atters are usually distorted 6y fears that the I;rongI ans;er ;ould have intolera6le @oral i@7lications. So great are these fears that they


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!hat7 !here7 !hen7 !h"?and >ow=


it see@s, 6y Dar;in-s idea, and they, too, @ay need 7rotection. The only good ;ay to do thisHthe only ;ay that has a chance in the long runHis to cut through the s@o8escreens and loo8 at the idea as unflinchingly, as dis7assionately, as 7ossi6le. 0n this occasion, ;e are not going to settle for IThere, there, it ;ill all co@e out all right.I 0ur eAa@ination ;ill ta8e a certain a@ount of nerve. 3eelings @ay get hurt. *riters on evolution usually steer clear of this a7> 7arent clash 6et;een science and religion. 3ools rush in, AleAander Po7e said, ;here angels fear to tread. Do you ;ant to follo; @eG Don-t you really ;ant to 8no; ;hat survives this confrontationG *hat if it turns out that the s;eet visionHor a 6etter oneHsurvives intact, strengthened and dee7ened 6y the encounterG *ouldn-t it 6e a sha@e to forgo the o77ortunity for a strengthened, rene;ed creed, settling instead for a fragile, sic86ed faith that you @ista8enly su77osed @ust not 6e distur6edG There is no future in a sacred @yth. *hy notG 4ecause of our curiosity. 4ecause, as the song re@inds us, we want to 6now wh". *e @ay have outgro;n the song-s ans;er, 6ut ;e ;ill never outgro; the Euestion. *hat> ever ;e hold 7recious, ;e cannot 7rotect it fro@ our curiosity, 6ecause 6eing ;ho ;e are, one of the things ;e dee@ 7recious is the truth. 0ur love of truth is surely a central ele@ent in the @eaning ;e find in our lives. +n any case, the idea that ;e @ight 7reserve @eaning 6y 8idding ourselves is a @ore 7essi@istic, @ore nihilistic idea than + for one can sto@ach. +f that ;ere the 6est that could 6e done, + ;ould conclude that nothing @attered after all. This 6oo8, then, is for those ;ho agree that the only @eaning of life ;orth caring a6out is one that can ;ithstand our 6est efforts to eAa@ine it. 0thers are advised to close the 6oo8 no; and ti7toe a;ay. 3or those ;ho stay, here is die 7lan. Part + of the 6oo8 locates the Dar;inian )evolution in the larger sche@e of things, sho;ing ho; it can transfor@ the ;orld>vie; of those ;ho 8no; its details. This first cha7ter sets out die 6ac8ground of 7hiloso7hical ideas that do@inated our thought 6efore Dar;in. Cha7ter ' introduces Dar;in-s central idea in a so@e;hat ne; guise, as the idea of evolution as an al-orithmic process7 and clears u7 so@e co@@on @isunderstandings of it. Cha7ter ( sho;s ho; this idea overturns the tradition encountered in cha7ter 1. Cha7ters & and 9 eA7lore so@e of the stri8ingHand unsettlingH7ers7ectives that the Dar;inian ;ay of thin8ing o7ens u7. Part ++ eAa@ines the challenges to Dar;in-s ideaHto neo>Dar;inis@ or the Modern SynthesisHthat have arisen ;ithin 6iology itself, sho;ing that contrary to ;hat so@e of its o77onents have declared, Dar;in-s idea survives these controversies not Dust intact 6ut strengthened. Part H+ then sho;s ;hat ha77ens ;hen the sa@e thin8ing is eAtended to the s7ecies ;e care a6out @ost? >omo sapiens. Dar;in hi@self fully recogniJed that this

;as going to 6e the stic8ing 7oint for @any 7eo7le, and he did ;hat he could to 6rea8 the ne;s gently. More than a century later, there are still those ;ho ;ant to dig a @oat se7arating us fro@ @ost if not all of the dreadful i@7lications they thin8 they see in Dar;inis@. Part +++ sho;s that this is an error of 6oth fact and strategy# not only does Dar;in-s dangerous idea a77ly to us directly and at @any levels, 6ut the 7ro7er a77lication of Dar;inian thin8ing to hu@an issuesHof @ind, language, 8no;ledge, and ethics, for instanceHillu@inates the@ in ;ays that have al;ays eluded the traditional a77roaches, recasting ancient 7ro6le@s and 7ointing to dieir solution. 3inally, ;e can assess the 6argain ;e get ;hen ;e trade in 7re>Dar;inian for Dar;inian thin8ing, identifying 6oth its uses and a6uses, and sho;ing ho; ;hat really @atters to usHand ought to @atter to usHshines through, transfor@ed 6ut enhanced 6y its 7assage through the Dar;inian )evolution.

'. *HAT, *H/)/, *H/,, *H<HA,D H0*G

0ur curiosity a6out things ta8es different for@s, as Aristotle noted at the da;n of hu@an science. His 7ioneering effort to classify the@ still @a8es a lot of sense. He identified four 6asic Euestions ;e @ight ;ant ans;ered a6out anything, and called their ans;ers the four aitia7 a truly untranslata6le .ree8 ter@ traditionally 6ut a;8;ardly translated the four Icauses.I (1" *e @ay 6e curious a6out ;hat so@ething is @ade of, its @atter or material cause. ('" *e @ay 6e curious a6out the for@ (or structure or sha7e" that that @atter ta8es, its formal cause. ((" *e @ay 6e curious a6out its 6eginning, ho; it got started, or its efficient cause. (&" *e @ay 6e curious a6out its purpose or -oal or end (as in IDo the ends Dustify the @eansGI ", ;hich Aristotle called its telos7 so@eti@es translated in /nglish, a;8;ardly, as Ifinal cause.I +t ta8es so@e 7inching and shoving to @a8e these four Aristotelian aitia line u7 as the ans;ers to the standard /nglish Euestions I;hat, ;here, ;hen, and ;hy.I The fit is only fitfully good. Fuestions 6eginning ;ith I;hy,I ho;ever, do standardly as8 for Aristotle-s fourth Icause,I the telos of a thing. *hy thisG ;e as8. *hat is itNorG As the 3rench say, ;hat is its raison d/etre7 or reason for 6eingG 3or hundreds of years, these I;hyI Euestions have 6een recogniJed as 7ro6le@atic 6y 7hiloso7hers and scientists, so distinct that the to7ic they raise deserves a na@e? teleology.


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!hat7 !here7 !hen7 !h"?and >ow=


A teleolo-ical eA7lanation is one that eA7lains the eAistence or occurrence of so@ething 6y citing a goal or 7ur7ose that is served 6y the thing. Artifacts are the @ost o6vious cases# the goal or 7ur7ose of an artifact is the function it ;as designed to serve 6y its creator. There is no controversy a6out the telos of a ha@@er? it is for ha@@ering in and 7ulling out nails. The telos of @ore co@7licated artifacts, such as ca@corders or to; truc8s or CT scanners, is if anything @ore o6vious. 4ut even in si@7le cases, a 7ro6le@ can 6e seen to loo@ in the 6ac8ground? I*hy are you sa;ing that 6oardGI ITo @a8e a door.I IAnd ;hat is the door forGI ITo secure @y house.I IAnd ;hy do you ;ant a secure houseGI ISo + can slee7 nights.I IAnd ;hy do you ;ant to slee7 nightsGI I.o run along and sto7 as8ing such silly Euestions.I This eAchange reveals one of the trou6les ;ith teleology? ;here does it all sto7G *hat final final cause can 6e cited to 6ring this hierarchy of reasons to a closeG Aristotle had an ans;er? .od, the Pri@e Mover, the for;which to end all for;whiches. The idea, ;hich is ta8en u7 6y the Christian, Me;ish, and +sla@ic traditions, is that all our 7ur7oses are ulti@ately .od-s 7ur7oses. The idea is certainly natural and attractive. +f ;e loo8 at a 7oc8et ;atch and ;onder wh" it has a clear glass crystal on its face, the ans;er o6viously har8s 6ac8 to the needs and desires of the users of ;atches, ;ho ;ant to tell ti@e, 6y loo8ing at the hands through the trans7arent, 7rotective glass, and so forth. +f it ;eren-t for these facts a6out us7 for ;ho@ the ;atch ;as created, there ;ould 6e no eA7lanation of the I;hyI of its crystal. +f the universe ;as created 6y .od, for .od-s 7ur7oses, then all the 7ur7oses ;e can find in it @ust ulti@ately 6e due to .od-s 7ur7oses. 4ut ;hat are .od-s 7ur7osesG That is so@ething of a @ystery. 0ne ;ay of deflecting disco@fort a6out that @ystery is to s;itch the to7ic slightly. +nstead of res7onding to the I;hyI Euestion ;ith a I6ecauseI>ty7e ans;er (the sort of ans;er it see@s to de@and", 7eo7le often su6stitute a Iho;I Euestion for the I;hyI Euestion, and atte@7t to ans;er it 6y telling a story a6out how it came to be that .od created us and the rest of the universe, ;ithout d;elling over@uch on Dust ;hy .od @ight ;ant to have done that. The Iho;I Euestion does not get se7arate 6illing on Aristotle-s list, 6ut it ;as a 7o7ular Euestion and ans;er long 6efore Aristotle undertoo8 his analysis. The ans;ers to the 6iggest Iho;I Euestions are cosmo-onies7 stories a6out ho; the cosmos7 the ;hole universe and all its deniJens, ca@e into eAistence. The 6oo8 of .enesis is

a cos@ogony, 6ut there are @any others. Cos@ologists eA7loring the hy7othesis of the 4ig 4ang, and s7eculating a6out 6lac8 holes and su7er> strings, are 7resent>day creators of cos@ogonies. ,ot all ancient cos@og> onies follo; the 7attern of an artifact>@a8er. So@e involve a I;orld eggI laid in Ithe Dee7I 6y one @ythic 6ird or another, and so@e involve seeds6eing so;n and tended. Hu@an i@agination has only a fe; resources to dra; u7on ;hen faced ;ith such a @ind>6oggling Euestion. 0ne early creation @yth s7ea8s of a Iself>eAistent 2ordI ;ho, I;ith a thought, created the ;aters, and de7osited in the@ a seed ;hich 6eca@e a golden egg, in ;hich egg he hi@self is 6orn as 4rah@a, the 7rogenitor of the ;orldsI (Muir 1 $', vol. +1, 7. '!". And ;hat-s the 7oint of all this egg>laying or seed>so;ing or ;orld> 6uildingG 0r, for that @atter, ;hat-s the 7oint of the 4ig 4angG Today-s cos@ologists, li8e @any of their 7redecessors throughout history, tell a diverting story, 6ut 7refer to sideste7 the I;hyI Euestion of teleology. Does the universe eAist for any reasonG Do reasons 7lay any intelligi6le role in eA7lanations of the cos@osG Could so@ething eAist for a reason ;ithout its 6eing somebod"/s reasonG 0r are reasonsHAristotle-s ty7e (&" causesH only a77ro7riate in eA7lanations of the ;or8s and deeds of 7eo7le or other rational agentsG +f .od is not a 7erson, a rational agent, an +ntelligent Artificer, ;hat 7ossi6le sense could the 6iggest I;hyI Euestion @a8eG And if the 6iggest I;hyI Euestion doesn-t @a8e any sense, ho; could any s@aller, @ore 7arochial, I;hyI Euestions @a8e senseG 0ne of Dar;in-s @ost funda@ental contri6utions is sho;ing us a ne; ;ay to @a8e sense of I;hyI Euestions. 2i8e it or not, Dar;in-s idea offers one ;ayHa clear, cogent, astonishingly versatile ;ayHof dissolving these old conundru@s. +t ta8es so@e getting used to, and is often @isa77lied, even 6y its staunchest friends. .radually eA7osing and clarifying this ;ay of thin8ing is a central 7roDect of the 7resent 6oo8. Dar;inian thin8ing @ust 6e carefully distinguished fro@ so@e oversi@7lified and all>too>7o7ular i@7ostors, and this ;ill ta8e us into so@e technicalities, 6ut it is ;orth it. The 7riJe is, for the first ti@e, a sta6le syste@ of eA7lanation that does not go round and round in circles or s7iral off in an infinite regress of @ysteries. So@e 7eo7le ;ould @uch 7refer the infinite regress of @ysteries, a77arently, 6ut in this day and age the cost is 7rohi6itive? you have to get yourself deceived. <ou can either deceive yourself or let others do the dirty ;or8, 6ut there is no intellectually defensi6le ;ay of re6uilding the @ighty 6arriers to co@7rehension that Dar;in s@ashed. The first ste7 to a77reciating this as7ect of Dar;in-s contri6ution is to see ho; the ;orld loo8ed 6efore he inverted it. 4y loo8ing through the eyes of t;o of his country@en, Mohn 2oc8e and David Hu@e, ;e can get a clear vision of an alternative ;orld>vie;Hstill very @uch ;ith us in @any Euar> tersHthat Dar;in rendered o6solete.


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'oc6e/s B roof of the rimac" of Mind


(. 20C5/-S IP)003I 03 TH/ P)+MAC< 03 M+,D

@ohn 'oc6e in%ented common sense7 and onl" En-lishmen ha%e had it e%er sinceA
H4/)T)A,D )2-SS/U.'

Mohn 2oc8e, a conte@7orary of Ithe inco@7ara6le Mr. ,e;ton,I ;as one of the founding fathers of 4ritish /@7iricis@, and, as 6efits an /@7iricist, he ;as not @uch given to deductive argu@ents of the rationalist sort, 6ut one of his uncharacteristic forays into I7roof deserves to 6e Euoted in full, since it 7erfectly illustrates the 6loc8ade to i@agination that ;as in 7lace 6efore the Dar;inian )evolution. The argu@ent @ay see@ strange and stilted to @odern @inds, 6ut 6ear ;ith itHconsider it a sign of ho; far ;e have co@e since then. 2oc8e hi@self thought that he ;as Dust re@inding 7eo7le of so@ething o6viousL +n this 7assage fro@ his Essa" Concernin- >uman $nderstandin- (1! =, +1, A, 1=", 2oc8e ;anted to pro%e so@ething that he thought all 7eo7le 8ne; in their hearts in any case? that Iin the 6eginningI there ;as Mind. He 6egan 6y as8ing hi@self ;hat, if anything, ;as eternal? +f, then, there @ust 6e so@ething eternal, let us see ;hat sort of 4eing it @ust 6e. And to that it is very o6vious to )eason, that it @ust necessarily 6e a cogitative 4eing. 3or it is as i@7ossi6le to conceive that ever 6are incogitative Matter should 7roduce a thin8ing intelligent 4eing, as that nothing should of itself 7roduce Matter.... 2oc8e 6egins his 7roof 6y alluding to one of 7hiloso7hy-s @ost ancient and oft>used @aAi@s, Ex nihilo nihil fit. nothing can co@e fro@ nothing. Since this is to 6e a deductive argu@ent, he @ust set his sights high? it is not Dust unli8ely or i@7lausi6le or hard to fatho@ 6ut impossible to concei%e that I6are incogitative Matter should 7roduce a thin8ing intelligent 4eing.I The argu@ent 7roceeds 6y a series of @ounting ste7s>.

2et us su77ose any 7arcel of Matter eternal, great or s@all, ;e shall find it, in itself, a6le to 7roduce nothingOOOOMatter then, 6y its o;n strength, cannot 7roduce in itself so @uch as Motion? the Motion it has, @ust also 6e fro@ /ternity, or else 6e 7roduced, and added to Matter 6y so@e other 4eing @ore 7o;erful than MatterOOOO4ut let us su77ose Motion eternal too? yet Matter, incogitative Matter and Motion, ;hatever changes it @ight 7roduce of 3igure and 4ul8, could never 7roduce Thought? 5no;ledge ;ill still 6e as far 6eyond the 7o;er of Motion and Matter to 7roduce, as Matter is 6eyond the 7o;er of nothing or nonentity to 7roduce. And + a77eal to everyone-s o;n thoughts, ;hether he cannot as easily conceive Matter 7roduced 6y nothing, as Thought 7roduced 6y 7ure Matter, ;hen 6efore there ;as no such thing as Thought, or an intelligent 4eing eAist> ing. ... +t is interesting to note that 2oc8e decides he @ay safely Ia77eal to everyone-s o;n thoughtsI to secure this Iconclusion.I He ;as sure that his Ico@@on senseI ;as truly common sense. Don-t ;e see ho; o6vious it is that ;hereas @atter and @otion could 7roduce changes of I3igure and 4ul8,I they could ne%er 7roduce IThoughtIG *ouldn-t this rule out the 7ros7ect of ro6otsHor at least ro6ots that ;ould clai@ to have genuine Thoughts a@ong the @otions in their @aterial headsG Certainly in 2oc8e-s dayH;hich ;as also Descartes-s dayHthe very idea of Artificial +ntelligence ;as so close to unthin8a6le that 2oc8e could confidently eA7ect unani@ous endorse@ent of this a77eal to his audience, an a77eal that ;ould ris8 hoots of derision today. ( And as ;e shall see, the field of Artificial +ntelligence is a Euite direct descendant of Dar;in-s idea. +ts 6irth, ;hich ;as all 6ut 7ro7hesied 6y Dar;in hi@self, ;as attended 6y one of the first truly i@7ressive de@onstrations of the for@al 7o;er of natural selection (Art Sa@uel-s legendary chec8ers>7laying 7rogra@, ;hich ;ill 6e descri6ed in so@e detail later". And 6oth evolution and A+ ins7ire the sa@e loathing in @any 7eo7le ;ho should 8no; 6etter, as ;e shall see in later cha7ters. 4ut 6ac8 to 2oc8e-s conclusion? So if ;e ;ill su77ose nothing first, or eternal? Matter can never 6egin to 6e? +f ;e su77ose 6are Matter, ;ithout Motion, eternal? Motion can never 6egin to 6e? +f ;e su77ose only Matter and Motion first, or eternal? Thought can never 6egin to 6e. 3or it is i@7ossi6le to conceive that Matter either ;ith or ;ithout Motion could have originally in and fro@ itself Sense,

'. .il6ert )yle recounted this ty7ical 6it of )ussellian hy7er6ole to @e. +n s7ite of )yle-s o;n distinguished career as *aynflete Professor of Philoso7hy at 0Aford, he and )ussell had seldo@ @et, he told @e, in large @easure 6ecause )ussell steered clear of acade@ic 7hiloso7hy after the Second *orld *ar. 0nce, ho;ever, )yle found hi@self sharing a co@7art@ent ;ith )ussell on a tedious train Dourney, and, trying des7erately to @a8e conversation ;ith his ;orld>fa@ous fello; traveler, )yle as8ed hi@ ;hy he thought 2oc8e, ;ho ;as neither as original nor as good a ;riter as 4er8eley, Hu@e, or )eid, had 6een so @uch @ore influential than they in the /nglish>s7ea8ing 7hiloso7hical ;orld. This had 6een his re7ly, and the 6eginning of the only good conversation, )yle said, that he ever had ;ith )ussell.

(. Descartes-s ina6ility to thin8 of Thought as Matter in Motion is discussed at length in @y 6oo8 Consciousness Explained (1 1a". Mohn Haugeland-s a7tly titled 6oo8, #rtificial Intelli-ence8 The Cer" Idea ( 1 %9 ", is a fine introduction to the 7hiloso7hical 7aths that @a8e this idea thin8a6le after all.


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Perce7tion, and 5no;ledge, as is evident fro@ hence, that then Sense, Perce7tion, and 5no;ledge @ust 6e a 7ro7erty eternally inse7ara6le fro@ Matter and every 7article of it. So, if 2oc8e is right, Mind @ust co@e firstHor at least tied for first. +t could not co@e into eAistence at so@e later date, as an effect of so@e confluence of @ore @odest, @indless 7heno@ena. This 7ur7orts to 6e an entirely secular, logicalHone @ight al@ost say @athe@aticalHvindication of a central as7ect of Mudeo>Christian ( and also +sla@ic " cos@ogony? in the 6eginning ;as so@ething ;ith MindHIa cogitative 4eing,I as 2oc8e says. The traditional idea that .od is a rational, thin8ing agent, a Designer and 4uilder of the ;orld, is here given the highest sta@7 of scientific a77roval? li8e a @athe@atical theore@, its denial is su77osedly i@7ossi6le to conceive. And so it see@ed to @any 6rilliant and s8e7tical thin8ers 6efore Dar;in. Al@ost a hundred years after 2oc8e, another great 4ritish /@7iricist, David Hu@e, confronted the issue again, in one of the @aster7ieces of *estern 7hiloso7hy, his Dialo-ues Concernin- 9atural Reli-ion (1$$ ".

Such an argu@ent can 6e seen as an atte@7t at an alternate route to 2oc8e-s conclusion, a route that ;ill ta8e us through so@e;hat @ore e@7irical detail instead of relying so 6luntly and directly on ;hat is dee@ed inconceiva6le. The actual features of the o6served designs @ay 6e analyJed, for instance, to secure the grounds for our a77reciation of the ;isdo@ of the Designer, and our conviction that @ere chance could not 6e res7onsi6le for these @arvels. +n Hu@e-s Dialo-ues7 three fictional characters 7ursue the de6ate ;ith consu@@ate ;it and vigor. Cleanthes defends the Argu@ent fro@ Design, and gives it one of its @ost eloEuent eA7ressions. & Here is his o7ening state@ent of it? 2oo8 round the ;orld. Conte@7late the ;hole and every 7art of it? <ou ;ill find it to 6e nothing 6ut one great @achine, su6divided into an infinite nu@6er of lesser @achines, ;hich again ad@it of su6divisions to a degree 6eyond ;hat hu@an senses and faculties can trace and eA7lain. All these various @achines, and even their @ost @inute 7arts, are adDusted to each other ;ith an accuracy ;hich ravishes into ad@iration all @en ;ho have ever conte@7lated the@. The curious ada7ting of @eans to ends, through> out all nature, rese@6les, eAactly, though it @uch eAceeds, the 7roduc> tions of hu@an contrivanceHof hu@an design, thought, ;isdo@, and intelligence. Since therefore the effects rese@6le each other, ;e are led to infer, 6y all the rules of analogy, that the causes also rese@6le, and that the Author of ,ature is so@e;hat si@ilar to the @ind of @an, though 7os> sessed of @uch larger faculties, 7ro7ortioned to the grandeur of the ;or8 ;hich he has eAecuted. 4y this argu@ent a posteriori7 and 6y this argu> @ent alone, do ;e 7rove at once the eAistence of a Deity and his si@ilarity to hu@an @ind and intelligence. PPt. ++Q Philo, a s8e7tical challenger to Cleanthes, ela6orates the argu@ent, setting it u7 for de@olition. Antici7ating Paley-s fa@ous eAa@7le, Philo notes? IThro; several 7ieces of steel together, ;ithout sha7e or for@# they ;ill never arrange the@selves so as to co@7ose a ;atch.I 9 He goes on? IStone, and @ortar, and ;ood, ;ithout an architect, never erect a house. 4ut the

&. HUM/-S C20S/ /,C0U,T/)

,atural religion, in Hu@e-s day, @eant a religion that ;as su77orted 6y the natural sciences, as o77osed to a IrevealedI religion, ;hich ;ould de7end on revelationHon @ystical eA7erience or so@e other unchec8a6le source of conviction. +f your only grounds for your religious 6elief is I.od told @e so in a drea@,I your religion is not natural religion. The distinction ;ould not have @ade @uch sense 6efore the da;n of @odern science in the seventeenth century, ;hen science created a ne;, and co@7etitive, standard of evidence for all 6elief. +t o7ened u7 the Euestion? Can you give us any scientific grounds for your religious 6eliefsG Many religious thin8ers, a77reciating that the 7restige of scientific thought ;asHother things 6eing eEualHa ;orthy as7iration, too8 u7 the challenge. +t is hard to see ;hy any6ody ;ould ;ant to shun scientific confir@ation of one-s creed, if it ;ere there to 6e had. The over;hel@ing favorite a@ong 7ur7ortedly scientific argu@ents for religious conclusions, then and no;, ;as one version or another of the Argu@ent fro@ Design? a@ong the effects ;e can o6Dectively o6serve in the ;orld, there are @any that are not (cannot 6e, for various reasons " @ere accidents# they @ust have 6een designed to 6e as they are, and there cannot 6e design ;ithout a Designer# therefore, a Designer, .od, @ust eAist (or have eAisted", as the source of all these ;onderful effects.

&. *illia@ Paley carried the Argu@ent fro@ Design into @uch greater 6iological detail in his 1%=( 6oo8, 9atural Theolo-"7 adding @any ingenious flourishes. Paley-s influential version ;as the actual ins7iration and target of Dar;in-s re6uttal, 6ut Hu@e-s Cleanthes catches all of the argu@ent-s logical and rhetorical force. 9. .Dertsen 7oints out that t;o @illennia earlier, Cicero used the sa@e eAa@7le for the sa@e 7ur7ose? I*hen you see a sundial or a ;ater>cloc8, you see that it tells the ti@e 6y design and not 6y chance. Ho; then can you i@agine that the universe as a ;hole is devoid of 7ur7ose and intelligence, ;hen it e@6races everything, including these arti> facts the@selves and their artificersGI (.Dertsen 1 % , 7. 1 ".


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ideas in a hu@an @ind, ;e see, 6y an un8no;n, ineA7lica6le econo@y, arrange the@selves so as to for@ the 7lan of a ;atch or house. /A7erience, therefore, 7roves, that there is an original 7rinci7le of order in @ind, not in @atterI (Pt. ++". ,ote that the Argu@ent fro@ Design de7ends on an inductive inference? ;here there-s s@o8e, there-s fire# and ;here there-s design, there-s @ind. 4ut this is a du6ious inference, Philo o6serves? hu@an intelligence is no @ore than one of the s7rings and 7rinci7les of the universe, as ;ell as heat or cold, attraction or re7ulsion, and a hundred others, ;hich fall under daily o6servationOOO4ut can a conclusion, ;ith any 7ro7riety, 6e transferred fro@ 7arts to the ;holeG... 3ro@ o6serving the gro;th of a hair, can ;e learn any thing concerning the generation of a @anG... *hat 7eculiar 7rivilege has this little agitation of the 6rain ;hich ;e call thought, that ;e @ust thus @a8e it the @odel of the ;hole universeG... Ad@ira6le conclusionL Stone, ;ood, 6ric8, iron, 6rass have not, at this ti@e, in this @inute glo6e of earth, an order or arrange@ent ;ithout hu@an art and contrivance? Therefore the universe could not originally attain its order and arrange@ent, ;ithout so@ething si@ilar to hu@an art. PPt. ++.Q 4esides, Philo o6serves, if ;e 7ut @ind as the first cause, ;ith its Iun8no;n, ineA7lica6le econo@y,I this only 7ost7ones the 7ro6le@? *e are still o6liged to @ount higher, in order to find the cause of this cause, ;hich you had assigned as satisfactory and conclusiveOOOOOHo; therefore shall ;e satisfy ourselves concerning the cause of that 4eing, ;ho@ you su77ose the Author of nature, or, according to your syste@ of anthro7o@or7his@, the ideal ;orld, into ;hich you trace the @aterialG Have ;e not the sa@e reason to trace that ideal ;orld into another ideal ;orld, or ne; intelligent 7rinci7leG 4ut if ;e sto7, and go no farther# ;hy go so farG *hy not sto7 at the @aterial ;orldG Ho; can ;e satisfy ourselves ;ithout going on in infinitum= And after all, ;hat satisfaction is there in that infinite 7rogressionG PPt. +1." Cleanthes has no satisfactory res7onses to these rhetorical Euestions, and there is ;orse to co@e. Cleanthes insists that .od-s @ind is li6e the humanH and agrees ;hen Philo adds Ithe li8er the 6etter.I 4ut, then, Philo 7resses on, is .od-s @ind 7erfect, Ifree fro@ every error, @ista8e, or incoherence in his underta8ingsI (Pt. 1"G There is a rival hy7othesis to rule out? And ;hat sur7rise @ust ;e entertain, ;hen ;e find hi@ a stu7id @echanic, ;ho i@itated others, and co7ied an art, ;hich, through a long succession of ages, after @ulti7lied trials, @ista8es, corrections, deli6erations, and controversies, had 6een gradually i@7rovingG Many ;orlds @ight have

6een 6otched and 6ungled, throughout an eternity, ere this syste@ ;as struc8 out? Much la6our lost? Many fruitless trials @ade? And a slo;, 6ut continued i@7rove@ent carried on during infinite ages of ;orld> @a8ing. (Pt. 1.Q *hen Philo 7resents this fanciful alternative, ;ith its 6reathta8ing antici7a> tions of Dar;in-s insight, he doesn-t ta8e it seriously eAce7t as a de6ating foil to Cleanthes- vision of an all>;ise Artificer. Hu@e uses it only to @a8e a 7oint a6out ;hat he sa; as the li@itations on our 8no;ledge? I+n such su6Dects, ;ho can deter@ine, ;here the truth# nay, ;ho can conDecture ;here the 7ro6a6ility, lies# a@idst a great nu@6er of hy7otheses ;hich @ay 6e 7ro7osed, and a still greater nu@6er ;hich @ay 6e i@aginedI (Pt. 1". +@agination runs riot, and, eA7loiting that fecundity, Philo ties Cleanthes u7 in 8nots, devising ;eird and co@ical variations on Cleanthes- o;n hy> 7otheses, defying Cleanthes to sho; ;hy his o;n version should 6e 7re > ferred. I*hy @ay not several Deities co@6ine in contriving and fra@ing a ;orldG... And ;hy not 6eco@e a 7erfect anthro7o@or7hiteG *hy not assert the Deity or Deities to 6e cor7oreal, and to have eyes, a nose, @outh, ears, etc.GI (Pt. 1". At one 7oint, Philo antici7ates the .aia hy7othesis? the universe 6ears a great rese@6lance to an ani@al or organiJed 6ody, and see@s actuated ;ith a li8e 7rinci7le of life and @otion. A continual circulation of @atter in it 7roduces no disorderOOOOThe ;orld, therefore, + infer, is an ani@al, and the Deity is the S0U2 of the ;orld, actuating it and actuated 6y it. PPt. 1+.Q 0r 7erha7s isn-t the ;orld really @ore li8e a vegeta6le than an ani@alG +n li8e @anner as a tree sheds its seed into the neigh6oring fields, and 7roduces other trees# so the great vegeta6le, the ;orld, or this 7lanetary syste@, 7roduces ;ithin itself certain seeds, ;hich, 6eing scattered into the surrounding chaos, vegetate into ne; ;orlds. A co@et, for instance, is the seed of a ;orld.... PPt. 1++.Q 0ne @ore ;ild 7ossi6ility for good @easure? The 4rah@ins assert, that the ;orld arose fro@ an infinite s7ider, ;ho s7un this ;hole co@7licated @ass fro@ his 6o;els, and annihilates after;ards the ;hole or any 7art of it, 6y a6sor6ing it again, and resolving it into his o;n essence. Here is a s7ecies of cos@ogony, ;hich a77ears to us ridiculous# 6ecause a s7ider is a little conte@7ti6le ani@al, ;hose o7eration ;e are never li8ely to ta8e for a @odel of the ;hole universe. 4ut still here is


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a ne; s7ecies of analogy, even in our glo6e. And ;ere there a 7lanet ;holly inha6ited 6y s7iders (;hich is very 7ossi6le", this inference ;ould there a77ear as natural and irrefraga6le as that ;hich in our 7lanet ascri6es the origin of all things to design and intelligence, as eA7lained 6y Clean> thes. *hy an orderly syste@ @ay not 6e s7un fro@ the 6elly as ;ell as fro@ the 6rain, it ;ill 6e difficult for hi@ to give a satisfactory reason. PPt. 1++.Q Cleanthes resists these onslaughts ga@ely, 6ut Philo sho;s fatal fla;s in every version of the argu@ent that Cleanthes can devise. At the very end of the Dialo-ues7 ho;ever, Philo sur7rises us 6y agreeing ;ith Cleanthes? ... die legiti@ate conclusion is that... if ;e are not contented ;ith calling the first and su7re@e cause a Dod or Deit"7 6ut desire to vary the eA7res> sion, ;hat can ;e call hi@ 6ut Mind or Thou-ht to ;hich he is Dusly su77osed to 6ear a considera6le rese@6lanceG PPt. K++.Q Philo is surely Hu@e-s @outh7iece in the Dialo-ues. *hy did Hu@e cave inG 0ut of fear of re7risal fro@ the esta6lish@entG ,o. Hu@e 8ne; he had sho;n that the Argu@ent fro@ Design ;as an irre7ara6ly fla;ed 6ridge 6e> t;een science and religion, and he arranged to have his Dialo-ues 7u6lished after his death in 1$$! 7recisely in order to save hi@self fro@ 7ersecution. He caved in 6ecause he <ust couldn/t ima-ine any other eA7lanation of the origin of the @anifest design in nature. Hu@e could not see ho; the Icurious ada7ting of @eans to ends, throughout all natureI could 6e due to chanceH and if not chance, ;hatG *hat could 7ossi6ly account for this high>Euality design if not an intel> ligent .odG Philo is one of the @ost ingenious and resourceful co@7etitors in any 7hiloso7hical de6ate, real or i@aginary, and he @a8es so@e ;onder ful sta6s in the dar8, hunting for an alternative. +n Part 1+++, he drea@s u7 so@e s7eculations that co@e tantaliJingly close to scoo7ing Dar;in (and so@e @ore recent Dar;inian ela6orations" 6y nearly a century. +nstead of su77osing @atter infinite, as /7icurus did, let us su77ose it finite. A finite nu@6er of 7articles is only susce7ti6le of finite trans7ositions? And it @ust ha77en, in an eternal duration, that every 7ossi6le order or 7osition @ust 6e tried an infinite nu@6er of ti@esOOOO+s there a syste@, an order, an econo@y of things, 6y ;hich @atter can 7reserve that 7er7etual agitation, ;hich see@s essential to it, and yet @aintain a constancy in the for@s, ;hich it 7roducesG There certainly is such an econo@y? 3or this is actually the case ;ith the 7resent ;orld. The continual @otion of @atter, there> fore, in less than infinite trans7ositions, @ust 7roduce this econo@y or order# and 6y its very nature, that order, ;hen once esta6lished, su77orts itself, for @any ages, if not to eternity. 4ut ;herever @atter is so 7oised, arranged, and adDusted as to continue in 7er7etual @otion, and yet 7re>

serve a constancy in the for@s, its situation @ust, of necessity, have all the sa@e a77earance of art and contrivance ;hich ;e o6serve at 7resentOOOO A defect in any of these 7articulars destroys the for@# and the @atter, of ;hich it is co@7osed, is again set loose, and is thro;n into irregular @otions and fer@entations, till it unite itself to so@e other regular for@OOOO Su77ose ... that @atter ;ere thro;n into any 7osition, 6y a 6lind, un> guided force# it is evident that this first 7osition @ust in all 7ro6a6ility 6e the @ost confused and @ost disorderly i@agina6le, ;ithout any rese@> 6lance to those ;or8s of hu@an contrivance, ;hich, along ;ith a sy@@e> try of 7arts, discover an adDust@ent of @eans to ends and a tendency to self>7reservationOOOSu77ose, that the actuating force, ;hatever it 6e, still continues in @atterOOOOThus the universe goes on for @any ages in a continued succession of chaos and disorder. 4ut is it not 7ossi6le that it @ay settle at last... G May ;e not ho7e for such a 7osition, or rather 6e assured of it, fro@ the eternal revolutions of unguided @atter, and @ay not this account for all the a77earing ;isdo@ and contrivance ;hich is in the universeG H@@, it see@s that so@ething li8e this @ight ;or8... 6ut Hu@e couldn-t Euite ta8e Philo-s daring foray seriously. His final verdict? IA total sus7ense of Dudg@ent is here our only reasona6le resourceI (Pt. 1+++". A fe; years 6efore hi@, Denis Diderot had also ;ritten so@e s7eculations that tantaliJ> ingly foreshado;ed Dar;in? I+ can @aintain to you ... that @onsters anni> hilated one another in succession# that all the defective co@6inations of @atter have disa77eared, and that there have only survived those in ;hich the organiJation did not involve any i@7ortant contradiction, and ;hich could su6sist 6y the@selves and 7er7etuate the@selvesI (Diderot 1$& ". Cute ideas a6out evolution had 6een floating around for @illennia, 6ut, li8e @ost 7hiloso7hical ideas, although they did see@ to offer a solution of sorts to the 7ro6le@ at hand, they didn-t 7ro@ise to go any farther, to o7en u7 ne; investigations or generate sur7rising 7redictions that could 6e tested, or eA7lain any facts they ;eren-t eA7ressly designed to eA7lain. The evolution revolution had to ;ait until Charles Dar;in sa; ho; to ;eave an evolutionary hy7othesis into an eA7lanatory fa6ric co@7osed of literally thousands of hard>;on and often sur7rising facts a6out nature. Dar;in nei> ther invented the ;onderful idea out of ;hole cloth all 6y hi@self, nor understood it in its entirety even ;hen he had for@ulated it. 4ut he did such a @onu@ental Do6 of clarifying the idea, and tying it do;n so it ;ould never again float a;ay, that he deserves the credit if anyone does. The neAt cha7ter revie;s his 6asic acco@7lish@ent. CHAPT/) 1? Before Darwin7 a BMind;firstB %iew of the uni%erse rei-ned unchallen-edE an intelli-ent Dod was seen as the ultimate source of all Desi-n7 the ultimate answer to an" chain of B!h"=B Fuestions. E%en Da%id


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>ume7 who deftl" exposed the insoluble problems with this %ision7 and had -limpses of the Darwinian alternati%e7 could not see how to ta6e it seriousl". CHAPT/) '? Darwin7 settin- out to answer a relati%el" modest Fuestion about die ori-in of species7 described a process he called natural selection7 a mindless7 purposeless7 mechanical process. This turns out to be the seed of an answer to a much -rander Fuestion8 how does Desi-n come into existence= CHAPT/) T*0

#n Idea Is Born
1. *HAT +S S0 SP/C+A2 A40UT SP/C+/SG
Charles Dar;in did not set out to concoct an antidote to Mohn 2oc8e-s conce7tual 7aralysis, or to 7in do;n the grand cos@ological alternative that had 6arely eluded Hu@e. 0nce his great idea occurred to hi@, he sa; that it ;ould indeed have these truly revolutionary conseEuences, 6ut at the outset he ;as not trying to eA7lain the @eaning of life, or even its origin. His ai@ ;as slightly @ore @odest? he ;anted to eA7lain the origin of species. +n his day, naturalists had a@assed @ountains of tantaliJing facts a6out living things and had succeeded in syste@atiJing these facts along several di@ensions. T;o great sources of ;onder e@erged fro@ this ;or8 (Mayr 1 %'". 3irst, there ;ere all the discoveries a6out the adaptations of organ> is@s that had enthralled Hu@e-s Cleanthes? IAll these various @achines, and even their @ost @inute 7arts, are adDusted to each other ;ith an accuracy ;hich ravishes into ad@iration all @en ;ho have ever conte@7lated the@I (Pt. ++". Second, there ;as the 7rolific di%ersit" of living thingsHliterally @illions of different 8inds of 7lants and ani@als. *hy ;ere there so @anyG This diversity of design of organis@s ;as as stri8ing, in so@e regards, as their eAcellence of design, and even @ore stri8ing ;ere the 7atterns dis > cerni6le ;ithin that diversity. Thousands of gradations and variations 6e> t;een organis@s could 6e o6served, 6ut there ;ere also huge ga7s 6et;een the@. There ;ere 6irds and @a@@als that s;a@ li8e fish, 6ut none ;ith gills# there ;ere dogs of @any siJes and sha7es, 6ut no dogcats or dogco;s or feathered dogs. The 7atterns called out for classification, and 6y Dar;in-s ti@e the ;or8 of the great taAono@ists (;ho 6egan 6y ado7ting and cor> recting Aristotle-s ancient classifications" had created a detailed hierarchy of t;o 8ingdo@s (7lants and ani@als", divided into 7hyla, ;hich divided into classes, ;hich divided into orders, ;hich divided into fa@ilies, ;hich divided into genera (the 7lural of IgenusI", ;hich divided into s7ecies.


A, +D/A +S 40),

!hat Is So Special #bout Species=


S7ecies could also 6e su6divided, of course, into su6s7ecies or varietiesH coc8er s7aniels and 6asset hounds are different varieties of a single s7ecies>, dogs, or Canis familiaris. Ho; @any different 8inds of organis@s ;ere thereG Since no t;o organ> is@s are eAactly ali8eHnot even identical t;insHthere ;ere as @any dif> ferent 8inds of organis@s as there ;ere organis@s, 6ut it see@ed o6vious that the differences could 6e graded, sorted into @inor and @aDor, or accidental and essential. Thus Aristotle had taught, and this ;as one 6it of 7hiloso7hy that had 7er@eated the thin8ing of Dust a6out every6ody, fro@ cardinals to che@ists to coster@ongers. All thingsHnot Dust living thingsH had t;o 8inds of 7ro7erties? essential 7ro7erties, ;ithout ;hich they ;ouldn-t 6e the 7articular 6ind of thing they ;ere, and accidental 7ro7erties, ;hich ;ere free to vary ;ithin the 8ind. A lu@7 of gold could change sha7e ad lib and still 6e gold# ;hat @ade it gold ;ere its essential 7ro7erties, not its accidents. *ith each 8ind ;ent an essence. /ssences ;ere definitive, and as such they ;ere ti@eless, unchanging, and all>or>nothing. A thing couldn-t 6e rather silver or Fuasi;-old or a se@i->@a@@al. Aristotle had develo7ed his theory of essences as an i@7rove@ent on Plato-s theory of +deas, according to ;hich every earthly thing is a sort of i@7erfect co7y or reflection of an ideal eAe@7lar or 3or@ that eAisted ti@elessly in the Platonic real@ of +deas, reigned over 6y .od. This Platonic heaven of a6stractions ;as not visi6le, of course, 6ut ;as accessi6le to Mind through deductive thought. *hat geo@eters thought a6out, and 7roved theore@s a6out, for instance, ;ere the 3or@s of the circle and the triangle. Since there ;ere also 3or@s for the eagle and the ele7hant, a deductive science of nature ;as also ;orth a try. 4ut Dust as no earthly circle, no @atter ho; carefully dra;n ;ith a co@7ass, or thro;n on a 7otter-s ;heel, could actually 6e one of the 7erfect circles of /uclidean geo@etry, so no actual eagle could 7erfectly @anifest the essence of eaglehood, though every eagle strove to do so. /verything that eAisted had a divine s7ecification, ;hich ca7tured its essence. The taAono@y of living things Dar;in inherited ;as thus itself a direct descendant, via Aristotle, of Plato-s essen>tialis@. +n fact, the ;ord Is7eciesI ;as at one 7oint a standard translation of Plato-s .ree8 ;ord for 3or@ or +dea, eidos. *e 7ost>Dar;inians are so used to thin8ing in historical ter@s a6out the develo7@ent of life for@s that it ta8es a s7ecial effort to re@ind ourselves that in Dar;in-s day s7ecies of organis@s ;ere dee@ed to 6e as ti@eless as the 7erfect triangles and circles of /uclidean geo@etry. Their individual @e@6ers ca@e and ;ent, 6ut the s7ecies itself re@ained unchanged and unchangea6le. This ;as 7art of a 7hiloso7hical heritage, 6ut it ;as not an idle or ill>@otivated dog@a. The triu@7hs of @odern science, fro@ Co7ernicus and 5e7ler, Descartes and ,e;ton, had all involved the a77lication of 7recise @athe@atics to the @aterial ;orld, and this a77arently reEuires

a6stracting a;ay fro@ the gru66y accidental 7ro7erties of things to find their secret @athe@atical essences. +t @a8es no difference ;hat color or sha7e a thing is ;hen it co@es to the thing-s o6eying ,e;ton-s inverse>sEuare la; of gravitational attraction. All that @atters is its @ass. Si@ilarly, alche@y had 6een succeeded 6y che@istry once che@ists settled on their funda@ental creed? There ;ere a finite nu@6er of 6asic, immutable ele@ents, such as car6on, oAygen, hydrogen, and iron. These @ight 6e @iAed and united in endless co@6inations over ti@e, 6ut the funda@ental 6uilding 6loc8s ;ere identifia6le 6y their changeless essential 7ro7erties. The doctrine of essences loo8ed li8e a 7o;erful organiJer of the ;orld-s 7heno@ena in @any areas, 6ut ;as it true of every classification sche@e one could deviseG *ere there essential differences 6et;een hills and @ountains, sno; and sleet, @ansions and 7alaces, violins and violasG Mohn 2oc8e and others had develo7ed ela6orate doctrines distinguishing real essences fro@ @erely nominal essences# the latter ;ere si@7ly 7arasitic on the names or ;ords ;e chose to use. <ou could set u7 any classification sche@e you ;anted# for instance, a 8ennel clu6 could vote on a defining list of necessary conditions for a dog to 6e a genuine 0ur8ind S7aniel, 6ut this ;ould 6e a @ere no@inal essence, not a real essence. )eal essences ;ere discovera6le 6y scientific investigation into the internal nature of things, ;here essence and accident could 6e distinguished according to 7rinci7les. +t ;as hard to say Dust ;hat the principled 7rinci7les ;ere, 6ut ;ith che@istry and 7hysics so handso@ely falling into line, it see@ed to stand to reason that there had to 6e denning @ar8s of the real essences of living things as ;ell. 3ro@ the 7ers7ective of this deliciously cris7 and syste@atic vision of the hierarchy of living things, there ;ere a considera6le nu@6er of a;8;ard and 7uJJling facts. These a77arent eAce7tions ;ere al@ost as trou6ling to naturalists as the discovery of a triangle ;hose angles didn-t Euite add u7 to 1%= degrees ;ould have 6een to a geo@eter. Although @any of the taAo> no@ic 6oundaries ;ere shar7 and a77arently eAce7tionless, there ;ere all @anner of hard>to>classify inter@ediate creatures, ;ho see@ed to have 7or> tions of @ore than one essence. There ;ere also the curious higher>order 7atterns of shared and unshared features? ;hy should it 6e 6ac86ones rather than feathers that 6irds and fish shared, and ;hy shouldn-t creature with e"es or carni%ore 6e as i@7ortant a classifier as warmblooded creature= Although the 6road outlines and @ost of die s7ecific rulings of taAono@y ;ere undis7uted (and re@ain so today, of course", there ;ere heated controversies a6out the 7ro6le@ cases. *ere all these liJards @e@6ers of die sa@e s7ecies, or of several different s7eciesG *hich 7rinci7le of classification should IcountIG +n Plato-s fa@ous i@age, ;hich syste@ Icarved nature at the DointsIG 4efore Dar;in, these controversies ;ere funda@entally ill>for@ed, and could not yield a sta6le, ;ell>@otivated ans;er 6ecause there ;as no 6ac8>


A, +D/A +S 40),

9atural SelectionHan #wful Stretcher

ground theory of wh" one classification sche@e ;ould count as getting the Doints rightHthe ;ay things reall" ;ere. Today 6oo8stores face the sa@e sort of ill>for@ed 7ro6le@? ho; should the follo;ing categories 6e cross> organiJed? 6est>sellers, science fiction, horror, garden, 6iogra7hy, novels, collections, s7orts, illustrated 6oo8sG +f horror is a genus of fiction, then true tales of horror 7resent a 7ro6le@. Must all novels 6e fictionG Then the 6oo8seller cannot honor Tru@an Ca7ote-s o;n descri7tion of In Cold Blood (1 !9" as a nonfiction novel, 6ut the 6oo8 doesn-t sit co@forta6ly a@id either the 6iogra7hies or the history 6oo8s. +n ;hat section of the 6oo8store should the 6oo8 you are reading 6e shelvedG 06viously there is no one )ight *ay to categoriJe 6oo8sHno@inal essences are all ;e ;ill ever find in this do@ain. 4ut @any naturalists ;ere convinced on general 7rinci7les that there ;ere real essences to 6e found a@ong the categories of their ,atural Syste@ of living things. As Dar;in 7ut it, IThey 6elieve that it reveals the 7lan of the Creator# 6ut unless it 6e s7ecified ;hether order in ti@e or s7ace, or ;hat else is @eant 6y the 7lan of the Creator, it see@s to @e that nothing is thus added to our 8no;ledgeI G4ri-in7 7. &1(". Pro6le@s in science are so@eti@es @ade easier 6y adding co@7lications. The develo7@ent of the science of geology and the discovery of fossils of @anifestly eAtinct s7ecies gave the taAono@ists further curiosities to con> found the@, 6ut these curiosities ;ere also the very 7ieces of the 7uJJle that ena6led Dar;in, ;or8ing alongside hundreds of other scientists, to discover the 8ey to its solution? s7ecies ;ere not eternal and i@@uta6le# they had evolved over ti@e. Unli8e car6on ato@s, ;hich, for all one 8ne;, had 6een around forever in eAactly the for@ they no; eAhi6ited, s7ecies had 6irths in ti@e, could change over ti@e, and could give 6irth to ne; s7ecies in turn. This idea itself ;as not ne;# @any versions of it had 6een seriously discussed, going 6ac8 to the ancient .ree8s. 4ut there ;as a 7o;erful Platonic 6ias against it? essences ;ere unchanging, and a thing couldn-t change its essence, and ne; essences couldn-t 6e 6ornHeAce7t of course 6y .od-s co@@and in e7isodes of S7ecial Creation. )e7tiles could no @ore turn into 6irds than co77er could turn into gold. +t isn-t easy today to sy@7athiJe ;ith this conviction, 6ut the effort can 6e hel7ed along 6y a fantasy? consider ;hat your attitude ;ould 6e to;ards a theory that 7ur7orted to sho; ho; the nu@6er $ had once 6een an even nu@6er, long, long ago, and had gradually acEuired its oddness through an arrange@ent ;here6y it eAchanged so@e 7ro7erties ;ith the ancestors of the nu@6er 1= (;hich had once 6een a 7ri@e nu@6er". Utter nonsense, of course. +nconceiva6le. Dar;in 8ne; that a 7arallel attitude ;as dee7ly ingrained a@ong his conte@7oraries, and that he ;ould have to la6or @ightily to overco@e it. +ndeed, he @ore or less conceded that the elder authorities of his day ;ould tend to 6e as i@@uta6le as the s7ecies they 6elieved

in, so in the conclusion of his 6oo8 he ;ent so far as to 6eseech the su77ort of his younger readers? I*hoever is led to 6elieve that s7ecies are @uta6le ;ill do good service 6y conscientiously eA7ressing his conviction# for only thus can the load of 7reDudice 6y ;hich this su6Dect is over;hel@ed 6e re@ovedI G4ri-in7 7. &%'". /ven today Dar;in-s overthro; of essentialis@ has not 6een co@7letely assi@ilated. 3or instance, there is @uch discussion in 7hiloso7hy these days a6out Inatural 8inds,I an ancient ter@ the 7hiloso7her *. 1. 0. Fuine (1 ! " Euite cautiously resurrected for li@ited use in distinguishing good scientific categories fro@ 6ad ones. 4ut in the ;ritings of other 7hiloso7hers, Inatural 8indI is often shee7-s clothing for the ;olf of real essence. The essentialist urge is still ;ith us, and not al;ays for 6ad reasons. Science does as7ire to carve nature at its Doints, and it often see@s that ;e need essences, or so@ething li8e essences, to do the Do6. 0n this one 7oint, the t;o great 8ingdo@s of 7hiloso7hical thought, the Platonic and the Aristotelian, agree. 4ut the Dar;inian @utation, ;hich at first see@ed to 6e Dust a ne; ;ay of thin8ing a6out 8inds in 6iology, can s7read to other 7heno@ena and other disci7lines, as ;e shall see. There are 7ersistent 7ro6le@s 6oth inside and outside 6iology that readily dissolve once ;e ado7t the Dar;inian 7ers7ective on ;hat @a8es a thing the sort of thing it is, 6ut the tradition> 6ound resistance to this idea 7ersists.

'. ,ATU)A2 S/2/CT+0,HA, A*3U2 ST)/TCH/)

It is an awful stretcher to belie%e that a peacoc6/s tail was thus formedE but7 belie%in- it7 I belie%e in the same principle somewhat modified applied to man.
HCHA)2/S DA)*+,, letter Euoted in Des@ond and Moore 1 1, 7. 99(

Dar;in-s 7roDect in 4ri-in can 6e divided in t;o? to 7rove that @odern s7ecies ;ere revised descendants of earlier s7eciesHs7ecies had evolvedH and to sho; how this 7rocess of Idescent ;ith @odificationI had occurred. +f Dar;in hadn-t had a vision of a @echanis@, natural selection, 6y ;hich this ;ell>nigh>inconceiva6le historical transfor@ation could have 6een ac> co@7lished, he ;ould 7ro6a6ly not have had the @otivation to asse@6le all the circu@stantial evidence that it had actually occurred. Today ;e can readily enough i@agine 7roving Dar;in-s first caseHthe 6rute historic fact of descent ;ith @odificationHEuite inde7endently of any consideration of ,atural selection or indeed any other @echanis@ for 6ringing these 6rute events a6out, 6ut for Dar;in the idea of the @echanis@ ;as 6oth the

&= A, +D/A +S 40), hunting license he needed, and an un;avering guide to the right Euestions to as8.1 The idea of natural selection ;as not itself a @iraculously novel creation of Dar;in-s 6ut, rather, the offs7ring of earlier ideas that had 6een vigorously discussed for years and even generations (for an eAcellent account of this intellectual history, see ). )ichards 1 %$". Chief a@ong these 7arent ideas ;as an insight Dar;in gained fro@ reflection on the 1$ % Essa" on the rinciple of opulation 6y Tho@as Malthus, ;hich argued that 7o7ulation eA7losion and fa@ine ;ere inevita6le, given the eAcess fertility of hu@an 6eings, unless drastic @easures ;ere ta8en. The gri@ Malthusian vision of the social and 7olitical forces that could act to chec8 hu@an over7o7ulation @ay have strongly flavored Dar;in-s thin8ing (and undou6tedly has flavored the shallo; 7olitical attac8s of @any an anti>Dar;inian ", 6ut the idea Dar;in needed fro@ Malthus is 7urely logical. +t has nothing at all to do ;ith 7olitical ideology, and can 6e eA7ressed in very a6stract and general ter@s. Su77ose a ;orld in ;hich organis@s have @any offs7ring. Since the off> s7ring the@selves ;ill have @any offs7ring, the 7o7ulation ;ill gro; and gro; (Igeo@etricallyI " until inevita6ly, sooner or laterHsur7risingly soon, in factHit @ust gro; too large for the availa6le resources (of food, of s7ace, of ;hatever the organis@s need to survive long enough to re7roduce". At that 7oint, ;henever it ha77ens, not all organis@s ;ill have offs7ring. Many ;ill die childless. +t ;as Malthus ;ho 7ointed out the @athe@atical inevi ta6ility of such a crunch in an" 7o7ulation of long>ter@ re7roducersH 7eo7le, ani@als, 7lants (or, for that @atter, Martian clone>@achines, not that such fanciful 7ossi6ilities ;ere discussed 6y Malthus". Those 7o7ulations that re7roduce at less than the re7lace@ent rate are headed for eAtinction unless they reverse the trend. Po7ulations that @aintain a sta6le 7o7ulation over long 7eriods of ti@e ;ill do so 6y settling on a rate of over7roduction of offs7ring that is 6alanced 6y the vicissitudes encountered. This is o6vious, 7erha7s, for houseflies and other 7rodigious 6reeders, 6ut Dar;in drove the 7oint ho@e ;ith a calculation of his o;n? IThe ele7hant is rec8oned to 6e the slo;est 6reeder of all 8no;n ani@als, and + have ta8en so@e 7ains to esti@ate its 7ro6a6le @ini@u@ rate of natural increase?... at the end of the fifth century there ;ould 6e alive fifteen @illion ele7hants, descended fro@ the first 7airI (4ri-in7 7. 2, ".' Since ele7hants have 6een around for @illions

9atural SelectionHan # wful Stretcher


of years, ;e can 6e sure that only a fraction of the ele7hants 6orn in any 7eriod have 7rogeny of their o;n. So the nor@al state of affairs for any sort of re7roducers is one in ;hich @ore offs7ring are 7roduced in any one generation than ;ill in turn re7ro> duce in the neAt. +n other ;ords, it is al@ost al;ays crunch ti@e. ( At such a crunch, ;hich 7ros7ective 7arents ;ill I;inIG *ill it 6e a fair lottery, in ;hich every organis@ has an eEual chance of 6eing a@ong the fe; that re7roduceG +n a 7olitical conteAt, this is ;here invidious the@es enter, a6out 7o;er, 7rivilege, inDustice, treachery, class ;arfare, and the li8e, 6ut ;e can elevate the o6servation fro@ its 7olitical 6irth7lace and consider in the a6> stract, as Dar;in did, ;hat ;ouldH@ustHha77en in nature. Dar;in added t;o further logical 7oints to the insight he had found in Malthus? the first ;as that at crunch ti@e, if there ;as significant variation a@ong the contestants, then any advantages enDoyed 6y any of the contestants ;ould inevita6ly 6ias the sa@7le that re7roduced. Ho;ever tiny the advantage in Euestion, if it ;as actually an advantage (and thus not a6solutely invisi6le to nature", it ;ould ti7 the scales in favor of those ;ho held it. The second ;as that if there ;as a Istrong 7rinci7le of inheritanceIHif offs7ring tended to 6e @ore li8e their 7arents than li8e their 7arents- conte@7orariesHthe 6iases created 6y ad> vantages, ho;ever s@all, ;ould 6eco@e a@7lified over ti@e, creating trends that could gro; indefinitely. IMore individuals are 6orn than can 7ossi6ly survive. A grain in the 6alance ;ill deter@ine ;hich individual shall live and ;hich shall die,H;hich variety or s7ecies shall increase in nu@6er, and ;hich shall decrease, or finally 6eco@e eAtinctI H4ri-in7 7. &!$". *hat Dar;in sa; ;as that if one @erely su77osed these fe; general conditions to a77ly at crunch ti@eHconditions for ;hich he could su77ly a@7le evidenceHthe resulting 7rocess ;ould necessaril" lead in the direc> tion of individuals in future generations ;ho tended to 6e 6etter eEui77ed to deal ;ith the 7ro6le@s of resource li@itation that had 6een faced 6y the individuals of their 7arents- generation. This funda@ental ideaHDar;in-s dangerous idea, the idea that generates so @uch insight, tur@oil, confusion, anAietyHis thus actually Euite si@7le. Dar;in su@@ariJes it in t;o long sentences at the end of cha7ter & of 4ri-in.
+f during the long course of ages and under varying conditions of life, organic 6eings vary at all in the several 7arts of their organiJation, and +

1. This has often ha77ened in science. 3or instance, for @any years there ;as lots of evidence lying around in favor of the hy7othesis that the continents have driftedHthat Africa and South A@erica ;ere once adDacent and 6ro8e a7artH6ut until the @echanis@s of 7late tectonics ;ere conceived, it ;as hard to ta8e the hy7othesis seriously. '. This su@ as it a77eared in the first edition is ;rong, and ;hen this ;as 7ointed out, Dar;in revised his calculations for later editions, 6ut the general 7rinci7le is still unchallenged.

(. A fa@iliar eAa@7le of Malthus- rule in action is the ra7id eA7ansion of yeast 7o7ulations introduced into fresh 6read dough or gra7e Duice. Than8s to the feast of sugar and other nutrients, 7o7ulation eA7losions ensue that last for a fe; hours in the dough, or a fe; ;ee8s in the Duice, 6ut soon the yeast 7o7ulations hit the Malthusian ceiling, done in 6y eir o;n voraciousness and the accu@ulation of their ;aste 7roductsHcar6on dioAide (;hich for@s the 6u66les that @a8e the 6read rise, and the fiJJ in cha@7agne" and alcohol 6eing the t;o that ;e yeast>eA7loiters tend to value.


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Did Darwin Explain the 4ri-in of Species=


thin8 this cannot 6e dis7uted# if there 6e, o;ing to the high geo@etric 7o;ers of increase of each s7ecies, at so@e age, season, or year, a severe struggle for life, and this certainly cannot 6e dis7uted# then, considering the infinite co@7leAity of the relations of all organic 6eings to each other and to their conditions of eAistence, causing an infinite diversity in struc> ture, constitution, and ha6its, to 6e advantageous to the@, + thin8 it ;ould 6e a @ost eAtraordinary fact if no variation ever had occurred useful to each 6eing-s o;n ;elfare, in the sa@e ;ay as so @any variations have occurred useful to @an. 4ut if variations useful to any organic 6eing do occur, assuredly individuals thus characteriJed ;ill have the 6est chance of 6eing 7reserved in the struggle for life# and fro@ the strong 7rinci7le of inheritance they ;ill tend to 7roduce offs7ring si@ilarly characteriJed. This 7rinci7le of 7reservation, + have called, for the sa8e of 6revity, ,atural Selection. I4ri-in7 7. 1'$.Q This ;as Dar;in-s great idea, not the idea of evolution, 6ut the idea of evolution b" natural selection7 an idea he hi@self could never for@ulate ;ith sufficient rigor and detail to 7rove, though he 7resented a 6rilliant case for it. The neAt t;o sections ;ill concentrate on curious and crucial features of this su@@ary state@ent of Dar;in-s.

(. D+D DA)*+, /KP2A+, TH/ 0)+.+, 03 SP/C+/SG

Darwin did wrestle brilliantl" and triumphantl" with the problem of adaptation7 but he had limited success with the issue of di%ersit" H e%en thou-h he titled his boo6 with reference to his relati%e failure8 the ori-in of species.
HST/PH/, MA< .0U2D 1 'a, 7. 9&

Thus die -rand fact in natural histor" of the subordination of -roup under -roup7 which7 from its familiarit"7 does not alwa"s sufficientl" stri6e us7 is in m" <ud-ment full" explained. HCHA)2/S DA)*+,, 4ri-in7 7. &1( ,otice that Dar;in-s su@@ary does not @ention s7eciation at all. +t is en> tirely a6out the ada7tation of organis@s, the excellence of their design, not the diversity. Moreover, on the face of it, this su@@ary ta8es the diversity of s7ecies as an assumption8 Ithe infinite PsicQ co@7leAity of the relations of all organic 6eings to each other and to their conditions of eAistence.I *hat @a8es for this stu7endous (if not actually infinite " co@7leAity is the 7resence at one and the sa@e ti@e (and co@7eting for the sa@e living s7ace" of so @any different life for@s, ;ith so @any different needs and strategies. Dar;in

doesn-t even 7ur7ort to offer an eA7lanation of the origin of the first s7ecies, or of life itself# he 6egins in the @iddle, su77osing @any different s7ecies ;ith @any different talents already 7resent, and clai@s that starting fro@ such a @id>stage 7oint, the 7rocess he has descri6ed ;ill inevita6ly hone and di > versify the talents of the s7ecies already eAisting. And ;ill that 7rocess create still further s7eciesG The su@@ary is silent on that score, 6ut the 6oo8 is not. +n fact, Dar;in sa; his idea eA7laining 6oth great sources of ;onder in a single stro8e. The generation of ada7tations and the generation of diversity ;ere different as7ects of a single co@7leA 7heno@enon, and the unifying insight, he clai@ed, ;as the 7rinci7le of natural selection. ,atural selection ;ould inevita6ly 7roduce adaptation7 as the su@@ary @a8es clear, and under the right circu@stances, he argued, accu@ulated ada7tation ;ould create s7eciation. Dar;in 8ne; full ;ell that eA7laining variation is not eA7laining s7eciation. The ani@al>6reeders he 7u@7ed so vigorously for their lore 8ne; a6out ho; to 6reed %ariet" ;ithin a single s7ecies, 6ut had a77arently never created a ne; species7 and scoffed at the idea that their 7articular different 6reeds @ight have a co@@on ancestor. IAs8, as 1 have as8ed, a cele6rated raiser of Hereford cattle, ;hether his cattle @ight not have descended fro@ longhorns, and he ;ill laugh you to scorn.I *hyG 4ecause Ithough they ;ell 8no; that each race varies slightly, for they ;in their 7riJes 6y selecting such slight differences, yet they ignore all general argu@ents and refuse to su@ u7 in their @inds slight differences accu@ulated during @any successive generationsI G4ri-in7 7. ' ". The further diversification into s7ecies ;ould occur, Dar;in argued, 6e> cause if there ;as a variety of herita6le s8ills or eEui7@ent in a 7o7ulation (of a single s7ecies", these different s8ills or eEui7@ent ;ould tend to have different 7ayoffs for different su6grou7s of the 7o7ulation, and hence these su67o7ulations ;ould tend to diverge, each one 7ursuing its favored sort of eAcellence, until eventually there ;ould 6e a co@7lete 7arting of the ;ays. *hy, Dar;in as8ed hi@self, ;ould this divergence lead to se7aration or clu@7ing of the variations instead of re@aining a @ore or less continuous fan>out of slight differencesG Si@7le geogra7hical isolation ;as 7art of his ans;er# ;hen a 7o7ulation got s7lit 6y a @aDor geological or cli@atic event, or 6y ha7haJard e@igration to an isolated range such as an island, this discontinuity in the environ@ent ought to 6eco@e @irrored eventually in a discontinuity in the useful variations o6serva6le in the t;o 7o7ulations. And once discontinuity got a foothold, it ;ould 6e self>reinforcing, all the ;ay to se7aration into distinct s7ecies. Another, rather different, idea of his ;as that in intras7ecific infighting, a I;inner ta8e allI 7rinci7le ;ould tend to o7erate? 3or it should 6e re@e@6ered that the co@7etition ;ill generally 6e @ost severe 6et;een those for@s ;hich are @ost nearly related to each other inha6its, constitution and structure. Hence all the inter@ediate for@s


A, +D/A +S 40),

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6et;een the earlier and later states, that is 6et;een die less and @ore i@7roved state of a s7ecies, as ;ell as the original 7arent>s7ecies itself, ;ill generally tend to 6eco@e eAtinct. I4ri-in7 7. 1'1.Q He for@ulated a variety of other ingenious and 7lausi6le s7eculations on ho; and ;hy the relentless culling of natural selection ;ould actually create s7ecies 6oundaries, 6ut they re@ain s7eculations to this day. +t has ta8en a century of further ;or8 to re7lace Dar;in-s 6rilliant 6ut inconclusive @usings on the @echanis@s of s7eciation ;ith accounts that are to so@e degree de@onstra6le. Controversy a6out the @echanis@s and 7rinci7les of s7eciation still 7ersists, so in one sense neither Dar;in nor any su6seEuent Dar;inian has eA7lained the origin of s7ecies. As the geneticist Steve Mones (1 (" has re@ar8ed, had Dar;in 7u6lished his @aster7iece under its eAisting title today, Ihe ;ould have 6een in trou6le ;ith the Trades Descri7tion Act 6ecause if there is one thing ;hich 4ri-in of Species is not a6out, it is the origin of s7ecies. Dar;in 8ne; nothing a6out genetics. ,o; ;e 8no; a great deal, and although the ;ay in ;hich s7ecies 6egin is still a @ystery, it is one ;ith the details filled in.I 4ut the fact of s7eciation itself is incontesta6le, as Dar;in sho;ed, 6uild> ing an irresisti6le case out of literally hundreds of carefully studied and closely argued instances. That is ho; s7ecies originate? 6y Idescent ;ith @odificationI fro@ earlier s7eciesHnot 6y S7ecial Creation. So in another sense Dar;in undenia6ly did eA7lain the origin of s7ecies. *hatever the @echanis@s are that o7erate, they @anifestly 6egin ;ith the e@ergence of variety ;ithin a s7ecies, and end, after @odifications have accu@ulated, ;ith the 6irth of a ne;, descendant s7ecies. *hat start as I;ell>@ar8ed varietiesI turn gradually into Ithe dou6tful category of su6s7ecies# 6ut ;e have only to su77ose the ste7s in the 7rocess of @odification to 6e @ore nu@erous or greater in a@ount, to convert these... for@s into ;ell>defined s7eciesI G4ri-in7 7. 1'=". ,otice that Dar;in is careful to descri6e the eventual outco@e as the creation of I;ell>definedI s7ecies. /ventually, he is saying, the divergence 6eco@es so great that there is Dust no reason to deny that ;hat ;e have are t;o different s7ecies, not @erely t;o different varieties. 4ut he declines to 7lay the traditional ga@e of declaring ;hat the IessentialI difference is? ... it ;ill 6e seen that + loo8 at the ter@ s7ecies, as one ar6itrarily given for the sa8e of convenience to a set of individuals closely rese@6ling each other, and that it does not essentially differ fro@ the ter@ variety, ;hich is given to less distinct and @ore fluctuating for@s. I4ri-in7 7. 9'.Q 0ne of the standard @ar8s of s7ecies difference, as Dar;in fully recog> niJed, is re7roductive isolationHthere is no inter6reeding. +t is inter6reed>

ing that reunites the s7litting grou7s, @iAing their genes and IfrustratingI the 7rocess of s7eciation. +t is not that anything wants s7eciation to ha77en, of course (Da;8ins 1 %!a, 7. '($", 6ut if the irreversi6le divorce that @ar8s s7eciation is to ha77en, it @ust 6e 7receded 6y a sort of trial se7aration 7eriod in ;hich inter6reeding ceases for one reason or another, so that the 7arting grou7s can @ove further a7art. The criterion of re7roductive isolation is vague at the edges. Do organis@s 6elong to different s7ecies ;hen they can/t inter6reed, or ;hen they Dust don/t inter6reedG *olves and coyotes and dogs are considered to 6e different s7ecies, and yet inter6reeding does occur, andHunli8e @ules, the offs7ring of horse and don8eyHtheir offs7ring are not in general sterile. Dachshunds and +rish ;olfhounds are dee@ed to 6e of the sa@e s7ecies, 6ut unless their o;ners 7rovide so@e distinctly unnatural arrange@ents, they are a6out as re7roductively isolated as 6ats are fro@ dol7hins. The ;hite>tailed deer in Maine don-t in fact inter6reed ;ith the ;hite>tailed deer in Massachusetts, since they don-t travel that far, 6ut they surely could if trans7orted, and naturally they count as of the sa@e s7ecies. And finallyHa true>life eAa@7le see@ingly @ade to order for 7hiloso> 7hersHconsider the herring gulls that live in the ,orthern He@is7here, their range for@ing a 6road ring around the ,orth Pole. As ;e loo8 at the herring gull, @oving ;est;ards fro@ .reat 4ritain to ,orth A@erica, ;e see gulls that are recogniJa6ly herring gulls, although they are a little different fro@ the 4ritish for@. *e can follo; the@, as their a77earance gradually changes, as far as Si6eria. At a6out this 7oint in the continuu@, the gull loo8s @ore li8e the for@ that in .reat 4ritain is called the lesser 6lac8>6ac8ed gull. 3ro@ Si6eria, across )ussia, to northern /uro7e, the gull gradually changes to loo8 @ore and @ore li8e the 4ritish lesser 6lac8>6ac8ed gull. 3inally, in /uro7e, the ring is co@7lete# the t;o geogra7hically eAtre@e for@s @eet, to for@ t;o 7erfectly good s7ecies? die herring and lesser 6lac8>6ac8ed gull can 6e 6oth distinguished 6y their a77earance and do not naturally inter6reed. PMar8 )idley 1 %9, 7. 9Q I*ell>definedI s7ecies certainly do eAistHit is the 7ur7ose of Dar;in-s 6oo8 to eA7lain their originH6ut he discourages us fro@ trying to find a I7rinci7ledI definition of the conce7t of a s7ecies. 1arieties, Dar;in 8ee7s insisting, are Dust Iinci7ient s7ecies,I and ;hat nor@ally turns t;o varieties into t;o s7ecies is not the presence of so@ething (a ne; essence for each grou7, for instance " 6ut the absence of so@ething? the inter@ediate cases, ;hich used to 6e thereH;hich ;ere necessary ste77ing>stones, you @ight sayH6ut have eventually gone eAtinct, leaving t;o grou7s that are in fact re7roductively isolated as ;ell as different in their characteristics. 4ri-in of Species 7resents an over;hel@ingly 7ersuasive case for Dar> ;in-s first thesisHthe historical fact of evolution as the cause of the origin


A, +D/A +S 40),

Did Darwin Explain the 4ri-in of Species=


of s7eciesHand a tantaliJing case in favor of his second thesisHthat the funda@ental @echanis@ res7onsi6le for Idescent ;ith @odificationI ;as natural selection.& 2evelheaded readers of the 6oo8 si@7ly could no longer dou6t that s7ecies had evolved over the eons, as Dar;in said they had, 6ut scru7ulous s8e7ticis@ a6out the 7o;er of his 7ro7osed @echanis@ of natural selection ;as harder to overco@e. +ntervening years have raised the confidence level for 6oth theses, 6ut not erased the difference (/llegard P1 9%Q 7rovides a valua6le account of this history". The evidence for evo> lution 7ours in, not only fro@ geology, 7aleontology, 6iogeogra7hy, and anato@y (Dar;in-s chief sources", 6ut of course fro@ @olecular 6iology and every other 6ranch of the life sciences. To 7ut it 6luntly 6ut fairly, anyone today ;ho dou6ts that the variety of life on this 7lanet ;as 7roduced 6y a 7rocess of evolution is si@7ly ignorantHineAcusa6ly ignorant, in a ;orld ;here three out of four 7eo7le have learned to read and ;rite. Dou6ts a6out the 7o;er of Dar;in-s idea of natural selection to eA7lain this evolutionary 7rocess are still intellectually res7ecta6le, ho;ever, although the 6urden of 7roof for such s8e7ticis@ has 6eco@e i@@ense, as ;e shall see. So, although Dar;in de7ended on his idea of the @echanis@ of natural selection to ins7ire and guide his research on evolution, the end result reversed the order of de7endence? he sho;ed so convincingly that s7ecies had to have evolved that he could then turn around and use this fact to su77ort his @ore radical idea, natural selection. He had descri6ed a @ech > anis@ or 7rocess that, according to his argu@ents, could have 7roduced all these effects. S8e7tics ;ere 7resented ;ith a challenge? Could they sho; that his argu@ents ;ere @ista8enG Could they sho; ho; natural selection ;ould 6e inca7a6le of 7roducing the effectsG 9 0r could they even descri6e

&. As is often 7ointed out, Dar;in didn-t insist that natural selection eA7lained everything? it ;as the I@ain 6ut not eAclusive @eans of @odificationI G4ri-in7 7. !". 9. +t is so@eti@es suggested that Dar;in-s theory is syste@atically irrefuta6le ( and hence scientifically vacuous", 6ut Dar;in ;as forthright a6out ;hat sort of finding it ;ould ta8e to refute his theory. IThough nature grants vast 7eriods of ti@e for the ;or8 of natural selection, she does not grant an indefinite 7eriodI G4ri-in7 7. 1='", so, if the geological evidence @ounted to sho; that not enough ti@e had ela7sed, his ;hole theory ;ould 6e refuted. This still left a te@7orary loo7hole, for the theory ;asn-t for@ulata6le in suffi> ciently rigorous detail to say Dust ho; @any @illions of years ;as the @ini@al a@ount reEuired, 6ut it ;as a te@7orary loo7hole that @ade sense, since at least so@e 7ro7osals a6out its siJe could 6e evaluated inde7endently. (5itcher P1 %9a, 77. 1!'>!9Q, has a good discussion of the further su6tleties of argu@ent that 8e7t Dar;inian theory fro@ 6eing directly confir@ed or disconfir@ed." Another fa@ous instance? I+f it could 6e de@onstrated diat any co@7leA organ eAisted, ;hich could not 7ossi6ly have 6een for@ed 6y nu@erous, successive, slight @odifications, @y theory ;ould a6solutely 6rea8 do;nI (4ri-in7 7. 1% ". Many have risen to this challenge, 6ut, as ;e shall see in cha7ter 11, there are good reasons ;hy they have not succeeded in their atte@7ted de@on> strations.

another 7rocess that @ight achieve these effectsG *hat else could account for evolution, if not the @echanis@ he had descri6edG This challenge effectively turned Hu@e-s 7redica@ent inside out. Hu@e caved in 6ecause he could not i@agine ho; anything other than an +ntelligent Artificer could 6e the cause of the ada7tations that anyone could o6serve. 0r, @ore accurately, Hu@e-s Philo i@agined several different alternatives, but >ume had no wa" of ta6in- these ima-inin-s seriousl". Dar;in descri6ed ho; a ,onintelligent Artificer could 7roduce those ada7tations over vast a@ounts of ti@e, and 7roved that @any of the inter@ediate stages that ;ould 6e needed 6y that 7ro7osed 7rocess had indeed occurred. ,o; the challenge to i@agination ;as reversed? given all the telltale signs of the historical 7rocess that Dar;in uncoveredHall the 6rush>@ar8s of the artist, you @ight sayHcould anyone i@agine ho; any 7rocess other than natural selection could have 7roduced all these effectsG So co@7lete has this reversal of the 6urden of 7roof 6een that scientists often find the@selves in so@ething li8e the @irror i@age of Hu@e-s 7redica@ent. *hen they are confronted ;ith a prima facie 7o;erful and undis@issa6le o6Dection to natural selection (;e ;ill consider the strongest cases in due course", they are driven to reason as follo;s? + cannot (yet" see ho; to refute this o6Dection, or overco@e this difficulty, 6ut since + cannot i@agine ho; anything other than natural selection could 6e the cause of the effects, + ;ill have to assu@e that the o6Dection is s7urious# somehow natural selection @ust 6e sufficient to eA7lain the effects. 4efore anyone Du@7s on this and 7ronounces that + have Dust conceded that Dar;inis@ is Dust as @uch an un7rova6le faith as natural religion, it should 6e 6orne in @ind that there is a funda@ental difference? having declared their allegiance to natural selection, these scientists have then 7roceeded to ta8e on the 6urden of sho;ing ho; the difficulties ;ith their vie; could 6e overco@e, and, ti@e and ti@e again, they have succeeded in @eeting the challenge. +n the 7rocess, Dar;in-s funda@ental idea of natural selection has 6een articulated, eA7anded, clarified, Euantified, and dee7ened in @any ;ays, 6eco@ing stronger every ti@e it overca@e a challenge. *ith every success, the scientists- conviction gro;s that they @ust 6e on the right trac8. +t is reasona6le to 6elieve that an idea that ;as ulti@ately false ;ould surely have succu@6ed 6y no; to such an unre@itting ca@7aign of attac8s. That is not a conclusive 7roof, of course, Dust a @ighty 7ersuasive consideration. 0ne of the goals of this 6oo8 is to eA7lain ;hy the idea of natural selection a77ears to 6e a clear ;inner, even ;hile there are unresolved controversies a6out ho; it can handle so@e 7heno@ena.


A, +D/A +S 40),

9atural Selection as an #l-orithmic rocess


&. ,ATU)A2 S/2/CT+0, AS A, A2.0)+THM+C P)0C/SS

!hat limit can be put to this power7 actin- durin- lon- a-es and ri-idl" scrutinisin- the whole constitution7 structure7 and habits of each crea; ture7Hfa%ourin- the -ood and re<ectin- the bad= I can see no limit to this power7 in slowl" and beautifull" adaptin- each form to the most complex relations of life. HCHA)2/S DA)*+,, 4ri-in7 7.&! The second 7oint to notice in Dar;in-s su@@ary is that he 7resents his 7rinci7le as deduci6le 6y a for@al argu@entH if the conditions are @et, a certain outco@e is assured.2 Here is the su@@ary again, ;ith so@e 8ey ter@s in 6oldface. +f, during the long course of ages and under varying conditions of life, organic 6eings vary at all in the several 7arts of their organiJation, and + thin8 this cannot 6e dis7uted# if there 6e, o;ing to the high geo@etric 7o;ers of increase of each s7ecies, at so@e age, season, or year, a severe struggle for life, and this certainly cannot 6e dis7uted# then, considering the infinite co@7leAity of the relations of all organic 6eings to each other and to their conditions of eAistence, causing an infinite diversity in struc> ture, constitution, and ha6its, to 6e advantageous to the@, + thin8 it ;ould 6e a @ost eAtraordinary fact if no variation ever had occurred useful to each 6eing-s o;n ;elfare, in the sa@e ;ay as so @any variations have occurred useful to @an. 4ut if variations useful to any organic 6eing do occur, assuredly individuals thus characteriJed ;ill have the 6est chance of 6eing 7reserved in the struggle for life# and fro@ the strong 7rinci7le of inheritance they ;ill tend to 7roduce offs7ring si@ilarly characteriJed. This 7rinci7le of 7reservation, + have called, for the sa8e of 6revity, ,atural Selection. I4ri-in7 7. 1'$ (facs. ed. of 1st ed.".Q The 6asic deductive argu@ent is short and s;eet, 6ut Dar;in hi@self descri6ed 4ri-in of Species as Ione long argu@ent.I That is 6ecause it

consists of t;o sorts of de@onstrations>, the logical de@onstration that a certain sort of 7rocess ;ould necessarily have a certain sort of outco@e, and the e@7irical de@onstration that the reEuisite conditions for that sort of 7rocess had in fact 6een @et in nature. He 6olsters u7 his logical de@ > onstration ;ith thought eA7eri@entsHIi@aginary instancesI H4ri-in7 7. 9" Hthat sho; how the @eeting of these conditions mi-ht actually account for the effects he clai@ed to 6e eA7laining, 6ut his ;hole argu@ent eAtends to 6oo8 length 6ecause he 7resents a ;ealth of hard>;on e@7irical detail to convince the reader that these conditions have 6een @et over and over again. Ste7hen May .ould (1 %9" gives us a fine gli@7se of the i@7ortance of this feature of Dar;in-s argu@ent in an anecdote a6out Patric8 Matthe;, a Scottish naturalist ;ho as a @atter of curious historical fact had scoo7ed Dar;in-s account of natural selection 6y @any yearsHin an a77endiA to his 1%(1 6oo8, 9a%al Timber and #rboriculture. +n the ;a8e of Dar;in-s ascent to fa@e, Matthe; 7u6lished a letter (in Dardeners/ Chronicle=J 7roclai@ing his 7riority, ;hich Dar;in graciously conceded, eAcusing his ignorance 6y noting the o6scurity of Matthe;-s choice of venue. )es7onding to Dar;in-s 7u6lished a7ology, Matthe; ;rote? To @e the conce7tion of this la; of ,ature ca@e intuitively as a self> evident fact, al@ost ;ithout an effort of concentrated thought. Mr. Dar;in here see@s to have @ore @erit in the discovery than + have hadHto @e it did not a77ear a discovery. He see@s to have ;or8ed it out 6y inductive reason, slo;ly and ;ith due caution to have @ade his ;ay synthetically fro@ fact to fact on;ards# ;hile ;ith @e it ;as 6y a general glance at the sche@e of ,ature that + esti@ated this select 7roduction of s7ecies as an a 7riori recogniJa6le factHan aAio@, reEuiring only to 6e 7ointed out to 6e ad@itted 6y un7reDudiced @inds of sufficient gras7. PFuoted in .ould 1 %9, 77. (&9>&!.Q Un7reDudiced @inds @ay ;ell resist a ne; idea out of sound conservatis@, ho;ever. Deductive argu@ents are notoriously treacherous# ;hat see@s to stand to reasonI can 6e 6etrayed 6y an overloo8ed detail. Dar;in a77reciated that only a relentlessly detailed survey of the evidence for the historical 7rocesses he ;as 7ostulating ;ouldHor shouldH7ersuade scientists to a6andon their traditional convictions and ta8e on his revolutionary vision, even if it ;as in fact Ideduci6le fro@ first 7rinci7les.I

!. The ideal of a deductive ( or Ino@ologico>deductiveI " science, @odeled on ,e;tonian or .alilean 7hysics, ;as Euite standard until fairly recently in the 7hiloso7hy of science, so it is not sur7rising that @uch effort has 6een devoted to devising and criticiJing various aAio@atiJations of Dar;in-s theoryHsince it ;as 7resu@ed that in such a for@aliJation lay scientific vindication. The idea, introduced in this section, that Dar;in should 6e seen, rather, as 7ostulating that evolution is an algorith@ic 7rocess, 7er@its us to do Dustice to the undenia6le a priori flavor of Dar;in-s thin8ing ;ithout forcing it into the Procrustean (and o6solete" 6ed of the no@ologico>deductive @odel. See So6er 1 %&a and 5itcher 1 %9a.

Dardeners/ Chronicle7 A7ril $, +%!=. See Hardin 1 !& for @ore details.


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9atural Selection as an #l-orithmic rocess


3ro@ the outset, there ;ere those ;ho vie;ed Dar;in-s novel @iAture of detailed naturalis@ and a6stract reasoning a6out 7rocesses as a du6ious and invia6le hy6rid. +t had a tre@endous air of 7lausi6ility, 6ut so do @any get> rich>Euic8 sche@es that turn out to 6e e@7ty tric8s. Co@7are it to the follo;ing stoc8>@ar8et 7rinci7le. 4uy 2o;, Sell High. This is guaranteed to @a8e you ;ealthy. <ou cannot fail to get rich if "ou follo; this advice. *hy doesn-t it ;or8G +t does ;or8Hfor every6ody ;ho is fortunate enough to act according to it, 6ut, alas, there is no ;ay of deter@ining that the conditions are @et until it is too late to act on the@. Dar;in ;as offering a s8e7tical ;orld ;hat ;e @ight call a get>rich>slo; sche@e, a sche@e for creating Design out of Chaos ;ithout the aid of Mind. The theoretical 7o;er of Dar;in-s a6stract sche@e ;as due to several features that Dar;in Euite fir@ly identified, and a77reciated 6etter than @any of his su77orters, 6ut lac8ed the ter@inology to descri6e eA7licitly. Today ;e could ca7ture these features under a single ter@. Dar;in had discovered the 7o;er of an al-orithm. An algorith@ is a certain sort of for@al 7rocess that can 6e counted onHlogicallyHto yield a certain sort of result ;henever it is IrunI or instantiated. Algorith@s are not ne;, and ;ere not ne; in Dar;in-s day. Many fa@iliar arith@etic 7rocedures, such as long division or 6alancing your chec86oo8, are algorith@s, and so are the decision 7rocedures for 7laying 7erfect tic>tac>toe, and for 7utting a list of ;ords into al7ha6etical order. *hat is relatively ne;H7er@itting us valua6le hindsight on Dar;in-s discoveryHis the theoretical reflection 6y @athe@aticians and logicians on the nature and 7o;er of algorith@s in general, a t;entieth>century develo7@ent ;hich led to the 6irth of the co@7uter, ;hich has led in turn, of course, to a @uch dee7er and @ore lively understanding of the 7o;ers of algorith@s in general. The ter@ al-orithm descends, via 2atin Gal-orismusJ to early /nglish Gal-orisme and, @ista8enly therefro@, al-orithmJ7 fro@ the na@e of a Persian @athe@atician, Muusa al>5ho;ariJ@, ;hose 6oo8 on arith@etical 7rocedures, ;ritten a6out %(9 A.D., ;as translated into 2atin in the t;elfth century 6y Adelard of 4ath or )o6ert of Chester. The idea that an algorith@ is a fool7roof and so@eho; I@echanicalI 7rocedure has 6een 7resent for centuries, 6ut it ;as the 7ioneering ;or8 of Alan Turing, 5urt .odel, and AlonJo Church in the 1 (=s that @ore or less fiAed our current understanding of the ter@. Three 8ey features of algorith@s ;ill 6e i@7ortant to us, and each is so@e;hat difficult to define. /ach, @oreover, has given rise to confusions (and anAieties " that continue to 6eset our thin8ing a6out Dar;in-s revolutionary discovery, so ;e ;ill have to revisit and reconsider these introductory characteriJations several ti@es 6efore ;e are through? (1" substrate neutralit"8 The 7rocedure for long division ;or8s eEually ;ell ;ith 7encil or 7en, 7a7er or 7arch@ent, neon lights or s8y;rit>

ing, using any sy@6ol syste@ you li8e. The 7o;er of the 7rocedure is due to its lo-ical structure, not the causal 7o;ers of the @aterials used in the instantiation, Dust so long as those causal 7o;ers 7er@it the 7rescri6ed ste7s to 6e follo;ed eAactly. ('" underl"in- mindlessness8 Although the overall design of the 7roce> dure @ay 6e 6rilliant, or yield 6rilliant results, each constituent ste7, as ;ell as the transition 6et;een ste7s, is utterly si@7le. Ho; si@7leG Si@7le enough for a dutiful idiot to 7erfor@Hor for a straightfor;ard @echanical device to 7erfor@. The standard teAt6oo8 analogy notes that algorith@s are recipes of sorts, designed to 6e follo;ed 6y no%ice coo8s. A reci7e 6oo8 ;ritten for great chefs @ight include the 7hrase IPoach the fish in a suita6le ;ine until al@ost done,I 6ut an algorith@ for the sa@e 7rocess @ight 6egin, IChoose a ;hite ;ine that says -dryon the la6el# ta8e a cor8scre; and o7en the 6ottle# 7our an inch of ;ine in the 6otto@ of a 7an# turn the 6urner under the 7an on high# ... IHa tedious 6rea8do;n of the 7rocess into dead>si@7le ste7s, reEuiring no ;ise decisions or delicate Dudg@ents or intuitions on the 7art of the reci7e>reader. ((" -uaranteed results8 *hatever it is that an algorith@ does, it al;ays does it, if it is eAecuted ;ithout @isste7. An algorith@ is a fool7roof reci7e. +t is easy to see ho; these features @ade the co@7uter 7ossi6le. E%er" computer pro-ram is an al-orithm7 ulti@ately co@7osed of si@7le ste7s that can 6e eAecuted ;ith stu7endous relia6ility 6y one si@7le @echanis@ or another. /lectronic circuits are the usual choice, 6ut the 7o;er of co@7uters o;es nothing (save s7eed" to the causal 7eculiarities of electrons darting a6out on silicon chi7s. The very sa@e algorith@s can 6e 7erfor@ed (even faster" 6y devices shunting 7hotons in glass fi6ers, or (@uch, @uch slo;er" 6y tea@s of 7eo7le using 7a7er and 7encil. And as ;e shall see, the ca7acity of co@7uters to run algorith@s ;ith tre@endous s7eed and relia6ility is no; 7er@itting theoreticians to eA7lore Dar;in-s dangerous idea in ;ays heretofore i@7ossi6le, ;ith fascinating results. *hat Dar;in discovered ;as not really one algorith@ 6ut, rather, a large class of related algorith@s that he had no clear ;ay to distinguish. *e can no; refor@ulate his funda@ental idea as follo;s? 2ife on /arth has 6een generated over 6illions of years in a single 6ranching treeHthe Tree of 2ifeH6y o-ne algorith@ic 7rocess or another. *hat this clai@ @eans ;ill 6eco@e clear gradually, as ;e sort through he various ;ays 7eo7le have tried to eA7ress it. +n so@e versions it is utterly vacuous and uninfor@ative# in others it is @anifestly false. +n 6e>


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t;een lie the versions that really do eA7lain the origin of s7ecies and 7ro@ise to eA7lain @uch else 6esides. These versions are 6eco@ing clearer all the ti@e, than8s as @uch to the deter@ined criticis@s of those ;ho fran8ly hate the idea of evolution as an algorith@, as to the re6uttals of those ;ho love it.

9. P)0C/SS/S AS A2.0)+THMS
*hen theorists thin8 of algorith@s, they often have in @ind 8inds of algo> rith@s ;ith 7ro7erties that are not shared 6y the algorith@s that ;ill concern us. *hen @athe@aticians thin8 a6out algorith@s, for instance, they usually have in @ind algorith@s that can 6e 7roven to co@7ute 7articular @athe@atical functions of interest to the@. (2ong division is a ho@ely eAa@7le. A 7rocedure for 6rea8ing do;n a huge nu@6er into its 7ri@e factors is one that attracts attention in the eAotic ;orld of cry7togra7hy." 4ut the algorith@s that ;ill concern us have nothing 7articular to do ;ith the nu@6er syste@ or other @athe@atical o6Dects# they are algorith@s for sorting, ;inno;ing, and 6uilding things.% 4ecause @ost @athe@atical discussions of algorith@s focus on their guar> anteed or @athe@atically 7rova6le 7o;ers, 7eo7le so@eti@es @a8e the ele@entary @ista8e of thin8ing that a 7rocess that @a8es use of chance or rando@ness is not an algorith@. 4ut even long division @a8es good use of rando@nessL $G &$" ('!9$& Does the divisor go into the dividend siA or seven or eight ti@esG *ho 8no;sG *ho caresG <ou don-t have to 8no;# you don-t have to have any ;it or discern@ent to do long division. The algorith@ directs you Dust to choose a digitHat rando@, if you li8eHand chec8 out the result. +f die chosen nu@6er turns out to 6e too s@all, increase it 6y one and start over# if too large, decrease it. The good thing a6out long division is that it al;ays ;or8s

eventually, even if you are @aAi@ally stu7id in @a8ing your first choice, in ;hich case it Dust ta8es a little longer. Achieving success on hard tas8s in s7ite of utter stu7idity is ;hat @a8es co@7uters see@ @agicalHho; could so@ething as @indless as a @achine do so@ething as s@art as thatG ,ot sur7risingly, then, the tactic of finessing ignorance 6y rando@ly generating a candidate and then testing it out @echanically is a u6iEuitous feature of interesting algorith@s. ,ot only does it not interfere ;ith their 7rova6le 7o;ers as algorith@s# it is often the 8ey to their 7o;er. (See Dennett 1 %&, 77 1& >9', on the 7articularly interesting 7o;ers of Michael )a6in-s rando@ algorith@s." *e can 6egin Jeroing in on the 7hylu@ of evolutionary algorith@s 6y con> sidering everyday algorith@s that share i@7ortant 7ro7erties ;ith the@. Dar> ;in dra;s our attention to re7eated ;aves of co@7etition and selection, so consider the standard algorith@ for organiJing an eli@ination tourna@ent, such as a tennis tourna@ent, ;hich eventually cul@inates ;ith Euarter>finals, se@i>finals, and then a final, deter@ining the solitary ;inner.

%. Co@7uter scientists so@eti@es restrict the ter@ al-orithm to 7rogra@s that can 6e 7roven to terminateHthat have no infinite loo7s in the@, for instance. 4ut this s7ecial sense, valua6le as it is for so@e @athe@atical 7ur7oses, is not of @uch use to us. +ndeed, fe; of the co@7uter 7rogra@s in daily use around the ;orld ;ould Eualify as algorith@s in this restricted sense# @ost are designed to cycle indefinitely, 7atiently ;aiting for instructions (including the instruction to ter@inate, ;ithout ;hich they 8ee7 on going". Their su6routines, ho;ever, are algorith@s in this strict senseHeAce7t ;here undetec> ted I6ugsI lur8 that can cause the 7rogra@ to Ihang.I

,otice that this 7rocedure @eets the three conditions. +t is the sa@e 7rocedure ;hether dra;n in chal8 on a 6lac86oard, or u7dated in a co@7uter file, orHa ;eird 7ossi6ilityHnot ;ritten do;n any;here, 6ut si@7ly enforced 6y 6uilding a huge fan of fenced>off tennis courts each ;ith t;o entrance gates and a single eAit gate leading the ;inner to the court ;here the neAt @atch is to 6e 7layed. (The losers are shot and 6uried ;here they fall" +t doesn-t ta8e a genius to @arch the contestants through the drill, filling in the 6lan8s at the end of each @atch ( or identifying and shooting the losers". And it al;ays ;or8s. 4ut ;hat, eAactly, does this algorith@ doG +t ta8es as in7ut a set of co@> 7etitors and guarantees to ter@inate 6y identifying a single ;inner. 4ut ;hat is a ;innerG +t all de7ends on the co@7etition. Su77ose the tourna@ent in Euestion is not tennis 6ut coin>tossing. 0ne 7layer tosses and the other calls# the ;inner advances. The ;inner of this tourna@ent ;ill 6e that single 7layer ;ho has ;on n consecutive coin>tosses ;ithout a loss, de7ending on ho; @any rounds it ta8es to co@7lete the tourna@ent.


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There is so@ething strange and trivial a6out this tourna@ent, 6ut ;hat is itG The ;inner does have a rather re@ar8a6le 7ro7erty. Ho; often have you ever @et anyone ;ho Dust ;on, say, ten consecutive coin>tosses ;ithout a lossG Pro6a6ly never. The odds against there 6eing such a 7erson @ight see@ enor@ous, and in the nor@al course of events, they surely are. +f so@e ga@6ler offered you ten>to>one odds that he could 7roduce so@eone ;ho 6efore your very eyes ;ould 7roceed to ;in ten consecutive coin>tosses using a fair coin, you @ight 6e inclined to thin8 this a good 6et. +f so, you had 6etter ho7e the ga@6ler doesn-t have 1,='& acco@7lices (they don-t have to cheatHthey 7lay fair and sEuare". 3or that is all it ta8es (' 1= co@7etitors" to for@ a ten>round tourna@ent. The ga@6ler ;ouldn-t have a clue, as the tourna@ent started, ;hich 7erson ;ould end u7 6eing the eAhi6it A that ;ould guarantee his ;inning the ;ager, 6ut the tourna@ent algorith@ is sure to 7roduce such a 7erson in short orderHit is a suc8er 6et ;ith a surefire ;in for the ga@6ler. (+ a@ not res7onsi6le for any inDuries you @ay sustain if you atte@7t to get rich 6y 7utting this tid6it of 7ractical 7hiloso7hy into use." Any eli@ination tourna@ent 7roduces a ;inner, ;ho Iauto@aticallyI has ;hatever 7ro7erty ;as reEuired to advance through the rounds, 6ut, as the coin>tossing tourna@ent de@onstrates, the 7ro7erty in Euestion ma" 6e I@erely historicalIHa trivial fact a6out the co@7etitor-s 7ast history that has no 6earing at all on his or her future 7ros7ects. Su77ose, for instance, the United ,ations ;ere to decide that all future international conflicts ;ould 6e settled 6y a coin>toss to ;hich each nation sends a re7resentative (if @ore than one nation is involved, it ;ill have to 6e so@e sort of tourna@entHit @ight 6e a Iround ro6in,I ;hich is a different algorith@ ". *ho@ should ;e designate as our national re7resentativeG The 6est coin>toss caller in the land, o6viously. Su77ose ;e organiJed every @an, ;o@an, and child in the U.S.A. into a giant eli@ination tourna@ent. So@e6ody ;ould have to ;in, and that 7erson ;ould have Dust ;on t;enty>eight consecutive coin>tosses ;ithout a lossL This ;ould 6e an irrefuta6le historical fact a6out that 7erson, 6ut since calling a coin>toss is Dust a @atter of luc8, there is a6solutely no reason to 6elieve that the ;inner of such a tourna@ent ;ould do any 6etter in international co@7etition than so@e6ody else ;ho lost in an earlier round of the tourna@ent. Chance has no @e@ory. A 7erson ;ho holds the ;inning lottery tic8et has certainly been luc8y, and, than8s to the @illions she has Dust ;on, she @ay never need to 6e luc8y againH;hich is Dust as ;ell, since there is no reason to thin8 she is @ore li8ely than anyone else to ;in the lottery a second ti@e, or to ;in the neAt coin>toss she calls. ( 3ailing to a77reciate the fact that chance has no @e@ory is 8no;n as the .a@6ler-s 3allacy# it is sur7risingly 7o7ularHso 7o7ular that + should 7ro6a6ly stress that it is a fallacy, 6eyond any dou6t or controversy." +n contrast to tourna@ents of 7ure luc8, li8e the coin>toss tourna@ent,

there are tourna@ents of s8ill, li8e tennis tourna@ents. Here there is reason to 6elieve that the 7layers in the later rounds ;ould do 6etter a-ain if they 7layed the 7layers ;ho lost in the early rounds. There is reason to 6elieveH 6ut no guaranteeHthat the ;inner of such a tourna@ent is the 6est 7layer of the@ all, not Dust today 6ut to@orro;. <et, though any ;ell>run tourna@ent is guaranteed to 7roduce a ;inner, there is no guarantee that a tourna@ent of s8ill ;ill identify the 6est 7layer as the ;inner in any nontrivial sense. That-s ;hy ;e so@eti@es say, in the o7ening cere@onies, IMay the 6est @an ;inLIH6ecause it is not guaranteed 6y the 7rocedure. The 6est 7layerHthe one ;ho is 6est 6y IengineeringI standards (has the @ost relia6le 6ac8hand, fastest serve, @ost sta@ina, etc."H@ay have an off day, or s7rain his an8le, or get hit 6y lightning. Then, trivially, he @ay 6e 6ested in co@7etition 6y a 7layer ;ho is not really as good as he is. 4ut no6ody ;ould 6other organiJing or entering tourna@ents of s8ill if it ;eren-t the case that in the lon- run7 tourna@ents of s8ill are ;on 6y the 6est 7layers. That is guaranteed 6y the very definition of a fair tourna@ent of s8ill# if there ;ere no 7ro6a6ility greater than half that the 6etter 7layers ;ould ;in each round, it ;ould 6e a tourna@ent of luc8, not of s8ill. S8ill and luc8 inter@ingle naturally and inevita6ly in any real co@7etition, 6ut their ratios @ay vary ;idely. A tennis tourna@ent 7layed on very 6u@7y courts ;ould raise the luc8 ratio, as ;ould an innovation in ;hich the 7layers ;ere reEuired to 7lay )ussian roulette ;ith a loaded revolver 6efore continuing after the first set. 4ut even in such a luc8>ridden contest, @ore of the 6etter 7layers ;ould tend7 statistically, to get to the late rounds. The 7o;er of a tourna@ent to Idiscri@inateI s8ill differences in the long run @ay 6e di@inished 6y ha7haJard catastro7he, 6ut it is not in general reduced to Jero. This fact, ;hich is as true of evolutionary algorith@s in nature as of eli@ination tourna@ents in s7orts, is so@eti@es overloo8ed 6y co@@entators on evolution. S8ill, in contrast to luc8, is protectableE in the sa@e or si@ilar circu@> stances, it can 6e counted on to give re7eat 7erfor@ances. This relativity to circu@stances sho;s us another ;ay in ;hich a tourna@ent @ight 6e ;eird. *hat if the conditions of co@7etition 8e7t changing (li8e the croEuet ga@e in #lice in !onderlandJ= +f you 7lay tennis the first round, chess in the second round, golf in the third round, and 6illiards in the fourth round, there is no reason to su77ose the eventual ;inner ;ill 6e 7articularly good, co@7ared ;ith the ;hole field, in an" of these endeavorsHall the good golfers @ay lose in the chess round and never get a chance to de@onstrate their 7ro;ess, and even if luc8 7lays no role in the fourth>round 6illiards final, the ;inner @ight turn out to 6e the second;worst 6illiards 7layer in the ;hole field. Thus there has to 6e so@e @easure of unifor@ity of the conditions of co@7etition for there to 6e any interestin- outco@e to a tourna@ent.


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4ut does a tourna@entHor any algorith@Hhave to do so@ething inter> estingG ,o. The algorith@s ;e tend to tal8 a6out al@ost al;ays do so@e > thing interestingHthat-s ;hy they attract our attention. 4ut a 7rocedure doesn-t fail to 6e an algorith@ Dust 6ecause it is of no conceiva6le use or value to anyone. Consider a variation on the eli@ination>tourna@ent algo> rith@ in ;hich the losers of the se@i>finals 7lay in the finals. This is a stu7id rule, destroying the point of the ;hole tourna@ent, 6ut the tourna@ent ;ould still 6e an algorith@. Algorith@s don-t have to have 7oints or 7ur7oses. +n addition to all the useful algorith@s for al7ha6etiJing lists of ;ords, there are 8aJillions of algorith@s for relia6ly @isal7ha6etiJing ;ords, and they ;or8 7erfectly every ti@e ( as if anyone ;ould care ". Must as there is an algorith@ (@any, actually" for finding the sEuare root of any nu@6er, so there are algorith@s for finding the sEuare root of any nu@6er eAce7t 1% or $=(. So@e algorith@s do things so 6oringly irregular and 7ointless that there is no succinct ;ay of saying ;hat they are for. They Dust do ;hat they do, and they do it every ti@e. *e can no; eA7ose 7erha7s the @ost co@@on @isunderstanding of Dar;inis@? the idea that Dar;in sho;ed that evolution 6y natural selection is a 7rocedure for 7roducing Us. /ver since Dar;in 7ro7osed his theory, 7eo7le have often @isguidedly tried to inter7ret it as sho;ing that ;e are the destination, the goal, the 7oint of all that ;inno;ing and co@7etition, and our arrival on the scene ;as guaranteed 6y the @ere holding of the tourna@ent. This confusion has 6een fostered 6y evolution-s friends and foes ali8e, and it is 7arallel to the confusion of the coin>toss tourna@ent ;inner ;ho 6as8s in the @isconsidered glory of the idea that since the tourna@ent had to have a ;inner, and since he is the ;inner, the tourna@ent had to 7roduce hi@ as the ;inner. /volution can 6e an algorith@, and evolution can have 7roduced us 6y an algorith@ic 7rocess, ;ithout its 6eing true that evolution is an algorith@ for 7roducing us. The @ain conclusion of Ste7hen May .ould-s !onderful 'ife8 The Bur-ess Shale and the 9ature of >istor" ( 1 % a" is that if ;e ;ere to I;ind the ta7e of life 6ac8I and 7lay it again and again, the li8elihood is infinitesi@al of $s 6eing the 7roduct on any other run through the evolutionary @ill. This is undou6tedly true (if 6y IUsI ;e @ean the 7articular variety of >omo sapiens ;e are? hairless and u7right, ;ith five fingers on each of t;o hands, s7ea8ing /nglish and 3rench and 7laying tennis and chess ". /volution is not a 7rocess that ;as designed to 7roduce us, 6ut it does not follo; fro@ this that evolution is not an algorith@ic 7rocess that has in fact 7roduced us. ( Cha7ter 1= ;ill eA7lore this issue in @ore detail." /volutionary algorith@s are @anifestly interesting algorith@sHinteresting to us, at leastHnot 6ecause ;hat they are guaranteed to do is interesting to us, 6ut 6ecause ;hat they are guaranteed to tend to do is interesting to us. They are li8e tourna@ents of s8ill in this regard. The 7o;er of an algo>

rith@ to yield so@ething of interest or value is not at all li@ited to ;hat the algorith@ can 6e @athe@atically 7roven to yield in a fool7roof ;ay, and this is es7ecially true of evolutionary algorith@s. Most of the controversies a6out Dar;inis@, as ;e shall see, 6oil do;n to disagree@ents a6out Dust ho; 7o;erful certain 7ostulated evolutionary 7rocesses areHcould they actually do all this or all that in the ti@e availa6leG These are ty7ically investi gations into ;hat an evolutionary algorith@ mi-ht 7roduce, or could 7roduce, or is li6el" to 7roduce, and only indirectly into ;hat such an algorith@ ;ould ine%itabl" 7roduce. Dar;in hi@self sets the stage in the ;ording of his su@@ary? his idea is a clai@ a6out ;hat IassuredlyI the 7rocess of natural selection ;ill ItendI to yield. All algorith@s are guaranteed to do ;hatever they do, 6ut it need not 6e anything interesting# so@e algorith@s are further guaranteed to tend (;ith 7ro6a6ility pJ to do so@ethingH;hich @ay or @ay not 6e interesting. 4ut if ;hat an algorith@ is guaranteed to do doesn-t have to 6e IinterestingI in any ;ay, ho; are ;e going to distinguish algorith@s fro@ other 7rocessesG *on-t an" 7rocess 6e an algorith@G +s the surf 7ounding on the 6each an algorith@ic 7rocessG +s the sun 6a8ing the clay of a dried>u7 river6ed an algorith@ic 7rocessG The ans;er is that there @ay 6e features of these 7rocesses that are 6est a77reciated if ;e consider the@ as algorith@sL Consider, for instance, the Euestion of ;hy the grains of sand on a 6each are so unifor@ in siJe. This is due to a natural sorting 7rocess that occurs than8s to the re7etitive launching of the grains 6y the surfHal7ha6etical order on a grand scale, you @ight say. The 7attern of crac8s that a77ear in the sun> 6a8ed clay @ay 6e 6est eA7lained 6y loo8ing at chains of events that are not unli8e the successive rounds in a tourna@ent. 0r consider the 7rocess of annealing a 7iece of @etal to te@7er it. *hat could 6e a @ore 7hysical, less Ico@7utationalI 7rocess than thatG The 6lac8s@ith re7eatedly heats the @etal and then lets it cool, and so@eho; in the 7rocess it 6eco@es @uch stronger. Ho;G *hat 8ind of an eA7lanation can ;e give for this @agical transfor@ationG Does the heat create s7ecial toughness ato@s that coat the surfaceG 0r does it suc8 su6ato@ic glue out of the at@os7here that 6inds all the iron ato@s togetherG ,o, nothing li8e that ha77ens. The right level of eA7lanation is the algorith@ic level? As the @etal cools fro@ its @olten state, the solidification starts in @any different s7ots at the sa@e ti@e, creating crystals that gro; together until the ;hole is solid. 4ut the first ti@e this ha77ens, the arrange@ent of the individual crystal structures is su6o7ti@alH;ea8ly held together, and ;ith lots of internal stresses and strains. Heating it u7 againH6ut not all the ;ay to @eltingH 7artially 6rea8s do;n these structures, so that, ;hen they are 7er@itted to cool the neAt ti@e, the 6ro8en>u7 6its ;ill adhere to the still>solid 6its in a different arrange@ent. +t can 6e 7roven @athe@atically that these rearrange@ents ;ill tend to get 6etter and 6etter, a77roaching


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the o7ti@u@ or strongest total structure, 7rovided the regi@e of heating and cooling has the right 7ara@eters. So 7o;erful is this o7ti@iJation 7rocedure that it has 6een used as the ins7iration for an entirely general 7ro6le@> solving techniEue in co@7uter scienceHIsi@ulated annealing,I ;hich has nothing to do ;ith @etals or heat, 6ut is Dust a ;ay of getting a co@7uter 7rogra@ to 6uild, disasse@6le, and re6uild a data structure (such as another 7rogra@", over and over, 6lindly gro7ing to;ards a 6etterH indeed, an o7ti@alHversion (5ir87atric8, .elatt and 1ecchi 1 %(". This ;as one of the @aDor insights leading to the develo7@ent of I4oltJ@ann @achinesI and IHo7field netsI and the other constraint>satisfaction sche@es that are the 6asis for the Connectionist or Ineural>netI architectures in Artificial +ntelligence. (3or overvie;s, see S@olens8y 1 %(, )u@elhart 1 % , Churchland and SeDno;s8i 1 ', and, on a 7hiloso7hical level, Dennett 1 %$a, Paul Churchland 1 % " +f you ;ant a dee7 understanding of ho; annealing ;or8s in @etallurgy, you have to learn the 7hysics of all the forces o7erating at the ato@ic level, of course, 6ut notice that the 6asic idea of ho; annealing ;or8s (and 7articularly wh" it wor6sJ can 6e lifted clear of those detailsHafter all, + Dust eA7lained it in si@7le lay ter@s (and + don-t 8no; the 7hysicsL". The eA> 7lanation of annealing can 6e 7ut in substrate;neutral ter@inology? ;e should eA7ect o7ti@iJation of a certain sort to occur in any I@aterialI that has co@7onents that get 7ut together 6y a certain sort of 6uilding 7rocess and that can 6e disasse@6led in a seEuenced ;ay 6y changing a single glo6al 7ara@eter, etc. That is ;hat is co@@on to the 7rocesses going on in the glo;ing steel 6ar and the hu@@ing su7erco@7uter. Dar;in-s ideas a6out the 7o;ers of natural selection can also 6e lifted out of their ho@e 6ase in 6iology. +ndeed, as ;e have already noted, Dar;in hi@self had fe; in8lings ( and ;hat in8lings he had turned out to 6e ;rong " a6out ho; the @icrosco7ic 7rocesses of genetic inheritance ;ere acco@> 7lished. ,ot 8no;ing any of the details a6out the 7hysical su6strate, he could nevertheless discern that if certain conditions ;ere so@eho; @et, certain effects ;ould 6e ;rought. This su6strate neutrality has 6een crucial in 7er@itting the 6asic Dar;inian insights to float li8e a cor8 on the ;aves of su6seEuent research and controversy, for ;hat has ha77ened since Dar;in has a curious fli7>flo7 in it. Dar;in, as ;e noted in the 7receding cha7ter, never hit u7on the utterly necessary idea of a gene, 6ut along ca@e Mendel-s conce7t to 7rovide Dust the right structure for @a8ing @athe@atical sense out of heredity ( and solving Dar;in-s nasty 7ro6le@ of 6lending inheritance". And then, ;hen D,A ;as identified as the actual 7hysical vehicle of the genes, it loo8ed at first (and still loo8s to @any 7artici7ants" as if Mendel-s genes could 6e si@7ly identified as 7articular hun8s of D,A. 4ut then co@7leAities 6egan to e@erge# the @ore scientists have learned a6out the actual @olecular 6iology of D,A and its role in re7roduction, the

clearer it 6eco@es that the Mendelian story is at 6est a vast oversi@7lifica> tion. So@e ;ould go so far as to say that ;e have recently learned that there really aren/t any Mendelian genesL Having cli@6ed Mendel-s ladder, ;e @ust no; thro; it a;ay. 4ut of course no one ;ants to thro; a;ay such a valua6le tool, still 7roving itself daily in hundreds of scientific and @edical conteAts. The solution is to 6u@7 Mendel u7 a level, and declare that he, li8e Dar;in, ca7tured an abstract truth a6out inheritance. *e @ay, if ;e li8e, tal8 of %irtual -enes7 considering the@ to have their reality distri6uted around in the concrete @aterials of the D,A. (There is @uch to 6e said in favor of this o7tion, ;hich + ;ill discuss further in cha7ters 9 and 1'." 4ut then, to return to the Euestion raised a6ove, are there any li@its at all on ;hat @ay 6e considered an algorith@ic 7rocessG + guess the ans;er is ,o# if you ;anted to, you could treat any 7rocess at the a6stract level as an algorith@ic 7rocess. So ;hatG 0nly so@e 7rocesses yield interesting results ;hen you do treat the@ as algorith@s, 6ut ;e don-t have to try to define Ialgorith@I in such a ;ay as to include only the interestin- ones (a tall 7hiloso7hical orderL". The 7ro6le@ ;ill ta8e care of itself, since no6ody ;ill ;aste ti@e eAa@ining the algorith@s that aren-t interesting for one reason or another. +t all de7ends on ;hat needs eA7laining. +f ;hat stri8es you as 7uJJling is the unifor@ity of the sand grains or the strength of the 6lade, an algorith@ic eA7lanation is ;hat ;ill satisfy your curiosityHand it ;ill 6e the truth. 0ther interesting features of the sa@e 7heno@ena, or the 7rocesses that created the@, @ight not yield to an algorith@ic treat@ent. Here, then, is Dar;in-s dangerous idea? the algorith@ic level is the level that 6est accounts for the s7eed of the antelo7e, the ;ing of the eagle, the sha7e of the orchid, the diversity of s7ecies, and all the other occasions for ;onder in the ;orld of nature. +t is hard to 6elieve that so@ething as @indless and @echanical as an algorith@ could 7roduce such ;onderful things. ,o @atter ho; i@7ressive the 7roducts of an algorith@, the underlying 7rocess al;ays consists of nothing 6ut a set of individually @indless ste7s succeeding each other ;ithout the hel7 of any intelligent su7ervision# they are Iauto> @aticI 6y definition? the ;or8ings of an auto@aton. They feed on each other, or on 6lind chanceHcoin>fli7s, if you li8eHand on nothing else. Most algorith@s ;e are fa@iliar ;ith have rather @odest 7roducts? they do long division or al7ha6etiJe lists or figure out the inco@e of the Average TaA7ayer. 3ancier algorith@s 7roduce the daJJling co@7uter>ani@ated gra7hics ;e see every day on television, transfor@ing faces, creating herds of i@aginary ice> s8ating 7olar 6ears, si@ulating ;hole virtual ;orlds of entities never seen or i@agined 6efore. 4ut the actual 6ios7here is @uch fancier still, 6y @any orders of @agnitude. Can it really 6e the outco@e of nothing 6ut a cascade of algorith@ic 7rocesses feeding on chanceG And if so, ;ho designed that cascadeG ,o6ody. +t is itself the 7roduct of a 6lind, algorith@ic 7rocess. As Dar;in hi@self 7ut it, in a letter to the geologist Charles 2yell shortly after


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7u6lication of 4ri-in7 I+ ;ould give a6solutely nothing for the theory of ,atural Selection, if it reEuires @iraculous additions at any one stage of descentOOOO+f + ;ere convinced that + reEuired such additions to the theory of natural selection, + ;ould reDect it as ru66ish...I (3. Dar;in 1 11, vol. ', 77. !>$". According to Dar;in, then, evolution is an algorith@ic 7rocess. Putting it this ;ay is still controversial. 0ne of the tugs>of>;ar going on ;ithin evo > lutionary 6iology is 6et;een those ;ho are relentlessly 7ushing, 7ushing, 7ushing to;ards an algorith@ic treat@ent, and those ;ho, for various su6> @erged reasons, are resisting this trend. +t is rather as if there ;ere @etal> lurgists around ;ho ;ere disa77ointed 6y the algorith@ic eA7lanation of annealing. I<ou @ean that-s all there is to itG ,o su6@icrosco7ic Su7erglue s7ecially created 6y the heating and cooling 7rocessGI Dar;in has convinced all the scientists that evolution, li8e annealing, wor6s. His radical vision of how and wh" it ;or8s is still so@e;hat e@6attled, largely 6ecause those ;ho resist can di@ly see that their s8ir@ish is 7art of a larger ca@7aign. +f the ga@e is lost in evolutionary 6iology, ;here ;ill it all endG


$ni%ersal #cid
1. /A)2< )/ACT+0,S
4ri-in of man now pro%ed. HMetaph"sics must flourish. H>e who understands baboon would do more towards metaph"sics than 'oc6e.
HCHA)2/S DA)*+,, in a note6oo8 not intended for 7u6lication, in P. H. 4arrett et al. 1 %$, D'!, M%&

CHAPT/) '? Darwin conclusi%el" demonstrated that7 contrar" to ancient tradition7 species are not eternal and immutableE the" e%ol%e. The ori-in of new species was shown to be the result of Bdescent with modification.B 'ess conclusi%el"7 Darwin introduced an idea of how this e%olutionar" process too6 place8 %ia a mindless7 mechanicalHal-orithmic?process he called Bnatural selection.B This idea7 that all die fruits of e%olution can be explained as the products of an al-orithmic process7 is Darwin/s dan-erous idea. CHAPT/) (? Man" people7 Darwin included7 could diml" see that his idea of natural selection had re%olutionar" potential7 but <ust what did it promise to o%erthrow= Darwin/s idea can be used to dismantle and then rebuild a traditional structure of !estern thou-ht7 which I call die Cosmic "ramid. This pro%ides a new explanation of the ori-in7 b" -radual accumulation7 of all the Desi-n in the uni%erse. E%er since Darwin7 s6epticism has been aimed at his implicit claim that the %arious processes of natural selection7 in spite of their underl"in- mindlessness7 are powerful enou-h to ha%e done all the desi-n wor6 that is manifest in the world.

>is sub<ect is die /4ri-in of Species7/ K not die ori-in of 4r-ani:ationE K it seems a needless mischief to ha%e opened the latter speculation at all.
HHA))+/T MA)T+,/A2>, a friend of Dar;in-s, in a letter to 3annie *edg;ood, March, 1(, 1%!=, Euoted in Des@ond and Moore 1 1, 7. &%!

Dar;in 6egan his eA7lanation in the @iddle, or even, you @ight say, at the end. starting ;ith the life for@s ;e 7resently see, and sho;ing ho; the 7atterns in today-s 6ios7here could 6e eA7lained as having arisen 6y the 7rocess of natural selection fro@ the 7atterns in yesterday-s 6ios7here, and so on, 6ac8 into the very distant 7ast. He started ;ith facts that everyone 8no;s? all of today-s living things are the offs7ring of 7arents, ;ho are the offs7ring of grand7arents, and so forth, so everything that is alive today is a 6ranch of a genealogical fa@ily, ;hich is itself a 6ranch of a larger clan. He ;ent on to argue that, if you go 6ac8 far enough, you find that all the 6ranches of all the fa@ilies eventually s7ring fro@ co@@on ancestral li@6s, so that there is a single Tree of 2ife, all the li@6s, 6ranches, and t;igs united 6y descent ;ith @odification. The fact that it has the 6ranching organiJation of a tree is crucial to the eA7lanation of the sort of 7rocess involved, for such

!' U,+1/)SA2 AC+D a tree could 6e created 6y an auto@atic, recursive 7rocess? first 6uild an x7 then @odify x/s descendants, then @odify those @odifications, then @odify the @odifications of the @odificationsH +f 2ife is a Tree, it could all have arisen fro@ an ineAora6le, auto@atic re6uilding 7rocess in ;hich designs ;ould accu@ulate over ti@e. *or8ing 6ac8;ards, starting at or near Ithe endI of a 7rocess, and solving the neAt>to>last ste7 6efore as8ing ho; it could have 6een 7roduced, is a tried and true @ethod of co@7uter 7rogra@@ers, 7articularly ;hen creating 7rogra@s that use recursion. Usually this is a @atter of 7ractical @odesty? if you don-t ;ant to 6ite off @ore than you can che;, the right 6ite to start ;ith is often the finishing 6ite, if you can find it. Dar;in found it, and then very cautiously ;or8ed his ;ay 6ac8, s8irting around the @any grand issues that his investigations stirred u7, @using a6out the@ in his 7rivate note6oo8s, 6ut 7ost7oning their 7u6lication indefinitely. (3or instance, he deli6erately avoided discussing hu@an evolution in 4ri-inE see the discussion in ). M. )ichards 1 %$, 77. 1!=ff." 4ut he could see ;here all this ;as leading, and, in s7ite of his near>7erfect silence on these trou6ling eAtra7olations, so could @any of his readers. So@e loved ;hat they thought they sa;, and others hated it. 5arl MarA ;as eAultant? I,ot only is a death 6lo; dealt here for the first ti@e to -Teleology- in the natural sciences 6ut their rational @eaning is e@7irically eA7lainedI (Euoted in )achels 1 1, 7. 11=". 3riedrich ,ietJsche sa;Hthrough the @ists of his conte@7t for all things /nglishHan even @ore cos@ic @essage in Dar;in? .od is dead. +f ,ietJsche is the father of eAistentialis@, then 7erha7s Dar;in deserves the title of grandfather. 0thers ;ere less enthralled ;ith the thought that Dar;in-s vie;s ;ere utterly su6versive to sacred tradition. Sa@uel *il6erforce, 4isho7 of 0Aford, ;hose de6ate ;ith Tho@as HuAley in Mune 1%!= ;as one of the @ost cele6rated confrontations 6et;een Dar;inis@ and the religious esta6lish@ent (see cha7ter 1'", said in an anony@ous revie;? Man-s derived su7re@acy over the earth# @an-s 7o;er of articulate s7eech# @an-s gift of reason# @an-s free>;ill and res7onsi6ility ...Hall are eEually and utterly irreconcila6le ;ith the degrading notion of the 6rute origin of hi@ ;ho ;as created in the i@age of .odOOOOP*il6erforce 1%!=.Q *hen s7eculation on these eAtensions of his vie; arose, Dar;in ;isely chose to retreat to the security of his 6ase ca@7, the @agnificently 7rovi> sioned and defended thesis that 6egan in the @iddle, ;ith life already on the scene, and I@erelyI sho;ed ho;, once this 7rocess of design accu@ulation ;as under ;ay, it could 7roceed ;ithout any (furtherG" intervention fro@ any Mind. 4ut, as @any of his readers a77reciated, ho;ever co@forting this @odest disclai@er @ight 6e, it ;as not really a sta6le resting 7lace.

Earl" Reactions


Did you ever hear of universal acidG This fantasy used to a@use @e and so@e of @y school6oy friendsH+ have no idea ;hether ;e invented or inherited it, along ;ith S7anish fly and salt7eter, as a 7art of underground youth culture. Universal acid is a liEuid so corrosive that it ;ill eat through an"thin-A The 7ro6le@ is? ;hat do you 8ee7 it inG +t dissolves glass 6ottles and stainless>steel canisters as readily as 7a7er 6ags. *hat ;ould ha77en if you so@eho; ca@e u7on or created a dollo7 of universal acidG *ould the ;hole 7lanet eventually 6e destroyedG *hat ;ould it leave in its ;a8eG After everything had 6een transfor@ed 6y its encounter ;ith universal acid, ;hat ;ould the ;orld loo8 li8eG 2ittle did + realiJe that in a fe; years + ;ould encounter an ideaHDar;in-s ideaH6earing an un@ista8a6le li8eness to universal acid? it eats through Dust a6out every traditional conce7t, and leaves in its ;a8e a revolutioniJed ;orld>vie;, ;ith @ost of the old land> @ar8s still recogniJa6le, 6ut transfor@ed in funda@ental ;ays. Dar;in-s idea had 6een 6orn as an ans;er to Euestions in 6iology, 6ut it threatened to lea8 out, offering ans;ersH;elco@e or notHto Euestions in cos@ology (going in one direction" and 7sychology (going in the other di> rection ". +f redesign could 6e a @indless, algorith@ic 7rocess of evolution, ;hy couldn-t that ;hole 7rocess itself 6e the 7roduct of evolution, and so forth, all the wa" down= And if @indless evolution could account for the 6reathta8ingly clever artifacts of the 6ios7here, ho; could the 7roducts of our o;n IrealI @inds 6e eAe@7t fro@ an evolutionary eA7lanationG Dar;in-s idea thus also threatened to s7read all the wa" up7 dissolving the illusion of our o;n authorshi7, our o;n divine s7ar8 of creativity and understanding. Much of the controversy and anAiety that has envelo7ed Dar;in-s idea ever since can 6e understood as a series of failed ca@7aigns in the struggle to contain Dar;in-s idea ;ithin so@e acce7ta6ly IsafeI and @erely 7artial revolution. Cede so@e or all of @odern 6iology to Dar;in, 7erha7s, 6ut hold the line thereL 5ee7 Dar;inian thin8ing out of cos@ology, out of 7sychology, out of hu@an culture, out of ethics, 7olitics, and religionL +n these ca@7aigns, @any 6attles have 6een ;on 6y the forces of contain@ent? fla;ed a77lications of Dar;in-s idea have 6een eA7osed and discredited, 6eaten 6ac8 6y the cha@7ions of the 7re>Dar;inian tradition. 4ut ne; ;aves of Dar;inian thin8ing 8ee7 co@ing. They see@ to 6e i@7roved versions, not vulnera6le to the refutations that defeated their 7redecessors, 6ut are they sound eAtensions of the unEuestiona6ly sound Dar;inian core idea, or @ight they, too, 6e 7erversions of it, and even @ore virulent, @ore dangerous, than the a6uses of Dar;in already refutedG 077onents of the s7read differ shar7ly over tactics. Must ;here should the 7rotective di8es 6e 6uiltG Should ;e try to contain the idea ;ithin 6iology itself, ;ith one 7ost>Dar;inian counterrevolution or anotherG A@ong those ;ho have favored this tactic is Ste7hen May .ould, ;ho has offered several different revolutions of contain@ent. 0r should ;e 7lace the 6arriers far>


U,+1/)SA2 AC+D

Darwin/s #ssault on the Cosmic "ramid


ther outG To get our 6earings in this series of ca@7aigns, ;e should start ;ith a crude @a7 of the 7re>Dar;inian territory. As ;e shall see, it ;ill have to 6e revised again and again to @a8e acco@@odations as various s8ir@ishes are lost.

or end Iso as to o6tain the 6est result.I This fitting of @eans to ends i@7lies, argued AEuinas, an intention. 4ut, seeing as natural 6odies lac8 consciousness, they cannot su77ly that intention the@selves. ITherefore so@e intelligent 6eing eAists 6y ;ho@ all natural things are directed to their end# and this 6eing ;e call .od.I PDavies 1 ', 7. '==.Q Hu@e-s Cleanthes, follo;ing in this tradition, lu@7s the ada7ted @arvels of the living ;orld ;ith the regularities of the heavensHit-s all li8e a ;onderful cloc8;or8 to hi@. 4ut Dar;in suggests a division? .ive @e 0r> der, he says, and ti@e, and + ;ill give you Design. 2et @e start ;ith regu> larityHthe @ere 7ur7oseless, @indless, 7ointless regularity of 7hysicsHand + ;ill sho; you a 7rocess that eventually ;ill yield 7roducts that eAhi6it not Dust regularity 6ut 7ur7osive design. (This ;as Dust ;hat 5arl MarA thought he sa; ;hen he declared that Dar;in had dealt a death 6lo; to Teleology? Dar;in had reduced teleology to nonteleology, Design to 0rder." 4efore Dar;in, the difference 6et;een 0rder and Design didn-t loo@ large, 6ecause in any case it all ca@e do;n fro@ .od. The ;hole universe ;as His artifact, a 7roduct of His +ntelligence, His Mind. 0nce Dar;in Du@7ed into the @iddle ;ith his 7ro7osed ans;er to the Euestion of ho; Design could arise fro@ @ere 0rder, the rest of the Cos@ic Pyra@id ;as 7ut in Deo7ardy. Su77ose ;e acce7t that Dar;in has eA7lained the Design of the 6odies of 7lants and ani@als (including our o;n 6odiesH;e have to ad@it that Dar;in has 7laced us fir@ly in the ani@al 8ingdo@ ". 2oo8ing u7, if ;e concede to Dar;in our 6odies, can ;e 8ee7 hi@ fro@ ta8ing our @inds as ;ellG (*e ;ill address this Euestion, in @any for@s, in 7art +++." 2oo8ing do;n, Dar;in as8s us to give hi@ 0rder as a 7re@ise, 6ut is there anything to 8ee7 hi@ fro@ ste77ing do;n a level and giving hi@self an algorith@ic account of the origin of 0rder out of @ere ChaosG (*e ;ill address this Euestion in cha7ter !." The vertigo and revulsion this 7ros7ect 7rovo8es in @any ;as 7erfectly eA7ressed in an early attac8 on Dar;in, 7u6lished anony@ously in 1%!%? +n the theory ;ith ;hich ;e have to deal, A6solute +gnorance is the artificer# so that ;e @ay enunciate as the funda@ental 7rinci7le of the ;hole syste@, that, +, 0)D/) T0 MA5/ A P/)3/CT A,D 4/AUT+3U2 MACH+,/, +T +S ,0T )/FU+S+T/ T0 5,0* H0* T0 MA5/ +T. This 7ro7osition ;ill 6e found, on careful eAa@ination, to eA7ress, in condensed for@, the essential 7ur7ort of the Theory, and to eA7ress in a fe; ;ords all Mr. Dar;in-s @eaning# ;ho, 6y a strange inversion of reasoning, see@s to thin8 A6solute +gnorance fully Eualified to ta8e the 7lace of A6solute *isdo@ in all the achieve@ents of creative s8ill. PMac5enJie 1%!%.Q /AactlyL Dar;in-s Istrange inversion of reasoningI ;as in fact a ne; and ;onderful ;ay of thin8ing, co@7letely overturning the Mind>first ;ay that

'. DA)*+,-S ASSAU2T 0, TH/ C0SM+C P<)AM+D

A 7ro@inent feature of Pre>Dar;inian ;orld>vie;s is an overall to7>to> 6otto@ @a7 of things. This is often descri6ed as a 2adder# .od is at the to7, ;ith hu@an 6eings a rung or t;o 6elo; (de7ending on ;hether angels are 7art of the sche@e". At the 6otto@ of the 2adder is ,othingness, or @ay6e Chaos, or @ay6e 2oc8e-s inert, @otionless Matter. Alternatively, the scale is a To;er, or, in the intellectual historian Arthur 2oveDoy-s @e@ora6le 7hrase (1 (!", a .reat Chain of 4eing co@7osed of @any lin8s. Mohn 2oc8e-s argu@ent has already dra;n our attention to a 7articularly a6stract version of the hierarchy, ;hich + ;ill call the Cos@ic Pyra@id? .od Mind Design 0 r d e r C h a o s , o t h i n g (*arning? each ter@ in the 7yra@id @ust 6e understood in an old>fashioned, 7re>Dar;inian senseL" /verything finds its 7lace on one level or another of the Cos@ic Pyra@id, even 6lan8 nothingness, the ulti@ate foundation. ,ot all @atter is 0rdered, so@e is in Chaos# only so@e 0rdered @atter is also Designed# only so@e Designed things have Minds, and of course only one Mind is .od. .od, the first Mind, is the source and eA7lanation of everything underneath. (Since everything thus depends on .od, 7erha7s ;e should say it is a chandelier, hanging fro@ .od, rather than a 7yra@id, su77orting Hi@." *hat is the difference 6et;een 0rder and DesignG As a first sta6, ;e @ight say that 0rder is @ere regularity, @ere 7attern# Design is Aristotle-s telos7 an eA7loitation of 0rder for a 7ur7ose, such as ;e see in a cleverly designed artifact. The solar syste@ eAhi6its stu7endous 0rder, 6ut does not (a77arently" have a 7ur7oseHit isn-tNor anything. An eye, in contrast, is for seeing. 4efore Dar;in, this distinction ;as not al;ays clearly @ar8ed. +n > deed, it ;as 7ositively 6lurred? +n the thirteenth century, AEuinas offered the vie; that natural 6odies Psuch as 7lanets, raindro7s, volcanosQ act as if guided to;ard a definite goal


U,+1/)SA2 AC+D

Darwin/s #ssault on the Cosmic "ramid


Mohn 2oc8e I7rovedI and David Hu@e could see no ;ay around. Mohn De;ey nicely descri6ed the inversion so@e years later, in his insightful 6oo8 The Influence of Darwin on hilosoph"8 I+nterest shifts ... fro@ an intelligence that sha7ed things once for all to the 7articular intelligences ;hich things are even no; sha7ingI (De;ey 1 1=, 7. 19". 4ut the idea of treating Mind as an effect rather than as a 3irst Cause is too revolutionary for so@eHan Ia;ful stretcherI that their o;n @inds cannot acco@@odate co@forta6ly. This is as true today as it ;as in 1%!=, and it has al;ays 6een as true of so@e of evolution-s 6est friends as of its foes. 3or instance, the 7hysicist Paul Davies, in his recent 6oo8 The Mind of Dod7 7roclai@s that the reflective 7o;er of hu@an @inds can 6e Ino trivial detail, no @inor 6y> 7roduct of @indless 7ur7oseless forcesI (Davies 1 ', 7. '('". This is a @ost revealing ;ay of eA7ressing a fa@iliar denial, for it 6etrays an ill>eAa@ined 7reDudice. *hy, ;e @ight as8 Davies, ;ould its 6eing a 6y>7roduct of @indless, 7ur7oseless forces @a8e it trivialG *hy couldn-t the @ost i@7ortant thing of all 6e so@ething that arose fro@ uni@7ortant thingsG *hy should the i@7ortance or eAcellence of an"thin- have to rain do;n on it fro@ on high, fro@ so@ething @ore i@7ortant, a gift fro@ .odG Dar;in-s inversion suggests that ;e a6andon that 7resu@7tion and loo8 for sorts of eAcellence, of ;orth and 7ur7ose, that can e@erge, 6u66ling u7 out of I@indless, 7ur7oseless forces.I Alfred )ussel *allace, ;hose o;n version of evolution 6y natural selec> tion arrived on Dar;in-s des8 ;hile he ;as still delaying 7u6lication of 4ri-in7 and ;ho@ Dar;in @anaged to treat as codiscoverer of the 7rinci7le, never Euite got the 7oint.1 Although at the outset *allace ;as @uch @ore forthco@ing on the su6Dect of the evolution of the hu@an @ind than Dar;in ;as ;illing to 6e, and stoutly @aintained at first that hu@an @inds ;ere no eAce7tion to the rule that all features of living things ;ere 7roducts of evolution, he could not see the Istrange inversion of reasoningI as the 8ey to the greatness of the great idea. /choing Mohn 2oc8e, *allace 7roclai@ed that Ithe @arvelous co@7leAity of forces ;hich a77ear to control @atter, if not actually to constitute it, are and @ust 6e @ind>7roductsI (.ould 1 %9, 7. ( $". *hen, later in his life, *allace converted to s7iritualis@ and eAe@7ted hu@an consciousness altogether fro@ the iron rule of

1. This fascinating and even eAcruciating story has 6een ;ell told @any ti@es, 6ut still the controversies rage. *hy did Dar;in delay 7u6lication in the first 7laceG *as his treat> @ent of *allace generous or @onstrously unfairG The unsettled relations 6et;een Dar> ;in and *allace are not Dust a @atter of Dar;in-s uneasy conscience a6out ho; he handled *allace-s innocent clai@>Du@7ing corres7ondence# as ;e see here, the t;o ;ere also se7arated 6y vast differences in insight and attitude a6out the idea they 6oth dis > covered. 3or 7articularly good accounts, see Des@ond and Moore 1 1# )ichards 1 %$, 77. 19 >!1.

evolution, Dar;in sa; the crac8 ;iden and ;rote to hi@? I+ ho7e you have not @urdered too co@7letely your o;n and @y childI (Des@ond and Moore 1 1, 7. 9! ". 4ut ;as it really so inevita6le that Dar;in-s idea should lead to such revolution and su6versionG I+t is o6vious that the critics did not ;ish to understand, and to so@e eAtent Dar;in hi@self encouraged their ;ishful thin8ingI (/llegard 1 9!". *allace ;anted to as8 ;hat the purpose of natural selection @ight 6e, and though this @ight see@ in retros7ect to 6e sEuandering the fortune he and Dar;in had uncovered, it ;as an idea for ;hich Dar;in hi@self often eA7ressed sy@7athy. +nstead of reducing tele> ology all the ;ay to 7ur7oseless 0rder, ;hy couldn-t ;e reduce all @undane teleology to a single 7ur7ose? .od-s 7ur7oseG *asn-t this an o6vious and inviting ;ay to 7lug the di8eG Dar;in ;as clear in his o;n @ind that the variation on ;hich the 7rocess of natural selection de7ended had to 6e un7lanned and undesigned, 6ut the 7rocess itself @ight have a 7ur7ose, @ightn-t itG +n a letter in +%!= to the A@erican naturalist Asa .ray, an early su77orter, Dar;in ;rote, I+ a@ inclined to loo8 at everything as resulting fro@ desi-ned Pe@7hasis addedQ la;s, ;ith the details ;hether good or 6ad, left to the ;or8ing out of ;hat ;e @ay call chanceI (3. Dar;in 1 11, vol. ', 7. 1=9". Auto@atic 7rocesses are the@selves often creations of great 6rilliance. 3ro@ today-s vantage 7oint, ;e can see that the inventors of the auto@atic trans@ission and the auto@atic door>o7ener ;ere no idiots, and their genius lay in seeing ho; to create so@ething that could do so@ething IcleverI ;ithout having to thin8 a6out it. +ndulging in so@e anachronis@, ;e could say that, to so@e o6servers in Dar;in-s day, it see@ed that he had left o7en the 7ossi6ility that .od did His handi;or8 6y designing an auto@atic design> @a8er. And to so@e of these, the idea ;as not Dust a des7erate sto7ga7 6ut a 7ositive i@7rove@ent on tradition. The first cha7ter of .enesis descri6es the successive ;aves of Creation and ends each ;ith the refrain Iand .od sa; that it ;as good.I Dar;in had discovered a ;ay to eli@inate this retail a77lication of +ntelligent Fuality Control# natural selection ;ould ta8e care of that ;ithout further intervention fro@ .od. (The seventeenth>century 7hiloso7her .ottfried *ilhel@ 2ei6niJ had defended a si@ilar hands>off vision of .od the Creator." As Henry *ard 4eecher 7ut it, IDesign 6y ;holesale is grander than design 6y retailI ()achels 1 1, 7. ". Asa .ray, ca7tivated 6y Dar;in-s ne; idea 6ut trying to reconcile it ;ith as @uch of Iis traditional religious creed as 7ossi6le, ca@e u7 ;ith this @arriage of convenience? .od intended the Istrea@ of variationsI and foresaw Dust ho; the la;s of nature He had laid do;n ;ould 7rune this strea@ over the eons. As Mohn De;ey later a7tly re@ar8ed, invo8ing yet another @ercantile @et> a7hor, I.ray held to ;hat @ay 6e called design on the install@ent 7lanI (De;ey 1 1=, 7. 1'".


U,+1/)SA2 AC+D

The rinciple of the #ccumulation of Desi-n

+t is not unusual to find such @eta7hors, redolent of ca7italis@, in evo> lutionary eA7lanations. /Aa@7les are often gleefully recounted 6y those critics and inter7reters of Dar;in ;ho see this language as revealingHor should ;e say 6etrayingHthe social and 7olitical environ@ent in ;hich Dar;in develo7ed his ideas, there6y ( so@eho; " discrediting their clai@ to scientific o6Dectivity. +t is certainly true that Dar;in, 6eing an ordinary @ortal, ;as the inheritor of a huge @anifold of conce7ts, @odes of eA7res > sion, attitudes, 6iases, and visions that ;ent ;ith his station in life (as a 1ictorian /nglish@an @ight 7ut it", 6ut it is also true that the econo@ic @eta7hors that co@e so naturally to @ind ;hen one is thin8ing a6out evolution get their 7o;er fro@ one of the dee7est features of Dar;in-s discovery.

Second 2a;, the universe is un;inding out of a @ore ordered state into the ulti@ately disordered state 8no;n as the heat death of the universe. ' *hat, then, are living thingsG They are things that defy this cru@6ling into dust, at least for a ;hile, 6y not 6eing isolatedH6y ta8ing in fro@ their environ@ent the ;here;ithal to 8ee7 life and li@6 together. The 7sychol> ogist )ichard .regory su@@ariJes the idea cris7ly? Ti@e-s arro; given 6y /ntro7yHthe loss of organiJation, or loss of te@> 7erature differencesHis statistical and it is su6Dect to local s@all>scale reversals. Most stri8ing? life is a syste@atic reversal of /ntro7y, and intel> ligence creates structures and energy differences against the su77osed gradual -death- through /ntro7y of the 7hysical Universe. P.regory 1 %1, 7. 1(!.Q .regory goes on to credit Dar;in ;ith the funda@ental ena6ling idea? I+t is the @easure of the conce7t of ,atural Selection that increases in the co@7leAity and order of organis@s in 6iological ti@e can no; 6e under> stood.I ,ot Dust individual organis@s, 6ut the ;hole 7rocess of evolution that creates the@, thus can 6e seen as funda@ental 7hysical 7heno@ena running contrary to the larger trend of cos@ic ti@e, a feature ca7tured 6y *illia@ Calvin in one of the @eanings of the title of his classic eA7loration of the relationshi7 6et;een evolution and cos@ology, The Ri%er That 5lows $phill8 # @ourne" from the Bi- Ban- to the Bi- Brain (1 %!". A desi-ned thing, then, is either a living thing or a 7art of a living thing, or the artifact of a living thing, organiJed in any case in aid of this 6attle against disorder. +t is not i@7ossi6le to o77ose the trend of the Second 2a;, 6ut it is costly. Consider iron. +ron is a very useful ele@ent, essential for our 6odily health, and also valua6le as the @aDor co@7onent of steel, that ;onderful 6uilding @aterial. 0ur 7lanet used to have vast reserves of iron ore, 6ut they are gradually 6eing de7leted. Does this @ean that the /arth is running out of ironG Hardly. *ith the trivial eAce7tion of a fe; tons that have recently 6een launched out of /arth-s effective gravitational field in the for@ of s7ace> 7ro6e co@7onents, there is Dust as @uch iron on the 7lanet today as there ever ;as. The trou6le is that @ore and @ore of it is scattered a6out in the for@ of rust (@olecules of iron oAide", and other lo;>grade, lo;>concentration @aterials. +n 7rinci7le, it could all 6e recovered, 6ut that ;ould ta8e enor@ous a@ounts of energy, craftily focused on the 7articular 7roDect of eAtracting and reconcentrating the iron. +t is the organiJation of Dust such so7histicated 7rocesses that constitutes

(. TH/ P)+,C+P2/ 03 TH/ ACCUMU2AT+0, 03 D/S+.,

The 8ey to understanding Dar;in-s contri6ution is -rantin- the 7re@ise of the Argu@ent fro@ Design. *hat conclusion ought one to dra; if one found a ;atch lying on the heath in the ;ildernessG As Paley ( and Hu@e-s Clean> thes 6efore hi@ " insisted, a ;atch eAhi6its a tre@endous a@ount of wor6 done. *atches and other designed o6Dects don-t Dust ha77en# they have to 6e the 7roduct of ;hat @odern industry calls I) and DIHresearch and develo7@entHand ) and D is costly, in 6oth ti@e and energy. 4efore Dar > ;in, the only @odel ;e had of a 7rocess 6y ;hich this sort of )>and>D ;or8 could 6e done ;as an +ntelligent Artificer. *hat Dar;in sa; ;as that in 7rinci7le the sa@e ;or8 could 6e done 6y a different sort of 7rocess that distributed that ;or8 over huge a@ounts of ti@e, 6y thriftily conserving the design ;or8 that had 6een acco@7lished at each stage, so that it didn-t have to 6e done over again. +n other ;ords, Dar;in had hit u7on ;hat ;e @ight call the Princi7le of Accu@ulation of Design. Things in the ;orld (such as ;atches and organis@s and ;ho 8no;s ;hat else" @ay 6e seen as 7roducts e@6odying a certain a@ount of Design, and one ;ay or another, that Design had to have 6een created 6y a 7rocess of ) and D. Utter undesignednessH 7ure chaos in the old>fashioned senseH;as the null or starting 7oint. A @ore recent idea a6out the differenceHand tight relationH6et;een Design and 0rder ;ill hel7 clarify the 7icture. This is the 7ro7osal, first 7o7ulariJed 6y the 7hysicist /r;in Schrodinger (1 !$", that 2ife can 6e defined in ter@s of the Second 2a; of Ther@odyna@ics. +n 7hysics, order or organiJation can 6e @easured in ter@s of heat differences 6et;een regions of s7ace ti@e# entrop" is si@7ly disorder, the o77osite of order, and according to the Second 2a;, the entro7y of any isolated syste@ increases ;ith ti@e. +n other ;ords, things run do;n, inevita6ly. According to the

'. And ;here did the initial order co@e fro@G The 6est discussion + have encountered of Iis good Euestion is ICos@ology and the Arro; of Ti@e,I ch. $ of Penrose 1 % .


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The rinciple of the #ccumulation of Desi-n


the hall@ar8 of life. .regory dra@atiJes this ;ith an unforgetta6le eAa@7le. A standard teAt6oo8 eA7ression of the directionality i@7osed 6y the Second 2a; of Ther@odyna@ics is the clai@ that you can-t unscra@6le an egg. *ell, not that you a6solutely can-t, 6ut that it ;ould 6e an eAtre@ely costly, so7histicated tas8, u7hill all the ;ay against the Second 2a;. ,o; consider? ho; eA7ensive ;ould it 6e to @a8e a device that ;ould ta8e scra@6led eggs as in7ut and deliver unscra@6led eggs as out7utG There is one ready solution? 7ut a live hen in the 6oAL 3eed it scra@6led eggs, and it ;ill 6e a6le to @a8e eggs for youHfor a ;hile. Hens don-t nor@ally stri8e us as near> @iraculously so7histicated entities, 6ut here is one thing a hen can do, than8s to the Design that has organiJed it, that is still ;ay 6eyond the reach of the devices created 6y hu@an engineers. The @ore Design a thing eAhi6its, the @ore )>and>D ;or8 had to have occurred to 7roduce it. 2i8e any good revolutionary, Dar;in eA7loits as @uch as 7ossi6le of the old syste@? the vertical di@ension of the Cos@ic Pyra@id is retained, and 6eco@es the @easure of ho; @uch Design has gone into the ite@s at that level. +n Dar;in-s sche@e, as in the traditional Pyra@id, Minds do end u7 near the to7, a@ong the @ost designed of entities (in 7art 6ecause they are the self>redesigning things, as ;e shall see in cha7ter 1(". 4ut this @eans that they are a@ong the @ost advanced e<fects (to date" of the creative 7rocess, notHas in the old versionHits cause or source. Their 7roducts in turnHthe hu@an artifacts that ;ere our initial @odelH@ust count as @ore designed still. This @ay see@ counterintuitive at first. A 5eats ode @ay see@ to have so@e clai@ to having a grander ) and D 7edigree than a nightingaleHat least it @ight see@ so to a 7oet ignorant of 6iologyH6ut ;hat a6out a 7a7er cli7G Surely a 7a7er cli7 is a trivial 7roduct of design co@7ared ;ith any living thing, ho;ever rudi@entary. +n one o6vious sense, yes, 6ut reflect for a @o@ent. Put yourself in Paley-s shoes, 6ut ;al8ing along the a77arently deserted 6each on an alien 7lanet. *hich discovery ;ould eAcite you the @ost? a cla@ or a cla@>ra8eG 4efore the 7lanet could @a8e a cla@>ra8e, it ;ould have to @a8e a cla@>ra8e>@a8er, and that is a @ore designed thing 6y far than a cla@. 0nly a theory ;ith the logical sha7e of Dar;in-s could explain ho; designed things ca@e to eAist, 6ecause any other sort of eA7lanation ;ould 6e either a vicious circle or an infinite regress ( Dennett 1 $9 ". The old ;ay, 2oc8e-s Mind>first ;ay, endorsed the 7rinci7le that it ta8es an +ntelligence to @a8e an intelligence. This idea @ust have al;ays see@ed self>evident to our ancestors, the artifact>@a8ers, going 6ac8 to >omo habilis7 the IhandyI @an, fro@ ;ho@ >omo sapiens7 the I8no;ingI @an, descended. ,o6ody ever sa; a s7ear fashion a hunter out of ra; @aterials. Children chant, I+t ta8es one to 8no; one,I 6ut an even @ore 7ersuasive slogan ;ould see@ to 6e I+t ta8es a greater one to @a8e a lesser one.I Any vie; ins7ired 6y this slogan i@@ediately faces an e@6arrassing Euestion, ho;ever, as Hu@e had

noted? +f .od created and designed all these ;onderful things, ;ho created .odG Su7ergodG And ;ho created Su7ergodG Su7erdu7ergodG 0r did .od create Hi@selfG *as it hard ;or8G Did it ta8e ti@eG Don-t as8L *ell, then, ;e @ay as8 instead ;hether this 6land e@6race of @ystery is any i@7rove@ent over Dust denying the 7rinci7le that intelligence (or design" @ust s7ring fro@ +ntelligence. Dar;in offered an eA7lanatory 7ath that actually honored Paley-s insight? real ;or8 ;ent into designing this ;atch, and ;or8 isn-t free. Ho; @uch design does a thing eAhi6itG ,o one has yet offered a syste@ of design Euantification that @eets all our needs. Theoretical ;or8 that 6ears on this interesting Euestion is under ;ay in several disci7lines, ( and in cha7ter ! ;e ;ill consider a natural @etric that 7rovides a neat solution to s7ecial cases H6ut in the @eanti@e ;e have a 7o;erful intuitive sense of different a@ounts of design. Auto@o6iles contain @ore design than 6icycles, shar8s contain @ore design than a@oe6as, and even a short 7oe@ contains @ore design than a I5ee7 0ff the .rassI sign. (+ can hear the s8e7tical reader saying, I*hoaL Slo; do;nL +s this su77osed to 6e uncon>troversialGI ,ot 6y a long shot. +n due course + ;ill atte@7t to Dustify these clai@s, 6ut for the ti@e 6eing + ;ant to dra; attention to, and 6uild on, so@e fa@iliarH6ut ad@ittedly unrelia6leHintuitions." Patent la;, including the la; of co7yright, is a re7ository of our 7ractical gras7 of the Euestion. Ho; @uch novelty of design counts as enough to Dustify a 7atentG Ho; @uch can one 6orro; fro@ the intellectual 7roducts of others ;ithout reco@7ense or ac8no;ledg@entG These are sli77ery slo7es on ;hich ;e have had to construct so@e rather ar6itrary terraces, codifying ;hat other;ise ;ould 6e a @atter of inter@ina6le dis7ute. The 6urden of 7roof in these dis7utes is fiAed 6y our intuitive sense of ho; @uch design is too @uch design to 6e @ere coincidence. 0ur intuitions here are very strong and, + 7ro@ise to sho;, sound. Su77ose an author is accused of 7lagiaris@, and the evidence is, say, a single 7aragra7h that is al@ost identical to a 7aragra7h in the 7utative source. Might this 6e Dust a coincidenceG +t de7ends crucially on ho; @undane and for@ulaic the 7aragra7h is, 6ut @ost 7aragra7h>length 7assages of teAt are Is7ecialI enough (in ;ays ;e ;ill soon eA7lore" to @a8e inde7endent creation highly unli8ely. ,o reasona6le Dury ;ould reEuire the 7rosecutor in a 7lagiaris@ case to de@onstrate eAactly the causal 7ath;ay 6y ;hich the alleged co7ying too8 7lace. The defendant ;ould clearly have the 6urden of esta6lishing that his ;or8 ;as, re@ar8a6ly, an inde7endent ;or8 rather than a co7ying of ;or8 already done. A si@ilar 6urden of 7roof falls on the defendant in an industrial>es7ionage

(. 3or accessi6le overvie;s of so@e of the ideas, see Pagels 1 %%, Ste;art and .olu6its8y 1 ', and 2angton et al. 1 '.


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case? the interior of the defendant-s ne; line of ;idgets loo8s sus7iciously si@ilar in design to that of the 7laintiff-s line of ;idgetsHis this an innocent case of convergent evolution of designG )eally the only ;ay to 7rove your innocence in such a case is to sho; clear evidence of actually having done the necessary )>and>D ;or8 (old 6lue7rints, rough drafts, early @odels and @ec8u7s, @e@os a6out the 7ro6le@s encountered, etc.". +n the a6sence of such evidence, 6ut also in the a6sence of any 7hysical evidence of your es7ionage activities, you ;ould 6e convictedHand you-d deserve to 6eL Cos@ic coincidences on such a scale Dust don-t ha77en. The sa@e 6urden of 7roof no; reigns in 6iology, than8s to Dar;in. *hat + a@ calling the Princi7le of Accu@ulation of Design doesn-t logically reFuire that all design (on this 7lanet" descend via one 6ranch or another fro@ a single trun8 (or root or seed", 6ut it says that since each ne; designed thing that a77ears @ust have a large design invest@ent in its etiology so@e;here, the chea7est hy7othesis ;ill al;ays 6e that the design is largely co7ied fro@ earlier designs, ;hich are co7ied fro@ earlier designs, and so forth, so that actual )>and>D innovation is @ini@iJed. *e 8no; for a fact, of course, that @any designs have 6een inde7endently re>invented @any ti@esHeyes, for instance, doJens of ti@esH6ut every case of such convergent evolution @ust 6e 7roven against a 6ac8ground in ;hich @ost of the design is co7ied. +t is logically 7ossi6le that all the life for@s in South A@erica ;ere created inde7endently of all the life for@s in the rest of the ;orld, 6ut this is a ;ildly eAtravagant hy7othesis that ;ould need to 6e de@onstrated, 7iece 6y 7iece. Su77ose ;e discover, on so@e re@ote island, a novel s7ecies of 6ird. /ven if ;e don-t "et have direct confir@atory evidence that this 6ird is related to all the other 6irds in the ;orld, that is our over7o;eringly secure default assu@7tion, after Dar;in, 6ecause 6irds are very s7ecial designs. & So the fact that organis@sHand co@7uters and 6oo8s and other artifacts Hare effects of very s7ecial chains of causation is not, after Dar;in, a @erely relia6le generaliJation, 6ut a dee7 fact out of ;hich to 6uild a theory. Hu@e recogniJed the 7ointHIThro; several 7ieces of steel together, ;ithout sha7e or for@# they ;ill never arrange the@selves to co@7ose a ;atchIH6ut he and other, earlier, thin8ers thought they had to ground this dee7 fact in Mind. Dar;in ca@e to see ho; to distri6ute it in vast s7aces of ,on@ind, than8s to his ideas a6out ho; design innovations could 6e conserved and re7roduced, and hence accu@ulated. The idea that Design is so@ething that has ta8en ;or8 to create, and

hence has value at least in the sense that it is so@ething that @ight 6e conserved (and then stolen or sold", finds ro6ust eA7ression in econo@ic ter@s. Had Dar;in not had the 6enefit of 6eing 6orn into a @ercantile ;orld that had already created its Ada@ S@ith and its Tho@as Malthus, he ;ould not have 6een in 7osition to find ready>@ade 7ieces he could 7ut together into a ne;, value>added 7roduct. (<ou see, the idea a77lies to itself very nicely." The various sources of the Design that ;ent into Dar;in-s grand idea give us i@7ortant insights into the idea itself, 6ut do no @ore to di@inish its value or threaten its o6Dectivity than the hu@6le origins of @ethane di@inish its 4TUs ;hen it is 7ut to use as a fuel.

&. TH/ T002S 30) ) A,D D? S5<H005S 0) C)A,/SG

The ;or8 of ) and D is not li8e shoveling coal# it is so@eho; a sort of IintellectualI ;or8, and this fact grounds the other fa@ily of @eta7hors that has 6oth enticed and u7set, enlightened and confused, the thin8ers ;ho have confronted Dar;in-s Istrange inversion of reasoningI? the a77arent attri6ution of intelligence to the very 7rocess of natural selection that Dar;in insisted ;as not intelligent. *as it not unfortunate, in fact, that Dar;in had chosen to call his 7rinci7le Inatural selectionB ;ith its anthro7o@or7hic connotationsG *ouldn-t it have 6een 6etter, as Asa .ray suggested to hi@, to re7lace the i@agery a6out Inature-s .uiding HandI ;ith a discussion of the different ;ays of ;inning life-s race (Des@ond and Moore 1 1, 7. &9%"G Many 7eo7le Dust didn-t get it, and Dar;in ;as inclined to 6la@e hi@self? I+ @ust 6e a very 6ad eA7lainer,I he said, conceding? I+ su77ose -natural selection- ;as a 6ad ter@I (Des@ond and Moore 1 1, 7. & '". Certainly this Manus>faced ter@ has encouraged @ore than a century of heated argu@ent. A recent o77onent of Dar;in su@s it u7? 2ife on /arth, initially thought to constitute a sort of 7ri@a facie case for a creator, ;as, as a result of Dar;in-s idea, envisioned @erely as 6eing the outco@e of a 7rocess and a 7rocess @at ;as, according to Do6Jhans8y, I6lind, @echanical, auto@atic, i@7ersonal,I and, according to de 4eer, ;as I;asteful, 6lind, and 6lundering.I 4ut as soon as these criticis@s PsicQ ;ere leveled at natural selection, the I6lind 7rocessI itself ;as co@7ared to a 7oet, a co@7oser, a scul7tor, Sha8es7eareHto the very notion of creativity that the idea of natural selection had originally re7laced. +t is clear, + thin8, that there ;as so@ething very, very ;rong ;ith such an idea. P4ethell 1 $!.Q 0r so@ething very, very right. +t see@s to s8e7tics li8e 4ethell that there is so@ething ;illfully 7aradoAical in calling the 7rocess of evolution the 6lind ;atch@a8erI (Da;8ins 1 %!a", for this ta8es a;ay ;ith the left hand

&. ,ote, 6y the ;ay, that it ;ould not follo; lo-icall" that the 6ird ;as related to other 6irds if ;e found that its D,A ;as al@ost identical in seEuence to that of other 6irdsL IMust a coincidence, not 7lagiaris@,I ;ould 6e a logical 7ossi6ilityH6ut one that no6ody ;ould ta8e seriously.


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(I6lindI" the very discern@ent, 7ur7ose, and foresight it gives ;ith the right hand. 4ut others see that this @anner of s7ea8ingHand ;e shall find that it is not Dust u6iEuitous 6ut irre7lacea6le in conte@7orary 6iologyHis Dust the right ;ay to eA7ress the @yriads of detailed discoveries that Dar;inian theory hel7s to eA7ose. There is si@7ly no denying the 6reathta8ing 6rilliance of the designs to 6e found in nature. Ti@e and again, 6iologists 6affled 6y so@e a77arently futile or @aladroit 6it of 6ad design in nature have eventually co@e to see that they have underesti@ated the ingenuity, the sheer 6rilliance, the de7th of insight to 6e discovered in one of Mother ,ature-s creations. 3rancis Cric8 has @ischievously 6a7tiJed this trend in the na@e of his colleague 2eslie 0rgel, s7ea8ing of ;hat he calls I0rgel-s Second )ule? /volution is cleverer than you are.I (An alternative for@ula> tion? /volution is cleverer than 2eslie 0rgelL" Dar;in sho;s us ho; to cli@6 fro@ IA6solute +gnoranceI (as his out> raged critic said " to creative genius ;ithout 6egging any Euestions, 6ut ;e @ust tread very carefully, as ;e shall see. A@ong the controversies that s;irl around us, @ost if not all consist of different challenges to Dar;in-s clai@ that he can ta8e us all the ;ay to here (the ;onderful ;orld ;e inha6it" fro@ there (the ;orld of chaos or utter undesignedness" in the ti@e availa6le ;ithout invo8ing anything 6eyond the @indless @echanicity of the algorith@ic 7rocesses he had 7ro7osed. Since ;e have reserved the vertical di@ension of the traditional Cos@ic Pyra@id as a @easure of (intuitive " designedness, ;e can dra@atiJe the challenge ;ith the aid of another fantasy ite@ dra;n fro@ fol8lore. s6"hoo67 orig. Aeronaut. An i@aginary contrivance for attach@ent to the s8y# an i@aginary @eans of sus7ension in the s8y. I4xford En-lish Dictio; nar".L The first use noted 6y the 4ED is fro@ 1 19? Ian aero7lane 7ilot co@@anded to re@ain in 7lace (aloft" for another hour, re7lies -the @achine is not fitted ;ith s8yhoo8s.- I The s8yhoo8 conce7t is 7erha7s a descendant of the dens ex machina of ancient .ree8 dra@aturgy, ;hen second>rate 7lay;rights found their 7lots leading their heroes into inesca7a6le difficulties, they ;ere often te@7ted to cran8 do;n a god onto the scene, li8e Su7er>@an, to save the situation su7ernaturally. 0r s8yhoo8s @ay 6e an entirely inde7endent creation of convergent fol8loric evolution. S8yhoo8s ;ould 6e ;onderful things to have, great for lifting un;ieldy o6Dects out of difficult circu@stances, and s7eeding u7 all sorts of construction 7roDects. Sad to say, they are i@7ossi6le.9 9. *ell, not Euite i@7ossi6le. .eostationary satellites, or6iting in unison ;ith the /arth-s rotation, are a 8ind of real, non@iraculous s8yhoo8. *hat @a8es the@ so valua6leH;hat

There are cranes, ho;ever. Cranes can do the lifting ;or8 our i@aginary s8yhoo8s @ight do, and they do it in an honest, non>Euestion>6egging fashion. They are eA7ensive, ho;ever. They have to 6e designed and 6uilt, fro@ everyday 7arts already on hand, and they have to 6e located on a fir@ 6ase of eAisting ground. S8yhoo8s are @iraculous lifters, unsu77orted and insu77orta6le. Cranes are no less eAcellent as lifters, and they have the decided advantage of 6eing real. Anyone ;ho is, li8e @e, a lifelong onloo8er at construction sites ;ill have noticed ;ith so@e satisfaction that it so@eti@es ta8es a s@all crane to set u7 a 6ig crane. And it @ust have occurred to @any other onloo8ers that in 7rinci7le this 6ig crane could 6e used to ena6le or s7eed u7 the 6uilding of a still @ore s7ectacular crane. Cascading cranes is a tactic that seldo@ if ever gets used @ore than once in real>;orld construction 7roDects, 6ut in 7rinci7le there is no li@it to the nu@6er of cranes that could 6e organiJed in series to acco@7lish so@e @ighty end. ,o; i@agine all the IliftingI that has to get done in Design S7ace to create the @agnificent organis@s and (other" artifacts ;e encounter in our ;orld. 1ast distances @ust have 6een traversed since the da;n of life ;ith the earliest, si@7lest self>re7licating entities, s7reading out;ard (diversity" and u7;ard (eAcellence". Dar;in has offered us an account of the crudest, @ost rudi@entary, stu7idest i@agina6le lifting 7rocessHthe ;edge of natural selection. 4y ta8ing tinyHthe tiniest 7ossi6leHste7s, this 7rocess can gradually, over eons, traverse these huge distances. 0r so he clai@s. At no 7oint ;ould anything @iraculousHfro@ on highH6e needed. /ach ste7 has 6een acco@7lished 6y 6rute, @echanical, algorith@ic cli@6ing, fro@ the 6ase already 6uilt 6y the efforts of earlier cli@6ing. +t does see@ incredi6le. Could it really have ha77enedG 0r did the 7rocess need a Ileg u7I no; and then (7erha7s only at the very 6eginning" fro@ one sort of s8yhoo8 or anotherG 3or over a century, s8e7tics have 6een trying to find a 7roof that Dar;in-s idea Dust can-t ;or8, at least not all the wa". They have 6een ho7ing for, hunting for, 7raying for s8yhoo8s, as eAce7tions to ;hat they see as the 6lea8 vision of Dar;in-s algorith@ churning a;ay. And ti@e and again, they have co@e u7 ;ith truly interesting challengesHlea7s and ga7s and other @arvels that do see@, at first, to need

@a8es the@ financially sound invest@entsHis that ;e often do ;ant very @uch to attach so@ething (such as an antenna or a ca@era or telesco7e" to a 7lace high in the s8y. Satellites are i@7ractical for liftin-7 alas, 6ecause they have to 6e 7laced so high in the s8y. The idea has 6een carefully eA7lored. +t turns out that a ro7e of the strongest artificial fi6er yet @ade ;ould have to 6e over a hundred @eters in dia@eter at the to7Hit could ta7er to a nearly invisi6le fishing line on its ;ay do;nHDust to sus7end its o;n ;eight, let alone any 7ayload. /ven if you could s7in such a ca6le, you ;ouldn-t ;ant it falling out of or6it onto the city 6elo;L


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The Tools for R and D8 S6"hoo6s or Cranes=


s8yhoo8s. 4ut then along have co@e the cranes, discovered in @any cases 6y the very s8e7tics ;ho ;ere ho7ing to find a s8yhoo8. +t is ti@e for so@e @ore careful definitions. 2et us understand that a s6"hoo6 is a I@ind>firstI force or 7o;er or 7rocess, an eAce7tion to the 7rinci7le that all design, and a77arent design, is ulti@ately the result of @indless, @otiveless @echanicity. A crane7 in contrast, is a su67rocess or s7ecial feature of a design 7rocess that can 6e de@onstrated to 7er@it the local s7eeding u7 of the 6asic, slo; 7rocess of natural selection, and that can 6e de@onstrated to 6e itself the 7redicta6le (or retros7ectively eA7li ca6le " 7roduct of the 6asic 7rocess. So@e cranes are o6vious and uncon>troversial# others are still 6eing argued a6out, very fruitfully. Must to give a general sense of the 6readth and a77lication of the conce7t, let @e 7oint to three very different eAa@7les. +t is no; generally agreed a@ong evolutionary theorists that sex is a crane. That is, s7ecies that re7roduce seAually can @ove through Design S7ace at a @uch greater s7eed than that achieved 6y organis@s that re7roduce aseAually. Moreover, they can IdiscernI design i@7rove@ents along the ;ay that are all 6ut Iinvisi6leI to aseAually re7roducing organis@s ( Holland 1 $9 ". This cannot 6e the raison d/etre of seA, ho;ever. /volution cannot see ;ay do;n the road, so anything it 6uilds @ust have an i@@ediate 7ayoff to counter6alance the cost. As recent theorists have insisted, the IchoiceI of re7roducing seAually carries a huge immediate cost? organis@s send along only 9= 7ercent of their genes in any one transaction (to say nothing of the effort and ris8 involved in securing a transaction in the first 7lace". So the lon-;term 7ayoff of heightened efficiency, acuity, and s7eed of the redesign 7rocessHthe features that @a8e seA a @agnificent craneHis as nothing to the @yo7ic, local co@7etitions that @ust deter@ine ;hich organis@s get favored in the very neAt generation. So@e other, short>ter@, 6enefit @ust have @aintained the 7ositive selection 7ressure reEuired to @a8e seAual re7roduction an offer fe; s7ecies could refuse. There are a variety of co@7ellingHand co@7etingHhy7otheses that @ight solve this 7uJJle, ;hich ;as first forcefully 7osed for 6iologists 6y Mohn Maynard S@ith ( 1 $%". 3or a lucid introduction to the current state of 7lay, see Matt )idley 1 (> (More on this later." *hat ;e learn fro@ the eAa@7le of seA is that a crane of great 7o;er @ay eAist that ;as not created in order to exploit that 7o;er, 6ut for other reasons, although its 7o;er as a crane @ay hel7 eA7lain ;hy it has 6een @aintained ever since. A crane that ;as o6viously created to 6e a crane is -enetic en-ineerin-. .enetic engineersHhu@an 6eings ;ho engage in reco@6inant> D,A tin8eringHcan no; unEuestiona6ly ta8e huge lea7s through Design S7ace, creating organis@s that ;ould never have evolved 6y IordinaryI @eans. This is no @iracleH pro%ided that -enetic en-ineers Gand the artifacts the" use in their tradeJ are themsel%es wholl" the products of

earlier7 slower e%olutionar" processes. +f the creationists ;ere right that @an8ind is a s7ecies unto itself, divine and inaccessi6le via 6rute Dar;inian 7aths, then genetic engineering ;ould not 6e a crane after all, having 6een created ;ith the hel7 of a @aDor s8yhoo8. + don-t i@agine that any genetic engineers thin8 of the@selves this ;ay, 6ut it is a logically availa6le 7erch, ho;ever 7recarious. 2ess o6viously silly is this idea? if the 6odies of genetic engineers are 7roducts of evolution, 6ut their minds can do creative things that are irreduci6ly nonalgorith@ic or inaccessi6le 6y all algorith@ic 7aths, then the lea7s of genetic engineering @ight involve a s8yhoo8. /A7loring this 7ros7ect ;ill 6e the central to7ic of cha7ter 19. A crane ;ith a 7articularly interesting history is the4ald;in>/ffect, na@ed for one of its discoverers, Ma@es Mar8 4ald;in (1% !", 6ut @ore or less si@ultaneously discovered 6y t;o other early Dar;inians, Con;y 2loyd Morgan (fa@ed for 2loyd Morgan-s Canon of Parsi@ony Pfor discussion, see Dennett 1 %(Q" and H. 3. 0s6orn. 4ald;in ;as an enthusiastic Dar;inian, 6ut he ;as o77ressed 6y the 7ros7ect that Dar;in-s theory ;ould leave Mind ;ith an insufficiently i@7ortant and originating role in the (redesign of organis@s. So he set out to de@onstrate that ani@als, b" dint of their own cle%er acti%ities in the world7 @ight hasten or guide the further evolution of their s7ecies. Here is ;hat he as8ed hi@self? ho; could it 6e that indi vidual ani@als, 6y solving 7ro6le@s in their o;n lifeti@es, could change the conditions of co@7etition for their o;n offs7ring, @a8ing those 7ro6le@s easier to solve in the futureG And he ca@e to realiJe that this ;as in fact 7ossi6le, under certain conditions, ;hich ;e can illustrate ;ith a si@7le eAa@7le (dra;n, ;ith revisions, fro@ Dennett 1 1a". Consider a 7o7ulation of a s7ecies in ;hich there is considera6le varia tion at 6irth in the ;ay their 6rains are ;ired u7. Must one of the ;ays, ;e @ay su77ose, endo;s its 7ossessor ;ith a .ood Tric8Ha 6ehavioral talent that 7rotects it or enhances its chances dra@atically. The standard ;ay of re7resenting such differences in fitness 6et;een individual @e@6ers of a 7o7ulation is 8no;n as an Iada7tive landsca7eI or a Ifitness landsca7eI (S. *right 1 (1". The altitude in such a diagra@ stands for fitness (higher is 6etter", and the longitude and latitude stand for so@e factors of individual designHin this case, features of 6rain>;iring. /ach different ;ay a 6rain @ight 6e ;ired is re7resented 6y one of the rods that co@7ose the landsca7e Heach rod is a different -enot"pe. The fact that Dust one of the co@6inations of features is any goodHthat is, any 6etter than run>of>the>@illHis illustrated 6y the ;ay it stands out li8e a tele7hone 7ole in the desert. As figure (.1 @a8es clear, only one ;iring is favored# the others, no @atter ho; IcloseI to 6eing the good ;iring, are a6out eEual in fitness. So such an isolated 7ea8 is indeed a needle in the haystac8? it ;ill 6e 7ractically invis > i6le to natural selection. Those fe; individuals in the 7o7ulation that are luc8y enough to have the .ood Tric8 genoty7e ;ill ty7ically have difficulty


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The Tools for R and D8 S6"hoo6s or Cranes=

3+.U)/ (.1

7assing it on to their offs7ring, since under @ost circu@stances their chances of finding a @ate ;ho also has the .ood Tric8 genoty7e are re@ote, and a @iss is as good as a @ile. 4ut no; ;e introduce Dust one I@inorI change? su77ose that although the individual organis@s start out ;ith different ;irings (;hichever ;iring ;as ordered 6y their 7articular genoty7e or genetic reci7e"Has sho;n 6y their scatter on the fitness landsca7eHthey have so@e ca7acity to adDust or revise their ;iring, de7ending on ;hat they encounter during their lifeti@es. (+n the language of evolutionary theory, there is so@e I7lasticityI in their phenot"pes. The 7henoty7e is the eventual 6ody design created 6y the genoty7e in interaction ;ith environ@ent. +dentical t;ins raised in different environ@ents ;ould share a genoty7e 6ut @ight 6e dra@atically different in 7henoty7e." Su77ose, then, that these organis@s can end u7, after eA7loration, ;ith a design different fro@ the one they ;ere 6orn ;ith. *e @ay su77ose their eA7lorations are rando@, 6ut they have an innate ca7acity to recogniJe (and stay ;ith" a .ood Tric8 ;hen they stu@6le u7on it. Then those individuals ;ho 6egin life ;ith a genoty7e that is closer to the .ood Tric8 genoty7eHfe;er redesign ste7s a;ay fro@ itHare @ore li8ely to co@e across it, and stic8 ;ith it, than those that are 6orn ;ith a fara;ay design. This head start in the race to redesign the@selves can give the@ the edge in the Malthusian crunchHif the .ood Tric8 is so good that those ;ho never learn it, or ;ho learn it Itoo late,I are at a severe disadvantage. +n 7o7ulations ;ith this sort of 7henoty7ic 7lasticity, a near>@iss is better than a @ile. 3or such a 7o7ulation, the tele7hone 7ole in the desert 6eco@es the su@@it of a gradual hill, as in figure ('# those 7erched near the su@@it, although they start out ;ith a design that serves the@ no 6etter than others, ;ill tend to discover the su@@it design in short order. +n the long run, natural selectionHredesign at the genoty7e levelH;ill tend to follow the lead oNand confirm the directions ta8en 6y the individual organis@ssuccessful eA7lorationsHredesign at the individual or 7henoty7e level. The ;ay + have Dust descri6ed the 4ald;in /ffect certainly 8ee7s Mind to

3+.U)/ (.'

a @ini@u@, if not altogether out of the 7icture# all it reEuires is so@e 6rute, @echanical ca7acity to sto7 a rando@ ;al8 ;hen a .ood Thing co@es along, a @ini@al ca7acity to IrecogniJeI a tiny 6it of 7rogress, to IlearnI so@ething 6y 6lind trial and error. +n fact, + have 7ut it in beha%ioristic ter@s. *hat 4ald;in discovered ;as that creatures ca7a6le of Ireinforce@ent learningI not only do 6etter individually than creatures that are entirely Ihard>;iredI# their s7ecies ;ill e%ol%e faster 6ecause of its greater ca7acity to discover design i@7rove@ents in the neigh6orhood. ! This is not ho; 4ald;in descri6ed the effect he 7ro7osed. His te@7era@ent ;as the farthest thing fro@ 6ehavioris@. As )ichards notes? The @echanis@ confor@ed to ultra>Dar;inian assu@7tions, 6ut nonetheless allo;ed consciousness and intelligence a role in directing evolution. 4y 7hiloso7hic dis7osition and conviction, 4ald;in ;as a s7iritualistic @eta7hysician. He felt the 6eat of consciousness in the universe# it 7ulsed through all the levels of organic life. <et he understood the 7o;er of @echanistic eA7lanations of evolution. P).M. )ichards 1 %$, 7. &%=. Q$ The 4ald;in /ffect, under several different na@es, has 6een variously descri6ed, defended, and disallo;ed over the years, and recently inde7en dently rediscovered several @ore ti@es (e.g., Hinton and ,o;land 1 %$".

!.Schull (1 =", is res7onsi6le for the 7ers7ective that allo;s us to see s7ecies as varia6ly ca7a6le of IseeingI design i@7rove@ents, than8s to their varia6le ca7acities for 7henoty7ic eA7loration (for co@@entary, see Dennett 1 =a". $.)o6ert )ichards- account of the history of the 4ald;in /ffect (1 %$, es7ecially 77. &%=>9=( and discussion later in that 6oo8" has 6een one of the @aDor 7rovocations and guides to @y thin8ing in this 6oo8. *hat + found 7articularly valua6le (see @y revie;, Dennett 1 % a" ;as that )ichards not only shares ;ith 4ald;in and @any other Dar;inians a su6@erged yearning for s8yhoo8sH or at least a visceral dissatisfaction ;ith theories that insist on cranesH6ut also has the intellectual honesty and courage to eA7ose and eAa@ine his o;n disco@fort ;ith ;hat he is o6liged to call Iultra>Dar;inis@.I )ichards- heart is clearly ;ith 4ald;in, 6ut his @ind ;on-t let hi@ 6luster, or try to 7a7er Rver the crac8s he sees in the di8es that others have tried to erect against universal acid.


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!ho/s #fraid of Reductionism=


Although it has 6een regularly descri6ed and ac8no;ledged in 6iology teAt6oo8s, it has ty7ically 6een shunned 6y overcautious thin8ers, 6ecause they thought it s@ac8ed of the 2a@arc8ian heresy (the 7resu@ed 7ossi6ility of inheritance of acEuired characteristicsHsee cha7ter 11 for a detailed discussion". This reDection is 7articularly ironic, since, as )ichards notes, it ;as intended 6y 4ald;in to 6eHand truly isHan acce7ta6le substitute for 2a@arc8ian @echanis@s. The 7rinci7le certainly see@ed to dis7atch 2a@arc8is@, ;hile su77lying that 7ositive factor in evolution for ;hich even staunch Dar;inists li8e 2loyd Morgan longed. And to those of @eta7hysical a77etite, it revealed that under the clan8ing, @echanical vesture of Dar;inian nature, @ind could 6e found. P). M. )ichards 1 %$, 7. &%$Q *ell, not MindHif 6y that ;e @ean a full>fledged, intrinsic, original, s8yhoo8>ty7e MindH6ut only a nifty @echanistic, 6ehavioristic, crane>style @ind. That is not nothing, ho;ever# 4ald;in discovered an effect that gen> uinely increases the 7o;erHlocallyHof the underlying 7rocess of natural selection ;herever it o7erates. +t sho;s ho; the I6lindI 7rocess of the 6asic 7heno@enon of natural selection can 6e a6etted 6y a li@ited a@ount of Iloo8>aheadI in the activities of individual organis@s, ;hich create fitness differences that natural selection can then act u7on. This is a ;elco@e co@7lication, a ;rin8le in evolutionary theory that re@oves one reasona6le and co@7elling source of dou6t, and enhances our vision of the 7o;er of Dar;in-s idea, es7ecially ;hen it is cascaded in @ulti7le, nested a77lications. And it is ty7ical of the outco@e of other searches and controversies ;e ;ill eA7lore? the @otivation, the 7assion that drove the research, ;as the ho7e of finding a s8yhoo8# the triu@7h ;as finding ho; the sa@e ;or8 could 6e done ;ith a crane.

9. *H0-S A3)A+D 03 )/DUCT+0,+SMG

Reductionism is a dirt" word7 and a 6ind of /holistier than thou/ self; ri-hteousness has become fashionable.
H)+CHA)D DA*5+,S 1 %', 7. 11(

The ter@ that is @ost often 6andied a6out in these conflicts, ty7ically as a ter@ of a6use, is Ireductionis@.I Those ;ho yearn for s8yhoo8s call those ;ho eagerly settle for cranes Ireductionists,I and they can often @a8e reductionis@ see@ 7hilistine and heartless, if not do;nright evil. 4ut li8e @ost ter@s of a6use, Ireductionis@I has no fiAed @eaning. The central i@age is of so@e6ody clai@ing that one science IreducesI to another? that

che@istry reduces to 7hysics, that 6iology reduces to che@istry, that the social sciences reduce to 6iology, for instance. The 7ro6le@ is that there are 6oth 6land readings and 7re7osterous readings of any such clai@. According to the 6land readings, it is 7ossi6le (and desira6le " to unif" che@istry and 7hysics, 6iology and che@istry, and, yes, even the social sciences and 6iol> ogy. After all, societies are co@7osed of hu@an 6eings, ;ho, as @a@@als, @ust fall under the 7rinci7les of 6iology that cover all @a@@als. Ma@@als, in turn, are co@7osed of @olecules, ;hich @ust o6ey the la;s of che@istry, ;hich in turn @ust ans;er to the regularities of the underlying 7hysics. ,o sane scientist dis7utes this 6land reading# the asse@6led Mustices of the Su7re@e Court are as 6ound 6y the la; of gravity as is any avalanche, 6ecause they are, in the end, also a collection of 7hysical o6Dects. According to the 7re7osterous readings, reductionists ;ant to a6andon the 7rinci7les, theories, voca6ulary, la;s of the higher>level sciences, in favor of the lo;er> level ter@s. A reductionist drea@, on such a 7re7osterous reading, @ight 6e to ;rite IA Co@7arison of 5eats and Shelley fro@ the Molecular Point of 1ie;I or IThe )ole of 0Aygen Ato@s in Su77ly>Side /cono@ics,I or I/A> 7laining the Decisions of the )ehnEuist Court in Ter@s of /ntro7y 3luctu> ations.I Pro6a6ly no6ody is a reductionist in the 7re7osterous sense, and every6ody should 6e a reductionist in the 6land sense, so the IchargeI of reductionis@ is too vague to @erit a res7onse. +f so@e6ody says to you, I4ut that-s so reductionisticLI you ;ould do ;ell to res7ond, IThat-s such a Euaint, old>fashioned co@7laintL *hat on /arth did you have in @indGI + a@ ha77y to say that in recent years, so@e of the thin8ers + @ost ad@ire have co@e out in defense of one or another version of reductionis@, care> fully circu@scri6ed. The cognitive scientist Douglas Hofstadter, in Dodel Escher Bach7 co@7osed a IPrelude ... Ant 3ugueI (Hofstadter 1 $ , 77. '$9> ((!" that is an analytical hy@n to the virtues of reductionis@ in its 7ro7er 7lace. .eorge C. *illia@s, one of the 7re>e@inent evolutionists of the day, 7u6lished IA Defense of )eductionis@ in /volutionary 4iologyI (1 %9". The Joologist )ichard Da;8ins has distinguished ;hat he calls hierarchical or gradual reductionis@ fro@ 7reci7ice reductionis@# he reDects only the 7reci7ice version (Da;8ins 1 %!6, 7. $& ". % More recently the 7hysicist Steven *ein6erg, in Dreams of a 5inal Theor" (1 '", has ;ritten a cha7ter entitled IT;o Cheers for )eductionis@,I in ;hich he distinguishes 6et;een unco@7ro@ising reductionis@ (a 6ad thing" and co@7ro@ising reductionis@ (;hich he ringingly endorses". Here is @y o;n version. *e @ust distinguish reductionis@, ;hich is in general a good

S See also his discussion of 2e;ontin, )ose, and 5a@in-s (1 %& " idiosyncratic version of reductionis@HDa;8ins a7tly calls it their I7rivate 6ogeyIHin the second edition of The Se Aftsh Dene GI&(&:M 7. ((1.


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!ho/s #fraid of Reductionism=


thing, fro@ -reed" reductionism7 ;hich is not. The difference, in the conteAt of Dar;in-s theory, is si@7le? greedy reductionists thin8 that everything can 6e eA7lained ;ithout cranes# good reductionists thin8 that everything can 6e eA7lained ;ithout s8yhoo8s. There is no reason to 6e co@7ro@ising a6out ;hat + call good reduc> tionis@. +t is si@7ly the co@@it@ent to non>Euestion>6egging science ;ith> out any cheating 6y e@6racing @ysteries or @iracles at the outset. (3or another 7ers7ective on this, see Dennett 1 1a, 77. ((>( ." Three cheers for that 6rand of reductionis@Hand +-@ sure *ein6erg ;ould agree. 4ut in their eagerness for a 6argain, in their Jeal to eA7lain too @uch too fast, scientists and 7hiloso7hers often underesti@ate the co@7leAities, trying to s8i7 ;hole layers or levels of theory in their rush to fasten everything securely and neatly to the foundation. That is the sin of greedy reductionis@, 6ut notice that it is only ;hen overJealousness leads to falsification of the 7heno@ena that ;e should conde@n it. +n itself, the desire to reduce, to unite, to eA7lain it all in one 6ig overarching theory, is no @ore to 6e conde@ned as i@@oral than the contrary urge that drove 4ald;in to his discovery. +t is not ;rong to yearn for si@7le theories, or to yearn for 7heno@ena that no si@7le (or co@7leAL" theory could ever eA7lain# ;hat is ;rong is Jealous @isre7resentation, in either direction. Dar;in-s dangerous idea is reductionis@ incarnate, 7ro@ising to unite and eA7lain Dust a6out everything in one @agnificent vision. +ts 6eing the idea of an al-orithmic 7rocess @a8es it all the @ore 7o;erful, since the su6strate neutrality it there6y 7ossesses 7er@its us to consider its a77lication to Dust a6out anything. +t is no res7ecter of @aterial 6oundaries. +t a77lies, as ;e have already 6egun to see, even to itself. The @ost co@@on fear a6out Dar;in-s idea is that it ;ill not Dust eA7lain 6ut explain awa" the Minds and Pur7oses and Meanings that ;e all hold dear. Peo7le fear that once this universal acid has 7assed through the @onu@ents ;e cherish, they ;ill cease to eAist, dissolved in an unrecogniJa6le and unlova6le 7uddle of scientistic destruction. This cannot 6e a sound fear# a proper reductionists eA7lanation of these 7heno@ena ;ould leave the@ still standing 6ut Dust de@ystified, unified, 7laced on @ore secure foundations. *e @ight learn so@e sur7rising or even shoc8ing things a6out these treasures, 6ut unless our valuing these things ;as 6ased all along on confusion or @ista8en identity, ho; could increased understanding of the@ di@inish their value in

A @ore reasona6le and realistic fear is that the greedy a6use of Dar;inian reasoning @ight lead us to deny the eAistence of real levels, real co@7leA> ities, real 7heno@ena. 4y our o;n @isguided efforts, ;e @ight indeed co@e to discard or destroy so@ething valua6le. *e @ust ;or8 hard to 8ee7 these t;o fears se7arate, and ;e can 6egin 6y ac8no;ledging the 7ressures that tend to distort the very descri7tion of the issues. 3or instance, there is a strong tendency a@ong @any ;ho are unco@forta6le ;ith evolutionary theory to eAaggerate the a@ount of disagree@ent a@ong scientists (I+t-s Dust a theory, and there are @any re7uta6le scientists ;ho don-t acce7t thisI", and + @ust try hard not to overstate the co@7ensating case for ;hat Iscience has sho;n.I Along the ;ay, ;e ;ill encounter 7lenty of eAa@7les of genuine ongoing scientific disagree@ent, and unsettled Euestions of fact. There is no reason for @e to conceal or do;n7lay these Euandaries, for no @atter ho; they co@e out, a certain a@ount of corrosive ;or8 has already 6een done 6y Dar;in-s dangerous idea, and can never 6e undone. *e should 6e a6le to agree a6out one result already. /ven if Dar;in-s relatively @odest idea a6out the origin of s7ecies ca@e to 6e re<ected 6y scienceHyes, utterly discredited and re7laced 6y so@e vastly @ore 7o;erful (and currently uni@agina6le" visionHit ;ould still have irre@edia6ly sa77ed conviction in any reflective defender of the tradition eA7ressed 6y 2oc8e. +t has done this 6y o7ening u7 ne; 7ossi6ilities of i@agination, and thus utterly destroying any illusions anyone @ight have had a6out the soundness of an argu@ent such as 2oc8e-s a priori 7roof of the inconcei%abilit" of Design ;ithout Mind. 4efore Dar;in, this ;as inconceiva6le in the 7eDorative sense that no one 8ne; ho; to ta8e the hy7othesis seriously. Proving it is another @atter, 6ut the evidence does in fact @ount, and ;e certainly can and @ust ta8e it seriously. So ;hatever else you @ay thin8 of 2oc8e-s argu@ent, it is no; as o6solete as the Euill 7en ;ith ;hich it ;as ;ritten, a fascinating @useu@ 7iece, a curiosity that can do no real ;or8 in the intellectual ;orld today. CHAPT/) (? Darwin/s dan-erous idea is that Desi-n can emer-e from mere 4rder %ia an al-orithmic process that ma6es no use of pre;existin- Mind. S6eptics ha%e hoped to show that at least somewhere in this process7 a helpin- hand Gmore accuratel"7 a helpin- MindJ must ha%e been pro%idedH a s6"hoo6 to do some of the liftin-. In their attempts to pro%e a role for s6"hoo6s7 the" ha%e often disco%ered cranes8 products of earlier al-orithmic processes that can amplif" the power of the basic Darwinian al-orithm7 ma6in- the process locall" swifter and more efficient in a nonmiraculous wa". Dood reductionists suppose that all Desi-n can be explained without s6"hoo6sE -reed" reductionists suppose it can all be explained without cranes.

our eyesG

. <es, incarnate. Thin8 a6out it? ;ould ;e ;ant to say it ;as reductionis@ in spirit= 1=. /very6ody 8no;s ho; to ans;er this rhetorical Euestion ;ith another? IAre you so in love ;ith Truth at all costs that you ;ould ;ant to 8no; if your lover ;ere unfaithful to youGI *e are 6ac8 ;here ;e started. + for one ans;er that + love the ;orld so @uch that + a@ sure + ;ant to 8no; the truth a6out it.


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CHAPT/) &? >ow did die historical process of e%olution actuall" ma6e the Tree of 'ife= In order to understand the contro%ersies about the power of natural selection to explain the ori-ins of all the Desi-n7 we must hrst learn how to %isuali:e the Tree of 'ife7 -ettin- clear about some easil" misunder; stood features of its shape7 and a few of the 6e" moments in its histor".

CHAPT/) 30U)

The Tree of 'ife

1. Ho; SH0U2D */ 1+SUA2+:/ TH/ T)// 03 2+3/G

Extinction has onl" separated -roups8 it has b" no means made themE for if e%er" form which has e%er li%ed on this earth were suddenl" to reappear7 thou-h it would be Fuite impossible to -i%e definitions b" which each -roup could be distin-uished from other -roups7 as all would blend to-ether b" steps as fine as those between the finest existin- %arieties7 ne%ertheless a natural classification7 or at least a natural arran-ement7 would be possible. HCHA)2/S DA)*+,, 4ri-in7 7.&(' +n the 7revious cha7ter, the idea of )>and>D ;or8 as analogous to @oving around in so@ething + called Design S7ace ;as introduced on the fly, ;ith > out 7ro7er attention to detail or a definition of ter@s. +n order to s8etch the 6ig 7icture, + hel7ed @yself to several controversial clai@s, 7ro@ising to defend the@ later. Since the idea of Design S7ace is going to 6e 7ut to heavy use, + @ust no; secure it, and, follo;ing Dar;in-s lead, + ;ill once @ore 6egin in the @iddle, 6y loo8ing first at so@e actual 7atterns in so@e rela> tively ;ell>eA7lored s7aces. These ;ill serve as guides, in the neAt cha7ter, to a @ore general 7ers7ective on possible 7atterns, and the ;ay in ;hich certain sorts of 7rocesses 6ring 7ossi6ilities into reality. Consider the Tree of 2ife, the gra7h that 7lots the ti@e>line traDectories of all the things that have ever lived on this 7lanetHor, in other ;ords, the total fan>out of offsprin-. The rules for dra;ing the gra7h are si@7le. An organis@-s ti@e line 6egins ;hen it is 6orn and sto7s ;hen it dies, and either there are offs7ring lines e@anating fro@ it or there aren-t. The close>u7 vie; of an organis@-s offs7ring linesHif there are anyH;ould vary in a77earance de7ending on several facts? ;hether the organis@ re7roduces 6y fission or 6udding, or giving 6irth to eggs or live young, and ;hether the


TH/ T)// 03 2+3/

>ow Should !e Cisuali:e the Tree of 'ife=


7arent organis@ survives to coeAist for a ;hile ;ith its offs7ring. 4ut such @icrodetails of the fan>out ;ill not in general concern us at this ti@e. There is no serious controversy a6out the fact that all the diversity of life that has ever eAisted on this 7lanet is derived fro@ this single fan>out# the contro> versies arise a6out ho; to discover and descri6e in -eneral terms the various forces, 7rinci7les, constraints, etc., that 7er@it us to give a scientific eA7lanation of the 7atterns in all this diversity. The /arth is a6out &.9 6illion years old, and the first life for@s a77eared Euite IsoonI# the si@7lest single>celled organis@sHthe pro6ar"otesHa7> 7eared at least (9 6illion years ago, and for 7ro6a6ly another ' 6illion years, that ;as all the life there ;as. 6acteria, 6lue>green algae, and their eEually si@7le 8in. Then, a6out 1.& 6illion years ago, a @aDor revolution ha77ened? so@e of these si@7lest life for@s literally Doined forces, ;hen so@e 6acteria> li8e 7ro8aryotes invaded the @e@6ranes of other 7ro8aryotes, creating the eu6ar"otesHcells ;ith nuclei and other s7ecialiJed internal 6odies (Mar> gulis 1 %1". These internal 6odies, called or-anelles or plastids7 are the 8ey design innovation o7ening u7 the regions of Design S7ace inha6ited today. The chloroplasts in 7lants are res7onsi6le for 7hotosynthesis, and mito; chondria7 ;hich are to 6e found in every cell of every 7lant, ani@al, fungus Hevery organis@ ;ith nucleated cellsHare the funda@ental oAygen> 7rocessing energy>factories that 7er@it us all to fend off the Second 2a; of Ther@odyna@ics 6y eA7loiting the @aterials and energy around us. The 7refiA IeuI in .ree8 @eans Igood,I and fro@ our 7oint of vie; the eu> 8aryotes ;ere certainly an i@7rove@ent, since, than8s to their internal co@7leAity, they could s7ecialiJe, and this eventually @ade 7ossi6le the creation of @ulticelled organis@s, such as ourselves. That second revolutionHthe e@ergence of the first @ulticelled organis@s Hhad to ;ait $== @illion years or so. 0nce @ulticelled organis@s ;ere on the scene, the 7ace 7ic8ed u7. The su6seEuent fan>out of 7lants and ani@als Hfro@ ferns and flo;ers to insects, re7tiles, 6irds, and @a@@alsH has 7o7ulated the ;orld today ;ith @illions of different s7ecies. +n the 7rocess, @illions of other s7ecies have co@e and gone. Surely @any @ore s7ecies have gone eAtinct than no; eAistH7erha7s a hundred eAtinct s7e>cies for every eAistent s7ecies. *hat is the overall sha7e of this huge Tree of 2ife s7reading its 6ranches through (9 6illion yearsG *hat ;ould it loo8 li8e if ;e could see it all at once fro@ a .od-s>eye vie;, ;ith all of ti@e s7read out 6efore us in a s7atial di@ensionG The usual 7ractice in scientific gra7hing is to 7lot ti@e on the horiJontal aAis, ;ith earlier to the left and later to the right, 6ut evolutionary diagra@s have al;ays 6een the eAce7tion, usually 7lotting ti@e on the vertical di@ension. /ven @ore curiously, ;e have accusto@ed ourselves to t;o o77osite conventions for la6eling the vertical di@ension, and ;ith these conventions have co@e their associated @eta7hors. *e can 7ut ear;

lier on to7 and later on the 6otto@, in ;hich case our diagra@ sho;s ancestors and their descendants. Dar;in used this convention ;hen he s7o8e of s7eciation as @odification ;ith descent7 and of course in the title of his ;or8 on hu@an evolution, The Descent of Man7 and Selection in Relation to Sex (1%$1". Alternatively, ;e can dra; a tree in nor@al orientation, so it loo8s li8e a tree, on ;hich the later IdescendantsI co@7ose die li@6s and 6ranches that rise7 over ti@e, fro@ the trun8 and the initial roots. Dar;in also eA7loited this conventionHfor instance, in the only diagra@ in 4ri-inH6ut also, along ;ith everyone else, in uses of eA7ressions that align hi-her ;ith later. 4oth @eta7hor grou7s coeAist ;ith little tur6ulence in the language and diagra@s of 6iology today. (This tolerance for to7sy>turvy i@agery is not restricted to 6iology. I3a@ily treesI are @ore often than not dra;n ;ith the ancestors at the to7, and generative linguists, a@ong others, dra; their derivational trees u7side do;n, ;ith the IrootI at the to7 of the 7age." Since + have already 7ro7osed la6eling the vertical di@ension in Design S7ace as a @easure of a@ount of Design, so that hi-her T more desi-ned7 ;e @ust 6e careful to note that in the Tree of 2ife (dra;n right>side>u7, as + 7ro7ose to do " hi-her N later (and nothing else ". +t does not necessaril" @ean @ore designed. *hat is the relation 6et;een ti@e and Design, or ;hat could it 6eG Could things that are @ore designed co@e first and


TH/ T)// 03 2+3/

>ow Should !e Cisuali:e the Tree of 'ife=

gradually lose DesignG +s there a 7ossi6le ;orld in ;hich 6acteria are theG descendants of @a@@als and not vice versaG These Euestions a6out 7ossi> 6ility ;ill 6e easier to ans;er if ;e first loo8 a 6it @ore closely at ;hat has actually ha77ened on our 7lanet. So let us 6e clear that for the ti@e 6eing, the vertical di@ension in the diagra@s 6elo; stands for ti@e, and ti@e alone, ;ith earl" at the 6otto@ and late at the to7. 3ollo;ing standard 7ractice, the left>right di@ension is ta8en as a sort of single>7lane su@@ary of diversity. /ach individual organis@ has to have its ti@e line, distinct fro@ all others, so, even if t;o organis@s are eAact ato@>for>ato@ du7licates of each other, they ;ill have to a77ear side 6y side at 6est. Ho; ;e line the@ all u7, ho;ever, can 6e according to so@e @easure or fa@ily of @easures of difference in individual 6ody sha7eHmorpholo-"7 to use the technical ter@. So, to return to our Euestion, ;hat ;ould the overall sha7e of the entire Tree of 2ife loo8 li8e, if ;e could ta8e it all in at a glanceG *ouldn-t it loo8 rather li8e a 7al@ tree, as in figure &.1G This is the first of @any trees, or dendro-rams7 ;e ;ill consider, and of course the li@ited resolution of the in8 on the 7age 6lurs Euadrillions of se7arate lines together. + have left the IrootI of the tree deli6erately fuJJy and indistinct for the ti@e 6eing. *e are still eA7loring the @iddle, saving the ulti@ate 6eginnings for a later cha7ter. +f ;e ;ere to Joo@ in on the trun8 of this tree and loo8 at any cross>section of itHan IinstantI in

ti@eH;e ;ould see 6illions u7on 6illions of individual unicellular organ> is@s, a fraction of ;hich ;ould have trails leading to 7rogeny slightly higher u7 the trun8. (+n those early days, re7roduction ;as 6y 6udding or fission# so@e;hat later, a 8ind of unicellular seA evolved, 6ut 7ollen>;afting and egg>laying and the other 7heno@ena of our 8ind of seAual re7roduction have to ;ait for the @ulticellular revolution in the fronds." There ;ould 6e so@e diversity, and so@e revision of design over ti@e, so 7erha7s the ;hole trun8 should 6e sho;n leaning left or right, or s7reading @ore than + have sho;n. +s it Dust our ignorance that 7revents us fro@ differentiating this Itrun8I of unicellular varieties into salient strea@sG Perha7s it should 6e sho;n ;ith various dead>end 6ranches large enough to 6e visi6le, as in figure &.', @ar8ing various hundred>@illion>year eA7eri@ents in alternative unicellular design that eventually all ended in eAtinction.

/A)TH 30)M/D >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> 3+.U)/ &.(

There @ust have 6een 6illions of failed design eA7eri@ents, 6ut 7erha7s none ever 6eca@e very distant de7artures fro@ a single unicellular nor@. +n any event, if ;e ;ere to Joo@ ;ay in on the trun8, ;e ;ould see a luAuriant gro;th of short>lived alternatives, as in figure &.(, all 6ut invisi6le against the nor@ of conservative re7lication. Ho; can ;e 6e sure of thisG 4ecause, as ;e shall see, the odds are heavily against any @utation-s 6eing @ore via6le than the the@e on ;hich it is a variation.

TH/ T)// 03 2+3/

Color;codin- a Species on the Tree

Until seAual re7roduction is invented, al@ost all the 6ranches ;e o6serve, at any Joo@ level, diverge. The eAce7tions are re@ar8a6le, ho;ever. At the ti@e of the eu8aryotic revolution, if ;e loo8 in Dust the right 7lace, ;e ;ill see a 6acteriu@ entering the rudi@entary 6ody of so@e other 7ro8aryote to create the first eu8aryote. +ts 7rogeny all have a dual inheritanceHthey contain t;o entirely inde7endent D,A seEuences, one for the host cell and another for the I7arasite,I sharing its fate ;ith its host-s, and lin8ing the fate of all its descendants (no; on their ;ay to 6eco@ing 6enign resident @itochondria" to the fate of the cells they ;ill inha6it, the descendants of the cell first invaded. +t-s an a@aJing feature of the @icrosco7ic geo@etry of the Tree of 2ife? ;hole lineages of @itochondria, tiny living things in their o;n right, ;ith their o;n D,A, living their entire lives ;ithin the ;alls of the cells of larger organis@s that co@7ose other lineages. +n 7rinci7le it only has to have ha77ened once, 6ut ;e @ay su77ose that @any eA7eri@ents in such radical sy@6iosis occurred (Margulis 1 %1# for accessi6le su@@aries, see Margulis and Sagan 1 %!, 1 %$". 0nce seAual re7roduction 6eco@es esta6lished @any @illions of years later, u7 in the fronds of our Tree (and seA has a77arently evolved @any ti@es, though there is disagree@ent on this score ", if ;e Joo@ in and loo8 closely at the traDectories of individual organis@s, ;e find a different sort of Duncture 6et;een individualsH@atingsH;ith star6ursts of offs7ring result> ing. :oo@ing in and Iloo8ing through the @icrosco7e,I ;e can see in figure &.& that, unli8e the co@ing together that created eu8aryotes, in ;hich 6oth D,A seEuences are 7reserved ;hole and 8e7t distinct ;ithin the 6odies of the 7rogeny, in seAual @atings each offs7ring gets its o;n uniEue D,A seEuence, 8nit together 6y a 7rocess that dra;s 9= 7ercent fro@ one 7ar ent-s D,A and 9= 7ercent fro@ the other-s. 0f course each offs7ring-s cells

also contain @itochondria, and these al;ays co@e fro@ one 7arent only, the fe@ale. (+f you are a @ale, all the @itochondria in your cells are in an evolutionary cul>de>sac# they ;ill not get 7assed on to any offs7ring of yours, ;ho ;ill get all their @itochondria fro@ their @other." ,o; ste7 6ac8 a 7ace fro@ our close>u7 of @atings>;ith>offs7ring and notice (in figure ,.,J that most of those offs7ring-s traDectories ter@inate ;ithout @ating, or at least ;ithout offs7ring of their o;n. This is the Malthusian crunch. /very;here ;e loo8, the 6ranches and t;igs are covered ;ith the short, ter@inal fuJJ of 6irth>death ;ithout further issue. +t ;ould 6e i@7ossi6le to see at one ti@e all the 6ranch 7oints and Dunctions in the ;hole Tree of 2ife, eAtending over (.9 6illion years, 6ut if ;e 6ac8ed ;ay off fro@ the details and loo8ed for so@e large>scale sha7es, ;e could recogniJe a fe; fa@iliar land@ar8s. /arly in the @ulticellular fan> out that 6egan a6out $== @illion years ago, ;e could see the for8s that created t;o large 6ranchesHthe 8ingdo@s of 7lants and ani@alsHand an> other for the fungi, de7arting fro@ the trun8 of the single>celled organis@s. And if ;e loo8ed closely, ;e ;ould see that, once they 6eco@e se7arated 6y so@e distance, no @atings reunite any of the traDectories of their individual @e@6ers. 4y this ti@e, the grou7s had 6eco@e re7roductively isolated, and the ga7 gre; ;ider and ;ider. 1 3urther for8s created the @ulticellular 7hyla, orders, classes, fa@ilies, genera, and s7ecies.

'. C020)>C0D+,. A SP/C+/S 0, TH/ T)//

*hat does a species loo8 li8e in this TreeG Since the Euestions of ;hat a s7ecies is, and ho; a s7ecies starts, continue to generate controversy, ;e can ta8e advantage of the .od-s>eye 7ers7ective ;e have te@7orarily ado7ted to loo8 closely at the ;hole Tree of 2ife and see ;hat ;ould ha77en if ;e tried to color>code a single s7ecies in it. 0ne thing can 6e sure? ;hatever region ;e color in ;ill 6e a single, connected region. ,o se7arated 6lo6s of organis@s, no @atter ho; si@ilar in a77earance or @or7hology, could count as co@7osed of @e@6ers of a sin-le s7ecies, ;hich @ust 6e united 6y descent. The neAt 7oint to @a8e is that until seAual re7roduction arrives on the scene, the hall@ar8 of re7roductive isolation can have no 6earing at all. This handy 6oundary>@a8ing condition has no definition in the aseAual ;orld. +n those ancient and conte@7orary strands in the Tree

3+.U)/ &.&

1. There have 6een so@e re@ar8a6le sy@6iotic reunions, ho;ever, of organis@s that 6elong to different 8ingdo@s. The flat;or@ Con%oluta roscoffensis has no @outh and never needs to eat, since it is filled ;ith algae that 7hotosynthesiJe its nourish@ent (Margulis and Sagan 1 %!"L

' TH/ T)// 03 2+3/ that re7roduce aseAually, grou7ings of one sort or another @ay interest us for various good reasonsHgrou7ings of shared @or7hology or 6ehavior or of genetic si@ilarity, for instanceHand ;e @ight choose to call the resulting grou7 a s7ecies, 6ut there @ay very ;ell 6e no theoretically i@7ortant shar7 edges that ;ould deli@it such a s7ecies. So let us concentrate on seAually re7roducing s7ecies, all of ;hich are to 6e found u7 in the @ulticellular fronds of the Tree. Ho; @ight ;e go a6out coloring all the life>lines of a single such s7ecies redG *e could start 6y loo8ing at individuals at rando@ until ;e found one ;ith lots of descendants. Call her 2ulu, and color her red. ()ed is re7resented 6y the thic8 lines in figure &.9." ,o; @ove ste7;ise u7 the Tree, coloring all 2ulu-s descendants red# these ;ill all 6e @e@6ers of one s7ecies unless we find our red in8 s7reading into t;o distinct higher 6ranches, none of ;hose @e@6ers for@ Dunctions across the void. +f that ha77ens, ;e 8no; there has 6een s7eciation, and ;e ;ill have to 6ac8 u7 and @a8e several decisions. *e @ust first choose ;hether to 8ee7 one of the 6ranches red (the I7arentI s7ecies continues red and the other 6ranch is considered the ne; daughter s7ecies " or to sto7 the red in8 altogether as soon as the 6ranching ha77ens (the I7arentI s7ecies has gone eAtinct, fissioning into t;o daughter s7ecies". +f the organis@s in the 6ranch on the left are all 7retty @uch the sa@e in a77earance, eEui7@ent, and ha6its as 2ulu-s conte@7oraries, ;hile the or> ganis@s in the right 6ranch al@ost all s7ort novel horns, or ;e66ed feet, or stri7es, then it is 7retty o6vious that ;e should la6el the left 6ranch as the continuing, 7arent s7ecies, and the right 6ranch the ne; offshoot. +f 6oth 6ranches soon sho; @aDor changes, our color>coding decision is not so o6vious. There are no secret facts that could tell us ;hich choice is right, ;hich choice carves nature at the Doints, for ;e are loo8ing right at the 7laces ;here the Doints ;ould have to 6e, and there aren-t any. There is nothing @ore to 6eing a s7ecies than 6eing one of these 6ranches of inter6reeding organis@s, and nothing @ore to 6eing the conspecific of so@e other organis@ (conte@7orary or not" than 6eing 7art of the sa@e 6ranch. The choice ;e @a8e ;ill then have to de7end on 7rag@atic or aesthetic considerations? +s it un-ainl" to 8ee7 the sa@e la6el for this 6ranch as for its 7arent trun8G *ould it 6e misleadin- for one reason or another to say the 6ranch on the right rather than the 6ranch on the left ;as the ne; s7eciesG '

Color;codin- a Species on the Tree

3+.U)/ &.9

'. The cladists (;hose vie;s ;ill 6e 6riefly discussed later" are a school of taAono@ists that reDect, for various reasons, the conce7t of a I7arentI s7ecies- 7ersisting. /very s7eciation event, in their ter@s, results in a 7air of daughter s7ecies and the eAtinction of their co@@on 7arent, no @atter ho; closely one surviving 6ranch rese@6les the 7arent, co@7ared ;ith the other 6ranch.

The sa@e sort of Euandary faces us ;hen ;e try to co@7lete the tas8 of color>coding the ;hole s7ecies 6y carrying our red in8 do;n the Tree to include all 2ulu-s ancestors. *e ;ill encounter no ga7s or Doints on this do;n;ard 7ath, ;hich ;ill ta8e us all the ;ay to the 7ro8aryotes at the 6ase of the Tree if ;e 7ersist. 4ut if ;e also color sidewa"s as ;e go do;n, filling in the cousins, aunts, and uncles of 2ulu and her ancestors, and then color u7 fro@ these side;ays s7readers, ;e ;ill eventually fill in a ;hole 6ranch on ;hich 2ulu resides do;n to the 7oint ;here coloring any lo;er ( earlier " nodes (for instance, at A in figure &.!" causes Ilea8ageI of red into neigh > 6oring 6ranches that clearly 6elong to other s7ecies. +f ;e sto7 there, ;e can 6e sure that onl" @e@6ers of 2ulu-s s7ecies have 6een colored red. +t ;ill 6e argua6le that ;e have left out so@e that deserve to 6e colored, 6ut only argua6le, for there are, again, no hidden facts, no essences that could settle the issue. As Dar;in 7ointed out, if it ;eren-t for the se7arations that ti@e and the eAtinction of the inter@ediate ste77ing> stones has created, although ;e could 7ut the life for@s into a Inatural

& TH/ T)// 03 2+3/

Colorcodin- a Species on the Tree

3+.U)/ &.!

arrange@entI (of descent", ;e could not 7ut the@ into a Inatural classifi> cationIH;e need the 6iggish ga7s 6et;een extant for@s to for@ the I6oundariesI of any such classes. The theoretical conce7t of s7ecies that 7redates Dar;in-s theory had t;o funda@ental ideas? that s7ecies @e@6ers have different essences, and that IthereforeI they don-tNcan-t inter6reed. *hat ;e have su6seEuently figured out is that in 7rinci7le there could 6e t;o su67o7ulations that ;ere different onl" in that their 7airings ;ere sterile due to a tiny genetic inco@7ati6ility. *ould these 6e different s7eciesG They could loo8 ali8e, feed ali8e, live together in the sa@e niche, and 6e genetically very, very si@ilar, yet re7roductively isolated. They ;ould not 6e different enough to count as salient %arieties7 6ut they ;ould satisfy the 7ri@ary condition for 6eing t;o different species. +n fact, there are cases of Icry7tic si6ling s7eciesI that a77roAi@ate this eAtre@e. As ;e already noted, at the other eAtre@e ;e have the dogs, readily distinguished into @or7hological ty7es 6y the na8ed eye, ada7ted to vastly different environ@ents, 6ut not re7roductively iso>

lated. *here should ;e dra; the lineG Dar;in sho;s that ;e don-t need to dra; the line in an essentialist ;ay in order to get on ;ith our science. *e have the 6est of reasons to realiJe that these eAtre@es are i@7ro6a6le? in general, ;here there is genetic s7eciation there is @ar8ed @or7hological difference, or @ar8ed difference in geogra7hical distri6ution, or (@ost li8ely" 6oth. +f this generaliJation ;eren-t largely true, the conce7t of s7ecies ;ould not 6e i@7ortant, 6ut ;e need not as8 eAactly ho; @uch difference (in addition to re7roductive isolation" is essential for a case of real s7ecies> difference.( Dar;in sho;s us that Euestions li8e I*hat is the difference 6et;een a variety and a s7eciesGI are li8e the Euestion I*hat is the difference 6et;een a 7eninsula and an islandGI& Su77ose you see an island half a @ile offshore at high tide. +f you can ;al8 to it at lo; tide ;ithout getting your feet ;et, is it still an islandG +f you 6uild a 6ridge to it, does it cease to 6e an islandG *hat if you 6uild a solid cause;ayG +f you cut a canal across a 7eninsula (li8e the Ca7e Cod Canal", do you turn it into an islandG *hat if a hurricane does the eAcavation ;or8G This sort of inEuiry is fa@iliar to 7hiloso7hers. +t is the Socratic activity of definition>@ongering or essence>hunting? loo8ing for the Inecessary and sufficient conditionsI for 6eing>an>K. So@eti@es al@ost everyone can see the 7ointlessness of the EuestHislands o6viously don-t have real essences, 6ut only no@inal essences at 6est. 4ut at other ti@es there can still see@ to 6e a serious scientific Euestion that needs ans;ering. More than a century after Dar;in, there are still serious de6ates a@ong 6iologists (and even @ore so a@ong 7hiloso7hers of 6iology " a6out ho; to define species. Shouldn-t scientists define their ter@sG <es, of course, 6ut only u7 to a 7oint. +t turns out that there are different s7ecies conce7ts ;ith different uses in 6iologyH;hat ;or8s for 7aleontologists is not @uch use to ecologists, for instanceHand no clean ;ay of uniting the@ or 7utting the@ in an order of i@7ortance that ;ould cro;n one of the@ (the @ost i@7ortant one" as the conce7t of s7ecies. So + a@ inclined to inter7ret the 7ersisting de6ates as @ore a @atter of vestigial Aristotelian tidiness than a useful disci7linary trait. (This is all controversial, 6ut see 5itcher 1 %& and .. C. *illia@s 1 ' for further su77ort and concurring argu@ents, and the recent anthology on the to7ic, /reshefs8y 1 ', and Sterelny 1 &, an insightful revie; essay on that anthology."

(. The issues are further co@7licated 6y the eAistence of hy6ridiJationHin ;hich @e@ > 6ers of t;o different s7ecies do have fertile offs7ringHa 7heno@enon that raises inter> esting issues that are off the trac8 ;e are eA7loring. &. The evolutionary e7iste@ologist and 7sychologist Donald Ca@76ell has 6een the @ost vigorous develo7er of the i@7lications of this side of Dar;in-s legacy.

! TH/ T)// 03 2+3/

Retrospecti%e Coronations

(. )/T)0SP/CT+1/ C0)0,AT+0,S? M+T0CH0,D)+A2 /1/ A,D +,1+S+42/ 4/.+,,+,.S

*hen ;e tried to see ;hether 2ulu-s descendants s7lit into @ore than one s7ecies, ;e had to loo8 ahead to see if any large 6ranches a77eared, and then bac6 up if ;e dee@ed that so@e;here along the line a s7eciation event @ust have ha77ened. *e never addressed the 7resu@a6ly i@7ortant Euestion of exactl" ;hen s7eciation should 6e said to occur. S7eciation can no; 6e seen to 6e a 7heno@enon in nature that has a curious 7ro7erty? you can-t tell that it is occurring at the ti@e it occursL <ou can only tell @uch later that it has occurred, retros7ectively cro;ning an event ;hen you discover that its seEuels have a certain 7ro7erty. This is not a 7oint a6out our e7iste@ic li@itationsHas if ;e would 6e a6le to tell ;hen s7eciation occurs if only ;e had 6etter @icrosco7es, or even if ;e could get in a ti@e @achine and go 6ac8 in ti@e to o6serve the a77ro7riate @o@ents. This is a 7oint a6out the o6Dective 7ro7erty of 6eing a s7eciation event. +t is not a 7ro7erty that an event has si@7ly 6y virtue of its s7atio>te@7orally local 7ro7erties. 0ther conce7ts eAhi6it si@ilar curiosities. + once read a6out a co@ically 6ad historical novel in ;hich a 3rench doctor ca@e ho@e to su77er one evening in 1%=' and said to his ;ife>. I.uess ;hat N did todayL + assisted at the 6irth of 1ictor HugoLI *hat is ;rong ;ith that storyG 0r consider the 7ro7erty of 6eing a ;ido;. A ;o@an in ,e; <or8 City @ay suddenly acEuire that 7ro7erty 6y virtue of the effects that a 6ullet has Dust had on so@e @an-s 6rain in Dodge City, over a thousand @iles a;ay. (+n the days of the *ild *est, there ;as a revolver nic8na@ed the *ido;@a8er. *hether a 7articular revolver lived u7 to its nic8na@e on a 7articular occasion @ight 6e a fact that could not 6e settled 6y any s7atio>te@7orally local eAa@ination of its effects." This case gets its curious ca7acity to lea7 through s7ace and ti@e fro@ the conventional nature of the relation of @arriage, in ;hich a 7ast historical event, a ;edding, is dee@ed to create a 7er@anent relationH a formal relationHof interest in s7ite of su6seEuent ;anderings and concrete @isfortunes (the accidental loss of a ring, or the destruction of the @arriage certificate, for instance." The syste@aticity of genetic re7roduction is not conventional 6ut natural, 6ut that very syste@aticity 7er@its us to thin8 formall" a6out causal chains eAtending over @illions of years, causal chains that ;ould other;ise 6e virtually i@7ossi6le to designate or refer to or trac8. This 7er@its us to 6eco@e interested in, and reason rigorously a6out, even @ore distant and locally invisi6le relationshi7s than the for@al relationshi7 of @arriage. S7e> ciation is, li8e @arriage, a conce7t anchored ;ithin a tight, for@ally defin> a6le syste@ of thought, 6ut, unli8e @arriage, it has no conventional

salienciesH;eddings, rings, certificatesH6y ;hich it can 6e o6served. *e can see this feature of s7eciation in a 6etter light 6y loo8ing first at another instance of retros7ective cro;ning, the conferring of the title of Mitochon> drial /ve. Mitochondrial /ve is the ;o@an ;ho is the @ost recent direct ancestor, in the fe@ale line, of every hu@an 6eing alive today. Peo7le have a hard ti@e thin8ing a6out this individual ;o@an, so let-s Dust revie; the reasoning. Consider the set #7 of all hu@an 6eings alive today. /ach ;as 6orn of one and only one @other, so consider neAt the set, B7 of all the @others of those alive today. B is of necessity s@aller than #7 since no one has @ore than one @other, and so@e @others have @ore than one child. Continue ;ith the set C, of @others of all those @others in set B. +t is s@aller still. Continue on ;ith sets D and E and so forth. The sets @ust contract as ;e go 6ac8 each generation. ,otice that as ;e @ove 6ac8 through the years, ;e eAclude @any ;o@en ;ho ;ere conte@7oraries of those in our set. A@ong these eAcluded ;o@en are those ;ho either lived and died childless or ;hose fe@ale 7rogeny did. /ventually, this set @ust funnel do;n to oneH the ;o@an ;ho is the closest direct fe@ale ancestor of every6ody alive on earth today. She is Mitochondrial /ve, so na@ed (6y Cann et al. 1 %$" 6ecause since the @itochondria in our cells are 7assed through the @aternal line alone, all the @itochondria in all the cells in all the 7eo7le alive today are direct descendants of the @itochondria in her cellsL The sa@e logical argu@ent esta6lishes that there isH@ust 6eHan Ada@ as ;ell? the closest direct @ale ancestor of every6ody alive today. *e could call hi@ 3>Chro@oso@e Ada@, since all our 3>chro@oso@es 7ass do;n through the 7aternal line Dust the ;ay our @itochondria 7ass through the @aternal line.9 *as 3>Chro@oso@e Ada@ the hus6and or lover of Mito> chondrial /veG Al@ost certainly not. There is only a tiny 7ro6a6ility that these t;o individuals ;ere alive at the sa@e ti@e. (Paternity 6eing a @uch less ti@e>and>energy>consu@ing 6usiness than @aternity, ;hat is lo-icall" 7ossi6le is that 3>Chro@oso@e Ada@ lived very recently, and ;as very, very 6usy in the 6edroo@Hleaving /rrol 3lynn in his, u@, dust. He could, in 7rinci7le, 6e the great>grandfather of us all. This is a6out as unli8ely as the case in ;hich 3>Chro@oso@e Ada@ and Mitochondrial /ve ;ere a cou7le." Mitochondrial /ve has 6een in the ne;s recently 6ecause the scientists ;ho christened her thin8 they can analyJe the 7atterns in the @itochondrial

9. ,ote one i@7ortant difference 6et;een the legacies of Mitochondrial /ve and <> Chro@oso@e Ada@? ;e all, @ale and fe@ale, have @itochondria in our cells, 6ut they all co@e fro@ our @others# if you are @ale, you have a 1>chro@oso@e and got it fro@ your father, 6ut @ostHvirtually all, 6ut not Euite allHfe@ales have no <>chro@oso@e at all.

% TH/ T)// 03 2+3/ D,A of the different 7eo7le alive today and deduce fro@ that ho; recently Mitochondrial /ve lived, and even ;here she lived. According to their original calculations, Mitochondrial /ve lived in Africa, very, very recentlyH less than three hundred thousand years ago, and @ay6e less than half that. These @ethods of analysis are controversial, ho;ever, and the African /ve hy7othesis @ay 6e fatally fla;ed. Deducing where and when is a far tric8ier tas8 than deducing that there ;as a Mitochondrial /ve, so@ething that no6ody denies. Consider a fe; of the things ;e already 8no; a6out Mito> chondrial /ve, setting aside the recent controversies. *e 8no; that she had at least t;o daughters ;ho had surviving children. (+f she had Dust one daughter, her daughter ;ould ;ear the cro;n of Mitochondrial /ve." To distinguish her title fro@ her 7ro7er na@e, let-s call her A@y. A@y 6ears the title of Mitochondrial /ve# that is, she Dust ha77ens to have 6een the @aternal founder of today-s line of 7eo7le.! +t is i@7ortant to re@ind ourselves that in all other re-ards7 there ;as 7ro6a6ly nothing re@ar8a6le or s7ecial a6out Mitochondrial /ve# she ;as certainly not the 3irst *o@an, or the founder of the s7ecies >omo sapiens. Many earlier ;o@en ;ere unEuestiona6ly of our s7ecies, 6ut ha77en not to have any direct fe@ale lines of descendants leading to 7eo7le living today. +t is also true that Mitochondrial /ve ;as 7ro6a6ly no stronger, faster, @ore 6eautiful, or @ore fecund than the other ;o@en of her day. To 6ring out Dust ho; uns7ecial Mitochondrial /veHthat is, A@yH7ro6> a6ly ;as, su77ose that to@orro;, thousands of generations later, a virulent ne; virus ;ere to s7read around the /arth, ;i7ing out 7ercent of the hu@an race in a fe; years. The survivors, fortunate to have so@e innate resistance to the virus, ;ould 7ro6a6ly all 6e Euite closely related. Their closest co@@on direct fe@ale ancestorHcall her 4ettyH;ould 6e so@e ;o@an ;ho lived hundreds or thousands of generations later than A@y, and the cro;n of Mitochondrial /ve ;ould 7ass to her, retroactively. She @ay have 6een the source of the @utation that centuries later ca@e into its o;n as a s7ecies>saver, 6ut it didn-t do her any good, since the virus against ;hich it is to triu@7h didn-t eAist then. The 7oint is that Mitochondrial /ve can only 6e retrospecti%el" cro;ned. This historically 7ivotal role is deter@ined not Dust 6y the accidents of A@y-s o;n ti@e, 6ut 6y the accidents of later ti@es as ;ell. Tal8 a6out @assive contingencyL +f A@y-s uncle hadn-t saved her fro@ dro;ning ;hen she ;as three, none of us (;ith our 7articular @itochondrial D,A, than8s ulti@ately to A@y" ;ould ever have

Retrospecti%e Coronations eAistedL +f A@y-s granddaughters had all starved to death in infancyHas so @any infants did in those daysHthe sa@e o6livion ;ould 6e ours. The curious invisi6ility of the cro;n of Mitochondrial /ve in her o;n lifeti@e is easier to understand and acce7t than the near>invisi6ility of ;hat every s7ecies @ust have? a 6eginning. +f s7ecies aren-t eternal, then all of ti@e can 6e divided, so@eho;, into the ti@es 6efore the eAistence of s7ecies x7 and all su6seEuent ti@es. 4ut ;hat @ust have ha77ened at the interfaceG +t @ay hel7 if ;e thin8 of a si@ilar 7uJJle that has 6affled @any 7eo7le. Have you ever ;ondered, ;hen hearing a ne; Do8e, ;here it ca@e fro@G +f you are li8e al@ost every6ody else + have ever 8no;n or heard of, you never @a8e u7 Do8es# you 7ass on, 7erha7s ;ith Ii@7rove@ents,I so@ething you heard fro@ so@eone ;ho heard it fro@ so@eone, ;ho... ,o;, ;e 8no; the 7rocess cannot go on forever. A Do8e a6out President Clinton, for instance, cannot 6e @ore than a year or so old. So ;ho @a8es u7 the Do8esG Mo8e>authors (as contrasted ;ith Do8e>7urveyors" are invisi6le. $ ,o6ody ever see@s to catch the@ in the act of authorshi7. There is even fol8loreHan Iur6an legendIHto the effect that these Do8es are all created in 7rison, 6y 7risoners, those dangerous and unnatural fol8s, so unli8e the rest of us, and ;ith nothing 6etter to do ;ith their ti@e than to fashion Do8es in their secret underground Do8e>;or8sho7s. ,onsense. +t is hard to 6elieveH 6ut it @ust 6e trueHthat the Do8es ;e hear and 7ass on have evolved fro@ earlier stories, 7ic8ing u7 revisions and u7dates as they are 7assed along. A Do8e ty7ically has no one author# its authorshi7 is distri6uted over doJens or hundreds or thousands of tellers, solidifying for a ;hile in so@e 7articularly to7ical and currently a@using version, 6efore going dor@ant, li8e the ancestors fro@ ;hich it gre;. S7eciation is eEually hard to ;itness, and for the sa@e reason. *hen has s7eciation occurredG +n @any cases (7erha7s @ost, 7erha7s al@ost allH6iologists disagree a6out ho; i@7ortant the eAce7tions are", the s7eciation de7ends on a geogra7hical s7lit in ;hich a s@all grou7H @ay6e a single @ating 7airH;ander off and start a lineage that 6eco@es re7roductively isolated. This is allopatric s7eciation, in contrast to s"m; patric s7eciation, ;hich does not involve any geogra7hic 6arriers. Su77ose ;e ;atch the de7arture and resettle@ent of the founding grou7. Ti@e 7asses, and several generations co@e and go. Has s7eciation occurredG ,ot yet, certainly. *e ;on-t 8no; until @any generations later ;hether or not these individuals should 6e cro;ned as s7ecies>initiators. There is not and could not be anything internal or intrinsic to the indi> vidualsHor even to the individuals>as>they>fit>into>their>environ@entHfro@

!. Philoso7hers have often discussed strange eAa@7les of individuals 8no;n to us only via definite descri7tions, 6ut they have usually coniined their attention to such 6oringHif realHindividuals as the shortest s7y. (There has to 6e one, doesn-t thereG" + suggest that Mitochondrial /ve is a @uch @ore delicious eAa@7le, all the @ore so for 6eing of so@e genuine theoretical interest in evolutionary 6iology.

$. There are, of course, the ;riters ;ho @a8e their living ;riting funny lines for televi > sion co@edians, and the co@edians the@selves, ;ho create @uch of their o;n @aterial, 6ut, ;ith negligi6le eAce7tions, these 7eo7le are not the creators of the Do8e stories (IDid you hear the one a6out the guy ;ho...GI" that get 7assed around.


TH/ T)// 03 2+3/

atterns7 4%ersimplification7 and Explanation


;hich it follo;ed that they ;ereHas they later turn out to 6eHthe founders of a ne; s7ecies. *e can i@agine, if ;e ;ant, an eAtre@e (and i@7ro6a6le" case in ;hich a single @utation guarantees re7roductive isolation in a single generation, 6ut, of course, ;hether or not the individual ;ho has that @utation counts as a s7ecies>founder or si@7ly as a frea8 of nature de7ends on nothing in its individual @a8eu7 or 6iogra7hy, 6ut on ;hat ha77ens to su6seEuent generationsHif anyHof its offs7ring. Dar;in ;as not a6le to 7resent a single instance of s7eciation 6y natural selection in 4ri-in of Species. His strategy in that 6oo8 ;as to develo7 in detail the evidence that artificial selection 6y dog> and 7igeon>6reeders could 6uild u7 large differences 6y a series of gradual changes. He then 7ointed out that deliberate choice 6y title ani@als- 8ee7ers ;as inessential# the runts of the litter tended not to 6e valued, and hence tended not to re7roduce as @uch as their @ore valued si6lings, so, ;ithout any conscious 7olicy of 6reeding, hu@an ani@al>8ee7ers 7resided un;ittingly over a steady 7rocess of design revision. He offered the nice eAa@7le of the 5ing Charles s7aniel, I;hich has 6een unconsciously @odified to a large eAtent since the ti@e of that @onarchI G4ri-in7 7. (9"Has can 6e confir@ed 6y a careful eAa@ination of the dogs in various 7ortraits of 5ing Charles. He called such cases Iunconscious selectionI 6y hu@an do@esticators, and he used it as a 7ersuasive 6ridge to get his readers to the hy7othesis of even @ore unconscious selection 6y the i@7ersonal environ@ent. 4ut he had to ad@it, ;hen challenged, that he could 7rovide no cases of ani@al>6reeders7roducing a ne; s7ecies. Such 6reeding had definitely 7roduced different %arieties7 6ut not a single ne; s7ecies. Dachshund and St. 4ernard ;ere not different s7ecies, ho;ever different in a77earance. Dar;in ad@itted as @uch, 6ut he @ight Euite correctly have gone on to 7oint out that it ;as si@7ly too early to tell ;hether he had given any eAa@7les of s7eciation acco@7lished 6y artificial selection. Any lady-s la7dog could at so@e future date 6e discovered to ha%e been the founding @e@6er of a s7ecies that s7lit off fro@ Canis familiaris. The sa@e @oral a77lies to the creation of ne; genera, fa@ilies, and even 8ingdo@s, of course. The @aDor 6ranching that ;e ;ould retros7ectively cro;n as the 7arting of the 7lants fro@ the ani@als 6egan as a segregation of t;o gene 7ools every 6it as inscruta6le and unre@ar8a6le at the ti@e as any other te@7orary drifting a7art of @e@6ers of a single 7o7ulation.

&. PATT/),S, 01/)S+MP2+3+CAT+0,, A,D /KP2A,AT+0,

Much @ore interesting than the Euestion of ho; to dra; the s7ecies 6ound> ary are all the Euestions a6out the sha7es of the 6ranchesHand even @ore interesting, the sha7es of the e@7ty s7aces 6et;een the 6ranches. *hat

trends, forces, 7rinci7lesHor historical eventsHhave influenced these sha7es or @ade the@ 7ossi6leG /yes have evolved inde7endently in doJens of lineages, 6ut feathers 7ro6a6ly only once. As Mohn Maynard S@ith o6> serves, @a@@als go in for horns 6ut 6irds do not. I*hy should the 7attern of variation 6e li@ited in this ;ayG The short ans;er is that ;e do not 8no;I (Maynard S@ith 1 %!, 7. &1". *e can/t re;ind the to7e of life and re7lay it to see ;hat ha77ens neAt ti@e, alas, so the only ;ay to ans;er Euestions a6out such huge and eA> 7eri@entally inaccessi6le 7atterns is to lea7 6oldly into the void ;ith the ris8y tactic of deli6erate oversi@7lification. This tactic has a long and dis> tinguished history in science, 6ut it tends to 7rovo8e controversy, since scientists have different thresholds at ;hich they get nervous a6out 7laying fast and loose ;ith the recalcitrant details. ,e;tonian 7hysics ;as over> thro;n 6y /instein, 6ut it is still a good a77roAi@ation for al@ost all 7ur> 7oses. ,o 7hysicist o6Dects ;hen ,ASA uses ,e;tonian 7hysics to calculate the forces at liftoff and the or6ital traDectory of the s7ace shuttle, 6ut, strictly s7ea8ing, this is a deli6erate use of a false theory in order to @a8e calcula tion feasi6le. +n the sa@e s7irit, 7hysiologists studying, say, @echanis@s for changing the rate of @eta6olis@ try in general to avoid the 6iJarre co@> 7leAities of su6ato@ic Euantu@ 7hysics, ho7ing that any Euantu@ effects ;ill cancel out or in other ;ays 6e 6eneath the threshold of their @odels. +n general, the tactic 7ays off handso@ely, 6ut one can never 6e sure ;hen one scientist-s gru66y co@7lication ;ill 6e elevated into another scientist-s 5ey to the Mystery. And it can Dust as ;ell ;or8 the other ;ay around? the 5ey is often discovered 6y cli@6ing out of the trenches and going for the 7anora@ic vie;. + once got in a de6ate ;ith 3rancis Cric8 a6out the virtues and vices of Connectionis@Hthe @ove@ent in cognitive science that @odels 7sycho> logical 7heno@ena 6y 6uilding u7 7atterns in the connection>strengths 6et;een the nodes in %er" unrealistic and oversi@7lified Ineural netsI si@> ulated on co@7uters. IThese 7eo7le @ay 6e good engineers,I Cric8 averred (as 6est + recall", I6ut ;hat they are doing is terri6le scienceL These 7eo7le ;illfully turn their 6ac8s on ;hat ;e alread" 8no; a6out ho; neurons interact, so their @odels are utterly useless as @odels of 6rain function.I This criticis@ so@e;hat sur7rised @e, for Cric8 is fa@ous for his o;n 6rilliant o77ortunis@ in uncovering the structure of D,A# ;hile others struggled u7 the straight and narro; 7ath of strict construction fro@ the evidence, he and *atson too8 a fe; daring and o7ti@istic sideste7s, ;ith gratifying results. 4ut in any case, + ;as curious to 8no; ho; ;idely he ;ould cast his denunciation. *ould he say the sa@e thing a6out 7o7ulation geneticistsG The derogatory ter@ for so@e of their @odels is I6ean>6ag genetics,I for they 7retend that genes for this and that are li8e so @any color>coded 6eads on a string. *hat they call a gene (or an allele at a locusJ


TH/ T)// 03 2+3/

atterns7 4%ersimplification7 and Explanation


6ears only a 7assing rese@6lance to the intricate @achinery of the codon seEuences on D,A @olecules. 4ut than8s to these deli6erate si@7lifications, their @odels are co@7utationally tracta6le, ena6ling the@ to discover and confir@ @any large>scale 7atterns in gene flo; that ;ould other;ise 6e utterly invisi6le. Adding co@7lications ;ould tend to 6ring their research to a grinding halt. 4ut is their research good scienceG Cric8 re7lied that he had hi@self thought a6out the co@7arison, and had to say that 7o7ulation genetics ;asn-t science eitherL My tastes in science are @ore indulgent, as 7erha7s you ;ould eA7ect fro@ a 7hiloso7her, 6ut + do have @y reasons? + thin8 the case is strong that not only do IoverI>si@7lified @odels often actually explain Dust ;hat needs eA7laining, 6ut no @ore co@7licated @odel could do the Do6. *hen ;hat 7rovo8es our curiosity are the lar-e patterns in 7heno@ena, ;e need an eA7lanation at the right level. +n @any instances this is o6vious. +f you ;ant to 8no; ;hy traffic Da@s tend to ha77en at a certain hour every day, you ;ill still 6e 6affled after you have 7ainsta8ingly reconstructed the steering, 6ra8> ing, and accelerating 7rocesses of the thousands of drivers ;hose various traDectories have su@@ed to create those traffic Da@s. 0r i@agine tracing all the electrons through a hand calculator as it @ul> ti7lies t;o nu@6ers together and gets the correct ans;er. <ou could 6e 1== 7ercent sure you understood each of the @illions of causal @icroste7s in the 7rocess and yet still 6e utterly 6affled a6out wh" or even how it al;ays got the ri-ht ans;er to the Euestions you 7osed it. +f this is not o6vious, i@agine that so@e6ody @adeHas a sort of eA7ensive 7ran8Ha hand calculator that usually gave the ;rong ans;ersL +t ;ould o6ey eAactly the sa@e 7hysical la;s as the good calculator, and ;ould cycle through the sa@e sorts of @icro7rocesses. <ou could have perfect eA7lanations of ho; 6oth calculators ;or8ed at the electronic level, and still 6e utterly una6le to eA7lain the intensely interesting fact that one of the@ got the ans;ers right and the other got the@ ;rong. This is the sort of case that sho;s ;hat ;ould 6e silly a6out the 7re7osterous for@s of reductionis@# of course you can-t eA7lain all the 7atterns that interest us at the level of 7hysics (or che@istry, or any one lo; level". This is undenia6ly true of such @undane and un7er7leAing 7heno@ena as traffic Da@s and 7oc8et calculators# ;e should eA7ect it to 6e true of 6iological 7heno@ena as ;ell. (3or @ore on this to7ic, see Dennett 1 16." ,o; consider a 7arallel Euestion in 6iology, a teAt6oo8 standard? ;hy do giraffes have long nec8sG There is one ans;er that could in 7rinci7le 6e Iread offI the total Tree of 2ife, if ;e had it to loo8 at? /ach giraffe has a nec8 of the length it has 6ecause its 7arents had nec8s of the lengths they had, and so forth 6ac8 through the generations. +f you chec8 the@ off one 6y one, you ;ill see that the long nec8 of each living giraffe has 6een traced 6ac8 through long>nec8ed ancestors all the ;ay 6ac8... to ancestors ;ho didn-t

even have nec8s. So that-s ho; co@e giraffes have long nec8s. /nd of eA> 7lanation. (And if that doesn-t satisfy you, note that you ;ill 6e even less satisfied if the ans;er thro;s in all the details a6out the individual devel> o7@ental and nutritional history of each giraffe in the lineage." Any acce7ta6le eA7lanation of the 7atterns ;e o6serve in the Tree of 2ife @ust 6e contrastive? ;hy do ;e see this actual 7attern rattier than that oneH or no 7attern at allG *hat are the nonactualiJed alternatives that need to 6e considered, and ho; are they organiJedG To ans;er such Euestions, ;e need to 6e a6le to tal8 a6out ;hat is 7ossi6le in addition to ;hat is actual. CHAPT/) &? There are patterns in the unima-inabl" detailed Tree of 'ife7 hi-hli-htin- crucial e%ents that made the later flourishin- of the Tree pos; sible. The eu6ar"otic re%olution and the multicellular re%olution are the most important7 followed b" the speciation e%ents7 in%isible at the time7 but later seen to mar6 e%en such ma<or di%isions as those between plants and animals. If science is to explain the patterns discernible in all this complex it"7 it must rise abo%e the microscopic %iew to other le%els7 ta6in- on ideali:ations when necessar" so we can see the woods for die trees. CHAPT/) 9? The contrast between the actual and the possible is fundamental to all explanation in biolo-". It seems we need to distin-uish different -rades of possibilit"7 and Darwin pro%ides a framewor6 for a unified treatment of biolo-ical possibilit" in terms of accessibilit" in Bthe 'ibrar" of Mendel7B the space of all -enomes. In order to construct this useful ideali:ation7 we must ac6nowled-e and then set aside certain complications in the relations between a -enome and a %iable or-anism.

Drades of ossibilit"=


CHAPT/) 3+1/

The ossible and the #ctual

1. .)AD/S 03 P0SS+4+2+T<G
>owe%er man" wa"s there ma" be of bein- ali%e7 it is certain that there are %astl" more wa"s of bein- dead7 or rather not ali%e.
H)+CHA)D DA*5+,S 1 %!A, P.

#n" particular non;existent form of life ma" owe its absence to one of two reasons. 4ne is ne-ati%e selection. The other is that the necessar" mutations ha%e ne%er appeared.
HMA)5 )+D2/< 1 %9, P. 9!

Ta6e7 for instance7 the possible fat man in that doorwa"E and7 a-ain7 the possible bald man in diat doorwa". #re the" the same possible man7 or two possible men= >ow do we decide= >ow man" possible men are there in mat doorwa"= #re there more possible thin ones than fat ones= >ow man" of them are ali6e= 4r would their bein- ali6e ma6e them one= #re no t;o possible thin-s ali6e= Is this the same as sa"in- that it is impossible for t;o thin-s to be ali6e= 4r7 finall"7 is the concept of identit" simpl" inapplicable to unactuali:ed possibles= H*+22A)D1A,0)MA, F2+,/ 1 9(,P.& There see@ to 6e at least four different 8inds or grades of 7ossi6ility? logical, 7hysical, 6iological, and historical, nested in that order. The @ost lenient is @ere logical 7ossi6ility, ;hich according to 7hiloso7hical tradition is si@7ly a @atter of 6eing descri6a6le ;ithout contradiction. Su7er>

@an, ;ho flies faster than the s7eed of light, is lo-icall" 7ossi6le, 6ut Du7er@an, ;ho flies faster than the s7eed of light without mo%in- an"where7 is not even logically 7ossi6le. Su7er@an, ho;ever, is not ph"sicall" 7ossi6le, since a la; of 7hysics 7roclai@s that nothing can @ove faster than the s7eed of light. There is no dearth of difficulties ;ith this su7erficially straightfor;ard distinction. Ho; do ;e distinguish funda@ental 7hysical la;s fro@ logical la;sG +s it 7hysically or logically i@7ossi6le to travel 6ac8;ards in ti@e, for instanceG Ho; could ;e tell for sure ;hether a descri7tion that is apparentl" coherentHsuch as the story in the fil@ Bac6 to the 5utureHis su6tly self>contradictory or @erely denies a very funda@ental (6ut not logically necessary " assu@7tion of 7hysicsG There is also no dearth of 7hiloso7hy dealing ;ith these difficulties, so ;e ;ill Dust ac8no;ledge the@ and 7ass on to the neAt grade. Su7er@an flies 6y si@7ly lea7ing into the air and stri8ing a gallant @idair 7ose, a talent ;hich is certainly 7hysically i@7ossi6le. +s a flying horse 7hysically 7ossi6leG The standard @odel fro@ @ythology ;ould never get off the groundHa fact fro@ 7hysics (aerodyna@ics", not 6iologyH6ut a horse ;ith suita6le ;ings7an could 7resu@a6ly stay aloft. +t @ight have to 6e a tiny horse, so@ething aeronautical engineers @ight calculate fro@ considerations of ;eight>strength ratios, the density of air, and so forth. 4ut no; ;e are descending into the third grade of 7ossi6ility, biolo-ical pos; sibilit"7 for once ;e 6egin considering the strength of 6ones, and the 7ay> load reEuire@ents for 8ee7ing the fla77ing @achinery going, ;e concern ourselves ;ith develo7@ent and gro;th, @eta6olis@, and other clearly 6iological 7heno@ena. Still, the verdict @ay a77ear to 6e that of course flying horses are 6iologically 7ossi6le, since 6ats are actual. May6e even full>siJed flying horses are 7ossi6le, since there once ;ere 7teranodons and other flying creatures a77roaching that siJe. There is nothing to 6eat actu> ality, 7resent or 7ast, for clinching 7ossi6ility. *hatever is or has 6een actual is o6viously 7ossi6le. 0r is itG The lessons of actuality are hard to read. Could such flying horses really 6e via6leG *ould they 7erha7s need to 6e carnivorous to store enough energy and carry it aloftG Perha7sHin s7ite of fruit>eating 6atsHonly a carnivorous horse could get off the ground. +s a carnivorous horse 7ossi6leG Perha7s a carnivorous horse ;ould 6e 6iologically 7ossi6le if it could e%ol%e7 6ut ;ould such a diet shift 6e accessi6le fro@ ;here horses ;ould have to startG And, short of radical constructive surgery, could a horse>descendant have 6oth front legs and ;ingsG 4ats, after all, @a8e ;ings of their ar@s. +s there any 7ossi6le evolutionary history of s8eletal revision that ;ould yield a siA> li@6ed @a@@alG This 6rings us to our fourth grade of 7ossi6ility, historical possibilit". There @ight have 6een a ti@e, in the very distant 7ast, ;hen the 7ossi6ility of siA>li@6ed @a@@als on /arth had not yet 6een foreclosed, 6ut it @ight



The 'ibrar" of Mendel


also 6e true that once our four>finned fishy ancestors got selected for @oving onto the land, the 6asic four>li@6ed architecture ;as so dee7ly anchored in our develo7@ental routines that alteration at this ti@e is no lon-er possible. 4ut even that distinction @ay not 6e shar7>edged. +s such an alteration in funda@ental 6uilding>7lan flat i@7ossi6le, or Dust highly unli8ely, so resistant to change that only an astrono@ically i@7ro6a6le seEuence of selective 6lo;s could drive it into eAistenceG +t see@s there @ight 6e t;o 8inds or grades of 6iological i@7ossi6ility? violation of a 6iological law of nature (if there are any", and I@ereI 6iohistorical consign@ent to o6livion. Historical i@7ossi6ility is si@7ly a @atter of o77ortunities 7assed u7. There ;as a ti@e ;hen @any of us ;orried a6out the 7ossi6ility of President 4arry .old;ater, 6ut it didn-t ha77en, and after 1 !&, the odds against such a thing-s ever ha77ening lengthened reassuringly. *hen lottery tic8ets are 7ut on sale, this creates an o77ortunity for you? you @ay choose to 6uy one, 7rovided you act 6y a certain date. +f you 6uy one, this creates a further o77ortunity for youHthe o77ortunity to ;inH6ut soon it slides into the 7ast, and it is no longer 7ossi6le for you to ;in those @illions of dollars. +s this everyday vision ;e have of o77ortunitiesH real o77ortunitiesHan illusionG +n ;hat sense could you have ;onG Does it @a8e a difference if the ;inning lottery nu@6er is chosen after you 6uy your tic8et, or do you still have an o77ortunity to ;in, a real o77ortunity, if the ;inning nu@6er is sealed in a vault 6efore the tic8ets are 7ut on sale (Dennett 1 %&"G +s there e%er really any o77ortunity at allG Could anything ha77en other than ;hat actually ha77ensG This dread hy7othesis, the idea that onl" the actual is 7ossi6le, has 6een called actualism (Ayers 1 !%". +t is generally ignored, for good reasons, 6ut these reasons are seldo@ discussed. (Dennett 1 %&, and 2e;is 1 %!, 77. (!>(%, offer good reasons for dis@issing actualis@." These fa@iliar and prima facie relia6le ideas a6out 7ossi6ility can 6e su@@ed u7 in a diagra@, 6ut every 6oundary in it is e@6attled. As Fuine-s Euestions suggest, there is so@ething fishy a6out casual catalogues of @erely 7ossi6le o6Dects, 6ut since science cannot even eA7ressHlet alone confir@H the sorts of eA7lanations ;e crave ;ithout dra;ing such a distinction, there is little chance that ;e can si@7ly renounce all such tal8. *hen 6iologists ;onder ;hether a horned 6irdHor even a giraffe ;ith stri7es instead of 6lotchesHis 7ossi6le, the Euestions they are addressing e7ito@iJe ;hat ;e ;ant 6iology to discover for us. Alerted 6y Fuine, ;e can 6e struc8 6y the du6ious @eta7hysical i@7lications of )ichard Da;8ins- vivid clai@ that there are @any @ore ;ays of 6eing dead than of 6eing alive, 6ut @anifestly he is getting at so@ething i@7ortant. *e should try to find a ;ay of recasting such clai@s in a @eta7hysically @ore @odest and less contentious fra@e;or8Hand Dar;in-s starting in the @iddle gives us Dust the foothold ;e need. 5irst we can deal ;ith the relation 6et;een historical and

3+.U)/ 9.1

6iological 7ossi6ility, and then 7erha7s it ;ill suggest so@e 7ayoffs for ho; to @a8e sense of the grander varieties.1

'. TH/ 2+4)A)< 03 M/,D/2

The Argentine 7oet Morge 2uis 4orges is not ty7ically classified as a 7hilos > o7her, 6ut in his short stories he has given 7hiloso7hy so@e of its @ost valua6le thought eA7eri@ents, @ost of the@ gathered in the stunning col> lection 'ab"rinths (1 !'". A@ong the 6est is the fantasyHactually, it is @ore a 7hiloso7hical reflection than a narrativeHthat descri6es the 2i6rary of 4a6el. 3or us, the 2i6rary of 4a6el ;ill 6e an anchoring vision for hel7ing to ans;er very difficult Euestions a6out the sco7e of 6iological 7ossi6ility, so ;e ;ill 7ause to eA7lore it at so@e length. 4orges tells of the forlorn eA7lorations and s7eculations of so@e 7eo7le ;ho find the@selves living in

1. 4ac8 in 1 %', 3rancois Maco6, the ,o6el laureate 6iologist, 7u6lished a 6oo8 entitled The ossible and the #ctual7 and + rushed to read it, eA7ecting it to 6e an eye>o7ening essay on ho; 6iologists should thin8 a6out so@e of these conundru@s a6out 7ossi6ility. To @y disa77oint@ent, the 6oo8 had very little to say on this to7ic. +t is a fine 6oo8, and has a great title, 6ut the t;o don-t go together, in @y hu@6le o7inion. The 6oo8 + ;as eager to read hasn-t yet 6een ;ritten, a77arently, so +-ll have to try to ;rite 7art of it @yself, in this cha7ter.



The 'ibrar" of Mendel


a vast storehouse of 6oo8s, structured li8e a honeyco@6, co@7osed of thousands (or @illions or 6illions" of heAagonal air shafts surrounded 6y 6alconies lined ;ith shelves. Standing at a railing and loo8ing u7 or do;n, one sees no to7 or 6otto@ to these shafts. ,o6ody has ever found a shaft that isn-t surrounded 6y siA neigh6oring shafts. They ;onder? is the ;are house infiniteG /ventually, they decide that it is not, 6ut it @ight as ;ell 6e, for it see@s that on its shelvesHin no order, alasHlie all the possible boo6s. Su77ose that each 6oo8 is 9== 7ages long, and each 7age consists of &= lines of 9= s7aces, so there are t;o thousand character>s7aces 7er 7age. /ach s7ace either is 6lan8, or has a character 7rinted on it, chosen fro@ a set of 1== (the u77er> and lo;ercase letters of /nglish and other /uro7ean languages, 7lus the 6lan8 and 7unctuation @ar8s". ' So@e;here in the 2i> 6rary of 4a6el is a volu@e consisting entirely of 6lan8 7ages, and another volu@e is all Euestion @ar8s, 6ut the vast @aDority consist of ty7ogra7hical gi66erish# no rules of s7elling or gra@@ar, to say nothing of sense, 7rohi6it the inclusion of a volu@e. 3ive hundred 7ages ti@es ',=== characters 7er 7age gives 1,===,=== character>s7aces 7er 6oo8, so there are 1== 1,===,=== 6oo8s in the 2i6rary of 4a6el. Since it is esti@ated ( that there are only 1== &= (give or ta8e a fewJ particles (7rotons, neutrons, and electrons" in the region of the universe ;e can o6serve, the 2i6rary of 4a6el is not re@otely a 7hysically 7ossi6le o6Dect, 6ut, than8s to the strict rules ;ith ;hich 4orges constructed it in his i@agination, ;e can thin8 a6out it clearly. +s this truly the set of all 7ossi6le 6oo8sG 06viously notHsince they are restricted to 6eing 7rinted fro@ IonlyI 1== different characters, eAcluding, ;e @ay su77ose, the characters of .ree8, )ussian, Chinese, Ma7anese, and Ara6ic, there6y overloo8ing @any of the @ost i@7ortant actual 6oo8s. 0f course, the 2i6rary does contain su7er6 translations of all these actual 6oo8s into /nglish, 3rench, .er@an, +talian,..., as ;ell as uncounta6le trillions of shoddy translations of each 6oo8. 4oo8s of @ore than 9== 7ages are there,

6eginning in one volu@e and continuing ;ithout a 6rea8 in so@e other volu@e or volu@es. +t is a@using to thin8 a6out so@e of the volu@es that @ust 6e in the 2i6rary of 4a6el so@e;here. 0ne of the@ is the 6est, @ost accurate 9==> 7age 6iogra7hy of you, fro@ the @o@ent of your 6irth until the @o@ent of your death. 2ocating it, ho;ever, ;ould 6e all 6ut i@7ossi6le (that sli77ery ;ord", since the 2i6rary also contains 8aJillions of volu@es that are @ag> nificently accurate 6iogra7hies of you u7 till your tenth, t;entieth, thirtieth, fortieth ... 6irthday, and co@7letely false a6out su6seEuent events of your life Hin a 8aJillion different and diverting ;ays. 4ut even finding one reada6le volu@e in this huge storehouse is unli8ely in the eAtre@e. *e need so@e ter@s for the Euantities involved. The 2i6rary of 4a6el is not infinite, so the chance of finding anything interesting in it is not literally infinitesi@al.& These ;ords eAaggerate in a fa@iliar ;ayH;e caught Dar;in doing it in his su@@ary, ;here he hel7ed hi@self to an illicit IinfinitelyIH 6ut ;e should avoid the@. Unfortunately, all the standard @eta7horsH Iastrono@ically large,I Ia needle in a haystac8,I Ia dro7 in the oceanIHfall co@ically short. ,o actual astrono@ical Euantity (such as the nu@6er of ele@entary 7articles in the universe, or the ti@e since the 4ig 4ang @easured in nanoseconds" is even visi6le against the 6ac8dro7 of these huge 6ut finite nu@6ers. +f a reada6le volu@e in the 2i6rary ;ere as easy to find as a 7articular dro7 in the ocean, ;e-d 6e in 6usinessL +f you ;ere dro77ed at rando@ into the 2i6rary, your chance of ever encountering a volu@e ;ith so @uch as a gra@@atical sentence in it ;ould 6e so vanishingly s@all that ;e @ight do ;ell to ca7italiJe the ter@HI1anishinglyI s@allHand give it a @ate, I1astly,I short for I1ery>@uch>@ore>than>astrono@ically.I 9 Mob" Dic6 is in the 2i6rary of 4a6el, of course, 6ut so are 1==,===,=== @utant i@7ostors that differ fro@ the canonical Mob" Dic6 6y a sin-le

'. 4orges chose slightly different figures? 6oo8s &1= 7ages long, ;ith &= lines of %= characters each. The total nu@6er of characters 7er 6oo8 is close enough to @ine (1,(1',=== versus 1,===,===" to @a8e no difference. 1 chose @y rounder nu@6ers for ease of handling. 4orges chose a character set ;ith only '9 @e@6ers, ;hich is enough for u77ercase S7anish (;ith a 6lan8, a co@@a, and a 7eriod as the only 7unctuation ", 6ut not for /nglish. + chose the @ore co@@odious 1== to @a8e roo@ ;ithout any dou6t for the u77er> and lo;ercase letters and 7unctuation of all the )o@an>al7ha6et languages. (. Ste7hen Ha;8ing (1 %%, 7. 1' " insists on 7utting it this ;ay? IThere are so@ething li8e ten @illion @illion @illion @illion @illion @illion @illion @illion @illion @illion @illion @illion @illion (1 ;ith eighty Jeroes after it" 7articles in the region of the universe that ;e can o6serve.I Denton (1 %9 " 7rovides the esti@ate of 1= $= ato@s in the o6serva6le universe. /igen (1 ', 7. 1=" calculates the volu@e of the universe as 1= %& cu6ic centi@eters.

&. The 2i6rary of 4a6el is finite, 6ut, curiously enough, it contains all the gra@@atical sentences of /nglish ;ithin its ;alls. 4ut that-s an infinite set, and the li6rary is finiteL Still, any sentence of /nglish, of ;hatever length, can 6e 6ro8en do;n into 9==>7age chun8s, each of ;hich is so@e;here in the li6raryL Ho; is this 7ossi6leG So@e 6oo8s @ay get used @ore than once. The @ost 7rofligate case is the easiest to understand? since there are volu@es that each contain a single character and are other;ise 6lan8, re7eated use of these 1== volu@es ;ill create any teAt of any length. As Fuine 7oints out in his infor> @ative and a@using essay IUniversal 2i6raryI (in Fuine 1 %$", if you avail yourself of this strategy of re>using volu@es, and translate everything into the ASC++ code your ;ord> 7rocessor uses, you can store the ;hole 2i6rary of 4a6el in t;o eAtre@ely slender volu@es, in one of ;hich is 7rinted a = and in the other of ;hich a77ears a 1L (Fuine also 7oints out that the 7sychologist Theodor 3echner 7ro7ounded the fantasy of the univer> sal li6rary long 6efore 4orges." 9. Fuine (1 %$" coins the ter@ Ihy7erastrono@icI for the sa@e 7ur7ose.



The 'ibrar" of Mendel


ty7ogra7hical error. That-s not yet a 1ast nu@6er, 6ut the total rises s;iftly ;hen ;e add the variants that differ 6y ' or 1= or 1,=== ty7os. /ven a volu@e ;ith 1,=== ty7osH' 7er 7age on averageH;ould 6e un@ista8a6ly recogniJa6le as Mob" Dic67 and there are 1astly @any of those volu@es. +t ;ouldn-t @atter ;hich of these volu@es you found, if you could only find one of the@. They ;ould al@ost all 6e Dust a6out eEually ;onderful reading, and all tell the sa@e story, eAce7t for truly negligi6leHal@ost indiscri@> ina6leHdifferences. ,ot Euite all of the@, ho;ever. So@eti@es a single ty7o, in a crucial 7osition, can 6e fatal. Peter De 1ries, another 7hiloso7h> ically delicious ;riter of fiction, once 7u6lished a novel ! that 6egan? ICall @e, +sh@ael.I 0h, ;hat a single co@@a can doL 0r consider the @any @utants that 6egin? I4all @e +sh@aelOOOOI +n 4orges- story, the 6oo8s are not shelved in any order, 6ut even if ;e found the@ scru7ulously al7ha6etiJed, ;e ;ould have insolu6le 7ro6le@s finding the 6oo8 ;e ;ere loo8ing for (for instance, the IessentialI version of Mob" Dic6J. +@agine traveling 6y s7aceshi7 through the Mob" Dic6 galaAy of the 2i6rary of 4a6el. This galaAy is in itself 1astly larger than the ;hole 7hysical universe, so, no @atter ;hat direction you go in, for centuries on end, even if you travel at the s7eed of light, all you see are virtually indistinguisha6le co7ies of Mob" Dic6Hyou ;ill never ever reach anything that loo8s li8e anything else. Da%id Copperfield is uni@agina6ly distant in this s7ace, even though ;e 8no; that there is a 7athHa shortest 7ath, ignoring the 8aJillions of othersHleading fro@ one great 6oo8 to the other 6y single ty7ogra7hical changes. (+f you found yourself on this 7ath, you ;ould find it al@ost i@7ossi6le to tell, 6y local ins7ection, ;hich direction to go to @ove to;ards Da%id Copperfield7 even if you had teAts of 6oth target 6oo8s in hand." +n other ;ords, this lo-ical s7ace is so 1ast that @any of our usual ideas a6out location, a6out searching and finding and other such @undane and 7ractical activities, have no straightfor;ard a77lication. 4orges 7ut the 6oo8s on the shelves in rando@ order, a nice touch fro@ ;hich he dre; several delecta6le reflections, 6ut loo8 at the 7ro6le@s he ;ould have

!. The Oale of 'au-hter (1 9(". (+t goes on? I3eel a6solutely free to. Call @e any hour of the day or nightHI" De 1ries also @ay have invented the ga@e of seeing ho; large an effect (deleterious or not" you can achieve ;ith a single ty7ogra7hical change. 0ne of the 6est? I*hose ;oods are these, + thin8 + 8no;# his house is in the 1illage thoughOOOOI 0thers have ta8en u7 the ga@e? in the state of nature, @utant>Ho66es tells us, one finds Ithe ;ife of @an, solitary, 7oore, nasty, 6rutish, and short.I 0r consider the Euestion? IA@ + @y 6rotheN-s 8ee7erGI

created for hi@self if he-d tried to arrange the@ in al7ha6etical order in his honeyco@6. Since there are only a hundred different al7ha6etic characters (in our version", ;e can treat so@e s7ecific seEuence of the@ as Al7ha6et ical 0rderHe.g., a, A, 6, 4, c, C ... J, :, G , # , U . , L , " , ( , V , . . . a, a, eW, eX, e,... Then ;e can 7ut all the 6oo8s 6eginning ;ith the sa@e character on the sa@e floor. ,o; our li6rary is only 1== stories high, shorter than the *orld Trade Center. *e can divide each floor into 1== corridors7 each of ;hich ;e line ;ith the 6oo8s ;hose second character is the sa@e, one corridor for each character, in al7ha6etical order. 0n each corridor, ;e can 7lace 1== shel%es7 one for each third>slot. Thus all the 6oo8s that 6egin ;ith Iaardvar8s love MoJartIHand ho; @any there areLHare shelved on the sa@e shelf (the IrI shelf" in the first corridor on the first floor. 4ut that-s a @ighty long shelf, so 7erha7s ;e had 6etter stac8 the 6oo8s in file dra;ers at right angles to the shelf, one dra;er for each fourth>letter 7osition. That ;ay, each shelf can 6e only, say, 1== feet long. 4ut no; the file dra;ers are a;fully dee7, and ;ill run into the 6ac8s of the file dra;ers in the neigh6oring corridor, so ... 6ut ;e-ve run out of di@ensions in ;hich to line u7 the 6oo8s. *e need a @illion>di@ensional s7ace to store all the 6oo8s neatly, and all ;e have is three di@ensions? u7>do;n, left>right, and front>6ac8. So ;e ;ill Dust have to 7retend ;e can i@agine a @ultidi@ensional s7ace, each di@ension running Iat right anglesI to all the others. *e can conceive of such hy7ers7aces, as they are called, even if ;e can-t visualiJe the@. Scientists use the@ all the ti@e to organiJe the eA7ression of their theories. The geo@etry of such s7aces (;hether or not they count as only i@aginary" is ;ell 6ehaved and ;ell eA7lored 6y @athe@aticians. *e can confidently s7ea8 a6out locations, 7aths, traDectories, volu@es (hy7ervol>u@es", distances, and directions in these logical s7aces. *e are no; 7re7ared to consider a variation on 4orges- the@e, ;hich + ;ill call the 'ibrar" of Mendel. This 2i6rary contains Iall 7ossi6le ge> no@esIHD,A seEuences. )ichard Da;8ins descri6es a si@ilar s7ace, ;hich he calls I4io@or7h 2and,I in The Blind !atchma6er (1 %!a". His discussion is the ins7iration for @ine, and our t;o accounts are entirely co@7ati6le, 6ut + ;ant to stress so@e 7oints he chose to 7ass over lightly. +f ;e consider the 2i6rary of Mendel to 6e co@7osed of descriptions of geno@es, then it is already Dust a 7ro7er 7art of the 2i6rary of 4a6el. The standard code for descri6ing D,A consists of only four characters, A, C, ., and T (standing for Adenine, Cytosine, .uanine, and Thy@ine, the four 8inds of nucleotides that co@7ose the letters of the D,A al7ha6et". All the 9==>7age 7er@utations of these four letters are already in the 2i6rary of 4a6el. Ty7ical geno@es are @uch longer than ordinary 6oo8s, ho;ever. Ta8ing the current esti@ate of ( K 1= nucleotides in the hu@an geno@e, the eAhaustive descri7tion of a single hu@an geno@eHsuch as your o;nH ;ould ta8e a77roAi@ately (,=== of the 9==>7age volu@es in the 2i6rary of



The Complex Relation Between Denome and 4r-anism


4a6el (8ee7ing 7rint siJe the sa@e". $ The descri7tion of the geno@e for a horse (flying or not" or a ca66age or an octo7us ;ould 6e co@7osed of the sa@e letters, A, C, ., and T, and certainly not @uch longer, so ;e can su77ose, ar6itrarily, that the 2i6rary of Mendel consists of all the D,A strings descri6ed in all the (,===>volu@e 6oAed sets consisting entirely of those four characters. This ;ill ca7ture enough of the I7ossi6leI geno@es to serve any serious theoretical 7ur7ose. + overstated the case in descri6ing the 2i6rary of Mendel as containing Iall 7ossi6leI geno@es, of course. Must as the 2i6rary of 4a6el ignored the )ussian and Chinese languages, so the 2i6rary of Mendel ignores the (a7> 7arent" 7ossi6ility of alternative genetic al7ha6etsH6ased on different che@ical constituents, for instance. *e are still 6eginning in the @iddle, @a8ing sure ;e understand today-s local, earthly circu@stances 6efore cast> ing our nets ;ider. So any conclusions ;e co@e to regarding ;hat is 7ossi6le relative to this 2i6rary of Mendel @ay have to 6e reconsidered ;hen ;e try to a77ly the@ to so@e 6roader notion of 7ossi6ility. This is actually a strength rather than a ;ea8ness of our tactic, since ;e can 8ee7 close ta6s on eAactly ;hat sort of @odest, circu@scri6ed 7ossi6ility ;e are tal8ing a6out. 0ne of the i@7ortant features of D,A is that all the 7er@utations of seEuences of Adenine, Cytosine, .uanine, and Thy@ine are a6out eEually sta6le, che@ically. All could 6e constructed, in 7rinci7le, in the gene>

s7licing la6oratory, and, once constructed, ;ould have an indefinite shelf life, li8e a 6oo8 in a li6rary. 4ut not every such seEuence in the 2i6rary of Mendel corres7onds to a via6le organis@. Most D,A seEuencesHthe 1ast @aDorityHare surely gi66erish, reci7es for nothing living at all. That is ;hat Da;8ins @eans, of course, ;hen he says there are @any @ore ;ays of 6eing dead (or not alive" than ;ays of 6eing alive. 4ut ;hat 8ind of a fact is this, and ;hy should it 6e soG

(. TH/ C0MP2/K )/2AT+0, 4/T*//, ./,0M/ A,D 0).A,+SM

+f ;e are going to try to @a8e 7rogress 6y 6oldly oversi@7lifying, ;e should at least alert ourselves to so@e of the co@7lications ;e are te@7orarily setting aside. + see three @ain sorts of co@7leAity ;e should ac8no;ledge and 8ee7 an eye on as ;e 7roceed, even if ;e are once again 7ost7oning their full discussion. The first concerns the IreadingI of the Ireci7e.I The 2i6rary of 4a6el 7resu77osed readers? the 7eo7le ;ho inha6ited the 2i6rary. *ithout the@, the very idea of the collection of volu@es ;ould @a8e no sense at all# their 7ages @ight as ;ell 6e s@eared ;ith Da@ or ;orse. +f ;e are to @a8e any sense of the 2i6rary of Mendel, ;e @ust also 7resu77ose so@ething analogous to readers, for ;ithout readers D,A seEuences don-t specif" anything at allHnot 6lue eyes or ;ings or anything else. Deconstructionists ;ill tell you that no t;o readers of a teAt ;ill co@e u7 ;ith the sa@e reading, and so@ething si@ilar is undou6tedly true ;hen ;e consider the relationshi7 6et;een a geno@e and the e@6ryonic environ@entHthe che@ical @i>croenviron@ent as ;ell as the surrounding su77ort conditionsHin ;hich it has its infor@ational effects. The i@@ediate effect of the IreadingI of D,A during the creation of a ne; organis@ is the fa6rication of @any different 7roteins out of a@ino acids (;hich have to 6e on hand in the vicinity, of course, ready to 6e lin8ed together". There are 1astly @any 7ossi6le 7roteins, 6ut ;hich 6eco@e actual de7ends on the D,A teAt. These 7roteins get created in strict seEuence, and in a@ounts deter@ined 6y the I;ordsIH tri7lets of nucleotidesHas they are Iread.I So, for a D,A seEuence to s7ecify ;hat it is su77osed to s7ecify, there @ust 6e an ela6orate reader>constructor, ;ell stoc8ed ;ith a@ino>acid 6uilding 6loc8s.% 4ut that is Dust a s@all 7art of the 7rocess. 0nce the 7roteins get created, they have to 6e

$. The co@7arison of a hu@an geno@e ;ith the volu@es in the galaAy of Mob" Dic6 readil" eA7lains so@ething that occasionally 6affles 7eo7le a6out the Hu@an .eno@e ProDect. Ho; can scientists s7ea8 of seEuencing (co7ying do;n" the hu@an geno@e if every hu@an geno@e is different fro@ every other in not Dust one 6ut hundreds or thousands of 7laces Gloci7 in the language of genetics"G 2i8e the 7rover6ial sno;fla8es, or finger7rints, no t;o actual hu@an geno@es are eAactly ali8e, even those of identical t;ins (the chance of ty7os cree7ing in is al;ays 7resent, even in the cells of a single individ > ual". Hu@an D,A is readily distinguisha6le fro@ the D,A of any other s7ecies, even that of the chi@7anJee, ;hich is over = 7ercent the sa@e at every locus. /very actual hu@an geno@e that has ever eAisted is contained ;ithin a galaAy of 7ossi6le hu@an geno@es that is 1astly distant fro@ the galaAies of other s7ecies- geno@es, yet ;ithin the galaAy there is 7lenty of roo@ for no t;o hu@an geno@es to 6e ali8e. <ou have t;o versions of each of your genes, one fro@ your @other and one fro@ your father. They 7assed on to you eAactly half of their o;n genes, rando@ly selected fro@ those they received fro@ their 7arents, your grand7arents, 6ut since your grand7arents ;ere all @e@6ers of >omo sapiens7 their geno@es agree at al@ost all loci, so it @a8es no difference @ost of the ti@e ;hich grand7arent 7rovides either of your genes. 4ut their geno@es nevertheless differ at @any thousands of loci, and in those slots, ;hich genes you get is a @atter of chanceHa coin>toss 6uilt into the @achinery for for@ing your 7arents- contri6utions to your D,A. Moreover, @utations accu@ulate at the rate of a6out 1== 7er geno@e 7er generation in @a@@als. IThat is, your children ;ill have one hundred differences fro@ you and your s7ouse in their genes as a result of rando@ co7ying errors 6y your enJy@es or as a result of @utations in your ovaries or testicles caused 6y cos@ic raysI (Matt )idley 1 (, 7. &9".

%. This is an oversi@7lification, leaving out the role of @essenger ),A and other co@7lications.



The Complex Relation Between Denome and 4r-anism


6rought into the right relations ;ith each other. The 7rocess 6egins ;ith a single fertiliJed cell, ;hich then divides into t;o daughter cells, ;hich divide again, and so forth ( each ;ith its o;n du7licate co7y of all the D,A that is 6eing read, of course ". These ne;ly for@ed cells, of @any different varieties (de7ending on ;hich 7roteins are Diggled into ;hich 7laces in ;hich order", @ust in turn @igrate to the right locations in the e@6ryo, ;hich gro;s 6y dividing and dividing, 6uilding, re6uilding, revising, eAtending, re7eating, and so forth. This is a 7rocess that is only 7artly controlled 6y the D,A, ;hich in effect presupposes (and hence does not itself specif"" the reader and the reading 7rocess. Co@7are geno@es to @usical scores. Does a ;ritten score of 4eethoven-s 3ifth Sy@7hony specif" that 7iece of @usicG ,ot to Martians, it ;ouldn-t, 6ecause it 7resu77oses the eAistence of violins, violas, clarinets, tru@7ets. Su77ose ;e ta8e the score and attach a sheaf of directions and 6lue7rints for @a8ing (and 7laying" all the instru@ents, and send the ;hole 7ac8age to Mars. ,o; ;e are getting closer to a 7ac8age that could in 7rinci7le 6e used to re>create 4eethoven-s @usic on Mars. 4ut the Martians ;ould still have to 6e a6le to deci7her the reci7e, @a8e the instru@ents, and then 7lay the@ as the score directed. This is ;hat @a8es the story of Michael Crichton-s novel @urassic ar6 (1 ="Hand the Steven S7iel6erg @ovie @ade of itHa fantasy? even co@> 7letely intact dinosaur D,A ;ould 6e 7o;erless to re>create a dinosaur ;ithout the aid of a dinosaur>D,A>reader, and those are Dust as eAtinct as dinosaurs (they are, after all, the ovaries of dinosaurs". +f you ha%e a (living" dinosaur ovary, then it, together ;ith dinosaur D,A, can s7ecify another dinosaur, another dinosaur ovary, and so forth indefinitely, 6ut dinosaur D,A 6y itself, even co@7lete dinosaur D,A, is only half (or, de7ending on ho; you count, @ay6e less than half" the eEuation. *e @ight say that every s7ecies that has ever eAisted on this 7lanet has had its o;n dialect of D,A> reading. Still, these dialects have had a lot in co@@on ;ith each other. The 7rinci7les of D,A>reading are a77arently unifor@ across all s7ecies, after all. That is ;hat @a8es genetic engineering 7ossi6le# the organis@ic effect of a 7articular 7er@utation in D,A can often 6e 7redicted in 7ractice. So the idea of 6ootstra77ing our ;ay 6ac8 to a dinosaur>D,A>reader is a coherent idea, ho;ever i@7ro6a6le. *ith a hel7ing of 7oetic license, the fil@>@a8ers @ight 7retend that acce7ta6le su6stitute readers could 6e found (introduce the dinosaur>D,A teAt to the D,A>reader in a frog, and ho7e for the 6est".

*e ;ill cautiously hel7 ourselves to so@e 7oetic license, too. Su77ose ;e 7roceed as if the 2i6rary of Mendel ;ere eEui77ed ;ith a single or standard D,A>reader that can eEually ;ell turn out a turni7 or a tiger, de7ending on the reci7e it finds in one of the geno@e volu@es. This is a 6rutal oversi@7lification, 6ut later ;e can reo7en the Euestion of the develo7@ental or e@6ryological co@7lications. 1= *hatever standard D,A>reader ;e choose, relative to it the 1ast @aDority of D,A seEuences in the 2i6rary of Mendel ;ill 6e utter gi66erish. Any atte@7t to IeAecuteI such a reci7e for creating a via6le organis@ ;ould Euic8ly ter@inate in a6surdity. *e ;ouldn-t change this 7icture a77recia6ly if instead ;e i@agined there to 6e @illions of different dialects of D,A>readers, analogous to the different actual languages re7resented in the 2i6rary of 4a6el. +n that 2i6rary, the /nglish 6oo8s @ay 6e gi66erish to the Polish readers and vice versa, 6ut 1astly @ost of the volu@es are gi66erish to all readers. Ta8e any one volu@e at rando@, and no dou6t ;e can i@agine that it is co@7osed in a language, 4a6elish, in ;hich it tells a ;onderful tale. (+@agination is chea7 if ;e don-t have to 6other ;ith the details." 4ut if ;e re@ind ourselves that real languages have to 6e co@7act and practical things, ;ith short, easily read sentences that de7end on syste@atic regularity to get their @essages across, ;e can assure ourselves that, co@7ared ;ith the 1ast variety of teAts in the 2i6rary, the 7ossi6le languages are 1anishingly fe;. So ;e @ight as ;ell 7retend, for the ti@e 6eing, that there ;as Dust one language, Dust one sort of reader. The second co@7leAity ;e @ay ac8no;ledge and 7ost7one concerns via6ility. A tiger is via6le now7 in certain eAisting environ@ents on our 7lanet, 6ut ;ould not have 6een via6le in @ost earlier days, and @ay 6eco@e invia6le in the future (as @ay all life on /arth, in fact". 1ia6ility is relative to the environ@ent in ;hich the organis@ @ust @a8e its living. *ithout 6reatha6le at@os7here and edi6le 7reyHto ta8e the @ost o6vious conditions Hthe organic features that @a8e tigers via6le today ;ould 6e to no avail. And since environ@ents are to a great eAtent co@7osed of, and 6y,

instance, he suggests, of the .reat Chain of 4eing fallacy. IHu@ans, of course, are @ore closely related to dinosaurs than either is to frogs. Hu@an D,A ;ould have 6een 6etter than frog D,A. 4ird D,A ;ould 6e 6etter still.I 1=. A recent the@e often heard a@ong evolutionary theorists is that the Igene centris@I that is @ore or less standard these days has gone too far. According to this co@7laint, orthodoAy vastly overesti@ates the eAtent to ;hich the D,A can 6e considered to 6e a reci7e, co@7osed of genes, s7ecifying a 7henoty7e or an organis@. Those ;ho @a8e this clai@ are the deconstructionists of 6iology, elevating the reader to 7o;er 6y de@oting the teAt. +t is a useful the@e as an antidote to oversi@7lified gene centris@, 6ut in overdose it is a6out as silly as deconstructionis@ in literary studies. This ;ill 6e given @ore attention in cha7ter 11.

. The fil@>@a8ers never really address the 7ro6le@ of the D9#;reader at all, and use frog D,A Dust to 7atch the @issing 7arts of the dinosaur D,A. David Haig has 7ointed out to @e that this choice of a frog 6y the fil@>@a8ers @anifests an interesting errorHan



The Complex Relation Between Denome and 4r-anism


the other organis@s eAtant, via6ility is a constantly changing 7ro7erty, a @oving target, not a fiAed condition. This 7ro6le@ is @ini@iJed if ;e Doin Dar;in in starting in the @iddle, ;ith currently eAisting environ@ents, and eAtra7olate cautiously to earlier and later 7ossi6ilities. *e can leave till later a consideration of the initial 6ootstra77ing that @ay (or @ust" have ha77ened to set this coevolution of organis@s and their environ@ents in @otion. The third co@7leAity concerns the relationshi7 6et;een the teAts of the geno@es that do deter@ine via6le organis@s, and the features those organ> is@s eAhi6it. As ;e have already noted several ti@es in 7assing, there is no simple @a77ing of nucleotide I;ordsI onto Mendelian genesH7utative carriers of the Is7ecsI (as an engineer ;ould say" for one feature or another. +t is si@7ly not the case that there is a seEuence of nucleotides that s7ells I6lue eyesI or I;e66ed feetI or Iho@oseAualI in any descri7tive language. And you can-t s7ell Ifir@I or IflavorfulI in the language of to@ato D,AH even though you can revise the nucleotide seEuence in that language so that the effect is fir@er, @ore flavorful to@atoes. *hen this co@7lication is ac8no;ledged, it is usually 7ointed out that geno@es are not li8e descri7tions or 6lue7rints of finished 7roducts, 6ut @ore li8e reci7es for 6uilding the@. This does not @ean, as so@e critics have contended, that it is al;aysHor even everHa @ista8e to s7ea8 of a gene for this or that. The 7resence or a6sence of an instruction in a reci7e can @a8e a ty7ical and i@7ortant difference, and ;hatever difference it @a8es @ay 6e correctly descri6ed as ;hat the instructionHthe geneHis Ifor.I This 7oint has 6een so freEuently and influentially @issed 6y the critics that it is ;orth 7ausing to eA7ose its error vividly. )ichard Da;8ins has co@e u7 ;ith an eAa@7le that does this so ;ell that it is ;orth Euoting in full (it also highlights the i@7ortance of the second of our co@7lications, the relativity of via6ility to environ@ent"? )eading is a learned s8ill of 7rodigious co@7leAity, 6ut this 7rovides no reason in itself for sce7ticis@ a6out the 7ossi6le eAistence of a gene for reading. All ;e ;ould need in order to esta6lish the eAistence of a gene for reading is to discover a gene for not reading, say a gene ;hich induced a 6rain lesion causing s7ecific dysleAia. Such a dysleAic 7erson @ight 6e nor@al and intelligent in all res7ects eAce7t that he could not read. ,o geneticist ;ould 6e 7articularly sur7rised if this ty7e of dysleAia turned out to 6reed true in so@e Mendelian fashion. 06viously, in this event, the gene ;ould only eAhi6it its effect in an environ@ent ;hich included nor@al education. +n a 7rehistoric environ@ent it @ight have had no detecta6le effect, or it @ight have had so@e different effect and have 6een 8no;n to cave>d;elling geneticists as, say, a gene for ina6ility to read ani@al foot7rints. +n our educated environ@ent it ;ould 7ro7erly 6e called a gene -for- dysleAia, since dysleAia ;ould 6e its @ost salient conseEuence.

Si@ilarly, a gene ;hich caused total 6lindness ;ould also 7revent reading, 6ut it ;ould not usefully 6e regarded as a gene for not reading. This is si@7ly 6ecause 7reventing reading ;ould not 6e its @ost o6vious or de> 6ilitating 7henoty7ic effect. PDa;8ins 1 %', 7. '(. See also Da;8ins 1 % a, 77. '%1>%', and Sterelny and 5itcher 1 %%.Q The indirect ;ay in ;hich grou7s of codonsHtri7lets of D,A nucleotides Hinstruct the 6uilding 7rocess does not 7rohi6it us, then, fro@ s7ea8ing of a gene for x or for "7 using the fa@iliar geneticists- shorthand, and 6earing in @ind that that is ;hat ;e are doing. 4ut it does @ean that there @ay 6e funda@ental differences 6et;een the s7ace of geno@es and the s7ace of I7ossi6leI organis@s. The fact that we can consistently descri6e a finished 7roductHsay, a giraffe ;ith green stri7es instead of 6ro;n 6lotches Hdoes not guarantee that there is a D,A reci7e for @a8ing it. +t @ay Dust 6e that, 6ecause of the 7eculiar reEuire@ents of develo7@ent, there si@7ly is no starting 7oint in D,A that has such a giraffe as its destination. This @ay see@ very i@7lausi6le. *hat could 6e i@7ossi6le a6out a giraffe ;ith green stri7esG :e6ras have stri7es, dra8es have green feathers on their headsHthere is nothing 6iologically i@7ossi6le a6out the 7ro7erties in isolation, and surely they can 6e 7ut together in one giraffeL So you-d thin8. 4ut you @ust not count on it. <ou-d 7ro6a6ly also thin8 a stri7ed ani@al ;ith a s7otted tail ;as 7ossi6le, 6ut it @ay ;ell not 6e. Ma@es Murray (1 % " has develo7ed @athe@atical @odels that sho; ho; the develo7@ental 7rocess of distri6uting color on ani@als could readily @a8e a s7otted ani@al ;ith a stri7ed tail, 6ut not vice versa. This is suggestive, 6ut not yetHas so@e have rashly saidHa strict 7roof of i@7ossi6ility. Anyone ;ho had learned ho; to 6uild a tiny shi7 in a 6ottleHa hard enough tric8H @ight thin8 it ;as flat i@7ossi6le to 7ut a ;hole fresh 7ear in a narro;>nec8ed 6ottle, 6ut it isn-t# ;itness the 6ottles of Poire *illia@ liEueur. Ho; is it doneG Could the @olten glass so@eho; 6e 6lo;n around a 7ear ;ithout scorching itG ,o, the 6ottles are hung on the trees in the s7ring so that the 7ears can gro; inside the@. Proving that there is no strai-htforward ;ay for 6iology to acco@7lish so@e tric8 is never a 7roof of i@7ossi6ility. )e@e@6er 0rgel-s Second )uleL +n his account of 4io@or7h 2and, Da;8ins stresses that a tinyHindeed @ini@alHchange in the genoty7e (the reci7e" can 7roduce a stri8ingly large change in the 7henoty7e (the resulting individual organis@", 6ut he tends to slight one of the @aDor i@7lications of this? if a single ste7 in the genoty7e can 7roduce a giant ste7 in the 7henoty7e, inter@ediate ste7s for the 7henoty7e @ay 6e si@7ly unavaila6le, given the @a77ing rules. To ta8e a deli6erately eAtre@e and fanciful eAa@7le, you @ight thin8 that if a 6east could have t;enty>centi@eter tus8s and forty>centi@eter tus8s, it ;ould stand to reason that it could also have thirty>centi@eter tus8s, 6ut the rules



ossibilit" 9aturali:ed


for tus8>@a8ing in the reci7e syste@ @ay not allo; for such a case. The 1 s7ecies in Euestion @ight have to IchooseI 6et;een tus8s ten centi@eters Itoo shortI or ten centi@eters Itoo long.I This @eans that argu@ents that 7roceed fro@ engineering assu@7tions a6out ;hich design ;ould 6e the o7ti@al or 6est design @ust 6e eAtre@ely cautious in assu@ing that ;hat see@s intuitively to 6e availa6le or 7ossi6le is actually accessi6le in the organis@-s design s7ace, given the ;ay it reads its reci7es. (This ;ill 6e a @aDor to7ic in cha7ters %, , and 1=."

&. P0SS+4+2+T< ,ATU)A2+:/D

*ith the hel7 of the 2i6rary of Mendel, ;e can no; resolveHor at least unite under a single 7ers7ectiveHso@e of the nagging 7ro6le@s a6out I6iological la;sI and ;hat is 7ossi6le, i@7ossi6le, and necessary in the ;orld. )ecall that ;e needed to get clear a6out these issues 6ecause, if ;e are to eA7lain the ;ay things are7 it @ust 6e against a 6ac8ground of ho; things mi-ht have 6een, or must 6e, or couldn/t 6e. *e can no; define a restricted conce7t of 6iological 7ossi6ility? x is 6iologically 7ossi6le if and only if x is an instantiation of an accessi6le geno@e or a feature of its 7henoty7ic 7roducts. Accessi6le fro@ ;hereG 4y ;hat 7rocessesG Ah, there-s the ru6. *e have to s7ecify a starting 7oint in the 2i6rary of Mendel, and a @eans of Itravel.I Su77ose ;e ;ere to start ;here ;e are today. Then ;e ;ill 6e tal8ing, first, a6out ;hat is 7ossi6le nowHthat is to say, in the near future, using ;hatever @eans of travel are currently availa6le to us. *e count as 7ossi6le all actual conte@7orary s7ecies and all their featuresHincluding the features they have in virtue of their relations ;ith other s7ecies and their featuresH 7lus anything that can 6e o6tained 6y traveling fro@ that 6road front either Dust Iin the course of natureIH;ithout hu@an @ani7ulationHor ;ith the hel7 of such artificial cranes as the techniEues of traditional ani@al>6reeding (and, for that @atter, surgery", or via the fancy ne; vehicles of genetic engineering. After all, ;e hu@an 6eings and all our tric8s are Dust another 7roduct of the conte@7orary 6ios7here. Thus it is 6iologically 7ossi6le for you to have a fresh tur8ey dinner on Christ@as Day, '==1, if and only if at least one instantiated tur8ey geno@e has 7roduced the reEuisite 7henoty7ic effects in ti@e for dinner. +t is 6iologically 7ossi6le for you to ride a 7ter>anodon 6efore you die if and only if @urassic ar6;ish technology 7er@its that sort of geno@e to get eA7ressed in ti@e. ,o @atter ho; ;e set these ItravelI 7ara@eters, the resulting notion of 6iological 7ossi6ility ;ill have an i@7ortant 7ro7erty? so@e things ;ill 6e

I@ore 7ossi6leI than othersHthat is, nearer in the @ultidi@ensional search s7ace, and @ore accessi6le, IeasierI to get to. Things that ;ould have 6een vie;ed as 6iological i@7ossi6ilities Dust a fe; years agoHsuch as 7lants that glo;ed in the dar8 in virtue of having firefly genes in the@Hare no; not only 7ossi6le 6ut actual. Are t;enty>first>century dinosaurs 7ossi6leG *ell, the vehicles for -ettin- there fro@ here have 6een develo7ed to the 7oint ;here ;e can at least tell a crac8ing good storyHone reEuiring re@ar8a6ly little 7oetic license. (IThereI is a 7ortion of the 2i6rary of Mendel through ;hich the Tree of 2ife sto77ed @eandering a6out siAty @illion years ago." *hat rules govern travel through this s7aceG *hat rules or la;s constrain the relations 6et;een geno@es and their 7henoty7ic 7roductsG So far, all ;e have ac8no;ledged are logical or @athe@atical necessities on the one hand and the la;s of 7hysics on the other. That is, ;e have 7roceeded as if ;e 8ne; ;hat 6oth logical 7ossi6ility and (@ere" 7hysical 7ossi6ility ;ere. These are difficult and controversial issues, 6ut ;e @ay consider the@ clamped8 ;e si@7ly assu@e so@e fiAed version of those varieties of 7ossi6ility and necessity, and then develo7 our restricted notion of 6iological 7ossi6ility in ter@s of it. The la; of large nu@6ers and the la; of gravity, for instance, are 6oth dee@ed to hold unreservedly and ti@elessly over the s7ace. Cla@7ing 7hysical la; lets us say flat out, for instance, that all the different geno@es are 7hysically 7ossi6leH 6ecause che@istry says they are all sta6le, if encountered. 5ee7ing logic and 7hysics and che@istry cla@7ed, ;e could choose a different starting 7oint. *e could choose so@e @o@ent on /arth five 6illion years ago, and consider ;hat ;as 6iologically 7ossi6le then. ,ot @uch, 6ecause 6efore tigers could 6eco@e 7ossi6le (on /arth", eu8aryotes, and then 7lants 7roducing at@os7heric oAygen in large Euantities, and @any other things had to 6eco@e actual. *ith hindsight, ;e can say that tigers ;ere in fact 7ossi6le all along, if distant and eAtre@ely i@7ro6a6le. 0ne of the virtues of this ;ay of thin8ing of 7ossi6ility is that it Doins forces ;ith 7ro6a6ility, thus 7er@itting us to trade in flat all>or>nothing clai@s a6out 7ossi6ility for clai@s a6out relative distance, ;hich is ;hat @atters for @ost 7ur7oses. (The all>or>nothing clai@s of 6iological 7ossi6ility ;ere all 6ut i@7ossi6le Ph@@, that ;ord againQ to adDudicate, so this is no loss." As ;e sa; in our eA7loration of the 2i6rary of 4a6el, it doesn-t @a8e @uch difference ;hat our verdict is a6out ;hether it is I7ossi6le in 7rinci7leI to find so@e 7articular volu@e in that 1ast s7ace. *hat @atters is ;hat is 7ractically 7ossi6le, in one or another sense of I7racticalIHta8e your 7ic8. This is certainly not a standard definition of 7ossi6ility, or even a standard sort of definition of 7ossi6ility. The idea that so@e things @ight 6e I@ore 7ossi6leI than others (or @ore 7ossi6le fro@ over here than fro@ over there" is at odds ;ith one standard understanding of the ter@, and so@e 7hiloso7hical critics @ight say that this is si@7ly not a definition of possi;



ossibilit" 9aturali:ed


bilit"7 ;hatever it is. So@e other 7hiloso7hers have defended vie;s of co@7arative 7ossi6ility (see es7ecially 2e;is 1 %!, 77. 1=ff.", 6ut + don-t ;ant to fight over it. +f this is not an account of 7ossi6ility, so 6e it. +t is, then, a 7ro7osed replacement for a definition of 7ossi6ility. Perha7s after all ;e don-t need the conce7t of 6iological 7ossi6ility (;ith its reEuired all>or> nothing a77lication" for any serious investigative 7ur7ose. Perha7s degree of accessi6ility in the s7ace of the 2i6rary of Mendel is all ;e need, and is in fact a 6etter conce7t than any all>or>nothing version could 6e. +t ;ould 6e nice, for instance, to have so@e ;ay of ran6in- the follo;ing in ter@s of 6iological 7ossi6ility? ten>7ound to@atoes, aEuatic dogs, flying horses, flying trees. That ;ill not 6e enough to satisfy @any 7hiloso7hers, and their o6Dections are serious. 4riefly considering the@ ;ill at least @a8e it clearer ;hat + a@ clai@ing and ;hat + a@ not clai@ing. 3irst of all, isn-t there so@ething viciously circular a6out defining 7ossi6ility in ter@s of accessibilit"= (Doesn-t the latter ter@ Dust reintroduce the for@er in its suffiA, and still undefinedG" *ell, not Euite. +t does leave so@e definitely unfinished 6usi > ness, ;hich + ;ill si@7ly ac8no;ledge 6efore @oving on. *e have su77osed that ;e are holding so@e conce7t or other of ph"sical 7ossi6ility cla@7ed for the ti@e 6eing# our idea of accessi6ility 7resu77oses that this 7hysical 7ossi6ility, ;hatever it is, leaves us some el6o; roo@Hso@e o7enness of 7ath;ays (not Dust a single 7ath;ay" in the s7ace. +n other ;ords, ;e are ta8ing on the assu@7tion that nothin- stops us fro@ going do;n any of the 7ath;ays that are o7en so far as 7hysics is concerned. 11 Fuine-s Euestions (at the head of this cha7ter" invited us to ;orry a6out

11. This idea of el6o; roo@ is so@ething ;e need to 7resu77ose in any case, for it is the @ini@al denial of actualis@, the doctrine that only the actual is 7ossi6le. David Hu@e, in # Treatise of >uman 9ature (1$( ", s7o8e of Ia certain loosenessI ;e ;ant to eAist in our ;orld. This is the looseness that 7revents the 7ossi6le fro@ shrin8ing tightly around the actual. This looseness is 7resu77osed 6y an" use of the ;ord IcanIHa ;ord ;e can hardly do ;ithoutL So@e 7eo7le have thought that, if deter@inis@ ;ere true, actualis@ ;ould 6e trueHor, to turn it around, if actualis@ is false7 indeter@inis@ @ust 6e trueH 6ut this is highly du6ious. The i@7lied argu@ent against deter@inis@ ;ould 6e discon> certingly si@7le? this oAygen ato@ has valence '# therefore, it can unite ;ith t;o hydrogen ato@s to for@ a @olecule of ;ater (it can right no;, ;hether or not it does"# therefore, so@ething is 7ossi6le that isn-t actual, so deter@inis@ is false. There are i@7ressive argu@ents fro@ 7hysics that lead to the conclusion that deter@inis@ is falseH 6ut this isn-t one of the@. + a@ 7re7ared to assu@e that actualis@ is false (and that this assu@7tion is inde7endent of the deter@inis@Nindeter@inis@ Euestion", even if + can-t clai@ to 7rove it, if only 6ecause the alternative ;ould 6e to give u7 and go 7lay golf or so@ething. 4ut for a so@e;hat fuller discussion of actualis@, see @y 6oo8 Elbow Room ( 1 %& ", es7ecially ch. !, ICould Have Done 0ther;ise,I fro@ ;hich @aterial in this note is dra;n. See also David 2e;is- (1 %!, ch. 1$ " concurring o7inion, a6out the related issue of the irrelevance of the issue of indeter@inis@ to our sense that the future is Io7en.I

;hether ;e could count nonactual 7ossi6le o6Dects. 0ne of the virtues of the 7ro7osed treat@ent of 6iological 7ossi6ility is that, than8s to its Iar6itraryI for@al syste@Hthe syste@ ar6itrarily i@7osed on us 6y nature, at least in our nec8 of the ;oodsH;e can count the different nonactual 7ossi6le geno@es# they are 1ast 6ut finite in nu@6er, and no t;o are eAactly ali8e. (4y definition, geno@es are distinct if they fail to share a nucleotide at any one of several 6illion loci." +n ;hat sense are the nonactual geno@es reall" 7ossi6leG 0nly in this sense? if they ;ere for@ed, they-d 6e sta6le. 4ut ;hether or not any cons7iracy of events could lead to their 6eing for@ed is another @atter, to 6e addressed in ter@s of accessi6ility fro@ one location or another. Most of the geno@es in this set of sta6le 7ossi6ilities ;ill ne%er 6e for@ed, ;e can 6e sure, since the heat death of the universe ;ill overta8e the 6uilding 7rocess 6efore it has @ade a siJa6le dent in the s7ace. T;o other o6Dections to this 7ro7osal a6out 6iological 7ossi6ility cry out to 6e heard. 3irst, isn-t it outrageously Igene>centered,I in anchoring all considerations of 6iological 7ossi6ility to the accessi6ility of one geno@e or another in the 2i6rary of MendelG 0ur 7ro7osed treat@ent of 6iological 7ossi6ility flatly ignores (and hence i@7licitly rules i@7ossi6le" IcreaturesI that are not end 7oints of so@e 6ranch of the Tree of 2ife that has already ta8en us as far as ;e are today. 4ut that Dust is the grand unification of 6iology that Dar;in discoveredL Unless you har6or fantasies a6out s7onta> neous creation of ne; life for@s 6y IS7ecial CreationI or (the 7hiloso7herssecular version" ICos@ic Coincidence,I you acce7t that every feature of the 6ios7here is one fruit or another of the Tree of 2ife (or, if not our Tree of 2ife, so@e other Tree of 2ife, ;ith its o;n accessi6ility relations". ,o @an is an island, Mohn Donne 7roclai@s, and Charles Dar;in adds that neither is any cla@ or tuli7Hevery possible living thing is connected 6y isth@uses of descent to all other living things. ,otice that this doctrine rules in ;hatever @arvels technology can 7roduce in the future, 7rovidedHas ;e have already notedHthat technologists the@selves, and their tools and @ethods, are fir@ly located on the Tree of 2ife. +t is a s@all further ste7 to rule in life for@s fro@ outer s7ace, 7rovided they, too, are the 7roducts of a Tree of 2ife rooted, as ours is, in so@e non@iraculous 7hysical ground. (This to7ic ;ill 6e eA7lored in cha7ter $." Second, ;hy should ;e treat 6iological 7ossi6ility so differently fro@ 7hysical 7ossi6ilityG +f ;e assu@e that Ila;s of 7hysicsI fiA the li@its of 7hysical 7ossi6ility, ;hy shouldn-t ;e atte@7t to define 6iological 7ossi6ility in ter@s of Ila;s of 6iologyIG ( *e ;ill turn to an eAa@ination of 7hysical la;s and 7hysical necessity in cha7ter $, 6ut in the @eanti@e, the difference a77ears large." Many 6iologists and 7hiloso7hers of science have @aintained that there are 6iological la;s. Doesn-t the 7ro7osed definition rule the@ outG 0r does it declare the@ su7erfluousG +t doesn-t rule the@ out. +t 7er@its so@eone to argue for the do@inion of so@e la; of 6iology over the



ossibilit" 9aturali:ed


s7ace of the 2i6rary of Mendel, 6ut it does 7ut a difficult 6urden of 7roof on anyone ;ho thin8s that there are la;s of 6iology o%er and abo%e the la;s of @athe@atics and 7hysics. Consider the fate of IDollo-s 2a;,I for instance. -Dollo-s 2a;- states that evolution is irreversi6le....P4utQ There is no reason ;hy general trends in evolution shouldn-t 6e reversed. +f there is a trend to;ards large antlers for a ;hile in evolution, there can easily 6e a su6se> Euent trend to;ards s@aller antlers again. Dollo-s 2a; is really Dust a state> @ent a6out the statistical i@7ro6a6ility of follo;ing eAactly the sa@e evolutionary traDectory t;ice (or indeed any particular traDectory", in either direction. A single @utational ste7 can easily 6e reversed. 4ut for larger nu@6ers of @utational ste7s... the @athe@atical s7ace of all 7ossi6le traDectories is so vast that the chance of t;o traDectories ever arriving at the sa@e 7oint 6eco@es vanishingly s@allOOOOThere is nothing @ysterious or @ystical a6out Dollo-s 2a;, nor is it so@ething that ;e go out and -test- in nature. +t follo;s si@7ly fro@ the ele@entary la;s of 7ro6a6ility. PDa;8ins 1 %!a, 7. &.Q There is no shortage of candidates for the role of Iirreduci6le 6iological la;.I 3or instance, @any have argued that there are Idevelo7@ental la;sI or Ila;s of for@I that constrain the relation 6et;een genoty7e and 7heno>ty7e. +n due course ;e ;ill consider their status, 6ut already ;e can locate at least so@e of the @ost salient constraints on 6iological 7ossi6ility as not Ila;s of 6iologyI 6ut Dust inesca7a6le features of the geo@etry of design s7ace, li8e Dollo-s 2a; (or the Hardy>*ein6erg 2a; of gene freEuency, ;hich is another a77lication of 7ro6a6ility theory, 7ure and si@7le". Ta8e the case of the horned 6irds. As Maynard S@ith notes, there aren-t any, and ;e don-t 8no; ;hy. Might it 6e 6ecause they are ruled out 6y a 6iological law= Are horned 6irds flat i@7ossi6leG *ould they have to 6e invia6le in any and all 7ossi6le environ@ents, or is there si@7ly no 7ath at all Ifro@ here to thereI 6ecause of restrictions on the geno@e>reading 7rocessG As ;e have already noted, ;e should 6e i@7ressed 6y the severe restrictions encountered 6y this 7rocess, 6ut ;e should not 6e carried a;ay. Those restrictions @ay not 6e a uni%ersal feature, 6ut a te@7orally and s7atially local feature, analogous to ;hat Sey@our Pa7ert has du66ed the F*/)T< 7heno@enon in the culture of co@7uters and 8ey6oards. The to7 ro; of al7ha6etic 8eys of the standard ty7e;riter reads F*/)T<. 3or @e this sy@6oliJes the ;ay in ;hich technology can all too often serve not as a force for 7rogress 6ut for 8ee7ing things stuc8. The F*/)T< arrange@ent has no rational eA7lanation, only a historical one. +t ;as introduced in res7onse to a 7ro6le@ in the early days of the ty7e;riter? The 8eys used to Da@. The idea ;as to @ini@iJe the collision 7ro6le@ 6y se7arating those 8eys that follo;ed one another freEuently.... 0nce

ado7ted, it resulted in @any @illions of ty7e;riters and ... the social cost of change ... @ounted ;ith the vested interest created 6y the fact that so @any fingers no; 8ne; ho; to follo; the F*/)T< 8ey6oard. F*/)T< has stayed on des7ite the eAistence of other, @ore IrationalI syste@s. PPa7ert 1 %=, 7. ((.Q1' The i@7erious restrictions ;e encounter inside the 2i6rary of Mendel @ay loo8 li8e universal la;s of nature fro@ our @yo7ic 7ers7ective, 6ut fro@ a different 7ers7ective they @ay a77ear to count as @erely local conditions, ;ith historical eA7lanations. 1( +f so, then a restricted conce7t of 6iological 7ossi6ility is the sort ;e ;ant# the ideal of a universal conce7t of 6iological 7ossi6ility ;ill 6e @isguided. 4ut as + have already allo;ed, this does not rule out 6iological la;s# it @erely sets the 6urden of 7roof for those ;ho ;ant to 7ro7ose any. And in the @eanti@e, it gives us a fra@e>;or8 for descri6ing large and i@7ortant classes of regularity ;e discover in the 7atterns in our 6ios7here. CHAPT/) 9? Biolo-ical possibilit" is best seen in terms of accessibilit" Gfrom some stipulated locationJ in the 'ibrar" of Mendel7 the lo-ical space of all -enomes. This concept of possibilit" treats the connectedness of the Tree of 'ife as a fundamental feature of biolo-"7 while lea%in- it open that there ma" also be biolo-ical laws that will also constrain accessibilit". CHAPT/) !? The R and D done b" natural selection in the course of creatinactual tra<ectories in the Cast space of possibilities can be measured to some extent. #mon- the important features of this search space are the solutions to problems that are perenniall" attracti%e and hence predictable7 li6e forced mo%es in chess. This explains some of our intuitions about ori-inalit"7 disco%er"7 and in%ention7 and also clarifies the lo-ic of Darwinian inference about die past. There is a sin-le7 unified Desi-n Space in which the processes of both biolo-ical and human creati%it" ma6e their trac6s7 usin- similar methods.

1'. 0thers have eA7loited the F*/)T< 7heno@enon to @a8e si@ilar 7oints? David 1 %9, .ould 1 1a. 1(. .eorge *illia@s (1 %9, 7. '=" 7uts it this ;ay? I1 once insisted that-... the la;s of Physical science 7lus natural selection can furnish a co@7lete eA7lanation for any 6io > logical 7heno@enon- P*illia@s 1 !!, 77. !>$Q. + ;ish no; + had ta8en a less eAtre@e vie; and @erely identified natural selection as the only theory that a 6iologist needs in addition to those of the 7hysical scientist. 4oth the 6iologist and the 7hysical scientist need to rec8on ;ith historical legacies to eA7lain any real>;orld 7heno@enon.I

Driftin- and 'iftin- Throu-h Desi-n Space



Threads of #ctualit" in Desi-n Space

1. D)+3T+,. A,D 2+3T+,. TH)0U.H D/S+., SPAC/

The actual animals that ha%e e%er li%ed on Earth are a tin" subset of the theoretical animals that could exist. These real animals are the products of a %er" small number of e%olutionar" tra<ectories d%ou-h -enetic space. The %ast ma<orit" of theoretical tra<ectories throu-h animal space -i%e rise to impossible monsters. Real animals are dotted around here and there amon- the h"pothetical monsters7 each perched in its own uniFue place in -enetic h"perspace. Each real animal is surrounded b" a little cluster of nei-hbours7 most of whom ha%e ne%er existed7 but a few of whom are its ancestors7 its descendants and its cousins. H)+CHA)D DA*5+,S 1 %!a,7.$( The actual geno@es that have ever eAisted are a 1anishingly s@all su6set of the co@6inatorially 7ossi6le geno@es, Dust as the actual 6oo8s in the ;orld-s li6raries are a 1anishingly s@all su6set of the 6oo8s in the i@aginary 2i6rary of 4a6el. As ;e survey the 2i6rary of 4a6el, ;e @ay 6e struc8 6y ho; hard it is to s7ecify a cate-or" of 6oo8s that isn-t 1ast in @e@6ershi7, ho;ever 1anishingly s@all it is in relation to the ;hole. The set of 6oo8s co@7osed entirely of gra@@atical /nglish sentences is a 1ast 6ut 1anishing su6set, and the set of reada6le, sense>@a8ing 6oo8s is a 1ast 6ut 1anishing su6set of it. 1anishingly hidden in that su6set is the 1ast set of 6oo8s a6out 7eo7le na@ed Charles, and ;ithin that set (though 1anishingly hard to find" is the 1ast set of 6oo8s 7ur7orting to tell the truth a6out Charles Dar;in, and a 1ast 6ut 1anishing su6set of these consists of 6oo8s co@7osed en>

tirely in li@eric8s. So it goes. The nu@6er of actual 6oo8s a6out Charles Dar;in is a huge nu@6er, 6ut not a 1ast nu@6er, and ;e ;on-t get do;n to that set (that set as of today, or as of the year (=== A.D. " 6y Dust 7iling on the restricting adDectives in this fashion. To get to the actual 6oo8s, ;e have to turn to the historical 7rocess that created the@, in all its gru66y 7artic ularity. The sa@e is true of the actual organis@s, or their actual geno@es. *e don-t need la;s of 6iology to I7reventI @ost of the 7hysical 7ossi> 6ilities fro@ 6eco@ing actualities# sheer a6sence of o77ortunity ;ill account for @ost of the@. The only IreasonI all your nonactual aunts and uncles never ca@e into eAistence is that your grand7arents didn-t have ti@e or energy (to say nothing of the inclination" to create @ore than a fe; of the near6y geno@es. A@ong the @any nonactual 7ossi6les, so@e areHor ;ere HI@ore 7ossi6leI than others? that is, their a77earance ;as @ore probable than the a77earance of others, si@7ly 6ecause they ;ere nei-hbors of actual geno@es, only a fe; choices a;ay in the rando@ Ji77ing>u7 7rocess that 7uts together the ne; D,A volu@e fro@ the 7arent drafts, or only one or a fe; rando@ ty7os a;ay in the great co7ying 7rocess. *hy didn-t the near> @isses ha77enG ,o reason# they Dust didn-t ha77en to ha77en. And then, as the actual geno@es that did ha77en to ha77en 6egan to @ove a;ay fro@ the locations in Design S7ace of the near>@isses, their 7ro6a6ility of ever ha77ening gre; s@aller. They ;ere so close to 6eco@ing actual, and then their @o@ent 7assedL *ill they get another chanceG +t is 7ossi6le, 6ut 1astly i@7ro6a6le, given the 1ast siJe of the s7ace in ;hich they reside. 4ut ;hat forces, if any, 6end the 7aths of actuality farther and farther a;ay fro@ their locationsG The @otion that occurs if there are no forces at all is called rando@ genetic drift. <ou @ight thin8 that drift, 6eing rando@, ;ould tend al;ays to cancel itself out, 6ringing the 7ath 6ac8 to the sa@e geno@es again and again in the a6sence of any selective forces, 6ut the very fact that there is only li@ited sa@7ling in the huge s7ace (;hich has a @illion di@ensions, re@e@6erL" leads inevita6ly to the accu@ulation of IdistanceI 6et;een actual geno@es (the u7shot of IDollo-s 2a;I". Dar;in-s central clai@ is that ;hen the force of natural selection is i@> 7osed on this rando@ @eandering, in addition to drifting there is lifting. Any @otion in Design S7ace can 6e @easured, 6ut the @otion of rando@ drift is, intuitively, @erely side;ays# it doesn-t get us any;here i@7ortant. Consid> ered as )>and>D ;or8, it is idle, leading to the accu@ulation of @ere t"po; -raphical chan-e7 6ut not to the accu@ulation of desi-n. +n fact, it is ;orse than that, for @ost @utationsHty7osH;ill 6e neutral, and @ost of the ty7os that aren-t neutral ;ill 6e deleterious. +n the a6sence of natural selection, the drift is ineAora6ly downward in Design S7ace. The situation in the 2i6rary of Mendel is thus 7recisely li8e the situation in the 2i6rary of 4a6el. Most ty7ogra7hical changes to Mob" Dic6 can 6e su77osed to 6e 7ractically


TH)/ADS 03 ACTUA2+T< +, D/S+., SPAC/

Driftin- and 'iftin- Throu-h Desi-n Space


neutralHas good as invisi6le to @ost readers# of the fe; that @a8e a differ > ence, @ost ;ill do dama-e to the teAt, @a8ing it a ;orse, less coherent, less co@7rehensi6le tale. Consider as an eAercise, ho;ever, the version of Peter De 1ries- ga@e in ;hich the o6Dect is to impro%e a teAt 6y a single ty7o> gra7hical change. +t is not i@7ossi6le, 6ut far fro@ easyL These intuitions a6out getting so@e;here i@7ortant, a6out design im; pro%ement7 a6out risin- in Design S7ace, are 7o;erful and fa@iliar, 6ut are they relia6leG Are they 7erha7s Dust a confusing legacy of the 7re>Dar;inian vision of Design co@ing do;n fro@ a Handicrafter .odG *hat is the rela> tionshi7 6et;een the ideas of Design and ProgressG There is no fiAed agree> @ent a@ong evolutionary theorists a6out this. So@e 6iologists are fastidious, going to great lengths to avoid allusions to design or function in their o;n ;or8, ;hile others 6uild their ;hole careers around the functional analysis of this or that (an organ, 7atterns of food>gathering, re7roductive Istrategies,I etc.". So@e 6iologists thin8 you can s7ea8 of design or function ;ithout co@@itting yourself to any du6ious doctrine a6out 7rogress. 0thers are not so sure. Did Dar;in deal a Ideath 6lo; to Teleology,I as MarA eAclai@ed, or did he sho; ho; Ithe rational @eaningI of the natural sciences ;as to 6e e@7irically eA7lained (as MarA ;ent right on to eAclai@", there6y @a8ing a safe ho@e in science for functional or teleological discussionG +s Design so@ething that can 6e @easured, even indirectly and i@7er> fectlyG Curiously enough, s8e7ticis@ a6out this 7ros7ect actually undercuts the @ost 7otent source of s8e7ticis@ a6out Dar;inis@. As + 7ointed out in cha7ter (, the @ost 7o;erful challenges to Dar;inis@ have al;ays ta8en this for@? are Dar;inian @echanis@s 7o;erful enough, or efficient enough, to have done all that wor6 in the ti@e availa6leG All ;hat ;or8G +f the Euestion concerned @ere side;ays drifting in the ty7ogra7hical s7ace of 7ossi6le geno@es, the ans;er ;ould 6e o6vious and uncontroversial? <es, there has 6een much @ore than enough ti@e. The s7eed at ;hich rando@ drift should accu@ulate @ere ty7ogra7hical distance can 6e calculated, giving us a sort of 7osted s7eed li@it, and 6oth theory and o6servation agree that actual evolution ha77ens @uch slo;er than that.1 The I7roductsI that are i@7ressive to the s8e7tics are not the diverse D,A strings in the@selves, 6ut the a@aJingly intricate, co@7leA, and well;desi-ned organis@s ;hose geno@es those strings are.

1. See, for instance, the discussion in Da;8ins 1 %!a, 77. 1'&>'9, ;hich concludes? IConversely, strong -selection 7ressure-, ;e could 6e forgiven for thin8ing, @ight 6e eA7ected to lead to ra7id evolution. +nstead, ;hat ;e find is that natural selection eAerts a 6ra8ing effect on evolution. The 6aseline rate of evolution, in the a6sence of natural selection, is the @aAi@u@ 7ossi6le rate. That is synony@ous ;ith the @utation rate.I

,o analysis of the geno@es in isolation of the organis@s they create could yield the di@ension ;e are loo8ing for. +t ;ould 6e li8e trying to define the difference 6et;een a good novel and a great novel in ter@s of the relative freEuencies of the al7ha6etical characters in the@. *e have to loo8 at the ;hole organis@, in its environ@ent, to get any 7urchase on the issue. As *illia@ Paley sa;, ;hat is truly i@7ressive is the 6ounty of astonishingly ingenious and s@oothly functioning arrange@ents of @atter that go to co@> 7ose living things. And ;hen ;e turn to eAa@ining the organis@, ;e find again that no @ere ta6ulation of the ite@s co@7osing it is going to give us ;hat ;e ;ant. *hat could 6e the relationshi7 6et;een a@ounts of co@7leAity and a@ounts of designG I2ess is @ore,I said the architect 2ud;ig Mies van der )ohe. Consider the fa@ous 4ritish Seagull out6oard @otor, a triu@7h of si@7licity, a design that honors the 7rinci7le that ;hat isn-t there can-t 6rea8. *e ;ant to 6e a6le to ac8no;ledgeHand even @easure, if 7ossi6leH the design eAcellence @anifest in the right sort of si@7licity. 4ut ;hat is the right sortG 0r ;hat is the right sort of occasion for si@7licityG ,ot every occasion. So@eti@es @ore is @ore, and of course ;hat @a8es the 4ritish Seagull so ;onderful is that it is such an elegant @arriage of co@7leAity and si@7licity# no6ody has Euite such high regard, nor should they, for a 7addle. *e can 6egin to get a clear vie; of this if ;e thin8 a6out convergent evolution and the occasions on ;hich it occurs. And, as is so often the case, choosing eAtre@eHand i@aginaryHeAa@7les is a good ;ay of focusing on ;hat counts. +n this instance, a favorite eAtre@e case to consider is eAtra > terrestrial life, and of course it @ay so@eday soon 6e turned fro@ fantasy into fact, if S/T+, the ongoing Search for /Atra>Terrestrial +ntelligence, finds anything. +f life on /arth is @assively contingentHif its @ere occurrence in any for@ at all is a ha77y accidentHthen ;hat can ;e say, if anything, a6out life on other 7lanets in the universeG *e can lay do;n some conditions ;ith confidence a77roaching certainty. These at first a77ear to fall into t;o contrasting grou7s? necessities and ;hat ;e @ight call Io6viousI o7ti@al> ities. 2et-s consider a necessity first. 2ife any;here ;ould consist of entities ;ith autono@ous @eta6olis@s. So@e 7eo7le ;ould say this is Itrue 6y definition.I 4y defining life in this ;ay, they can eAclude the viruses as living for@s, ;hile 8ee7ing the 6acteria in the char@ed circle. There @ay 6e good reasons for such a definitional fiat, 6ut + thin8 ;e see @ore clearly the i@7ortance of autono@ous @eta6olis@ if ;e see it as a dee7 if not utterly necessary condition for the sort of co@7leAity that is needed to fend off the gna;ing effects of the Second 2a; of Ther@odyna@ics. All co@7leA @ac> ro@olecular structures tend to 6rea8 do;n over ti@e, so, unless a syste@ is an open syste@, ca7a6le of ta8ing in fresh @aterials and re7lenishing itself, it ;ill tend to have a short career. The Euestion I*hat does it live onGI


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@ight get ;ildly different ans;ers on different 7lanets, 6ut it does not 6etray a IgeocentricIHlet alone Ianthro7ocentricIHassu@7tion. *hat a6out visionG *e 8no; that eyes have evolved inde7endently @any ti@es, 6ut vision is certainly not a necessity on /arth, since 7lants get along fine ;ithout it. A strong case can 6e @ade, ho;ever, that if an organis@ is going to further its @eta6olic 7roDects 6y loco@oting, and if the @ediu@ in ;hich the loco@oting ta8es 7lace is trans7arent or translucent and a@7ly su77lied 6y a@6ient light, then since loco@oting wor6s much better (at furthering self>7rotective, @eta6olic, and re7roductive ai@s" if the @over is guided 6y infor@ation a6out distal o6Dects, and since such infor@ation can 6e garnered in a high>fidelity, lo;>cost fashion 6y vision, vision is a very good 6et. So ;e ;ould not 6e sur7rised to find that loco@oting organis@s on other 7lanets (;ith trans7arent at@os7heres" had eyes. /yes are an o6viously good solution to a very general 7ro6le@ that ;ould often 6e encountered 6y @oving @eta6oliJers. /yes @ay not al;ays 6e Iavaila6le,I of course, for F*/)T< reasons, 6ut they are o6viously rational solutions to this highly a6stract design 7ro6le@.

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,o; that ;e have encountered this a77eal to ;hat is o6viously rational under so@e general set of circu@stances, ;e can loo8 6ac8 and see that our case of necessity, having an autono@ous @eta6olis@, can 6e recast as si@7ly the onl" acce7ta6le solution to the most -eneral design 7ro6le@ of life. +f you ;anna live, you gotta eat. +n chess, ;hen there is only one ;ay of staving off disaster, it is called a forced mo%e. Such a @ove is not forced 6y the rules of chess, and certainly not 6y the la;s of 7hysics (you can al;ays 8ic8 the ta6le over and run a;ay", 6ut 6y ;hat Hu@e @ight call a Idictate of reason.I +t is si@7ly dead o6vious that there is one and only one solution, as any6ody ;ith an ounce of ;it can 7lainly see. Any alternatives are i@@ediately suicidal. +n addition to having an autono@ous @eta6olis@, any organis@ @ust also have a @ore or less definite 6oundary, distinguishing itself fro@ everything else. This condition, too, has an o6vious and co@7elling rationale? IAs soon as so@ething gets into the 6usiness of self>7reservation, 6oundaries 6eco@e i@7ortant, for if you are setting out to 7reserve yourself, you don-t ;ant to sEuander effort trying to 7reserve the ;hole ;orld? you dra; the lineI (Dennett 1 1a, 7. 1$&". *e ;ould also eA7ect the loco@oting organis@s on an alien 7lanet to have efficiently sha7ed 6oundaries, li8e those of organis@s on /arth. *hyG (*hy on /arthG" +f cost ;ere no o6Dect, one @ight have no regard for strea@lining in organis@s that @ove through a relatively dense fluid, such as ;ater. 4ut cost is alwa"s an o6DectHthe Second 2a; of Ther@odyna@ics guarantees that.

So at least so@e I6iological necessitiesI @ay 6e recast as o6vious solu> tions to @ost general 7ro6le@s, as forced mo%es in Desi-n Space. These are cases in ;hich, for one reason or another, there is only one ;ay things can 6e done. 4ut reasons can 6e dee7 or shallo;. The dee7 reasons are the constraints of the la;s of 7hysicsHsuch as the Second 2a; of Ther@ody> na@ics, or the la;s of @athe@atics or logic. ' The shallo; reasons are Dust historical. There used to be t;o or @ore ;ays this 7ro6le@ @ight 6e solved, 6ut no; that so@e ancient historical accident has set us off do;n one 7articular 7ath, only one ;ay is re@otely availa6le# it has 6eco@e a Ivirtual necessity,I a necessity for all 7ractical 7ur7oses, given the cards that have 6een dealt. The other o7tions are no longer really o7tions at all. This @arriage of chance and necessity is a hall@ar8 of 6iological regular> ities. Peo7le often ;ant to as8? I+s it @erely a @assively contingent fact that circu@stances are as they are, or can ;e read so@e dee7 necessity into the@GI The ans;er al@ost al;ays is? 4oth. 4ut note that the ty7e of neces> sity that fits so ;ell ;ith the chance of rando@, 6lind generation is the necessity of reason. +t is an inesca7a6ly teleological variety of necessity, the dictate of ;hat Aristotle called practical reasonin-7 and ;hat 5ant called a h"pothetical imperati%e. +f you want to achie%e -oal D7 then this is ;hat you must do, given the circu@stances. The @ore universal the circu@stances, the @ore universal the necessity. That is ;hy ;e ;ould not 6e sur7rised to find that the living things on other 7lanets included loco@otors ;ith eyes, and ;hy ;e ;ould 6e @ore than sur7risedHutterly du@foundedHif ;e found things scurrying around on various 7roDects 6ut lac8ing any @eta6olic 7rocesses. 4ut no; let us consider the difference 6et;een the si@ilarities that ;ould sur7rise us and the si@ilarities that ;ould not. Su77ose S/T+ struc8 it rich, and esta6lished co@@unication ;ith intelligent 6eings on another 7lanet. *e ;ould not 6e sur7rised to find that they understood and used the sa@e arith@etic that ;e do. *hy notG 4ecause arith@etic is ri-ht. Might there not 6e different 8inds of arith@etic>li8e syste@s, all eEually goodG Marvin Mins8y, one of the founders of Artificial +ntelligence, has

'. Are the constraints of 7ure logic dee7 or shallo;G So@e of each, + guess, de7ending on their o6viousness. A delicious 7arody of ada7tationist thin8ing is ,or@an /llestrand-s I*hy are Muveniles S@aller Than Their ParentsGI (1 %( ", ;hich eA7lores ;ith a hero > ically straight face a variety of IstrategicI reasons for MSS (Muvenile S@all SiJe". +t ends ;ith a 6rave loo8 to;ards future research? I+n 7articular, another Duvenile character is even @ore ;ides7read than MSS and deserves so@e thoughtful theoretical attention, the fact that Duveniles alwa"s see@ to 6e younger than their 7arents.I


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eA7lored this curious Euestion, and his ingeniously reasoned ans;er is ,o. +n I*hy +ntelligent Aliens *ill 4e +ntelligi6le,I he offers grounds for 6elieving in so@ething he calls the S7arseness Princi7le? *henever t;o relatively si@7le 7rocesses have 7rod> ucts ;hich are si@ilar, those 7roducts are li8ely to 6e co@7letely identi> calL PMins8y 1 %9a, 7. 11 , eAcla@ation 7oint in the original.Q Consider the set of all possible processes7 ;hich Mins8y inter7rets a la the 2i6rary of 4a6el as all 7er@utations of all 7ossi6le co@7uters. (Any co@> 7uter can 6e identified, a6stractly, as one ITuring @achineI or another, and these can 6e given uniEue identifying nu@6ers, and then 7ut in nu@erical order, Dust li8e the al7ha6etical order in the 2i6rary of 4a6el." /Ace7t for a 1anishing fe;, the 1ast @aDority of these 7rocesses Ido scarcely anything at all.I So if you find It;oI that do so@ething si@ilar (and ;orth noticing", they are al@ost 6ound to 6e one and the sa@e 7rocess, at so@e level of analysis. Mins8y (7. 1''" a77lies the 7rinci7le to arith@etic? 3ro@ all this, + conclude that any entity ;ho searches through the si@7lest 7rocesses ;ill soon find frag@ents ;hich do not @erely rese@6le arith> @etic 6ut are arith@etic. +t is not a @atter of inventiveness or i@agination, only a fact a6out the geogra7hy of the universe of co@7utation, a ;orld far @ore constrained than that of real things. The 7oint is clearly not restricted to arith@etic, 6ut to all Inecessary truthsIH;hat 7hiloso7hers since Plato have called a priori 8no;ledge. As Mins8y (7. 11 " says, I*e can eA7ect certain /apriori/ structures to a77ear, al@ost al;ays, ;henever a co@7utation syste@ evolves 6y selection fro@ a universe of 7ossi6le 7rocesses.I +t has often 6een 7ointed out that Plato-s curious theory of reincarnation and re@iniscence, ;hich he offers as an eA7lanation of the source of our a priori 8no;ledge, 6ears a stri8ing re> se@6lance to Dar;in-s theory, and this rese@6lance is 7articularly stri8ing fro@ our current vantage 7oint. Dar;in hi@self fa@ously noted the rese@> 6lance in a re@ar8 in one of his note6oo8s. Co@@enting on the clai@ that Plato thought our Inecessary ideasI arise fro@ the 7re>eAistence of the soul, Dar;in ;rote? Iread @on8eys for 7reeAistenceI (Des@ond and Moore 1 1, 7. '!(". *e ;ould not 6e sur7rised, then, to find that eAtra>terrestrials had the sa@e unsha8a6le gri7 on I' Y ' T &I and its 8in that ;e do, 6ut ;e ;ould 6e sur7rised, ;ouldn-t ;e, if ;e found the@ using the deci@al syste@ for eA7ressing their truths of arith@etic. *e are inclined to 6elieve that our fondness for it is so@ething of a historical accident, derived fro@ counting on our t;o five>digit hands. 4ut su77ose they, too, have a 7air of hands, each

;ith five su6units. The IsolutionI of using>;hatever>you-ve>got to count on is a fairly o6vious one, if not Euite in the forced>@ove category. ( +t ;ould not 6e 7articularly sur7rising to find that our aliens had a pair of 7rehensile a77endages, considering the good reasons there are for 6odily sy@@etry, and the freEuency of 7ro6le@s that reEuire one thing to 6e @ani7ulated relative to another. 4ut that there should 6e five su6units on each a77endage loo8s li8e a F*/)T< 7heno@enon that has 6een dee7ly rooted for hundreds of @illions of yearsHa @ere historical ha77enstance that has restricted our o7tions, 6ut should not 6e eA7ected to have restricted theirs. 4ut 7erha7s ;e underesti@ate the Tightness, the rationality, of having five su6units. 3or reasons ;e have not yet fatho@ed, it @ay 6e a .ood +dea in general, and not @erely so@ething ;e are stuc8 ;ith. Then it ;ould not 6e a@aJing after all to find that our interlocutors fro@ outer s7ace had converged on the sa@e .ood +dea, and counted in tens, hundreds, and thousands. *e ;ould 6e fla66ergasted, ho;ever, to find the@ using the very sy@6ols ;e use, the so>called ara6ic nu@erals? I1,I I',I I(I ... *e 8no; that right here on /arth there are 7erfectly fine alternatives, such as the Ara6ic nu> @erals, I +,I Iv,I I v,I BiB ... as ;ell as so@e not>so>via6le alternatives, such as ro@an nu@erals, Ii,I Iii,I Biii7B Bi%B ... +f ;e found the inha6itants of another 7lanet using our ara6ic nu@erals, ;e ;ould 6e Euite sure that it ;as no coincidenceHthere had to 6e a historical connection. *hyG 4ecause the s7ace of 7ossi6le nu@eral sha7es in ;hich there is no reason for choosing one over the others is 1ast# the li8elihood of t;o inde7endent IsearchesI ending u7 in the sa@e 7lace is 1anishing. Students often have a hard ti@e 8ee7ing clear a6out the distinction 6e> t;een nu@6ers and nu@erals. ,u@6ers are the a6stract, IPlatonicI o6Dects that nu@erals are the na@es of. The ara6ic nu@eral I&I and the ro@an nu@eral I+1I are si@7ly different names for one and the sa@e thingHthe number &. (+ can-t tal8 a6out the nu@6er ;ithout na@ing it in one ;ay or another, any @ore than + can tal8 a6out Clinton ;ithout using so@e ;ord

(. Sey@our Pa7ert (1 (, 7. =" descri6es o6serving a Ilearning disa6ledI 6oy in a classroo@ in ;hich counting on your fingers ;as for6idden? IAs he sat in the resource roo@ + could see hi@ itching to do finger @ani7ulations. 4ut he 8ne; 6etter. Then + sa; hi@ loo8 around for so@ething else to count ;ith. ,othing ;as at hand. + could see his frustration gro;. *hat could + doG... +ns7iration ca@eL + ;al8ed casually u7 to the 6oy and said out loud? -Did you thin8 a6out your teethG- + 8ne; instantly fro@ his face that he got the 7oint, and fro@ the aide-s face that she didn-t. -2earning disa6ility indeedL- + said to @yself. He did his su@s ;ith a half>concealed s@ile, o6viously delighted ;ith the su6versive idea.I (*hen considering using>;hatever>you-ve>got as a 7ossi6le forced @ove, it is ;orth recalling that not all 7eo7les of our /arth have used the deci@al syste@# the Mayans, for instance, used a 6ase>'= syste@."


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or ;ords that refer to hi@, 6ut Clinton is a @an, not a ;ord, and nu@6ers aren-t sy@6ols eitherHnu@erals are." Here is a vivid ;ay of seeing the i@7ortance of the distinction 6et;een nu@6ers and nu@erals# ;e have Dust o6served that it ;ould not 6e sur7rising at all to find that eAtra>terrestrials used the sa@e numbers ;e do, 6ut si@7ly incredi6le if they used the sa@e numerals. +n a 1ast s7ace of 7ossi6ilities, the odds of a si@ilarity 6et;een t;o inde7endently chosen ele@ents is 1anishing unless there is a reason. There is for nu@6ers (arith@etic is true and variations on arith@etic aren-t" and there isn-t for nu@erals (the sy@6ol IZI ;ould function eAactly as ;ell as the sy@6ol I9I as a na@e for the nu@6er that follo;s &". Su77ose ;e found the eAtra>terrestrials, li8e us, using the deci@al syste@ for @ost infor@al 7ur7oses, 6ut converting to 6inary arith@etic ;hen doing co@7utation ;ith the aid of @echanical 7rosthetic devices (co@7uters". Their use of = and 1 in their co@7uters (su77osing they had invented co@7utersL" ;ould not sur7rise us, since there are good engineering reasons for ado7ting the 6inary syste@, and though these reasons are not dead o6vious, they are 7ro6a6ly ;ithin stri8ing distance for average>ty7e thin8ers. I<ou don-t have to 6e a roc8et scientistI to a77reciate the virtues of 6inary. +n general, ;e ;ould eA7ect the@ to have discovered @any of the various ;ays things have of bein- the ri-ht wa". *herever there are @any different ;ays of s8inning a cat, and none is @uch 6etter than any other, our sur7rise at their doing it our ;ay ;ill 6e 7ro7ortional to ho; @any different ;ays ;e thin8 there are. ,otice that even ;hen ;e are conte@7lating so@e 1ast nu@6er of eFui%alent wa"s7 a value Dudg@ent is i@7licit. 3or us to recogniJe ite@s as things falling in one of these 1ast sets, they have to 6e seen as eEually good ;ays, as ;ays of performin- the function x. 3unction>alistic thin8ing is si@7ly inesca7a6le in this sort of inEuiry# you can-t even enu@erate the 7ossi6ilities ;ithout 7resu77osing a conce7t of function. (,o; ;e can see that even our deli6erately antise7tic for@aliJation of the 2i6rary of Mendel invo8ed functional 7resu77ositions# ;e can-t identify so@ething as a possible -enome ;ithout thin8ing of geno@es as things that @ight serve a 7articular function ;ithin a re7roductive syste@." So there turn out to 6e general 7rinci7les of 7ractical reasoning (including, in @ore @odern dress, cost;benefit anal"sisJ that can 6e relied u7on to i@7ose the@selves on all life for@s any;here. *e can argue a6out 7articular cases, 6ut not a6out the a77lica6ility in general of the 7rinci7les. Are such design features as 6ilateral sy@@etry in loco@otors, or @outh>at>the>6o;> end, to 6e eA7lained as largely a @atter of historical contingency, or largely a @atter of 7ractical ;isdo@G The only issues to de6ate or investigate are their relative contri6utions, and the historical order in ;hich the contri6utions ;ere @ade. ()ecall that in the actual F*/)T< 7heno@enon,

there ;as a 7erfectly good engineering reason for the initial choiceHit ;as Dust a reason ;hose su77orting circu@stances had long ago la7sed." Design ;or8HliftingHcan no; 6e characteriJed as the ;or8 of discov> ering good ;ays of solving I7ro6le@s that arise.I So@e 7ro6le@s are given at the outset, in all environ@ents, under all conditions, to all s7ecies. 3urther 7ro6le@s are then created 6y the initial Iatte@7ts at solutionI @ade 6y different s7ecies faced ;ith the first 7ro6le@s. So@e of these su6sidiary 7ro6le@s are created 6y the other s7ecies of organis@s (;ho @ust @a8e a living, too", and other su6sidiary 7ro6le@s are created 6y a s7ecies- o;n solutions to its o;n 7ro6le@s. 3or instance, no; that one has decidedH6y fli77ing a coin, 7erha7sHto search for solutions in this area, one is stuc8 ;ith 7ro6le@ 4 instead of 7ro6le@ A, ;hich 7oses su67ro6le@s 7, E, and r, instead of su67ro6le@s A, y, and J, and so forth. Should ;e 7ersonify a s7ecies in this ;ay and treat it as an agent or 7ractical reasoner (Schull 1 =, Dennett 1 =a"G Alternatively, ;e @ay choose to thin8 of s7ecies as 7erfectly @indless nonagents, and 7ut the rationale in the 7rocess of natural selection itself (7erha7s Docularly 7ersonified as Mother ,ature". )e@e@6er 3rancis Cric8-s Eui7 a6out evolution-s 6eing cleverer than you are. 0r ;e @ay choose to shrin8 fro@ these vivid @odes of eA7ression altogether, 6ut the analyses ;e do ;ill have the sa@e logic in any case. This is ;hat lies 6ehind our intuition that design ;or8 is so@eho; in> tellectual ;or8. Design ;or8 is discerni6le (in the other;ise uninter7ret>a6le ty7ogra7hy of shifting geno@es" only if ;e start i@7osing reasons on it. (+n earlier ;or8, + characteriJed these as Ifree>floating rationales,I a ter@ that has a77arently induced terror or nausea in @any other;ise ;ell>dis7osed readers. 4ear ;ith @e# + ;ill soon 7rovide so@e @ore 7alata6le ;ays of @a8ing these 7oints." So Paley ;as right in saying not Dust that Design ;as a ;onderful thing to eA7lain, 6ut also that Design too8 +ntelligence. All he @issedHand Dar;in 7rovidedH;as the idea that this +ntelligence could 6e 6ro8en into 6its so tiny and stu7id that they didn-t count as intelligence at all, and then distri6uted through s7ace and ti@e in a gigantic, connected net;or8 of algorith@ic 7rocess. The ;or8 @ust get done, 6ut ;hich ;or8 gets done is largely a @atter of chance, since chance hel7s deter@ine ;hich 7ro6le@s (and su67ro6le@s and su6su67ro6le@s" get IaddressedI 6y the @achinery. *henever ;e find a 7ro6le@ solved, ;e can as8? *ho or ;hat did the ;or8G *here and ;henG Has a solution 6een ;or8ed out locally, or long ago, or ;as it so@eho; 6orro;ed (or stolen" fro@ so@e other 6ranch of the treeG +f it eAhi6its 7eculiarities that could only have arisen in the course of solving the su67ro6le@s in so@e a77arently re@ote 6ranch of the Tree that gro;s in Design S7ace, then 6arring a @iracle or a coincidence too Cos@ic to credit, there @ust 6e a co7ying event of so@e 8ind that @oved that co@7leted design ;or8 to its ne; location.


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There is no single su@@it in Design S7ace, nor a single staircase or ladder ;ith cali6rated ste7s, so ;e cannot eA7ect to find a scale for co@7aring a@ounts of design ;or8 across distant develo7ing 6ranches. Than8s to the vagaries and digressions of different I@ethods ado7ted,I so@ething that is in so@e sense Dust one 7ro6le@ can have 6oth hard and easy solutions, reEuiring @ore or less ;or8. There is a fa@ous story a6out the @athe@a > tician and 7hysicist (and coinventor of the co@7uter" Mohn von ,eu@ann, ;ho ;as legendary for his lightning ca7acity to do 7rodigious calculations in his head. (2i8e @ost fa@ous stories, this one has @any versions, of ;hich + choose the one that 6est @a8es the 7oint + a@ 7ursuing." 0ne day a colleague a77roached hi@ ;ith a 7uJJle that had t;o 7aths to solution, a la6orious, co@7licated calculation and an elegant, AhaL>ty7e solution. This colleague had a theory? in such a case, @athe@aticians ;or8 out the la6orious solution ;hile the (laJier, 6ut s@arter" 7hysicists 7ause and find the Euic8 and easy solution. *hich solution ;ould von ,eu@ann findG <ou 8no; the sort of 7uJJle? T;o trains, 1== @iles a7art, are a77roaching each other on the sa@e trac8, one going (= @iles 7er hour, the other going '= @iles 7er hour. A 6ird flying 1'= @iles 7er hour starts at train A (;hen they are 1== @iles a7art", flies to train 4, turns around and flies 6ac8 to the a77roaching train A, and so forth, until the trains collide. Ho; far has the 6ird flo;n ;hen the collision occursG IT;o hundred forty @iles,I 1on ,eu@ann ans;ered al@ost instantly. IDarn,I re7lied his colleague, I+ 7redicted you-d do it the hard ;ay.I IAyLI von ,eu@ann cried in e@6arrass@ent, s@iting his forehead. IThere-s an easy ;ayLI (Hint? ho; long till the trains collideG" /yes are the standard eAa@7le of a 7ro6le@ that has 6een solved @any ti@es, 6ut eyes that @ay loo8 Dust the sa@e (and see Dust the sa@e" @ay have 6een achieved 6y )>and>D 7roDects that involved different a@ounts of ;or8, than8s to the historical 7eculiarities of the difficulties encountered along the ;ay. And the creatures that don-t have eyes at all are neither 6etter nor ;orse on any a6solute scale of design# their lineage has Dust never 6een given this 7ro6le@ to solve. +t is this sa@e varia6ility in luc6 in the various lineages that @a8es it i@7ossi6le to define a single Archi@edean 7oint fro@ ;hich glo6al 7rogress could 6e @easured. +s it 7rogress ;hen you have to ;or8 an eAtra Do6 to 7ay for the high>7riced @echanic you have to hire to fiA your car ;hen it 6rea8s 6ecause it is too co@7leA for you to fiA in the ;ay you used to fiA your old clun8erG *ho is to sayG So@e lineages get tra77ed in (or are luc8y enough to ;ander intoHta8e your 7ic8" a 7ath in Design S7ace in ;hich co@7leAity 6egets co@7leAity, in an ar@s race of co@7etitive design. 0thers are fortunate enough (or unfortunate enough>ta8e your 7ic8" to have hit u7on a relatively si@7le solution to life-s 7ro6le@s at the outset and, having nailed it a 6illion years ago, have had nothing @uch to do in the ;ay of design ;or8 ever since. *e hu@an 6eings,

co@7licated creatures that ;e are, tend to a77reciate co@7leAity, 6ut that @ay ;ell 6e Dust an aesthetic 7reference that goes ;ith our sort of lineage# other lineages @ay 6e as ha77y as cla@s ;ith their ration of si@7licity.

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The formation of different lan-ua-es and of distinct species7 and the proofs that both ha%e been de%eloped throu-h a -radual process7 are curiousl" the same. HCHA)2/SDA)*+, 1%$1,7.9 +t ;ill not have gone unnoticed that @y eAa@7les in this cha7ter have ;andered 6ac8 and forth 6et;een the do@ain of organis@s or 6iological design, on the one hand, and the do@ain of hu@an artifactsH6oo8s, 7ro6> le@s solved, and engineering triu@7hs on the other. This ;as 6y design, not accident, of course. +t ;as to hel7 set the stage for, and 7rovide lots of a@@unition for, a Central Salvo? there is onl" one Desi-n Space7 and e%; er"thin- actual in it is united with e%er"thin- else. And + hardly need add that it ;as Dar;in ;ho taught us this, ;hether he Euite realiJed it or not. ,o; + ;ant to go 6ac8 over the ground ;e have covered, highlighting the evidence for this clai@, and dra;ing out a fe; @ore i@7lications of it and grounds for 6elieving it. The si@ilarities and continuities are of tre@endous i@7ortance, + thin8, 6ut in later cha7ters + ;ill also 7oint to so@e i@7ortant dissi@ilarities 6et;een the hu@an>@ade 7ortions of the designed ;orld and the 7ortions that ;ere created ;ithout 6enefit of the sort of locally con> centrated, foresighted intelligence ;e hu@an artificers 6ring to a 7ro6le@. *e noted at the outset that the 2i6rary of Mendel (in the for@ of 7rinted volu@es of the letters A, C, ., T " is contained ;ithin the 2i6rary of 4a6el, 6ut ;e should also note that at least a very large 7ortion of the 2i6rary of 4a6el (*hat 7ortionG See cha7ter 19" is in turn IcontainedI in the 2i6rary of Men> del, 6ecause we are in the 2i6rary of Mendel ( our geno@es are, and so are the geno@es of all the life for@s our lives de7end on". The 2i6rary of 4a6el de> scri6es one as7ect of our IeAtended 7henoty7eI (Da;8ins 1 %' ". That is, in the sa@e ;ay that s7iders @a8e ;e6s and 6eavers @a8e da@s, ;e @a8e (a@ong @any other things" 6oo8s. <ou can-t assess the s7ider-s geno@e for via6ility ;ithout a consideration of the ;e6 that is 7art of the nor@al eEui7> @ent of the s7ider, and you can-t assess the via6ility of our geno@es (not any longer, you can-t" ;ithout recogniJing that ;e are a s7ecies ;ith culture, a re7resentative 7art of ;hich is in the for@ of 6oo8s. *e are not Dust designed, ;e are designers, and all our talents as designers, and our 7roducts, @ust e@erge non>@iraculously fro@ the 6lind, @echanical 7rocesses of Dar;inian


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@echanis@s of one sort or another. Ho; @any cranes>on>to7>of>cranes does it ta8e to get fro@ the early design eA7lorations of 7ro8aryotic lineages to die @athe@atical investigations of 0Aford donsG That is the Euestion 7osed 6y Dar;inian thin8ing. The resistance co@es fro@ those ;ho thin8 there @ust 6e so@e discontinuities so@e;here, so@e s8yhoo8s, or @o@ents of S7ecial Creation, or so@e other sort of @iracles, 6et;een the 7ro8aryotes and the finest treasures in our li6raries. There @ay 6eHthat ;ill 6e a Euestion ;e ;ill loo8 at in @any different ;ays in the rest of the 6oo8. 4ut ;e have already seen a variety of dee7 7arallels, instances in ;hich the very sa@e 7rinci7les, the very sa@e strat> egies of analysis or inference, a77ly in 6oth do@ains. There are @any @ore ;here they ca@e fro@. Consider, for instance, Dar;in-s 7ioneering use of a certain sort of his> torical inference. As Ste7hen May .ould has stressed (e.g., 1 $$a, 1 %=a", it is the i@7erfections, the curious fallings short of ;hat ;ould see@ to 6e 7erfect design, that are the 6est evidence for a historical 7rocess of descent ;ith @odification# they are the 6est evidence of co7ying, instead of inde> 7endent re>inventing, of the design in Euestion. *e can no; see 6etter ;hy this is such good evidence. The odds against t;o inde7endent 7rocessesarriving at the sa@e region of Design S7ace are 1ast unless the design ele@ent in Euestion is o6viously right, a forced @ove in Design S7ace. Perfection ;ill 6e inde7endently hit u7on again and again, es7ecially if it is o6vious. +t is the idiosyncratic %ersions of near>7erfection that are a dead givea;ay of co7ying. +n evolutionary theory, such traits are called homol; o-ies8 traits that are si@ilar not 6ecause they have to 6e for functional reasons, 6ut 6ecause of co7ying. The 6iologist Mar8 )idley o6serves, IMany of ;hat are often 7resented as se7arate argu@ents for evolution reduce to the general for@ of the argu@ent fro@ ho@ology,I and he 6oils the argu@ent do;n to its essence? The ear>6ones of @a@@als are an eAa@7le of a ho@ology. They are ho> @ologous ;ith so@e of the Da;>6ones of re7tiles. The ear>6ones of @a@> @als did not have to 6e for@ed fro@ the sa@e 6ones as for@ the Da; of re7tiles# 6ut in fact they areOOOOThe fact that s7ecies share ho@ologies is an argu@ent for evolution, for if they had 6een created se7arately there would be no reason wh" Pe@7hasis addedQ they should sho; ho@ologous si@ilarities. PMar8 )idley 1 %9, 7. Q This is ho; it is in the 6ios7here, and also ho; it is in the cultural s7here of 7lagiaris@, industrial es7ionage, and the honest ;or8 of recension of texts. Here is a curious historical coincidence? ;hile Dar;in ;as fighting his ;ay clear to an understanding of this characteristically Dar;inian @ode of inference, so@e of his fello; 1ictorians, in /ngland and es7ecially in .er>

@any, had already 7erfected the sa@e 6old, ingenious strategy of historical inference in the do@ain of paleo-raph" or philolo-". + have several ti@es alluded to the ;or8s of Plato in this 6oo8, 6ut it is Ia @iracleI that Plato-s ;or8 survives for us to read today in any version at all. All the teAts of his Dialo-ues ;ere essentially lost for over a thousand years. *hen they re> e@erged at the da;n of the )enaissance in the for@ of various tattered, du6ious, 7artial co7ies of co7ies of co7ies fro@ ;ho 8no;s ;here, this set in @otion five hundred years of 7ainsta8ing scholarshi7, intended to I7urify the teAtI and esta6lish a 7ro7er infor@ational lin8 ;ith the original sources, ;hich of course ;ould have 6een in Plato-s o;n hand, or the hand of the scri6e to ;ho@ he dictated. The originals had 7resu@a6ly long since turned to dust. (Today there are so@e frag@ents of 7a7yrus ;ith Platonic teAt on the@, and these 6its of teAt @ay 6e roughly conte@7oraneous ;ith Plato hi@self, 6ut they have 7layed no i@7ortant role in the scholarshi7, having 6een uncovered Euite recently." The tas8 that faced the scholars ;as daunting. There ;ere o6viously @any Icorru7tionsI in the various noneAtinct co7ies (called I;itnessesI", and these corru7tions or errors had to 6e fiAed, 6ut there ;ere also @any 7uJJlingHor eAcitingH7assages of du6ious authenticity, and no ;ay of as8ing the author ;hich ;ere ;hich. Ho; could they 6e 7ro7erly distinguishedG The corru7tions could 6e @ore or less ran8>ordered in o6viousness? (1" ty7ogra7hical errors, ('" gra@@atical errors, ((" stu7id or other;ise 6affling eA7ressions, or ( & " 6its that ;ere Dust not stylistically or doctrinally li8e the rest of Plato. 4y Dar;in-s day, the 7hilologists ;ho devoted their entire 7rofessional lives to re>creating the genealogy of their ;itnesses had not only develo7ed ela6orate andHfor their dayHrigorous @ethods of co@7arison, 6ut had succeeded in eAtra7olating ;hole lineages of co7ies of co7ies, and deduced @any curious facts a6out the historical circu@stances of their 6irth, re7roduction, and eventual death. 4y an analysis of the 7atterns of shared and unshared errors in the eAisting docu@ents (the carefully 7reserved 7arch@ent treasures in the 4odleian 2i6rary at 0Aford, in Paris, in the 1ienna ,ational6i6liothe8, in the 1atican, and else;here", they ;ere a6le to deduce hy7otheses a6out ho; @any different co7yings there had to have 6een, roughly ;hen and ;here so@e of these @ust have 6een @ade, and ;hich ;itnesses had relatively recent shared ancestors and ;hich did not. So@eti@es the deductive 6oldness of their ;or8 is the eEual of anything in Dar;in? a 7articular grou7 of @anuscri7t errors, uncorrected and re>co7ied in all the descendants in a 7articular lineage, ;as al@ost certainly due to the fact that the scri6e ;ho too8 the dictation did not 7ronounce .ree8 the sa@e ;ay the reader did, and conseEuently @isheard a 7articular 7hone@e on @any occasionsL Such clues, together ;ith evidence fro@ other sources on the history of the .ree8 language, @ight even suggest to the scholars ;hich @onastery, on ;hich .ree8 island or @ountainto7, in


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;hich century @ust have 6een the scene for the creation of this set of @utationsHeven though the actual 7arch@ent docu@ent created then and there has long since succu@6ed to the Second 2a; of Ther@odyna@ics and turned to dust.& Did Dar;in ever learn anything fro@ the 7hilologistsG Did any 7hilolo> gists recogniJe that Dar;in had re>invented one of their ;heelsG ,ietJsche ;as hi@self one of these stu7endously erudite students of the ancient teAts, and he ;as one of @any .er@an thin8ers ;ho ;ere s;e7t u7 in the Dar;in 6oo@, 6ut, so far as + 8no;, he never noticed a 8inshi7 6et;een Dar;in-s @ethod and that of his colleagues. Dar;in hi@self ;as struc8 in later years 6y the curious si@ilarity 6et;een his argu@ents and those of the 7hilologists studying the genealogy of languages (not, as in the case of the Plato scholars, the genealogy of s7ecific teAts". +n The Descent of Man (1%$1, 7. 9 " he 7ointed eA7licitly to their shared use of the distinction 6et;een ho@ologies and analogies that could 6e due to convergent evolution? I*e find in distinct languages stri8ing ho@ologies due to co@@unity of descent, and analogies due to a si@ilar 7rocess of for@ation.I +@7erfections or errors are Dust s7ecial cases of the variety of @ar8s that s7ea8 loudlyHand intuitivelyHof a shared history. The role of chance in t;isting the 7aths ta8en in a 6it of design ;or8 can create the sa@e effect ;ithout creating an error. A case in 7oint? +n 1 %%, 0tto ,euge6auer, the great historian of astrono@y, ;as sent a 7hotogra7h of a frag@ent of .ree8 7a7yrus ;ith a fe; nu@6ers in a colu@n on it. The sender, a classicist, had no clue a6out the @eaning of this 6it of 7a7yrus, and ;ondered if ,euge> 6auer had any ideas. The eighty>nine>year>old scholar reco@7uted the line> to>line differences 6et;een the nu@6ers, found their @aAi@u@ and @ini@u@ li@its, and deter@ined that this 7a7yrus had to 6e a translation of 7art of IColu@n .I of a 4a6ylonian cuneifor@ ta6let on ;hich ;as ;ritten a 4a6ylonian ISyste@ 4I lunar e7he@erisL (An e7he@eris is, li8e the 9autical #lmanac7 a ta6ular syste@ for co@7uting the location of a heavenly 6ody for every ti@e in a 7articular 7eriod." Ho; could ,euge6auer @a8e this Sherloc8 Hol@es>ian deductionG /le@entary? ;hat ;as ;ritten in .ree8 (a seEuence of seAagesi@alHnot deci@alHnu@6ers" ;as recogniJed 6y hi@ to 6e 7artH colu@n .LHof a highly accurate calculation of the @oon-s

location that had 6een ;or8ed out 6y the 4a6ylonians. There are lots of different ;ays of calculating an e7he@eris, and ,euge6auer 8ne; that any> one ;or8ing out their o;n e7he@eris inde7endently, using their o;n syste@, ;ould not have co@e u7 ;ith eAactly the sa@e nu@6ers as anyone else, though the nu@6ers @ight have 6een close. The 4a6ylonian syste@ 4 ;as eAcellent, so the design had 6een gratefully conserved, in translation, ;ith all its fine>grained 7articularities. (,euge6auer 1 % ." 9 ,euge6auer ;as a great scholar, 6ut you can 7ro6a6ly eAecute a 7arallel feat of deduction, follo;ing in his footste7s. Su77ose you ;ere sent a 7ho> toco7y of the teAt 6elo;, and as8ed the sa@e Euestions? *hat does it @eanG *here @ight this 6e fro@G

3+.U)/ !.1

4efore reading on, try it. <ou can 7ro6a6ly figure it out even if you don-t really 8no; ho; to read the old .er@an 5ra6tur ty7efaceHand even if you don-t 8no; .er@anL 2oo8 again, closely. Did you get itG +@7ressive stuntL ,euge6auer @ay have his 4a6ylonian colu@n ., 6ut you Euic8ly deter> @ined, didn-t you, that this frag@ent @ust 6e 7art of a .er@an translation of so@e lines fro@ an /liJa6ethan tragedy G@ulius Caesar7 act +++, scene ii, lines $ >%=, to 6e eAact". 0nce you thin8 a6out it, you realiJe that it could hardly 6e anything elseL The odds against this 7articular seEuence of .er@an lettersgetting strung together under any other circu@stances are 1ast. *hyG *hat is the 7articularity that @ar8s such a string of sy@6olsG ,icholas Hu@7hrey (1 %$" @a8es the Euestion vivid 6y 7osing a @ore drastic version, if you ;ere forced to Iconsign to o6livionI one of the follo;ing @aster7ieces, ;hich ;ould you choose? ,e;ton-s rincipia7 Chaucer-s Canterbur" Tales7 MoJart-s Don Dio%anni7 or /iffel-s To;erG I+f the choice ;ere forced,I Hu@7hrey ans;ers, +-d have litde dou6t ;hich it should 6e? the rincipia ;ould have to go. Ho; soG 4ecause, of all those ;or8s, ,e;ton-s ;as the only one that ;as

&. Scholarshi7 @arches on. *ith the aid of co@7uters, @ore recent researchers have sho;n Ithat the nineteenth>century @odel of the constitution and descent of our @anu scri7ts of Plato ;as so oversi@7lified that it @ust 6e counted ;rong. That @odel, in its original for@, assu@ed that all the eAtant @anuscri7ts ;ere direct or indirect co7ies of one or @ore of the three oldest eAtant @anuscri7ts, each a literal co7y# variants in the @ore recent @anuscri7ts ;ere then to 6e eA7lained either as scri6al corru7tion or ar6i trary e@endation, gro;ing cu@ulatively ;ith each ne; co7yOOOOI (4ru@6augh and *ells 1 !%, 7. '# the introduction 7rovides a vivid 7icture of the fairly recent state of 7lay."

9. + a@ grateful to ,oel S;erdlo;, ;ho told this story during die discussion follo;ing his tal8 IThe 0rigin of Ptole@y-s Planetary Theory,I at the Tufts Philoso7hy ColloEuiu@, 0cto6er 1, 1 (, and su6seEuently 7rovided @e ;ith ,euge6auer-s 7a7er and an eA7la > nation of its fine 7oints.


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replaceable. Fuite si@7ly? if ,e;ton had not ;ritten it, then so@eone else ;ouldH7ro6a6ly ;ithin the s7ace of a fe; yearsOOOOTne rincipia ;as a glorious @onu@ent to hu@an intellect, the /iffel To;er ;as a relatively @inor feat of ro@antic engineering# yet the fact is that ;hile /iffel did it his ;ay, ,e;ton @erely did it .od-s ;ay. ,e;ton and 2ei6niJ fa@ously Euarreled over ;ho got to the calculus first, and one can readily i@agine ,e;ton having another Euarrel ;ith a conte@7orary over ;ho should get 7riority on discovering the la;s of gravitation. 4ut had Sha8es7eare never lived, for eAa@7le, no one else ;ould ever have ;ritten his 7lays and 7oe@s. IC P. Sno;, in the Two Cultures7 eAtolled the great discoveries of science as -scientific Sha8es7eare-. 4ut in one ;ay he ;as funda@entally @ista8en. Sha8es7eare-s 7lays ;ere Sha8es7eare-s 7lays and no one else-s. Scientific discoveries, 6y contrast, 6elongHulti@atelyHto no one in 7articularI (Hu@7hrey 1 %$". +ntuitively, the difference is the difference 6et;een discovery and creation, 6ut ;e no; have a 6etter ;ay of seeing it. 0n the one hand, there is design ;or8 that ho@es in on a 6est @ove or forced @ove ;hich can 6e seen (in retros7ect, at least" to 6e a uniEuely favored location in Design S7ace accessi6le fro@ @any starting 7oints 6y @any different 7aths# on the other hand, there is design ;or8 the eAcellence of ;hich is @uch @ore de7endent on eA7loiting ( and a@7lifying" the @any contingencies of history that sha7e its traDectory, a traDectory a6out ;hich the 6us co@7any-s slogan is an understate@ent? getting there is @uch @ore than half the fun. *e sa; in cha7ter ' that even the long>division algorith@ can avail itself of rando@ness or ar6itrary idiosyncrasyHchoose a digit at rando@ (or your favorite digit" and chec8 to see if it-s the IrightI one. 4ut the actual idio> syncratic choices @ade as you go along cancel out, leaving no trace in the final ans;er, the right ans;er. 0ther algorith@s can incor7orate the rando@ choices into the structure of their final 7roducts. Thin8 of a 7oetry>;riting algorith@Hor a doggerel>;riting algorith@, if you insistHthat 6egins? IChoose a noun at rando@ fro@ the dictionaryOOOOOI Such a design 7rocess can 7roduce so@ething that is definitely under Euality controlHselection 7ressureH6ut ;hich nevertheless 6ears the un@ista8a6le signs of its 7ar> ticular history of creation. Hu@7hrey-s contrast is shar7, 6ut his vivid ;ay of dra;ing it @ight @islead. Science, unli8e the arts, is engaged in DourneysHso@eti@es racesH ;ith definite destinations? solutions to s7ecific 7ro6le@s in Design S7ace. 4ut scientists do care Dust as @uch as artists do a6out the routes ta8en, and hence ;ould 6e a77alled at the idea of discarding ,e;ton-s actual ;or8 and Dust saving his destination (;hich so@eone else ;ould eventually have led us to in any case". They care a6out the actual traDectories 6ecause the @ethods used in the@ can often 6e used again, for other Dourneys# the good

@ethods are cranes, ;hich can 6e 6orro;ed, ;ith ac8no;ledg@ent, and used to do lifting in other 7arts of Design S7ace. +n the eAtre@e case, the crane develo7ed 6y a scientist @ay 6e of @uch @ore value than the 7articular lifting acco@7lished 6y it, the destination reached. 3or instance, a 7roof of a trivial result @ay nevertheless 7ioneer a ne; @athe@atical @ethod of great value. Mathe@aticians 7ut a high value on co@ing u7 ;ith a si@7ler, @ore elegant 7roof of so@ething they have already 7rovedHa @ore efficient crane. +n this conteAt, 7hiloso7hy can 6e seen to lie a6out @id;ay 6et;een science and the arts. 2ud;ig *ittgenstein fa@ously stressed that in 7hiloso7hy the 7rocessHthe arguing and analyJingHis @ore i@7ortant than the 7roductHthe conclusions reached, the theories defended. Though this is hotly (and correctly, in @y o7inion" dis7uted 6y @any 7hiloso7hers ;ho as7ire to solve real 7ro6le@sHand not Dust indulge in a sort of inter@ina6le logothera7yH even they ;ould ad@it that ;e ;ould never ;ant to consign Descartes-s fa@ous Icogito ergo su@I thought eA7eri@ent, for eAa@7le, to o6livion, even though none ;ould acce7t its conclusions# it is Dust too nifty an intuition 7u@7, even if all it 7u@7s is falsehoods (Dennett 1 %&, 7. 1%". *hy can-t you co7yright a successful @ulti7lication of t;o nu@6ersG 4ecause anyone could do it. +t-s a forced @ove. The sa@e is true of any si@7le fact that a genius isn-t needed to discover. So ho; do the creators of ta6les or other routine (6ut la6or>intensive" @asses of 7rinted data 7rotect the@selves fro@ unscru7ulous co7iersG So@eti@es they set tra7s. + a@ told, for instance, that the 7u6lishers of !ho/s !ho have dealt ;ith the 7ro6le@ of co@7etitors- si@7ly stealing all their hard>;on facts and 7u6lishing their o;n 6iogra7hical encyclo7edias 6y Euietly inserting a fe; entirely 6ogus entries. <ou can 6e sure that if one of those sho;s u7 on a co@7etitor-s 7ages, it ;as no coincidenceL +n the larger 7ers7ective of the ;hole Design S7ace, the cri@e of 7lagia> ris@ @ight 6e defined as theft of crane. So@e6ody or so@ething has done so@e design ;or8, there6y creating so@ething that is useful in further design ;or8 and therefore @ay have value to anyone or anything e@6ar8ed on a design 7roDect. +n our ;orld of culture, ;here the trans@ission of designs fro@ agent to agent is ena6led 6y @any @edia of co@@unication, the acEuisition of designs develo7ed in other Isho7sI is a co@@on event, al@ost the defining @ar8 of cultural evolution (;hich ;ill 6e the to7ic of cha7ter 1'". +t has co@@only 6een assu@ed 6y 6iologists that such transactions ;ere i@7ossi6le in the ;orld of genetics ( until the da;n of genetic engineering". <ou @ight say, in fact, that this has 6een the 0fficial Dog@a. )ecent discoveries suggest other;iseHthough only ti@e ;ill tell# no Dog@a ever rolled over and died ;ithout a fight. 3or instance, Marilyn Houc8 (Houc8 et al. 1 1." has found evidence that, a6out forty years ago, in either 3lorida or Central A@erica, a tiny @ite that feeds on fruit flies ha77ened to


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7uncture the egg of a fly of the Drosophila willistoni s7ecies, and in the 7rocess 7ic8ed u7 so@e of that s7ecies- characteristic D,A, ;hich it then inadvertently trans@itted to the egg of a (;ild" Drosophila melano-aster flyL This could eA7lain the sudden eA7losion in the ;ild of a 7articular D,A ele@ent co@@on in D. willistoni 6ut 7reviously unheard of in D. melano; -aster 7o7ulations. She @ight add? *hat else could eA7lain itG +t sure loo8s li8e s7ecies 7lagiaris@. 0ther researchers are loo8ing at other 7ossi6le vehicles for s7eedy design travel in the ;orld of natural (as o77osed to artificial" genetics. +f they find the@, they ;ill 6e fascinatingH6ut no dou6t rareHeAce7tions to the orthodoA 7attern? genetic trans@ission of design 6y chains of direct descent only.! *e are inclined, as Dust noted, to contrast this feature shar7ly ;ith ;hat ;e find in the free;heeling ;orld of cultural evolution, 6ut even there ;e can detect a 7o;erful de7endence on the co@6ination of luc8 and co7ying. Consider all the ;onderful 6oo8s in the 2i6rary of 4a6el that ;ill never 6e ;ritten, even though the 7rocess that could create each of the@ involves no violation or a6ridg@ent of the la;s of nature. Consider so@e 6oo8 in the 2i6rary of 4a6el that you yourself @ight love to ;riteHand that only you could ;riteHfor instance, the 7oetically eA7ressed auto6iogra7hical tale of your childhood that ;ould 6ring tears and laughter to all readers. *e 8no; that there are 1ast nu@6ers of 6oo8s ;ith Dust these features in the 2i6rary of 4a6el, and each is co@7osa6le in only a @illion 8eystro8es. At the da;>dling rate of five hundred stro8es a day, the ;hole 7roDect shouldn-t ta8e you @uch longer than siA years, ;ith generous vacations. *ell, ;hat-s sto77ing youG <ou have fingers that ;or8, and all the 8eys on your ;ord>7rocessor can 6e de7ressed inde7endently. ,othing is sto77ing you. That is, there needn/t 6e any identifia6le forces, or la;s of 7hysics or 6iology or 7sychology, or salient disa6ilities 6rought on 6y identifia6le circu@stances (such as an aA e@6edded in your 6rain, or a gun 7ointed at you 6y a credi6le threatener". There are 1astly @any 6oo8s that you are never going to ;rite Ifor no reason at all.I Than8s to the @yriad 7articular t;ists and turns of your life to date, you Dust don-t ha77en to 6e ;ell dis7osed to co@7ose those seEuences of 8eystro8es. +f ;e ;ant to get so@e 7ers7ectiveHli@ited, to 6e sureHon ;hat 7atterns go into creating your o;n authorial dis7ositions, ;e ;ill have to consider the trans@ission of Design to you fro@ the 6oo8s you have read. The 6oo8s that actually co@e to eAist in the ;orld-s li6raries are dee7ly

de7endent not Dust on their authors- 6iological inheritance, 6ut on the 6oo8s that have co@e 6efore the@. This de7endence is conditioned 6y coincidences or accidents at every turning. Must loo8 at @y 6i6liogra7hy to discover the @ain lines of genealogy of this 6oo8. 1 have 6een reading and ;riting a6out evolution since + ;as an undergraduate, 6ut if + had not 6een encouraged 6y Doug Hofstadter in 1 %= to read Da;8ins- The Selfish Dene7 + 7ro6a6ly ;ould not have 6egun coalescing so@e of the interests and reading ha6its that have 6een @aDor sha7ers of this 6oo8. And if Hofstadter had not 6een as8ed 6y The 9ew Oor6 Re%iew of Boo6s to revie; @y 6oo8 Brainstorms (1 $%", he 7ro6a6ly ;ould never have hit u7on the 6right idea of 7ro7osing that ;e colla6orate on a 6oo8, The Mind/s I (1 %1", and then ;e ;ould not have had the o77ortunity for @utual 6oo8>reco@@ending that led @e to Da;8ins, and so forth. /ven if + had read the sa@e 6oo8s and articles 6y follo;ing other 7aths, in a different order, + ;ould not 6e conditioned in eAactly the sa@e ;ay 6y that reading, and hence ;ould have 6een unli8ely to have co@7osed (and edited, and re>edited" <ust the string of sy@6ols you are no; reading. Can ;e @easure this trans@ission of Design in cultureG Are there units of cultural trans@ission analogous to the genes of 6iological evolutionG Da;> 8ins (1 $! " has 7ro7osed that there are, and has given the@ a na@e? memes. 2i8e genes, @e@es are su77osed to 6e re7licators, in a different @ediu@, 6ut su6Dect to @uch the sa@e 7rinci7les of evolution as genes. The idea that there @ight 6e a scientific theory, @e@etics, strongly 7arallel to genetics, stri8es @any thin8ers as a6surd, 6ut at least a large 7art of their s8e7ticis@ is 6ased on @isunderstanding. This is a controversial idea, ;hich ;ill get careful consideration in cha7ter 1', 6ut in the @eanti@e ;e can set aside the controversies and Dust use the ter@ as a handy ;ord for a salient ( mem; ora6le" cultural ite@, so@ething ;ith enough Design to 6e ;orth savingHor stealing or re7licating. The 2i6rary of Mendel (or its t;in, the 2i6rary of 4a6elHthey are contained in each other, after all" is as good an a77roAi@ate @odel of Universal Design S7ace as ;e could ever need to thin8 a6out. 3or the last four 6illion years or so, the Tree of 2ife has 6een JigJagging through this 1ast @ultidi@ensional s7ace, 6ranching and 6loo@ing ;ith virtually uni@agina6le fecundity, 6ut nevertheless @anaging to fill only a 1anishingly s@all 7ortion of that s7ace of the Possi6le ;ith Actual designs. $ According

!. The genetic ele@ents transferred in Drosophila are Iintrageno@ic 7arasitesI and 7ro6a6ly have a negative effect on the ada7tedness of their host organis@s, so ;e shouldn-t get our ho7es u7 unduly. See /ngels 1 '.

$. I+ confess that + 6elieve the e@7tiness of 7henoty7ic s7ace is filled ;ith red herrings. ... Under the null hy7othesis that no constraints at all eAist, the 6ranching 7ath;ays through s7ace ta8en 6y this 7rocess constitute a rando@>6ranching ;al8 in a


TH)/ADS 03 ACTUA2+T< +, D/S+., SPAC/

The $nit" of Desi-n Space


to Dar;in-s dangerous idea, all possible eA7lorations of Design S7ace are connected. ,ot only all your children and your children-s children, 6ut all your 6rainchildren and your 6rainchildren-s 6rainchildren @ust gro; fro@ the co@@on stoc8 of Design ele@ents, genes and @e@es, that have so far 6een accu@ulated and conserved 6y the ineAora6le lifting algo rith@s, the ra@7s and cranes and cranes>ato7>cranes of natural selection and its 7roducts. +f this is right, then all the achieve@ents of hu@an cultureHlanguage, art, religion, ethics, science itselfHare the@selves artifacts ( of artifacts of arti> facts ..." of the sa@e funda@ental 7rocess that develo7ed the 6acteria, the @a@@als, and >omo sapiens. There is no S7ecial Creation of language, and neither art nor religion has a literally divine ins7iration. +f there are no s8yhoo8s needed to @a8e a s8ylar8, there are also no s8yhoo8s needed to @a8e an ode to a nightingale. ,o @e@e is an island. 2ife and all its glories are thus united under a single 7ers7ective, 6ut so@e 7eo7le find this vision hateful, 6arren, odious. They ;ant to cry out against it, and a6ove all, they ;ant to 6e @agnificent eAce7tions to it. They, if not the rest, are @ade in .od-s i@age 6y .od, or, if they are not religious, they ;ant to 6e s8yhoo8s the@selves. They ;ant so@eho; to 6e intrinsic sources of +ntelligence or Design, not I@ereI artifacts of the sa@e 7rocesses that @indlessly 7roduced the rest of the 6ios7here. So a lot is at sta8e. 4efore ;e turn, in 7art H+, to eAa@ine in detail the i@7lications of the u7;ard s7read of universal acid through hu@an culture, ;e need to secure the 6ase ca@7, 6y considering a variety of dee7 challenges to Dar;inian thin8ing ;ithin 6iology itself. +n the 7rocess, our vision of the intricacy and 7o;er of the underlying ideas ;ill 6e enhanced. CHAPT/) !? There is one Desi-n Space7 and in it the Tree of 'ife has -rown a branch that has recentl" be-un castin- its own explorator" threads into that Space7 in the form of human artifacts. 5orced mo%es and other -ood ideas are li6e beacons in Desi-n Space7 disco%ered a-ain and a-ain7 b" the ultimatel" al-orithmic search processes of natural selection and human in%esti-ation. #s Darwin appreciated7 we can retrospecti%el" detect the historical fact of descent7 an"where in Desi-n Space7 when we find shared desi-n features that would be Castl" unli6el" to coexist unless there was a thread of descent between them. >istorical reasonin- about e%olution dius depends on acceptin- ale"/s premise8 the world is full of -ood Desi-n7 which too6 wor6 to create. This completes die introduction to Darwin/s dan-erous idea. 9ow we

must secure its base camp in biolo-"7 in part **7 before loo6in- at its power to transform our understandin- of the human world7 in part >I. CHAPT/) $? >ow did the Tree of 'ife -et started= S6eptics ha%e thou-ht a stro6e of Special CreationHa s6"hoo6Hmust be needed to -et the e%olu; tionar" process -oin-. There is a Darwinian answer to this challen-e7 how; e%er7 which exhibits the power of Darwin/s uni%ersal acid to wor6 its wa" down throu-h the lowest le%els of the Cosmic "ramid7 showin- how e%en the laws of ph"sics mi-ht emer-e from chaos or nothin-ness without re; course to a Special Creator7 or e%en a 'aw-i%er. This di::"in- prospect is one of the most feared aspects of Darwin/s dan-erous idea7 but the fear is mis-uided.

high>di@ensional s7ace. The ty7ical 7ro7erty of such a ;al8 in a high>di@ensional s7ace is that @ost of the s7ace is e@7tyI (5auff@an 1 (, 7. 1 ".

PA)T ++

DA)*+,+A, TH+,5+,. +, 4+020.<

E%olution is a chan-e from a no;howish untal6aboutable all;ali6eness b" continuous stic6to-etherations and somethin-elsifications.
H*+2UAM MAM/S 1%%=

9othin- in biolo-" ma6es sense except in the li-ht of e%olution.

HTH/0D0S+US D04:HA,S5< 1 $(

CHAPT/) S/1/,

rimin- Darwin/s ump

1. 4AC5 4/<0,D DA)*+,-S 3)0,T+/)

#nd Dod said7 'et the earth brin- forth -rass7 the herb "ieldin- seed7 and the fruit tree "ieldin- fruit after his 6ind7 whose seed is in itself7 upon the earth8 and it was so. #nd the earth brou-ht forth -rass7 and herb "ieldin- seed after his 6ind7 and the tree "ieldin- fruit7 whose seed was in itself7 after his 6ind8 and Dod saw tint it was -ood.
H./,/S+S 1?11H1'

3ro@ ;hat sort of seed could the Tree of 2ife get startedG That all life on /arth has 6een 7roduced 6y such a 6ranching 7rocess of generation is no; esta6lished 6eyond any reasona6le dou6t. +t is as secure an eAa@7le of a scientific fact as the roundness of the /arth, than8s in large 7art to Dar;in. 4ut ho; did the ;hole 7rocess get started in the first 7laceG As ;e sa; in cha7ter (, Dar;in not only started in the @iddle# he cautiously refrained fro@ 7ushing his o;n 7u6lished thin8ing 6ac8 to the 6eginningHthe ulti> @ate origin of life and its 7reconditions. *hen 7ressed 6y corres7ondents, he had little @ore to say in 7rivate. +n a fa@ous letter, he sur@ised that it ;as Euite 7ossi6le that life 6egan in Ia ;ar@ little 7ond,I 6ut he had no details to offer a6out the li8ely reci7e for this 7ri@eval 7reorganic sou7. And in res7onse to Asa .ray, as ;e sa; (see 7age !$", he left ;ide o7en the 7ossi6ility that the laws that ;ould govern this /arth>shattering @ove ;ere the@selves designedH7resu@a6ly 6y .od. His reticence on this score ;as ;ise on several counts. 3irst, no one 8ne; 6etter than he the i@7ortance of anchoring a revolutionary theory in the 6edroc8 of e@7irical facts, and he 8ne; that he could only s7eculate, ;ith scant ho7e in his o;n day of getting any su6stantive feed6ac8. After all, as ;e have already seen, he didn-t even have the Mendelian conce7t of the


P)+M+,. DA)*+,-S PUMP

Bac6 Be"ond Darwin/s 5rontier


gene, let alone any of the @olecular @achinery underlying it. Dar;in ;as an intre7id deducer, 6ut he also 8ne; ;hen he didn-t have enough 7re@ises to go on. 4esides, there ;as his concern for his 6eloved ;ife, /@@a, ;ho des7erately ;anted to cling to her religious 6eliefs, and ;ho could already see the threat loo@ing in her hus6and-s ;or8. <et his reluctance to 7ush any farther into this dangerous territory, at least in 7u6lic, ;ent 6eyond his consideration for her feelings. There is a ;ider ethical consideration at sta8e, ;hich Dar;in certainly a77reciated. Much has 6een ;ritten a6out the @oral dile@@as that scientists face ;hen the discovery of a 7otentially dangerous fact 7uts their love of truth at odds ;ith their concern for the ;elfare of others. Under ;hat conditions, if any, ;ould they 6e o6liged to conceal the truthG These can 6e real dile@@as, ;ith 7o;erful and hard>to>7lu@6 considerations on 6oth sides. 4ut there is no controversy at all a6out ;hat a scientist-s ( or 7hiloso7her-s" @oral o6ligations should 6e regarding his or her s7eculations. Science doesn-t often advance 6y the @ethodical 7iling u7 of de@onstra6le facts# the Icutting edgeI is al@ost al;ays co@7osed of several rival edges, shar7ly co@7eting and 6oldly s7eculative. Many of these s7eculations soon 7rove to 6e @is6egotten, ho;ever co@7elling at the outset, and these necessary 6y>7roducts of scientific investigation should 6e considered to 6e as 7otentially haJardous as any other la6oratory ;astes. 0ne @ust consider their environ@ental i@7act. +f their @isa77rehension 6y the 7u6lic ;ould 6e a7t to cause sufferingH6y @isleading 7eo7le into dangerous courses of action, or 6y undercutting their allegiance to so@e socially desira6le 7rinci7le or creedHscientists should 6e 7articularly cautious a6out ho; they 7roceed, scru7ulous a6out la6eling s7eculations as such, and 8ee7ing the rhetoric of 7ersuasion confined to its 7ro7er targets. 4ut ideas, unli8e toAic fu@es or che@ical residues, are al@ost i@7ossi6le to Euarantine, 7articularly ;hen they concern the@es of a6iding hu@an curiosity, so, ;hereas there is no controversy at all a6out the 7rinci7le of res7onsi6ility here, there has 6een scant agree@ent, then or no;, a6out ho; to honor it. Dar;in did the 6est he could? he 8e7t his s7eculations 7retty @uch to hi@self. *e can do 6etter. The 7hysics and che@istry of life are no; understood in daJJling detail, so that @uch @ore can 6e deduced a6out the necessary and (7erha7s" sufficient conditions for life. The ans;ers to the 6ig Euestions @ust still involve a large @easure of s7eculation, 6ut ;e can @ar8 the s7eculations as such, and note ho; they could 6e confir@ed or discon>fir@ed. There ;ould 6e no 7oint any @ore in trying to 7ursue Dar;in-s 7olicy of reticence# too @any very interesting cats are already out of the 6ag. *e @ay not yet 8no; eAactly how to ta8e all these ideas seriously, 6ut than8s to Dar;in-s secure 6eachhead in 6iology, ;e 8no; that ;e can and @ust.

+t is s@all ;onder that Dar;in didn-t hit u7on a suita6le @echanis@ of heredity. *hat do you su77ose his attitude ;ould have 6een to the s7ec> ulation that ;ithin the nucleus of each of the cells in his 6ody there ;as a co7y of a set of instructions, ;ritten on huge @acro@olecules, in the for@ of dou6le heliAes tightly 8in8ed into snarls to for@ a set of forty>siA chro> @oso@esG The D,A in your 6ody, unsnarled and lin8ed, ;ould stretch to the sun and 6ac8 severalHten or a hundredHti@es. 0f course, Dar;in is the @an ;ho 7ainsta8ingly uncovered a host of Da;>dro77ing co@7leAities in the lives and 6odies of 6arnacles, orchids, and earth;or@s, and descri6ed the@ ;ith o6vious relish. Had he had a 7ro7hetic drea@ 6ac8 in 1%9 a6out the ;onders of D,A, he ;ould no dou6t have reveled in it, 6ut + ;onder if he could have recounted it ;ith a straight face. /ven to those of us accusto@ed to the Iengineering @iraclesI of the co@7uter age, the facts are hard to enco@7ass. ,ot only @olecule>siJed co7ying @achines, 6ut 7roofreading enJy@es that correct @ista8es, all at 6linding s7eed, on a scale that su7er> co@7uters still cannot @atch. I4iological @acro@olecules have a storage ca7acity that eAceeds that of the 6est 7resent>day infor@ation stores 6y several orders of @agnitude. 3or eAa@7le, the infor@ation density- in the geno@e of / coli7 is a6out 1='$ 6itsN@(I (5ii77ers 1 =, 7. 1%=". +n cha7ter 9, ;e arrived at a Dar;inian definition of 6iological 7ossi6ility in ter@s of accessi6ility ;ithin the 2i6rary of Mendel, 6ut the 7recondition for that 2i6rary, as ;e noted, ;as the eAistence of genetic @echanis@s of staggering co@7leAity and efiiciency. *illia@ Paley ;ould have 6een trans> 7orted ;ith ad@iration and ;onder at the ato@ic>level intricacies that @a8e life 7ossi6le at all. >ow could the" themsel%es ha%e e%ol%ed if the" are the precondition for Darwinian e%olution= S8e7tics a6out evolution have argued that this is the fatal fla; in Dar;in> is@. As ;e have seen, the 7o;er of the Dar;inian idea co@es fro@ the ;ay it distri6utes the huge tas8 of Design through vast a@ounts of ti@e and s7ace, 7reserving the 7artial 7roducts as it 7roceeds. +n E%olution8 # Theor" in Crisis7 Michael Denton 7uts it this ;ay? the Dar;inian assu@es Ithat islands of function are co@@on, easily found in the first 7lace, and that it is easy to go fro@ island to island through functional inter@ediatesI (Denton 1 %9, 7. (1$". This is al@ost right, 6ut not Euite. +ndeed, the central clai@ of Dar;inis@ is that the Tree of 2ife s7reads out its 6ranches, connecting Iislands of functionI ;ith isth@uses of inter@ediate cases, 6ut no6ody said the 7assage ;ould 6e IeasyI or the safe sto77ing 7laces Ico@@on.I There is only one strained sense of IeasyI in ;hich Dar;inis@ is co@@itted to these isth@us>crossings- 6eing easy? since every living thing is a descendant of a living thing, it has a tre@endous leg u7# all 6ut the tiniest fraction of its reci7e is guaranteed to have ti@e>tested via6ility. The lines of genealogy are lifelines indeed# according to Dar;inis@, the only ho7e of entering this cos@ic @aJe of Dun8 and staying alive is to stay on die isth@uses.


P)+M+,. DA)*+,-S PUMP

Bac6 Be"ond Darwin/s 5rontier


May6e, it is argued, the Creator does not control the day>to>day succession of evolutionary events, @ay6e he did not fra@e the tiger and the la@6, @ay6e he did not @a8e a tree, 6ut he did set u7 the original @achinery of re7lication and re7licator 7o;er, the original @achinery of D,A and 7ro> tein that @ade cu@ulative selection, and hence all of evolution, 7ossi6le. This is a trans7arently fee6le argu@ent, indeed it is o6viously self> defeating. 0rganiJed co@7leAity is the thing ;e are having difficulty eA> 7laining. 0nce ;e are allo;ed si@7ly to postulate organiJed co@7leAity, if only the organiJed co@7leAity of the D,AN7rotein re7licating engine, it is relatively easy to invo8e it as a generator of yet @ore organiJed co@7leA> ity.... 4ut of course any .od ca7a6le of intelligently designing so@ething as co@7leA as the D,AN7rotein re7licating @achine @ust have 6een at least as co@7leA and organiJed as the @achine itself. PDa;8ins 1 %!a, 7. 1&1.Q As Da;8ins goes on to say (7. (1!", IThe one thing that @a8es evolution such a neat theory is that it eA7lains ho; organiJed co@7leAity can arise out of 7ri@eval si@7licity.I This is one of the 8ey strengths of Dar;in-s idea, and the 8ey ;ea8ness of the alternatives. +n fact, + once argued, it is unli8ely that any other theory could have this strength? Dar;in eA7lains a ;orld of final causes and teleological la;s ;ith a 7rin> ci7le that is, to 6e sure, @echanistic 6utH@ore funda@entallyHutterly inde7endent of I@eaningI or I7ur7oseI. +t assu@es a ;orld that is absurd in the eAistentialist-s sense of the ter@? not ludicrous 6ut 7ointless, and this assu@7tion is a necessary condition of any non>Euestion>6egging account of purpose. *hether ;e can i@agine a non>@echanistic 6ut also non> Euestion>6egging 7rinci7le for eA7laining design in the 6iological ;orld is dou6tful# it is te@7ting to see the co@@it@ent to non>Euestion>6egging accounts here as tanta@ount to a co@@it@ent to @echanistic @aterialis@, 6ut the 7riority of these co@@it@ents is clearOOOO0ne argues? Dar;in-s @aterialistic theory @ay not 6e the only non>Euestion>6egging theory of these @atters, 6ut it is one such theory, and the only one ;e have found, ;hich is Euite a good reason for es7ousing @aterialis@. PDennett 1 $9, 77. 1$1>$'.Q +s that a fair or even an a77ro7riate criticis@ of the religious alternativesG 0ne reader of an early draft of this cha7ter co@7lained at this 7oint, saying that 6y treating the hy7othesis of .od as Dust one @ore scientific hy7othesis, to 6e evaluated 6y the standards of science in 7articular and rational thought in general, Da;8ins and + are ignoring the very ;ides7read clai@ 6y 6e > lievers in .od that their faith is Euite 6eyond reason, not a @atter to ;hich such @undane @ethods of testing a77lies. +t is not Dust unsy@7athetic, he clai@ed, 6ut strictly un;arranted for @e si@7ly to assu@e that the scientific @ethod continues to a77ly ;ith full force in this do@ain of faith.

3+.U)/ $.1 4ut ho; could this 7rocess get startedG Denton (7. ('(" goes to so@e lengths to calculate the i@7ro6a6ility of such a start>u7, and arrives at a suita6ly @ind>nu@6ing nu@6er. To get a cell 6y chance ;ould reEuire at least one hundred functional 7roteins to a77ear si@ultaneously in one 7lace. That is one hundred si> @ultaneous events each of an inde7endent 7ro6a6ility ;hich could hardly 6e @ore than 1=>'= giving a @aAi@u@ co@6ined 7ro6a6ility of 1='=== This 7ro6a6ility is 1anishing indeedHneAt to i@7ossi6le. And it loo8s at first as if the standard Dar;inian res7onse to such a challenge could not as a matter of lo-ic avail us, since the very 7reconditions for its successHa syste@ of re7lication ;ith variationHare 7recisely ;hat only its success ;ould 7er@it us to eA7lain. /volutionary theory a77ears to have dug itself into a dee7 7it, fro@ ;hich it cannot esca7e. Surely the only thing that could save it ;ould 6e a s8yhoo8L This ;as Asa .ray-s fond ho7e, and the @ore ;e have learned a6out the intricacies of D,A re7lication, the @ore enticing this idea has 6eco@e to those ;ho are searching for a 7lace to 6ail out science ;ith so@e hel7 fro@ religion. 0ne @ight say that it has a77eared to @any to 6e a godsend. 3orget it, says )ichard Da;8ins?


P)+M+,. DA)*+,-S PUMP

Molecular E%olution

19 9

1ery ;ell, let-s consider the o6Dection. + dou6t that the defender of religion ;ill find it attractive, once ;e eA7lore it carefully. The 7hiloso7her )onald de Sousa once @e@ora6ly descri6ed 7hiloso7hical theology as Iintellectual tennis ;ithout a net,I and + readily allo; that + have indeed 6een assu@ing ;ithout co@@ent or Euestion u7 to no; that the net of rational Dudg@ent ;as u7. 4ut ;e can lo;er it if you really ;ant to. +t-s your serve. *hatever you serve, su77ose + return service rudely as follo;s? I*hat you say i@7lies that .od is a ha@ sand;ich ;ra77ed in tinfoil. That-s not @uch of a .od to ;orshi7LI +f you then volley 6ac8, de@anding to 8no; ho; + can logically Dustify @y clai@ that your serve has such a 7re7osterous i@7lication, + ;ill re7ly? I0h, do you ;ant the net u7 for @y returns, 6ut not for your servesG /ither the net stays u7, or it stays do;n. +f the net is do;n, there are no rules and any6ody can say anything, a @ug-s ga@e if there ever ;as one. + have 6een giving you the 6enefit of the assu@7tion that you ;ould not ;aste your o;n ti@e or @ine 6y 7laying ;ith the net do;n.I ,o; if you ;ant to reason a6out faith, and offer a reasoned (and reason> res7onsive" defense of faith as an eAtra category of 6elief ;orthy of s7ecial consideration, +-@ eager to 7lay. + certainly grant the eAistence of the 7he> no@enon of faith# ;hat + ;ant to see is a reasoned ground for ta8ing faith seriously as a wa" of -ettin- to the truth7 and not, say, Dust as a ;ay 7eo7le co@fort the@selves and each other (a ;orthy function that + do ta8e seri> ously". 4ut you @ust not eA7ect @e to go along ;ith your defense of faith as a 7ath to truth if at any 7oint you a77eal to the very dis7ensation you are su77osedly trying to Dustify. 4efore you a77eal to faith ;hen reason has you 6ac8ed into a corner, thin8 a6out ;hether you really ;ant to a6andon reason ;hen reason is on your side. <ou are sightseeing ;ith a loved one in a foreign land, and your loved one is 6rutally @urdered in front of your eyes. At the trial it turns out that in this land friends of the accused @ay 6e called as ;itnesses for the defense, testifying a6out their faith in his innocence. <ou ;atch the 7arade of his @oist>eyed friends, o6viously sincere, 7roudly 7roclai@ing their undying faith in the innocence of the @an you sa; co@@it the terri6le deed. The Dudge listens intently and res7ectfully, o6viously @ore @oved 6y this out7ouring than 6y all the evidence 7resented 6y the 7rosecution. +s this not a night@areG *ould you 6e ;illing to live in such a landG 0r ;ould you 6e ;illing to 6e o7erated on 6y a surgeon ;ho tells you that ;henever a little voice in hi@ tells hi@ to disregard his @edical training, he listens to the little voiceG + 8no; it 7asses in 7olite co@7any to let 7eo7le have it 6oth ;ays, and under @ost circu@stances + ;holeheartedly coo7erate ;ith this 6enign arrange@ent. 4ut ;e-re seriously trying to get at the truth here, and if you thin8 that this co@@on 6ut uns7o8en understanding a6out faith is anything 6etter than socially useful o6fuscation to avoid @utual e@6arrass@ent and loss of face, you have either seen @uch @ore dee7ly into this issue than any 7hiloso7her ever has (for none has ever

co@e u7 ;ith a good defense of this" or you are 8idding yourself. (The 6all is no; in your court." Da;8ins- retort to the theorist ;ho ;ould call on .od to Du@7>start die evolution 7rocess is an unre6utta6le refutation, as devastating today as ;hen Philo used it to trounce Cleanthes in Hu@e-s Dialo-ues t;o centuries earlier. A s8yhoo8 ;ould at 6est si@7ly 7ost7one the solution to the 7ro6le@, 6ut Hu@e couldn-t thin8 of any cranes, so he caved in. Dar;in ca@e u7 ;ith so@e @agnificent cranes to do middle;le%el lifting, 6ut can the 7rinci7les that ;or8ed so ;ell once 6e a77lied again to do the lifting reEuired to get the 6oo@s of Dar;in-s cranes off the ground in the first 7laceG <es. Must ;hen it @ight a77ear that the Dar;inian idea has co@e to the end of its resources, it Du@7s niftily down a level and 8ee7s right on going, not Dust one idea 6ut @any, @ulti7lying li8e the 6roo@s of the sorcerer-s a77rentice. +f you ;ant to understand this tric8, ;hich at first glance see@s uni@ag> ina6le, you have to ;restle ;ith so@e difficult ideas and a raft of details, 6oth @athe@atical and @olecular. This is not the 6oo8, and + a@ not the author, you should consult for those details, and nothing less could really secure your understanding, so ;hat follo;s co@es ;ith a ;arning? although + ;ill try to acFuaint you ;ith these ideas, you ;on-t really 8no; the@ unless you study the@ in the 7ri@ary literature. (My o;n gras7 on the@ is that of an a@ateur." +@aginative theoretical and eA7eri@ental eA7lorations of the 7ossi6ilities are no; 6eing conducted 6y so @any different researchers that it 7ractically constitutes a su6disci7line at the 6oundary 6et;een 6iology and 7hysics. Since + cannot ho7e to de@onstrate to you the validity of these ideasHand you shouldn-t trust @e if + clai@ed to do soH;hy a@ + 7resenting the@G 4ecause @y 7ur7ose is 7hiloso7hical? + ;ish to 6rea8 do;n a 7reDudice, the conviction that a certain sort of theory couldn-t possibl" ;or8. *e have seen ho; Hu@e-s 7hiloso7hical traDectory got deflected 6y his ina6ility to ta8e seriously an o7ening in the ;all that he di@ly sa;. He thou-ht he 6new that there ;as no 7oint in heading any further in that direction, and, as Socrates never tired of 7ointing out, thin8ing you 8no; ;hen you don-t is the @ain cause of 7hiloso7hical 7aralysis. +f + can sho; that it is concei%able that the Dar;inian idea can carry through Iall the ;ay do;n,I this ;ill 7re>e@7t a fa@ily of gli6 dis@issals that is all too fa@iliar, and o7en our @inds to other 7ossi6ilities.

'. M02/CU2A) /102UT+0,

The smallest catal"ticall" acti%e protein molecules of the li%in- cell consist of at least a hundred amino acids. 5or e%en such a short mol; ecule7 there exist .+/PP Q *+*3P alternati%e arran-ements of the twent" basic monomers. This shows mat alread" on the lowest le%el of com;


P)+M+,. DA)*+,-S PUMP

Molecular E%olution


plexit"7 that of the biolo-ical macromolecules7 an almost unlimited %ariet" of structures is possible.
H4/),D>0+A3 5UPP/)S 1 =, 7. 11

4ur tas6 is to find an al-orithm7 a natural law that leads to the ori-in of information. HMA,3)/D /+./, 1 ',7.1' +n descri6ing the 7o;er of the central clai@ of Dar;inis@ in the 7revious section, + hel7ed @yself to a slight (L" eAaggeration? + said that every living thing is the descendant of a living thing. This cannot 6e true, for it i@7lies an infinity of living things, a set ;ith no first @e@6er. Since ;e 8no; that the total nu@6er of living things (on /arth, u7 till no;" is large 6ut finite, ;e see@ to 6e o6liged, logically, to identify a first @e@6erHAda@ the Proto6acteriu@, if you li8e. 4ut ho; could such a first @e@6er co@e to eAistG A ;hole 6acteriu@ is @uch, @uch too co@7licated Dust to ha77en into eAistence 6y cos@ic accident. The D,A of a 6acteriu@ such as E coli has around four @illion nucleotides in it, al@ost all of the@ 7recisely in order. +t is Euite clear, @oreover, that a 6acteriu@ could not get 6y ;ith @uch less. So here is a Euandary? since living tilings have eAisted for only a finite ti@e, there @ust have 6een a first one, 6ut since all living things are co@7leA, there couldn-t have 6een a first oneL There could only 6e one solution, and ;e 8no; it ;ell in outline? 6efore there ;ere 6acteria, ;ith autono@ous @eta6olis@s, there ;ere @uch si@7ler, Euasi>living things, li8e viruses, 6ut unli8e the@ in not (yet" having any living things to live off 7arasitically. 3ro@ the che@ist-s 7oint of vie;, viruses are IDustI huge, co@7leA crystals, 6ut than8s to their co@7leAity, they don-t Dust sit there# they Ido things.I +n 7articular, they re7roduce or self> re7licate, ;ith variations. A virus travels light, 7ac8ing no @eta6olic @achinery, so it either stu@6les u7on the energy and @aterials reEuired for self>re7lication or self>re7air, or eventually it succu@6s to the Second 2a; of Ther@odyna@ics and falls a7art. ,o;adays, living cells 7rovide concen> trated storehouses for viruses, and viruses have evolved to eA7loit the@, 6ut in the early days, they had to scrounge for less efficient ;ays of @a8ing @ore co7ies of the@selves. 1iruses today don-t all use dou6le>stranded D,A# so@e use an ancestral language, co@7osed of single>stranded ),A (;hich of course still 7lays a role in our o;n re7roductive syste@, as an inter@ediary I@essengerI syste@ during IeA7ressionI". +f ;e follo; standard 7ractice and reserve the ter@ %irus for a 7arasitic @acro@olecule, ;e need a na@e for these earliest ancestors. Co@7uter 7rogra@@ers call a co66led>together frag@ent of coded instructions that 7erfor@s a 7articular tas8 a I@acro,I so + 7ro7ose to call these 7ioneers macros7 to stress that although they are IDustI huge @acro@olecules, they are also 6its of pro-ram or

al-orithm7 6are, @ini@al self>re7roducing @echanis@sHre@ar8a6ly li8e the co@7uter viruses that have recently e@erged to fascinate and 7lague us ()ay 1 ', Da;8ins 1 ("1 Since these 7ioneer @acros re7roduced, they @et the necessary Dar;inian conditions for evolution, and it is no; clear that they s7ent the 6etter 7art of a 6illion years evolving on /arth 6efore there ;ere any living things. /ven the si@7lest re7licating @acro is far fro@ si@7le, ho;ever, a co@> 7osition ;ith thousands or @illions of 7arts, de7ending on ho; ;e count the ra; @aterials that go to @a8e it. The al7ha6et letters Adenine, Cytosine, .uanine, Thy@ine, and Uracil are 6ases that are not too co@7leA to arise in the nor@al course of 7re6iotic affairs. (),A, ;hich ca@e 6efore D,A, has Uracil, ;hereas D,A has Thy@ine." /A7ert o7inion differs, ho;ever, on ;hether these 6loc8s could synthesiJe the@selves 6y a series of coincidences into so@ething as fancy as a self>re7licator. The che@ist .raha@ Cairns> S@ith (1 %', 1 %9" 7resents an u7dated version of Paley-s argu@ent, ai@ed at the @olecular level? The 7rocess of synthesiJing D,A frag@ents, even 6y the advanced @ethods of @odern organic che@ists, is highly ela6orate# this sho;s that their chance creation is as i@7ro6a6le as Paley-s ;atch in a ;indstor@. I,ucleotides are too eA7ensiveI (Cairns>S@ith 1 %9, 77. &9>& ". D,A eAhi6its too @uch design ;or8 to 6e a @ere 7roduct of chance, Cairns> S@ith argues, 6ut he then 7roceeds to deduce an ingeniousHif s7eculative and controversialHaccount of ho; that ;or8 @ight have 6een done. *hether or not Cairns>S@ith-s theory is eventually confir@ed, it is ;ell ;orth sharing si@7ly 6ecause it so 7erfectly instantiates the funda@ental Dar;inian strategy. ' A good Dar;inian, faced yet again ;ith the 7ro6le@ of finding a needle in a haystac8 of Design S7ace, ;ould cast a6out for a still simpler for@ of

1. *arning? 6iologists already use the ter@ macroe%olution7 in contrast to @icroevolu> tion, to refer to large>scale evolutionary 7heno@enaHthe 7atterns of s7eciation and eAtinction, for instance, in contrast to the refine@ent of ;ings or changes in resistance to toAins ;ithin a s7ecies. *hat + a@ calling the evolution of @acros has nothing @uch to do ;ith @acroevolution in that esta6lished sense. The ter@ macro is so a7t for @y 7ur7oses, ho;ever, that + have decided to stic8 ;ith it, and try to offset its shortco@ings ;ith this 7atchHa tactic Mother ,ature also often uses. '. 3or Dust this reason, )ichard Da;8ins also 7resents a discussion and ela6oration of Cairns>S@ith-s ideas in TheBlind !atchma6er (1 %!a, 77. 1&%>9%". Since Cairns>S@ith-s 1 %9 account and Da;8ins- ela6oration are such good reading for noneA7erts, + ;ill refer you to the@ for the delicious details, and 7rovide Dust enough su@@ary here to ;het your a77etite, adding the ;arning that there are 7ro6le@s ;ith Cairns>S@ith-s hy7othe> ses, and 6alancing the ;arning ;ith the reassurance that even if his hy7otheses are all ulti@ately reDectedHan o7en EuestionHthere are other, less readily understanda6le, alternatives to ta8e seriously neAt.


P)+M+,. DA)*+,-S PUMP

Molecular E%olution


re7licator that could so@eho; serve as a te@7orary scaffolding to hold the 7rotein 7arts or nucleotide 6ases in 7lace until the ;hole 7rotein or @acro could get asse@6led. *ondrous to say, there is a candidate ;ith Dust the right 7ro7erties, and @ore ;ondrous still, it is Dust ;hat the 4i6le ordered? clayL Cairns>S@ith sho;s that in addition to the car6on>6ased self>re7licating crystals of D,A and ),A, there are also @uch si@7ler (he calls the@ Ilo;> techI" silicon>6ased self>re7licating crystals, and these silicates, as they are called, could the@selves 6e the 7roduct of an evolutionary 7rocess. They for@ the ultra>fine 7articles of clay, of the sort that 6uilds u7 Dust outside the strong currents and tur6ulent eddies in strea@s, and the individual crystals differ su6tly at the level of @olecular structure in ;ays that they 7ass on ;hen they IseedI the 7rocesses of crystalliJation that achieve their self> re7lication. Cairns>S@ith develo7s intricate argu@ents to sho; ho; frag@ents of 7rotein and ),A, ;hich ;ould 6e naturally attracted to the surfaces of these crystals li8e so @any fleas, could eventually co@e to 6e used 6y the silicate crystals as ItoolsI in furthering their o;n re7lication 7rocesses. According to this hy7othesis (;hich, li8e all really fertile ideas, has @any neigh6oring variations, any one of ;hich @ight 7rove to 6e the eventual ;inner", the 6uilding 6loc8s of life 6egan their careers as Euasi>7arasites of sorts, clinging to re7licating clay 7articles and gro;ing in co@7leAity in the furtherance of the IneedsI of the clay 7articles until they reached a 7oint ;here they could fend for the@selves. ,o s8yhoo8HDust a ladder that could 6e thro;n a;ay, as *ittgenstein once said in another conteAt, once it had 6een cli@6ed. 4ut this cannot 6e close to the ;hole story, even if it is all true. Su77ose that short self>re7licating strings of ),A got created 6y this lo;>tech 7ro> cess. Cairns>S@ith calls these entirely self>involved re7licators Ina8ed genes,I 6ecause they aren-t for anything eAce7t their o;n re7lication, ;hich they do ;ithout outside hel7. *e are still left ;ith a @aDor 7ro6le@? Ho; did these na8ed genes ever co@e to 6e clothedG Ho; did these soli7sistic self> re7roducers ever co@e to specif" 7articular 7roteins, the tiny enJy@e> @achines that 6uild the huge 6odies that carry today-s genes fro@ generation to generationG 4ut the 7ro6le@ is ;orse than that, for these 7roteins don-t Dust 6uild 6odies# they are needed to assist in the very 7rocess of self>re7lication once a string of ),A or D,A gets long. Although short strings of ),A can re7licate the@selves ;ithout enJy@e assistants, longer strings need a retinue of hel7ers, and s7ecifying them reEuires a very long seEuenceHlonger than could 6e re7licated ;ith high>enough fidelity until those very enJy@es ;ere already 7resent. *e see@ to face 7aradoA once again, in a vicious circle succinctly descri6ed 6y Mohn Maynard S@ith? I0ne cannot have accurate re7lication ;ithout a length of ),A of, say, '=== 6ase 7airs, and one cannot have that @uch ),A ;ithout accurate re7licationI (Maynard S@ith 1 $ , 7. &&9".

0ne of the leading researchers on this 7eriod of evolutionary history is Manfred /igen. +n his elegant little 6oo8, Steps Towards 'ife (1 '"Ha good 7lace to continue your eA7loration of these ideasHhe sho;s ho; the @acros gradually 6uilt u7 ;hat he calls the I@olecular tool>8itI that living cells use to re>create the@selves, ;hile also 6uilding around the@selves the sorts of structures that 6eca@e, in due course, the 7rotective @e@6ranes of the first 7ro8aryotic cells. This long 7eriod of 7recellular evolution has left no fossil traces, 6ut it has left 7lenty of clues of its history in the IteAtsI that have 6een trans@itted to us through its descendants, including, of course, the viruses that s;ar@ around us today. 4y studying the actual surviving teAts, the s7ecific seEuences of A, C, ., and T in the D,A of higher organis@s and the A, C, ., and U of their ),A counter7arts, researchers can deduce a great deal a6out the actual identity of the earliest self>re7licating teAts, using refined versions of the sa@e techniEues the 7hilologists used to reconstruct the ;ords that Plato actually ;rote. So@e seEuences in our o;n D,A are truly ancient, even tracea6le (via translation 6ac8 into the earlier ),A language" to seEuences that ;ere co@7osed in the earliest days of @acro evolutionL 2et-s go 6ac8 to the ti@e ;hen the nucleotide 6ases (A, C, ., T, and U" ;ere occasionally 7resent here and there in varying a@ounts, 7ossi6ly con> gregated around so@e of Cairns>S@ith-s clay crystals. The t;enty different a@ino acids, the 6uilding 6loc8s for all 7roteins, also occur ;ith so@e freEuency under a ;ide range of non6iotic conditions, so ;e can hel7 ourselves to the@ as ;ell. Moreover, it has 6een sho;n 6y Sidney 3oA (3oA and Dose 1 $'" that individual a@ino acids can condense into I7rotein>oids,I 7rotein>li8e su6stances that have a very @odest catalytic a6ility ( /igen 1 ', 7. ('". This is a s@all 6ut i@7ortant ste7 u7, since catalytic a6ilityH the ca7acity to facilitate a che@ical reactionHis the funda@ental talent of any 7rotein. ,o; su77ose so@e of the 6ases co@e to 7air u7, C ;ith ., and A ;ith U, and @a8e s@allish co@7le@entary seEuences of ),AHless than a hundred 7airs longHthat can re7licate, crudely, ;ithout enJy@atic hel7ers. +n ter@s of the 2i6rary of 4a6el, ;e ;ould no; have a 7rinting 7ress and a 6oo8> 6indery, 6ut the 6oo8s ;ould 6e too short to 6e good for anything eAce7t @a8ing @ore of the@selves, ;ith lots of @is7rints. And they ;ould not 6e about anything. *e @ay see@ to 6e right 6ac8 ;here ;e startedHor even ;orse. *hen ;e 6otto@ out at the level of @olecular 6uilding 6loc8s, ;e face a design 7ro6le@ that is @ore li8e construction out of Tin8er Toy than gradual scul7ting in @odeling clay. Under the rigid rules of 7hysics, either the ato@s Du@7 together into sta6le 7atterns or they don-t. 3ortunately for usHindeed, fortunately for all living thingsHscattered in the 1ast s7ace of 7ossi6le 7roteins there ha77en to 6e 7rotein constructions thatHif foundH7er@it life to go for;ard. Ho; @ight they get foundG So@e> ho; ;e have to get those 7roteins together ;ith the 7rotein>hunters, the


P)+M+,. DA)*+,-S PUMP

Molecular E%olution


frag@ents of self>re7licating nucleotide strings that ;ill e%entuall" co@e to Is7ecifyI the@ in the @acros they co@7ose. /igen sho;s ho; the vicious circle can turn friendly if it is eA7anded into a Ihy7ercycleI ;ith @ore than t;o ele@ents (/igen and Schuster 1 $$". This is a difficult technical conce7t, 6ut the underlying idea is clear enough? i@agine a circu@stance in ;hich frag@ents of ty7e A can enhance the 7ros7ects of hun8s of 4, ;hich in turn 7ro@ote the ;ell>6eing of 6its of C, ;hich, co@7leting the loo7, 7er@it the re7lication of @ore frag@ents of A, and so forth, in a @utually reinforcing co@@unity of ele@ents, until the 7oint is reached ;here the ;hole 7rocess can ta8e off, creating environ@ents that nor@ally serve to re7licate longer and longer strings of genetic @aterial. (Maynard S@ith 1 $ is a great hel7 in understanding the idea of a hy7ercycle# see also /igen 1 %(." 4ut even if this is 7ossi6le in 7rinci7le, ho; could it get startedG +f all 7ossi6le 7roteins and all 7ossi6le nucleotide IteAtsI ;ere truly eEui7ro6a>6le, then it ;ould 6e hard to see ho; the 7rocess could ever get going. So@eho;, the 6land, @iAed>u7 confetti of ingredients has to get so@e structure i@7osed on it, concentrating a fe; Ili8ely>to>succeedI candidates and there6y @a8ing the@ still more li8ely to succeed. )e@e@6er the coin>tossing tourna@ent in cha7ter 'G So@e6ody has to ;in, 6ut the ;inner ;ins in virtue of no virtue, 6ut si@7ly in virtue of historical accident. The ;inner is not 6igger or stronger or 6etter than the other contestants, 6ut is still the ;inner. +t no; see@s that so@ething si@ilar ha77ens in 7re6iotic @olecular evolution, ;ith a Dar;inian t;ist? ;inners get to @a8e eAtra co7ies of the@selves for the neAt round, so that, ;ithout any selection Ifor causeI (as they say ;hen dis@issing 7otential Durors", dynasties of sheer re7licative 7ro;ess 6egin to e@erge. +f ;e start ;ith a 7urely rando@ assort@ent of IcontestantsI dra;n fro@ the 7ool of self>re7licating frag@ents, even if they are not initially distinguisha6le in ter@s of their re7licative 7ro;ess, those that happen to ;in in the early rounds ;ill occu7y @ore of the slots in the su6seEuent rounds, flooding the s7ace ;ith trails of highly si@ilar (short" teAts, 6ut still leaving vast hy7ervolu@es of the s7ace utterly e@7ty and inaccessi6le for good. The initial threads of 7roto>life can e@erge 6efore there is any difference in s8ill, 6eco@ing the actuality fro@ ;hich the Tree of 2ife can then gro;, than8s to tourna@ents of s8ill. As /igen-s colleague 4ernd>0laf 5[77ers (1 =, 7. 19=" 7uts it, IThe theory 7redicts that 6iological structures eAist, 6ut not what 6iological structures eAist.I( This is

enough to 6uild 7lenty of 6ias into the 7ro6a6ility s7ace fro@ the outset. So so@e of the 7ossi6le @acros, inevita6ly, are @ore 7ro6a6leH@ore li8ely to 6e stu@6led u7on in the 1ast s7ace of 7ossi6ilitiesHthan others. *hich onesG The IfitterI onesG ,ot in any nontrivial sense, 6ut Dust in the tautological sense of 6eing identical to (or nearly identical to" 7revious I;inners,I ;ho in turn tended to 6e al@ost identical to still earlier I;inners.I (+n the @illion>di@ension 2i6rary of Mendel, seEuences that differ at a single locus are shelved IneAt toI each other in so@e di@ension# the distance of any one volu@e fro@ another is technically 8no;n as the Ha@@ing distance. This 7rocess s7reads I;innersI out graduallyHta8ing lea7s of s@all Ha@@ing distancesHfro@ any initial starting 7oint in any and all directions in the 2i6rary." This is the @ost rudi@entary 7ossi6le case of Ithe rich get richer,I and since the success of the string has an eA7lanation ;ith no reference 6eyond the string itself and its rese@6lance as a string to its 7arent string, this is a 7urely s"ntactic definition of fitness, as o77osed to a semantic definition of fitness (5ii77ers 1 =, 7. 1&1". That is, you don-t have to consider ;hat the string means in order to deter@ine its fitness. *e sa; in cha7ter ! that @ere ty7ogra7hical change could never eA7lain the Design that needs eA7laining, any @ore than you could eA7lain the difference in Euality 6et;een t;o 6oo8s 6y co@7aring their relative freEuencies of al7ha6etic characters, 6ut 6efore ;e can have the @eaningful self>re7licating codes that @a8e this 7ossi6le, ;e have to have self>re7licating codes that don-t @ean a thing# their only IfunctionI is to re7licate the@selves. As /igen (1 ', 7. 19" 7uts it, IThe structural sta6ility of the @olecule has no 6earing u7on the se@antic infor@ation ;hich it carries, and ;hich is not eA7ressed until the 7roduct of translation a77ears.I This is the 6irth of the ulti@ate F*/)T< 7heno@enon, 6ut, li8e the cultural case that gives it its na@e, it ;as not entirel" ;ithout 7oint even fro@ the outset. Perfect eEui7ro6a6ility could have dissolved into a @o> no7oly 6y a 7urely rando@ 7rocess, as ;e have Dust seen, 6ut 7erfect eEui7ro6a6ility is hard to co@e 6y in nature at any 7oint, and at the very 6eginnings of this 7rocess of text generation, a 6ias ;as 7resent. 0f the four 6asesHA, C, ., and TH. and C are the @ost structurally sta6le? ICalcula> tion of the necessary 6inding energies, along ;ith eA7eri@ents on 6inding

(. 5ii77ers (1 =, 77. 1($>&!" 6orro;s an eAa@7le fro@ /igen (1 $!" to illustrate the underlying idea? a ga@e of Inon>Dar;inian selectionI you can 7lay on a chec8er6oard ;ith differently colored @ar6les. Start 6y rando@ly 7lacing the @ar6les on all the sEuares, creating the initial confetti effect. ,o; thro; t;o (eight>sidedL" dice to deter@ine a sEuare (colu@n 9, ro; $, for instance" on ;hich to act. )e@ove the @ar6le on that

sEuare. Thro; the dice again# go to the sEuare they na@e and chec8 the color of the @ar6le on this sEuare and 7ut a @ar6le of that color on the Dust>vacated sEuare ( Ire7ro > ductionI of that @ar6le". )e7eat the 7rocess, over and over. /ventually, it has the effect of unrando@iJing the initial distri6ution of colors, so that one color ends u7 I;inningI 6ut for no reason at allHDust historical luc8. He calls this Inon>Dar;inian selectionI 6ecause it is selection in the a6sence of a 6iasing cause# selection without adaptation ;ould 6e the @ore fa@iliar ter@. +t is non>Dar;inian only in the sense that Dar;in didn-t see the i@7ortance of allo;ing for it, not in the sense that Dar;in ( or Dar;inis@ " cannot acco@@odate it. Manifestly it can.


P)+M+,. DA)*+,-S PUMP

The 'aws of the Dame of 'ife


and synthesis, sho; that seEuences rich in . and C are 6est at self>re7lication 6y te@7late instruction ;ithout the hel7 of enJy@esI (/igen 1 ', 7. (&". This is, you @ight say, a natural or 7hysical spellin- 6ias. +n /nglish, IeI and ItI a77ear @ore freEuently than, say, IuI or ID,I 6ut not 6ecause IeIs and ItIs are harder to erase, or easier to 7hotoco7y, or to ;rite. (+n fact, of course, the eA7lanation runs the other ;ay around# ;e tend to use the easiest>to>read> and>;rite sy@6ols for the @ost freEuently used letters# in Morse code, for eAa@7le, IeI is assigned a single dot and ItI a single dash." +n ),A and D,A, this eA7lanation is reversed? . and C are favored 6ecause they are the @ost sta6le in re7lication, not 6ecause they occur @ost freEuently in genetic I;ords.I This s7elling 6ias is Dust IsyntacticI at the outset, 6ut it unites ;ith a semantic 6ias? /Aa@ination of the genetic code P6y the I7hilological @ethodsIQ... indi> cates that its first codons ;ere rich in . and C. The seEuences ..C and .CC code res7ectively for the a@ino acids glycine and alanine, and 6e> cause of their che@ical si@7licity these ;ere for@ed in greater a6undance ... Pin the 7re6iotic ;orldQ. The assertion that the first code>;ords ;ere assi-ned Pe@7hasis addedQ to the @ost co@@on a@ino acids is nothing if not 7lausi6le, and it underlines the fact that the logic of the coding sche@e results fro@ 7hysical and che@ical la;s and their out;or8ings in ,ature. P/igen 1 ', 7. (&Q These Iout;or8ingsI are al-orithmic sortin- processes7 ;hich ta8e the 7ro6a6ilities or 6iases that are due to funda@ental la;s of 7hysics and 7roduce structures that ;ould other;ise 6e ;ildly i@7ro6a6le. As /igen says, the resulting sche@e has a logic# it is not Dust t;o things co@ing together 6ut an Iassign@ent,I a syste@ that co@es to @a8e sense, and @a8es sense 6ecauseHand only 6ecauseHit wor6s. These very first Ise@anticI lin8s are of course so utterly si@7le and local that they hardly count as se@antic at all, 6ut ;e can see a gli@@er of reference in the@ nevertheless? there is a fortuitous ;edding of a 6it of nucleotide string ;ith a 7rotein frag@ent that hel7ed directly or indirectly to re7roduce it. The loo7 is closed# and once this Ise@anticI assign@ent syste@ is in 7lace, everything s7eeds u7. ,o; a frag@ent of code>string can 6e the code for so@ethingHa 7rotein. This creates a ne; di@ension of evaluation, 6ecause so@e 7roteins are 6etter than others at doing catalytic ;or8, and 7articularly at assisting in the re7lication 7rocess. This raises the sta8es. *hereas at the outset, @acro strings could differ only in their self>contained ca7acity to self>re7licate, no; they can @agnify their differences 6y creatingHand lin8ing their fates toHother, larger, struc> tures. 0nce this feed6ac8 loo7 is created, an ar@s race ensues? longer and longer @acros co@7ete for the availa6le 6uilding 6loc8s to 6uild ever 6ig>

ger, faster, @ore effectiveH6ut also @ore eA7ensiveHself>re7licating sys> te@s. 0ur 7ointless coin>tossing tourna@ent of luc8 has transfor@ed itself into a tourna@ent of s8ill. +t has a 7oint, for there is no; so@ething for the succession of ;inners to 6e 6etter at than Dust, trivially, ;inning the coin> toss. And does the ne; tourna@ent ever ;or8L There are tre@endous Is8illI differences 6et;een 7roteins, so there is 7lenty of roo@ for i@7rove@ent 6eyond the @inuscule catalytic talents of the 7roteinoids. I+n @any cases, enJy@ic catalysis accelerates a reaction 6y a factor 6et;een one @illion and one thousand @illion. *herever such a @echanis@ has 6een analysed Euan> titatively, the result has 6een the sa@e? enJy@es are o7ti@al catalystsI (/igen 1 ', 7. ''". Catalytic ;or8 done creates ne; Do6s to 6e done, so the feed6ac8 cycles s7read out to enco@7ass @ore ela6orate o77ortunities for i@7rove@ent. I*hatever tas8 a cell is ada7ted to, it carries out ;ith o7ti@al efficiency. The 6lue>green alga, a very early 7roduct of evolution, transfor@s light into che@ical energy ;ith an efficiency a77roaching 7erfectionI (/igen 1 ', 7. 1!". Such o7ti@ality cannot 6e ha77enstance# it @ust 6e the result of a gradual ho@ing>in 7rocess of i@7rove@ent. So, fro@ a set of tiny 6iases in the initial 7ro6a6ilities and co@7etences of the 6uilding 6loc8s, a 7rocess of sno;6alling self>i@7rove@ent is initiated.

(. TH/ 2A*S 03 TH/ .AM/ 03 2+3/

This most beautiful s"stem of the sun7 planets7 and comets7 could onl" proceed from the counsel and dominion of an Intelli-ent and owerful Bein-.
H+SAAC ,/*T0, 1$'! (7assage translated in /llegard 1 9!, 7. 1$!"

The more I examine die uni%erse and stud" the details of its architec; ture7 die more e%idence I find diat die uni%erse in some sense must ha%e 6nown diat we were comin-.
H3)//MA, D<S0, 1 $ , 7. '9=

It is eas" to ima-ine a world that7 thou-h ordered7 ne%ertheless does not possess the ri-ht sort of forces or conditions for the emer-ence of si-nificant depth.
HPA2+ DA1+/S 1 '

3ortunately for us, the la;s of 7hysics vouchsafe that there are, in the 1ast s7ace of 7ossi6le 7roteins, @acro@olecules of such 6reathta8ing catalytic


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virtuosity that they can serve as the active 6uilding 6loc8s of co@7leA life. And, Dust as fortunately, the sa@e la;s of 7hysics 7rovide for Dust enough noneEuili6riu@ in the ;orld so that algorith@ic 7rocesses can Du@7>start the@selves, eventually discovering those @acro@olecules and turning the@ into tools for another ;ave of eA7loration and discovery. Than8 .od for those la;sL *ellG Shouldn-t ;eG +f the la;s ;ere any different, ;e have Dust seen, the Tree of 2ife @ight never have s7rung u7. *e @ay have figured out a ;ay of eAcusing .od fro@ the tas8 of designing the re7lication>@achinery syste@ (;hich can design itself auto@atically if any of the theories discussed in the 7revious section are right, or on the right trac8" 6ut even if ;e concede that this is so, ;e still have the stu7endous fact that the la;s do 7er@it this ;onderful unfolding to ha77en, and that has 6een Euite enough to ins7ire @any 7eo7le to sur@ise that the +ntelligence of the Creator is the *isdo@ of the 2a;giver, instead of the +ngenuity of the /ngineer. *hen Dar;in entertains the idea that the la;s of nature are designed 6y .od, he has distinguished co@7any, 7ast and 7resent. ,e;ton insisted that the original arrange@ent of the universe ;as ineA7lica6le 6y I@eer natural causesI and could only 6e ascri6ed to Ithe Counsel and Contrivance of a 1oluntary Agent.I /instein s7o8e of the la;s of nature as the Isecrets of the 0ld 0neI and fa@ously eA7ressed his dis6elief in the role of chance in Euantu@ @echanics 6y 7roclai@ing BDott wiirfelt nichtBH.od does not 7lay dice. More recently, the astrono@er 3red Hoyle has said, I+ do not 6elieve that any scientist ;ho eAa@ined the evidence ;ould fail to dra; the inference that the la;s of nuclear 7hysics have 6een deli6erately designed ;ith regard to the conseEuences they 7roduce inside the starsI (Euoted in 4arro; and Ti7ler 1 %%, 7. ''". The 7hysicist and cos@ologist 3ree@an Dyson 7uts the 7oint @uch @ore cautiously? I+ do not clai@ that the archi> tecture of the universe 7roves the eAistence of .od. + clai@ only that the architecture of the universe is consistent ;ith the hy7othesis that @ind 7lays an essential role in its functioningI (Dyson 1 $ , 7. '91". Dar;in hi@self ;as 7re7ared to 7ro7ose an honora6le truce at this 7oint, 6ut Dar;inian thin8ing carries on, ;ith a @o@entu@ created 6y the success of its earlier a77lications to the sa@e issue in other conteAts. As @ore and @ore has 6een learned a6out the develo7@ent of the universe since the 4ig 4ang, a6out the conditions that 7er@itted the for@ation of galaAies and stars and the heavy ele@ents fro@ ;hich 7lanets can 6e for@ed, 7hysicists and cos@ologists have 6een @ore and @ore struc8 6y the eAEuisite sensitivity of the la;s of nature. The s7eed of light is a77roAi@ately 1%!,=== @iles 7er second. *hat if it ;ere only 1%9,=== @iles 7er second, or 1%$,=== @iles 7er secondG *ould that change @uch of anythingG *hat if the force of gravity ;ere 1 7ercent @ore or less than it isG The funda@ental constants of 7hysicsHthe s7eed of light, the constant of grav>

itational attraction, the ;ea8 and strong forces of su6ato@ic interaction, Planc8-s constantHhave values that of course 7er@it the actual develo7@ent of the universe as ;e 8no; it to have ha77ened. 4ut it turns out that if in i@agination ;e change any of these values 6y Dust the tiniest a@ount, ;e there6y 7osit a universe in ;hich none of this could have ha77ened, and indeed in ;hich a77arently nothing life>li8e could ever have e@erged? no 7lanets, no at@os7heres, no solids at all, no ele@ents eAce7t hydrogen and heliu@, or @ay6e not even thatHDust so@e 6oring 7las@a of hot, undiffer> entiated stuff, or an eEually 6oring nothingness. So isn-t it a ;onderful fact that the la;s are <ust ri-ht for us to eAistG +ndeed, one @ight ;ant to add, ;e al@ost didn-t @a8e itL +s this ;onderful fact so@ething that needs an eA7lanation, and, if so, ;hat 8ind of eA7lanation @ight it receiveG According to the Anthro7ic Princi7le, ;e are entitled to infer facts a6out the universe and its la;s fro@ the undis7uted fact that ;e (;e anthropoi7 ;e hu@an 6eings" are here to do the inferring and o6serving. The Anthro7ic Princi7le co@es in several flavors. (A@ong the useful recent 6oo8s is 4arro; and Ti7ler 1 %% and 4reuer 1 1. See also Pagels 1 %9, .ardner 1 %!." +n the I;ea8 for@,I it is a sound, har@less, and on occasion useful a7> 7lication of ele@entary logic? if x is a necessary condition for the eAistence of "7 and " eAists, then x eAists. +f consciousness de7ends on co@7leA 7hysical structures, and co@7leA structures de7end on large @olecules co@7osed of ele@ents heavier than hydrogen and heliu@, then, since ;e are conscious, the ;orld @ust contain such ele@ents. 4ut notice that there is a loose cannon on the dec8 in the 7revious sentence? the ;andering I@ust.I + have follo;ed the co@@on 7ractice in ordinary /nglish of couching a clai@ of necessity in a technically incorrect ;ay. As any student in logic class soon learns, ;hat + really should have ;ritten is? It must be the case that8 if consciousness de7ends ... then, since ;e are conscious, the ;orld contains such ele@ents. The conclusion that can 6e validly dra;n is only that the ;orld does contain such ele@ents, not that it had to contain such ele@ents. +t has to contain such ele@ents for us to exist7 ;e @ay grant, 6ut it @ight not have contained such ele@ents, and if that had 6een the case, ;e ;ouldn-t 6e here to 6e dis@ayed. +t-s as si@7le as that. So@e atte@7ts to define and defend a Istrong for@I of the Anthro7ic Princi7le strive to Dustify the late location of the I@ustI as not casual eA> 7ression 6ut a conclusion a6out the ;ay the universe necessarily is. + ad@it that + find it hard to 6elieve that so @uch confusion and controversy are actually generated 6y a si@7le @ista8e of logic, 6ut the evidence is really


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Euite strong that this is often the case, and not Dust in discussions of the Anthro7ic Princi7le. Consider the related confusions that surround Dar;inian deduction in general. Dar;in deduces that hu@an 6eings must ha%e evolved fro@ a co@@on ancestor of the chi@7anJee, or that all life must ha%e arisen fro@ a single 6eginning, and so@e 7eo7le, unaccounta6ly, ta8e these deductions as clai@s that hu@an 6eings are so@eho; a necessary 7roduct of evolution, or that life is a necessary feature of our 7lanet, 6ut nothing of the 8ind follo;s fro@ Dar;in-s deductions 7ro7erly construed. *hat @ust 6e the case is not that ;e are here, 6ut that since ;e are here, ;e evolved fro@ 7ri@ates. Su77ose Mohn is a 6achelor. Then he must 6e single, rightG (That-s a truth of logic." Poor MohnHhe can never get @arriedL The fallacy is o6vious in this eAa@7le, and it is ;orth 8ee7ing it in the 6ac8 of your @ind as a te@7late to co@7are other argu@ents ;ith. 4elievers in any of the 7ro7osed strong versions of the Anthro7ic Prin> ci7le thin8 they can deduce so@ething ;onderful and sur7rising fro@ the fact that ;e conscious o6servers are hereHfor instance, that in so@e sense the universe eAists for us, or 7erha7s that ;e eAist so that the universe as a ;hole can eAist, or even that .od created the universe the ;ay He did so that ;e ;ould 6e 7ossi6le. Construed in this ;ay, these 7ro7osals are atte@7ts to restore Paley-s Argu@ent fro@ Design, readdressing it to the Design of the universe-s @ost general la;s of 7hysics, not the 7articular constructions those la;s @a8e 7ossi6le. Here, once again, Dar;inian coun>ter@oves are availa6le. These are dee7 ;aters, and @ost of the discussions of the issues ;allo; in technicalities, 6ut the logical force of these Dar;inian res7onses can 6e 6rought out vividly 6y considering a @uch si@7ler case. 3irst, + @ust in> troduce you to the .a@e of 2ife, a nifty @e@e ;hose 7rinci7al author is the @athe@atician Mohn Horton Con;ay. (+ ;ill 6e 7utting this valua6le thin8ing tool to several @ore uses, as ;e go along. This ga@e does an eAcellent Do6 of ta8ing in a co@7licated issue and reflecting 6ac8 only the dead>si@7le essence or s8eleton of the issue, ready to 6e understood and a77reciated." 2ife is 7layed on a t;o>di@ensional grid, such as a chec8er6oard, using si@7le counters, such as 7e66les or 7enniesHor one could go high>tech and 7lay it on a co@7uter screen. +t is not a ga@e one 7lays to ;in# if it is a ga@e at all, it is solitaire.& The grid divides s7ace into sEuare cells, and each cell

3+.U)/ $.' is either 0, or 033 at each @o@ent. (+f it is 0,, 7lace a 7enny on the sEuare# if it is 033, leave the sEuare e@7ty." ,otice in figure $.' that each cell has eight neigh6ors? the four adDacent cellsHnorth, south, east, and ;estHand the four diagonalsHnortheast, southeast, south;est, and north;est. Ti@e in the 2ife ;orld is discrete, not continuous# it advances in tic8s, and the state of the ;orld changes 6et;een each t;o tic8s according to the follo;ing rule? 'ife h"sics8 3or each cell in the grid, count ho; @any of its eight neigh> 6ors are 0, at the 7resent instant. +f the ans;er is eAactly t;o, the cell stays in its 7resent state ( 0, or 033 " in the neAt instant. +f the ans;er is eAactly three, the cell is 0, in the neAt instant ;hatever its current state. Under all other conditions, the cell is 033. That-s itHthat-s the only rule of the ga@e. <ou no; 8no; all there is to 8no; a6out ho; to 7lay 2ife. The entire ph"sics of the 'ife world is cap; tured in that sin-le7 unexceptioned law. Although this is the funda@ental la; of the I7hysicsI of the 2ife ;orld, it hel7s at first to conceive this curious 7hysics in 6iological ter@s? thin8 of cells going 0, as 6irths, cells going 033 as deaths, and succeeding instants as generations. /ither overcro;ding (@ore than three inha6ited neigh6ors" or isolation (fe;er than t;o inha6ited neigh6ors" leads to death. Consider a fe; si@7le cases. +n the configuration in figure $.(, only cells d and N each have eAactly three neigh6ors 0,, so they ;ill 6e the only 6irth cells in the neAt generation. Cells b and h each have only one neigh6or 0,, S0 they die in the neAt generation. Cell e has t;o neigh6ors 0,, S0 it stays on. Thus the neAt IinstantI ;ill 6e the configuration sho;n in figure $.&.

,. This descri7tion of 2ife is ada7ted fro@ an eariier eA7osition of @ine (1 16". Martin .ardner introduced the .a@e of 2ife to a ;ide audience in t;o of his IMathe@atical .a@esI colu@ns in Scientific #merican7 in 0cto6er 1 $= and 3e6ruary 1 $1. Pound> stone 1 %9 is an eAcellent eA7loration of the ga@e and its 7hiloso7hical i@7lications.


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3+.U)/ $.(

06viously, the configuration ;ill revert 6ac8 in the neAt instant, and this little 7attern ;ill fli7>flo7 6ac8 and forth indefinitely, unless so@e ne; 0, cells are 6rought into the 7icture so@eho;. +t is called a flasher or traffic light. *hat ;ill ha77en to the configuration in figure $.9G ,othing. /ach 0, cell has three neigh6ors 0,, S0 it is re6orn Dust as it is. ,o 033 cell has three neigh6ors 0,, S0 no other 6irths ha77en. This config> uration is called a still life. 4y the scru7ulous a77lication of our single la;, one can 7redict ;ith 7erfect accuracy the neAt instant of any configuration of 0, and 033 cells, and the instant after that, and so forth. +n other ;ords, the 2ife ;orld is a toy ;orld that 7erfectly instantiates the deter@inis@ @ade fa@ous 6y 2a7lace? if ;e are given the state descri7tion of this ;orld at an instant, ;e o6servers can 7erfectly 7redict the future instants 6y the si@7le

a77lication of our one la; of 7hysics. 0r, in the ter@s + have develo7ed in earlier ;ritings (1 $1, 1 $%, 1 %$6", ;hen ;e adopt the ph"sical stance to;ards a configuration in the 2ife ;orld, our 7o;ers of 7rediction are 7erfect? there is no noise, no uncertainty, no 7ro6a6ility less than one. Moreover, it follo;s fro@ the t;o>di@ensionality of the 2ife ;orld that nothing is hidden fro@ vie;. There is no 6ac8stage# there are no hidden varia6les# the unfolding of the 7hysics of o6Dects in the 2ife ;orld is directly and co@7letely visi6le. +f you find follo;ing the si@7le rule a tedious eAercise, there are co@7uter si@ulations of the 2ife ;orld in ;hich you can set u7 configurations on the screen and let the co@7uter eAecute the algorith@ for you, changing the configuration again and again according to the single rule. +n the 6est si@ulations, one can change the scale of 6oth ti@e and s7ace, alternating 6et;een close>u7 and 6ird-s>eye vie;. A nice touch added to so@e color versions is that 0, cells (often Dust called pixelsJ are color>coded 6y their

age# they are 6orn 6lue, let us say, and then change color each generation, @oving through green to yello; to orange to red to 6ro;n to 6lac8 and then staying 6lac8 unless they die. This 7er@its one to see at a glance ho; old certain 7atterns are, ;hich cells are co>generational, ;here the 6irth action is, and so forth.9 0ne soon discovers that so@e si@7le configurations are @ore interesting than others. Consider a diagonal line seg@ent, such as the one in figure $.!.

9. Poundstone 1 %9 7rovides si@7le 4AS+C and +4M>PC asse@6ly language si@ulations you can co7y for your o;n ho@e co@7uter, and descri6es so@e of the interesting variations.


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7rey usually cannot. +f the re@ainder of the 7rey dies out as ;ith the glider, the 7rey is consu@ed. PPoundstone 1 %9, 7. (%.Q ,otice that so@ething curious ha77ens to our IontologyIHour catalogue of ;hat eAistsHas ;e @ove 6et;een levels. At the 7hysical level there is no @otion, Dust 0, and 033, and the only individual things that eAist, cells, are defined 6y their fiAed s7atial location. At the design level ;e suddenly have the @otion of 7ersisting o6Dects# it is one and the sa@e glider (though co@7osed each generation of different cells" that has @oved southeast in figure $.!, changing sha7e as it @oves# and there is one less glider in the ;orld after the eater has eaten it in figure $.%.

3+.U)/ $.! +t is not a flasher# each generation, its t;o end 0, cells die of isolation, and there are no 6irth cells. The ;hole seg@ent soon eva7orates. +n addition to the configurations that never changeHthe still lifesHand those that eva7> orate entirelyHsuch as the diagonal line seg@entHthere are configurations ;ith all @anner of 7eriodicity. The flasher, ;e sa;, has a t;o>generation 7eriod that continues ad infinitum7 unless so@e other configuration en> croaches. /ncroach@ent is ;hat @a8es 2ife interesting? a@ong the 7eriodic configurations are so@e that s;i@, a@oe6ali8e, across the 7lane. The si@ > 7lest is the -lider7 the five>7iAel configuration sho;n ta8ing a single stro8e to the southeast in figure $.$.

,otice, too, that, ;hereas at the 7hysical level there are a6solutely no eAce7tions to the general la;, at this level our generaliJations have to 6e hedged? they reEuire IusuallyI or I7rovided nothing encroachesI clauses. Stray 6its of de6ris fro@ earlier events can I6rea8I or I8illI one of the o6Dects in the ontology at this level. Their salience as real thin-s is con>

Then there are the eaters7 puffer trains7 space ra6es7 and a host of other a7tly na@ed deniJens of the 2ife ;orld that e@erge as recogniJa6le o6Dects at a ne; level. (This level is analogous to ;hat in earlier ;or8 + have called the desi-n le%el." This level has its o;n language, a trans7arent foreshortening of the tedious descri7tions one could give at the 7hysical level. 3or instance? An eater can eat a glider in four generations. *hatever is 6eing consu@ed, the 6asic 7rocess is the sa@e. A 6ridge for@s 6et;een the eater and its 7rey. +n the neAt generation, the 6ridge region dies fro@ over7o7ulation, ta8ing a 6ite out of 6oth eater and 7rey. The eater then re7airs itself. The

sidera6le, 6ut not guaranteed. To say that their salience is considera6le is to say that one can, ;ith so@e s@all ris8, ascend to this design level, ado7t its ontology, and 7roceed to 7redictHs8etchily and ris8ilyHthe 6ehavior of larger configurations or syste@s of configurations, ;ithout 6othering to co@7ute the 7hysical level. 3or instance, one can set oneself the tas8 of designing so@e interesting su7ersyste@ out of the I7artsI that the design level @a8es availa6le. This is Dust ;hat Con;ay and his students set out to do, and they suc > ceeded @aDestically. They designed, and 7roved the via6ility of the design of, a self>re7roducing entity co@7osed entirely of 2ife cells that ;as also (for good @easure" a Universal Turing @achineHit ;as a t;o>di@ensional co@7uter that in 7rinci7le can co@7ute any co@7uta6le functionL *hat on /arth ins7ired Con;ay and his students to create first this ;orld and then

this a@aJing deniJen of that ;orldG They ;ere trying to ans;er at a very a6stract level one of the central Euestions ;e have 6een considering in this cha7ter? ;hat is the @ini@al co@7leAity reEuired for a self>re7roducing thingG They ;ere follo;ing u7 the 6rilliant early s7eculations of Mohn von ,eu@ann, ;ho had 6een ;or8ing on the Euestion at the ti@e of his death


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in 1 9$. 3rancis Cric8 and Ma@es *atson had discovered D,A in 1 9(, 6ut ho; it ;or8ed ;as a @ystery for @any years. 1on ,eu@ann had i@agined in so@e detail a sort of floating ro6ot that 7ic8ed u7 7ieces of flotsa@ and Detsa@ that could 6e used to 6uild a du7licate of itself that ;ould then 6e a6le to re7eat the 7rocess. His descri7tion (7osthu@ously 7u6lished, 1 !!" of ho; an auto@aton ;ould read its o;n 6lue7rint and then co7y it into its ne; creation antici7ated in i@7ressive detail @any of the later discoveries a6out the @echanis@s of D,A eA7ression and re7lication, 6ut in order to @a8e his 7roof of die 7ossi6ility of a self>re7roducing auto@aton @athe> @atically rigorous and tracta6le, von ,eu@ann had s;itched to si@7le, t;o> di@ensional a6stractions, no; 8no;n as cellular automata. Con;ay-s 2ife> ;orld cells are a 7articularly agreea6le eAa@7le of cellular auto@ata. Con;ay and his students ;anted to confir@ von ,eu@ann-s 7roof in detail 6y actually constructing a t;o>di@ensional ;orld ;ith a si@7le 7hys > ics in ;hich such a self>re7licating construction ;ould 6e a sta6le, wor6instructure. 2i8e von ,eu@ann, they ;anted their ans;er to 6e as general as 7ossi6le, and hence as inde7endent as 7ossi6le of actual (/arthlyG localG" 7hysics and che@istry. They ;anted so@ething dead si@7le, easy to visu > aliJe and easy to calculate, so they not only dro77ed fro@ three di@ensions to t;o# they also IdigitiJedI 6oth s7ace and ti@eHall ti@es and distances, as ;e sa;, are in ;hole nu@6ers of IinstantsI and Icells.I +t ;as von ,eu@ann ;ho had ta8en Alan Turing-s a6stract conce7tion of a @echanical co@7uter (no; called a ITuring @achineI" and engineered it into the s7ecification for a general>7ur7ose stored>7rogra@ serial>7rocessing co@7uter (no; called a Ivon ,eu@ann @achineI"# in his 6rilliant eA7lorations of the s7atial and structural reEuire@ents for such a co@7uter, he had realiJedHand 7rovedHthat a Universal Turing @achine (a Turing @achine that can co@7ute any co@7uta6le function at all" could in 7rinci7le 6e I6uiltI in a t;o>di@ensional ;orld. ! Con;ay and his students also set out to confir@ this ;ith their o;n eAercise in t;o>di@ensional engineering. $ +t ;as far fro@ easy, 6ut they sho;ed ho; they could I6uildI a ;or8ing co@7uter out of si@7ler 2ife for@s. .lider strea@s can 7rovide the in7ut> out7ut Ita7e,I for instance, and the ta7e>reader can 6e so@e huge asse@6ly of eaters, gliders, and other 6its and 7ieces. *hat does this @achine loo8 li8eG Poundstone calculates that the ;hole construction ;ould 6e on the order of 1=1( cells or 7ads.

Dis7laying a 1=1(>7iAel 7attern ;ould reEuire a video screen a6out ( @illion 7iAels across at least. Assu@e the 7iAels are 1 @illi@eter sEuare (;hich is very high resolution 6y the standards of ho@e co@7uters ". Then the screen ;ould have to 6e ( 8ilo@eters (a6out t;o @iles" across. +t ;ould have an area a6out siA ti@es that of Monaco. Pers7ective ;ould shrin8 the 7iAels of a self>re7roducing 7attern to invisi6ility. +f you got far enough a;ay fro@ the screen so that the entire 7attern ;as co@forta6ly in vie;, the 7iAels (and even the gliders, eaters and guns" ;ould 6e too tiny to @a8e out. A self>re7roducing 7attern ;ould 6e a haJy glo;, li8e a galaAy. PPoundstone 1 %9, 77. ''$>'%.Q +n other ;ords, 6y the ti@e you have 6uilt u7 enough 7ieces into so@e > thing that can re7roduce itself (in a t;o>di@ensional ;orld", it is roughly as @uch larger than its s@allest 6its as an organis@ is larger than its ato@s. <ou 7ro6a6ly can-t do it ;ith anything @uch less co@7licated, though this has not 6een strictly 7roven. The hunch ;ith ;hich ;e 6egan this cha7ter gets dra@atic su77ort? it ta8es a lot of design ;or8 (the ;or8 done 6y Con;ay and his students" to turn availa6le 6its and 7ieces into a self>re7licating thing# self>re7licators don-t Dust fall together in cos@ic coincidences# they are too large and eA7ensive. The .a@e of 2ife illustrates @any i@7ortant 7rinci7les, and can 6e used to construct @any different argu@ents or thought eA7eri@ents, 6ut + ;ill content @yself here ;ith Dust t;o 7oints that are 7articularly relevant to this stage in our argu@ent, 6efore turning to @y @ain 7oint. (3or further reflections on 2ife and its i@7lications, see Dennett 1 16." 3irst, notice ho; the distinction 6et;een 0rder and Design gets 6lurred here, Dust as it did for Hu@e. Con;ay desi-ned the ;hole 2ife ;orldHthat is, he set out to articulate an 0rder that ;ould function in a certain ;ay. 4ut do gliders, for instance, count as designed things, or as Dust natural o6DectsH li8e ato@s or @oleculesG Surely the ta7e>reader Con;ay and his students co6> 6led together out of gliders and the li8e is a designed o6Dect, 6ut the si@7lest glider ;ould see@ Dust to fall out of the 6asic 7hysics of the 2ife ;orld Iau > to@aticallyIHno6ody had to design or invent the glider# it Dust ;as disco%; ered to 6e i@7lied 6y the 7hysics of the 2ife ;orld. 4ut that, of course, is actually true of e%er"thin- in the 2ife ;orld. ,othing ha77ens in the 2ife ;orld that isn-t strictly i@7liedHlogically deduci6le 6y straightfor;ard theore@>7rovingH6y the 7hysics and the initial configuration of cells. So@e of the things in the 2ife ;orld are Dust @ore @arvelous and unantici7ated ( 6y us, ;ith our 7uny intellects" than others. There is a sense in ;hich the Con> ;ay self>re7roducing 7iAel>galaAy is IDustI one @ore 2ife @acro@olecule ;ith a very long and co@7licated 7eriodicity in its 6ehavior. *hat if ;e set in @otion a huge herd of these self>re7roducers, and let the@ co@7ete for resources. And su77ose they then evolvedHthat is, their descendants ;ere not eAact du7licates of the@. *ould these descendants

!.See Dennett 1 %$6, ch. , for @ore on the theoretical i@7lications of this trade>off in s7ace and ti@e. $.3or a co@7letely different 7ers7ective on t;o>di@ensional 7hysics and engineering, see A. 5. De;dney-s The lant%erse (1 %& ", a vast i@7rove@ent over A66ott-s 5latland (1%%&".


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have a greater clai@ to having 6een designedG Perha7s, 6ut there is no line to 6e dra;n 6et;een @erely ordered things and designed things. The engineer starts ;ith so@e ob<ets trou%es7 found o6Dects ;ith 7ro7erties that can 6e harnessed in larger constructions, 6ut the differences 6et;een a designed and @anufactured nail, a sa;n 7lan8, and a naturally occurring sla6 of slate are not I7rinci7led.I Seagull ;ings are great lifters, he@oglo6in @acro@olecules are su7er6 trans7orting @achines, glucose @olecules are nifty energy> 7ac8ets, and car6on ato@s are outstanding all>7ur7ose stic8u@>6inders. The second 7oint is that 2ife is an eAcellent illustration of the 7o;erH and an attendant ;ea8nessHof co@7uter si@ulations addressed to scientific Euestions. +t used to 6e that the only ;ay to 7ersuade oneself of very a6stract generaliJations ;as to 7rove the@ rigorously fro@ the funda@ental 7rinci7les or aAio@s of ;hatever theory one had? @athe@atics, 7hysics, che@istry, econo@ics. /arlier in this century, it ;as 6eginning to 6eco@e clear that @any of the theoretical calculations one ;ould li8e to @a8e in these sciences ;ere si@7ly 6eyond hu@an ca7acityHIintracta6le.I Then the co@7uter ca@e along to 7rovide a ne; ;ay of addressing such Euestions? @assive si@ulations. Si@ulation of the ;eather is the eAa@7le fa@iliar to all of us fro@ ;atching television @eteorologists, 6ut co@7uter si@ulation is also revolutioniJing ho; science is conducted in @any other fields, 7ro6a6ly the @ost i@7ortant epistemolo-ical advance in scientific @ethod since the invention of accurate ti@e8ee7ing devices. +n evolutionary theory, the ne; disci7line of Artificial 2ife has recently s7rung u7 to 7rovide a na@e and an u@6rella to cover a verita6le .old )ush of researchers at different levels, fro@ the su6@olecular to the ecological. /ven a@ong those researchers ;ho have not ta8en u7 the 6anner of Artificial 2ife, ho;ever, there is general ac8no;ledg@ent that @ost of their theoretical research on evolutionH@ost of the recent ;or8 discussed in this 6oo8, for instanceH;ould have 6een si@7ly unthin8a6le ;ithout co@7uter si@ulations to test (to confir@ or disconfir@" the intuitions of the theoreticians. +ndeed, as ;e have seen, the very idea of evolution as an algorith@ic 7rocess could not 6e 7ro7erly for@ulated and evaluated until it ;as 7ossi6le to test huge, co@7licated algorith@ic @odels in 7lace of the ;ildly oversi@7le @odels of earlier theorists. ,o;, so@e scientific 7ro6le@s are not a@ena6le to solution>6y> si@ulation, and others are 7ro6a6ly only a@ena6le to solution>6y>si@ulation, 6ut in 6et;een there are 7ro6le@s that can in 7rinci7le 6e addressed in t;o different ;ays, re@iniscent of the t;o different ;ays of solving the train 7ro6le@ given to von ,eu@annHa Idee7I ;ay via theory, and a Ishallo;I ;ay via 6rute>force si@ulation and ins7ection. +t ;ould 6e a sha@e if the @any undenia6le attractions of si@ulated ;orlds dro;ned out our as7irations to understand these 7heno@ena in the dee7 ;ays of

theory. + s7o8e ;ith Con;ay once a6out the creation of the .a@e of 2ife, and he la@ented the fact that eA7lorations of the 2ife ;orld ;ere no; al@ost eAclusively 6y Ie@7iricalI @ethodsHsetting u7 all the variations of interest on a co@7uter and letting her ri7 to see ;hat ha77ens. ,ot only did this usually shield one fro@ even the o77ortunity of devising a strict 7roof of ;hat one found, 6ut, he noted, 7eo7le using co@7uter si@ulations are ty7ically insufficiently 7atient# they try out co@6inations and ;atch the@ for fifteen or t;enty @inutes, and if nothing of interest has ha77ened, they a6andon the@, @ar8ing the@ as avenues already eA7lored and found 6arren. This @yo7ic style of eA7loration ris8s closing off i@7ortant avenues of research 7re@aturely. +t is an occu7ational haJard of all co@7uter si@ulators, and it is si@7ly their high>tech version of the 7hiloso7her-s funda@ental foi6le? @ista8ing a failure of i@agination for an insight into necessity. A 7rosthetically enhanced i@agination is still lia6le to failure, es7ecially if it is not used ;ith sufficient rigor. 4ut no; it is ti@e for the @y @ain 7oint. *hen Con;ay and his students first set out to create a t;o>di@ensional ;orld in ;hich interesting things ;ould ha77en, they found that nothing see@ed to ;or8. +t too8 @ore than a year for this industrious and ingenious grou7 of intelligent searchers to find the si@7le 2ife Physics rule in the 1ast s7ace of 7ossi6le si@7le rules. All the o6vious variations turned out to 6e ho7eless. To get so@e sense of this, try altering the IconstantsI for 6irth and deathHchange the 6irth rule fro@ three to four, for instanceHand see ;hat ha77ens. The ;orlds these variations govern either freeJe u7 solid in no ti@e or eva7orate into noth> ingness in no ti@e. Con;ay and his students ;anted a ;orld in ;hich gro;th ;as 7ossi6le, 6ut not too eA7losive# in ;hich IthingsIHhigher>order 7atterns of cellsHcould @ove, and change, 6ut also retain their identity over ti@e. And of course it had to 6e a ;orld in ;hich structures could Ido thingsI of interest (li8e eat or @a8e trac8s or re7el things". 0f all the i@agina6le t;o> di@ensional ;orlds, so far as Con;ay 8no;s, there is only one that @eets these desiderata8 the 2ife ;orld. +n any event, the variations that have 6een chec8ed in su6seEuent years have never co@e close to @easuring u7 to Con;ay-s in ter@s of interest, si@7licity, fecundity, elegance. The 2ife ;orld @ight indeed 6e the 6est of all 7ossi6le (t;o>di@ensional " ;orlds. ,o; su77ose that so@e self>re7roducing Universal Turing @achines in the 2ife ;orld ;ere to have a conversation ;ith each other a6out the ;orld as they found it, ;ith its ;onderfully si@7le 7hysicsHeA7ressi6le in a single sentence and covering all eventualities. % They ;ould 6e co@@itting a log>

%. Mohn McCarthy has for years 6een eA7loring the theoretical Euestion of the @ini@al 2ife>;orld configuration that can learn the 7hysics of its o;n ;orld, and has tried to enlist


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ical ho;ler if they argued that since they eAisted, die 2ife ;orld, ;ith its 7articular 7hysics, had to eAistHfor after all, Con;ay @ight have decided to 6e a 7lu@6er or 7lay 6ridge instead of hunting for this ;orld. 4ut ;hat if they deduced that their ;orld ;as Dust too ;onderful, ;ith its elegant, 2ife> sustaining 7hysics, to have co@e into eAistence ;ithout an +ntelligent CreatorG +f they Du@7ed to the conclusion that they o;ed their eAistence to the activities of a ;ise 2a;giver, they-d 6e rightL There is a .od and his na@e is Con;ay. 4ut they ;ould 6e <umpin- to a conclusion. The eAistence of a universe o6eying a set of la;s even as elegant as the 2ife la; (or the la;s of our o;n 7hysics" does not logically reEuire an intelligent 2a;giver. ,otice first ho; the actual history of the .a@e of 2ife divided the intellectual la6or in t;o? on the one hand there ;as the initial eA7loratory ;or8 that led to the 7hysical la; 7ro@ulgated 6y the 2a;giver, and on the other hand there ;as the engineering ;or8 of the la;>eA7loiters, the Artificers. These mi-ht have ha77ened in that te@7oral orderHfirst Con;ay, in a stro8e of ins7ired genius, 7ro@ulgates the 7hysics of the 2ife ;orld, and then he and his students design and 6uild the ;onderful deniJens of that ;orld according to the la; laid do;n. 4ut in fact the t;o tas8s ;ere inter@iAed# @any trial>and> error atte@7ts to @a8e things that ;ere interesting 7rovided the guidance for Con;ay-s legislative search. ,otice, second, that this 7ostulated division of la6or illustrates a funda@ental Dar;inian the@e fro@ the 7revious cha7ter. The tas8 of the ;ise .od reEuired to 7ut this ;orld into @otion is a tas8 of discovery, not creation, a Do6 for a ,e;ton, not a Sha8es7eare. *hat ,e;ton foundHand ;hat Con;ay foundHare eternal Platonic fiAed 7oints that any6ody else in 7rinci7le could have discovered, not idiosyncratic creations that de7end in any ;ay on the 7articularities of the @inds of their authors. +f Con;ay had never turned his hand to designing cellular>auto@ata ;orldsHif Con;ay had never even eAistedHso@e other @athe@atician @ight very ;ell have hit u7on exactl" the 2ife ;orld that Con;ay gets the credit for. So, as ;e follo; the Dar;inian do;n this 7ath, .od the Artificer turns first into .od the 'aw-i%er7 ;ho no; can 6e seen to @erge ;ith .od the 'awfinder. .od-s hy7othesiJed contri6ution is there6y 6eco@ing less 7ersonalHand hence @ore readily 7erfor@a6le 6y so@ething dogged and @indlessL Hu@e has already sho;n us ho; the argu@ent runs, and no;, 6olstered 6y our eA7erience ;ith Dar;inian thin8ing in @ore fa@iliar terrain, ;e can

eAtra7olate a 7ositive Dar;inian alternative to the hy7othesis that our la;s are a gift fro@ .od. *hat ;ould the Dar;inian alternative have to 6eG That there has 6een an evolution of ;orlds (in the sense of ;hole universes", and the ;orld ;e find ourselves in is si@7ly one a@ong countless others that have eAisted through eternity. There are t;o Euite different ;ays of thin8ing a6out the evolution of la;s, one of the@ stronger, @ore IDar;inian,I than the other in that it involves so@ething li8e natural selection. Might it 6e that there has 6een so@e sort of differential reproduction of universes, ;ith so@e varieties having @ore Ioffs7ringI than othersG Hu@e-s Philo toyed ;ith this idea, as ;e sa; in cha7ter 1? And ;hat sur7rise @ust ;e entertain, ;hen ;e find hi@ a stu7id @echanic, ;ho i@itated others, and co7ied an art, ;hich, through a long succession of ages, after @ulti7lied trials, @ista8es, corrections, deli6erations, and controversies, had 6een gradually i@7rovingG Many ;orlds @ight have 6een 6otched and 6ungled, throughout an eternity, ere this syste@ ;as struc8 out? Much la6our lost? Many fruitless trials @ade? And a slo;, 6ut continued i@7rove@ent carried on during infinite ages of ;orld>@a8ing. PPt. 1.Q Hu@e i@7utes the Icontinued i@7rove@entI to the @ini@al selective 6ias of a Istu7id @echanic,I 6ut ;e can re7lace the stu7id @echanic ;ith so@ething even stu7ider ;ithout dissi7ating the lifting 7o;er? a 7urely algorith@ic Dar;inian 7rocess of ;orld>trying. Though Hu@e o6viously didn-t thin8 this ;as anything 6ut an a@using 7hiloso7hical fantasy, the idea has recently 6een develo7ed in so@e detail 6y the 7hysicist 2ee S@olin (1 '". The 6asic idea is that the singularities 8no;n as 6lac8 holes are in effect the 6irth7laces of offs7ring universes, in ;hich the funda@ental 7hys > ical constants ;ould differ slightly, in rando@ ;ays, fro@ the 7hysical con> stants in the 7arent universe. So, according to S@olin-s hy7othesis, ;e have 6oth differential re7roduction and @utation, the t;o essential features of any Dar;inian selection algorith@. Those universes that Dust ha77ened to have 7hysical constants that encouraged the develo7@ent of 6lac8 holes ;ould ipso facto have @ore offs7ring, ;hich ;ould have @ore offs7ring, and so forthHthat-s the selection ste7. ,ote that there is no gri@ rea7er of universes in this scenario# they all live and IdieI in due course, 6ut so@e @erely have @ore offs7ring. According to this idea, then, it is no @ere interesting coincidence that ;e live in a universe in ;hich there are 6lac8 holes, nor is it an a6solute logical necessity. +t is, rather, the sort of conditional near> necessity you find in any evolutionary account. The lin8, S@olin clai@s, is car6on, ;hich 7lays a role 6oth in the colla7se of gaseous clouds (or in other ;ords, the 6irth of stars, a 7recursor to the 6irth of 6lac8 holes" and, of course, in our @olecular engineering.

his friends and colleagues in this Euest. + have al;ays found the 7ros7ect of such a 7roof @outh>;atering, 6ut the 7aths to it are totally 6eyond @e. So far as + 8no;, nothing su6stantive has yet 6een 7u6lished on this @ost interesting e7iste@ological Euestion, 6ut + ;ant to encourage others to address it. The sa@e thought eA7eri@ent is 7osed, inde > 7endently, in Ste;art and .olu6its8y 1 ', 77. '!1>!'.


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+s the theory testa6leG S@olin offers so@e 7redictions that ;ould, if dis> confir@ed, 7retty ;ell eli@inate his idea? it should 6e the case that all the InearI variations in 7hysical constants fro@ the values ;e enDoy should yield universes in ;hich 6lac8 holes are less 7ro6a6le or less freEuent than in our o;n. +n short, he thin8s our universe should @anifest at least a local, if not glo6al, o7ti@u@ in die 6lac8>hole>@a8ing co@7etition. The trou6le is that there are too fe; constraints, so far as + can see, on ;hat should count as a InearI variation and ;hy, 6ut 7erha7s further ela6oration on the theory ;ill clarify this. ,eedless to say, it is hard to 8no; ;hat to @a8e of this idea yet, 6ut ;hatever the eventual verdict of scientists, the idea already serves to secure a 7hiloso7hical 7oint. 3ree@an Dyson and 3red Hoyle, a@ong @any others, thin8 they see a ;onderful 7attern in the la;s of 7hysics# if they or anyone else ;ere to @a8e the tactical @ista8e of as8ing the rhetorical Euestion I*hat else 6ut .od could possibl" eA7lain itGI S@olin ;ould have a nicely deflating re7ly. (+ advise @y 7hiloso7hy students to develo7 hy7ersensitivity for rhetorical Euestions in 7hiloso7hy. They 7a7er over ;hatever crac8s there are in the argu@ents." 4ut su77ose, for the sa8e of argu@ent, that S@olin-s s7eculations are all fla;ed# su77ose selection of universes doesn-t ;or8 after all. There is a ;ea8er, se@i>Dar;inian s7eculation that also ans;ers the rhetorical Euestion handily. Hu@e toyed ;ith this ;ea8er idea, too, as ;e already noted, in 7art 1+++ of his Dialo-ues;. +nstead of su77osing @atter infinite, as /7icurus did, let us su77ose it finite. A finite nu@6er of 7articles is only susce7ti6le of finite trans7ositions? And it @ust ha77en, in an eternal duration, that every 7ossi6le order or 7osition @ust 6e tried an infinite nu@6er of ti@esOOOO Su77ose ... that @atter ;ere thro;n into any 7osition, 6y a 6lind, unguided force# it is evident that this first 7osition @ust in all 7ro6a6ility 6e die @ost confused and @ost disorderly i@agina6le, ;ithout any rese@> 6lance to those ;or8s of hu@an contrivance, ;hich, along ;ith a sy@@e> try of 7arts, discover an adDust@ent of @eans to ends and a tendency to self>7reservationH Su77ose, that the actuating force, ;hatever it 6e, still continues in @atterH Thus the universe goes on for @any ages in a continued succession of chaos and disorder. 4ut is it not 7ossi6le that it @ay settle at last... G May ;e not ho7e for such a 7osition, or rather 6e assured of it, fro@ the eternal revolutions of unguided @atter, and @ay not this account for all the a77earing ;isdo@ and contrivance ;hich is in the universeG This idea eA7loits no version of selection at all, 6ut si@7ly dra;s attention to the fact that ;e have eternity to 7lay ;ith. There is no five>6illion>year deadline in this instance, the ;ay there is for the evolution of life on /arth. As ;e sa; in our consideration of the 2i6raries of 4a6el and Mendel,

;e need re7roduction and selection if ;e are to traverse 1ast s7aces in non> 1ast a@ounts of ti@e, 6ut ;hen ti@e is no longer a li@iting consideration, selection is no longer a reEuire@ent. +n die course of eternity, you can go e%er"where in the 2i6rary of 4a6el or the 2i6rary of MendelHor the 2i6rary of /instein (all 7ossi6le values of all die constants of 7hysics"Has long as you 8ee7 @oving. (Hu@e i@agines an Iactuating forceI to 8ee7 the shuffling going, and this re@inds us of 2oc8e-s argu@ent a6out @atter ;ithout @otion, 6ut it does not su77ose diat the actuating force has any intelligence at all." +n fact, if you shuffle through all the 7ossi6ilities for eternity, you ;ill 7ass through each 7ossi6le 7lace in these 1ast (6ut finite" s7aces not Dust once 6ut an infinity of ti@esL Several versions of this s7eculation have 6een seriously considered 6y 7hysicists and cos@ologists in recent years. Mohn Archi6ald *heeler (1 $& ", for instance, has 7ro7osed diat the universe oscillates 6ac8 and forth for eternity, a 4ig 4ang is follo;ed 6y eA7ansion, ;hich is follo;ed 6y con> traction into a 4ig Crunch, ;hich is follo;ed 6y another 4ig 4ang, and so fordi forever, ;ith rando@ variations in the constants and odier crucial 7ara@eters occurring in each oscillation. /ach 7ossi6le setting is tried an infinity of ti@es, and so every variation on every the@e, 6oth those diat I@a8e senseI and those diat are a6surd, s7ins itself out, not once 6ut an infinity of ti@es. +t is hard to 6elieve that this idea is e@7irically testa6le in any @eaningful ;ay, 6ut ;e should reserve Dudg@ent. 1ariations or ela6orations on the the@e Dust @ight have i@7lications that could 6e confir@ed or discon>fir@ed. +n die @eanti@e, it is ;orth noting diat tiiis fa@ily of hy7otiieses does have the virtue of eAtending die 7rinci7les of eA7lanation diat ;or8 so ;ell in testa6le do@ains all the ;ay out. Consistency and si@7licity are in its favor. And diat, once again, is certainly enough to 6lunt die a77eal of the traditional alternative. Any6ody ;ho ;on a coin>tossing tourna@ent ;ould 6e te@7ted to thin8 he ;as 6lessed ;idi @agical 7o;ers, es7ecially if he had no direct 8no;l> edge of die odier 7layers. Su77ose you ;ere to create a ten>round coin> tossing tourna@ent ;ithout letting each of the 1,='& IcontestantsI realiJe he ;as entered in a tourna@ent. <ou say to each one as you recruit hi@.>ICongratulations, @y friend. + a@ Me7histo7heles, and + a@ going to 6esto; great 7o;ers on you. *itii @e at your side, you are going to ;in ten

. 3or a @ore detailed analysis of these issues, and a defense of a Ineo>P+atonistI @iddle ground, see M. 2eslie 1 % . (2i8e @ost @iddle grounds, this is not li8ely to a77eal to either the devout or the s8e7tical, 6ut it is at least an ingenious atte@7t at a co@7ro@ise." 1an +n;agen (1 (a, chh. $ and % " 7rovides a clear and relentless analysis of the argu@entsH 2eslie-s, 6ut also the argu@ents + have 7resented hereHfro@ a 7osition of unusual neu> trality. Anyone less than satisfied ;ith @y treat@ent should turn to this source first.


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consecutive coin>tosses ;ithout a lossLI <ou then arrange for your du7es to @eet, 7air;ise, until you have a final ;inner. (<ou never let the contestants discuss your relation to the@, and you 8iss off the 1,=' ( losers along the ;ay ;ith so@e sotto %oce gi6e to the effect that they ;ere 7retty gulli6le to 6elieve your clai@ a6out 6eing Me7histo7helesL" The ;innerHand there @ust 6e oneH;ill certainly have 6een given evidence of 6eing a Chosen 0ne, 6ut if he falls for it, this is si@7ly an illusion of ;hat ;e @ight call retros7ective @yo7ia. The ;inner doesn-t see that the situation ;as struc > tured so that so@e6ody si@7ly had to 6e the luc8y oneHand he Dust ha7> 7ened to 6e it. ,o; if the universe ;ere structured in such a ;ay that an infinity of different Ila;s of 7hysicsI got tried out in the fullness of ti@e, ;e ;ould 6e succu@6ing to the sa@e te@7tation ;ere ;e to dra; any conclusions a6out the la;s of nature 6eing 7re7ared es7ecially for us. This is not an argu@ent for the conclusion that the universe is, or @ust 6e, so structured, 6ut Dust for the @ore @odest conclusion that no feature of the o6serva6le Ila;s of natureI could 6e invulnera6le to this alternative, deflationary inter7retation. 0nce these ever @ore s7eculative, ever @ore attenuated Dar;inian hy> 7otheses are for@ulated, they serveHin classic Dar;inian fashionHto di> @inish 6y s@all ste7s the eA7lanatory tas8 facing us. All that is left over in need of eA7lanation at this 7oint is a certain 7erceived elegance or ;on> derfulness in the o6served la;s of 7hysics. +f you dou6t that the hy7othesis of an infinity of variant universes could actually eA7lain this elegance, you should reflect that this has at least as @uch clai@ to 6eing a non>Euestion> 6egging eA7lanation as any traditional alternative# 6y the ti@e .od has 6een de7ersonaliJed to the 7oint of 6eing so@e a6stract and ti@eless 7rinci7le of 6eauty or goodness, it is hard to see ho; the eAistence of .od could eA7lain anything. *hat ;ould 6e asserted 6y the IeA7lanationI that ;as not already given in the descri7tion of the ;onderful 7heno@enon to 6e eA7lainedG Dar;in 6egan his attac8 on the Cos@ic Pyra@id in the @iddle? .ive @e 0rder, and ti@e, and + ;ill eA7lain Design. *e have no; seen ho; the do;n;ard 7ath of universal acid flo;s? if ;e give his successors Chaos (in the old>fashioned sense of 7ure @eaningless rando@ness", and eternity, they ;ill eA7lain 0rderHthe very 0rder needed to account for the Design. Does utter Chaos in turn need an eA7lanationG *hat is there left to eA7lainG So@e 7eo7le thin8 there is still one leftover I;hyI Euestion? !h" is there somethin- rather than nothin-= 07inions differ on ;hether the Euestion @a8es any intelligi6le de@and at all.1= +f it does, the ans;er I4ecause .od

eAistsI is 7ro6a6ly as good an ans;er as any, 6ut loo8 at its co@7etition? I*hy notGI

&. /T/),A2 )/CU))/,C/H2+3/ *+TH0UT 30U,DAT+0,SG

Science is wonderful at destro"in- metaph"sical answers7 but incapable of pro%idin- substitute ones. Science ta6es awa" foundations without pro%idin- a replacement. !hether we want to be there or not7 science has put us in a position of ha%in- to li%e without foundations. It was shoc6in- when 9iet:sche said this7 but toda" it is commonplaceE our historical positionHand no end to it is in si-ht His that of ha%in- to philosophi:e without /foundations/.
HH++A)< PUT,AM 1 %$, 7. '

The sense that the meanin- of the uni%erse had e%aporated was what seemed to escape those who welcomed Darwin as a benefactor of man6ind. 9iet:sche considered that e%olution presented a correct pic; ture of the world7 but that it was a disastrous picture. >is philosoph" was an attempt to produce a new world;picture which too6 Darwinism into account but was not nullified b" it.
H). M. H022+,.DA2/ 1 !9, 7. =

+n the ;a8e of Dar;in-s 7u6lication of 4ri-in of Species7 3riedrich ,ietJsche rediscovered ;hat Hu@e had already toyed ;ith? the idea that an eternal recurrence of 6lind, @eaningless variationHchaotic, 7ointless shuf> fling of @atter and la;H;ould inevita6ly s7e; u7 ;orlds ;hose evolution through ti@e ;ould yield the apparentl" @eaningful stories of our lives. This idea of eternal recurrence 6eca@e a cornerstone of his nihilis@, and thus 7art of the foundation of ;hat 6eca@e eAistentialis@. The idea that ;hat is ha77ening no; has all ha77ened 6efore @ust 6e as old as the de<d;%u 7heno@enon that so often ins7ires su7erstitious versions of it. Cyclical cos@ogonies are not unco@@on in the catalogue of hu@an cultures. 4ut ;hen ,ietJsche hit u7on a version of Hu@e-sHand Mohn Archi6ald *heeler-sHvision, he too8 it to 6e @uch @ore than an a@using thought eA7eri@ent or an ela6oration of ancient su7erstitions. He thoughtHat least for a ;hileHhe had stu@6led u7on a scientific 7roof of

1=. 3or an engaging eAa@ination of the Euestion, see ch. ' of )o6ert ,oJic8-s hilosophical Explanation. ,oJic8 offers several different candidate ans;ers, all of the@ ad@ittedly 6iJarre, 6ut notes, disar@ingly. IThe Euestion cuts so dee7, ho;ever, that any

a77roach that stands a chance of yielding an ans;er ;ill loo8 eAtre@ely ;eird. So@eone ;ho 7ro7oses a non>strange ans;er sho;s he didn-t understand the EuestionI (,oJic8 1 %1, 7. 11!".


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Eternal RecurrenceH'ife !ithout 5oundations=


the greatest i@7ortance. 11 + sus7ect that ,ietJsche ;as encouraged to ta8e the idea @ore seriously than Hu@e had done 6y his di@ a77reciation of the tre@endous 7o;er of Dar;inian thin8ing. ,ietJsche-s references to Dar;in are al@ost all hostile, 6ut there are Euite a fe;, and that in itself su77orts *alter 5auf@ann-s argu@ent (1 9=, 7reface" that ,ietJsche I;as not a Dar;inist, 6ut only aroused fro@ his dog@atic slu@6er 6y Dar;in, @uch as 5ant ;as a century earlier 6y Hu@e.I ,ietJsche-s references to Dar;in also reveal that his acEuaintance ;ith Dar;in-s ideas ;as 6eset ;ith co@@on @isre7resentations and @isunderstandings, so 7erha7s he I8ne;I Dar;in 7ri@arily through the enthusiastic a77ro7riations of the @any 7o7ulariJers in .er@any, and indeed throughout /uro7e. 0n the fe; 7oints of s7ecific criticis@ he ventures, he gets Dar;in utterly ;rong, co@7laining, for instance, that Dar;in has ignored the 7ossi6ility of Iunconscious selection,I ;hen that ;as one of Dar;in-s @ost i@7ortant 6ridging ideas in 4ri-in. He refers to the Ico@7lete betise in the /nglish@en, Dar;in and *allace,I and co@7lains, IAt last, confusion goes so far that one regards Dar;inis@ as 7hiloso7hy? and no; die scholars and scientists do@inateI (,ietJsche 1 =1, 7. &''". 0thers, ho;ever, regularly sa; him as a Dar;inianHI0ther scholarly oAen have sus7ected @e of Dar;inis@ on this accountI (,ietJsche 1%% , +++, i"Ha la6el ;hich he scoffed at, ;hile 7roceeding to ;rite, in his Denealo-" of Morals (1%%$", one of the first and still su6dest of the Dar;inian investigations of the evolution of ethics, a to7ic to ;hich ;e ;ill return in cha7ter 1!. ,ietJsche vie;ed his argu@ent for eternal recurrence as a 7roof of the a6surdity or @eaninglessness of life, a 7roof that no @eaning ;as -i%en to the universe fro@ on high. And this is undou6tedly the root of the fear that @any eA7erience ;hen encountering Dar;in, so let us eAa@ine it in ,ietJsche-s version, as eAtre@e as any ;e are a7t to find. *hy, eAacdy, ;ould eternal recurrence @a8e life @eaninglessG +sn-t it o6viousG

*hat if a de@on ;ere to cree7 after you one day or night, in your loneliest loneness, and say? IThis life ;hich you live and have lived, @ust 6e lived again 6y you, and innu@era6le ti@es @ore. And @ere ;ill 6e nothing ne; in it, 6ut every 7ain and every Doy and every thought and every sighH everything uns7ea8a6ly s@all and great in your lifeH@ust co@e again to you, and in the sa@e seEuence and seriesOOOOI *ould you not thro; your self do;n and curse the de@on ;ho s7o8e to you thusG 0r have you once eA7erienced a tre@endous @o@ent, in ;hich you ;ould ans;er hi@? IThou art a god, and never have + heard anything @ore divineLI IThe Da" Science (1%%'", 7. (&1 (7assage translated in Danto 1 !9, 7. '1=".Q +s this @essage li6erating, or horrifyingG ,ietJsche couldn-t see@ to @a8e u7 his o;n @ind, 7erha7s 6ecause he often chose to clothe the i@7lications of his I@ost scientific of hy7odthesesI in diese rather @ystical tra77ings. *e can get a little fresh air into the discussion 6y considering a delecta6le 7arody version, 6y die novelist To@ )o66ins, in E%en Cow-irls Det the Blues8 3or Christ@as that year, Mulian gave Sissy a @iniature Tyrolean village. The crafts@anshi7 ;as re@ar8a6le. There ;as a tiny cathedral ;hose stained>glass ;indo;s @ade fruit salad of sunlight. There ;as a 7laJa and ein Bier-arten. The Bier-arten got Euite noisy on Saturday nights. There ;as a 6a8ery that s@elled al;ays of hot 6read and strudel. There ;as a to;n hall and a 7olice station, ;ith cuta;ay sections that revealed standard a@ounts of red ta7e and corru7tion. There ;ere little Tyroleans in leather 6ritches, intricately stitched, and, 6eneath the 6ritches, genitalia of eEually fine ;or8@anshi7. There ;ere s8i sho7s and @any other interesting things, including an or7hanage. The or7hanage ;as designed to catch fire and 6urn do;n every Christ@as /ve. 0r7hans ;ould dash into the sno; ;ith their nightgo;ns 6laJing. Terri6le. Around the second ;ee8 of Manuary, a fire ins7ector ;ould co@e and 7o8e through die ruins, @uttering, I+f they had only listened to @e, those children ;ould 6e alive today.I P)o66ins 1 $!, 77. 1 1> '.Q The crafts@anshi7 of this 7assage is itself re@ar8a6le. The re7etition of the or7hanage dra@a year after year see@s to ro6 the little ;orld of any real @eaning. 4ut ;hyG *hy eAactly should it 6e the re7etition of the fire ins7ector-s la@ent that @a8es it sound so hollo;G Perha7s if ;e loo8ed closely at ;hat that entails ;e ;ould find the sleight of hand that @a8es the 7assage I;or8.I Do the little Tyroleans re6uild the or7hanage the@selves, or is there a )/S/T 6utton on this @iniature villageG *hat difference ;ould that @a8eG *ell, ;here do the ne; or7hans co@e fro@G Do the IdeadI ones co@e 6ac8 to life (Dennett 1 %&, 77. >1="G ,otice that )o66ins says that the or7hanage was desi-ned to catch fire and 6urn do;n every Christ@as

11. 3or a clear reconstruction of ,ietJsche-s uncharacteristically careful deduction of ;hat he once descri6ed as Ithe @ost scientific of hy7otheses,I see Danto 1 !9, 77. '=1> > 3or a discussion and survey of this and other inter7retations of ,ietJsche-s no> torious idea of eternal recurrence, see ,eha@as 1 %=, ;hich argues that 6y IscientificI ,ietJsche @eant s7ecifically Inot>teleological.I A recurringH6ut, so far, not eternally recurringH7ro6le@ ;ith the a77reciation of ,ietJsche-s version of the eternal recur> rence is that, unli8e *heeler, ,ietJsche see@s to thin8 that this life ;ill ha77en again not 6ecause it and all possible %ariations on it ;ill ha77en over and over, 6ut 6ecause there is only one 7ossi6le variationHthis oneHand it ;ill ha77en over and over. ,ietJsche, in short, see@s to have 6elieved in actualis@. + thin8 that this is inessential to an a77reci> ation of the @oral i@7lications ,ietJsche thought he could or should dra; fro@ the idea, and 7erha7s to ,ietJsche scholarshi7 as ;ell (6ut ;hat do + 8no;G".


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Eternal RecurrenceH'ife !ithout 5oundations=


/ve. The creator of this @iniature ;orld is clearly taunting us, ridiculing the seriousness ;ith ;hich ;e face our life 7ro6le@s. The @oral see@s clear? if the @eaning of this dra@a @ust co@e fro@ on high, fro@ a Creator, it ;ould 6e an o6scene Do8e, a trivialiJation of the strivings of the individuals in that ;orld. 4ut ;hat if the @eaning is so@eho; the creation of the individuals the@selves, arising ane; in each incarnation rather than as a gift fro@ on highG This @ight o7en u7 the 7ossi6ility of @eaning that ;as not threatened 6y re7etition. This is the defining the@e of eAistentialis@ in its various s7ecies? the only @eaning there can 6e is the @eaning you (so@eho;" create for yourself. Ho; that tric8 @ight 6e acco@7lished has al;ays 6een so@ething of a @ystery a@ong eAistentialists, 6ut as ;e shall soon see, Dar;inis@ does have so@e de@ystification to offer in its account of the 7rocess of @eaning> creation. The 8ey, once again, is the a6andon@ent of Mohn 2oc8e-s Mind>first vision, and its re7lace@ent ;ith a vision in ;hich importance itself7 li8e everything else that ;e treasure, gradually evolves fro@ nothingness. *e @ight 7ause, 6efore turning to so@e of these details, to consider ;here our rounda6out Dourney has 6rought us so far. *e 6egan ;ith a so@e;hat childish vision of an anthro7o@or7hic, Handicrafter .od, and recogniJed that this idea, ta8en literally, ;as ;ell on the road to eAtinction. *hen ;e loo8ed through Dar;in-s eyes at the actual 7rocesses of design of ;hich ;e and all the ;onders of nature are the 7roducts to date, ;e found that Paley ;as right to see these effects as the result of a lot of design ;or8, 6ut ;e found a non> @iraculous account of it? a @assively 7arallel, and hence 7rodigiously ;asteful, 7rocess of @indless, algorith@ic design>trying, in ;hich, ho;ever, the @ini@al incre@ents of design have 6een thriftily hus6anded, co7ied, and re>used over 6illions of years. The ;onderful particularit" or indi%idualit" of the creation ;as due, not to Sha8es7earean inventive genius, 6ut to the incessant contri6utions of chance, a gro;ing seEuence of ;hat Cric8 (1 !%" has called IfroJen accidents.I That vision of the creative 7rocess still a77arently left a role for .od as 2a;giver, 6ut this gave ;ay in turn to the ,e;tonian role of 2a;finder, ;hich also eva7orated, as ;e have recently seen, leaving 6ehind no +ntel > ligent Agency in the 7rocess at all. *hat is left is ;hat the 7rocess, shuffling through eternity, @indlessly finds (;hen it finds anything"? a ti@eless Pla> tonic 7ossi6ility of order. That is indeed a thing of 6eauty, as @athe@aticians are forever eAclai@ing, 6ut it is not itself so@ething intelligent 6ut, ;onder of ;onders, so@ething intelligi6le. 4eing a6stract and outside of ti@e, it is nothing ;ith an initiation or ori-in in need of eA7lanation.
1'. Descartes had raised the Euestion of ;hether .od had created the truths of @athe> @atics. His follo;er ,icolas Male6ranche ( 1!(%>1$19" fir@ly eA7ressed the vie; that they needed no ince7tion, 6eing as eternal as anything could 6e.

*hat does need its origin eA7lained is the concrete universe itself, and as Hu@e-s Philo long ago as8ed? *hy not sto7 at the @aterial ;orldG It7 ;e have seen, does 7erfor@ a version of the ulti@ate 6ootstra77ing tric8# it creates itself ex nihilo7 or at any rate out of so@ething that is ;ell>nigh indistinguisha6le fro@ nothing at all. Unli8e the 7uJJlingly @ysterious, ti@e> less self>creation of .od, this self>creation is a non>@iraculous stunt that has left lots of traces. And, 6eing not Dust concrete 6ut the 7roduct of an eA> Euisitely 7articular historical 7rocess, it is a creation of utter uniEuenessH enco@7assing and d;arfing all the novels and 7aintings and sy@7honies of all the artistsHoccu7ying a 7osition in the hy7ers7ace of 7ossi6ilities that differs fro@ all others. 4enedict S7inoJa, in the seventeenth century, identified .od and ,ature, arguing that scientific research ;as the true 7ath of theology. 3or this heresy he ;as 7ersecuted. There is a trou6ling (or, to so@e, enticing" Manus>faced Euality to S7inoJa-s heretical vision of Deus si%e 9atura (.od, or ,ature"? in 7ro7osing his scientific si@7lification, ;as he 7ersonifying ,ature or de7ersonaliJing .odG Dar;in-s @ore generative vision 7rovides the structure in ;hich ;e can see the intelligence of Mother ,ature (or is it @erely a77arent intelligenceG" as a non>@iraculous and non>@ysteriousHand hence all the @ore ;onderfulHfeature of this self>creating thing.

CHAPT/) $? There must ha%e been a first li%in- thin-7 but there couldn/t ha%e been oneHthe simplest li%in- thin- is too complex7 too desi-ned7 to sprininto existence b" sheer chance. This dilemma is sol%ed not b" a s6"hoo67 but b" a lon- series of Darwinian processes8 self;replicatin- macros7 preceded or accompanied perhaps b" self;replicatin- cla" cr"stals7 -raduall" ad%ancin- from tournaments of luc6 to tournaments of s6ill o%er a billion "ears. #nd the re-ularities of ph"sics on which those cranes depend could themsel%es be the outcome of a blind7 uncarin- shuffle throu-h Chaos. Thus7 out of next to nothin-7 the world we 6now and lo%e created itself. CHAPT/) %? The wor6 done b" natural selection is R and D7 so biolo-" is fundamentall" a6in to en-ineerin-7 a conclusion that has been deepl" re; sisted out of misplaced fear for what it mi-ht impl". In fact7 it sheds li-ht on some of our deepest pu::les. 4nce we adopt the en-ineerin- perspecti%e7 the central biolo-ical concept of function and the central philosophical concept of @eaning can be explained and united. Since our own capacit" to respond to and create meanin-Hour intelli-enceHis -rounded in our status as ad%anced products of Darwinian processes7 the distinction between real and artificial intelli-ence collapses. There are important differ;


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ences7 howe%er7 between the products of human en-ineerin- and the products of e%olution7 because of differences in the processes that create them. !e are <ust now be-innin- to -et the -rand processes of e%olution into focus7 b" directin- products of our own technolo-"7 computers7 onto the outstandin- Fuestions.


Biolo-" Is En-ineerin-

1. TH/ SC+/,C/S 03 TH/ A)T+3+C+A2

Since !orld !ar II the disco%eries that ha%e chan-ed the world were not made so much in loft" halls of theoretical ph"sics as in the less; noticed labs of en-ineerin- and experimental ph"sics. The roles of pure and applied science ha%e been re%ersedE the" are no lon-er what the" were in the -olden a-e of ph"sics7 in the a-e of Einstein7 SchrR;din-er7 5ermi and Dirac.... >istorians of science ha%e seen fit to i-nore the histor" of the -reat disco%eries in applied ph"sics7 en-ineerin- and computer science7 where real scientific pro-ress is nowada"s to be found. Computer science in particular has chan-ed and continues to chan-e the face of the world more thorou-hl" and more drasticall" than did an" of the -reat disco%eries in theoretical ph"sics.
H,+CH02AS M/T)0P02+S 1 '

+n this cha7ter + ;ant to trace so@e of the overloo8ed and undera77re> ciated i@7lications of a centralH+ venture to say the centralHfeature of the Dar;inian )evolution the @arriage, after Dar;in, of 6iology and engineer> ing. My goal in this cha7ter is to tell the 7ositive side of the story of 6iology as engineering. 2ater cha7ters ;ill deal ;ith various assaults and challenges, 6ut 6efore they steal the li@elight, + ;ant to @a8e out the case that the engineering 7ers7ective on 6iology is not @erely occasionally useful, not @erely a valua6le o7tion, 6ut the o6ligatory organiJer of all Dar;inian thin8ing, and the 7ri@ary source of its 7o;er. + eA7ect a fair a@ount of e@otional resistance to this clai@. 4e honest? doesn-t this cha7ter-s title 7rovo8e a negative reaction in you, along the lines of I0h no, ;hat a dreary, Philistine, reductionist clai@L 4iology is much @ore than engineeringLIG The idea that a study of living for@s is at least a close 8in to engineering has 6een availa6le since Aristotle-s o;n 7ioneering investigations of organ>


4+020.< +S /,.+,//)+,.

The Sciences of the #rtificial


is@s, and his analysis of teleology, the fourth of his causes, 6ut only since Dar;in has the idea 6egun to co@e into focus. +t is Euite eA7licit, of course, in the Argu@ent fro@ Design, ;hich invites the o6server to @arvel at the cunning inter7lay of 7arts, the elegant 7lanning and eAEuisite ;or8@anshi7 of the Artificer. 4ut engineering has al;ays had second>class status in the intellectual ;orld. 3ro@ 2eonardo da 1inci to Charles 4a66age to Tho@as /dison, the engineering genius has al;ays 6een acclai@ed 6ut nevertheless regarded ;ith a certain @easure of condescension 6y the @andarin elite of science and the arts. Aristotle did not hel7 @atters 6y 7ro7osing a distinction, ado7ted 6y the @edievals, 6et;een ;hat ;as secundum naturam7 according to nature, and ;hat ;as contra naturam7 against nature, artificial. Mechanis@sH6ut not organis@sH;ere contra naturam. Then there ;ere the things that ;ere praeter naturam7 or ;nnatural (@onsters and @utants", and die things that ;ere super naturamH@iracles (.a66ey 1 (". Ho; could the study of ;hat ;as a-ainst nature shed @uch light on the gloriesH yea, even the @onsters and @iraclesHof natureG The fossil traces of this negative attitude are every;here in our culture. 3or instance, in @y o;n ho@e disci7line of 7hiloso7hy, the su6disci7line 8no;n as 7hiloso7hy of science has a long and res7ected history# @any of the @ost e@inent and influential 7hiloso7hers these days are 7hiloso7hers of science. There are eAcellent 7hiloso7hers of 7hysics, 7hiloso7hers of 6iology, 7hiloso7hers of @athe@atics, and even of social science. + have never even heard any6ody in the field descri6ed as a 7hiloso7her of engineeringHas if there couldn-t 7ossi6ly 6e enough conce7tual @aterial of interest in engineering for a 7hiloso7her to s7ecialiJe in. 4ut this is changing, as @ore and @ore 7hiloso7hers co@e to recogniJe that engineering har6ors so@e of the dee7est, @ost 6eautiful, @ost i@7ortant thin8ing ever done. (The title of this section is ta8en fro@ Her6ert Si@on-s se@inal 6oo8 P1 ! Q on these to7ics." Dar;in-s great insight ;as that all the designs in the 6ios7here could 6e the 7roducts of a 7rocess that ;as as 7atient as it ;as @indless, an Iauto@aticI and gradual lifter in Design S7ace. +n retros7ect, ;e can see that Dar;in hi@self could hardly have i@agined, let alone su77orted ;ith evidence, the refine@ents and eAtensions of his idea that have 7er@itted later Dar;inians to go 6eyond his o;n cautious agnosticis@ a6out the origins of life itself, and even the IdesignI of the 7hysical 0rder his idea 7resu77osed. He ;as in no 6etter 7osition to characteriJe that 0rder than he ;as to descri6e the constraints and 7o;ers of the hereditary @echanis@# he Dust 8ne; there had to 6e such a @echanis@, and it had to eA7loit the 0rder, ;hatever it ;as, that @ade Idescent ;ith @odificationI not only 7ossi6le 6ut fruitful. The century>7lus of su6seEuent focusing and eAtending of Dar;in-s great idea has 6een 7unctuated 6y controversy, a@7ly illustrating, 6y the ;ay, the

refleAive eAtension of his idea to itself? the evolution of the Dar;inian @e@es a6out evolution has 6een not Dust acco@7anied, 6ut 7ositively s7ed along, 6y co@7etition 6et;een ideas. And as he hy7othesiJed ;ith regard to organis@s, Ico@7etition ;ill generally 6e @ost severe 6et;een those for@s ;hich are @ost nearly related to each otherI G4ri-in7 7. 1'1". 4iologists the@selves have not 6een i@@une to the heritage of negative attitudes to;ards engineering, of course. *hat is the han8ering after s8yhoo8s, after all, 6ut the fond ho7e that a @iracle ;ill so@eho; co@e along to lift us a6ove the cranesG Continued su6li@inal resistance to this feature of Dar;in-s funda@ental idea has heightened controversy, i@7eded co@7rehension, and distorted eA7ressionH;hile at the sa@e ti@e 7ro7elling so@e of the @ost i@7ortant challenges to Dar;inis@. +n res7onse to these challenges, Dar;in-s idea has gro;n stronger. Today ;e can see that not only Aristotle-s divisions 6ut also other cherished co@> 7art@entaliJations of science are threatened 6y its territorial eA7ansion. The .er@ans divide learning into 9aturwissenschaften7 the natural sciences, and Deistesiwissenschaften7 the sciences of @ind, @eaning, and culture, 6ut this shar7 divideHcousin to C. P. Sno;-s T;o Cultures (1 !("His threatened 6y the 7ros7ect that an engineering 7ers7ective ;ill s7read fro@ 6iology u7 through the hu@an sciences and arts. +f there is Dust one Design S7ace, after all, in ;hich the offs7ring of 6oth our 6odies and our @inds are united under one co@@odious set of )>and>D 7rocesses, then these traditional ;alls @ay tu@6le. 4efore 7roceeding, + ;ant to confront a sus7icion. Since + have Dust granted that Dar;in hi@self didn-t a77reciate @any of the issues that have to 6e dealt ;ith if the theory of evolution 6y natural selection is to survive, isn-t there so@ething trivial or tautological a6out @y clai@ that Dar;in-s idea survives all these challengesG ,o ;onder it can 8ee7 on s7reading, since it 8ee7s on changing in res7onse to ne; challengesL +f @y 7oint ;ere to cro;n Dar;in as author and hero, there ;ould 6e @erit to this sus7icion, 6ut of course this is not 7ri@arily such an eAercise of intellectual history. +t doesn-t really @atter to @y @ain thesis ;hether Dar;in hi@self even eAistedL He could 6e, li8e the Average TaA7ayer, a sort of @ythical 1irtual Author, for all + care. (So@e authorities 7lace Ho@er in that category." The actual historical @an does fascinate @e# his curiosity, integrity, and sta@ina ins7ire @e# his 7ersonal fears and fla;s @a8e hi@ lova6le. 4ut he is, in a ;ay, 6eside the 7oint. He had the good fortune to 6e the @id;ife for an idea that has a life of its o;n, 7recisely 6ecause it does gro; and change. Most ideas can-t do that. +n fact, a great deal of rhetoric has 6een eA7ended 6y 7artisans on 6oth sides of the controversies a6out ;hether Dar;in hi@selfHSt. Charles, you @ight call hi@H;as a gradualist, an ada7tationist, a catastro7hist, a ca7ital> ist, a fe@inist. The ans;ers to these Euestions are of considera6le historical

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interest in their o;n right, and if they are carefully divorced fro@ Euestions of ulti@ate Dustification, they can actually hel7 us see ;hat the scientific issues really are. *hat various thin8ers thin6 they are doingHsaving the ;orld fro@ one is@ or another, or finding roo@ for .od in science, or co@6ating su7erstitionHoften turns out to 6e at right angles to the contri> 6ution their ca@7aigns actually succeed in @a8ing. *e have already seen instances of this, and @ore are in the offing. Pro6a6ly no area of scientific research is driven 6y @ore hidden agendas than evolutionary theory, and it certainly ;ill hel7 to eA7ose the@, 6ut nothing follo;s directly fro@ the fact that so@e 7eo7le are trying des7eratelyH;hether they realiJe it or notHto 7rotect so@ething evil or destroy so@ething evil. Peo7le so@eti@es get it right in s7ite of having 6een driven 6y the @ost un7resenta6le han8erings. Dar;in ;as ;ho he ;as, and thought ;hat he thought, ;arts and all. And no; he is dead. Dar;inis@, on the other hand, has @ore than nine lives. +t 6ids fair to 6eing i@@ortal.

'. DA)*+, +S D/ADH20,. 2+1/ DA)*+,L

+ have ta8en the section title fro@ the title of the I)esu@eI ;ith ;hich Manfred /igen ends his 1 ' 6oo8. There is an un@ista8a6le engineering flair to /igen-s thin8ing. His research is a seEuence of 6iological construction 7ro6le@s 7osed and solved? ho; do the @aterials get a@assed at the 6uilding site, and ho; does the design get deter@ined, and in ;hat order are the various 7arts asse@6led so that they don-t fall a7art 6efore the ;hole structure is co@7letedG His clai@ is that the ideas he 7resents are revolu> tionary, 6ut that after the revolution, Dar;inis@ is not only alive and ;ell, 6ut strengthened. + ;ant to eA7lore this the@e in @ore detail, since ;e ;ill see other versions of it that are no;here near as clearcut as /igen-s. *hat is su77osed to 6e revolutionary a6out /igen-s ;or8G +n cha7ter ( ;e loo8ed at a fitness landsca7e ;ith a single 7ea8, and sa; ho; the 4ald;in /ffect could turn a ;ell>nigh>invisi6le tele7hone 7ole on a 7lain into Mount 3uDi, ;ith a steadily rising surrounding slo7e, so that no @atter ;here in the s7ace you started, you ;ould eventually get to the su@@it if you si@7ly follo;ed the 2ocal )ule? ,ever ste7 do;n# ste7 u7 ;henever 7ossi6le. The idea of a fitness landsca7e ;as introduced 6y Se;all *right (1 ('", and it has 6eco@e a standard i@agination 7rosthesis for evolutionary the> orists. +t has 7roven its value in literally thousands of a77lications, including @any outside of evolutionary theory. +n Artificial +ntelligence, econo@ics, and other 7ro6le@>solving do@ains, the @odel of 7ro6le@>solving 6y in>

cre@ental hill;climbin- (or Igradient ascentI" has 6een deservedly 7o7ular. +t has even 6een 7o7ular enough to @otivate theorists to calculate its li@itations, ;hich are severe. 3or certain classes of 7ro6le@sHor, in other ;ords, in certain ty7es of landsca7eHsi@7le hill>cli@6ing is Euite i@7otent, for an intuitively o6vious reason? the cli@6ers get stuc8 on local second>rate su@@its instead of finding their ;ay to the glo6al su@@it, the Mount /ver> est of 7erfection. (The sa@e li@itations 6eset the @ethod of si@ulated annealing." The 2ocal )ule is funda@ental to Dar;inis@# it is eEuivalent to the reEuire@ent that there cannot 6e any intelligent (or Ifar>seeingI " fore > sight in the design 7rocess, 6ut only ulti@ately stu7id o77ortunistic eA7loi> tation of ;hatever luc8y lifting ha77ens your ;ay. *hat /igen has sho;n is that this si@7lest Dar;inian @odel of steady i@7rove@ent u7 a single slo7e of fitness to the o7ti@al 7ea8 of 7erfection Dust doesn-t ;or8 to descri6e ;hat goes on in @olecular or viral evolution. The rate of ada7tation 6y viruses ( and also of 6acteria and other 7athogens" is @easura6ly faster than the IclassicalI @odels 7redictHso fast that it see@s to involve illicit Iloo8>aheadI 6y the cli@6ers. So does this @ean that Dar;inis@ @ust 6e a6andonedG ,ot at all, for ;hat counts as local de7ends (not sur7risingly" on the scale you use. /igen dra;s our attention to the fact that ;hen viruses evolve, they don-t go single>file# they travel in huge herds of al@ost identical variants, a fuJJy> edged cloud in the 2i6rary of Mendel that /igen calls a IEuasi>s7ecies.I *e already sa; the uni@agina6ly large cloud of Mob" Dic6 variants in the 2i6rary of 4a6el, 6ut any actual li6rary is li8ely to have @ore than one or t;o variant editions of a 6oo8 on its shelves, and in the case of a really 7o7ular 6oo8 li8e Mob" Dic6 it is also li8ely to have @ulti7le co7ies of the sa@e edition. 2i8e actual Mob" Dic6 collections, then, actual viral clouds include @ulti7le identical co7ies 6ut also @ulti7le co7ies of @inor ty7o> gra7hical variants, and this fact has so@e i@7lications, according to /igen, that have 6een ignored 6y IclassicalI Dar;inians. +t is the shape of the cloud of variants that holds the 8ey to the s7eed of @olecular evolution. A classical ter@ a@ong geneticists for the canonical version of a s7ecies (analogous to the canonical teAt of Mob" Dic6 " is the wild t"pe. +t ;as often su77osed 6y 6iologists that a@ong the @any different genoty7es in a 7o7> ulation, the 7ure ;ild ty7e ;ould 7redo@inate. Analogous ;ould 6e the clai@ that in any li6rary collection of co7ies of Mob" Dic67 @ost co7ies ;ill 6e of the received or canonical editionHif there is oneL 4ut this doesn-t have to 6e the case for organis@s any @ore than for 6oo8s in li6raries. +n fact, the ;ild ty7e is really Dust an a6straction, li8e the Average TaA7ayer, and a 7o7ulation @ay contain no individuals at all that have eAactly ItheI ;ild>ty7e geno@e. (0f course, the sa@e is true of 6oo8sHscholars @ight de6ate for years over the 7urity of a 7articular ;ord in a 7articular teAt, and until such de6ates ;ere resolved, no6ody could say eAactly ;hat the ca>

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nonical or ;ild>ty7e teAt of that ;or8 ;as, 6ut the identity of the ;or8 ;ould hardly 6e in Deo7ardy. Ma@es Moyce-s $l"sses ;ould 6e a good case in 7oint." /igen 7oints out that this distri6ution of the IessenceI over a variety of nearly identical vehicles turns out to @a8e that essence @uch @ore @ova6le, @uch @ore ada7ta6le, es7ecially in IruggedI fitness landsca7es, ;ith @ulti7le 7ea8s and fe; s@ooth slo7es. +t 7er@its the essence to send out efficient scouting 7arties into the neigh6oring hills and ridges, ignoring ;asteful eA7loration of the valleys, and there6y vastly (not 1astly, 6ut enough to @a8e a huge difference" enhancing its ca7acity to find higher 7ea8s, 6etter o7ti@a, at so@e distance fro@ its center, ;here the (virtual" ;ild ty7e sits.1 The reasons it ;or8s are su@@ariJed 6y /igen as follo;s? 3unctionally co@7etent @utants, ;hose selection values co@e close to that of the ;ild ty7e (though re@aining 6elo; it", reach far higher 7o7> ulation nu@6ers than those that are functionally ineffective. An asy@@etric s7ectru@ of @utants 6uilds u7, in ;hich @utants far re@oved fro@ the ;ild ty7e arise successively fro@ inter@ediates. The 7o7ulation in such a chain of @utants is influenced decisively 6y the structure of the value landsca7e. The value landsca7e consists of connected 7lains, hills, and @ountain ranges. +n the @ountain ranges, the @utant s7ectru@ is ;idely scattered, and along ridges even distant relatives of the ;ild ty7e a77ear ;ith finite Pthat is, not infinitesi@alQ freEuency. +t is 7recisely in the @oun> tainous regions that further selectively su7erior @utants can 6e eA7ected. As soon as one of these turns u7 on the 7eri7hery of a @utation s7ectru@ the esta6lished ense@6le colla7ses. A ne; ense@6le 6uilds u7 around the su7erior @utant, ;hich thus ta8es over the role of the ;ild ty7eOOOOThis causal chain results in a 8ind of -@ass action-, b" which the superior mu; tants are tested with much hi-her probabilit" than inferior @utants, even if the latter are an eEual distance a;ay fro@ the ;ild ty7e. P/igen 1 ', 7. '9.Q So there is a tight interaction 6et;een the sha7e of the fitness landsca7e and the 7o7ulation that occu7ies it, creating a series of feed6ac8 loo7s,

1. The si@ilarity 6et;een these the@es and the the@es + develo7 in Consciousness Explained (1 1a" a6out the need to 6rea8 u7 the Cartesian Theater, ;ith its Central Meaner, and distri6ute its intelligence ;or8 around to a variety of 7eri7heral agents, is of course no accident. +t is, ho;ever, @ainly a case of convergent evolution, so far as + can deter@ine. + had not read any of /igen-s ;or8 at the ti@e + ;as ;riting @y 6oo8, though it certainly ;ould have ins7ired @e if + had. A useful 6ridge 6et;een /igen on @olecules and @e on consciousness is Schull 1 = on the intelligence of s7ecies, and @y co@@en> tary, Dennett 1 =a.

leadingHusuallyHfro@ one te@7orarily sta6le 7ro6le@>setting to another. ,o sooner do you cli@6 a 7ea8 than the ;hole landsca7e 7itches and 6illo;s into a ne; @ountain range and you start cli@6ing all over again. +n fact, the landsca7e is constantly shifting under your feet (if you are a Euasi>s7ecies of viruses ". ,o;, this is really not as revolutionary as /igen clai@s. Se;all *right hi@self, in his Ishirting 6alance theory,I tried to eA7lain ho; @ulti7le 7ea8s and shifting landsca7es ;ould 6e traversa6le not 6y individual I;ild>ty7eI eAe@7lars, 6ut 6y various>siJed 7o7ulations of variants, and /rnst Mayr has stressed for @any years that I7o7ulation thin8ingI is at the heart of Dar> ;inis@, so@ething overloo8ed 6y geneticists at their 7eril. So /igen has really not revolutioniJed Dar;inis@ 6ut, ratherHno s@all contri6utionH created so@e theoretical innovations that clarify and strengthen undera7> 7reciated and i@7erfectly for@ulated ideas that had 6een around for years. *hen /igen (1 ', 7. 1'9" says, IThe (Euantitative" acceleration of evolution that this 6rings a6out is so great that it a77ears to the 6iologist as a sur7rising ne; Fualit"7 an a77arent a6ility of selection to -see ahead-, so@ething that ;ould 6e vie;ed 6y classical Dar;inians as the 7urest heresyLI he is indulging in a fa@iliar for@ of overdra@atiJation, ignoring the @any 6iologists ;ho at least antici7ated, and 7erha7s even fo@ented, his Irevo> lution.I After all, ;hen traditional Dar;inian theorists 7ostulate fitness landsca7es and then rando@ly s7rin8le genoty7es on the@ in order to calculate ;hat theory says ;ould ha77en to the@, they 8no; that, in nature, genoty7es don-t Dust get thro;n rando@ly into 7re>eAisting 7arts of the ;orld. /very @odel of a ti@e>consu@ing 7rocess has to start at so@e ar6itrary I@o@entI# the curtain rises and the @odel then 7lots ;hat ha77ens neAt. +f ;e loo8 at such a @odel and see that at the IoutsetI it sho;s a 6unch of candidates do;n in the valleys, ;e can 6e 7retty sure that the theorist recogniJes that they ;eren-t Ial;aysI do;n thereH;hatever that ;ould @eanL *herever on the fitness landsca7e there are candidates at one ti@e, there ;ere 7ea8s 6efore, or those candidates ;ouldn-t 6e there, so these @ust 6e relatively new valleys these candidates are occu7ying, a ne; 7redica@ent that evolution has 7laced 6efore the@. 0nly that assu@7tion could Dustify locating the candidates in the valleys in the first 7lace. /igen-s contri6ution reinforces the a77reciation that ;e have to add these co@7lications to the @odels if ;e ;ant the@ actually to do the ;or8 that Dar;inians have al;ays su77osed that their si@7ler @odels could do. +t is certainly no accident that our a77reciation of the need for these @uch @ore co@7licated @odels coincides in ti@e (al@ost do;n to the @onth, and certainly to the year" ;ith our ca7acity to 6uild and eA7lore such @odels on eAisting co@7uters. ,o sooner do @ore 7o;erful co@7uters 6eco@e availa6le than ;e discover ;ith their hel7 that @ore co@7leA

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@odels of evolution are not only 7ossi6le 6ut 7ositively reEuired if ;e are really to eA7lain ;hat Dar;inis@ has al;ays clai@ed it can eA7lain. Dar;in-s idea that evolution is an algorith@ic 7rocess is no; 6eco@ing an ever @ore enriched fa@ily of hy7otheses, undergoing its o;n 7o7ulation eA7losion than8s to the o7ening u7 of ne; environ@ents for it to live in. +n Artificial +ntelligence, a 7riJed strategy is to ;or8 on deli6erately si@7lified versions of the 7heno@ena of interest. These are engagingly called Itoy 7ro6le@s.I +n the Tin8er Toy ;orld of @olecular 6iology, ;e get to see the si@7lest versions of the funda@ental Dar;inian 7heno@ena in action, 6ut these are real toy 7ro6le@sL *e can ta8e advantage of the relati%e si@7licity and 7urity of this lo;est>level Dar;inian theory to introduce and illustrate so@e of the the@es that ;e ;ill trace through the higher levels of evolution in later cha7ters. /volutionists have al;ays hel7ed the@selves to clai@s a6out fitness and o7ti@ality and the gro;th of co@7leAity, for instance, and these clai@s have 6een recogniJed 6y clai@ant and critic ali8e to 6e serious oversi@7lifica tions at 6est. +n the ;orld of @olecular evolution, no such a7ologies are reEuired. *hen /igen s7ea8s of o7ti@ality, he has a cris7 definition of ;hat he @eans, and eA7eri@ental @easure@ents to 6ac8 hi@ u7 and 8ee7 hi@ honest. His fitness landsca7es and @easures of success are neither su6Dective nor ad hoc. Molecular co@7leAity can 6e @easured in several @utually su77orting and o6Dective ;ays, and there is no 7oetic license at all in /igen-s use of the ter@ Ialgorith@.I *hen ;e envision a 7roofreading enJy@e, for instance, chugging along a 7air of D,A strands, chec8ing and fiAing and co7ying and then @oving one ste7 along and re7eating the 7rocess, ;e can hardly dou6t that ;e are ;atching a @icrosco7ic auto@aton at ;or8, and the 6est si@ulations @atch the o6served facts so closely that ;e can 6e very sure there are no @agical hel7er>elves, no s8yhoo8s, lur8ing in these Euarters. +n the ;orld of @olecules, the a77lication of Dar;inian thin8ing is 7articularly 7ure and unadulterated. +ndeed, ;hen ;e ado7t this vantage 7oint, it can see@ so@ething of a @arvel that Dar;inian theory, ;hich ;or8s so 6eautifully on @olecules, a77lies at all to such ungainlyHgalactic>siJedHconglo@erations of cells as 6irds and orchids and @a@@als. (*e don-t eA7ect the 7eriodic ta6le to enlighten us a6out cor7orations or nations, so ;hy ;ould ;e eA7ect Dar;inian evolutionary theory to ;or8 on such co@7leAities as ecosyste@s or @a@@alian lineagesLG" +n @acrosco7ic 6iologyHthe 6iology of everyday>siJed organis@s such as ants and ele7hants and red;ood treesHeverything is untidy. Mutation and selection can usually only 6e indirectly and i@7erfectly inferred, than8s to a @ind>6oggling array of circu@stantial co@7lications. +n the @olecular ;orld, @utation and selection events can 6e directly @easured and @ani7ulated, and the generation ti@e for viruses is so short that huge Dar;inian effects can 6e studied. 3or instance, it is the horrifying ca7acity of toAic

viruses to @utate in deadly co@6at ;ith @odern @edicine that s7urs on and funds @uch of this research. (The A+DS virus has undergone so @uch @u> tation in the last decade that its history over that 7eriod eAhi6its @ore genetic diversityH@easured in codon revisionsHthan is to 6e found in the entire history of 7ri@ate evolutionL" The research of /igen and hundreds of others has definite 7ractical a7> 7lications for all of us. +t is fitting to o6serve, then, that this i@7ortant ;or8 is an instance of Dar;inis@ triu@7hant, reductionis@ triu@7hant, @echanis@ triu@7hant, @aterialis@ triu@7hant. +t is also, ho;ever, the farthest thing fro@ -reed" reductionis@. +t is a 6reathta8ing cascade of levels u7on levels u7on levels, ;ith ne; 7rinci7les of eA7lanation, ne; 7heno@ena a77earing at each level, forever revealing that the fond ho7e of eA7laining IeverythingI at so@e one lo;er level is @isguided. Here is /igen-s o;n su@@ary of ;hat his survey sho;s# you ;ill note that it is ;ritten in ter@s that should 6e congenial to the @ost ardent critic of reductionis@? Selection is @ore li8e a 7articularly su6tle de@on that has o7erated on the different ste7s u7 to life, and o7erates today at the different levels of life, ;ith a set of highly original tric8s. A6ove all, it is highly active, driven 6y an internal feed6ac8 @echanis@ that searches in a very discri@inating @anner for the 6est route to o7ti@al 7erfor@ance, not 6ecause it 7ossesses an inherent drive to;ards any 7redestined goal, 6ut si@7ly 6y virtue of its inherent non>linear @echanis@, ;hich gives the a77earance of goal> directedness. P/igen 1 ', 7. 1'(Q

(. 3U,CT+0, A,D SP/C+3+CAT+0,

Sha7e is destiny in the ;orld of @acro@olecules. A one>di@ensional se> Euence of a@ino acids (or of the nucleotide codons that code for the@" deter@ines the identity of a 7rotein, 6ut the seEuence only 7artially constrains the ;ay this one>di@ensional 7rotein string folds itself u7. +t ty7ically s7rings into Dust one of @any 7ossi6le sha7es, an idiosyncratically sha7ed snarl that its seEuence ty7e al@ost al;ays 7refers. This three>di@ensional sha7e is the source of its 7o;er, its ca7acity as a catalystHas a 6uilder of structures or a fighter of antigens or a regulator of develo7@ent, for instance. +t is a @achine, and ;hat it does is a very strict function of the sha7e of its 7arts. +ts overall three>di@ensional sha7e is @uch @ore i@7ortant, functionally, than the one>di@ensional seEuence that is res7onsi6le for it. The i@7ortant 7rotein lysoJy@e, for instance, is a 7articular>sha7ed @olecular @achine that is 7roduced in @any different versionsH@ore than a hundred different a@ino> acid seEuences have 6een found in nature that fold into the sa@e functional sha7eHand of course differences in these a@ino>

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acid seEuences can 6e used as I7hilologicalI clues in re>creating the evo> lutionary history of the 7roduction and use of lysoJy@e. And here is a 7uJJle, first noted 6y *alter /lsasser (1 9%, 1 !!", 6ut Euite conclusively solved 6y MacEues Monod (1 $1". Considered very a6stractly, the fact that a one>di@ensional code can 6e IforI a three>di@ensional structure sho;s that infor@ation is added. +ndeed, %alue is added. The individual a@ino acids have value (6y contri6uting to the functional 7ro;ess of a 7rotein" not Dust in virtue of their location in the one>di@ensional seEuence that for@s the string, 6ut in virtue of their location in three> di@ensional s7ace once the string is folded u7. Thus there is a see@ing contradiction 6et;een the state@ent that the geno@e -entirely defines- the function of a 7rotein and the fact that this function is lin8ed to a three>di@ensional structure ;hose data content is richer than the direct contri6ution @ade to the structure 6y the geno@e. PMonod 1 $1, 7. &.Q As 5[77ers (1 =, 7. 1'=" 7oints out, Monod-s solution is straightfor;ard? IThe see@ingly irreduci6le, or eAcess, infor@ation is contained in the s7ecific conditions of the 7rotein-s environ@ent, and only together ;ith these can the genetic infor@ation deter@ine una@6iguously the structure and thus the function of the 7rotein @olecule.I Monod (1 $1, 7. &" 7uts it this ;ay? ... of all the structures 7ossi6le only one is actually realiJed. +nitial con> ditions hence enter a@ong the ite@s of infor@ation finally enclosed ;ithin the ... structure. *ithout s7ecifying it, they contri6ute to the realiJation of a uniEue sha7e 6y eli@inating all alternative structures, in this ;ay 7ro7osingHor rather i@7osingHan uneEuivocal inter7retation of a 7oten> tially eEuivocal @essage. ' *hat does this @eanG +t @eansHnot sur7risinglyHthat the language of D,A and the IreadersI of that language have to evolve together# neither can ;or8 on its o;n. *hen the deconstructionists say that the reader 6rings so@ething to the teAt, they are saying so@ething that a77lies Dust as surely to D,A as to 7oetry# the so@ething that the reader 6rings can 6e charac>

teriJed @ost generally and a6stracdy as infor@ation, and only the co@6i> nation of infor@ation fro@ the code and the code>reading environ@ent suffices to create an organis@. ( As ;e noted in cha7ter 9, so@e critics have fastened on this fact as if it ;ere so@eho; the refutation of Igene centris@,I the doctrine that the D,A is the sole infor@ation store for inheritance, 6ut that idea ;as al;ays only a handy oversi@7lification. Though li6raries are co@@only allo;ed to 6e storehouses of infor@ation, of course it is really only libraies;plus readers that 7reserve and store the infor@ation. Since li6raries have notHu7 till no;, at any rateHcontained a@ong their volu@es the infor@ation needed to create @ore readers, their ca7acity to store infor@ation (effectively" has 6een de7endent on there 6eing another infor@ation>storage syste@Hthe hu@an genetic syste@, of ;hich D,A is the 7rinci7le @ediu@. *hen ;e a77ly the sa@e reasoning to D,A itself, ;e see that it, too, reEuires a continuing su77ly of IreadersI that it does not itself entirely s7ecify. *here does the rest of the infor@ation co@e fro@ to s7ecify these readersG The short ans;er is that it co@es fro@ the very continuities of the environ@entHthe 7ersistence in the environ@ent of the necessary ra; (and 7artially constructed" @aterials, and the conditions in ;hich they can 6e eA7loited. /very ti@e you @a8e sure that your dishrag gets 7ro7erly dry in 6et;een uses, you 6rea8 the chain of environ@ental continuity (e.g., lots of @oisture" that is 7art of the infor@ational 6ac8ground 7resu77osed 6y the D,A of the 6acteria in the dishrag ;hose de@ise you see8. *e see here a s7ecial case of a very general 7rinci7le? any functioninstructure carries implicit infor@ation a6out the environ@ent in ;hich its function I;or8s.I The ;ings of a seagull @agnificently e@6ody 7rinci7les of aerodyna@ic design, and there6y also i@7ly that the creature ;hose ;ings these are is eAcellently ada7ted for flight in a @ediu@ having the s7ecific density and viscosity of the at@os7here ;ithin a thousand @eters or so of the surface of the /arth. )ecall the eAa@7le in cha7ter 9 of sending the score of 4eethoven-s 3ifth Sy@7hony to IMartians.I Su77ose ;e carefully 7reserved the 6ody of a seagull and sent it off into s7ace (;ithout any acco@7anying eA7lanation", to 6e discovered 6y these Martians. +f they

'. Philoso7hers ;ill recogniJe, + trust, that Monod thus 6oth 7osed and solved Putna@-s (1 $9" 7ro6le@ of T;in /arth, at least in the conteAt of the Itoy 7ro6le@I of @olecular evolution. Meaning Iain-t in the head,I as Putna@ fa@ously o6served, and it ain-t (all" in the D,A either. T;in /arth, other;ise 8no;n as the 7ro6le@ of 6road versus narro; content, ;ill get eAhu@ed 6riefly in cha7ter 1&, so + can give it its 7ro7er Dar;inian funeral.

(. David Haig (7ersonal co@@unication" has dra;n @y attention to a fascinating ne; ;rin8le in this unfolding story a6out folding 7roteins? @olecular cha7erones. ICha7er> ones are @olecular cranes par excellence. They are 7roteins ;ith ;hich an a@ino acid chain associates ;hile it is folding that allo;s the chain to ado7t a confor@ation that ;ould 6e unavaila6le in the a6sence of the cha7erone. The cha7erone is then discarded 6y the folded 7rotein. Cha7erones are highly conserved.... Molecular cha7erones ;ere na@ed 6y analogy to the functions of cha7erones at a de6utante 6all? their role ;as to encourage so@e interactions and to discourage others.I 3or recent details, see Martin et al. 1 (, /llis and van der 1ies 1 1.

1 %

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5unction and Specification

@ade the funda@ental assu@7tion that the ;ings ;ere functional, and that their function ;as flight (;hich @ight not 6e as o6vious to the@ as ;e, ;ho have seen the@ do it, thin8", they could use this assu@7tion to Iread off- the i@7licit infor@ation a6out an environ@ent for ;hich these ;ings ;ould 6e ;ell designed. Su77ose they then as8ed the@selves ho; all this aerodyna@ic theory ca@e to 6e i@7licit in the structure, or, in other ;ords? Ho; did all this infor@ation get into these ;ingsG The ans;er must 6e? 4y an interaction 6et;een the environ@ent and the seagull-s ancestors. ( Da;8ins 1 %(a eA7lores these issues in @ore detail." The sa@e 7rinci7le a77lies at the @ost 6asic level, ;here the function is s7ecification itself, the function on which all other functions depend. *hen ;e ;onder, ;ith Monod, ho; the three>di@ensional sha7e of the 7roteins gets fiAed, given that the infor@ation in the geno@e @ust unders7ecify the@, ;e see that only a 7runing of the nonfunctional (or less functional" could eA7lain it. So the acEuisition of a particular sha7e 6y a @olecule involves a @iAture of historical accident on the one hand and the IdiscoveryI of i@7ortant truths on the other. 3ro@ the outset, the 7rocess of the design of @olecular I@achinesI eA> hi6its these t;o features of hu@an engineering. /igen (1 ', 7. (&" 7rovides a good instance of this in his reflections on the structure of the D,A code. I0ne @ight ;ell as8 ;hy ,ature has used four sy@6ols, ;hen she @ight Dust as ;ell have @ade do ;ith t;o.I *hy indeedG ,otice ho; naturally and inevita6ly a I;hyI Euestion arises at this 7oint, and notice that it calls for an IengineeringI ans;er. /ither the ans;er is that there is no reasonHit is historical accident, 7ure and si@7leHor there is a reason? a condition ;as or is 7resent that @a8es this the ri-ht ;ay or best ;ay for the coding syste@ to get designed, given the conditions that o6tained. & All the dee7est features of @olecular design @ay 6e considered fro@ the engineering 7ers7ective. 0n the one hand, consider the fact that @acro> @olecules co@e in t;o 6asic sha7e categories? sy@@etrical and chiral (;ith left>handed and right>handed versions". There is a reason ;hy so @any should 6e sy@@etrical? The selective advantage in a sy@@etrical co@7leA is enDoyed 6y all the su6units, ;hile in an asy@@etric co@7leA the advantage is only effective in the su6unit in ;hich the @utation arises. +t is for this reason that ;e find so @any sy@@etric structures in 6iology, I6ecause they ;ere a6le to @a8e the @ost effective use of their advantage, and thusHa posterioriH;on the
&. /igen suggests that there is a reason ;hy there are four letters, not t;o, 6ut + a@ not going to 7ass it on. Perha7s you can figure out for yourself ;hat it @ight 6e 6efore seeing ;hat /igen says. <ou already have at your fingerti7s the relevant 7rinci7les of engineering to give it a good shot.

selection co@7etition# this ;as not, ho;ever, 6ecause sy@@etry isH a prioriHan indis7ensa6le reEuire@ent for the fulfill@ent of a functional 7ur7ose.I P5[77ers 1 =, 7. 11 , incor7orating a Euotation fro@ /igen and *in8ler>0s;atitsch 1 $9.Q

4ut ;hat a6out the asy@@etric or chiral sha7esG +s there a reason ;hy they should 6e one ;ayHleft>handed, sayHrather than the otherG ,o, 7ro6> a6ly not, 6ut? I/ven if there is no a priori 7hysical eA7lanation for the decision, even if it ;as Dust a 6rief fluctuation that gave one or the other eEuivalent 7ossi6ility a @o@entary advantage, the self>reinforcing character of selection ;ould turn the rando@ decision into a @aDor and 7er@anent 6reach of sy@@etry. The cause ;ould 6e a 7urely -historical- oneI (/igen 1 ', 7. (9 ".9 The shared chirality of organic @olecules (in our 7art of the universe " ;as thus 7ro6a6ly another 7ure F*/)T< 7heno@enon, or ;hat Cric8 (1 !%" has called a IfroJen accident.I 4ut even in the case of such a F*/)T< 7heno@enon, if the conditions are Dust right and the o77ortunities and hence 7ressures are great enough, the ta6les @ight 6e turned and a ne; standard esta6lished. This is a77arently Dust ;hat ha77ened ;hen the D,A language dis7laced the ),A language as the lin-ua franca of encoding for co@7leA organis@s. The reasons for its 7refera6ility are clear? 6y 6eing dou6le> stranded, the D,A language 7er@itted a syste@ of error>correcting or 7roofreading enJy@es, ;hich could re7air co7ying errors in one strand 6y reference to its @ate. This @ade the creation of longer, @ore co@7licated geno@es feasi6le (/igen 1 ', 7. (!". ,ote that this reasoning does not yield the conclusion that dou6le>stranded D,A must develo7, for Mother ,ature had no advance intention to create @ulticellular life. +t Dust reveals that NN dou6le>stranded D,A ha77ens to 6egin to develo7, it o7ens u7 o77ortunities that are de7endent on it. Hence it 6eco@es a necessity for those eAe@7lars in the s7ace of all 7ossi6le life for@s that avail the@selves of it, and if those life for@s 7revail

9. Danny Hillis, the creator of the Connection Machine, once told @e a story a6out so@e co@7uter scientists ;ho designed an electronic co@7onent for a @ilitary a77lication (+ thin8 it ;as 7art of a guidance syste@ in air7lanes". Their 7rototy7e had t;o circuit 6oards, and the to7 one 8e7t sagging, so, casting a6out for a Euic8 fiA, they s7otted a 6rass door8no6 in the la6 ;hich had Dust the right thic8ness. They too8 it off its door and Da@@ed it into 7lace 6et;een the t;o circuit 6oards on the 7rototy7e. So@eti@e later, one of these engineers ;as called in to loo8 at a 7ro6le@ the @ilitary ;as having ;ith the actual @anufactured syste@s, and found to his a@aJe@ent that 6et;een the circuit 6oards in each unit ;as a very 7recisely @illed 6rass du7licate of the original door8no6. This is an Ur>story that has @any ;ell>8no;n variations in engineering circles and a@ong evolutionary 6iologists. 3or instance, see Pri@o 2evi-s a@using account of the @ystery of the varnish additive in The eriodic Table ( 1 %&".


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over those that do not avail the@selves of it, that yields a retroactive en > dorse@ent of this raison d/etre of the D,A language. This is the ;ay evo> lution al;ays discovers reasonsH6y retroactive endorse@ent.

&. 0)+.+,A2 S+, A,D TH/ 4+)TH 03 M/A,+,.

The road to wisdom= !ell7 it/s plain and simple to express8 Err and err and err a-ain but less and less and less.
> >Piet Hein

The solution to the problem of life is seen in the %anishin- of this problem.
H2UD*+. *+TT./,ST/+, 1 '', 7ro7. !.9'1

0nce u7on a ti@e, there ;as no @ind, and no @eaning, and no error, and no function, and no reasons, and no life. ,o; all these ;onderful things eAist. +t has to 6e 7ossi6le to tell the story of ho; they all ca@e to eAist, and that story @ust 7ass, 6y su6tle incre@ents, fro@ ele@ents that @anifestly lac8 the @arvelous 7ro7erties to ele@ents that @anifestly have the@. There ;ill have to 6e isth@uses of du6ious or controversial or Dust 7lain unclas>sifia6le inter@ediates. All these ;onderful 7ro7erties @ust have co@e into eAistence gradually, 6y ste7s that are 6arely discerni6le e%en in retrospect. )ecall that in the 7revious cha7ter it see@ed to 6e o6vious, @ay6e even a truth of logic, that either there had to 6e a 3irst 2iving Thing or there had to 6e an infinite regress of 2iving Things. ,either horn of the dile@@a ;ould do, of course, and the standard Dar;inian solution, ;hich ;e ;ill see over and over again, ;as this? in its 7lace ;e descri6ed a finite regress, in ;hich the sought>for @arvelous 7ro7erty (life, in this case" ;as acEuired 6y slight, 7erha7s even i@7erce7ti6le, a@end@ents or incre@ents. Here is the @ost general for@ of the sche@a of Dar;inian eA7lanation. The tas8 of getting fro@ the early ti@e ;hen there ;asn-t any x to the later ti@e ;hen there is lots of x is co@7leted 6y a finite series of ste7s in ;hich it 6eco@es less and less clear that Ithere still isn-t any x here, not really,I through a series of Ide6ata6leI ste7s until ;e eventually find ourselves on ste7s ;here it is really Euite o6vious that Iof course there is x7 lots of AI *e never dra; any lines. ,otice ;hat ha77ens in the 7articular case of the origin of life if ;e try to dra; the line. There are a sle; of truthsHno dou6t largely un8no;a6le in detail 6y usHany one of ;hich ;e could Iin 7rinci7leI identify, if ;e

;ished, as the truth that confir@s the identify of Ada@ the Proto6acteriu@. *e can shar7en u7 the conditions on 6eing the 3irst 2iving Thing ho;ever ;e li8e, 6ut ;hen ;e then get in our ti@e @achine and go 6ac8 to ;itness the @o@ent, ;e find that Ada@ the Proto6acteriu@, no @atter ho; ;e have defined it, is 7ro6a6ly as undistinguished as Mitochondrial /ve. *e 8no; as a @atter of logic that there ;as at least one start that has us as its contin > uation, 6ut there ;ere 7ro6a6ly @any false starts that differed in no inter; estin- wa" at all fro@ the one that initiated the ;inning series. The title of Ada@ is, once again, a retros7ective honor, and ;e @a8e a funda@ental @ista8e of reasoning if ;e as8, In %irtue of what essential difference is this the 6eginning of lifeG There need 6e no difference at all 6et;een Ada@ and 4ada@, an ato@>for>ato@ du7licate of Ada@ ;ho Dust ha77ened not to have founded anything of note. This is not a problem for Dar;inian theory# this is a source of its 7o;er. As 5[77ers 7uts it ( 1 =, 7. 1((", IThe fact that ;e o6viously are not in a 7osition to give a co@7rehensive definition of the 7heno@enon -life- s7ea8s not against 6ut indeed for the 7ossi6ility of a co@7letely 7hysical eA7lanation of life 7heno@ena.I /Aactly the sa@e gratuitous 7redica@ent faces anyone ;ho, des7airing of defining so@ething as co@7licated as life, decides to define the a77arently si@7ler notion of function or teleolo-". At eAactly ;hat 7oint does function @a8e its a77earanceG Did the very first nucleotides have functions, or did they Dust have causal 7o;ersG Did Cairns>S@ith-s clay crystals eAhi6it -en; uine teleological 7ro7erties, or Dust Bas if teological 7ro7ertiesG Do gliders in the 2ife ;orld have the function of loco@otion, or do they Dust @oveG +t doesn-t @a8e any difference ho; you legislate the ans;er# the interesting ;orld of functioning @echanis@s has to start ;ith @echanis@s that Istrad dle the line,I and, ho;ever far 6ac8 you 7lace the line, there ;ill 6e 7re cursors that differ in argua6ly nonessential ;ays fro@ the anointed ones. ! ,othing co@7licated enough to 6e really interesting could have an es> sence.$ This anti>essentialist the@e ;as recogniJed 6y Dar;in as a truly

!. See 4edau 1 1 for an eA7loration of this 7oint that arrives at a so@e;hat different destination, and 2inger 1 = for argu@ents that go directly counter to it. 2inger insists ;e have conventions such that there @ust 6e (on logical grounds" Istraddle 7airsI in such circu@stances, such that one is the last ite@ in the series to lac8 x and the other is the first in the series to have x. 4ut as van +n;agen (1 (6" o6serves, a @ore inviting conclusion is? so @uch the ;orse for those conventions. $. These are fighting ;ords for so@e 7hiloso7hers. 3or a clear atte@7t to salvage a for@al logic of essences that s7ecifically addresses the 7ro6le@s raised 6y the co@7leAity of artifacts and organis@s, see 3or6es 1 %(, 1 %&. The conclusion + dra; fro@ 3or6es- ;or8 is that it constructs ;hat @ay 6e a Pyrrhic victory over Fuine-s staunch s8e7ticis@ a6out essences, 6ut in the 7rocess it confir@s his underlying ;arning? contrary to ;hat you @ight thin8, there is nothing natural a6out essentialist thin8ing# seeing the ;orld through essentialist glasses does not at all @a8e your life easy.


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revolutionary e7iste@ological or @eta7hysical acco@7ani@ent to his science# ;e should not 6e sur7rised 6y ho; hard it is for 7eo7le to s;allo;. /ver since Socrates taught Plato (and all the rest of us" ho; to 7lay the ga@e of as8ing for necessary and sufficient conditions, ;e have seen the tas8 of Idefining your ter@sI as a 7ro7er 7rea@6le to all serious investigations, and this has sent us off on inter@ina6le 6outs of essence>@ongering. % *e want to dra; lines# ;e often need to dra; linesHDust so ;e can ter@inate or forestall sterile eA7lorations in a ti@ely fashion. 0ur 7erce7tual syste@s are even genetically designed to force straddling candidates for 7erce7tion into one classification or another (Mac8endoff 1 (", a .ood Tric8 6ut not a forced @ove. Dar;in sho;s us that evolution does not need ;hat ;e need# the real ;orld can get along Dust fine ;ith the de facto divergences that e@erge over ti@e, leaving lots of e@7tiness 6et;een clusters of actuality. *e have Dust glanced 6riefly at a 7articularly i@7ortant instance of this characteristic Dar;inian eA7lanatory sche@a, and ;e should 7ause to con> fir@ the effect. Through the @icrosco7e of @olecular 6iology, ;e get to ;itness the 6irth of a-enc"7 in the first @acro@olecules that have enough co@7leAity to Ido things.I This is not florid agencyH echt intentional action, ;ith the re7resentation of reasons, deli6eration, reflection, and conscious decisionH6ut it is the only 7ossi6le ground fro@ ;hich the seeds of inten> tional action could gro;. There is so@ething alien and vaguely re7ellent a6out the Euasi>agency ;e discover at this levelHall that 7ur7osive hustle and 6ustle, and yet there/s nobod" home. The @olecular @achines 7erfor@ their a@aJing stunts, o6viously eAEuisitely designed, and Dust as o6viously none the ;iser a6out ;hat they are doing. Consider this account of the activity of an ),A 7hage, a re7licating virus? 3irst of all, the virus needs a @aterial in ;hich to 7ac8 and 7rotect its o;n genetic infor@ation. Secondly, it needs a @eans of introducing its infor> @ation into the host cell. Thirdly, it reEuires a @echanis@ for the s7ecific re7lication of its infor@ation in the 7resence of a vast eAcess of host cell ),A. 3inally, it @ust arrange for the 7roliferation of its infor@ation, a 7rocess that usually leads to the destruction of the host cell.... The virus

even gets the cell to carry out its re7lication# its only contri6ution is one 7rotein factor, s7ecially ada7ted for the viral ),A. This enJy@e does not 6eco@e active until a -7ass;ord- on the viral ),A is sho;n. *hen it sees this, it re7roduces the viral ),A ;ith great efficiency, ;hile ignoring the very @uch greater nu@6er of ),A @olecules of the host cell. Conse> Euently the cell is soon flooded ;ith viral ),A. This is 7ac8ed into the virus- coat 7rotein, ;hich is also synthesiJed in large Euantities, and finally the cell 6ursts and releases a @ultitude of 7rogeny virus 7articles. All this is a 7rogra@@e that runs auto@atically and is rehearsed do;n to the s@allest detail. P/igen 1 ', 7. &=.Q 2ove it or hate it, 7heno@ena li8e this eAhi6it the heart of the 7o;er of the Dar;inian idea. An i@7ersonal, unreflective, ro6otic, @indless little scra7 of @olecular @achinery is the ulti@ate 6asis of all the agency, and hence @eaning, and hence consciousness, in the universe. )ight fro@ the 6eginning, the cost of doin- somethin- is running the ris8 of doing it wron-7 of @a8ing a @ista8e. 0ur slogan could 6e? ,o ta8ing ;ithout @ista8ing. The first error that ever ;as @ade ;as a ty7ogra7hical error, a co7ying @ista8e that then 6eca@e the o77ortunity for creating a ne; tas8 environ@ent ( or fitness landsca7e " ;ith a ne; criterion of right and ;rong, 6etter and ;orse. A co7ying error IcountsI as an error here only 6ecause there is a cost to getting it ;rong? ter@ination of the re7roductive line at ;orst, or a di@inution in the ca7acity to re7licate. These are all o6Dective @atters, differences that are there ;hether or not ;e loo8 at the@, or care a6out the@, 6ut they 6ring in their train a ne; 7ers7ective. 4efore that @o@ent, no o77ortunity for error eAisted. Ho;ever things ;ent, they ;ent neither right nor ;rong. 4efore that @o@ent, there ;as no sta6le, 7redictive ;ay of eAercising the o7tion of ado7ting the 7ers7ective fro@ ;hich errors @ight 6e discerned, and every @ista8e any6ody or anything has ever @ade since is de7endent on that original error>@a8ing 7rocess. +n fact, there is strong selection 7ressure for @a8ing the genetic co7ying 7rocess as high>fidelity as 7ossi6le, @ini@iJing the li8elihood of error. 3ortunately, it cannot Euite achieve 7erfection, for if it did, evolution ;ould grind to a halt. This is 0riginal Sin, in scientifically res7ecta6le guise. 2i8e the 4i6lical version, it 7ur7orts to eA7lain so@ething? the e@ergence of a ne; level of 7heno@ena ;ith s7ecial characteristics ( @eaners in one case, sinners in the other". Unli8e the 4i6lical version, it 7rovides an eA7lanation that @a8es sense# it does not 7roclai@ itself to 6e a @ysterious fact that one has to ta8e on faith, and it has testa6le i@7lications. ,otice that one of the first fruits of the 7ers7ective fro@ ;hich error is discerni6le is a clarification of the conce7t of a s7ecies. *hen ;e consider all the actual geno@ic teAts that get created in the 7rocess of co7ying, co7ying, co7yingH;ith occasional @utationsHnothing intrinsicall"

%. 0ne of the @aDor the@es of the .er@an 7hiloso7her Martin Heidegger ;as that Socrates is to 6la@e for @uch of ;hat is ;rong ;ith 7hiloso7hy, 6ecause he taught us all to de@and necessary and sufficient conditions. +t cannot 6e often that Dar;in and Heidegger su77ort each other, so the occasion is ;orth noting. Hu6ert Dreyfus has long @aintained (e.g., 1 $', 1 $ " that Artificial +ntelligence is 6ased on a failure to a77re> ciate Heidegger-s critiEue of Socrates, and though that @ay 6e true of so@e strands of A+, it is not true of the field in general, ;hich is fir@ly ;ith Dar;in, a clai@ that + ;ill defend later in this cha7ter, and in greater detail in cha7ters 1( to 19.


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counts as a canonical version of anything. That is, although ;e can identify @utations 6y si@7ly co@7aring the I6eforeI seEuence ;ith the IafterI seEuence, there is no intrinsic ;ay of telling ;hich of the uncorrected ty7ogra7hical errors @ight @ore fruitfully 6e vie;ed as editorial impro%e; ments.& Most @utations are ;hat engineers ;ould call Idon-t>cares,I vari> ations that @a8e no discerni6le difference to via6ility, 6ut as selection gradually ta8es its toll, the 6etter versions 6egin to cluster. +t is only relative to a I;ild ty7eI (a center of gravity, in effect, of such a cluster" that ;e can identify a 7articular version as a @ista8en version, and even then there is the 7ossi6ility, re@ote in 7ractice 6ut o@ni7resent in 7rinci7le, that ;hat see@s a @ista8e fro@ the 7ers7ective of one ;ild ty7e is a 6rilliant i@7rove@ent fro@ the 7ers7ective of a ;ild>ty7e>in>the>@a8ing. And as ne; ;ild ty7es e@erge as the foci or su@@its of fitness landsca7es, the direction of the steady 7ressure of error correction can reverse in any 7articular neigh6orhood of Design S7ace. 0nce a 7articular fa@ily of si@ilar teAts is no longer su6Dect to IcorrectionI relative to a receding or la7sed nor@, it is free to ;ander into the attractive 6asin of a ne; nor@. 1= )e7roductive isolation is thus 6oth a cause and an effect of the clu@7iness of 7henoty7ic s7ace. *herever there are co@7eting error>correcting regi@es, one regi@e or the other ;ill ;in out, and hence the isth@us 6et;een the co@7etitors ;ill tend to dissolve, leaving e@7ty s7ace 6et;een occu7ied Jones of Design S7ace. Thus, Dust as nor@s of 7ronunciation and ;ord use reinforce clustering in s7eech co@@unities (a theoretically i@7ortant 7oint @ade 6y Fuine 1 != in his discussion of error and the e@ergence of nor@s in language ", so nor@s of geno@ic eA7ression are the ulti@ate 6asis of s7eci>ation. Through the sa@e @olecular>level @icrosco7e ;e see the 6irth of mean; in-7 in the acEuisition of Ise@antics-- 6y the nucleotide seEuences, ;hich at first are @ere syntactic o6Dects. This is a crucial ste7 in the Dar;inian ca@7aign to overthro; Mohn 2oc8e-s Mind>first vision of the cos@os. Phi> loso7hers co@@only agree, for good reason, that @eaning and @ind can

. ,ote the 7arallel here ;ith @y discussion of the false dichoto@y 6et;een 0r;ellian and StalinesEue @odels of consciousness in Consciousness Explained (1 1a". +n that case as ;ell, there is no intrinsic @ar8 of the canonical. 1=. 0nce again ;e see the tolerance for to7sy>turvy i@agery. So@e theorists s7ea8 of basins of attraction7 guided 6y the @eta7hor of 6alls rolling 6lindly downhill to the local minimum instead of cli@6ing 6lindly u7hill to the local maximum. Must turn an ada7tive landsca7e inside out and the @ountains 6eco@e 6asins, the ridges 6eco@e canyons, and IgravityI 7rovides the analogue of selection 7ressure. +t doesn-t @a8e any difference ;hether you choose Iu7I or Ido;nI as the favored direction, Dust so long as you are consistent. Here + have sli77ed, @o@entarily, into the rival 7ers7ective, Dust to @a8e this 7oint.

never 6e 7ulled a7art, that there could never 6e @eaning ;here there ;as no @ind, or @ind ;here there ;as no @eaning. Intentionalit" is the 7hiloso7her-s technical ter@ for this @eaning# it is the Ia6outnessI that can relate one thing to anotherHa na@e to its 6earer, an alar@ call to the danger that triggered it, a ;ord to its referent, a thought to its o6Dect. 11 0nly so@e things in the universe @anifest intentionality. A 6oo8 or a 7ainting can 6e a6out a @ountain, 6ut a @ountain itself is not a6out anything. A @a7 or a sign or a drea@ or a song can 6e a6out Paris, 6ut Paris is not a6out anything. +ntentionality is ;idely regarded 6y 7hiloso7hers as the @ar8 of the @ental. *here does intentionality co@e fro@G +t co@es fro@ @inds, of course. 4ut that idea, 7erfectly good in its o;n ;ay, 6eco@es a source of @ystery and confusion ;hen it is used as a @eta7hysical 7rinci7le, rather than a fact of recent natural history. Aristotle called .od the Un@oved Mover, the source of all @otion in the universe, and 2oc8e-s version of Aristotelian doctrine, as ;e have seen, identifies this .od as Mind, turning the Un@oved Mover into the Un@eant Meaner, the source of all +ntentionality. 2oc8e too8 hi@self to 6e 7roving deductively ;hat the tradition already too8 to 6e o6vious? original intentionality s7rings fro@ the Mind of .od# ;e are .od-s creatures, and derive our intentionality fro@ Hi@. Dar;in turned this doctrine u7side do;n? intentionality doesn-t co@e fro@ on high# it 7ercolates u7 fro@ 6elo;, fro@ the initially @indless and 7ointless algorith@ic 7rocesses that gradually acEuire @eaning and intelligence as they develo7. And, 7erfectly follo;ing the 7attern of all Dar;inian thin8ing, ;e see that the first @eaning is not full>fledged @eaning# it certainly fails to @anifest all the IessentialI 7ro7erties of real @eaning (;hatever you @ay ta8e those 7ro7erties to 6e". +t is @ere Euasi>@eaning, or se@i>se@antics. +t is ;hat Mohn Searle (1 %=,1 %9,1 ' " has dis7araged as @ere Bas if intentionalityI as o77osed to ;hat he calls I0riginal +ntentionality.I 4ut you have to start so@e;here, and the fact that the first ste7 in the right direction is Dust 6arely discerni6le as a ste7 to;ards @eaning at all is Dust ;hat ;e should eA7ect. There are t;o 7aths to intentionality. The Dar;inian 7ath is diachronic, or historical, and concerns the gradual accretion, over 6illions of years, of the sorts of DesignHof functionality and 7ur7osivenessHthat can su77ort an intentional inter7retation of the activities of organis@s (the IdoingsI of IagentsI". 4efore intentionality can 6e fully fled-ed7 it @ust go through its a;8;ard, ugly 7eriod of featherless 7seudo>intentionality. The synchronic

11. The to7ic of intentionality has 6een ;ritten a6out eAtensively 6y 7hiloso7hers of @any different traditions in recent years. 3or an overvie; and a general definition, see @y article I+ntentionalityI (co>authored ;ith Mohn Haugeland" in .regory 1 %$. 3or @ore detailed analyses, see @y earlier 6oo8s ( 1 ! , 1 $%, 1 %$6".


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7ath is the 7ath of Artificial +ntelligence, in an organis@ ;ith genuine in> tentionalityHsuch as yourselfHthere are, right no;, @any 7arts, and so@e of these 7arts eAhi6it a sort of se@i>intentionality, or @ere as if intention>ality, or 7seudo>intentionalityHcall it ;hat you li8eHand your o;n genuine, fully fledged intentionality is in fact the 7roduct (;ith no further @iracle ingredients" of the activities of all the se@i>@inded and @indless 6its that @a8e you u7 (this is the central thesis defended in Dennett 1 %$6, 1 1a". That is ;hat a @ind isHnot a @iracle>@achine, 6ut a huge, se@i>designed, self>redesigning a@alga@ of s@aller @achines, each ;ith its o;n design history, each 7laying its o;n role in the Iecono@y of the soul.I (Plato ;as right, as usual, ;hen he sa; a dee7 analogy 6et;een a re7u6lic and a 7erson H6ut of course he had @uch too si@7le a vision of ;hat this @ight @ean." There is a dee7 affinity 6et;een the synchronic and diachronic 7aths to intentionality. 0ne ;ay of dra@atiJing it is to 7arody an ancient anti> Dar;inian senti@ent? the @on8ey-s uncle. *ould you ;ant your daughter to @arry a ro6otG *ell, if Dar;in is right, your great>great>... grand@other was a ro6otL A @acro, in fact. That is the unavoida6le conclusion of the 7revious cha7ters. ,ot only are you descended fro@ @acros# you are co@7osed of the@. <our he@oglo6in @olecules, your anti6odies, your neurons, your vesti6ular>ocular refleA @achineryHat every level of analysis ;e find @achinery that du@6ly does a ;onderful, elegantly designed Do6. *e have ceased to shudder, 7erha7s, at the scientific vision of viruses and 6acteria 6usily and @indlessly eAecuting their su6versive 7roDectsHhorrid little au> to@ata doing their evil deeds. 4ut ;e should not thin8 that ;e can ta8e co@fort in the thought that the" are alien invaders, so unli8e the @ore congenial tissues that @a8e u7 us. *e are @ade of the sa@e sorts of auto@ata that invade usHno halos of elan %ital distinguish your anti6odies fro@ the antigens they co@6at# they si@7ly 6elong to the clu6 that is you, so they fight on your 6ehalf. Can it 6e that if you 7ut enough of these du@6 ho@unculi together you @a8e a real conscious 7ersonG The Dar;inian says there could 6e no other ;ay of @a8ing one. ,o;, it certainly does not follo; fro@ the fact that you are descended fro@ ro6ots that you are a ro6ot. After all, you are also a direct descendant of so@e fish, and you are not a fish# you are a direct descendant of so@e 6acteria, and you are not a 6acteriu@. 4ut unless dualis@ or vitalis@ is true (in ;hich case you have so@e eAtra, secret ingredient in you ", you are made of ro6otsHor ;hat co@es to the sa@e thing, a collection of trillions of @acro@olecular @achines. And all of these are ulti@ately descended fro@ the original @acros. So so@ething @ade of ro6ots can eAhi6it genuine consciousness, or genuine intentionality, 6ecause you do if anything does. ,o ;onder, then, that there should 6e so @uch antagonis@ to 6oth

Dar;inian thin8ing and Artificial +ntelligence. Together they stri8e a funda> @ental 6lo; at the last refuge to ;hich 7eo7le have retreated in the face of the Co7ernican )evolution? the @ind as an inner sanctu@ that science cannot reach. (See MaJlish 1 (" +t is a long and ;inding road fro@ @ol ecules to @inds, ;ith @any diverting s7ectacles along the ;ayHand ;e ;ill tarry over the @ost interesting of these in su6seEuent cha7tersH6ut no; is the ti@e to loo8 @ore closely than usual at the Dar;inian 6eginnings of Artificial +ntelligence.

9. TH/ C0MPUT/) THAT 2/A),/D T0 P2A< CH/C5/)S

Alan Turing and Mohn von ,eu@ann ;ere t;o of the greatest scientists of the century. +f any6ody could 6e said to have invented the co@7uter, they did, and their 6rainchild has co@e to 6e recogniJed as 6oth a triu@7h of engineering and an intellectual vehicle for eA7loring the @ost a6stract real@s of 7ure science. 4oth thin8ers ;ere at one and the sa@e ti@e a;e so@e theorists and dee7ly 7ractical, e7ito@iJing an intellectual style that has 6een 7laying a gro;ing role in science since the Second *orld *ar. +n addition to creating the co@7uter, 6oth Turing and von ,eu@ann @ade funda@ental contri6utions to theoretical 6iology. 1on ,eu@ann, as ;e have already noted, a77lied his 6rilliant @ind to the a6stract 7ro6le@ of self>re7lication, and Turing (1 9'" did 7ioneering ;or8 on the @ost 6asic theoretical 7ro6le@s of e@6ryology or @or7hogenesis? ho; can the co@7leA to7ologyHthe sha7eH of an organis@ arise fro@ the si@7le to7ology of the single fertiliJed cell fro@ ;hich it gro;sG The 7rocess 6egins, as every high>school student 8no;s, ;ith an event of Euite sy@@etrical division. (As 3rancois Maco6 has said, the drea@ of every cell is to 6eco@e t;o cells." T;o cells 6eco@e four, and four 6eco@e eight, and eight 6eco@e siAteen# ho; do hearts and livers and legs and 6rains get started under such a regi@eG 1' Turing sa; the continuity 6et;een such @olecular>level 7ro6le@s and the 7ro6le@ of ho; a 7oet ;rites a sonnet, and fro@ the earliest days of co@7uters, the a@6ition of those ;ho sa; ;hat Turing sa; has

1'. T;o highly accessi6le accounts of Turing-s ;or8 on @or7hogenesis are Hodges ( 1 %(, ch. $", and Ste;art and .olu6its8y ( 1 '", ;hich also discusses their relation to @ore recent theoretical eA7lorations in the field. 4eautiful as Turing-s ideas are, they 7ro6a6ly have at 6est a very attenuated a77lication to real 6iological syste@s. Mohn Maynard S@ith (7ersonal co@@unication" recalls 6eing entranced 6y Turing-s 1 9' 7a7er (;hich his su7ervisor, M. 4. S. Haldane, had sho;n hi@", and for years he ;as convinced that I@y fingers @ust 6e Turing ;aves# @y verte6rae @ust 6e Turing ;avesIH 6ut he eventually ca@e to realiJe, reluctantly, that it could not 6e that si@7le and 6eautiful.


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6een to use his ;onderful @achine to eA7lore the @ysteries of thought. 1( Turing 7u6lished his 7ro7hetic essay, ICo@7uting Machinery and +ntel> ligence,I in the 7hiloso7hical Dournal Mind in 1 9=, surely one of the @ost freEuently cited articles ever to a77ear in that Dournal. At the ti@e he ;rote it, there ;ere no Artificial +ntelligence 7rogra@sHthere ;ere really only t;o o7erating co@7uters in the ;orldH6ut ;ithin a fe; years, there ;ere enough @achines u7 and running t;enty>four hours a day so that Arthur Sa@uel, a research scientist at +4M, could fill the other;ise idle late>night ti@e on one of the early giants ;ith the activities of a 7rogra@ that is as good a candidate as any for the retros7ective title of A+>Ada@. Sa@uel-s 7rogra@ 7layed chec8ers, and it got 6etter and 6etter 6y 7laying against itself through the s@all hours of the night, redesigning itself 6y thro;ing out earlier versions that had not fared ;ell in the nightly tourna@ent and trying out ne; @utations that ;ere @indlessly generated. +t eventually 6eca@e a @uch 6etter chec8ers>7layer than Sa@uel hi@self, 7roviding one of the first clear countereAa@7les to the so@e;hat hysterical @yth that Ia co@7uter can really only do ;hat its 7rogra@@er tells it to do.I 3ro@ our 7ers7ective ;e can see that this fa@iliar 6ut @ista8en idea is nothing 6ut an eA7ression of 2oc8e-s hunch that only Minds can Design, an eA7loitation of ex nihilo nihil fit that Dar;in had clearly discredited. The ;ay Sa@uel-s 7rogra@ transcended its creator, @oreover, ;as 6y a stri8ingly classical 7rocess of Dar;inian evolution. Sa@uel-s legendary 7rogra@ is thus not only the 7rogenitor of the intel>

1(. +n fact, the 6ridge 6et;een co@7uters and evolution goes 6ac8 even farther, to Charles 4a66age, ;hose 1%(& conce7tion of the IDifference /ngineI is generally credited ;ith inaugurating the 7rehistory of the co@7uter. 4a66age-s notorious 9inth Brid-ewa; ter Treatise (1%(%" eA7loited his theoretical @odel of a co@7uting engine to offer a @athe@atical 7roof that .od had in effect 7rogra@@ed nature to generate the s7eciesL I0n 4a66age-s s@art @achine any seEuence of nu@6ers could 6e 7rogra@@ed to cut in, ho;ever long another series had 6een running. 4y analogy, .od at Creation had a7> 7ointed ne; sets of ani@als and 7lants to a77ear li8e cloc8;or8 throughout historyHhe had created the la;s ;hich 7roduced the@, rather than creating the@ directI ( Des@ond and Moore 1 1, 7. '1(". Dar;in 8ne; 4a66age and his Treatise7 and even attended his 7arties in 2ondon. Des@ond and Moore (77. '1'>1%" offer so@e tantaliJing gli@7ses into the traffic of ideas that @ay have crossed this 6ridge. More than a century later, another 2ondon society of li8e>@inded thin8ers, the )atio Clu6, served as the hot6ed for @ore recent ideas. Monathan Miller dre; @y attention to the )atio Clu6, and urged @e to research its history in the course of ;riting this 6oo8, 6ut + have not @ade @uch 7rogress to date. + a@ tantaliJed, ho;ever, 6y the 1 91 7hotogra7h of its @e@6ershi7 that graces the front of A. M. Uttley-s Information Trans; mission in the 9er%ous S"stem (1 $ "? Alan Turing is seated on the la;n, along ;ith the neuro6iologist Horace 4arlo; (a direct descendant of Dar;in, 6y the ;ay"# standing 6ehind are )oss Ash6y, Donald Mac5ay, and other @aDor figures of the earliest days of ;hat has 6eco@e cognitive science. +t-s a s@all ;orld.

lectual s7ecies, A+, 6ut also of its @ore recent offshoot, A2, Artificial 2ife. 2egendary though it is, fe; 7eo7le today are fa@iliar ;ith its re@ar8a6le details, @any of ;hich deserve to 6e @ore ;idely 8no;n. 1& Sa@uel-s first chec8ers 7rogra@ ;as ;ritten in 1 9', for the +4M $=1, 6ut the learning version ;asn-t finished until 1 99, and ran on an +4M $=&# a later version ran on the +4M $= =. Sa@uel found so@e elegant ;ays of coding any state of a chec8ers ga@e into four thirty>siA>6it I;ordsI and any @ove into a si@7le arith@etical o7eration on those ;ords. (Co@7ared ;ith today-s 7rodigiously ;asteful co@7uter 7rogra@s ;hich run on for @ega6ytes, Sa@uel-s 6asic 7rogra@ ;as @icrosco7ic in siJeHa Ilo;>techI geno@e indeed, ;ith fe;er than siA thousand lines of codeH6ut, then, he had to ;rite it in @achine code# this ;as 6efore the days of co@7uter 7rogra@@ing languages." 0nce he-d solved the 7ro6le@ of re7resenting the 6asic 7rocess of legal chec8ers 7lay, he had to face the truly hard 7art of the 7ro6le@? getting the co@7uter 7rogra@ to e%aluate the @oves, so it could select the 6est @ove (or at least one of the 6etter @oves" ;henever 7ossi6le. *hat ;ould a good evaluation function loo8 li8eG So@e trivial ga@es, li8e tic>tac>toe, have feasi6le algorith@ic solutions. There is a guaranteed ;in or dra; for one 7layer, and this 6est strategy can 6e co@7uted in realistic a@ounts of ti@e. Chec8ers is not such a ga@e. Sa@uel (7. $'" 7ointed out that the s7ace of 7ossi6le chec8ers ga@es has on the order of 1= &= choice>7oints, I;hich, at ( choices 7er @illi@icrosecond, ;ould still ta8e 1= '1 centuries to consider.I Although today-s co@7uters are @illions of ti@es faster than the lu@6ering giants of Sa@uel-s day, they still couldn-t @a8e a dent on the 7ro6le@ using the 6rute>force a77roach of eAhaustive search. The search s7ace is 1ast, so the @ethod of search @ust 6e IheuristicIHthe 6ranching tree of all 7ossi6le @oves has to 6e ruthlessly 7runed 6y se@i>intelligent, @yo7ic de@ons, leading to a ris8y, chance>ridden eA7loration of a tiny su67ortion of the ;hole s7ace. Heuristic search is one of the foundational ideas of Artificial +ntelligence. 0ne @ight even define the tas8 of the field of A+ as the creation and inves>

1&. Sa@uel-s 1 9 7a7er ;as re7rinted in the first anthology of Artificial +ntelligence, 3eigen6au@ and 3eld@an-s classic, Computers and Thou-ht ( 1 !& ". Although + had read that 7a7er in 3eigen6au@ and 3eld@an ;hen it first ca@e out, + had, li8e @ost readers, 7assed over @ost of the details and savored the 7unch line? a 1 !' @atch 6et;een the IadultI 7rogra@ and )o6ert ,ealey, a chec8ers cha@7ion. ,ealey ;as gracious in defeat? I+n the @atter of the end ga@e, + have not had such co@7etition fro@ any hu@an 6eing since 1 9&, ;hen + lost @y last ga@e.I +t too8 a su7er6 lecture 6y @y colleague .eorge S@ith in an introductory course in co@7uter science that ;e cotaught at Tufts to re8in> dle @y interest in the details of Sa@uel-s article, in ;hich + find so@ething ne; and valua6le every ti@e + reread it.


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tigation of heuristic algorith@s. 4ut there is also a tradition ;ithin co@7uter science and @athe@atics of contrastin- heuristic @ethods ;ith algorith@ic @ethods? heuristic @ethods are ris8y, not guaranteed to yield results, ;hereas algorith@s co@e ;ith a guarantee. Ho; do ;e resolve this IcontradictionIG There is no contradiction at all. Heuristic algorith@s are, li8e all algorith@s, @echanical 7rocedures that are guaranteed to do ;hat they do, 6ut ;hat they do is engage in ris8y searchL They are not guaranteed to find anythingHor at least they are not guaranteed to find the s7ecific thing sought in the a@ount of ti@e availa6le. 4ut, li8e ;ell>run tourna@ents of s8ill, good heuristic algorith@s tend to yield highly interesting, relia6le results in reasona6le a@ounts of ti@e. They are ris8y, 6ut the good ones are good ris8s indeed. <ou can 6et your life on the@ (Dennett 1 % 6". 3ailure to a77reciate the fact that algorith@s can 6e heuristic 7rocedures has @isled @ore than a fe; critics of Artificial +ntelligence, +n 7articular, it has @isled )oger Penrose, ;hose vie;s ;ill 6e the to7ic of cha7ter 19. Sa@uel sa; that the 1ast s7ace of chec8ers could only 6e feasibl" eA> 7lored 6y a 7rocess that ris8ily 7runed the search tree, 6ut ho; do you go a6out constructing the 7runing and choosing de@ons to do this Do6G *hat readily 7rogra@@a6le sto7>loo8ing>no; rules or evaluation functions ;ould have a 6etter>than>chance 7o;er to gro; a search tree in ;ise directionsG Sa@uel ;as searching for a good algorith@ic searching @ethod. He 7ro> ceeded e@7irically, 6eginning 6y devising ;ays of @echaniJing ;hatever o6vious rules of thu@6 he could thin8 of. 2oo8 6efore you lea7, of course, and learn fro@ your @ista8es, so the syste@ should have a @e@ory in ;hich to store 7ast eA7erience. I)ote learningI carried the 7rototy7e Euite far, 6y si@7ly storing thousands of 7ositions it had already encountered and seen the fruits of. 4ut rote learning can only ta8e you so far# Sa@uel-s 7rogra@ confronted ra7idly di@inishing returns ;hen it had stored in the neigh6or> hood of a @illion ;ords of descri7tion of 7ast eA7erience and 6egan to 6e overco@e ;ith indeAing and retrieval 7ro6le@s. *hen higher or @ore versatile 7erfor@ance is reEuired, a different strategy of design has to 8ic8 in? -enerali:ation. +nstead of trying to find the search 7rocedure hi@self, Sa@uel tried to get the co@7uter to find it. He ;anted the co@7uter to design its o;n evaluation function, a @athe@atical for@ulaHa 7olyno@ialHthat ;ould yield a nu@6er, 7ositive or negative, for every @ove it considered, such that, in general, the higher the nu@6er, the 6etter the @ove. The 7olyno@ial ;as to 6e concocted of lots of 7ieces, each contri6uting 7ositively or negatively, @ulti7lied 6y one coefficient or another, and adDusted to various other circu@stances, 6ut Sa@uel had no idea ;hat sort of concoction ;ould ;or8 ;ell. He @ade so@e thirty>eight different chun8sHIter@sIHand thre; the@ into a I7ool.I So@e of the ter@s ;ere intuitively valua6le, such as those giving 7oints for increased @o6ility or 7otential ca7tures, 6ut others ;ere @ore or less off the ;allHsuch as ID<5/? the 7ara@eter is credited ;ith

1 for each string of 7assive 7ieces that occu7y three adDacent diagonal sEuares.I At any one ti@e, siAteen of the ter@s ;ere thro;n together into the ;or8ing geno@e of the active 7olyno@ial and the rest ;ere idle. 4y a lot of ins7ired guess;or8 and even @ore ins7ired tuning and tin8ering, Sa@uel devised rules for eli@ination fro@ the tourna@ent, and found ;ays of 8ee7ing the 6re; stirred u7, so that the trial>and>error 7rocess ;as li8ely to hit u7on good co@6inations of ter@s and coefficients and recogniJe the@ ;hen it did. The 7rogra@ ;as divided into Al7ha, a ra7idly @utating 7ioneer, and 4eta, a conservative o77onent that 7layed the version that had ;on the @ost recent ga@e. IAl7ha generaliJes on its eA7erience after each @ove 6y adDusting the coefficients in its evaluation 7olyno@ial and 6y re7lacing ter@s ;hich a77ear to 6e uni@7ortant 6y ne; 7ara@eters dra;n fro@ the reserve listI (Sa@uel 1 !&, 7. %(". At the start an ar6itrary selection of 1! ter@s ;as chosen and all ter@s ;ere assigned eEual ;eightsOOOODuring Pthe early roundsQ a total of ' different ter@s ;as discarded and re7laced, the @aDority of these on t;o different occasionsOOOThe Euality of the 7lay ;as eAtre@ely 7oor. During the neAt seven ga@es there ;ere at least eight changes @ade in the to7 listing involving five different ter@sOOOOFuality of 7lay i@7roved steadily 6ut the @achine still 7layed rather 6adlyOOOOOSo@e fairly good a@ateur 7layers ;ho 7layed the @achine during this 7eriod Pafter seven @ore ga@esQ agreed that it ;as -tric8y 6ut 6eata6le-. PSa@uel 1 !&, 7. % Q Sa@uel noted (7. % " that, although the learning at this early stage ;as sur7risingly fast, it ;as IEuite erratic and none too sta6le.I He ;as discov> ering that the 7ro6le@ s7ace 6eing eA7lored ;as a rugged fitness landsca7e in ;hich a 7rogra@ using si@7le hill>cli@6ing techniEues tended to fall into tra7s, insta6ilities, and o6sessive loo7s fro@ ;hich the 7rogra@ could not recover ;ithout a hel7ing nudge or t;o fro@ its designer. He ;as a6le to recogniJe the IdefectsI in his syste@ res7onsi6le for these insta6ilities and 7atch the@. The final syste@Hthe one that 6eat ,ealeyH;as a )u6e .old> 6erg a@alga@ of rote learning, 8ludges, 19 and 7roducts of self>design that ;ere Euite inscruta6le to Sa@uel hi@self.

19. Pronounced to rhy@e ;ith Istooge,I a 8ludge is an ad hoc or Dury>rigged 7atch or soft;are re7air. Purists s7ell this slang ;ord I8luge,I dra;ing attention to its (li8ely" ety@ology in the deli6erate @is7ronunciation of the .er@an ;ord 6lu-GeJ7 @eaning IcleverI# 6ut according to The 9ew >ac6er/s Dictionar" ()ay@ond 1 (", the ter@ @ay have an earlier ancestor, deriving fro@ the 5luge 7a7er feeder, an IadDunct to @echanical 7rinting 7ressesI in use as early as 1 (9. +n its earlier use, it na@ed Ia co@7leA and 7uJJling artifact ;ith a trivial function.I The @iAture of estee@ and conte@7t hac8ers eAhi6it for 8luges (IHo; couid anything so du@6 6e so s@artLI" 7erfectly re7roduces the attitude of 6iologists ;hen they @arvel at the 7erversely intricate solutions Mother ,ature so often discovers.


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+t is not sur7rising that Sa@uel-s 7rogra@ caused a tre@endous sensation, and greatly encouraged the early visionaries of A+, 6ut the enthusias@ for such learning algorith@s soon faded. The @ore 7eo7le loo8ed into the atte@7t to eAtend his @ethods to @ore co@7leA 7ro6le@sHchess, for instance, to say nothing of real>;orld, non>toy 7ro6le@sHthe @ore the success of Sa@uel-s Dar;inian learner see@ed to 6e attri6uta6le to the relative si@7licity of chec8ers rather than to the 7o;er of the underlying learning ca7acity. *as this, then, the end of Dar;inian A+G 0f course not. +t Dust had to hi6ernate for a ;hile until co@7uters and co@7uter scientists could advance a fe; @ore levels of co@7leAity. Today, the offs7ring of Sa@uel-s 7rogra@ are @ulti7lying so fast that at least three ne; Dournals have 6een founded in the last year or t;o to 7rovide a foru@? E%olutionar" Computation7 #rtificial 'ife7 and #dapti%e Beha%ior. The first of these e@7hasiJes traditional engineering concerns? using si@ulated evolution as a @ethod to eA7and the 7ractical design 7o;ers of 7rogra@@ers or soft;are engineers. The Igenetic algorith@sI devised 6y Mohn Holland (;ho ;or8ed ;ith Art Sa@uel at +4M on his chec8ers 7rogra@" have de@onstrated their 7o;er in the no>nonsense ;orld of soft;are develo7@ent and have @utated into a 7hylu@ of algorith@ic variations. The other t;o Dournals concentrate on @ore 6iologically flavored research, in ;hich the si@ulations of evolutionary 7rocesses 7er@it us, really for the first ti@e, to stud" the 6iological design 7rocess itself 6y manipulatin- itHor, rather, 6y @ani7ulating a large>scale si@ulation of it. As Holland has said, Artificial 2ife 7rogra@s do 7er@it us to Ire;ind the ta7e of lifeI and re7lay it, again and again, in @any variations.

a function, so@eti@es they overloo8 retros7ectively o6vious shortcuts. Still, o7ti@ality @ust 6e the default assu@7tion# if the reverse engineers can-t assu@e that there is a good rationale for the features they o6serve, they can-t even 6egin their analysis. 1! Dar;in-s revolution does not discard the idea of reverse engineering 6ut, rather, 7er@its it to 6e refor@ulated. +nstead of trying to figure out ;hat .od intended, ;e try to figure out ;hat reason, if any, IMother ,atureIH the 7rocess of evolution 6y natural selection itselfHIdiscernedI or Idis> cri@inatedI for doing things one ;ay rather than another. So@e 6iologists and 7hiloso7hers are very unco@forta6le ;ith any such tal8 a6out Mother ,ature-s reasons. They thin8 it is a ste7 6ac8;ards, an un@otivated conces> sion to 7re>Dar;inian ha6its of thought, at 6est a treacherous @eta7hor. So they are inclined to agree ;ith the recent critic of Dar;inis@, To@ 4ethell, in thin8ing there is so@ething fishy a6out this dou6le standard (see 7age $( ". + clai@ that it is not Dust ;ell @otivated# it is eAtre@ely fruitful and, in fact, unavoida6le. As ;e have already seen, even at the @olecular level you Dust can-t do 6iology ;ithout doing reverse engineering, and you can-t do reverse engineering ;ithout as8ing ;hat reasons there are for ;hatever it is you are studying. <ou have to as8 I;hyI Euestions. Dar;in didn-t sho; us that ;e don-t have to as8 the@# he sho;ed us ho; to ans;er the@ (5itcher 1 %9a". Since the neAt cha7ter ;ill 6e devoted to defending this clai@ 6y de@> onstrating the ;ays in ;hich the 7rocess of evolution 6y natural selection is li6e a clever engineer, it is i@7ortant that ;e first esta6lish t;o i@7ortant ;ays in ;hich it is not li8e a clever engineer. *hen ;e hu@an 6eings design a ne; @achine, ;e usually start ;ith a

!. A)T+3ACT H/)M/,/UT+CS, 0) )/1/)S/ /,.+,//)+,.

The strategy of inter7reting organis@s as if they ;ere artifacts has a lot in co@@on ;ith the strategy 8no;n to engineers as re%erse en-ineerin- ( Den> nett 1 =6". *hen )aytheon ;ants to @a8e an electronic ;idget to co@7ete ;ith .eneral /lectrics ;idget, they 6uy several of ./-s ;idgets and 7roceed to analyJe the@? that-s reverse engineering. They run the@, 6ench@ar8 the@, K>ray the@, ta8e the@ a7art, and su6Dect every 7art of the@ to inter7retive analysis? *hy did ./ @a8e these ;ires so heavyG *hat are these eAtra )0M registers forG +s this a dou6le layer of insulation, and, if so, ;hy did they 6other ;ith itG ,otice that the reigning assu@7tion is that all these I;hyI Euestions have ans;ers. /verything has a raison d/etreE ./ did nothing in vain. 0f course, if the ;isdo@ of the reverse engineers includes a healthy hel7ing of self>8no;ledge, they ;ill recogniJe that this default assu@7tion of o7ti@ality is too strong? so@eti@es engineers 7ut stu7id, 7ointless things in their designs, so@eti@es they forget to re@ove things that no longer have
1!. This fact has 6een eA7loited 6y counter>reverse>engineers. + discuss an eAa@7le in Dennett 1 $% (7. '$ "? There is a 6oo8 on ho; to detect fa8e antiEues (;hich is also, inevita6ly, a 6oo8 on ho; to ma6e fa8e antiEues " ;hich offers this sly advice to those ;ho ;ant to fool the IeA7ertI 6uyer? once you have co@7leted your ta6le or ;hatever (having utiliJed all the usual @eans of si@ulating age and ;ear" ta8e a @odern electric drill and drill a hole right through the 7iece in so@e cons7icuous 6ut 7uJJling 7lace. The ;ould>6e 6uyer ;ill argue? no one ;ould drill such a disfiguring hole ;ithout a reason (it can-t 6e su77osed to loo8 IauthenticI in any ;ay " so it @ust have served a 7ur7ose, ;hich @eans this ta6le @ust have 6een in use in so@eone-s ho@e# since it ;as in use in so@eone-s ho@e, it ;as not @ade eA7ressly for sale in this antiEue sho7OOOOTherefore it is authentic. /ven if this IconclusionI left roo@ for lingering dou6ts, the 6uyer ;ill 6e so 7reoccu7ied drea@ing u7 uses for that hole it ;ill 6e @onths 6efore the dou6ts can surface. +t has 6een clai@ed, ;ith ;hat 7lausi6ility + do not 8no;, that 4o66y 3ischer has used the sa@e strategy to defeat o77onents in chess, es7ecially ;hen ti@e is running out? @a8e a deli6erately Ioff>the>;allI @ove and ;atch your o77onent ;aste 7recious ti@e trying to @a8e sense of it.


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7retty>good version of the @achine on hand, either an earlier @odel, or a I@oc8u7I or scale @odel that ;e have 6uilt. *e eAa@ine it carefully, and try out various alterations? I+f ;e Dust 6end this Da; u7 a little 6it li8e so, and @ove this Ji77er>6it over a tad li8e so, it ;ould ;or8 even 6etter.I 4ut that is not the ;ay evolution ;or8s. This co@es out es7ecially clearly at the @olecular level. A 7articular @olecule is the sha7e it is, and ;on-t tolerate @uch 6ending or resha7ing. *hat evolution has to do ;hen it i@7roves @olecular design is to @a8e another @oleculeHone that is al@ost li8e the one that doesn-t ;or8 very ;ellHand si@7ly discard the old one. Peo7le are advised ne%er to s;itch horses in @idstrea@, 6ut evolution alwa"s s;itches horses. +t can-t fix anything, eAce7t 6y selecting and dis> carding. So in every evolutionary 7rocessHand hence in every true evolu> tionary eA7lanationHthere is al;ays a faint 6ut disconcerting odor of so@ething dicey. + ;ill call this 7heno@enon bait;and;switch7 after the shady 7ractice of attracting custo@ers 6y advertising so@ething at a 6argain 7rice and then, ;hen you-ve lured the@ to the store, trying to sell the@ a su6stitute. Unli8e that 7ractice, evolutionary 6ait>and>s;itch is not really nefarious# it Dust see@s to 6e, 6ecause it doesn-t eA7lain ;hat at first you thought you ;anted eA7lained. +t su6tly changes the to7ic. *e sa; the o@inous shado; of 6ait>and>s;itch in its 7urest for@ in cha7ter ', in the ;eird ;ager that + can 7roduce so@e6ody ;ho ;ins ten consecutive coin>tosses ;ithout a loss. + don-t 8no; in advance ;ho that so@e6ody is going to 6e# + Dust 8no; that the @antle ;ill 7assHhas to 7ass, as a @atter of algorith@ic necessityHto somebod" or other so long as + eAecute the algorith@. +f you overloo8 this 7ossi6ility and ta8e @y suc8er 6et, it is 6ecause you are too used to the hu@an 7ractice of trac8ing individuals and 6uilding 7roDects around identified individuals and their future 7ros7ects. And if the ;inner of the tourna@ent thin8s there has to 6e an eA7lanation of ;hy he ;on, he is @ista8en? there is no reason at all ;hy he ;on# there is only a very good reason ;hy somebod" ;on. 4ut, 6eing hu@an, the ;inner ;ill no dou6t thin8 there ou-ht to 6e a reason ;hy he ;on? I+f your -evolutionary account- can-t eA7lain it, then you are leaving out so@ething i@7ortantLI To ;hich the evolutionist @ust cal@ly re7ly? ISir, + 8no; that is ;hat you ca@e in here ;anting, 6ut let @e try to interest you in so@ething a little @ore afforda6le, a little less 7resu@7tuous, a little @ore defensi6le.I Has it ever occurred to you ho; luc8y you are to 6e aliveG More than 7ercent of all the creatures that have ever lived have died ;ithout 7rogeny, 6ut not a single one of your ancestors falls into that grou7L *hat a royal lineage of ;inners you co@e fro@L (0f course, the sa@e thing is true of every 6arnacle, every 6lade of grass, every housefly." 4ut it-s even eerier than that. *e have learned, have ;e not, that evolution ;or8s 6y ;eeding out the unfitG Than8s to their design defects, these losers have a I7athetic 6ut 7raise;orthy tendency to die 6efore re7roducing their 8indI (Fuine

1 ! , 7. 1'!". This is the very engine of Dar;inian evolution. +f, ho;ever, ;e loo8 6ac8 ;ith tunnel vision at your fa@ily tree, ;e ;ill find @any different organis@s, ;ith a ;ide variety of strengths and ;ea8nesses, 6ut, curiously enough, their ;ea8nesses never led a single one of the@ to a 7re@ature de@iseL So it loo8s fro@ this angle as if evolution can-t eA7lain even a sin-le feature that you inherited fro@ your ancestorsL Su77ose ;e loo8 6ac8 at the fan>out of your ancestors. ,otice first that eventually it sto7s fanning out and 6egins to dou6le u7# you share multiple ancestors ;ith every6ody else alive today, and are @ulti7ly related to @any of your o;n ancestors. *hen ;e loo8 at the ;hole tree over ti@e, ;e see that the later, @ore recent ancestors have i@7rove@ents that the earlier ones lac8ed, 6ut all the crucial eventsHall the selection eventsHha77en offstage? not a single one of your ancestors, all the ;ay 6ac8 to the 6acteria, succu@6ed to 7redation 6efore re7roducing, or lost out to the co@7etition for a @ate. 0f course, evolution does eA7lain all the features that you inherited fro@ your ancestors, 6ut not 6y eA7laining ;hy "ou are luc8y enough to have the@. +t eA7lains ;hy today-s ;inners have the features they do, 6ut not ;hy these indi%iduals have the features they do. 1$ Consider? <ou order a ne; car, and s7ecify that it 6e green. 0n the a77ointed day, you go to the dealershi7 and there it sits, green and ne;. *hich is the right Euestion to as8? I*hy is this car greenGI or I*hy is this (green" car hereGI (+n later cha7ters ;e ;ill loo8 further at the i@7lications of 6ait>and>s;itch." The second i@7ortant difference 6et;een the 7rocessesHand hence the 7roductsHof natural selection and hu@an engineering concerns the feature of natural selection that stri8es @any 7eo7le as @ost 7aradoAical? its utter lac8 of foresight. *hen hu@an engineers design so@ething (for;ard engineering", they @ust guard against a notorious 7ro6le@? unforeseen side effects. *hen t;o or @ore syste@s, ;ell designed in isolation, are 7ut into a su7ersyste@, this often 7roduces interactions that ;ere not only not 7art of the intended design, 6ut 7ositively har@ful# the activity of one syste@ inadvertently clo66ers the activity of the other. The only 7ractical ;ay to guard against unforeseen side effects, since 6y their very nature they are unforeseea6le 6y those ;hose gaJe is 7erforce restricted to Dust one of the su6syste@s 6eing designed, is to design all su6syste@s to have relatively i@7enetra6le 6oundaries that coincide ;ith the e7iste@ic 6oundaries of their creators. Hu@an engineers ty7ically atte@7t to insulate su6syste@s fro@ each other, and insist on an overall design in ;hich each su6syste@ has a single, ;ell> defined function ;ithin the ;hole. The set of su7ersyste@s having this funda@ental a6stract architecture is

1$. I4ut this is not to eA7lain ;hy, e.g., contractile vacuoles occur in certain 7rotoJoans# it is to eA7lain ;hy the sort of 7rotoJoan incor7orating contractile vacuoles occursI (Cu@@ins 1 $9, in So6er 1 %&6, 77. ( &> 9".


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vast and interesting, of course, 6ut it does not include very @any of the syste@s designed 6y natural selectionL The 7rocess of evolution is notori> ously lac8ing in foresight. Since it has no foresight at all, unforeseen or unforeseea6le side effects are nothing to it# it 7roceeds, unli8e hu@an en> gineers, via the 7rofligate 7rocess of creating vast nu@6ers of relatively uninsulated designs, @ost of ;hich are ho7elessly fla;ed 6ecause of self> defeating side effects, 6ut a fe; of ;hich, 6y du@6 luc8, are s7ared that igno@inious fate. Moreover, this a77arently inefficient design 7hiloso7hy carries a tre@endous 6onus that is relatively unavaila6le to the @ore efficient, to7>do;n 7rocess of hu@an engineers? than8s to its having no 6ias against uneAa@ined side effects, it can ta8e advantage of the rare cases ;here 6eneficial serendipitous side effects e@erge. So@eti@es, that is, designs e@erge in ;hich syste@s interact to 7roduce @ore than ;as ai@ed at. +n 7articular (6ut not eAclusively", one gets ele@ents in such syste@s that have @ulti7le functions. /le@ents ;ith @ulti7le functions are not un8no;n to hu@an engineering, of course, 6ut their relative rarity is signaled 6y the delight ;e are a7t to feel ;hen ;e encounter a ne; one. (A favorite of @ine is found in the DiconiA 7orta6le 7rinter. This o7ti@ally tiny 7rinter runs on largish rechargea6le 6atteries, ;hich have to 6e stored so@e;here# they fit snugly inside the 7laten, or roller." 0n reflection, ;e can see that such instances of @ulti7le function are e7iste@ically accessi6le to engineers under various salu6rious circu@stances, 6ut ;e can also see that 6y and large such solutions to design 7ro6le@s @ust 6e eAce7tions against a 6ac8ground of strict isolation of functional ele@ents. +n 6iology, ;e encounter Euite cris7 anato@ical isolation of functions (the 8idney is entirely distinct fro@ the heart# nerves and 6lood vessels are se7arate conduits strung through the 6ody, etc.", and ;ithout this readily discerni6le isolation, reverse engineering in 6iology ;ould no dou6t 6e hu@anly i@7ossi6le. 4ut ;e also see su7eri@>7osition of functions that a77arently goes Iall the ;ay do;n.I +t is very, very hard to thin8 a6out entities in ;hich the ele@ents have @ulti7le overla77ing roles in su7eri@7osed su6syste@s, and, @oreover, in ;hich so@e of the @ost salient effects o6serva6le in the interaction of these ele@ents @ay not 6e functions at all. 6ut @erely 6y>7roducts of the @ulti7le functions 6eing served. 1% Until recently, 6iologists ;ho ;anted to 6e reverse engineers had to concentrate on figuring out the designed features of Ifinished 7roductsIH organis@s. These they could collect 6y the hundreds or thousands, study the variations thereof, ta8e a7art, and @ani7ulate ad lib. +t ;as @uch @ore difficult to get any e7iste@ic 7urchase on the de%elopmental or buildin1%. The 7receding three 7aragra7hs are dra;n, ;ith revisions, fro@ Dennett 1 &a.

7rocess 6y ;hich a genoty7e gets IeA7ressedI in a fully for@ed 7henoty7e. And the desi-n 7rocesses that sha7ed the develo7@ental 7rocesses that sha7e the Ifinished 7roductsI ;ere largely inaccessi6le to the sorts of intrusive o6servation and @ani7ulation that good science (or good reverse engineering" thrives on. <ou could loo8 at the s8etchy historical record, and run it in fast> for;ard (li8e Iela7sed>ti@eI 7hotogra7hy of 7lants gro;ing, ;eather develo7ing, etc.Hal;ays a nifty ;ay to @a8e the 7atterns visi6le ", 6ut you couldn-t Ire;ind the ta7eI and run variations on the initial conditions. ,o;, than8s to co@7uter si@ulations, it is 7ossi6le to stud" the hy7otheses a6out the design 7rocess that have al;ays lain at the heart of the Dar;inian vision. ,ot sur7risingly, they turn out to 6e @ore co@7licated, and the@selves @ore intricately designed, than ;e had thought. 0nce the 7rocesses of ) and D and construction 6egin to co@e into focus, ;e can see that an affliction of shortsightedness that has often @isled inter7reters of hu@an artifacts has @ulti7le 7arallels in 6iology. *hen ;e engage in artifact her@eneutics, trying to deci7her the design of ite@s uncovered 6y archeologists, or trying to recover a 7ro7er inter7retation of the ancient @onu@ents that ;e have gro;n u7 ;ith, there is a tendency to overloo8 the 7ossi6ility that so@e of the features that 7uJJle us have no function at all in the finished 7roduct, 6ut 7layed a crucial functional role in the 7rocess that created the 7roduct. Cathedrals, for instance, have @any curious architectural features that have 7rovo8ed functional fantasies and fierce de6ates a@ong art historians. The functions of so@e of these features are fairly o6vious. The @any IvisesI or circular stair;ays that t;ist their ;ay u7 inside the 7iers and ;alls are useful ;ays for custodians to gain access to re@ote 7arts of the 6uilding? to the roof, say, and to the s7ace 6et;een the vault and the roof ;here the @achinery is hidden that lo;ers the chandeliers to the floor so that candles @ay 6e re7laced. 4ut @any of the vises ;ould 6e there even if no such later access had 6een antici7ated 6y the 6uilders# it ;as si@7ly the 6est, or @ay6e the only, ;ay for the 6uilders to get the 6uilding cre; and @aterials ;here they needed to 6e during construction. 0ther 7assage;ays leading no;here inside the ;alls are 7ro6a6ly there in order to get fresh air into the interior of the ;alls (3itchen 1 !1". Medieval @ortar too8 a long ti@eH years, in so@e casesHto cure, and as it cured it shran8, so care ;as ta8en to 8ee7 ;all thic8ness @ini@iJed so that distortion ;as @ini@iJed as the 6uilding cured. (Thus those 7assage;ays have a si@ilar function to the heat>dissi7ation IfinsI on auto@o6ile>engine housings, eAce7t that their functions la7sed once the 6uildings reached @aturity." Moreover, @uch that a77ears unre@ar8a6le ;hen you loo8 at a cathedral as si@7ly a finished 7roduct see@s dee7ly 7uJJling ;hen you start as8ing ho; it could have 6een 6uilt. Chic8en>egg 7ro6le@s a6ound. +f you 6uild the flying 6uttresses 6efore you 6uild the central vault, they ;ill 7ush the


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;alls in# if you 6uild the vault first, it ;ill s7read the ;alls 6efore the 6uttresses can 6e installed# if you try to 6uild the@ 6oth at once, it see@s li8ely that the staging for one ;ould get in the ;ay of the staging for the other. +t is surely a 7ro6le@ that has a solutionH7ro6a6ly @any different onesH6ut thin8ing the@ u7 and then loo8ing for the evidence to confir@ or disconfir@ the@ is a challenging eAercise. 0ne strategy that recurs is one ;e have already seen in action in Cairns>S@ith-s clay>crystal hy7othesis? there @ust have 6een scaffolding @e@6ers that have disa77eared, that functioned only during the 6uilding 7rocess. Such structures often leave clues of their for@er 7resence. Plugged I7utlog holesI are the @ost o6vious. Heavy ti@6ers called I7utlogsI ;ere te@7orarily fiAed in the ;alls to 6ear the scaffolding a6ove the@. Many of the decorative ele@ents of .othic architecture, such as the ela6orate 7atterns of ri6s in the vaults, are really structurally functional @e@6ersH6ut only during the construction 7hase. They had to 6e erected 6efore the I;e6 coursesI of the vaults could 6e filled in 6et;een the@. They stiffened the relatively delicate ;ooden IcenteringI scaffolding, ;hich ;ould other;ise have tended to 6uc8le and defor@ under the te@7orarily uneven ;eight of 7artially 6uilt vaults. There ;ere severe li@its on the strength of scaffolding that could 6e constructed and held securely in 7lace at great heights using @edieval @aterials and @ethods. These li@its dictated @any of the Iorna@entalI details of the finished church. Another ;ay of @a8ing the sa@e 7oint? @any readily concei%able finished 7roducts ;ere si@7ly i@7ossi6le to erect, given the constraints on the 6uilding 7rocess, and @any of the a77arently non>functional features of eAisting 6uildings are in fact ena6ling design features ;ithout ;hich the finished 7roduct could not eAist. The invention of cranes (real cranes" and their 8in o7ened u7 regions of the s7ace of architectural 7ossi6ility that ;ere 7reviously inaccessi6le.1 The 7oint is si@7le, 6ut casts a long shado;? *hen you as8 functional Euestions a6out an"thin-Horganis@ or artifactHyou @ust re@e@6er that it has to co@e into its current or final for@ 6y a 7rocess that has its o;n reEuire@ents, and these are eAactly as a@ena6le to functional analysis as any features of the end state. ,o 6ell rings to @ar8 the end of 6uilding and the 6eginning of functioning (cf. 3odor 1 %$, 7. 1=(". The reEuire@ent that an organis@ 6e a going concern at every stage of its life 7laces iron constraints on its later features.
1 . 3oui classic eA7lorations of these issues are Mohn 3itchen-s The Construction of Dothic Cathedrals7 ;hich reads li8e a detective story, 3itchen-s Buildin- Construction Before Mechani:ation ( 1 %!", *illia@ 4arclay Parsons- En-ineers and En-ineerin- in the Renaissance ( 1 ( , re7u6lished 6y M+T Press, 1 !$" and 4ertrand .ille-s En-ineers of the Renaissance ( 1 !! ".

3+.U)/ %.1. /arly rotating cranes and other devices for raising or @oving loads. (3ro@ Diderot and d-Ale@6ert, Enc"clopedic P1$91>1$$'Q, re7roduced in 3itchen 1 %!."


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D-Arcy Tho@7son (1 1$" fa@ously said that everything is ;hat it is 6ecause it got that ;ay, and his o;n reflections on the historical 7rocesses of develo7@ent led to his 7ro@ulgation of Ila;s of for@I that are often cited as eAa@7les of 6iological la;s that are irreduci6le to 7hysical la;s. The i@7ortance of such reconstructions of develo7@ental 7rocesses and the investigation of their i@7lications is undenia6le, 6ut this issue is so@e ti@es @is7laced in discussions that atte@7t to contrast such develo7@ental constraints ;ith functional analyses. ,o sound functional analysis is co@> 7lete until it has confir@ed ( as @uch as these 7oints ever can 6e confir@ed " that a 6uilding 7ath has 6een s7ecified. +f so@e 6iologists have ha6itually overloo8ed this reEuire@ent, they are @a8ing the sa@e @ista8e as the art historians ;ho ignore the 6uilding 7rocess of their @onu@ents. 3ar fro@ 6eing too ta8en ;ith an engineering @entality, they have not ta8en engi > neering Euestions seriously enough.

6rand>ne; science? chaos theory and co@7leAity theory, strange attractors and fractals. He hi@self has 6een te@7ted 6y that vie; in the 7ast (2e;in 1 ', 77. &=>&(", 6ut his 6oo8 6ristles ;ith ;arnings, fending off the e@6race of the anti>Dar;inians. He 6egins the 7reface of his 6oo8 (7. vii" 6y descri6ing it as Ian atte@7t to include Dar;inis@ in a 6roader conteAtI? <et our tas8 is not only to eA7lore the sources of order ;hich @ay lie availa6le to evolution. *e @ust also integrate such 8no;ledge ;ith the 6asic insight offered 6y Dar;in. ,atural selection, ;hatever our dou6t in detailed cases, is surely a 7ree@inent force in evolution. Therefore, to co@6ine the the@es of self>organiJation and selection, ;e @ust eA7and evolutionary theory so that it stands on a 6roader foundation and then raise a ne; edifice. P5auff@an 1 (, 7. Aiv.Q + go to such lengths to Euote 5auff@an hi@self on this 7oint since + have also felt the strong ;ind of anti>Dar;inian senti@ent a@ong @y o;n readers and critics, and 8no; that they ;ill 6e strongly @otivated to sus7ect that + a@ @erely re;or8ing 5auff@an-s ideas to fit @y o;n 6iased vie;L ,o, he hi@selfHfor ;hatever that is ;orthHno; sees his ;or8 as a dee7ening of Dar;inis@, not an overthro;. 4ut, then, ;hat can 6e his 7oint a6out Is7on> taneous self>organiJationI as a source of IorderI if not a flat denial that selection is the ulti@ate source of orderG ,o; that it is 7ossi6le to 6uild truly co@7leA evolutionary scenarios on co@7uters, re;inding the ta7e over and over, ;e can see 7atterns that eluded earlier Dar;inian theorists. *hat ;e see, 5auff@an clai@s, is that order Ishines throughI in spite of selection, not 6ecause of it. +nstead of ;itnessing the gradual accrual of organiJation under the steady 7ressure of cu@ulative selection, ;e ;itness the inabilit" of selective 7ressure (;hich can 6e carefully @ani7ulated and @onitored in the si@ulations" to overco@e an inherent tendency of the 7o7ulations in Euestion to resolve the@selves into ordered 7atterns. So this see@s at first to 6e a stri8ing de@onstration that natural selection cannot 6e the source of organiJation and order after allH ;hich ;ould indeed 6e the do;nfall of the Dar;inian idea. 4ut there is another ;ay of loo8ing at it, as ;e have seen. *hat conditions have to 6e in effect for evolution 6y natural selection to occurG The ;ords 1 7ut into Dar;in-s @outh ;ere si@7le? .ive @e 0rder, and ti@e, and + ;ill give you Design. 4ut ;hat ;e have su6seEuently learned is that not every variety of 0rder is sufficient for evolva6ility. As ;e sa; illustrated 6y Con> ;ay-s .a@e of 2ife, you have to have Dust the right sort of 0rder, ;ith Dust the right @iA of freedo@ and constraint, gro;th and decay, rigidity and fluidity, for good things to ha77en at all. <ou only get evolution, as the Santa 3e @otto 7roclai@s, on the edge of chaos, in the regions of 7ossi6le la; that

$. STUA)T 5AU33MA, AS M/TA>/,.+,//)

Since Darwin7 we ha%e come to thin6 of or-anisms as tin6ered;to-ether contraptions and selection as the sole source of order. Oet Darwin could not ha%e be-un to suspect the power of self;or-ani:ation. !e must see6 our principles of adaptation in complex s"stems anew.
HSTUA)T 5AU33MA, , Euoted in )uthen 1 1(% (, 7.

History tends to re7eat itself. Today ;e all recogniJe that the rediscovery of Mendel-s la;s, and ;ith the@ the conce7t of the gene as a unit of heredity, ;as the salvation of Dar;inian thin8ing, 6ut that ;as not ho; it a77eared at the ti@e. As Maynard S@ith notes (1 %', 7. (", IThe first i@7act of Mendelis@ on evolutionary 6iology ;as distinctly odd. The early Men> delians sa; the@selves as anti>Dar;inians.I This ;as Dust one of @any self> styled anti>Dar;inian revolutions that have turned out to 6e 7ro>Dar;inian refor@ations, dragging Dar;in-s dangerous idea fro@ one sic86ed or another and 7utting it 6ac8 to ;or8. Another that is unfolding 6efore our eyes today is the ne; direction in evolutionary thin8ing s7earheaded 6y Stuart 5auff@an and his colleagues at the Santa 3e +nstitute. 2i8e every good 6and;agon, it has a slogan? I/volution on the /dge of Chaos.I 5auff@an-s ne; 6oo8, The 4ri-ins of 4rder8 Self;4r-ani:ation and Selection in E%olution (1 (", su@@ariJes and eAtends the research he has 6een engaged in for several decades, and lets us see for the first ti@e ho; he hi@self 7laces his ideas in the conteAt of the history of the field. Many have heralded hi@ as a Dar;in>slayer, finally driving that o77ressive 7resence fro@ the scene, and doing it, @oreover, ;ith the flashing 6lade of


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for@ the hy6rid Jone 6et;een stifling order and destructive chaos. 3ortu> nately, our 7ortion of the universe is 7oised in Dust such a Jone, in ;hich the conditions for evolva6ility are tuned Dust right. And ;here did those salu> 6rious conditions co@e fro@G They could Iin 7rinci7leI have co@e fro@ the ;isdo@ and foresight of a designer li8e Con;ay, or they could have co@e fro@ a prior evolutionary 7rocess, either one ;ith selection or one ;ithout. +n factHand this, + thin8, is the heart of 5auffrnan-s visionHevolva6ility itself not only @ust evolve (for us to 6e here", 6ut is li6el" to evolve, is al@ost sure to evolve, 6ecause it is a forced @ove in the ga@e of Design. '= /ither you find the 7ath that leads to evolva6ility or you don-t go any;here, 6ut finding the 7ath to evolva6ility is not such a 6ig deal# it-s Io6vious.I The 7rinci7les of design that @a8e 6iological evolution 7ossi6le ;ill 6e found, again and again and again, no @atter ho; @any ti@es ;e rerun the ta7e. IContrary to all our eA7ectations, the ans;er, + thin8, is that it @ay 6e sur7risingly eas"B (5auff@an 1 (, 7. Avi". *hen ;e considered forced @oves in Design S7ace in cha7ter !, ;e ;ere thin8ing a6out features of the final 7roducts that ;ere so o6viously IrightI that ;e ;ould not 6e sur7rised to find the@ inde7endently a77earingH arith@etic a@ong the alien intelligences, eyes ;herever there is loco@otion through a trans7arent @ediu@. 4ut ;hat a6out features of the 7rocess of creating those 7roductsG +f there are funda@ental rules a6out ho; things have to 6e designed, a6out the order in ;hich design innovations can 6e created, the strategies of design that are 6ound to ;or8 or fail, then these should 6e ho@ed in on 6y evolution Dust as surely as the features of the finished 7roducts. *hat 5auff@an has discovered, + su6@it, is not so @uch laws of form as rules for desi-nin-8 the i@7eratives of @eta>engineering. 5auff@an has @any telling o6servations to @a8e a6out Dust such 7rinci7les of @eta> engineering that govern the 7rocess 6y ;hich ne; designs could, in 7ractice, 6e created. *e can consider the@ to 6e features of the ;hole 7heno@enon of evolution that have alread" 6een discovered, have alread" gone to fiAation, in effect, in our 7art of the universe. (*e ;ill not 6e sur7rised to find the@ every;here else in the universe ;here there are designed things, 6ecause this is the only ;ay to design things." Ada7tive evolution is a search 7rocessHdriven 6y @utation, reco@6ina> tion, and selectionHon fiAed or defor@ing fitness landsca7es. An ada7ting 7o7ulation flo;s over the landsca7e under these forces. The structure of

such landsca7es, s@ooth or rugged, governs 6oth the evolva6ility of 7o7> ulations and the sustained fitness of their @e@6ers. The structure of fitness landsca7es inevita6ly i@7oses li@itations on ada7tive search. P5auff@an 1 (, 7. 11%.Q ,otice that this is all 7ure Dar;inis@Hevery 6it acce7ta6le and nonrev> olutionary, 6ut ;ith a @aDor shift of e@7hasis to the role of the to7ology of the fitness landsca7e, ;hich, 5auff@an argues, has a 7rofound effect on the rate at ;hich design innovations can 6e found, and the order in ;hich design chances can accu@ulate. +f you have ever tried to ;rite a sonnet, you have confronted the 6asic design 7ro6le@ that 5auffrnan-s @odels eAa@ine? Ie7istasis,I or the interactions 6et;een genes. As the 6udding 7oet soon discovers, ;riting a sonnet isn-t easyL Saying so@ething @eaningfulHlet alone 6eautifulH;ithin the rigid constraints of the sonnet for@ is a frustrating eAercise. ,o sooner do you tentatively fiA one line than you have to revise @any of the other lines, and that forces you to a6andon so@e hard>;on eAcellences, and so forth, round and round in circles, searching for an overall good fitHor, ;e @ight say, searching for overall good fitness. The @athe@atician Stanisla; Ula@ sa; that the constraints of 7oetry could 6e a source of creativity, not a hindrance. The idea @ay a77ly to the creativity of evolution, for Dust the sa@e reason? *hen + ;as a 6oy + felt that the role of rhy@e in 7oetry ;as to co@7el one to find the uno6vious 6ecause of the necessity of finding a ;ord ;hich rhy@es. This forces novel associations and al@ost guarantees deviations fro@ routine chains or trains of thought. +t 6eco@es 7aradoAically a sort of auto@atic @echanis@ of originality. PUla@ 1 $!, 7. 1%=." 4efore 5auff@an, 6iologists tended to ignore the 7ros7ect that evolution ;ould confront the sa@e sort of 7ervasive interactions, 6ecause they had no clear ;ay of studying it. His ;or8 sho;s that @a8ing a via6le geno@e is @ore li8e ;riting a good 7oe@ than si@7ly Dotting do;n a sho77ing list. Since the structure of fitness landsca7es is @ore i@7ortant than ;e had thought (;ith our si@7ler, Mount 3uDi @odels of hill>cli@6ing", there are constraints on design>i@7rove@ent methods that 8ee7 engineering 7roDects channeled into @ore narro; 7aths to success than ;e had i@agined. /volva6ility, the ca7acity to search a reasona6le fraction of the s7ace, @ay 6e o7ti@iJed ;hen landsca7e structure, @utation rate, and 7o7ulation siJe are adDusted so that 7o7ulations Dust 6egin to -@elt- fro@ local regions of the s7ace. P5auff@an 1 (, 7. 9.Q 0ne u6iEuitous feature in 6iological evolution that 5auff@an concentrates on is the 7rinci7le that Ilocal rules generate glo6al order.I This is not

'=. The evolution of evolva6ility is a (retros7ectivelyL" o6vious recursive @ove for Dar;inians to 7ro@ulgateHa li8ely source of cranes, you @ight sayHand it has 6een discussed 6y @any thin8ers. 3or an early discussion, see *i@satt 1 %1. 3or a different slant on the issue, see Da;8ins 1 % 6.


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a 7rinci7le that governs hu@an engineering. Pyra@ids are al;ays 6uilt fro@ the 6otto@ u7, of course, 6ut the organiJation of the 6uilding 7rocess, since the days of the 7haraohs, has 6een to7>do;n, under the control of a single autocrat ;ho had a clear and literally co@@anding vision of the ;hole, 6ut 7ro6a6ly ;as a 6it vague a6out ho; the local details ;ould 6e acco@7lished. I.lo6alI direction fro@ on high 7uts in @otion a hierarchical cascade of IlocalI 7roDects. This is such a co@@on feature of large>scale hu@an 7roDects that ;e have a hard ti@e i@agining alternatives (Pa7ert 1 (, Dennett 1 (a". Since ;e don-t recogniJe the 7rinci7le 5auff@an discerns as one that is fa@iliar fro@ hu@an engineering, ;e are not a7t to see it as a 7rinci7le of engineering at all, 6ut + suggest that it is. )efor@ulated slightly, ;e could 7ut it as follo;s. Until you @anage to evolve co@@unicating organis@s that can for@ large engineering organiJations, you are 6ound 6y the follo;ing Preli@inary Design Princi7le? all glo6al order @ust 6e generated 6y local rules. So all the early 7roducts of design, u7 to the creation of so@ething ;ith so@e of the organiJational talents of >omo sapiens7 @ust o6ey ;hatever constraints follo; fro@ the I@anage@ent decisionI that all order @ust 6e acco@7lished 6y local rules. Any Iatte@7tsI to create living for@s that violate this 7rece7t ;ill end in i@@ediate failureHor, @ore accurately, ;ill not even get started sufficiently to 6e discerni6le as atte@7ts. +f no 6ell rings, as + have said, to @ar8 the @o@ent ;hen the )>and>D 7rocess ends and the life of the Ifinished 7roductI 6egins, it should at least so@eti@es 6e hard to tell ;hether a design 7rinci7le in Euestion is a 7rinci7le of engineering or of @eta>engineering. A case in 7oint is 5auff@an-s (1 (, 77. $9ff." 7ro7osed rederivation of Ivon 4aer-s la;sI of e@6ryology. 0ne of the @ost stri8ing 7atterns in the e@6ryos of ani@als is the fact that they all start out so @uch the sa@e. Thus early fish, frog, chic8 and hu@an e@6ryos are re@ar8a6ly si@ilarOOOO The fa@iliar eA7lanation for these la;s is that @utants P+ thin8 he @eans I@utationsIQ affecting early ontogeny are @ore disru7tive than @utants affecting late ontogeny. Thus @utants altering early develo7@ent are less li8ely to accu@ulate, and early e@6ryos re@ain @ore si@ilar fro@ one order of organis@s to another than do late e@6ryos. +s this 7lausi6le ar> gu@ent actually so 7lausi6leG P5auff@an 1 (, 7. $9Q The traditional Dar;inian, on 5auff@an-s reading, 7laces the res7onsi6il> ity for von 4aer-s la;s in a Is7ecial @echanis@,I 6uilt right into organis@s. *hy don-t ;e see @any finished 7roducts ;ith stri8ingly different early e@6ryosG *ell, since change>orders that affect early 7arts of the 7rocess tend to 6e @ore disastrous in their effect on the finished 7roduct than change> orders that affect later 7arts of die 7rocess, Mother ,ature has de>

signed a s7ecial develo7@ental @echanis@ to 7rotect against such eA7eri> @entation. (This ;ould 6e analogous to +4M-s for6idding its co@7uter scientists to investigate alternative architectures for its CPU or central> 7rocessing>unit chi7Hdesi-ned resistance to change." And ;hat is 5auff@an-s contrasting eA7lanationG +t starts ;ith the sa@e 7oint and ta8es it in a rather different direction? ... a loc8ing>in of early develo7@ent, and hence von 4aer-s la;s, do not re7resent a s7ecial @echanis@ of develo7@ental canaliJation, the usual sense of ;hich is a 6uffering of the 7henoty7e against genetic alterationOOOO +nstead, loc8ing>in of early develo7@ent is a direct reflection of the fact that the nu@6er of ;ays to i@7rove organis@s 6y altering early ontogeny has d;indled faster than the nu@6er of ;ays to i@7rove 6y altering late develo7@ent. P5auff@an 1 (, 7. $$. See also *i@satt 1 %!.Q Thin8 of the issue fro@ the 7oint of vie; of hu@an engineering for a @o@ent. *hy is it that the foundations of churches are @ore ali8e than their u77er storiesG *ell, says the traditional Dar;inian, they have to 6e 6uilt first, and any ;ise contractor ;ill tell you that if you must tin8er ;ith design ele@ents, ;or8 on the stee7le orna@ent first, or the ;indo;s. <ou are less a7t to have a disastrous crash than if you try to co@e u7 ;ith a ne; ;ay of 7re7aring the foundation. So it is not so sur7rising that churches all start out loo8ing @ore or less ali8e, ;ith the 6ig differences e@erging in the later ela6orations of the 6uilding 7rocess. Actually, says 5auff@an, there really Dust aren-t as @any different possible solutions to the foundation 7ro6le@ as there are to later 6uilding 7ro6le@s. /ven stu7id contractors ;ho 6utted their heads against this fact for eons ;ould not co@e u7 ;ith a ;ide variety of foundation designs. This difference of e@7hasis @ay loo8 s@all, 6ut it has so@e i@7ortant i@7lications. 5auff@an says ;e don-t need to loo8 for a canaliJation mechanism to eA7lain this fact# it ;ill ta8e care of itself. 4ut there is also an underlying agree@ent 6et;een 5auff@an and the tradition he ;ants to su77lant? there are only so @any good ;ays of 6uilding things, given the starting constraints, and evolution finds the@ again and again. +t is the non;optionalit" of these IchoicesI that 5auff@an ;ants to stress, and so he and his colleague 4rian .ood;in (e.g., 1 %!" are 7articularly eager to discredit the 7o;erful i@age, first @ade 7o7ular 6y the great 3rench 6iologists MacEues Monod and 3rancois Maco6, of Mother ,ature as a Itin8er,I engaging in the sort of tin8ering the 3rench call bricola-e. The ter@ ;as first @ade salient 6y the anthro7ologist Claude 2evi>Strauss (1 !!". A tin8er or bricoleur is an o77ortunistic @a8er of gadgets, a Isat>isficerI (Si@on 1 9$" ;ho is al;ays ready to settle for @ediocrity if it is chea7 enough. A tin8er is not a dee7 thin8er. The t;o ele@ents of classical


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Dar;inis@ that Monod and Maco6 concentrate on are chance on the one hand and, on the other, the utter directionlessness and @yo7ia (or 6lindness " of the ;atch@a8er. 4ut, says 5auff@an, I/volution is not Dust -chance caught on the ;ing.- +t is not iust a tin8ering of the ad hoc, of 6ricolage, of contra7tion. +t is e@ergent order honored and honed 6y selectionI (5auff>@an 1 (, 7. !&&". +s he saying the ;atch@a8er isn/t 6lindG 0f course not. 4ut then ;hat is he sayingG He is saying that there are 7rinci7les of order that govern the design 7rocess, and that force the tin8er-s hand. 3ine. /ven a 6lind tin8er ;ill find the forced @oves# it doesn-t ta8e a roc8et scientist, as one says. A tin8er ;ho can-t find the forced @oves is not ;orth a tin8er-s da@n, and ;on-t design a thing. 5auff@an and his colleagues have @ade an interesting set of discoveries, 6ut the attac8 on the i@age of the tin8er is to a large eAtent, + thin8, @is7laced. The tin8er, says 2evi>Strauss, is ;illing to 6e guided 6y the nature of the @aterial, ;hereas the engineer ;ants the @aterial to 6e 7erfectly @allea6leHli8e the concrete so 6eloved 6y the 4au>haus architects. So the tin8er is a dee7 thin8er after all, co@7lying ;ith constraints, not fighting the@. The truly ;ise engineer ;or8s not contra naturam 6ut secundum naturam. 0ne of the virtues in 5auff@an-s attac8 is that it dra;s attention to an undera77reciated 7ossi6ility, one that ;e can @a8e vivid ;ith the hel7 of an i@aginary eAa@7le fro@ hu@an engineering. Su77ose that the Ac@e Ha@> @er Co@7any discovers that the ne; ha@@ers @ade 6y its rival, 4ulldog Ha@@er, +nc., have 7lastic handles ;ith eAactly the sa@e intricate 7attern of colored ;horls on the@ as is s7orted 6y the ne; Ac@e Model :eta. ITheftLI screa@ their legal re7resentatives. I<ou co7ied our designLI May6e, 6ut then again, @ay6e not. +t Dust @ight 6e that there is only one ;ay of @a8ing 7lastic handles ;ith any strength, and that is to stir u7 the 7lastic so@eho; as it sets. The result is inevita6ly a distinctive 7attern of ;horls. +t ;ould 6e al@ost i@7ossi6le to @a8e a servicea6le 7lastic ha@@er handle that didn/t have those ;horls in it, and the discovery of this fact @ight 6e one that ;ould 6e eventually i@7osed on Dust a6out any6ody ;ho tried to @a8e a 7lastic ha@@er>handle. This could eA7lain the other;ise sus7icious si@ilarity ;ithout any hy7othesis of IdescentI or co7ying. ,o;, @ay6e the 4ulldog 7eo7le did co7y Ac@e-s design, but the" would ha%e found it in an" case7 sooner or later. 5auff@an 7oints out that 6iologists tend to overloo8 this sort of 7ossi6ility ;hen they dra; their inferences a6out descent, and he dra;s attention to @any co@7elling cases in the 6iological ;orld in ;hich si@ilarity of 7attern has nothing to do ;ith descent. (The @ost stri8ing cases he discusses are illu@inated 6y Turing-s 1 9' ;or8 on the @athe@atical analysis of the creation of s7atial 7atterning in @or7hogenesis. " +n a ;orld ;ith no discovera6le 7rinci7les of design, all si@ilarities are sus7iciousHli8ely to 6e due to co7ying (7lagiaris@ or descent".

*e have co@e to thin8 of selection as essentially the only source of order in the 6iological ;orld. +f -only- is an overstate@ent, then surely it is accurate to state that selection is vie;ed as the over;hel@ing source of order in the 6iological ;orld. +t follo;s that, in our current vie;, organ> is@s are largely ad hoc solutions to design 7ro6le@s co66led together 6y selection. +t follo;s that @ost 7ro7erties ;hich are ;ides7read in organ> is@s are ;ides7read 6y virtue of co@@on descent fro@ a tin8ered>together ancestor, ;ith selective @aintenance of the useful tin8erings. +t follo;s that ;e see organis@s as over;hel@ingly contingent historical accidents, a6etted 6y design. P5auff@an 1 (, 7. '!.Q 5auff@an ;ants to stress that the 6iological ;orld is @uch @ore a ;orld of ,e;tonian discoveries (such as Turing-s" than Sha8es7earean creations, and he has certainly found so@e eAcellent de@onstrations to 6ac8 u7 his clai@. 4ut + fear that his attac8 on the @eta7hor of the tin8er feeds the yearning of those ;ho don-t a77reciate Dar;in-s dangerous idea# it gives the@ a false ho7e that they are seeing not the forced hand of the tin8er 6ut the divine hand of .od in the ;or8ings of nature. 5auff@an hi@self has called ;hat he is doing the Euest for Ithe 7hysics of 6iologyI (2e;in 1 ', 7. &(", and that is not really in conflict ;ith ;hat + a@ calling it? @eta>engineering. +t is the investigation of the @ost general constraints on the 7rocesses that can lead to the creation and re7roduction of designed things. 4ut ;hen he declares this a Euest for Ila;s,I he feeds the antiengineering 7reDudice (or you @ight call it I7hysics envyI" that distorts so @uch 7hiloso7hical thin8ing a6out 6iology. Does anyone su77ose that there are laws of nutritionG 2a;s of loco@otionG There are all sorts of highly i@7ertur6a6le 6oundary conditions on nutrition and loco@otion, o;ing to funda@ental la;s of 7hysics, and there are 7lenty of regularities, rules of thu@6, trade>offs, and the li8e that are encountered 6y any nutritional or loco@otive @echanis@s. 4ut these are not la;s. They are li8e the highly ro6ust regularities of auto@otive engineering. Consider the regularity that Hceteris paribusJ ignition is acco@7lished only 6y or after the use of a 8ey. There is a reason for this, of course, and it has to do ;ith the 7erceived value of auto@o6iles, their susce7ti6ility to theft, the cost>effective (6ut not fool7roof" o7tions 7rovided 6y 7reeAisting loc8s@ith technology, and so forth. *hen one understands the @yriad cost>6enefit trade>offs of the design decisions that go into creating auto@o6iles, one a77reciates this regularity. +t is not any 8ind of la;# it is a regularity that tends to settle out of a co@7leA set of co@7eting desiderata (other;ise 8no;n as nor@s". These highly relia6le, nor@>trac8ing generaliJations are not la;s of auto@otive engineering, nor are their 6iological counter7arts la;s of loco@otion or nutrition. The location of the @outh at the 6o; rather than the stern end of the loco@oting organis@ ( ceteris paribusH there are eAce7tionsL" is a dee7 regularity, 6ut ;hy call it a la;G *e under>


4+020.< +S /,.+,//)+,.

stand wh" it should 6e so, 6ecause ;e see ;hat @outhsHor loc8s and 8eysH are for7 and ;hy certain ;ays are the 6est ;ays of acco@7lishing those ends. CHAPT/) ,+,/ CHAPT/) %? Biolo-" is not fust li6e en-ineerin-E it is en-ineerin-. It is the stud" of functional mechanisms7 their desi-n7 construction7 and operation. 5rom this %anta-e point7 we can explain the -radual birth of function7 and the concomitant birth of meanin- or intentionalit". #chie%ements that at first seem either literall" miraculous Ge.-.7 the creation of recipe;readers where none were beforeJ or at least intrinsicall" Mind;dependent Glearnin- to pla" winnin- chec6ersJ can be bro6en down into die e%er smaller achie%ements of e%er smaller and stupider mechanisms. !e ha%e now be-un to pa" close attention to the desi-n process itself7 not <ust its products7 and this new research direction is deepenin- Darwin/s dan-erous idea7 not o%erthrowinit. CHAPT/) ? The tas6 of re%erse en-ineerin- in biolo-" is an exercise in fi-urin- out Bwhat Mother 9ature had in mind.B This strate-"7 6nown as adaptationism7 has been an ama:in-l" powerful method7 -eneratin- man" spectacular leaps of inference that ha%e been confirmed Halon- with some that ha%e not7 of course. The famous critiFue of adaptationism b" Stephen @a" Dould and Richard 'ewontin focuses attention on the suspicions people ha%e harbored about adaptationism7 but is lar-el" misdirected. The applications of -ame theor" in adaptationism ha%e been particularl" fruitful7 but one must be cautious8 there ma" be more hidden constraints than theorists often assume.

Searchin- for 1ualit"

1. TH/ P0*/) 03 ADAPTAT+0,+ST TH+,5+,.

/9a6ed as 9ature intended/ was a persuasi%e slo-an of the earl" 9aturist mo%ement. But 9ature/s ori-inal intention was that the s6in of all primates should be un;na6ed.
H/2A+,/ M0).A, 1 =, 7. !!

@ud-in- a poem is li6e <ud-in- a puddin- or a machine. 4ne demands that it wor6. It is onl" because an artifact wor6s that we infer the intention of an artificer. H*. *+MSATT and M. 4/A)DS2/< 1 9&,7.& +f you 8no; so@ething a6out the design of an artifact, you can 7redict its 6ehavior ;ithout ;orrying yourself a6out the underlying 7hysics of its 7arts. /ven s@all children can readily learn to @ani7ulate such co@7licated o6Dects as 1C)s ;ithout having a clue as to ho; they ;or8# they 8no; Dust ;hat ;ill ha77en ;hen they 7ress a seEuence of 6uttons, 6ecause they 8no; ;hat is designed to ha77en. They are o7erating fro@ ;hat + call the desi-n stance. The 1C) re7airer 8no;s a great deal @ore a6out the design of the 1C), and 8no;s, roughly, ho; all the interior 7arts interact to 7roduce 6oth 7ro7er functioning and 7athological functioning, 6ut @ay also 6e Euite o6livious of the underlying 7hysics of the 7rocesses. 0nly the designers of the 1C) had to understand the 7hysics# they are the ones ;ho @ust descend to ;hat + call the ph"sical stance in order to figure out ;hat sorts of design revisions @ight enhance 7icture Euality, or di@inish ;ear and tear on the ta7e, or reduce the electricity consu@7tion of the 7roduct. 4ut ;hen they engage in re%erse engineeringHof so@e other @anufacturer-s 1C), for instanceHthey avail the@selves not only of the 7hysical stance, 6ut also of ;hat + call the intentional stanceHthey try to figure out what the desi-ners


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The ower of #daptationist Thin6in-


dating fro@ ancient .reece, is an astonishingly co@7leA asse@6ly of 6ronJe gears. *hat ;as it forG *as it a cloc8G *as it the @achinery for @oving an auto@aton statue, li8e 1aucanson-s @arvels of the eighteenth centuryG +t ;as Hal@ost certainlyHan orrery or a 7lanetariu@, and the 7roof is that it ;ould 6e a -ood orrery. That is, calculations of the 7eriods of rotation of its ;heels led to an inter7retation that ;ould have @ade it an accurate ( Ptole @aic " re7resentation of ;hat ;as then 8no;n a6out the @otions of the 7lanets. The great architectural historian 1iollet>le>Duc descri6ed an o6Dect called a cerce7 used so@eho; in the construction of cathedral vaults. He hy7othesiJed that it ;as a @ova6le 7iece of staging, used as a te@ > 7orary su77ort for inco@7lete ;e6>courses, 6ut a later inter7reter, Mohn 3itchen ( 1 !1", argued that this could not have 6een its function. 3or one thing, the cerce ;ould not have 6een strong enough in its eAtended 7osition, and, as figure .' sho;s, its use ;ould have created irregularities in the vault ;e66ing ;hich are not to 6e found. 3itchen-s eAtended and ela6orate

3+.U)/ .1. 3igure diagra@@ing the ;heel> ;or8 of the Anti8ythera @echanis@ 6y Dere8 de>Solla Price (<ale University" had in mind. They treat the artifact under eAa@ination as a 7roduct of a 7rocess of reasoned design develo7@ent, a series of choices a@ong alter> natives, in ;hich the decisions reached ;ere those deemed best 6y the designers. Thin8ing a6out the 7ostulated functions of the 7arts is @a8ing assu@7tions a6out the reasons for their 7resence, and this often 7er@its one to @a8e giant lea7s of inference that finesse one-s ignorance of the underlying 7hysics, or the lo;er>level design ele@ents of the o6Dect. Archeologists and historians so@eti@es encounter artifacts ;hose @ean> ingH;hose function or 7ur7oseHis 7articularly o6scure. +t is instructive to loo8 6riefly at a fe; eAa@7les of such artifact hermeneutics to see ho; one reasons in such cases.1 The Anti8ythera @echanis@, discovered in 1 == in a shi7;rec8, and 1. 3or an eA7anded analysis of these issues, see Dennett 1 =6.

1iollet>le>Duc-s cerce device as su77ort for each ;e6 course during the erection of the vault. The s@aller>scale dra;ing sho;s a cerce, 6ased on 1iollet>le>Duc-s re7> resentation and descri7tion. +ts eAtended 7osition clearly indicates ho; one slotted 6oard la7s the other. Hung vertically as su77ort for the stones of a ;e6 course, it is seen (in the detailed section" that the stones of any given course cannot line u7 throughout? those that lean against the far 6oard (sho;n in outline" tilt @uch @ore than those that lean against the near 6oard (sho;n hatched". As no such 6rea8 does occur in the align@ent of the ;e6 stone>coursing, it is o6vious that the cerce device ;as not used in this fashion, in s7ite of 1iollet>le>Duc-s assertion that it ;as. P3itchen 1 !1, 7. 1=1.Q 3+.U)/ .'


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The ower of #daptationist Thin6in-


argu@ent concludes that the cerce ;as no @ore than an adDusta6le te@ 7late, a conclusion he su77orts 6y co@ing u7 ;ith a @uch @ore elegant and versatile solution to the 7ro6le@ of te@7orary su77ort of ;e6 courses. The i@7ortant feature in these argu@ents is the reliance on o7ti@ality considerations# it counts against the hy7othesis that so@ething is a cherry >7itter, for instance, if it ;ould have 6een a de@onstra6ly inferior cherry> 7itter. 0ccasionally, an artifact loses its original function and ta8es on a ne; one. Peo7le 6uy old>fashioned sadirons not to iron their clothes ;ith, 6ut to use as 6oo8ends or doorsto7s# a handso@e Da@ 7ot can 6eco@e a 7encil> holder, and lo6ster tra7s get recycled as outdoor 7lanters. The fact is that sadirons are @uch 6etter as 6oo8ends than they are at ironing clothesH ;hen co@7ared ;ith the co@7etition today. And a Dec>1= @ainfra@e co@7uter today @a8es a nifty heavy>duty anchor for a large 6oat>@ooring. ,o artifact is i@@une fro@ such a77ro7riation, and ho;ever clearly its ori-inal 7ur7ose @ay 6e read fro@ its current for@, its ne; 7ur7ose @ay 6e related to that original 7ur7ose 6y @ere historic accidentHthe fello; ;ho o;ned the o6solete @ainfra@e needed an anchor 6adly, and o77ortunistically 7ressed it into service. The clues a6out such historical 7rocesses ;ould 6e si@7ly unreada6le ;ithout assu@7tions a6out o7ti@ality of design. Consider the so>called ded> icated ;ord>7rocessorHthe chea7, 7orta6le, glorified ty7e;riter that uses dis8 storage and an electronic dis7lay screen, 6ut can-t 6e used as an all> 7ur7ose co@7uter. +f you o7en u7 one of these devices, you find it is governed 6y an all>7ur7ose CPU or central 7rocessing unit, such as an %=%% chi7Ha full>7o;er co@7uter vastly @ore 7o;erful, s;ift, and versatile than the 6iggest co@7uter Alan Turing ever sa;Hloc8ed into @enial service, 7erfor@ing a @inuscule fraction of the tas8s it could 6e harnessed to 7erfor@. *hy is all this eAcess functionality found hereG Martian reverse engineers @ight 6e 6affled, 6ut there is a si@7le historical eA7lanation, of course? the genealogy of co@7uter develo7@ent gradually lo;ered costs of chi7 @anufacture to the 7oint ;here it ;as @uch chea7er to install a ;hole co@7uter>on>a>chi7 in a device than to 6uild a s7ecial>7ur7ose control circuit. ,otice that the eA7lanation is historical 6ut also, inesca7a6ly, 7ro> ceeds fro@ the intentional stance. +t 6eca@e wise to design dedicated ;ord> 7rocessors this ;ay, ;hen the cost>6enefit analysis sho;ed that this ;as the best7 cheapest ;ay to sol%e the problem. *hat is a@aJing is ho; 7o;erful the intentional stance can 6e in reverse engineering, not only of hu@an artifacts, 6ut also of organis@s. +n cha7ter !, ;e sa; the role of 7ractical reasoningHcost>6enefit analysis in 7articularH in distinguishing the forced @oves fro@ ;hat ;e @ight call the ad lib @oves, and ;e sa; ho; Mother ,ature could 6e 7redicted to IdiscoverI the forced @oves again and again. The idea that ;e can i@7ute such Ifree>floating rationalesI to the @indless 7rocess of natural selection is diJJying,

6ut there is no denying the fruits of the strategy. +n cha7ters $ and %, ;e sa; ho; the engineering 7ers7ective infor@s research at every level fro@ the @olecules on u7, and ho; this 7ers7ective alwa"s involves distinguishing the 6etter fro@ the ;orse, and the reasons Mother ,ature has found for the distinction. The intentional stance is thus the crucial lever in all atte@7ts to reconstruct the 6iological 7ast. Did #rchaeopter"x7 the eAtinct 6irdli8e creature that so@e have called a ;inged dinosaur, ever really get off the groundG ,othing could 6e @ore e7he@eral, less li8ely to leave a fossil trace, than a flight through the air, 6ut if you do an engineering analysis of its cla;s, they turn out to 6e eAcellent ada7tations for perchin- on branches7 not for runnin-. An analysis of the cla; curvature, su77le@ented 6y aerodyna@ic analysis of the archaeo7teryA ;ing structure, @a8es it Euite 7lain that the creature ;as well desi-ned for flight (3educcia 1 ( ". So it al@ost certainly fle;Hor had ancestors that fle; (;e @ustn-t forget the 7ossi6ility of eAcess functionality 7ersisting, li8e the co@7uter in the ;ord>7rocessor". The hy7othesis that the archaeo7teryA fle; has not yet 6een fully confir@ed to every eA7ert-s satisfaction, 6ut it suggests @any further Euestions to address to the fossil record, and ;hen those Euestions are 7ursued, either the evidence ;ill @ount in favor of the hy7othesis or it ;on-t. The hy7othesis is testa6le. The lever of reverse engineering is not Dust for 7rying out secrets of history# it is even @ore s7ectacular as a 7redictor of uni@agined secrets of the 7resent. *hy are there colorsG Color>coding is generally vie;ed as a recent engineering innovation, 6ut it is not. Mother ,ature discovered it @uch earlier (for the details, see the section on ;hy there are colors in Dennett 1 1a, 77. ($9>%(". *e 8no; this than8s to lines of research o7ened u7 6y 5arl von 3risch, and, as )ichard Da;8ins 7oints out, von 3risch used a 6old eAercise in reverse engineering to @a8e the initial @ove. 1on 3risch (1 !$", in defiance of the 7restigious orthodoAy of von Hess, conclusively de@onstrated colour vision in fish and in honey6ees 6y con> trolled eA7eri@ents. He ;as driven to underta8e those eA7eri@ents 6y his refusal to 6elieve that, for eAa@7le, the colours of flo;ers ;ere there for no reason, or si@7ly to delight @en-s eyes. PDa;8ins 1 %', 7. (1.Q A si@ilar inference led to the discovery of the endor7hins, the @or7hine> li8e su6stances that ;e 7roduce in our o;n 6odies ;hen ;e are 7ut under enough stress or 7ainHcreating the Irunner-s high,I for instance. The rea> soning ;as the reverse of von 3risch-s. Scientists found rece7tors in the 6rain that are highly s7ecific for @or7hine, ;hich has a 7o;erful 7ain8illing effect. )everse engineering insists that ;herever there is a highly 7articular loc8, there @ust 6e a highly 7articular 8ey to fit it. !h" are these receptors here= (Mother ,ature could not have foreseen the develo7@ent of @or>


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The ower of #daptationist Thin6in-


7hineL" There @ust 6e so@e @olecules 7roduced internally under so@e conditions, the original 8eys that these loc8s ;ere designed to receive. See8 a @olecule that fits this rece7tor and is 7roduced under circu@stances in ;hich a shot of @or7hine @ight 6e 6eneficial. /ure8aL /ndogenously created @or7hineHendor7hinH;as discovered. /ven @ore devious Sherloc8>Hol@esian lea7s of deduction have 6een eAecuted. Here, for instance, is a general @ystery? I*hy do so@e genes change their 7attern of eA7ression de7ending on ;hether they are @aternally or 7aternally inheritedGI (Haig and .raha@ 1 1, 7. 1=&9". This 7heno@enon Hin ;hich the geno@e>reading @achinery pa"s more attention7 in effect, to either the 7aternal teAt or the @aternal teAtHis 8no;n as -enomic imprintin(for a general account, see Haig 1 '", and has 6een confir@ed to occur in s7ecial cases. *hat do the s7ecial cases have in co@@onG Haig and *esto6y (1 % " develo7ed a @odel that 7ur7orts to solve the general @ystery 6y predictin- that geno@ic i@7rinting ;ould 6e found only in organis@s Iin ;hich fe@ales carry offs7ring 6y @ore than one @ale during their life s7an and a syste@ of 7arental care in ;hich offs7ring receive @ost of their 7ostfertiliJation nutrients fro@ one 7arent (usually the @other" and thus co@7ete ;ith offs7ring fathered 6y other @ales.I +n such circu@stances, they reasoned, there should 6e a conflict 6et;een @aternal and 7aternal genesH 7aternal genes ;ill tend to favor eA7loiting the @other-s 6ody as @uch as 7ossi6le, 6ut @aternal genes ;ould Ivie;I this as al@ost suicidalHand the result should 6e that the relevant genes ;ill in effect choose sides in a tug>of> ;ar, and geno@ic i@7rinting ;ill result ( Haig and .raha@ 1 1, 7. 1=&!". See the @odel at ;or8. There is a 7rotein, I+nsulin>li8e .ro;th 3actor ++I (+.3>++", ;hich is, as its na@e suggests, a gro;th>enhancer. ,ot sur7risingly, the genetic reci7es of @any s7ecies order the creation of large Euantities of +.3>++ during e@6ryonic develo7@ent. 4ut, li8e all functioning @achines, +.3>++ needs the right su77ortive environ@ent to do its ;or8, and in this case it needs hel7er @olecules 8no;n as Ity7e 1 rece7tors.I So far, our story is Dust li8e the endor7hin story? ;e have a ty7e of 8ey (+.3>++" and a 8ind of loc8 (ty7e 1 rece7tors" in ;hich it fits and 7erfor@s an o6viously i@7ortant role. 4ut in @ice, for instance, there is another 8ind of loc8 (ty7e ' rece7tors" in ;hich it also fits. *hat are these secondary loc8s forG 3or nothing, a77arently# they are descendants of @olecules that in other s7ecies (toads, for instance" 7lay a role in cells- Igar6age>dis7osalI syste@s, 6ut this is not ;hat they do ;hen they 6ind to +.3>++ in @ice. Then ;hy are they thereG 4ecause they are IorderedI 6y the genetic reci7e for @a8ing a @ouse, of course, 6ut here is the telltale t;ist? ;hereas 6oth the @aternal and 7aternal contri6utions to the chro@oso@e contain reci7e instructions for @a8ing the@, these instructions are preferentiall" expressed fro@ the @aternal chro@oso@e. *hyG To counteract the instruction in the reci7e that

calls for too @uch gro;th>enhancer. The ty7e ' rece7tors are Dust there to soa8 u7Hto Ica7ture and degradeIHall the eAcess gro;th>enhancer that the 7aternal chro@oso@e ;ould 7u@7 into the fetus if it had its ;ay. Since @ice are a s7ecies in ;hich fe@ales tend to @ate ;ith @ore than one @ale, @ales in effect co@7ete to eA7loit the resources of each fe@ale, a co@7etition fro@ ;hich fe@ales @ust 7rotect the@selves (and their o;n genetic contri6utions". Haig and *esto6y-s @odel 7redicts that genes ;ould evolve in @ice to 7rotect fe@ales fro@ this eA7loitation, and this i@7rinting has 6een con> fir@ed. Moreover, their @odel 7redicts that ty7e ' rece7tors shouldn-t ;or8 this ;ay in s7ecies in ;hich genetic conflict of this sort can-t arise. They shouldn-t ;or8 this ;ay in chic8ens, 6ecause offs7ring can-t influence ho; @uch yol8 their eggs receive, so the tug>of>;ar can never get started. Sure enough, the ty7e ' rece7tors in chic8ens don-t 6ind to +.3>++. 4ertrand )ussell once slyly descri6ed a certain for@ of illicit argu@ent as having all the advantages of theft over honest toil, and one can sy@7athiJe ;ith the hard;or8ing @olecular 6iologist ;ho reacts ;ith a certain envy ;hen so@e> 6ody li8e Haig s;oo7s in, saying, in effect, I.o loo8 under that roc8H+ 6et you-ll find a treasure of the follo;ing sha7eLI 4ut that is ;hat Haig ;as a6le to do? he 7redicted ;hat Mother ,ature-s @ove ;ould 6e in the hundred>@illion>year ga@e of @a@@al design. 0f all the 7ossi6le @oves availa6le, he sa; that there ;as a good reason for this @ove, so this is ;hat ;ould 6e discovered. *e can get a sense of the @agnitude of the lea7 that such an inference ta8es 6y co@7aring it ;ith a 7arallel lea7 that ;e can @a8e in the .a@e of 2ife. )ecall that one of the 7ossi6le deniJens of the 2ife ;orld is a Universal Turing @achine co@7osed of trillions of 7iAels. Since a Universal Turing @achine can co@7ute any co@7uta6le function, it can 7lay chessHsi@7ly 6y @i@ic8ing the 7rogra@ of any chess>7laying co@7uter you li8e. Su77ose, then, that such an entity occu7ies the 2ife 7lane, 7laying chess against itself, in the fashion of Sa@> uel-s co@7uter 7laying chec8ers against itself. 2oo8ing at the configuration of dots that acco@7lishes this @arvel ;ould al@ost certainly 6e unillu@i> nating to anyone ;ho had no clue that a configuration ;ith such 7o;ers could eAist. 4ut fro@ the 7ers7ective of so@eone ;ho had the h"pothesis that this huge array of 6lac8 dots ;as a chess>7laying co@7uter, enor@ously efficient ;ays of 7redicting the future of that configuration are @ade avail> a6le. Consider the savings you could achieve. At first you ;ould 6e confronted 6y a screen on ;hich trillions of 7iAels flash on and off. Since you 8no; the single rule of 2ife Physics, you could la6oriously calculate the 6ehavior of each s7ot on the screen if you ;anted, 6ut it ;ould ta8e eons. As a first cost> cutting ste7, you could shift fro@ thin8ing a6out individual 7iAels to thin8ing a6out gliders and eaters and still lifes, and so forth. *henever you


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sa; a glider a77roaching an eater, you ;ould Dust 7redict Iconsu@7tion in four generationsI ;ithout 6othering ;ith the 7iAel>level calculations. As a second ste7, you could @ove to thin8ing of the gliders as sy@6ols on the Ita7eI of a gigantic Turing @achine, and then, ado7ting this higher design stance to;ards the configuration, 7redict its future as a Turing @achine. At this level you ;ould 6e Ihand>si@ulatingI the I@achine languageI of a co@7uter 7rogra@ that 7lays chess, still a tedious ;ay of @a8ing 7redictions, 6ut orders of @agnitude @ore efficient than ;or8ing out the 7hysics. As a third and still @ore efficient ste7, you could ignore the details of the chess> 7laying 7rogra@ itself and Dust assu@e that, ;hatever they are, they are -oodL That is, you could assu@e that the chess>7laying 7rogra@ running on the Turing @achine @ade of gliders and eaters 7layed not Dust legal chess 6ut good legal chessHit had 6een ;ell designed (7erha7s it has designed itself, in the @anner of Sa@uel-s chec8ers 7rogra@ " to find the good @oves. This 7er@its you to shift to thin8ing a6out chess6oard 7ositions, 7ossi6le chess @oves, and the grounds for evaluating the@Hto shift to reasoning a6out reasons. Ado7ting the intentional stance to;ards the configuration, you could 7redict its future as a chess>7layer 7erfor@ing intentional actionsH@a8ing chess @oves and trying to achieve chec8@ate. 3irst you ;ould have to figure out the inter7retation sche@e that 7er@its you to say ;hich configurations of 7iAels count as ;hich sy@6ols? ;hich glider 7attern s7ells out IFA4chI (Fueen ta8es 4isho7# chec8" and the other sy@6ols for chess @oves. 4ut then you could use the inter7retation sche@e to 7redict, for instance, that the neAt configuration to e@erge fro@ the galaAy ;ould 6e such>and>such a glider strea@Hsay, the sy@6ols for I)AFI ()oo8 ta8es Fueen". There is ris8 involved, 6ecause the chess 7rogra@ 6eing run on the Turing @achine @ay 6e far fro@ 7erfectly rational, and, at a different level, de6ris @ay ;ander onto the scene and I6rea8I the Turing>@achine configuration 6efore it finishes the ga@e. 4ut if all goes ;ell, as it nor@ally ;ill, if you have the right inter7retation, you can astonish your friends 6y saying so@ething li8e I+ 7redict that the neAt strea@ of gliders to e@erge in location 2 in this 2ife galaAy ;ill have the follo;ing 7attern? a singleton, follo;ed 6y a grou7 of three, follo;ed 6y another singleton ...I Ho; on /arth ;ere you a6le to 7redict that that 7articular I@olecularI 7attern ;ould a77ear thenG ' +n other ;ords, real 6ut (7otentially" noisy 7atterns a6ound in such a configuration of the 2ife ;orld, there for the 7ic8ing u7 if only you are luc8y or clever enough to hit on the right 7ers7ective. They are not %i;

sual 7atterns 6ut, you @ight say, intellectual 7atterns. SEuinting or t;isting your head in front of the co@7uter screen is not a7t to hel7, ;hereas 7osing fanciful inter7retations (or ;hat Fuine ;ould call Ianalytical hy7othesesI" @ay uncover a gold @ine. The o77ortunity confronting the o6server of such a 2ife ;orld is analogous to the o77ortunity confronting the cry7togra7her staring at a ne; 7atch of ci7her teAt, or the o77ortunity confronting the Martian 7eering through a telesco7e at the Su7er>6o;l .a@e. +f the Martian hits on the intentional stanceHother;ise 8no;n as fol8 7sychology (Has the right level to loo8 for 7attern, sha7es ;ill readily e@erge through the noisy Dostling of 7eo7le>7articles and tea@>@olecules. The scale of co@7ression ;hen one ado7ts the intentional stance to;ards the t;o>di@ensional chess>7laying co@7uter galaAy is stu7endous? it is the difference 6et;een figuring out in your head ;hat *hite-s @ost li8ely (6est" chess @ove is versus calculating the state of a fe; trillion 7iAels through a fe; hundred thousand generations. 4ut the scale of the savings is really no greater in the 2ife ;orld than in our o;n. Predicting that so@eone ;ill duc8 if you thro; a 6ric8 at hi@ is easy fro@ the intentional or fol8>7sychological stance# it is and ;ill al;ays 6e intracta6le if you have to trace the 7hotons fro@ 6ric8 to eye6all, the neurotrans@itters fro@ o7tic nerve to @otor nerve, and so forth. 3or such vast co@7utational leverage one @ight 6e 7re7ared to 7ay Euite a stee7 7rice in errors, 6ut in fact the intentional stance, used correctly, 7rovides a descri7tion syste@ that 7er@its eAtre@ely relia6le 7rediction of not only intelligent hu@an 6ehavior, 6ut also the Iintelligent 6ehaviorI of the 7rocess that designed organis@s. All this ;ould ;ar@ *illia@ Paley-s heart. *e can 7ut the 6urden of 7roof on the s8e7tics ;ith a si@7le challenge argu@ent? if there ;eren-t design in the 6ios7here, ho; co@e the intentional stance wor6s= *e can even get a rough @easure of the design in the 6ios7here 6y co@7aring the cost of @a8ing 7redictions fro@ the lo;est>level 7hysical stance (;hich assu@es no designH;ell, al@ost no design, de7ending on ho; ;e treat the evolution of universes" ;ith the cost of @a8ing 7redictions fro@ the higher stances? the design stance and the intentional stance. The added leverage of 7rediction, the di@inution of uncertainty, the shrin8age of the huge search s7ace to a fe; o7ti@al or

'. +n case you ;ondered, + i@agined I)AFI to 6e s7elled out in Morse code, and I)I in Morse is dot>dash>dotHthe grou7 of three gliders counts as a dash.

(.1 introduced the ter@ Ifol8 7sychologyI in 1 $% (Dennett 1 %1, 1 %$6" as the na@e for the natural, 7erha7s even 7artly innate, talent hu@an 6eings have for ado7ting the intentional stance. See 4aron>Cohen 1 9 for a fascinating contri6ution to the current state of 7lay. There is @ore agree@ent a@ong 7hiloso7hers and 7sychologists a6out the eAistence of the talent than there is a6out @y analysis of it. See, for instance, the recent anthologies on the to7icH.reen;ood 1 1, and Christensen and Turner 1 (. See Dennett 1 %$6, 1 =6, and 1 16 for @y account.


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near>o7ti@al 7aths, is a @easure of the design that is o6serva6le in the ;orld. The 6iologists- na@e for this style of reasoning is adaptationism +t is defined 6y one of its @ost e@inent critics as the Igro;ing tendency in evolutionary 6iology to reconstruct or 7redict evolutionary events 6y as; sumin- that all characters are esta6lished in evolution 6y direct natural selection of the @ost ada7ted state, that is, the state that is an o7ti@u@ -solution- to a -7ro6le@- 7osed 6y the environ@entI (2e;ontin 1 %(". These critics clai@ that, although ada7tationis@ 7lays some i@7ortant role in 6iology, it is not really all that central or u6iEuitousHand, indeed, ;e should try to 6alance it ;ith other ;ays of thin8ing. + have 6een sho;ing, ho;ever, that it 7lays a crucial role in the analysis of every 6iological event at every scale fro@ the creation of the first self>re7licating @acro@olecule on u7. +f ;e gave u7 ada7tationist reasoning, for instance, ;e ;ould have to give u7 the 6est teAt6oo8 argu@ent for the very occurrence of evolution (+ Euoted Mar8 )idley-s version of it on 7age 1(!"? the ;ides7read eAistence of ho@ologies, those sus7icious si@ilarities of design that are not functionally necessary. Ada7tationist reasoning is not o7tional# it is the heart and soul of evolu > tionary 6iology. Although it @ay 6e su77le@ented, and its fla;s re7aired, to thin8 of displacin- it fro@ central 7osition in 6iology is to i@agine not Dust the do;nfall of Dar;inis@ 6ut the colla7se of @odern 6ioche@istry and all the life sciences and @edicine. So it is a 6it sur7rising to discover that this is 7recisely the inter7retation that @any readers have 7laced on the @ost fa@ous and influential critiEue of ada7tationis@, Ste7hen May .ould and )ichard 2e;ontin-s oft>cited, oft>re7rinted, 6ut @assively @isread classic, IThe S7andrels of San Marco and the Panglossian Paradig@? A CritiEue of the Ada7tationist Progra@@eI (1 $ ".

'. TH/ 2/+4,+:+A, PA)AD+.M

If7 amon- all the possible worlds7 none had been better than the rest7 then Dod would ne%er ha%e created one.
H.0TT3)+/D *+2H/2M 2/+4,+: 1$1=

The stud" of adaptation is not an optional preoccupation with fascinatinfra-ments of natural histor"7 it is the core of biolo-ical stud".
HC02+, P+TT/,D)+.H 1 9%, 7. ( 9

2ei6niJ, notoriously, said that this ;as the 6est of all 7ossi6le ;orlds, a stri8ing suggestion that @ight see@ 7re7osterous fro@ a distance, 6ut turns out, as ;e have seen, to thro; an interesting light on the dee7 Euestions of

;hat it is to 6e a 7ossi6le ;orld, and on ;hat ;e can infer a6out the actual ;orld fro@ the fact of its actuality. +n Candide7 1oltaire created a fa@ous caricature of 2ei6niJ, Dr. Pangloss, the learned fool ;ho could rationaliJe any cala@ity or defor@ityHfro@ the 2is6on earthEua8e to venereal disease Hand sho; ho;, no dou6t, it ;as all for the 6est. ,othing in principle could 7rove that this ;as not the 6est of all 7ossi6le ;orlds. .ould and 2e;ontin @e@ora6ly du66ed the excesses of ada7tationis@ the IPanglossian Paradig@,I and strove to ridicule it off the stage of serious science. They ;ere not the first to use IPanglossianI as a ter@ of criticis@ in evolutionary theory. The evolutionary 6iologist M. 4. S. Haldane had a fa@ous list of three Itheore@sI of 6ad scientific argu@ent? the 4ell@an-s Theore@ (I*hat + tell you three ti@es is trueI# fro@ IThe Hunting of the Snar8I 6y 2e;is Carroll", Aunt Mo6isca-s Theore@ (I+t-s a fact the ;hole ;orld 8no;sI# fro@ /d;ard 2ear, IThe Po66le *ho Had ,o ToesI", and Pangloss-s Theore@ (IAll is for the 6est in this 6est of all 7ossi6le ;orldsI# fro@ CandideJ. Mohn Maynard S@ith then used the last of these @ore 7ar> ticularly to na@e Ithe old Panglossian fallacy that natural selection favours ada7tations that are good for the s7ecies as a ;hole, rather than acting at the level of the individual.I As he later co@@ented, I+t is ironic that the 7hrase -Pangloss-s theore@- ;as first used in the de6ate a6out evolution (in 7rint, + thin8, 6y @yself, 6ut 6orro;ed fro@ a re@ar8 of Haldane-s", not as a criticis@ of ada7tive eA7lanations, 6ut s7ecifically as a criticis@ of -grou7> selectionist-, @ean>fitness>@aAi@ising argu@entsI (Maynard S@ith 1 %%, 7. %%". 4ut Maynard S@ith is ;rong, a77arently. .ould has recently dra;n attention to a still earlier use of the ter@ 6y a 6iologist, *illia@ 4ateson (1 = ", of ;hich he, .ould, had 6een una;are ;hen he chose to use the ter@. As .ould (1 (a, 7. (1'" says, IThe convergence is hardly sur7rising, as Dr. Pangloss is a standard synecdoche for this for@ of ridicule.I As ;e sa; in cha7ter !, the @ore a7t or fitting a 6rainchild is, the @ore li8ely it is to 6e 6orn (or 6orro;ed" inde7endently in @ore than one 6rain. 1oltaire created Pangloss as a 7arody of 2ei6niJ, and it is eAaggerated and unfair to 2ei6niJHas all good 7arody is. .ould and 2e;ontin si@ilarly car> icatured ada7tationis@ in their article attac8ing it, so 7arity of reasoning suggests that, if ;e ;anted to undo the da@age of that caricature, and descri6e ada7tationis@ in an accurate and constructive ;ay, ;e ;ould have a title ready>@ade? ;e could call ada7tationis@, fairly considered, the I2ei6> niJian Paradig@.I The .ould and 2e;ontin article has had a curious effect on the acade@ic ;orld. +t is ;idely regarded 6y 7hiloso7hers and other hu@anists ;ho have heard of it or even read it as so@e sort of refutation of adaptationism. +ndeed, + first learned of it fro@ the 7hiloso7herN7sychologist Merry 3odor, a lifelong critic of @y account of the intentional stance, ;ho 7ointed out that


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;hat + ;as saying ;as 7ure ada7tationis@ (he ;as right a6out that", and ;ent on to let @e in on ;hat the co-noscenti all 8ne;? .ould and 2e;ontin-s article had sho;n ada7tationis@ Ito 6e co@7letely 6an8ru7t.I (3or an instance of 3odor-s vie; in 7rint, see 3odor 1 =, 7. $=." *hen + loo8ed into it, + found out other;ise. +n 1 %(, + 7u6lished a 7a7er in Beha%ioral and Brain Sciences7 I+ntentional Syste@s in Cognitive /thology,I and since it ;as una6ashedly ada7tationist in its reasoning, + included a coda, IThe -Panglossian Paradig@- Defended,I ;hich criticiJed 6oth .ould and 2e;ontin-s 7a7er andH@ore 7articularlyHthe 6iJarre @yth that had gro;n u7 around it. The results ;ere fascinating. /very article that a77ears in BBS is acco@> 7anied 6y several doJen co@@entaries 6y eA7erts in the relevant fields, and @y 7iece dre; fire fro@ evolutionary 6iologists, 7sychologists, ethologists, and 7hiloso7hers, @ost of it friendly 6ut so@e re@ar8a6ly hostile. 0ne thing ;as clear? it ;as not Dust so@e 7hiloso7hers and 7sychologists ;ho ;ere unco@forta6le ;ith ada7tationist reasoning. +n addition to the evolutionary theorists ;ho ;eighed in enthusiastically on @y side (Da;8ins 1 %(6, Maynard S@ith 1 %(", and those ;ho fought 6ac8 (2e;ontin 1 %(", there ;ere those ;ho, though they agreed ;ith @e that .ould and 2e;ontin had not refuted ada7tationis@, ;ere eager to do;n7lay the standard use of o7ti@ality assu@7tions that + clai@ed to 6e an essential ingredient in all evolutionary thin8ing. ,iles /ldredge (1 %(, 7. (!1" discussed the reverse engineering of func> tional @or7hologists? I<ou ;ill find so6er analyses of fulcra, force vectors and so forth? the understanding of anato@y as a living @achine. So@e of this stuff is very good. So@e of it is a6solutely dreadful.I He ;ent on to cite, as an eAa@7le of good reverse engineering, the ;or8 of Dan 3isher (1 $9" co@7aring @odern horseshoe cra6s ;ith their Murassic ancestors? Assu@ing only that Murassic horseshoe cra6s also s;a@ on their 6ac8s, 3isher sho;ed they @ust have s;u@ at an angle of =>1= degrees (flat on their 6ac8s" and at the so@e;hat greater s7eed of 19>'= c@Nsec. Thus the -ada7tive significance- of the slight differences in anato@y 6et;een @odern horseshoe cra6s and their 19=>@illion>year>old relatives is translated into an understanding of their slightly different s;i@@ing ca7a6ilities. (+n all honesty, + @ust also re7ort that 3isher does use o7ti@ality in his argu> @ents? He sees the differences 6et;een the t;o s7ecies as a sort of trade> off, ;here the slightly @ore efficient Murassic s;i@@ers a77ear to have used the sa@e 7ieces of anato@y to 6urro; so@e;hat less efficiently than their @odern>day relatives". +n any case, 3isher-s ;or8 stands as a really good eAa@7le of functional @or7hological analysis. The notion of ada7ta> tion is naught 6ut conce7tual filigreeHone that @ay have 7layed a role in @otivating the research, 6ut one that ;as not vital to the research itself. P/ldredge 1 %(, 7. (!'.Q

4ut in fact the role of o7ti@ality assu@7tions in 3isher-s ;or8H6eyond the eA7licit role that /ldredge concededHis so IvitalI and indeed o@ni7resent that /ldredge entirely overloo8ed it. 3or instance, 3isher-s inference that the Murassic cra6s s;a@ at 19>'= c@Nsec has as a tacit 7re@ise that those cra6s swam at the optimal speed for their desi-n. ( Ho; does he 8no; they s;a@ at allG Perha7s they Dust lay there, o6livious of the eAcess functionality of their 6ody sha7es." *ithout this tacit (and, of course, dead o6vious" 7re@ise, no conclusion at all could 6e dra;n a6out ;hat the actual s;i@@ing s7eed of the Murassic variety ;as. Michael .hiselin (1 %(, 7. (!( " ;as even @ore forthright in denying this uno6vious o6vious de7endence? Panglossianis@ is 6ad 6ecause it as8s the ;rong Euestion, na@ely, *hat is goodG... The alternative is to reDect such teleology altogether. +nstead of as8ing, *hat is goodG ;e as8, *hat has ha77enedG The ne; Euestion does everything ;e could eA7ect the old one to do, and a lot @ore 6esides. He ;as fooling hi@self. There is hardly a single ans;er to the Euestion I*hat has ha77ened (in the 6ios7here"GI that doesn-t de7end crucially on assu@7tions a6out ;hat is good.& As ;e Dust noted, you can-t even avail yourself of the conce7t of a ho@ology ;ithout ta8ing on ada7tationis@, ;ithout ta8ing the intentional stance. So no; ;hat is the 7ro6le@G +t is the 7ro6le@ of ho; to tell goodH irre7lacea6leHada7tationis@ fro@ 6ad ada7tationis@, ho; to tell 2ei6niJ fro@ Pangloss.9 Surely one reason for the eAtraordinary influence of .ould

&. Doesn-t @y assertion fly in the face of the clai@s of those cladists ;ho 7ur7ort to deduce history fro@ a statistical analysis of shared and unshared IcharactersIG ( 3or a 7hiloso7hical survey and discussion, see So6er 1 %%." <es, 1 guess it does, and @y revie; of their ar> gu@ents (largely via So6er-s analyses " sho;s @e that the difficulties they create for the@> selves are largely if not entirely due to their trying so hard to find non>ada7tationist ;ays of dra;ing the sound inferences that are dead o6vious to ada7tationists. 3or instance, those cladists ;ho a6stain fro@ ada7tation tal8 cannot Dust hel7 the@selves to the o6vious fact that haying ;e66ed feet is a 7retty good IcharacterI and having dirty feet (;hen eAa@> ined" is not. 2i8e the 6ehaviorists ;ho 7retended to 6e a6le to eA7lain and 7redict I6e> haviorI defined in the star8ly uninter7reted language of geogra7hical traDectory of 6ody 7arts, instead of using the richly functionalistic language of searching, eating, hiding, chas> ing, and so forth, the a6ste@ious cladists create @aDestic edifices of intricate theory, ;hich is a@aJing, considering they do it ;ith one hand tied 6ehind their 6ac8s, 6ut strange, con> sidering that they ;ouldn-t have to do it at all if they didn-t insist on tying one hand 6ehind their 6ac8s. (See also Da;8ins 1 %!a, ch. 1=, and Mar8 )idley 1 %9, ch. !." 9. The @yth that the 7oint of the .ould and 2e;ontin 7a7er ;as to destroy ada7tation > is@, not correct its eAcesses, ;as fostered 6y the 7a7er-s rhetoric, 6ut in so@e Euarters it 6ac8fired on .ould and 2e;ontin, since ada7tationists the@selves tended to 7ay @ore


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by Bill Watterson

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Calvin and Hobbes

CA21+, A,D H044/S co7yright 1 ( *atterson. )e7rinted ;ith 7er@ission of U,+1/)SA2 P)/SS S<,D+CAT/. All rights reserved. 3+.U)/ .(

and 2e;ontin-s 7a7er (a@ong nonevolutionists" is that it eA7ressed, ;ith @any fine rhetorical flourishes, ;hat /ldredge called the I6ac8lashI against the conce7t of ada7tationis@ a@ong 6iologists. *hat ;ere they reacting againstG +n the @ain, they ;ere reacting against a certain sort of laJiness? the ada7tationist ;ho hits u7on a truly nifty eA7lanation for ;hy a 7articular circu@stance should 7revail, and then never 6others to test itH6ecause it is too good a story, 7resu@a6ly, not to 6e true. Ado7ting another literary la6el, this ti@e fro@ )udyard 5i7ling (1 1'", .ould and 2e;ontin call such eA7lanations IMust So Stories.I +t is an enticing historical curiosity that 5i7ling ;rote his @ust So Stories at a ti@e ;hen this o6Dection to Dar;inian eA7lanation had already 6een s;irling around for decades# ! for@s of it ;ere raised 6y so@e of Dar;in-s earliest critics (5itcher 1 %9a, 7. 19!". *as 5i7ling ins7ired 6y the controversyG +n any case, calling the ada7tationistsflights of i@agination IMust So StoriesI hardly does the@ credit# as delightful as + have al;ays found 5i7ling-s fantasies a6out ho; the ele7hant got its trun8, and the leo7ard got its s7ots, they are Euite si@7le and unsur7rising tales co@7ared ;ith the a@aJing hy7otheses that have 6een concocted 6y ada7tationists. Consider the greater honey guide, Indicator indicator7 an African 6ird that o;es its na@e to its talent for leading hu@an 6eings to ;ild 6eehives hidden in the forest. *hen the 4oran 7eo7le of 5enya ;ant to find honey, they call for the 6ird 6y 6lo;ing on ;histles @ade of scul7ted snail shells. *hen a 6ird arrives, it flies around the@, singing a s7ecial songHits Ifollo;>

attention to the rhetoric than the argu@ents? IThe critiEue 6y .ould and 2e;ontin has had little i@7act on 7ractitioners, 7erha7s 6ecause they ;ere seen as hostile to the ;hole enter7rise, and not @erely to careless 7ractise of itI (Maynard S@ith 1 %%, 7. % ". !. 5i7ling 6egan 7u6lishing the individual stories in 1% $.

@eI call. They follo; as the 6ird darts ahead and ;aits for the@ to catch u7, al;ays @a8ing sure they can see ;here it-s heading. *hen the 6ird reaches the hive, it changes its tune, giving the Ihere>;e>areI call. *hen the 4oran locate the 6eehive in the tree and 6rea8 into it, they ta8e the honey, leaving ;aA and larvae for the honey guide. ,o;, don-t you ache to 6elieve that this ;onderful 7artnershi7 actually eAists, and has the clever functional 7ro7erties descri6edG Don-t you ;ant to 6elieve that such a @arvel could have evolved under so@e i@agined series of selection 7ressures and o77ortunitiesG + certainly do. And, ha77ily, in this case, the follo;>u7 research is confir@ing the story, and even adding nifty touches as it does so. )ecent controlled tests, for instance, sho;ed that the 4oran honey>hunters too8 @uch longer to find hives ;ithout the hel7 of the 6irds, and ! 7ercent of the 1%! hives found during the study ;ere encased in trees in ;ays that ;ould have @ade the@ inaccessi6le to the 6irds ;ithout hu@an assistance (+sac8 and )eyer 1 % ". Another fascinating story, ;hich stri8es closer to ho@e, is the hy7othesis that our s7ecies, >omo sapiens7 descended fro@ earlier 7ri@ates via an inter@ediate s7ecies that ;as aEuatic (Hardy + !=, Morgan 1 %', 1 ="L These aEuatic a7es 7ur7ortedly lived on the shores of an island for@ed 6y the flooding of the area that is no; in /thio7ia, during the late Miocene, a6out seven @illion years ago. Cut off 6y the flooding fro@ their cousins on the African continent, and challenged 6y a relatively sudden change in their cli@ate and food sources, they develo7ed a taste for shellfish, and over a 7eriod of a @illion years or so they 6egan the evolutionary 7rocess of returning to the sea that ;e 8no; ;as undergone earlier 6y ;hales, dol7hins, seals, and otters, for instance. The 7rocess ;as ;ell under ;ay, leading to the fiAation of @any curious characteristics that are other;ise found onl" in aEuatic @a@@alsHnot in any other 7ri@ate, for eAa@7leH ;hen circu@stances changed once again, and these se@i>seagoing a7es returned to a life on the land (6ut ty7ically on the shore of sea, la8e, or river ". There, they found that @any of the ada7tations they had develo7ed for good reasons in their shell>diving days ;ere not only not valua6le 6ut a 7ositive hindrance. They soon turned these handica7s to good uses, ho;ever, or at least @ade co@7ensations for the@? their u7right, 6i7edal 7osture, their su6cutaneous layer of fat, their hairlessness, 7ers7iration, tears, ina6ility to res7ond to salt de7rivation in standard @a@@alian ;ays, and, of course, the diving refleAH

;hich 7er@its even ne;6orn hu@an infants to survive sudden su6@ersion in ;ater for long 7eriods ;ith no ill effects. The detailsHand there are @any, @any @oreHare so ingenious, and the ;hole aEuatic>a7e theory is so shoc8ingly antiesta6lish@ent, that + for one ;ould lo%e to see it vindicated. That does not @a8e it true, of course. The fact that its 7rinci7al eA7onent these days is not only a ;o@an, /laine Morgan, 6ut an a@ateur, a science ;riter ;ithout 7ro7er official credentials


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in s7ite of her su6stantial researches, @a8es the 7ros7ect of vindication all the @ore enticing.$ The esta6lish@ent has res7onded Euite ferociously to her challenges, @ostly treating the@ as 6eneath notice, 6ut occasionally su6Decting the@ to ;ithering re6uttal. % This is not necessarily a 7athological reaction. Most uncredentialed 7ro7onents of scientific IrevolutionsI are 8oo8s ;ho really are not ;orth 7aying any attention to. There really are a lot of the@ 6esieging us, and life is too short to give each uninvited hy7othesis its 7ro7er day in court. 4ut in this case, + ;onder# @any of the counterargu@ents see@ a;fully thin and ad hoc. During the last fe; years, ;hen + have found @yself in the co@7any of distinguished 6iologists, evo> lutionary theorists, 7aleo>anthro7ologists, and other eA7erts, + have often as8ed the@ Dust to tell @e, 7lease, eAactly ;hy /laine Morgan @ust 6e ;rong a6out the aEuatic>a7e theory. + haven-t yet had a re7ly ;orth @entioning, aside fro@ those ;ho ad@it, ;ith a t;in8le in their eyes, that they have often ;ondered the sa@e thing. There see@s to 6e nothing inherentl" i@7ossi6le a6out the idea, other @a@@als have @ade the 7lunge, after all. *hy couldn-t our ancestors have started 6ac8 into the ocean and then retreated, 6earing so@e telltale scars of this historyG Morgan @ay 6e IaccusedI of telling a good storyHshe certainly hasH6ut not of declining to try to test it. 0n the contrary, she has used the story as leverage to coaA a host of sur7rising 7redictions out of a variety of fields, and has 6een ;illing to adDust her theory ;hen the results have de@anded it. 0ther;ise, she has stuc8 to her guns and, in fact, invited attac8 on her vie;s through the vehe@ence of her 7artisanshi7. As so often ha77ens in such a confrontation, the intransigence and defensiveness, on 6oth sides, have 6egun to ta8e their toll, creating one of those s7ectacles that then discourage anyone ;ho Dust ;ants to 8no; the truth fro@ having anything @ore to do ;ith the su6Dect. Morgan-s latest 6oo8 on the to7ic (1 ="

res7onded ;ith ad@ira6le clarity, ho;ever, to the o6Dections that had 6een lodged to date, and usefully contrasted the strengths and ;ea8nesses of the aEuatic>a7e theory to those of the esta6lish@ent-s history. And, @ore recently still, a 6oo8 has a77eared that collects essays 6y a variety of eA7erts, for and against the aEuatic>a7e theory? )oede et al. 1 1. The tentative verdict of the organiJers of the 1 %$ conference fro@ ;hich that 6oo8 s7rang (7. ('& " is that, I;hile there are a nu@6er of argu@ents favoring the AAT, they are not sufficiently convincing to counteract the argu@ents against it.I That Dudicious note of @ild dis7arage@ent hel7s ensure that the argu@ent ;ill continue, 7erha7s even ;ith less rancor# it ;ill 6e interesting to see ;here it all co@es out. My 7oint in raising the aEuatic>a7e theory is not to defend it against the esta6lish@ent vie;, 6ut to use it as an illustration of a dee7er ;orry. Many 6iologists ;ould li8e to say, IA 7oA on 6oth your housesLI Morgan (1 =" deftly eA7oses the hand>;aving and ;ishful thin8ing that have gone into the esta6lish@ent-s tale a6out ho;Hand wh"H>omo sapiens develo7ed 6i7ed> alis@, s;eating, and hairlessness on the savanna, not the seashore. Their stories @ay not 6e literally as fishy as hers, 6ut so@e of the@ are 7retty farfetched# they are every 6it as s7eculative, and (+ venture to say " no 6etter confir@ed. *hat they @ainly have going for the@, so far as + can see, is that they occu7ied the high ground in the teAt6oo8s 6efore Hardy and Morgan tried to dislodge the@. 4oth sides are indulging in ada7tationist Must So Stories, and since some stor" or other @ust 6e true, ;e @ust not conclude ;e have found the story Dust 6ecause ;e have co@e u7 ;ith a story that see@s to fit the facts. To the eAtent that ada7tationists have 6een less than energetic in see8ing further confir@ation (or dreaded disconfir@ation" of their stories, this is certainly an eAcess that deserves criticis@. 4ut 6efore leaving it at that, + ;ant to 7oint out that there are @any ada7tationist stories that e%er"bod" is ha77y to acce7t even though they

$. Sir Alister Hardy, the 2inacre Professor of :oology at 0Aford, ;ho originally 7ro7osed the theory, could hardly have 6een a @ore secure @e@6er of the scientific esta6lish@ent, ho;ever. %. 3or instance, there is no @ention at all of the aEuatic>a7e theory, not even to dis@iss it, in t;o recent coffee>ta6le 6oo8s that include cha7ters on hu@an evolution. Phili7 *hitfield-s 5rom So Simple a Be-innin-8 The Boo6 of E%olution (1 (" offers a fe; 7aragra7hs on the standard savanna theory of 6i7edalis@. IThe Pri@ates- Progress,I 6y Peter Andre;s and Christo7her Stringer, is a @uch longer essay on ho@inid evolution, in The Boo6 of 'ife (Ste7hen May .ould, ed., 1 (6", 6ut it, too, ignores the aEuatic>a7e theoryHthe AAT. And, adding insult to o6livion, there has also 6een a ;ic8edly funny 7arody of it 6y Donald Sy@ons (1 %(", eA7loring the radical hy7othesis that our ances> tors used to fl"HIThe flying on air theoryH320AT, as it is acrony@ously (acri@oni> ously, a@ong the reactionary hu@an evolution -esta6lish@ent-".I 3or an overvie; of the reactions, see .. )ichards 1 1

. The geneticist Steve Mones ( 1 (, 7. '= " gives us another case in 7oint? There are @ore than three hundred stri8ingly different s7ecies of cichlid fish in 2a8e 1ictoria. They are so different# ho; did they get thereG IThe conventional vie; is that 2a8e 1ictoria @ust once have dried u7 into @any s@all la8es to allo; each s7ecies to evolve. A7art fro@ the fish the@selves, there is no evidence that this ever ha77ened.I Ada7tationist stories do get disconfir@ed and a6andoned, ho;ever. My favorite eAa@7le is the no;>discredited eA> 7lanation of ;hy certain sea turtles @igrate all the ;ay across the Atlantic 6et;een Africa and South A@erica, s7a;ning on one side, feeding on the other. According to this all> too>reasona6le story, the ha6it started ;hen Africa and South A@erica ;ere first 6egin> ning to s7lit a7art# at that ti@e, the turtles ;ere Dust going across the 6ay to s7a;n# the distance gre; i@7erce7ti6ly longer over the eons, until their descendants dutifully cross an ocean to get to ;here their instinct still tells the@ to s7a;n. + gather that the ti@ing of the 6rea8u7 of .ond;analand turns out not to @atch the evolutionary ti@eta6le for the turtles, sad to say, 6ut ;asn-t it a cute ideaG


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have never 6een I7ro7erly tested,I Dust 6ecause they are too o6viously true to 6e ;orth further testing. Does any6ody seriously dou6t that eyelids evolved to 7rotect the eyeG 4ut that very o6viousness @ay hide good research Euestions fro@ us. .eorge *illia@s 7oints out that concealed 6ehind such o6vious facts @ay lie others that are ;ell ;orth further investigation? A hu@an eye 6lin8 ta8es a6out 9= @illiseconds. That @eans that ;e are 6lind a6out 9V of the ti@e ;hen ;e are using our eyes nor@ally. Many events of i@7ortance can ha77en in 9= @illiseconds, so that ;e @ight @iss the@ entirely. A roc8 or s7ear thro;n 6y a 7o;erful adversary can travel @ore than a @eter in 9= @illiseconds, and it could 6e i@7ortant to 7er> ceive such @otion as accurately as 7ossi6le. *hy do ;e 6lin8 ;ith 6oth eyes si@ultaneouslyG *hy not alternate and re7lace 9V visual attentive> ness ;ith 1==V G + can i@agine an ans;er in so@e sort of trade>off 6alance. A 6lin8 @echanis@ for 6oth eyes at once @ay 6e @uch si@7ler and chea7er than one that regularly alternates. P.. *illia@s 1 ', 77. 19'>9(Q *illia@s has not hi@self yet atte@7ted to confir@ or disconnr@ any hy> 7othesis gro;ing out of this eAe@7lary 7iece of ada7tationist 7ro6le@> setting, 6ut he has called for the research 6y as8ing the Euestion. +t ;ould 6e as 7ure an eAercise in reverse engineering as can 6e i@agined. Serious consideration of ;hy natural selection 7er@its si@ultaneous 6lin8> ing @ight yield other;ise elusive insights. *hat change in the @achinery ;ould 6e needed to 7roduce the first ste7 to;ards @y envisioned ada7tive alternation or si@7le inde7endent ti@ingG Ho; @ight the change 6e achieved develo7@entallyG *hat other changes ;ould 6e eA7ected fro@ a @utation that 7roduced a slight lag in the 6lin8ing of one eyeG Ho; ;ould selection act on such a @utationG P.. *illia@s 1 ', 7. 19(Q .ould hi@self has endorsed so@e of the @ost daring and delicious of ada7tationist Must So Stories, such as the argu@ent 6y 2loyd and Dy6as (1 !!" eA7laining ;hy cicadas (such as Iseventeen>year locustsI" have re7roductive cycles that are 7ri@e>nu@6ered years longHthirteen years, or seventeen, 6ut never fifteen or siAteen, for instance. IAs evolutionists,I .ould says, I;e see8 ans;ers to the Euestion, ;hy. *hy, in 7articular, should such stri8ing synchroneity evolve, and ;hy should the 7eriod 6et;een e7isodes of seAual re7roduction 6e so longGI (.ould 1 $$a, 7. ".1=

The ans;erH;hich @a8es 6eautiful sense, in retros7ectHis that, 6y having a large 7ri@e nu@6er of years 6et;een a77earances, the cicadas @ini@iJe the li8elihood of 6eing discovered and later trac8ed as a 7redicta6le feast 6y 7redators ;ho the@selves sho; u7 every t;o years, or three years, or five years. +f the cicadas had a 7eriodicity of, say, siAteen years, then they ;ould 6e a rare treat for 7redators ;ho sho;ed u7 every year, 6ut a @ore relia6le source of food for 7redators ;ho sho;ed u7 every t;o or four years, and an even>@oney ga@6le for 7redators that got in 7hase ;ith the@ on an eight> year schedule. +f their 7eriod is not a @ulti7le of any lo;er nu@6er, ho;ever, they are a rare treatHnot ;orth ItryingI to trac8Hfor any s7ecies that isn-t luc8y enough to have eAactly their 7eriodicity (or so@e @ulti7le of itHthe @ythical Thirty>four><ear 2ocust>Muncher ;ould 6e in fat city". + don-t 8no; ;hether 2loyd and Dy6as- Must So Story has 6een 7ro7erly confir@ed yet, 6ut + don-t thin8 .ould is guilty of Panglossianis@ in treating it as esta6lished until 7roven other;ise. And if he really ;ants to as8 and ans;er I;hyI Euestions, he has no choice 6ut to 6e an ada7tationist. The 7ro6le@ he and 2e;ontin 7erceive is that there are no standards for ;hen a 7articular 6it of ada7tationist reasoning is too @uch of a good thing. Ho; serious, really, is this 7ro6le@ even if it has no 7rinci7led IsolutionIG Dar;in has taught us not to loo8 for essences, for dividing lines 6et;een -enuine function or -enuine intentionality and @ere on;its;wa";to;beinfunction or intentionality. *e co@@it a funda@ental error if ;e thin8 that if ;e ;ant to indulge in ada7tationist thin8ing ;e need a license and the only license could 6e the 7ossession of a strict definition of or criterion for a genuine ada7tation. There are good rules of thu@6 to 6e follo;ed 6y the 7ros7ective reverse engineer, @ade eA7licit years ago 6y .eorge *illia@s ( 1 !!". ( 1" Don-t invo8e ada7tation ;hen other, lo;er>level, eA7lanations are availa6le (such as 7hysics". *e don-t have to as8 ;hat advantage ac crues to @a7le trees that eA7lains the tendency of their leaves to fall down7 any @ore than the reverse engineers at )aytheon need to hunt for a reason ;hy ./ @ade their ;idgets so that they ;ould @elt readily in 6last furnaces. ('" Don-t invo8e ada7tation ;hen a feature is the outco@e of so@e general develo7@ental reEuire@ent. *e don-t need a s7ecial reason of increased fitness to eA7lain the fact that heads are attached to 6odies, or li@6s co@e in 7airs, any @ore than the 7eo7le at )aytheon need to eA7lain ;hy the 7arts in ./-s ;idget have so @any edges and corners ;ith right angles. ( ( " Don-t invo8e ada7tation ;hen a feature is a 6y>7roduct of another ada7tation. *e don-t need to give an ada7tationist eA7lanation of the ca7acity of a 6ird-s 6ea8 to groo@ its feathers (since the features of the

1=. .ould has recently ( 1 (a, 7. (1%" descri6ed his antiada7tationis@ as the IJeal of the convert,I and else;here ( 1 16, 7. 1(" confesses, I+ so@eti@es ;ish that all co7ies of E%er Since Darwin ;ould self>destruct,I so 7erha7s he ;ould recant these ;ords today, ;hich ;ould 6e a 7ity, since they eloEuently eA7ress the rationale of ada7tationis@.

.ould-s attitude to;ards ada7tationis@ is not so easily discerned, ho;ever. The Boo6 of 'ife ( 1 (6" is 7ac8ed ;ith ada7tationist reasoning that @ade it 7ast his red 7encil, and thus 7resu@a6ly has his endorse@ent.


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6ird-s 6ea8 are there for @ore 7ressing reasons", any @ore than ;e need a s7ecial eA7lanation of the ca7acity of the ./ ;idget-s casing to shield the innards fro@ ultraviolet rays. 4ut you ;ill already have noticed that in each case these rules of thu@6 can 6e overridden 6y a @ore a@6itious inEuiry. Su77ose so@eone @arveling at the 6rilliant autu@n foliage in ,e; /ngland as8s wh" the @a7le leaves are so vividly colored in 0cto6er. +sn-t this ada7tationis@ run a@o8G Shades of Dr. PanglossL The leaves are the colors they are si@7ly 6ecause once the su@@er energy>harvest season is over, the chloro7hyll vanishes fro@ the leaves, and the residual @olecules have reflective 7ro7erties that ha77en to deter@ine the 6right colorsHan eA7lanation at the level of che@istry or 7hysics, not 6iological 7ur7ose. 4ut ;ait. Although this @ay have 6een the only eA7lanation that ;as true u7 until no;, today it is true that hu@an 6eings so 7riJe the autu@n foliage (it 6rings @illions of tourist dollars to northern ,e; /ngland each year" that they 7rotect the trees that are 6right est in autu@n. <ou can 6e sure that if you are a tree co@7eting for life in ,e; /ngland, there is no; a selective advantage to having 6right autu@n foliage. +t @ay 6e tiny, and in the long run it @ay never a@ount to @uch (in the long run, there @ay 6e no trees at all in ,e; /ngland, for one reason or another", 6ut this is ho; all ada7tations get their start, after all, as fortuitous effects that get o77ortunistically 7ic8ed u7 6y selective forces in the environ@ent. And of course there is also an ada7tationist eA7lanation for ;hy right angles 7redo@inate in @anufactured goods, and ;hy sy@@etry 7redo@inates in organic li@6>@anufacturing. These @ay 6eco@e utterly fiAed traditions, ;hich ;ould 6e al@ost i@7ossi6le to dislodge 6y innovation, 6ut the reasons ;hy these are the traditions are not hard to find, or controversial. Ada7tationist research al;ays leaves unans;ered Euestions o7en for the neAt round. Consider the leather6ac8 sea turtle and her eggs? ,ear the end of egg laying, a varia6le nu@6er of s@all, so@eti@es @is> sha7en eggs, containing neither e@6ryo nor yol8 (Dust al6u@in" are de> 7osited. Their 7ur7ose is not ;ell understood, 6ut they 6eco@e desiccated over the course of incu6ation and @ay @oderate hu@idity or air volu@e in the incu6ation cha@6er. (+t is also 7ossi6le that they have no function or are a vestige of so@e 7ast @echanis@s not a77arent to us today." P/c8ert 1 ', 7. (=Q 4ut ;here does it all endG Such o7en>endedness of ada7tationist curiosity is unnerving to @any theorists, a77arently, ;ho ;ish there could 6e stricter codes of conduct for this 7art of science. Many ;ho have ho7ed to contri6ute to clearing u7 the controversy over ada7tationis@ and its 6ac8lash have des7aired of finding such codes, after @uch energy has 6een eA7ended

in dra;ing u7 and criticiJing various legislative regi@es. They are Dust not 6eing Dar;inian enough in their thin8ing. 4etter ada7tationist thin8ing soon drives out its rivals 6y nor@al channels, Dust as second>rate reverse engineering 6etrays itself sooner or later. The es8i@o face, once de7icted as -cold engineered- (Coon et al.7 1 9=" 6eco@es an ada7tation to generate and ;ithstand large @asticatory forces (Shea, 1 $$". *e do not attac8 these ne;er inter7retations# they @ay all 6e right. *e do ;onder, though, ;hether the failure of one ada7tive eA7lanation should al;ays si@7ly ins7ire a search for another of the sa@e general for@, rather than a consideration of alternatives to the 7ro7osition that each 7art is -for- so@e s7ecific 7ur7ose. P.ould and 2e;ontin 1 $ , 7. 19'." +s the rise and fall of successive ada7tive eA7lanations of various things a sign of healthy science constantly i@7roving its vision, or is it li8e the 7athological story>shifting of the co@7ulsive fi66erG +f .ould and 2e;ontin had a serious alternative to ada7tationis@ to offer, their case for the latter verdict ;ould 6e @ore 7ersuasive, 6ut although they and others have hunted around energetically, and 7ro@oted their alternatives 6oldly, none has yet ta8en root. Ada7tationis@, the 7aradig@ that vie;s organis@s as co@7leA ada7tive @achines ;hose 7arts have ada7tive functions su6sidiary to the fitness> 7ro@oting function of the ;hole, is today a6out as 6asic to 6iology as the ato@ic theory is to che@istry. And a6out as controversial. /A7licitly ad> a7tationist a77roaches are ascendant in the sciences of ecology, ethology, and evolution 6ecause they have 7roven essential to discovery# if you dou6t this clai@, loo8 at the Dournals. .ould and 2e;ontin-s call for an alternative 7aradig@ has failed to i@7ress 7racticing 6iologists 6oth 6e> cause ada7tationis@ is successful and ;ell>founded, and 6ecause its critics have no alternative research 7rogra@ to offer. /ach year sees the esta6> lish@ent of such ne; Dournals as 5unctional Biolo-" and Beha%ioral Ecol; o-". Sufficient research to fill a first issue of Dialectical Biolo-" has yet to @aterialiJe. PDaly 1 1, 7. '1 .Q *hat 7articularly infuriates .ould and 2e;ontin, as the 7assage a6out the /s8i@o face suggests, is the 6lithe confidence ;ith ;hich ada7tationists go a6out their reverse engineering, al;ays sure that sooner or later they ;ill find the reason ;hy things are as they are, even if it so far eludes the@. Here is an instance, dra;n fro@ )ichard Da;8ins- discussion of the curious case of the flatfish (flounders and soles, for instance " ;ho ;hen they are 6orn are vertical fish, li8e herring or sunfish, 6ut ;hose s8ulls undergo a ;eird t;ist>


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ing transfor@ation, @oving one eye to the other side, ;hich then 6eco@es the to7 of the 6otto@>d;elling fish. *hy didn-t they evolve li8e those other 6otto@>d;ellers, s8ates, ;hich are not on their side 6ut on their 6elly, Ili8e shar8s that have 7assed under a stea@ rollerI (Da;8ins 1 %!a, 7. 1"G Da;8ins ima-ines a scenario (77. '> ("? ... even though the s8ate ;ay of 6eing a flat fish @ight ultimatel" have 6een the 6est design for 6ony fish too, the ;ould>6e inter@ediates that set out along this evolutionary 7ath;ay a77arently did less ;ell in the short ter@ than their rivals lying on their side. The rivals lying on their side ;ere so @uch 6etter, in the short ter@, at hugging the 6otto@. +n genetic hy7ers7ace, there is a s@ooth traDectory connecting free>s;i@@ing ances> tral 6ony fish to flatfish lying on their side ;ith t;isted s8ulls. There is not a s@ooth traDectory connecting these 6ony fish ancestors to flatfish lying on their 6elly. There is such a traDectory in theory, 6ut it 7asses through inter@ediates that ;ould have 6eenHin the short ter@, ;hich is all that @attersHunsuccessful if they had ever 6een called into eAistence. Does Da;8ins 6now thisG Does he 8no; that the 7ostulated inter@ediates ;ere less fitG ,ot 6ecause he has seen any data dra;n fro@ the fossil record. This is a 7urely theory>driven eA7lanation, argued a priori fro@ the assu@7tion that natural selection tells us the true storyHso@e true story or otherHa6out every curious feature of the 6ios7here. +s that o6Dectiona6leG +t does I6eg the EuestionIH6ut ;hat a Euestion it 6egsL +t assu@es that Dar;inis@ is 6asically on the right trac8. (+s it o6Dectiona6le ;hen @ete> orologists say, 6egging the Euestion against su7ernatural forces, that there @ust 6e a 7urely 7hysical eA7lanation for the 6irth of hurricanes, even if @any of the details so far elude the@G" ,otice that in this instance, Da;8inseA7lanation is al@ost certainly rightHthere is nothing es7ecially daring a6out that 7articular s7eculation. Moreover, it is, of course, eAactly the sort of thin8ing a good reverse engineer should do. I+t see@s so o6vious that this .eneral /lectric ;idget casing ought to 6e @ade of t;o 7ieces, not three, 6ut it-s @ade of three 7ieces, ;hich is ;asteful and @ore a7t to lea8, so ;e can 6e da@n sure that three 7ieces ;as seen as 6etter than t;o in so@e6ody-s eyes, shortsighted though they @ay have 6een. 5ee7 loo8ingLI The 7hiloso7her of 6iology 5i@ Sterelny, in a revie; of The Blind !atchma6er7 @ade the 7oint this ;ay? Da;8ins is ad@ittedly giving only scenarios? sho;ing that it-s concei%able that ( e.g." ;ings could evolve gradually under natural selection. /ven so, one could Eui66le. +s it really true that natural selection is so fine>grained that, for a 7rotostic8 insect, loo8ing 9V li8e a stic8 is 6etter than loo8ing ,S li8e oneG (77. %'>%(". A ;orry li8e this is es7ecially 7ressing 6ecause

Da;8ins- ada7tive scenarios @a8e no @ention of the costs of allegedly ada7tive changes. Mi@icry @ight deceive 7otential @ates as ;ell as 7o> tential 7redators.... Still, + do thin8 this o6Dection is so@ething of a Eui66le 6ecause essentially + agree that natural selection is the only 7ossi6le eA7lanation of co@7leA ada7tation. So so@ething li8e Da;8ins- stories have got to 6e right. PSterelny 1 %%, 7. &'&.Q11

(. P2A<+,. *+TH C0,ST)A+,TS

It is <ust as foolish to complain that people are selfish and treacherous as it is to complain that the ma-netic field does not increase unless the electric field hasa curl.
HM0H, 10, ,/UMA,,, Euoted in *illia@ Poundstone 1 ', 7. '(9

#s a -eneral rule toda" a biolo-ist seein- one animal doin- somethinto benefit another assumes either that it is manipulated b" the other indi%idual or drat it is bein- subtl" selfish. H./0)./ *+22+AMS 1 %%,7.( 1 0ne @ay nevertheless 6e reasona6ly nervous a6out the siJe of the role of sheer, unfettered i@agination in ada7tationist thin8ing. *hat a6out 6utterflies ;ith tiny @achine guns for self>7rotectionG This fantastic eAa@7le is often cited as the sort of o7tion that can 6e dis@issed ;ithout detailed analysis 6y ada7tationists see8ing to descri6e the ense@6le of 7ossi6le 6utterfly ada7tations fro@ ;hich Mother ,ature has chosen the 6est, all things considered. +t is Dust too distant a 7ossi6ility in design s7ace to 6e ta8en seriously. 4ut as )ichard 2e;ontin (1 %$, 7. 19!" a7tly notes, IMy guess is that if fungus>gardening ants had never 6een seen, the suggestion that this ;as a reasona6le 7ossi6ility for ant evolution ;ould have 6een regarded as silly.I Ada7tationists are @asters of the retros7ective rationale, li8e the

11. Da;8ins is not content to rest ;ith Sterelny-s dis@issal of his o;n o6Dections as IEui66lesI since, he 7oints out (7ersonal co@@unication", they raise an i@7ortant 7oint often @isunderstood? I+t is not u7 to individual hu@ans li8e Sterelny to eA7ress their o;n co@@onsense sce7ticis@ of the 7ro7osition that 9V li8e a stic8 is significantly 6etter than ,S. +t is an easy rhetorical 7oint to @a8e? -Co@e on, are you really trying to tell @e that 9V li8e a stic8 really @atters ;hen co@7ared to &VG- This rhetoric ;ill often convince lay@en, 6ut the 7o7ulation genetic calculations (e.g. 6y Haldane" 6elie co@> @on sense in a fascinating and illu@inating ;ay? 6ecause natural selection ;or8s on genes distri6uted over @any individuals and over @any @illions of years, hu@an actuarial intuitions are over>ruled.I


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chess>7layer ;ho only notices after he-s @ade the @ove that it forces chec8> @ate in t;o @oves. IHo; 6rilliantHand + al@ost thought of itLI 4ut 6efore ;e decide that this is :flaw in ada7tationist character or @ethod, ;e should re@ind ourselves that this retros7ective endorse@ent of 6rilliance is the ;ay Mother ,ature herself al;ays o7erates. Ada7tationists should hardly 6e faulted for 6eing una6le to 7redict the 6rilliant @oves that Mother ,ature herself ;as o6livious of until she-d stu@6led u7on the@. The 7ers7ective of ga@e>7laying is u6iEuitous in ada7tationis@, ;here @athe@atical -ame theor" has 7layed a gro;ing role ever since its intro> duction into evolutionary theory 6y Mohn Maynard S@ith (1 $', 1 $& ". 1' .a@e theory is yet one @ore funda@ental contri6ution to t;entieth>century thin8ing fro@ Mohn von ,eu@ann. 1( 1on ,eu@ann created ga@e theory in colla6oration ;ith the econo@ist 0s8ar Morgenstern, and it gre; out of their realiJation that a-ents @a8e a funda@ental difference to the co@7leAity of the ;orld.1& *hereas a lone I)o6inson CrusoeI agent can vie; all 7ro6le@s as see8ing sta6le @aAi@aHhill>cli@6ing on Mount 3uDi, if you li8eHas soon as other (@aAi@a>see8ing" agents are included in the environ@ent, stri8ingly different @ethods of analysis are reEuired? A guiding 7rinci7le cannot 6e for@ulated 6y the reEuire@ent of @aAi@iJ ing t;o ( or @ore" functions at onceOOOO0ne ;ouid 6e @ista8en to 6elieve that it can 6e o6viated ... 6y a @ere recourse to the devices of the theory of 7ro6a6ility. /very 7artici7ant can deter@ine the varia6les ;hich de>

scri6e his o;n actions 6ut not those of the others. ,evertheless those alien- varia6les cannot, fro@ his 7oint of vie;, 6e descri6ed 6y statistical assu@7tions. This is 6ecause the others are guided, Dust as he hi@self, 6y rational 7rinci7lesH;hatever that @ay @eanHand no modus procedendi can 6e correct ;hich does not atte@7t to understand those 7rinci7les and the interactions of the conflicting interests of all 7artici7ants. P1on ,eu> @ann and Morgenstern 1 &&, 7. 11.Q The funda@ental insight that unites ga@e theory and evolutionary theory is that the Irational 7rinci7lesH;hatever that @ay @eanI that IguideI agents in co@7etition can eAert their influence even on such unconscious, unreflective se@i>agents as viruses, trees, and insects, 6ecause the sta8es and 7ayoff 7ossi6ilities of co@7etition deter@ine ;hich lines of 7lay cannot hel7 ;inning or losing if ado7ted, ho;ever @indlessly they are ado7ted. The 6est> 8no;n eAa@7le in ga@e theory is the Prisoner-s Dile@@a, a si@7le t;o> 7erson Iga@eI ;hich casts shado;s, 6oth o6vious and sur7rising, into @any different circu@stances in our ;orld. Here it is in 6asic outline (eAcellent detailed discussions of it are found in Poundstone 1 ' and Da;8ins 1 % a". <ou and another 7erson have 6een i@7risoned 7ending trial (on a tru@7ed>u7 charge, let-s say", and the 7rosecutor offers each of you, se7arately, the sa@e deal? if you 6oth hang tough, neither confessing nor i@7licating the other, you ;ill each get a short sentence (the state-s evidence is not that strong"# if you confess and i@7licate the other and he hangs tough, you go scot free and he gets life in 7rison# if you 6oth confess>and i@7licate, you 6oth get @ediu@> length sentences. 0f course, if you hang tough and the other 7erson confesses, he goes free and you get life. *hat should you doG +f you 6oth could hang tough, defying the 7rosecutor, this ;ould 6e @uch 6etter for the t;o of you than if you 6oth confess, so couldn-t you Dust 7ro@ise each other to hang toughG (+n the standard Dargon of the Prisoner-s Dile@@a, the hang>tough o7tion is called cooperatin-." <ou could 7ro@ise, 6ut you ;ould each then feel the te@7tationH;hether or not you acted on it Hto defect7 since then you ;ould go scot free, leaving the suc6er7 sad to say, in dee7 trou6le. Since the ga@e is sy@@etrical, the other 7erson ;ill 6e Dust as te@7ted, of course, to @a8e a suc8er of you 6y defecting. Can you ris8 life in 7rison on the other 7erson-s 8ee7ing his 7ro@iseG Pro6a6ly safer to defect, isn-t itG That ;ay, you definitely avoid the ;orst outco@e of all, and @ight even go free. 0f course, the other fello; ;ill figure this out, too, if it-s such a 6right idea, so he-ll 7ro6a6ly 7lay it safe and defect, too, in ;hich case you must defect to avoid cala@ityHunless you are so saintly that you don-t @ind s7ending your life in 7rison to save a 7ro@ise>6rea8erLHso you-ll 6oth ;ind u7 ;ith @ediu@>length sentences. +f only you could overco@e this reasoning and coo7erateL

1'. Maynard S@ith 6uilt his ga@e>theory a77lications to evolution on the foundations already laid 6y ). A. 3isher ( 1 (=". 0ne of Maynard S@ith-s @any @ore recent contri> 6utions ;as sho;ing Stuart 5auff@an that he ;as, after all, a Dar;inian, not an anti> Dar;inian (see 2e;in 1 ', 77. &'>&(". 1(. 1 so@eti@es ;onder if there is any i@7ortant advance in thin8ing in the second half of this century that von ,eu@ann is not the father of. The co@7uter, the @odel of self> re7lication, ga@e theoryHand if that ;eren-t enough, von ,eu@ann also @ade @aDor contri6utions to Euantu@ 7hysics. 3or ;hat it is ;orth, ho;ever, + sus7ect that his for@ulation of the @easure@ent 7ro6le@ in Euantu@ @echanics is his one 6ad idea, a sleight>of>hand endorse@ent of a funda@entally Cartesian @odel of conscious o6serva> tion that has 6edeviled Euantu@ @echanics ever since. My student Turhan Canli first o7ened this door in his (undergraduateL" ter@ 7a7er for @e on the 7ro6le@ of Schro> dinger-s cat, in ;hich he develo7ed the s8etch of an alternative for@ulation of Euantu@ 7hysics in ;hich ti@e is EuantiJed. +f + ever @aster the 7hysics (a very re@ote 7ros7ect, sad to say ", 1 ;ill tac8le this hunch, ;hich @ight eAtend in ;ildly a@6itious ;ays @y theory of consciousness (1 1a"# @ore li8ely, ho;ever, is the 7ros7ect that + ;ill 6e a se@i>co@7rehending 6ut enthusiastic s7ectator of this develo7@ent, ;herever it leads. 1&. 3or a fascinating account of the history of ga@e theory and its relation to nuclear disar@a@ent, see *illia@ Poundstone-s 1 ' 6oo8, risoner/s Dilemma @ohn %on 9eu; mann7 Dame Theor"7 and the u::le of the Bomb.


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The logical structure of the ga@e is ;hat @atters, not this 7articular set> ting, ;hich is a usefully vivid i@agination>driver. *e can re7lace the 7rison sentences ;ith 7ositive outco@es (it-s a chance to ;in different a@ounts of cashHor, say, descendants " Dust so long as the 7ayoffs are sy@@etrical, and ordered so that lone defection 7ays @ore than @utual coo7eration, ;hich 7ays each @ore than @utual defection does, ;hich in turn 7ays @ore than the suc8er 7ayoff one gets ;hen the other is a lone defector. (And in for@al set> tings ;e set a further condition? the average of the suc8er and @utual> defection 7ayoffs @ust not 6e greater than the @utual>coo7eration 7ayoff." *henever this structure is instantiated in the ;orld, there is a Prisoner-s Di> le@@a. .a@e>theoretic eA7lorations have 6een underta8en in @any fields, fro@ 7hiloso7hy and 7sychology to econo@ics and 6iology. The @ost influential of the @any a77lications of ga@e>theoretic thin8ing to evolutionary theory is Maynard S@ith-s conce7t of an evolutionarily stable strate-"7 or /SS, a strategy that @ay not 6e I6estI fro@ any 0ly@7ian (or 3uDianL" stand7oint, 6ut is uni@7rova6le>u7on and unsu6verti6le under the circu@stances. May> nard S@ith (1 %%, es7ecially chh. '1 and ''" is an eAcellent introductory account of ga@e theory in evolution. The revised edition of )ichard Da;> 8ins- The Selfish Dene ( 1 % a" has a 7articularly good account of the de> velo7@ent of /SS thin8ing in 6iology during the last decade or so, ;hen large>scale co@7uter si@ulations of various ga@e>theoretic @odels revealed co@7lications that had 6een overloo8ed 6y the earlier, less realistic versions. + no; li8e to eA7ress the essential idea of an /SS in the follo;ing @ore econo@ical ;ay. An /SS is a strategy that does ;ell against co7ies of itself. The rationale for this is as follo;s. A successful strategy is one that do@> inates the 7o7ulation. Therefore it ;ill tend to encounter co7ies of itself. Therefore it ;on-t stay successful unless it does ;ell against co7ies of itself. This definition is not so @athe@atically 7recise as Maynard S@ith-s, and it cannot re7lace his definition 6ecause it is actually inco@7lete. 4ut it does have the virtue of enca7sulating, intuitively, the 6asic /SS idea. PDa;8ins 1 % a, 7. '%'.Q There can 6e no dou6t that ga@e>theoretic analyses ;or8 in evolutionary theory. *hy, for instance, are the trees in the forest so tallG 3or the very sa@e reason that huge arrays of garish signs co@7ete for our attention along co@@ercial stri7s in every region of the countryL /ach tree is loo8ing out for itself, and trying to get as @uch sunlight as 7ossi6le. +f only those red;oods could get together and agree on so@e sensi6le Joning restrictions and sto7 co@7eting ;ith each other for sunlight, they

could avoid the trou6le of 6uilding those ridiculous and eA7ensive trun8s, stay lo; and thrifty shru6s, and get Dust as @uch sunlight as 6eforeL PDen> nett 1 =6, 7. 1('.Q 4ut they can-t get together# under these circu@stances, defection fro@ any coo7erative Iagree@entI is 6ound to 7ay off if ever or ;henever it occurs, so trees ;ould 6e stuc8 ;ith the Itragedy of the co@@onsI (Hardin 1 !%" if there ;eren-t an essentially ineAhausti6le su77ly of sunshine. The tragedy of the co@@ons occurs ;hen there is a finite I7u6licI or shared resource that individuals ;ill 6e selfishly te@7ted to ta8e @ore of than their fair shareH such as the edi6le fish in the oceans. Unless very s7ecific and enforcea6le agree@ents can 6e reached, the result ;ill tend to 6e the destruction of the resource. Many s7ecies, in @any regards, face various sorts of Prisoner-s Dile@@as. And ;e hu@an 6eings face the@ 6oth consciously and unconsciouslyHso@eti@es in ;ays that ;e @ight never have i@agined ;ithout the aid of ada7tationist thin8ing. >omo sapiens is not eAe@7t fro@ the sort of genetic conflict David Haig 7ostulates to eA7lain geno@ic i@7rinting# in an i@7ortant ne; article (1 (" he analyJes a variety of conflicts that eAist 6et;een the genes of a 7regnant ;o@an and the genes of her e@6ryo. +t is in the e@6ryo-s interests, of course, that the @other 6earing it stay strong and healthy, for its o;n survival de7ends on her not only co@7leting her ter@ of 7regnancy 6ut tending for her ne;6orn. Ho;ever, if the @other, in her atte@7t to stay healthy under trying circu@stancesHfa@ine, for instance, ;hich @ust have 6een a co@@on circu@stance in @ost generations of hu@an eAistenceH should cut do;n on the nutrition she 7rovides her e@6ryo, at so@e 7oint this 6eco@es @ore of a threat to the e@6ryo-s survival than the alternative, a ;ea8ened @other. +f the e@6ryo ;ere Igiven a choiceI 6et;een 6eing s7ontaneously a6orted early in the 7regnancy or 6eing still6orn or of lo; 6irth ;eight on the one hand, versus 6eing 6orn at nor@al ;eight of a ;ea8 or even dying @other on the other, ;hat ;ould (selfish" reason dictateG +t ;ould dictate ta8ing ;hatever ste7s are availa6le to try to ensure that the @other does not cut her losses (she can al;ays try to have another child later, ;hen the fa@ine is over", and this is Dust ;hat the e@6ryo does. 4oth e@6ryo and @other can 6e entirely o6livious of this conflictHas o6livious as the trees rising co@7etitively in the forest. The conflict 7lays out in the genes and their control of hor@ones, not in the 6rains of @other and e@6ryo# it is the sa@e sort of conflict ;e sa; 6et;een @aternal and 7aternal genes in the @ouse. There is a flood of hor@ones# the e@6ryo 7roduces a hor@one that ;ill enhance its o;n gro;th at the eA7ense of the @other-s nutritional needs, her 6ody res7onds ;ith an antagonist hor@one that atte@7ts to undo the effect of the first# and so on, in an escalation that can 7roduce


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hor@one levels @any ti@es higher than nor@al. This tug>of>;ar usually ends in a @utually se@i>satisfactory standoff, 6ut it 7roduces a host of 6y>7roducts that ;ould 6e utterly 6affling and senseless ;ere they not the 7redicta6le effects of such conflict. Haig concludes ;ith an a77lication of the funda@ental ga@e>theoretic insight? IMaternal and fetal genes ;ould 6oth 6enefit if a given transfer of resources ;as achieved ;ith a lesser 7roduction of... hor@ones and less @aternal resistance, 6ut such an agree@ent is evolutionarily unenforcea6leI (Haig 1 (, 7. 91%". This is not, in @any regards, ;elco@e ne;s. 1on ,eu@ann-s all>too>casual re@ar8 on the inevita6ility of hu@an selfishness e7ito@iJes the Dar;inian @ind>set that @any 7eo7le vie; ;ith loathing, and it is not hard to see ;hy. They fear that Dar;inian Isurvival of the fittestI ;ould entail that 7eo7le are nasty and selfish. +sn-t that Dust ;hat von ,eu@ann is sayingG ,o. ,ot Euite. He is saying that it is indeed entailed 6y Dar;inis@ that such virtues as coo7eration should 6e in -eneral Ievolutionarily unenforcea6leI and hence hard to co@e 6y. +f coo7eration and the other unselfish virtues are to eAist, the" must be desi-nedHthey do not co@e for free. They can 6e designed under s7ecial circu@stances. (See, for instance, /shel 1 %&, 1 %9, and Haig and .rafen 1 1" After all, the eu8aryotic revolution that @ade @ulticelled organis@s 7ossi6le ;as a revolution that 6egan ;hen an enforcea6le truce ;as so@eho; engineered 6et;een certain 7ro8aryotic cells and their 6acterial invaders. They found a ;ay of Doining forces and su6@erging their selfish interests. Coo7eration and the other virtues are, in general, rare and s7ecial 7ro7> erties that can only e@erge under very 7articular and co@7leA )>and>D cir> cu@stances. *e @ight contrast the Panglossian Paradig@, then, ;ith the Pollyannian Paradig@, ;hich cheerfully assu@es, ;ith Pollyanna, that Mother ,ature is ,ice.19 +n general, she isn-tH6ut that isn-t the end of the ;orld. /ven in the 7resent case, ;e can see that there are other 7ers7ectives to ado7t. Aren-t ;e really rather fortunate, for instance, that trees are so in> su7era6ly selfishG The 6eautiful forestsHto say nothing of the 6eautiful ;ooden sailing shi7s and the clean ;hite 7a7er on ;hich ;e ;rite our 7oetry Hcould not eAist if trees ;eren-t selfish. There can 6e no dou6t, as + say, that ga@e>theoretic analyses ;or8 in evolutionary theory, 6ut do they alwa"s ;or8G Under ;hat conditions do they a77ly, and ho; can ;e tell ;hen ;e are overste77ingG .a@e>theory calculations al;ays assu@e that there is a certain range of I7ossi6leI @oves, fro@ ;hich the selfish>6y>definition contestants @a8e their choices. 4ut ho; realistic is this in -eneralA Must 6ecause a @ove in a 7articular circu@stance is the @ove that reason dictates7 is it the @ove nature ;ill al;ays

ta8eG +sn-t this Panglossian o7ti@is@G (As ;e have Dust seen, this so@eti@es loo8s @ore li8e Panglossian pessimism. IDarnHorganis@s are -too s@art- to coo7erateLI1!" The standard assu@7tion of ga@e theory is that there ;ill al;ays 6e @utations that have the IrightI 7henoty7ic effects to rise to the occasion, 6ut ;hat if the right @ove Dust doesn-t Ioccur to Mother ,atureIG +s this ever or often very li8elyG *e certainly 8no; of cases in ;hich Mother ,ature does ta8e the @oveHto @a8e the forests, for instance. Are there 7erha7s Dust as @any (or @ore" cases in ;hich so@e sort of hidden constraint 7revents this fro@ ha77eningG There @ay ;ell 6e, 6ut in every such case, ada7tationists ;ill ;ant to 7ersist 6y as8ing the neAt Euestion? And is there a reason in this case ;hy Mother ,ature doesn-t ta8e the @ove, or is it Dust a 6rute, unthin8ing constraint on Mother ,ature-s rational ga@es@anshi7G .ould has suggested that a funda@ental fla; of ada7tationist reasoning is the assu@7tion that in every fitness landsca7e, the ;ay is al;ays sho;n as clear to the to7s of the various su@@its, 6ut there @ight ;ell 6e hidden constraints, rather li8e railroad trac8s lying across the landsca7e. IThe con> straints of inherited for@ and develo7@ental 7ath;ays @ay so channel any change that even though selection induces @otion do;n 7er@itted 7aths, the channel itself re7resents the 7ri@ary deter@inant of evolutionary directionI (.ould 1 %'a, 7. (%(". Po7ulations, then, do not get to s7read ad lib across the terrain, 6ut are forced to stay on the trac8s, as in figure .&. Su77ose this is true. ,o;, ho; do ;e locate the hidden constraintsG +t is all very ;ell for .ould and 2e;ontin to 7oint to the 7ossi6ility of hidden constraintsHevery ada7tationist already ac8no;ledges this as an o@ni7res> ent 7ossi6ilityH6ut ;e need to consider ;hat @ethodology @ight 6e 6est for discovering the@. Consider a curious variation on a standard 7ractice in chess. *hen a stronger 7layer 7lays a ;ea8er o77onent in friendly @atches, the stronger 7layer often volunteers to ta8e on a handica7, to @a8e the ga@e @ore evenly @atched and eAciting. The standard handica7 is to give u7 a 7iece or t;oHto 7lay ;ith only one 6isho7 or one roo8, or, in a really eAtre@e case, to 7lay ;ithout a Eueen. 4ut here is another handica77ing syste@ that @ight have interesting results. 4efore the @atch, the stronger 7layer ;rites do;n on a 7iece of 7a7er a hidden constraint ( or constraints "

1!. The Panglossian 7essi@ist says, I+sn-t it a sha@e that this is, after all, the 6est of all 7ossi6le ;orldsLI +@agine a 6eer co@@ercial? As the sun sets over the @ountains, one of the hun8s lounging around the ca@7fire intones, I+t doesn-t get any 6etter than thisLIHat ;hich 7oint his 6eautiful co@7anion 6ursts into tears? I0h noL +s that really trueGI +t ;ouldn-t sell @uch 6eer.

19. 3or a 7o;erful antidote to the Pollyannian Paradig@, see .. *illia@s 1 %%.


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la"in- with Constraints


3+.U)/ .& that she ;ill underta8e to 7lay under, and hides the 7a7er under the 6oard. *hat is the difference 6et;een a constraint and a forced @oveG )eason dictates a forced @oveHand ;ill al;ays dictate it, again and againH;hereas so@e froJen 6it of history dictates a constraint, ;hether or not there ;as a reason for its 6irth, and ;hether or not there is a reason for or against it no;. Here are a fe; of the 7ossi6le constraints? Unless + a@ forced 6y the rules to do so (6ecause + a@ in chec8, and a@ o6liged to 7lay ;hatever legal @ove esca7es chec8", (1"+ @ay never @ove the sa@e 7iece on t;o consecutive turns. ('"+ @ay not castle. (("+ @ay ca7ture ;ith 7a;ns only three ti@es in the ;hole ga@e. (&" My Eueen @ust @ove only in roo8 fashion, never diagonally. ,o; i@agine the e7iste@ological 7redica@ent of the ;ea8er 7layer, ;ho 6nows his o77onent is 7laying ;ith hidden constraints 6ut doesn-t 8no; ;hat they are. Ho; should he 7roceedG The ans;er is Euite o6vious? he should 7lay as if all the apparentl" 7ossi6le @ovesHall the legal @ovesH

are availa6le to her, and adDust his strategy only ;hen evidence 6egins to @ount that she is actually 6ound not to ta8e ;hat other;ise ;ould 6e the o6viously 6est @ove. Such evidence is not at all easy to gather. +f you thin8 your o77onent cannot @ove her Eueen diagonally, you @ight test that hy7othesis 6y the ris8y tactic of offering a free ca7ture to that Eueen on the diagonal. +f the Eueen declines, that counts in favor of your hy7othesisH unless there is a dee7er reason of strategy (uni@agined as yet 6y you" for declining the ca7ture. ()e@e@6er 0rgel-s Second )ule? /volution is cleverer than you are." 0f course, another ;ay of learning the hidden constraints at the chess6oard is to 7ee8 at the 7a7er, and one @ight thin8 that ;hat .ould and 2e;ontin are reco@@ending is that ada7tationists si@7ly a6andon their ga@e>7laying and go for the truth via a @ore direct eAa@ination of the @olecular evidence. Unfortunately, this analogy is @ista8en. <ou are certainly entitled to use ;hatever data>gathering tric8s are availa6le in the ga@e of science, 6ut ;hen you 7ee8 at the @olecules, all you find there is @ore @achinery, @ore design (or a77arent design" in need of reverse engineering. ,o;here are Mother ,ature-s hidden constraints written down in a ;ay that can 6e read ;ithout the hel7 of the inter7retive rules of artifact her@eneutics (Dennett 1 =6". The descent to the dee7er level of the D,A, for instance, is indeed a valua6le ;ay of vastly i@7roving one-s investigative acuityHthough usually at the intolera6le cost of dro;ning in too @uch dataH6ut in any case it is not an alternative to ada7tationis@# it is an eAtension of it. The eAa@7le of 7laying chess ;ith hidden constraints lets us see a 7ro> found difference 6et;een Mother ,ature and hu@an chess>7layers that does have i@7lications, + thin8, for a ;ides7read foi6le in ada7tationist thin8ing. +f "ou ;ere 7laying chess under hidden constraints, you ;ould adDust your strategy accordingly. 5no;ing that you had secretly 7ro@ised not to @ove your Eueen diagonally, you ;ould 7ro6a6ly forgo any ca@7aign that 7ut your Eueen at ris8 of ca7ture than8s to her unusual li@itationHalthough of course you could ta8e a chance, ho7ing your ;ea8 o77onent ;ouldn-t notice the 7ossi6ility. 4ut you have 8no;ledge of the hidden constraints, and foresight. Mother ,ature does not. Mother ,ature has no reason to avoid high>ris8 ga@6its# she ta8es the@ all, and shrugs ;hen @ost of the@ lose. Here is ho; the idea a77lies in evolutionary thin8ing. Su77ose ;e notice that a 7articular 6utterfly has 7rotective coloration on its ;ings that uncan> nily @i@ics the 7attern of colors on the forest floor ;here it lives. *e chal8 that u7 as a fine ada7tation, ca@ouflage, ;hich it undou6tedly is. This 6ut > terfly does 6etter than its cousins because its coloration so 7erfectly re7ro> duces the coloration of the forest floor. 4ut there is a te@7tation, routinely


S/A)CH+,. 30) FUA2+T<

la"in- with Constraints


succu@6ed to, to add, i@7licitly or eA7licitly. IAnd ;hat-s @ore, if the forest floor had any other color 7attern on it, the 6utterfly ;ould loo8 li8e that 7attern insteadLI That is uncalled for. +t @ay ;ell not 6e true. +t could even 6e, in the li@it, that this is the onl" sort of forest floor that this lineage of 6utterfly could @i@ic ;ith @uch success# if the forest floor ;ere @uch different, this lineage ;ould Dust not 6e hereHnever forget a6out the i@> 7ortance in evolution of 6ait>and>s;itch. +f the forest floor changes, ;hat ;ill ha77enG *ill the 6utterfly auto@atically ada7tG All ;e can say is that either it ;ill ada7t 6y changing its ca@ouflage or it ;on-tL +f it doesn-t, then either it ;ill find so@e other ada7tation in its li@ited 8it of availa6le @oves, or it ;ill soon disa77ear. The li@iting case, in ;hich eAactly one 7ath ;as ever o7en to eA7lore, is an instance of our old ne@esis actualis@? only the actual ;as 7ossi6le. Such straitDac8eted eA7lorations of the s7ace of (a77arent" 7ossi6ility are not ruled out, + a@ saying, 6ut they @ust 6e the eAce7tion, not the rule. +f they ;ere the rule, Dar;inis@ ;ould 6e defunct, utterly inca7a6le of eA7laining any of the ( a77arent" design in the 6ios7here. +t ;ould 6e as if you ;rote a chess> 7laying co@7uter 7rogra@ that could Dust 7lay one ga@e 6y rote (say, Ale8hine-s @oves in the fa@ous 3la@6erg>Ale8hine @atch in Mannhei@ in 1 1& " and, mirabile dictu7 it regularly ;on against all co@7etitionL This ;ould 6e a I7re>esta6lished har@onyI of @iraculous 7ro7ortions, and ;ould @a8e a @oc8ery of the Dar;inian clai@ to have an eA7lanation of ho; the I;inningI @oves have 6een found. 4ut our dis@issal of actualis@ should not te@7t us to err in the other direction, su77osing that the s7ace of real 7ossi6ilities is @uch @ore densely 7o7ulated than it actually is. The te@7tation, ;hen ;e thin8 a6out 7heno> ty7ic variation, is to ado7t a sort of +denti8it tactic of assu@ing that all the @inor variations ;e can i@agine on the the@es ;e find in actuality are truly availa6le. Carried to eAtre@es, this tactic ;ill al;ays vastlyH1astlyHover> esti@ate ;hat is actually 7ossi6le. +f the actual Tree of 2ife occu7ies 1an> ishingly narro; threads through the 2i6rary of Mendel, the actuall" possible Tree of 2ife is itself so@e rather 6ushier 6ut still far fro@ dense 7artial filling of the apparentl" possible. *e have already seen that the 1ast s7ace of all i@agina6le 7henoty7esH+denti8it S7ace, ;e @ight call itHno dou6t includes huge regions for ;hich there are no reci7es in the 2i6rary of Mendel. 4ut even along the 7aths through ;hich the Tree of 2ife ;anders, ;e are not guaranteed that the neigh6oring regions of +denti8it S7ace are actually all accessi6le.1$

+f hidden constraints guarantee that there is a largely invisi6le set of @aJe ;allsHor channels or railroad trac8sHin the s7ace of a77arent 7ossi6ility, then Iyou can-t get there fro@ hereI is true @uch @ore often than ;e @ight i@agine. /ven if this is so, ;e still can do no 6etter in our eA7loration of this 7ossi6ility than to 7lay out our reverse>engineering strategies at every o7> 7ortunity, at every level. +t is i@7ortant not to overesti@ate the actual 7os> si6ilities, 6ut it is even @ore i@7ortant not to underesti@ate the@, an eEually co@@on foi6le, though not one that ada7tationists ty7ically @anifest. Many ada7tationist argu@ents are. of the if>it-s>7ossi6le>it>;ill>ha77en variety? cheats ;ill e@erge to invade the saints# or an ar@s race ;ill ensue until such> and>such a first>order ada7tive sta6ility is achieved, etc. These argu@ents 7re> su77ose that enough of the s7ace of 7ossi6ilities is Iha6ita6leI to ensure that the 7rocess a77roAi@ates the ga@e>theory @odel used. 4ut are these as> su@7tions al;ays a77ro7riateG *ill these 6acteria @utate into a for@ that is resistant to our ne; vaccineG ,ot if ;e-re luc8y, 6ut ;e-re 6etter off assu@ing the ;orstHna@ely, that there are, in the s7ace actually accessi6le to these 6acteria, counter@oves in the ar@s race our @edical innovation has set in @otion (*illia@s and ,esse 1 1" CHAPT/) ? #daptationism is both ubiFuitous and powerful in biolo-". 'i6e an" other idea7 it can be misused7 but it is not a mista6en ideaE it is in fact the irreplaceable core of Darwinian thin6in-. Dould and 'ewontin/s fabled refutation of adaptationism is an illusion7 but the" ha%e raised e%er"bod"/s consciousness about the ris6s of incautious thin6in-. Dood adaptationistic thin6in- is alwa"s on the loo6out for hidden constraints7 and in fact is the best method for unco%erin- them. CHAPT/) 1=? The %iew of Darwinian thin6in- presented so far in this boo6 has been challen-ed7 repeatedl"7 b" Stephen @a" Dould7 whose influential writin-s ha%e contributed to a seriousl" distorted picture of e%olutionar" biolo-" amon- both la" people and philosophers and scientists in other fields. Dould has announced se%eral different Bre%olutionar"B abrid-ments of orthodox Darwinism7 but the" all turn out to be false alarms. There is a pattern to be discerned in these campai-ns8 Dould7 li6e eminent e%olutionar" thin6ers before him7 has been searchin- for s6"hoo6s to limit the power of Darwin/s dan-erous idea.

1$. .ould is fond of 7ointing out the @ista8e of loo8ing 6ac8 in ti@e and seeing Ilin> eagesI ;here ;e should 6e seeing I6ushesIHincluding all the failures that have left no descendants. 1 a@ 7ointing out a contrary sort of @ista8e? i@agining dense (or even

continuous" 6ushes of unactualiJed 7ossi6ility ;here in fact there @ay 6e rather s7arse t;igs creating 7aths to relatively isolated out7osts in the huge s7ace of a77arent 7ossi6ilities.

The Bo" !ho Cried !olf=



Bull" for Brontosaurus

1. TH/ 40< *H0 C)+/D *023G
Scientists ha%e power b" %irtue of the respect commanded b" the discipline. !e ma" therefore be sorel" tempted to misuse that power in furtherin- a personal pre<udice or social -oal Hwh" not pro%ide that extra oomph b" extendin- the umbrella of science o%er a personal preference in ethics or politics= But we cannot7 lest we lose the %er" respect that tempted us in the first place. HST/PH/, MA< .0U2D 1 16, 77. &' >(= Many years ago, + sa; a 7rogra@ on 4ritish television in ;hich young chil> dren ;ere intervie;ed a6out Fueen /liJa6eth ++. Their confident ans;ers ;ere char@ing? the Fueen, it see@s, s7ends a large 7art of the day vacuu@> cleaning 4uc8ingha@ PalaceH;hile ;earing her cro;n, of course. She 7ulls the throne u7 to the telly ;hen she is not occu7ied ;ith affairs of state, and ;ears an a7ron over her er@ine ro6es ;hen she does the ;ashing u7. + re> aliJed then that the largely i@aginary Fueen /liJa6eth ++ of these young children (;hat 7hiloso7hers ;ould call their intentional ob<ectJ ;as in so@e regards a @ore 7otent and interesting o6Dect in the ;orld than the actual ;o@an. +ntentional o6Dects are the creatures of 6eliefs, and hence they 7lay a @ore direct role in guiding (or @isguiding" 7eo7le-s 6ehavior than do the real o6Dects they 7ur7ort to 6e identical to. The gold in 3ort 5noA, for eAa@7le, is less i@7ortant than ;hat is 6elieved a6out it, and the Al6ert /instein of @yth is, li8e Santa Claus, @uch 6etter 8no;n than the relatively di@ly re@e@6ered historical fello; ;ho ;as the 7ri@ary source for the @yth. This cha7ter is a6out another @ythHSte7hen May .ould, )efuter of 0r > thodoA Dar;inis@. 0ver the years, .ould has @ounted a series of attac8s on as7ects of conte@7orary neo>Dar;inis@, and although none of these attac8s

has 7roven to 6e @ore than a @ild corrective to orthodoAy at 6est, their rhetorical i@7act on the outside ;orld has 6een i@@ense and distorting. This 7resents @e ;ith a 7ro6le@ that + cannot ignore or 7ost7one. +n @y o;n ;or8 over the years, + have often a77ealed to evolutionary considerations, and have al@ost as often run into a curious current of resistance? @y a77eals to Dar;inian reasoning have 6een 6luntly reDected as discredited, out>of>date science 6y 7hiloso7hers, 7sychologists, linguists, anthro7ologists, and others ;ho have 6lithely infor@ed @e that + have got @y 6iology all ;rongH+ haven-t 6een doing @y ho@e;or8, 6ecause Steve .ould has sho;n that Dar;inis@ isn-t in such good sha7e after all. +ndeed, it is close to eAtinction. That is a @yth, 6ut a very influential @yth, even in the halls of science. + have tried in this 6oo8 to 7resent an accurate account of evolutionary thin8ing, deflecting the reader fro@ co@@on @isunderstandings, and de> fending the theory against ill>grounded o6Dections. + have had a lot of eA7ert hel7 and advice, and so + a@ confident that + have succeeded. 4ut the vie; of Dar;inian thin8ing + have 7resented is Euite at odds ;ith the vie; @ade fa@iliar to @any 6y .ould. Surely, then, @y vie; @ust 6e @ista8enG After all, ;ho 8no;s 6etter a6out Dar;in and Dar;inis@ than .ouldG A@ericans are notoriously ill>infor@ed a6out evolution. A recent .allu7 7oll (Mune 1 ( " discovered that &$ 7ercent of adult A@ericans 6elieve that >omo sapiens is a s7ecies created 6y .od less than ten thousand years ago. 4ut insofar as they 8no; anything at all a6out the su6Dect, it is 7ro6a6ly due @ore to .ould than to anyone else. +n the 6attle over the teaching of Icreation science-- in the schools, he has 6een a 8ey ;itness for the defense of evolution in the court cases that continue to 7lague A@erican education. 3or t;enty years, his @onthly colu@n, IThis 1ie; of 2ife,I in 9atural >istor"7 has 7rovided 7rofessional and a@ateur 6iologists ;ith a steady strea@ of arresting insights, fascinating facts, and ;ell>needed correctives to their thin8ing. +n addition to his collections of these essays, in such volu@es as E%er Since Darwin (1 $$a", The anda/s Thumb ( 1 %=a", >en/s Teeth and >orse/s Toes ( 1 %(6", The 5lamin-o/s Smile (1 %9 ", Bull" for Brontosaurus ( 1 16", and Ei-ht 'ittle i--ies ( 1 (d", and his technical 7u6lications on snails and 7aleontology, he has ;ritten a @aDor theoretical 6oo8, 4nto-en" and h"to-en" ( 1 $$6"# an attac8 on +F testing, The Mis;measure of Man ( 1 %1"# a 6oo8 on the reinter7retation of the fauna of the 4urgess Shale, !onderful 'ife (1 % a"# and nu@erous other articles on to7ics ranging fro@ 4ach to 6ase6all, fro@ the nature of ti@e to the co@7ro@ises of @urassic ar6. Most of this is si@7ly ;onderful? astonishingly erudite, the very @odel of a scientist ;ho recogniJes, as @y high>school 7hysics teacher once said, that science, done right, is one of the hu@anities. The title of .ould-s @onthly colu@n co@es fro@ Dar;in, the closing sentence of 4ri-in of Species.


4U22< 30) 4)0,T0SAU)US

The Bo" !ho Cried !olf=


There is grandeur in this vie; of life, ;ith its several 7o;ers, having 6een originally 6reathed into a fe; for@s or into one# and that, ;hilst this 7lanet has gone cycling on according to the fiAed la;s of gravity, fro@ so si@7le a 6eginning endless for@s @ost 6eautiful and @ost ;onderful have 6een, and are 6eing, evolved. Any6ody as 7rolific and energetic as .ould ;ould surely have an agenda 6eyond that of si@7ly educating and delighting his fello; hu@an 6eings a6out the Dar;inian vie; of life. +n fact, he has had nu@erous agendas. He has fought hard against 7reDudice, and 7articularly against the a6use of scientific research ( and scientific 7restige " 6y those ;ho ;ould clothe their 7olitical ideologies in the 7otent @antle of scientific res7ecta6ility. +t is i@7ortant to recogniJe that Dar;inis@ has al;ays had an unfortunate 7o;er to attract the @ost un;elco@e enthusiastsHde@agogues and 7sycho7aths and @isanthro7es and other a6users of Dar;in-s dangerous idea. .ould has laid this sad story 6are in doJens of tales, a6out the Social Dar;inists, a6out uns7ea8a6le racists, and @ost 7oignantly a6out 6asically good 7eo7le ;ho got confusedHseduced and a6andoned, you @ight sayH6y one Dar;inian siren or another. +t is all too easy to run off half coc8ed ;ith so@e 7oorly understood version of Dar;inian thin8ing, and .ould has @ade it a @aDor 7art of his life-s ;or8 to 7rotect his hero fro@ this sort of a6use. The irony is that his o;n strenuous efforts to 7rotect Dar;inis@ have so@eti@es 6ac8fired. .ould has 6een a defender of his o;n 6rand of Dar> ;inis@, 6ut an ardent o77onent of ;hat he has called Iultra>Dar;inis@I or Ihy7er>Dar;inis@.I *hat is the differenceG The unco@7ro@ising Ino> s8yhoo8s>allo;edI Dar;inis@ + have 7resented is, 6y .ould-s lights, hy7er> Dar;inis@, an eAtre@ist vie; that needs overthro;ing. Since in fact it is, as + have said, Euite orthodoA neo>Dar;inis@, .ould-s ca@7aigns have had to ta8e the for@ of calls for revolution. Ti@e and again, .ould has announced fro@ his 6ully>7ul7it to a fascinated ;orld of onloo8ers that neo>Dar;inis@ is dead, su77lanted 6y a revolutionary ne; visionHstill Dar;inian, 6ut overthro;ing the esta6lish@ent vie;. +t hasn-t ha77ened. As Si@on Con;ay Morris, one of the heroes of .ould-s !onderful 'ife7 has said, IHis vie;s have done @uch to stir the esta6lished orthodoAies, even if, ;hen the dust settles, the edifice of evolutionary theory still loo8s little changedI ( Con;ay Morris 1 1, 7. !". .ould is not the only evolutionist to succu@6 to the urge of overdra@a> tiJation. Manfred /igen and Stuart 5auff@anHand there are others ;e haven-t consideredHhave also styled the@selves at first as radical heretics. *ho ;ouldn-t 7refer one-s contri6utions to 6e truly revolutionaryG 4ut ;hereas /igen and 5auff@an, as ;e have seen, have @oderated their rhetoric in due course, .ould has gone fro@ revolution to revolution. So far, his declarations of revolution have all 6een false alar@s, 6ut he has 8e7t on

trying, defying the @oral of Aeso7-s fa6le a6out the 6oy ;ho cried ;olf. This has earned hi@ not Dust a credi6ility 7ro6le@ (a@ong scientists", 6ut also the ani@osity of so@e of his colleagues, ;ho have felt the sting of ;hat they consider to 6e undeserved 7u6lic conde@nation in the face of his influential ca@7aigns. As )o6ert *right (1 =, 7. (=" 7uts it, .ould is IA@erica-s evolutionist laureate. +f he has 6een syste@atically @isleading A@ericans a6out ;hat evolution is and ;hat it @eans, that a@ounts to a lot of intel> lectual da@age.I Has he done thisG Consider the follo;ing. +f you 6elieve? (1" that ada7tationis@ has 6een refuted or relegated to a @inor role in evolutionary 6iology, or ('" that since ada7tationis@ is Ithe central intellectual fla; of socio6i> ologyI ( .ould 1 (a, 7. (1 ", socio6iology has 6een utterly discred> ited as a scientific disci7line, or ( (" that .ould and /ldredge-s hy7othesis of 7unctuated eEuili6riu@ over> thre; orthodoA neo>Dar;inis@, or (&" that .ould has sho;n that the fact of @ass eAtinction refutes the IeAtra7olationis@I that is the Achilles- heel of orthodoA neo> Dar;inis@, then what "ou belie%e is a falsehood. +f you 6elieve any of these 7ro7ositions, you are, ho;ever, in very good co@7anyH6oth nu@erous and intellectually distinguished co@7any. Fuine once said of a @isguided critic of his ;or8, IHe reads ;ith a 6road 6rush.I *e are all a7t to do this, es7ecially ;hen ;e try to construe in si@7le ter@s the ta8e>ho@e @essage of ;or8 outside our o;n field. *e tend to read, ;ith 6old 6rushstro8es, ;hat ;e ;ant to find. /ach of these four 7ro7ositions eA7resses a verdict that is rather @ore decisive and radical than .ould @ay have intended, 6ut together they co@7ose a @essage that is out there, in @any Euarters. + 6eg to differ, so it falls to @e to dis@antle the @yth. ,ot an easy Do6, since + @ust 7ainsta8ingly se7arate the rhetoric fro@ the reality, all the ;hile fending offH6y eA7laining a;ayHthe entirely reasona6le 7resu@7tion that an evolutionist of .ould-s stature couldn-t 6e that ;rong in his verdicts, could heG <es and no. The real .ould has @ade @aDor contri6utions to evolutionary thin8ing, correcting a variety of serious and ;ides7read @isa77rehensions, 6ut the @ythical .ould has 6een created out of the yearnings of @any Dar;in>dreaders, feeding on .ould-s highly charged ;ords, and this has encouraged, in turn, his o;n as7irations to 6ring do;n Iultra>Dar;inis@,I leading hi@ into so@e @is6egotten clai@s. +f .ould has 8e7t crying ;olf, ;hy has he done thisG The hy7othesis + shall defend is that .ould is follo;ing in a long tradition of e@inent thin8ers ;ho have 6een see8ing s8yhoo8sHand co@ing u7 ;ith cranes. Since evolution>


4U22< 30) 4)0,T0SAU)US

The Spandrel/s Thumb


ary theory has @ade great 7rogress in recent years, the tas8 of @a8ing roo@ for a s8yhoo8 has 6eco@e @ore difficult, raising the 6ar for any thin8er ;ho ;ants to find so@e 6lessed eAe@7tion. 4y follo;ing the re7etition of the@e and variation in .ould-s ;or8, + ;ill uncover a 7attern? each failed atte@7t defines a s@all 7ortion of the shado; of his Euarry, until eventually the source of .ould-s driving disco@fort ;ill 6e clearly outlined. .ould-s ulti> @ate target is Dar;in-s dangerous idea itself# he is o77osed to the very idea that evolution is, in the end, Dust an algorith@ic 7rocess. +t ;ould 6e interesting to as8 the further Euestion of ;hy .ould is so set against this idea, 6ut that is really a tas8 for another occasion, and 7erha7s for another ;riter. .ould hi@self has sho;n ho; to eAecute such a tas8. He has eAa@ined the underlying assu@7tions, fears, and ho7es of earlier scientists, fro@ Dar;in hi@self through Alfred 4inet, the inventor of +F testing, to Charles *alcott, the (@is"classifier of the 4urgess Shale fauna, to na@e Dust three of his 6est>8no;n case histories. *hat hidden agendasH @oral, 7olitical, religiousHhave driven .ould hi@selfG 3ascinating though this Euestion is, + a@ going to resist the te@7tation to try to ans;er it, though in due course + ;ill 6riefly consider, as + @ust, the rival hy7otheses that have 6een suggested. + have enough to do Dust defending the ad@ittedly startling clai@ that the 7attern in .ould-s failed revolutions reveals that A@erica-s evolutionist laureate has al;ays 6een unco@forta6le ;ith the funda@ental core of Dar;inis@. 3or years + ;as genuinely 6affled 6y the ill>defined hostility to Dar;inis@ that + encountered a@ong @any of @y fello; acade@ics, and although they cited .ould as their authority, + figured they ;ere Dust ;ishfully @isreading hi@, ;ith a little hel7 fro@ the @ass @edia, al;ays eager to o6literate su6tlety and fan the fla@es of every @inor controversy. +t really didn-t occur to @e that .ould ;as often fighting on the other side. He hi@self has 6een victi@iJed so often 6y this hostility. Maynard S@ith @entions Dust one eA> a@7le? 0ne cannot s7end a lifeti@e ;or8ing on evolutionary theory ;ithout 6e> co@ing a;are that @ost 7eo7le ;ho do not ;or8 in the field, and so@e ;ho do, have a strong ;ish to 6elieve that the Dar;inian theory is false. This ;as @ost recently 6rought ho@e to @e ;hen @y friend Ste7hen .ould, ;ho is as convinced a Dar;inist as + a@, found hi@self the occasion of an editorial in the Duardian announcing the death of Dar;inis@, fol> lo;ed 6y an eAtensive corres7ondence on the sa@e the@e, @erely 6e> cause he had 7ointed out so@e difficulties the theory still faces. PMaynard S@ith 1 %1, 7. ''1, as re7rinted in Maynard S@ith 1 %%.Q *hy should such a Iconvinced Dar;inistI as .ould 8ee7 getting hi@self in trou6le 6y contri6uting to the 7u6lic @isconce7tion that Dar;inis@ is

deadG There is no @ore co@@itted or 6rilliant ada7tationist than Mohn Maynard S@ith, 6ut here + thin8 ;e see the @aster na77ing? he doesn-t as8 hi@self this I;hyI Euestion. After + 6egan to notice that @any of the @ost i@7ortant contri6utions to evolutionary theory have 6een @ade 6y thin8ers ;ho ;ere funda@entally ill>at>ease ;ith Dar;in-s great insight, + could 6egin to ta8e seriously the hy7othesis that .ould hi@self is one of these. Ma8ing the case for this hy7othesis ;ill ta8e 7atience and hard ;or8, 6ut there-s no avoiding it. The @ythology a6out ;hat .ould has sho;n and hasn-t sho;n is so ;ides7read that it ;ill 6efog all the other issues 6efore us if + don-t do ;hat + can to dis7erse it first.

'. TH/ SPA,D)/2-S THUM4

+ thin6 I can see what is brea6in- down in e%olutionar" theor" Hthe strict construction of the modern s"nthesis with its belief in per%asi%e adaptation7 -radualism and extrapolation b" smooth continuit" from causes of chan-e in local populations to ma<or trends and transitions in the histor" of life.
HST/PH/, MA< .0U2D 1 %=6

#t issue is not the -eneral idea that natural selection can act as a creati%e forceE the basic ar-ument7 in principle7 is sound. rimar" doubt centers on the subsidiar" claimsH-radualism and the adaptationist pro-ram.
HST/PH/, MA< .0U2D 1 %'a

Dould has done much to brin- a central theme of Darwinism7 that supposed perfection in desi-n is a <ur";ri--ed compromise adoptinsome improbable pieces of anatom"7 to -eneral notice. But some of these essa"s contain hints that somehow the Darwinian explanation is onl" partl" correct. But is this a serious attac6= 9ot on a closer readin-.
HS+M0, C0,*A< M0)SMS 1 1 .ould (1 %=6, 1 %'a" sees t;o @ain 7ro6le@ ele@ents in the @odern synthesis? I7ervasive ada7tationI and Igradualis@.I And he sees the@ as related. Ho;G He has given so@e;hat different ans;ers over the years. *e can 6egin ;ith I7ervasive ada7tation.I To see ;hat the issue is, ;e should return to the .ould and 2e;ontin 7a7er of 1 $ . The title is a good 7lace to start? IThe S7andrels of San Marco and the Panglossian Paradig@? A CritiEue of the Ada7tationist Progra@@e.I +n addition to their redefining of IPanglossian,I they introduced another ter@, Is7andrel,I ;hich has 7roven


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to 6e a highly successful coinage in one sense? it has s7read through evo > lutionary 6iology and 6eyond. +n a recent retros7ective essay, .ould 7ut it this ;ay? Ten years later, @y friend Dave )au7 ... said to @e, I*e have all 6een s7andreliJed.I *hen your eAa@7le 6eco@es 6oth generic and a different 7art of s7eech, you have ;on. Call those San Marco s7andrels I5leeneA,I IMell>0,I and a @ost e@7hatically non>@eta7horical I4and>Aid.I P.ould 1 (a, 7. ('9.Q /ver since .ould and 2e;ontin, evolutionists (and @any others" have s7o8en of s7andrels, thin8ing that they 8ne; ;hat they ;ere tal8ing a6out. *hat are s7andrelsG A good Euestion. .ould ;ants to convince us that ada7tation is not I7ervasive,I so he needs to have a ter@ for the (7resu@a6ly @any" 6iological features that are not ada7tations. They are to 6e called Is7andrels.I S7andrels are, u@, things that aren/t ada7tations, ;hatever they are. .ould and 2e;ontin have sho;n us, haven-t they, that s7andrels are u6iEuitous in the 6ios7hereG ,ot so. 0nce ;e clear a;ay the confusions a6out ;hat the ter@ @ight @ean, ;e ;ill see that either s7andrels are not u6iEuitous after all, or they are the normal basis for ada7tations, and hence no a6ridg@ent at all of I7ervasive ada7tation.I .ould and 2e;ontin-s 7a7er 6egins ;ith t;o fa@ous architectural eAa@> 7les, and since a crucial @isste7 is @ade at the outset, ;e @ust loo8 closely at the teAt. ( 0ne of the effects of classic teAts is that 7eo7le @isre@e@6er the@, having read the@ hurriedly once. /ven if you are fa@iliar ;ith this oft> re7rinted 6eginning, + urge you to read it again, slo;ly, to see ho; the @isste7 ha77ens, right 6efore your eyes." The great do@e of St Mar8-s Cathedral in 1enice 7resents in its @osaic design a detailed iconogra7hy eA7ressing the @ainstays of Christian faith. Three circles of figures radiate out fro@ a central i@age of Christ? angels, disci7les, and virtues. /ach circle is divided into Euadrants, even though the do@e itself is radially sy@@etrical in structure. /ach Euadrant @eets one of the four s7andrels in the arches 6elo; the do@e. S7andrelsHthe ta7ering triangular s7aces for@ed 6y the intersection of t;o rounded arches at right angle (figure P1=.Q1"Hare necessary architectural 6y> 7roducts of @ounting a do@e on rounded arches. /ach s7andrel contains a design ad@ira6ly fitted into its ta7ering s7aceOOOOThe design is so ela6 orate, har@onious and 7ur7oseful that ;e are te@7ted to vie; it as the starting 7oint of any analysis, as the cause in so@e sense of the surrounding architecture. 4ut this ;ould invert the 7ro7er 7ath of analysis. The syste@ 6egins ;ith an architectural constraint? the necessary four s7andrels and their ta7ering triangular for@. They 7rovide a s7ace in ;hich the @osa> icists ;or8ed# they set the Euadri7artite sy@@etry of the do@e a6ove.... /very fan vaulted ceiling @ust have a series of o7en s7aces along the

C AlinariNArt )esources, ,.<. 3+.U)/ 1=.1. 0ne of the s7andrels of San Marco. @id>line of the vault, ;here the sides of the fans intersect 6et;een the 7illars (figure (1=.Q'". Since the s7aces @ust eAist, they are often used for ingenious orna@ental effect. +n 5ing-s College Cha7el in Ca@6ridge, for eAa@7le, the s7aces contain 6osses alternately e@6ellished ;ith the Tudor rose and 7ortcullis. +n a sense, this design re7resents an -ada7tation-, 6ut the architectural constraint is clearly 7ri@ary. The s7aces arise as a nec> essary 6y>7roduct of fan vaulting# their a77ro7riate use is a secondary effect. Anyone ;ho tried to argue that the structure eAists 6ecause the alternation of rose and 7ortcullis @a8es so @uch sense in a Tudor cha7el ;ould 6e inviting the sa@e ridicule that 1oltaire hea7ed on Dr Pangloss.... <et evolutionary 6iologists, in their tendency to focus eAclusively on i@> @ediate ada7tation to local conditions, do tend to ignore architectural constraints and 7erfor@ Dust such an inversion of eA7lanation. P.ould 1 (a, 77. 1&$>& .Q 3irst, ;e should notice that fro@ the outset .ould and 2e;ontin invite us to contrast ada7tationis@ ;ith a concern for architectural InecessityI or


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should expand our reverse>engineering 7ers7ective 6ac8 onto the 7rocesses of ) and D, and e@6ryological develo7@ent, instead of focusing IeAclusively on immediate ada7tation to local conditions.I That, after all, is one of the @ain lessons of the last t;o cha7ters, and .ould and 2e;ontin could share the credit for dra;ing it to the attention of evolutionists. 4ut al@ost everything else that .ould and 2e;ontin have said @ilitates against this inter7retation# they @ean to o77ose ada7tationis@, not enlarge it. They call for a I7luralis@I in evolutionary 6iology of ;hich ada7tationis@ is to 6e Dust one ele@ent, its influence di@inished 6y the other ele@ents, if not utterly su77ressed. The s7andrels of San Marco, ;e are told, Iare necessary architectural 6y> 7roducts of @ounting a do@e on rounded arches.I +n ;hat sense necessaryG The standard assu@7tion a@ong 6iologists + have as8ed is that this is so@eho; a -eometric necessity, and hence has nothing ;hatever to do ;ith ada7tationist cost>6enefit calculations, since there is si@7ly no choice to 6e @adeL As .ould and 2e;ontin (7. 1!1" 7ut it, IS7andrels @ust eAist once a 6lue7rint s7ecifies that a do@e shall rest on rounded arches.I 4ut is that trueG +t @ight a77ear at first as if there ;ere no alternatives to s@ooth, ta7ering triangular surfaces in 6et;een the do@e and the four rounded arches, 6ut there are in fact indefinitely @any ;ays that those s7aces could 6e filled ;ith @asonry, all of the@ a6out eEual in structural soundness and ease of 6uilding. Here is the San Marco sche@e (on the left" and t;o variations. The variations are 6oth, in a ;ord, ugly (+ deli6erately @ade the@ so", 6ut that does not @a8e the@ impossible. Here there is a ter@inological confusion that seriously i@7edes discus>

3+.U)/ 1=.'. The ceiling of 5ing-s College Cha7el. IconstraintIHas if the discovery of such constraints ;eren-t an integral 7art of (good" ada7tationist reasoning, as + have argued in the last t;o cha7ters. ,o;, 7erha7s ;e should sto7 right here and consider the 7ossi6ility that .ould and 2e;ontin have 6een @assively @isunderstood, than8s to the @isfiring rhetoric of this o7ening 7assage, rhetoric ;hich they even correct so@e;hat, in the last sentence Euoted a6ove. Perha7s ;hat .ould and 2e;ontin sho;ed, in 1 $ , is that ;e @ust all 6e better ada7tationists# ;e

3l.U)/ 1=.(


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sion. Does figure 1=.( dis7lay three different sorts of s7andrels, or does it dis7lay a s7andrel on the left, and t;o ugly alternatives to s7andrelsG 2i8e other s7ecialists, art historians often indulge in 6oth strict and loose usages for their ter@s. Strictly s7ea8ing, the ta7ering, roughly s7herical surface illustrated in figure 1=.1, the sort of surface illustrated on the left in figure 1=.(, is called a pendenti%e7 not a spandrel. Strictly s7ea8ing, s7andrels are ;hat re@ains of a ;all once you 7unch an arch through it, as in figure 1=.&. (4ut even that definition leaves roo@ for confusion. +n figure 1=.&, are ;e sho;n s7andrels on the left, and so@ething else on the right, or do I7ierced s7andrelsI count as s7andrels, strictly s7ea8ingG + don-t 8no;." S7ea8ing @ore loosely, s7andrels are 7laces>to>6e>dealt>;ith, and in that looser sense, the three variations in figure 1=.( all count as s7andrel varieties. Another variety of s7andrel (in that sense " ;ould 6e a sFuinch7 sho;n in figure 1=.9. 4ut so@eti@es art historians s7ea8 of s7andrels ;hen they are tal8ing s7ecifically a6out 7endentives, the variety sho;n on the left in figure 1=.(. +n that sense, sEuinches are not ty7es of s7andrels, 6ut rivals to s7andrels. ,o;, ;hy does all this @atterG 4ecause, ;hen .ould and 2e;ontin say that s7andrels are Inecessary architectural 6y>7roducts,I ;hat they say is false, if they are using Is7andrelI in the narro; sense (synony@ous ;ith I7endentiveI" and true only if ;e understand the ter@ in the loose, all> inclusive sense. 4ut in that sense of the ter@, s7andrels are design problems7 not features that @ight either 6e designed (ada7tations" or not. S7andrels in the loose sense are indeed Igeo@etrically necessaryI in one regard? if you

SFuinch. A cor6elling, usually a s@all arch or half>co@ical niche, ;hich is 7laced across the corners of a sEuare 6ay in order to for@ an octagon suita6le for carrying an octagonal cloister>vault or a do@e. P5rauthei@er 1 %1.Q 3+.U)/ 1=.9 7lace a do@e over four arches, you have ;hat you @ight call an obli-ator" desi-n opportunit";7 you have to 7ut so@ething there to hold u7 the do@eH so@e sha7e or other, you decide ;hich. 4ut if ;e inter7ret s7andrels as o6ligatory 7laces for one ada7tation or another, they are hardly a challenge to ada7tationis@. 4ut is there nevertheless so@e other ;ay in ;hich s7andrels in the narro; senseH7endentivesHtruly are nono7tional features of San MarcoG That is ;hat .ould and 2e;ontin see@ to 6e asserting, 6ut if so, they are ;rong. ,ot only ;ere the 7endentives Dust one a@ong @any ima-inable o7tions# they ;ere Dust one a@ong the readily a%ailable o7tions. SEuinches had 6een a ;ell>8no;n solution to the 7ro6le@ of a do@e over arches in 4yJantine architecture since a6out the seventh century.*hat the actual design of the San Marco s7andrelsHthat is, 7endentivesH has going for it are @ainly t;o things. 3irst, it is (a77roAi@ately" the I@ini@al>energyI surface (;hat you ;ould get if you stretched a soa7 fil@ in a ;ire @odel of the corner", and hence it is close to the @ini@al surface area (and hence @ight ;ell 6e vie;ed as the o7ti@al solution if, say, the nu@6er of costly @osaic tiles ;as to 6e @ini@iJedL". Second, this s@ooth surface is ideal for the @ounting of @osaic i@agesHand that is ;hy the

3+.U)/ 1=.&

1. I*hatever the origin of the do@e on sEuinches, ho;ever, the i@7ortance of the Euestion, it see@s to @e, has 6een vastly over7layed. SEuinches are an ele@ent of con> struction ;hich can 6e incor7orated into al@ost any 8ind of architecture.I (5rauthei@er 1 %1, 7. (9 ."


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4asilica of San Marco ;as 6uilt? to 7rovide a sho;case for @osaic i@ages. The conclusion is inesca7a6le? the s7andrels of San Marco aren-t s7andrels even in .ould-s eAtended sense. They are ada7tations, chosen fro@ a set of eEui7ossi6le alternatives for largely aesthetic reasons. They ;ere desi-ned to have the sha7e they have 7recisely in order to 7rovide suita6le surfaces for the dis7lay of Christian iconogra7hy. After all, San Marco is not a granary# it is a church (6ut not a cathedral". The 7ri@ary function of its do@es and vaults ;as never to 8ee7 out the rainH there ;ere less eA7ensive ;ays of doing that in the eleventh century, ;hen these do@es ;ere 6uiltH6ut to 7rovide a sho;case for sy@6ols of the creed. An earlier church on the site had 6urned and 6een re6uilt in $!, 6ut su6seEuently the 4yJantine style of @osaic decoration had 7rovo8ed the ad@iration of 7o;erful 1enetians ;ho ;anted to create a local eAa@7le. 0tto De@us (1 %&", the great authority on the San Marco @osaics, sho;s in four @agnificent volu@es that the @osaics are the raison d/etre of San Marco, and hence of @any of its architectural details. +n other ;ords, there ;ouldn-t 6e any such 7endentives in 1enice if the Ienviron@ental 7ro6le@I of ho; to dis7lay 4yJantine @osaic i@ages of Christian iconogra7hy had not 6een 7osed and this solution found. +f you loo8 closely at the 7endentives (this is detecta6le in figure 1=.1, 6ut un@ista8a6le if you loo8 at the actual 7endentives, as + did on a recent visit to 1enice ", you ;ill see that care has 6een ta8en to round off the transition 6et;een the 7endentive 7ro7er and the arches it connects, the 6etter to 7rovide a continuous surface for the a77lication of @osaics. .ould and 2e;ontin-s other eAa@7le fro@ architecture ;as also ill>chosen, as it turns out, since ;e si@7ly don-t 8no; ;hether the 5ing-s College 6osses alternating rose and 7ortcullis are the raison d/etre of the fan vaulting or vice versa. *e do 8no; that fan vaulting ;as not 7art of the original design of that cha7el, 6ut a later revision, a change order introduced years after the construction had 6egun, for reasons un8no;n ( 3itchen 1 !1, 7. '&%". The very heavy (and heavily carved" 8eystones at the intersections of the ri6s of earlier .othic vaults had 6een a sort of forced @ove for 6uilders, as + noted in cha7ter %, since they needed the eAtra ;eight of this 8eystone to counteract the rising tendency of the 7ointed arches, es7ecially during the construction 7hase, ;hen defor@ation of 7artially co@7leted structures ;as a @aDor 7ro6le@ to 6e solved. 4ut in late fan vaulting of the 5ing-s College ty7e, the 7ur7ose of the 6osses is 7ro6a6ly entirely to 7rovide focal 7oints for orna@ent. Did the 6osses have to 6e there any;ayG ,o. 3ro@ an engineering 7oint of vie;, there could have 6een neat round holes there, IlanternsI letting in daylight fro@ a6ove if it ;eren-t for the roof. May6e fan vaulting was chosen 6y the 6uilders so that the ceiling could carry the Tudor sy@6olsL So the fa6led s7andrels of San Marco are not s7andrels 6ut ada7tations

after all.' That is curious, you @ay thin8, 6ut not theoretically i@7ortant, 6ecause, as .ould hi@self has often re@inded us, one of Dar;in-s funda> @ental @essages is that artifacts get recycled ;ith ne; functionsHIeA> a7ted,I to use .ould and 1r6a-s coinage (1 %1". The 7anda-s thu@6 is not really a thu@6, 6ut it is 7retty good at doing ;hat it does. +sn-t the .ould> 2e;ontin conce7t of a s7andrel a valua6le tool in evolutionary thin8ing even if its 6irth ;as, to eAa7t yet another fa@ous 7hrase, a froJen accident of historyG *ell, ;hat is the function of the ter@ Is7andrelI in evolutionary thin8ingG So far as + 8no;, .ould has never given the ter@ (in a77lication to 6iology" an official definition, and since the eAa@7les he has relied on to eAhi6it his intended @eaning are at 6est @isleading, ;e are left to our o;n devices? ;e should try to find the 6est, @ost charita6le, inter7retation of his teAts. *hen ;e turn to that tas8, one 7oint e@erges fro@ conteAt ;ith clarity? ;hatever a s7andrel is, it is su77osed to 6e a non>ada7tation. *hat ;ould 6e a -ood architectural eAa@7le of a s7andrel Gsensu .ould"G +f ada7tations are eAa@7les of (good, cunning" design, then 7erha7s a s7andrel is a Ino>6rainerIHa feature eAhi6iting no design cunning at all. The eAistence of a door;ayHDust a rough o7eningHin a 6uilding @ight see@ to 6e an eAa@7le, since ;e ;ould not 6e 7articularly i@7ressed 6y the ;isdo@ of the 6uilder ;ho included such a feature in his house. 4ut there is, after all, a very good reason ;hy d;ellings should have door;ays. +f s7andrels are Dust dead>o6vious good solutions to design 7ro6le@s that tend therefore to 6eco@e 7art of a relatively unthin8ing tradition of 6uilding, then s7andrels a6ound. +n that case, ho;ever, they ;ould not 6e alternatives to ada7tation, 6ut eAa@7les par excellence of ada7tationHeither forced @oves or, in any event, @oves you-d 6e foolish not to consider. A 6etter sort of eAa@7le, then, @ight 6e ;hat engineers so@eti@es call a Idon-t>careI? so@ething that has to 6e one ;ay or another, 6ut that nothing @a8es 6etter one ;ay than another. +f ;e 7ut a door in the door;ay, the
'. + a@ not the first, + have recently discovered, to note these @inor errors in .ould-s eAcursion in art history. So@e years ago, t;o evolutionary 6iologists ;ere there 6efore @e? Alasdair Houston (1 =" dre; attention to the 7oint a6out s7andrels, 7endentives, and sEuinches, and Ti@ Clutton>4roc8, in a lecture at Harvard, Euestioned .ould-s in> ter7retation of the fan vaulting of 5ing-s College Cha7el. +t is interesting that these 7oints ;ere overloo8ed 6y all the deconstructionists and rhetoricians ;ho contri6uted essays to a recent 6oo8 (SelJer 1 (" devoted in its entirety to an analysis of the rhetoric of .ould and 2e;ontin-s essay. <ou @ight su77ose that so@eone a@ong this grou7 of siAteen hu@anists ;ould have noticed the factual 7ro6le@s in the funda@ental rhetorical device of the essay, 6ut it @ust 6e re@e@6ered that these so7histicates are interested in Ideconstructing 8no;ledgeIH;hich @eans that they have transcended the stodgy, old>fashioned dichoto@y 6et;een fact and fiction, and hence are not 7rofessionally curious a6out ;hether ;hat they read is the truthL


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door ;ill need hinges, 6ut should they go on the left or the rightG Perha7s no6ody cares, so a coin is fli77ed, and hinges on the left get installed. +f other 6uilders co7y the result unthin8ingly, esta6lishing a local tradition (reinforced 6y the latch@a8ers, ;ho @a8e latches for left>hinged doors only", this @ight 6e a s7andrel @asEuerading as an ada7tation. I*hy are all the doors in this village hinged on the leftGI ;ould 6e a classic ada7tationist Euestion, to ;hich the ans;er ;ould 6e? I,o reason. Must historical accident.I So is that a good architectural eAa@7le of a s7andrelG Perha7s, 6ut, as the eAa@7le of the autu@n leaves in the 7receding cha7ter sho;ed, it is never a @ista8e to as6 the ada7tationist-s I;hyI Euestion, even ;hen the true ans;er is that there is no reason. Are there @any features in the 6ios7here that eAist for no reasonG +t all de7ends on ;hat counts as a feature. Trivially, there are indefinitely @any 7ro7erties (e.g., the ele7hant-s 7ro7erty of having @ore legs than eyes, the daisy-s 7ro7erty of 6uoyancy " that are not the@selves ada7tations, 6ut no ada7tationist ;ould deny this. Presu@a6ly, there is a @ore interesting doctrine that .ould and 2e;ontin are urging us to a6andon. *hat is the doctrine of I7ervasive ada7tation,I then, that .ould su77oses such an ad@ission of ;ides7read s7andrels ;ould overthro;G 2et us consider the @ost eAtre@e for@ of Panglossian ada7tationis@ i@agina6leHthe vie; that e%er" desi-ned thin- is optimall" designed. A sidelong glance at hu@an engineering ;ill sho; that even this vie; not only 7er@its 6ut reEuires the eAistence of 7lenty of undesigned stuff. +@agine, if you can, so@e @aster7iece of hu@an engineeringHthe 7erfectly designed ;idget>factory, energy> efficient, @aAi@ally 7roductive, @ini@ally eA7ensive to o7erate, @aAi@ally hu@ane to its ;or8ers, si@7ly uni@7rova6le in any di@ension. The ;aste> 7a7er collection syste@, for instance, @a8es recycling 6y ty7e of ;aste7a7er @aAi@ally convenient and agreea6le to the staff, at @ini@al energy costs, and so forth. A Panglossian triu@7h, it see@s. 4ut ;aitH;hat is the wastepaper forG +t-s not for anything. +t-s a 6y>7roduct of the other 7rocesses, and the ;aste7a7er collection syste@ is for dealing ;ith it. <ou can-t give an ada7> tationist eA7lanation of ;hy the dis7osalNrecycling syste@ is o7ti@al ;ithout 7resu77osing that the ;aste7a7er itself is Dust... ;asteL 0f course, you can go on and as8 ;hether the clerical o7erations could 6e @ade I7a7erlessI 6y 6etter use of co@7uters, 6ut if that ha77ens not to 6e the case for one reason or another, there ;ill still 6e ;aste7a7er to deal ;ith, and other ;astes and 6y>7roducts as ;ell in any case, so there ;ill al;ays 6e 7lenty of undesigned features in a syste@ that is @aAi@ally ;ell designed. ,o ada7tationist could 6e such a I7ervasiveI ada7tationist as to deny it. The thesis that every 7ro7> erty of every feature of everything in the living ;orld is an ada7tation is not a thesis any6ody has ever ta8en seriously, or i@7lied 6y ;hat any6ody has ta8en seriously, so far as + 8no;. +f + a@ ;rong, there are so@e serious loonies out there, 6ut .ould has never sho;n us one.

So@eti@es, ho;ever, it does see@ that he thin8s this is the vie; to attac8. He characteriJes ada7tationis@ as I7ure ada7tationis@I and I7anada7ta> tionis@IHa77arently the vie; that every feature of every organis@ is to 6e eA7lained as an ada7tation selected for. +n her recent 6oo8, The #nt and the eacoc67 the 7hiloso7her of 6iology Helena Cronin is 7articularly acute in diagnosing this vie; (Cronin, 77. !!>11=". She catches .ould in the act of sliding into eAactly this @isconstrual# Ste7hen .ould tal8s a6out -;hat @ay 6e the @ost funda@ental Euestion in evolutionary theory- and then, significantly, s7ells out not one Euestion 6ut t;o? -Ho; exclusi%e is natural selection as an agent of evolutionary changeG Must all features of organis@s 6e vie;ed as ada7tationsG- (.ould 1 %=PaQ, 7. & # @y e@7hasis". 4ut natural selection could 6e the only true 6egetter of ada7tations ;ithout having 6egot all characteristics# one can hold that all ada7tive characteristics are the result of natural selection ;ithout holding that all characteristics are, indeed, ada7tive. PCronin 1 1, 7. %!.Q ,atural selection could still 6e the IeAclusive agentI of evolutionary change even though @any features of organis@s ;ere not ada7tations. Ad> a7tationists areHand should 6eHalwa"s on the loo8out for ada7tive eA> 7lanations of ;hatever feature ca7tures their attention, 6ut this strategy falls short of co@@itting any6ody to the caricature that .ould calls I7anada7> tationis@.I Perha7s ;hat .ould o77oses ;ill 6eco@e clearer if ;e loo8 at ;hat he reco@@ends in its 7lace. *hat alternatives to ada7tationis@ did .ould and 2e;ontin suggest, as co@7onents of their reco@@ended 7luralis@G Chief a@ong the@ ;as the idea of a Bauplan7 a .er@an architectural ter@ that had 6een ado7ted 6y certain continental 6iologists. The ter@ ;ould usually 6e translated in /nglish as Iground 7lanI or Ifloor 7lanIHthe 6asic outline of the structure as seen fro@ a6ove. +t is curious that an architectural ter@ should 6e highlighted in a counterada7tationist ca@7aign, 6ut it @a8es a certain daft sense ;hen you see ho; the original Bauplan theorists 7ushed it. Ada7tation, they said, could eA7lain superficial @odifications of the design of organis@s to fit the environ@ent, 6ut not the funda@ental features of living things? IThe i@7ortant ste7s in evolution, the construction of the Bauplan itself and the transition 6et;een Baupldne7 @ust involve so@e other un8no;n, and 7erha7s -internal- @echanis@I (.ould and 2e;ontin 1 $ , 7. 19 ". The floor 7lan is not designed 6y evolution, 6ut Dust so@eho; givenG Sounds a 6it fishy, doesn-t itG *ere .ould and 2e;ontin 6uying this radical idea fro@ the continentG ,ot for a @o@ent. They Euic8ly (7. 19 " granted that /nglish 6iologists had 6een right Iin reDecting this strong for@ as close to an a77eal to @ysticis@.I


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4ut once the @ystical version of BauplTne is shunned, ;hat is leftG 0ur old friend? the clai@ that good reverse engineering ta8es the 6uilding 7rocess into account. As .ould and 2e;ontin 7ut it (7. 1!=", their vie; of @atters Idoes not deny that change, ;hen it occurs, @ay 6e @ediated 6y natural selection, 6ut it holds that constraints restrict 7ossi6le 7aths and @odes of change so strongly that the constraints the@selves 6eco@e @uch the @ost interesting as7ect of evolution.I *hether or not they are the most interesting as7ect, they are certainly i@7ortant, as ;e have seen. Perha7s ada7tationists (li8e art historians" need to have this 7oint re7eatedly dra;n to their attention. *hen Da;8ins, an arch>ada7tationist if there ever ;as one, says, IThere are so@e sha7es that certain 8inds of e@6ryology see@ inca7a6le of gro;ingI (Da;8ins 1 % 6, 7. '1!", he is eA7ressing a version of this 7oint a6out the constraint of the Bauplan7 and it ;as so@ething of a revelation to hi@, he says. +t ;as forcefully 6rought ho@e to hi@ 6y his o;n co@7uter si@ulations of evolution, not 6y the .ould and 2e;ontin 7a7er, 6ut ;e @ight let the@ chi@e in? I*e told you soLI .ould and 2e;ontin also discuss other alternatives to ada7tation, and these, too, are the@es ;e have already encountered in orthodoA Dar;inis@? rando@ fiAation of genes (the role of historical accident and its a@7li> fication", develo7@ental constraints due to the ;ay genes get eA7ressed, and the 7ro6le@s of getting around in a fitness landsca7e ;ith I@ulti7le ada7tive 7ea8s.I These are all real 7heno@ena# as usual, the de6ate a@ong evolutionists is not a6out ;hether they eAist, 6ut a6out ho; i@7ortant they are. Theories that incor7orate the@ have indeed 7layed a significant role ;ithin the gro;ing so7histication of the neo>Dar;inian synthesis, 6ut they are refor@s or co@7lications, not revolutions. So so@e evolutionists have acce7ted .ould and 2e;ontin-s 7luralis@ in an irenic s7irit, as a call not to a6andon 6ut, rather, to i@7rove ada7tation>is@. As Maynard S@ith (1 1, 7. !" has 7ut it, IThe effect of the .ould>2e;ontin 7a7er has 6een considera6le, and on the ;hole ;elco@e. + dou6t if @any 7eo7le have sto77ed trying to tell ada7tive stories. Certainly + have not done so @yself.I .ould and 2e;ontin-s 7a7er has had a ;elco@e effect, then, 6ut one of its 6y>7roducts has not 6een so ;elco@e. The infla@@atory rhetoric suggesting that these so@e;hat neglected the@es constituted a @aDor alternative to ada7tationis@ o7ened the floodgates to a lot of ;ishful thin8ing 6y Dar;in>dreaders ;ho ;ould 7refer that there not 6e an ada7>tationist eA7lanation of one 7recious 7heno@enon or another. *hat ;ould their di@ly i@agined alternative 6eG /ither the Iinternal necessityI that .ould and 2e;ontin the@selves dis@iss as an a77eal to @ysticis@, or utter cos@ic coincidenceHan eEually @ystical nonstarter. ,either .ould nor 2e;ontin eA7licitly endorsed either ;ild alternative to ada7tation, 6ut this ;as overloo8ed 6y those ;ho ;anted to 6e daJJled 6y the authority of these e@inent Dar;in>dou6ters.

Moreover, .ould, in s7ite of the a77eal to 7luralis@ in the co>authored 7a7er, has 7ersisted in descri6ing it as laying ;aste to ada7tationis@ (e.g., 1 (a", and has held out for a Inon>Dar;inianI inter7retation of its central conce7t, s7andrels. +t @ay have occurred to you that + have overloo8ed an o6vious inter7retation of s7andrels? 7erha7s s7andrels are Dust F*/)T< 7heno@ena. F*/)T< 7heno@ena, you recall, are constraints, 6ut con> straints ;ith an ada7tive history and hence an ada7tationist eA7lanation. ( .ould hi@self 6riefly considered this alternative (1 %'a, 7. (%("? I+f the channels Pthat constrain current o7tionsQ are set 6y 7ast ada7tations, then selection re@ains 7ree@inent, for all @aDor structures are either eA7ressions of i@@ediate selection, or channeled 6y a 7hylogenetic heritage of 7revious selection.I ,icely 7ut, 6ut he 7ro@7tly reDected it, calling it Dar;inian (;hich it certainly is", and reco@@ending an alternative Inon>Dar;inian versionI ;hich he descri6ed as Inot ;idely a77reciated 6ut 7otentially funda@ental.I S7andrels, he then suggested (7. (%(", aren-t the froJen constraints created 6y earlier ada7tations# they are exaptations. *hat contrast ;as he trying to dra;G + thin8 he sa; the difference 6et;een the eA7loitation of so@ething 7reviously designed, and the eA7loitation of so@ething originally undesigned, and ;as clai@ing that it ;as an i@7ortant difference. Perha7s. Here is so@e indirect teAtual evidence for that reading. A recent article in the Boston Dlobe Euotes the linguist Sa@uel May 5eyser of M+T?
I2anguage @ay ;ell 6e a s7andrel of the @ind,I 5eyser says, and then ;aits 7atiently ;hile his Euestioner loo8s Is7andrelI u7 in the dictionaryH The first 6uilder ;ho su77orted do@es ;ith arches created s7andrels b" accident Pe@7hasis added", and at first 6uilders 7aid no attention to s7andrels and decorated only the arches, 5eyser says. 4ut after a cou7le of centuries, 6uilders 6egan focussing on and decorating the s7andrels. +n the

(. +n his o;n discussion of the original F*/)T< 7heno@enon (1 1a", .ould @a8es a useful 7oint ( 1 1a, 7. $1", 6ut does not develo7 it further, so far as + 8no;? 6ecause of the curious historical seEuence of events that led to the general ado7tion of the standard F*/)T< ty7e;riter 8ey6oard, IAn array of co@7etitions that ;ould have tested F*/)T< ;ere never held.I That is, it is si@7ly irrele%ant to as8 ;hether F*/)T< is a 6etter design than alternatives U7 O7 and V7 since those alternatives ;ere never 7itted against F*/)T< in the @ar8et7lace or the design ;or8sho7. They Dust never ca@e u7 at a ti@e ;hen, it see@s, they could have @ade a difference. Ada7tationists should 6e alert to the fact that, even though ;hatever ;e see in nature has 6een Itested against all co@ersI and not found ;anting, only a 1anishingly s@all (and 6iased" su6set of all the i@agina6le co@7etitions has ever 6een held. The inevita6le 7arochiality of all actual tourna@ents @eans that one @ust 6e cautious in characteriJing the virtues of the ;in> ners. An old Do;neast Do8e @a8es the sa@e 7oint @ore succinctly? IMornin-, /dna.I -Mornin-, 4essie. Ho;-s yer hus6andGI ICo@7ared to ;hatGI


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sa@e ;ay, 5eyser says languageHthat is, the a6ility to convey infor@ation 6y s7eechH@ay have 6een a thin8ing and co@@unicating Is7andrelI ac> cidentally created 6y the develo7@ent of so@e cultural Iarch.I ... I2an> guage is very li8ely an accidental artifact of so@e evolutionary Euir8 of @ind.IP)o66 1 1Q Perha7s 5eyser has 6een @isEuotedH+ a@ al;ays cautious a6out acce7t> ing any Dournalist-s account of so@eone-s ;ords, having 6een 6urned 6adly @yselfH6ut if the Euotation is accurate, then for 5eyser s7andrels are orig> inally accidents, not necessities, don-t>cares, or F*/)T< 7heno@ena. 0nce, ;hen + ;as ;or8ing at a 6ronJe>casting foundry in )o@e, ;e had an eA> 7losion in a cast as ;e ;ere filling it# @olten 6ronJe ;ent s7lashing all over the floor. 0ne of the s7lashes hardened into a fantastic lacy sha7e that + 7ro@7tly a77ro7riated and turned into a scul7ture. *as + eAa7ting a s7andrelG (The Dadaist artist Marcel Ducha@7, in contrast, ;ould not have 6een eAa7ting a spandrel ;hen he a77ro7riated a urinal as his ob<et trou%e and called it a scul7ture, since the urinal had a function in its earlier life." .ould hi@self (1 (a, 7. (1" has Euoted this ne;s7a7er story ;ith a7> 7roval, not noticing that 5eyser has the art history ;rong, and not eA7ress ing any disagree@ent ;ith 5eyser-s definition of a s7andrel as an accident. So 7erha7s 5eyser is right a6out the @eaning of the ter@? s7andrels are Dust accidents availa6le for eAa7tation. .ould introduced IeAa7tationI in an article he co>authored ;ith /liJa6eth 1r6a in 1 %', I/Aa7tation? A Missing Ter@ in the Science of 3or@.I Their intent ;as to contrast eAa7tation to ada7tation. Their chief stal8ing horse, ho;ever, ;as an astonishingly ill>favored ter@ that had gained so@e currency in teAt6oo8s on evolution? preadaptation. Preada7tion see@s to i@7ly that the 7roto>;ing, ;hile doing so@ething else in its inci7ient stages, 8ne; ;here it ;as goingH7redestined for a later conversion to flight. TeAt6oo8s usually introduce the ;ord and then Euic8ly disclai@ any odor of foreordination. (4ut a na@e is o6viously ill> chosen if it cannot 6e used ;ithout denying its literal @eaning." P.ould 1 16, 7. 1&&aQ IPreada7tationI ;as a terri6le ter@, for eAactly the reasons .ould gives, 6ut notice that he is not clai@ing that the targets of his criticis@ co@@itted the @aDor @ista8e of granting foresight to natural selectionHhe ad@its that they IEuic8ly disclai@edI this heresy in the very act of introducing the ter@. They ;ere @a8ing the @inor @ista8e of choosing a usage 7erversely li8ely to foster this confusion. S;itching fro@ I7reada7tationI to IeAa7tationI @ight ;ell 6e seen, then, as a ;ise refor@ of usage, 6etter suited to drive ho@e the orthodoA vie; of ada7tationists. .ould, ho;ever, resisted this refor@ist inter7retation. He ;anted eAa7tation, and s7andrels, to 7resent a I7o tentially funda@entalI and Inon>Dar;inianI alternative.

/liJa6eth 1r6a and + have 7ro7osed that the restrictive and confusing ;ord I7reada7tationI 6e dro77ed in favor of the @ore inclusive ter@ IeAa7ta> tionIHfor any organ not evolved under natural selection for its current useHeither 6ecause it 7erfor@ed a different function in ancestors ( clas> sical 7reada7tation" or 6ecause it re7resented a nonfunctional 7art avail> a6le for later co>o7tation. P.ould 1 16, 7. l&&n.Q 4ut, according to orthodoA Dar;inis@, every ada7tation is one sort of eAa7tation or the otherHthis is trivial, since no function is eternal# if you go 6ac8 far enough, you ;ill find that every ada7tation has develo7ed out of 7redecessor structures each of ;hich either had so@e other use or no use at all. The only 7heno@ena that .ould-s eAa7tation revolution ;ould rule out are the 7heno@ena that orthodoA ada7tationists IEuic8lyI disavo;ed in any case? 7lanned>for 7reada7tations. The s7andrel revolution (against 7anada7tationis@ " and the eAa7tation revolution ( against 7reada7tationis@ " eva7orate on closer ins7ection, since 6oth 7anada7tationis@ and 7reada7tationis@ have 6een routinely shunned 6y Dar;inians ever since Dar;in hi@self. These nonrevolutions not only do not challenge any orthodoA Dar;inian tenet# the coinages they introduce are as li8ely to confuse as the coinages they ;ere su77osed to re7lace. +t is hard to 6e a revolutionary if the esta6lish@ent 8ee7s co>o7ting you. .ould has often co@7lained that his target, neo>Dar;inis@, recogniJes the very eAce7tions he ;ants to turn into o6Dections, Iand this i@7oses a great frustration u7on anyone ;ho ;ould characteriJe the @odern synthesis in order to criticiJe itI (.ould 1 %=6, 7. 1(=". The @odern synthesis has so@eti@es 6een so 6roadly construed, usually 6y defenders ;ho ;ish to see it as fully adeEuate to @eet and enco@7ass current critiEues, that it loses all @eaning 6y including everything..... Ste66ins and Ayala Pt;o e@inent defendersQ have tried to ;in an argu@ent 6y redefinition. The essence of the @odern synthesis @ust 6e its Dar;inian core. P.ould 1 %'a, 7. (%'.Q +t is sur7rising to see a Dar;inian give anything an essence, 6ut ;e can ta8e .ould-s 7oint, if not his language, there is somethin- a6out the @odern synthesis that he ;ants to overthro;, and 6efore you can overthro; so@e> thing you @ust 7in it do;n. He has so@eti@es clai@ed (e.g., 1 %(a" he could see the @odern synthesis doing his ;or8 for hi@, IhardeningI into a 6rittle orthodoAy that ;ould 6e easier to attac8. +f onlyL +n fact, no sooner has he gone into 6attle than the @odern synthesis has sho;n its fleAi6ility, readily a6sor6ing his 7unches, to his frustration. + thin8 he is right, ho;ever, that the @odern synthesis has a IDar;inian core,I and + thin8 he is right that it is his target# he Dust hasn-t yet 7ut his finger on it hi@self. +f the case against I7ervasive ada7tationI has vanished, then, ;hat a6out


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unctuated EFuilibrium8 # >opeful Monster


the case against gradualis@, the other @ain ele@ent in the @odern synthesis that .ould sees I6rea8ing do;nIG .ould-s atte@7ted revolution against gradualis@ ;as actually his first# it o7ened ;ith a salvo in 1 $' ;hich introduced yet another fa@iliar coinage to the voca6ulary of evolutionists and onloo8ers ali8e? punctuated eFuilibrium.

(. PU,CTUAT/D /FU+2+4)+UM? A H0P/3U2 M0,ST/)

unctuated eFuilibrium has finall" obtained an unambi-uous ma<orit"H that is7 our theor" is now .* "ears old. !e also7 with parental pride Gand therefore7 potential biasJ7 belie%e that primar" contro%ers" has ceded to -eneral comprehension and that punctuated eFuilibrium has been accepted b" most of our collea-ues Ga more con%entional sort of ma<orit"J as a %aluable addition to e%olutionar" theor".
HST/PH/, MA< .0U2D and ,+2/S /2D)/D./ 1 (, 7. ''(

3+.U)/ 1=.! A, and that it acco@7lished the sa@e right;ard shift in Design S7ace in the sa@e a@ount of ti@e, 6ut 6y fits and starts, not a steady cli@6. (These diagra@s can 6e tric8y to thin8 a6out# the difference 6et;een a ra@7 and a staircase is the 7oint of the contrast, 6ut the giant ste7s are the sidewa"s @oves, not the vertical 6its, ;hich are the 6oring 7eriods of I@otionI through ti@e only, ;ith no @otion through design s7ace." There is a fa@iliar trio of reactions 6y scientists to a 7ur7ortedly radical hy7othesis? (a" I<ou @ust 6e out of your @indLI, (6" I*hat else is ne;G /very6ody 8no;s thatCAB7 and, laterHif the hy7othesis is still standingH(c" IH@@. <ou mi-ht 6e on to so@ethingLI So@eti@es these 7hases ta8e years to unfold, one after another, 6ut + have seen all three e@erge in near synchrony in the course of a half>hour-s heated discussion follo;ing a con> ference 7a7er. +n the case of the hy7othesis of 7unctuated eEuili6riu@, the 7hases are 7articularly 7ronounced, in large 7art 6ecause .ould has several ti@es changed his @ind a6out Dust ;hat he and /ldredge ;ere clai@ing. +n its first a77earance, the thesis of 7unctuated eEuili6riu@ ;as 7resented not as a revolutionary challenge at all, 6ut as a conservative correction of an illusion to ;hich orthodoA Dar;inians had succu@6ed? 7aleontologists ;ere si@7ly @ista8en in thin8ing that Dar;inian natural selection should leave a fossil record sho;ing lots of inter@ediate for@s. & There ;as no

!hat needs to be said now7 loud and clear7 is the truth8 that the theor" of punctuated eFuilibrium lies firml" within the neo;Darwinian s"nthe; sis. It alwa"s did. It will ta6e time to undo the dama-e wrou-ht b" the o%erblown rhetoric7 but it will be undone. H)+CHA)D DA*5+,S 1 %!a, 7. '91 ,iles /ldredge and .ould co>authored the 7a7er that introduced the ter@, IPunctuated /Euili6ria? An Alternative to Phyletic .radualis@I (1 $'". *hereas orthodoA Dar;inians, according to the@, tended to envision all ev> olutionary change as gradual, they argued that, on the contrary, it 7roceeded 6y Der8s? long 7eriods of changelessness or stasisHeEuili6riu@Hinterru7ted 6y sudden and dra@atic 6rief 7eriods of ra7id changeH7unctuations. The 6asic idea is often illustrated 6y contrasting a 7air of trees of life (figure 1=.!". *e can su77ose that the horiJontal di@ension registers so@e one as7ect of 7henoty7ic variation or 6ody designH;e-d need a @ultidi@ensional s7ace to re7resent it all, of course. The orthodoA vie; on the left is 7ictured as sho;ing that all @otion through design s7ace (that is, to the left or right in the diagra@" is at a @ore or less steady 7ace. Punctuated eEuili6riu@, in contrast, sho;s long 7eriods of unchanged design (the vertical line seg@ents" interru7ted 6y IinstantaneousI side;ays lea7s in design s7ace (the horiJontal seg@ents". To see the central clai@ of their theory, trace the evolutionary history of the s7ecies at 5 in each 7icture. The orthodoA 7icture sho;s a @ore or less steady right;ard trend fro@ the diagra@-s Ada@ s7ecies, A. Their 7ro7osed alternative agrees that 5 is a descendant of

&. IDuring the 7ast thirty years, the allo7atric theory Pof s7eciationQ has gro;n in 7o7> ularity to 6eco@e, for the vast @aDority of 6iologists, the theory of s7eciationI (/ldredge and .ould 1 $', 7. '". This orthodoA theory has so@e stri8ing i@7lications? IThe theory of allo7atric (or geogra7hic" s7eciation suggests a different inter7retation of


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unctuated EFuilibrium8 # >opeful Monster


@ention in the first 7a7er of any radical theory of s7eciation or @utation. 4ut later, a6out 1 %=, .ould decided that 7unctuated eEuili6riu@ ;as a revolutionary idea after allHnot an eA7lanation of the lac8 of gradualis@ in the fossil record, 6ut a refutation of Dar;inian gradualis@ itself. This clai@ ;as advertised as revolutionaryHand no; it truly ;as. +t ;as too revolu > tionary, and it ;as hooted do;n ;ith the sa@e sort of ferocity the esta6> lish@ent reserves for heretics li8e /laine Morgan. .ould 6ac87edaled hard, offering re7eated denials that he had ever @eant anything so outrageous. +n that case, res7onded the esta6lish@ent, there is after all nothing ne; in ;hat you say. 4ut ;ait. Might there 6e still another reading of the hy7oth esis, according to ;hich it is 6oth true and ne;G There @ight 6e. Phase three is still under ;ay, and the Dury is out, considering several differentH 6ut all nonrevolutionaryHalternatives. *e ;ill have to retrace the 7hases to see ;hat the hue and cry has 6een a6out. As .ould and /ldredge have the@selves 7ointed out, there ;as an o6vious 7ro6le@ of scale in such diagra@s as figure 1=.!. *hat if ;e Joo@ed ;ay in on the orthodoA 7icture and found that, once ;e enlarged it suffi ciently, it loo8ed li8e this?

the @ost eAtre@e gradualist can allo; that evolution could ta8e a 6reather for a ;hile, letting the vertical lines eAtend indefinitely through ti@e until so@e ne; selection 7ressure so@eho; arose. During this 7eriod of stasis, selection 7ressure ;ould 6e conservative, 8ee7ing the design roughly constant 6y s;iftly eli@inating any eA7eri@ental alternatives that arose. As the old @echanic said, IDon-t fiA ;hat isn-t 6ro8e.I *henever a ne; selection 7ressure arose, ;e-d see a IsuddenI res7onse of heightened evolution, a 7unctuation interru7ting the eEuili6riu@. *as there really a revolutionary 7oint of disagree@ent 6eing offered 6y /ldredge and .ould here, or ;ere they @erely offering an interesting o6servation a6out the varia6ility in te@7o of evolutionary 7rocesses and its 7redicta6le effects on the fossil recordG Punctuationists ty7ically dra; the 7unctuation 7arts of their revolutionary diagra@s a6solutely horiJontal (to @a8e stri8ingly clear that they are 7resenting a true alternative to the ra@7ant ra@7>vie; of orthodoAy". This @a8es it loo8 as if each of the design revisions illustrated ta8es 7lace in a t;in8ling, in no ti@e at all. 4ut that is Dust a @isleading artifact of the huge vertical scale ado7ted, ;hich sho;s @illions of years to the inch. The side;ays @otion is not really instantaneous. +t is only Igeologically instan> taneous.I An isolated 7o7ulation @ay ta8e a thousand years to s7eciate, and its transfor@ation ;ould therefore a77ear glacially slo; if @easured 6y the irrelevant scale of our 7ersonal lives. 4ut a thousand years, a77ro7riately recorded in geological ti@e, is only an unresolva6le @o@ent, usually 7re> served on a single 6edding 7lane Pin fossil>6earing roc8Q, in a lifeti@e of s7ecies that often live for several @illion years in stasis. P.ould 1 'a, 77. 1'>1&.Q So su77ose ;e Joo@ in on one of these thousand>year instants, changing the vertical scale of the ti@e di@ension 6y a fe; orders of @agnitude to see ;hat @ight actually 6e going on (figure 1=.%". The horiJontal ste7 ta8en 6et;een ti@e t and ti@e t- ;ill have to 6e stretched out so@eho;, and ;e @ust turn it into relatively 6ig ste7s or little ste7s or tiny ste7s, or so@e co@6ination thereof. *ere any of the 7ossi6ilities revolutionaryG *hat eAactly ;ere /ldredge and .ould @aintainingG Here their res7ective vie;s diverged so@e;hat, at least for a ;hile. The vie; ;as revolutionary, .ould clai@ed, 6ecause it @aintained that the 7unctuations ;ere not Dust 6usiness>as>usual evolution, not Dust -radual changes. )e@e@6er the old Do8e a6out the drun8 ;ho falls do;n the elevator shaft and says, on rising, I2oo8 out for the first ste7Hit-s a dooJyLIG 3or a ;hile, .ould ;as 7ro7osing that the first ste7 in the esta6> lish@ent of any ne; s7ecies ;as a dooJyHa non>Dar;inian saltation (Iso@ersaultI and IsauteI co@e fro@ the sa@e 2atin root"?

3+.U)/ 1=.$

At some level of @agnification, any evolutionary ra@7 @ust loo8 li8e a staircase. +s figure 1=.$ a 7icture of 7unctuated eEuili6riu@G +f it is, then orthodoA Dar;inis@ ;as already a theory of 7unctuated eEuili6riu@. /ven
7aleontological data. +f ne; s7ecies arise very ra7idly in s@all, 7eri7herally isolated local 7o7ulations, then the great eA7ectation of insensi6ly graded fossil seEuences is a chi> @eraI (/ldredge and .ould 1 $', 7. %'".


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.ould-s lea7

unctuated EFuilibrium8 # >opeful Monster


3+.U)/ 1=.%

S7eciation is not al;ays an eAtension of gradual, ada7tive allelic su6stitu> tion to greater effect, 6ut @ay re7resent, as .oldsch@idt argued, a different style of genetic changeHra7id reorganiJation of the geno@e, 7erha7s non> ada7tive. P.ould 1 %=6, 7. 11 .Q S7eciation itself, in this vie;, is not an effect of accu@ulated ada7tations gradually driving 7o7ulations a7art 6ut, rather, a cause ;ith its o;n, non> Dar;inian eA7lanation? 4ut in saltational, chro@oso@al s7eciation, re7roductive isolation co@es first and cannot 6e considered as an ada7tation at all. . . . *e can, in fact, reverse the conventional vie; and argue that s7eciation, 6y for@ing ne; entities stochastically, 7rovides ra; @aterial for selection. P.ould 1 %=6, 7. 1'&.Q This suggestion, ;hich + call .ould-s lea7, is re7resented in the right>hand gra7h in figure 1=.%. 0nly 7art of the 7unctuation 7rocess, the gradual, cleaning>u7 7rocess at the end, is IDar;inian,I .ould clai@ed? +f ne; BauplTne often arise in an ada7tive cascade follo;ing the salta> tional origin of a 8ey feature, then 7art of the 7rocess is seEuential and ada7tive, and therefore Dar;inian# 6ut the initial ste7 is not, since selec> tion does not 7lay a creative role in 6uilding the 8ey feature. P.ould 1 %'a, 7. (%(.Q

+t is this Icreative roleI of so@ething other than selection that caught the s8e7tical attention of .ould-s colleagues. To get clear a6out ;hat caused the furor, ;e need to note that our diagra@ in figure 1=.% is really una6le to distinguish several crucially different hy7otheses. The trou6le ;ith the di> agra@ is that it needs @ore di@ensions, so ;e can co@7are the ste7s in -enot"pe space (the ty7ogra7hical ste7s in the 2i6rary of Mendel" to the ste7s in phenot"pe space (the design innovations in Design S7ace " and then evaluate these differences on a fitness landscape. As ;e have seen, the relations 6et;een reci7e and result are co@7leA, and @any 7ossi6ilities @ight 6e illustrated. *e sa; in cha7ter 9 that a s@all ty7ogra7hical change in the geno@e could in 7rinci7le have a large effect on the 7henoty7e eA7ressed. *e also sa;, in cha7ter %, that so@e ty7ogra7hical changes in the geno@e can have no effect at all on the 7henoty7eHthere are over a hundred different ;ays of Is7ellingI lysoJy@e, for instance, and hence @ore than a hundred eEuivalent ;ays of s7elling the order for lysoJy@e in D,A codons. *e 8no;, then, that at one eAtre@e there can 6e organis@s so si@ilar in design as to 6e indistinguisha6le that nevertheless have large differences in their D,A Hfor instance, you and ;hoever that 7erson is for ;ho@ you are often @ista8en (your Doppel-Tn-erHno 7hiloso7hy 6oo8 ;ould 6e co@7lete ;ith @entioning do77elg\ngers ". At the other eAtre@e, there can 6e organis@s that are 6iJarrely different in a77earance, 6ut al@ost identical genetically. A single @utation in Dust the ;rong 7lace can 7roduce a @onsterHthe @edical ter@ for such defor@ed offs7ring is terata7 .ree8 (and 2atin" for I@onsters.I And there can also 6e organis@s that are al@ost identical in a77earance and structure, and al@ost identical in D,A, 6ut dra@atically different in fitnessH for instance, fraternal t;ins one of ;ho@ ha77ens to have a gene that gives it either i@@unity or susce7ti6ility to so@e disease. A large lea7 in any of these three s7aces, or a saltation, @ay also 6e called a macromutation (@eaning a 6ig @utation, not Dust a @utation in ;hat + have called a @acroHa @acro@olecular su6syste@ ". 9 As /rnst Mayr (1 != " has o6served, there are three different reasons ;e could call a @utation 6ig? it is a 6ig ste7 in the 2i6rary of Mendel# it 7roduces a radical difference in 7henoty7e (a @onster"# it 7roduces (one ;ay or another" a 6ig increase in fitnessHa lot of liftin-7 in our @eta7hor for -ood wor6 done 6y design changes. +t is 7ossi6le for the @olecular re7licating @achinery to ta8e large ste7s in the 2i6rary of MendelHthere are cases in ;hich ;hole chun8s of teAt get trans7osed, inverted, or deleted in a single co7ying I@ista8e.I +t is also

9. 3or an introduction to the ter@, see Dietrich-s essay IMacro@utationI in the eAcellent ne; source6oo8, Ke"words in E%olutionar" Biolo-"7 edited 6y 5eller and 2loyd (1 ' ".


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7ossi6le for ty7ogra7hical differences to accu@ulate slo;ly (and, in general, rando@ly" over a long ti@e in the large 7ortion of D,A that never gets eA7ressed, and if these accu@ulated changes suddenly got eA7ressed, than8s to so@e trans7osing error, a huge 7henoty7ic effect ;ould 6e eA7ected. 4ut it is only ;hen ;e turn to the third sense of @acro@utationHlarge differ ences in fitnessHthat ;e can get clear a6out ;hat see@ed to 6e radical in .ould-s 7ro7osal. The ter@s IsaltationI and I@acro@utationI have tended to 6e used to descri6e a successful @ove, a creati%e @ove, in ;hich offs7ring in a single generation shift fro@ one region of Design S7ace to another and prosper as a result. The idea had 6een 7ro@oted 6y )ichard .oldsch@idt (1 ((, 1 &=", and @ade unforgetta6le 6y his catch7hrase? Iho7eful @onsters.I *hat @ade his ;or8 notorious ;as that he clai@ed that such lea7s ;ere necessary for s7eciation to occur. This suggestion had 6een roundly reDected 6y neo>Dar;inian orthodoAy, for the reasons ;e have already considered. /ven 6efore Dar;in, the received ;isdo@ of 6iologists ;as, as 2innaeus said in his classic ;or8 of taAono@y (1$91", B9atura non facit saltusBHnature does not @a8e lea7sHand this ;as one @aAi@ that Dar;in didn-t Dust leave untouched# he 7rovided enor@ous su77ort for it. 2arge lea7s side;ays in a fitness landscape ;ill al@ost never 6e to your 6enefit# ;herever you currently find yourself, you are ;here you are 6ecause this has 6een a good region of Design S7ace for your ancestorsH you are near the to7 of so@e 7ea8 or other in the s7aceHso, the 6igger the ste7 you ta8e (Du@7ing rando@ly, of course", the @ore li8ely you are to Du@7 off a cliffHinto the lo; country, in any case (Da;8ins 1 %!a, ch. ". According to this standard reasoning, it is no accident that @onsters are virtually al;ays ho7eless. That is ;hat @ade .oldsch@idt-s vie;s so heretical# he 8ne; and acce7ted that this ;as true in general, 6ut 7ro7osed that nevertheless the eAtre@ely rare eAce7tions to this rule ;ere the @ain lifters of evolution. .ould is a fa@ous defender of underdogs and outcasts, and he de7lored the Iritualistic ridiculeI (.ould 1 %'6, 7. Av" to ;hich .oldsch@idt had 6een su6Dected 6y the orthodoA. *as .ould going to try to reha6ilitate .oldsch@idtG <es and no. +n I)eturn of the Ho7eful MonsterI (in .ould 1 %=a, 7. 1%%", .ould co@7lained that Idefenders of the synthetic theory @ade a caricature of .oldsch@idt-s ideas in esta6lishing their ;hi77ing 6oy.I So it see@ed to @any 6iologists that .ould ;as arguing that 7unctuated eEuili6riu@ ;as a theory of .oldsch@idtian s7eciation through @ac> ro@utation. To the@ it see@ed that .ould ;as trying to ;ave his ;onderful historian-s ;and over the tarnished re7utation of .oldsch@idt, and 6ring his ideas 6ac8 into favor. Here the @ythic .ould, )efuter of 0rthodoAy, seriously got in the ;ay of the real .ould, so that even his colleagues succu@6ed to the te@7tation to read ;hat he ;rote ;ith a 6road 6rush. They scoffed in dis6elief, and then, ;hen he denied that he ;as endorsingH

had ever endorsedH.oldsch@idt-s saltationis@, they scoffed all the @ore derisively. They 8ne; ;hat he-d said. 4ut did theyG + @ust ad@it that + thought they did until Steve .ould insisted to @e that + should chec8 all his various 7u6lications, and see for @yself that his o77onents ;ere foisting a caricature on hi@. He struc8 a nerve# no one 8no;s 6etter than + ho; frustrating it is to have the s8e7tics hang a crude 6ut convenient la6el on one-s su6tle vie;. (+-@ the guy ;ho re7utedly denies that 7eo7le eA7erience colors or 7ains, and thin8s that ther@ostats thin8HDust as8 @y critics." So + chec8ed. He chose to du6 his denial of gradualis@ Ithe .oldsch@idt 6rea8I (.ould 1 %=6", and reco@> @ended for serious considerationH;ithout endorsingHso@e radical .old> sch@idtian vie;s, 6ut in the sa@e 7a7er he ;as careful to say, I*e do not no; acce7t all his argu@ents a6out the nature of variation.I +n 1 %', he @ade it clear that the only feature of .oldsch@idt-s vie; he ;as endorsing ;as the idea of Is@all genetic changes 7roducing large effects 6y altering rates of develo7@entI (.ould 1 %'d, 7. ((%", and in his introduction to the re7rinting of .oldsch@idt-s notorious 6oo8, he eA7anded on this 7oint? Dar;inians, ;ith their traditional 7references for gradualis@ and continu> ity, @ight not shout hosannas for large 7henoty7ic shifts induced ra7idly 6y s@all genetic changes that affect early develo7@ent# 6ut nothing in Dar;inian theory 7recludes such events, for the underlying continuity of s@all genetic changes re@ains. P.ould 1 %'6, 7. AiA.Q ,othing revolutionary, in other ;ords? 0ne @ay 6e eAcused for retorting? Iso ;hat else is ne;GI Has any 6iologist ever denied itG 4ut ... 7rogress in science often de@ands the recovery of ancient truths and their rendering in novel ;ays. P.ould 1 %'d, 77. (&(> &&.Q Still, he could not resist the urge to descri6e this 7ossi6ly undera77reciated fact a6out develo7@ent as a non>Dar;inian creative force in evolution, I6ecause the constraints that it i@7oses u7on the nature of 7henoty7ic change guarantee that s@all and continuous Dar;inian variation is not the ra; @aterial of all evolution,I for it Irelegates selection to a negative role (eli@inating the unfit" and assigns the @aDor creative as7ect of evolution to variation itself- (.ould 1 %'d, 7. (&=". +t is still not clear ho; @uch i@7ortance to assign to this 7ossi6ility in 7rinci7le, 6ut, in any event, .ould has not 7ursued it further? IPunctuated eEuili6riu@ is not a theory of @acro@utationI (.ould 1 %'c, 7. %%". Con> fusion on this score still a6ounds, ho;ever, and .ould has had to 8ee7 issuing his disclai@ers? I0ur theory entails no ne; or violent @echanis@,

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6ut only re7resents the 7ro7er scaling of ordinary events into the vastness of geological ti@eI (.ould 1 '6, 7. 1'". So this ;as a false>alar@ revolution that ;as largely if not entirely in the eyes of the 6eholders. 4ut in that case, the vie; ;e find .ould and /ldredge @aintaining once ;e Joo@ in 6eyond the @isleading ti@e>sEuashing of their geological diagra@s, is not the right@ost dooJy in figure 1=.% after all, 6ut one of the other, gradual, nonviolent 7aths illustrated. As Da;8ins has noted, the ;ay in ;hich /ldredge and .ould challenged Igradualis@I ;as not, in the end, 6y 7ositing so@e eAciting ne; nongradualis@, 6ut 6y saying that evolution, ;hen it occurred, ;as indeed gradualH6ut @ost of the ti@e it ;as not e%en gradual# it ;as at a dead sto7. The lefthand diagra@ in figure 1=.! is su77osed to re7resent orthodoAy, 6ut the feature of it that their theory challenged ;as not its gradualis@Honce ;e get the scale right, they are gradualists the@selves. The feature they ;ere challenging ;as ;hat Da;8ins (1 %!a, 7. '&&" calls Iconstant s7eedis@.I ,o;, has neo>Dar;inian orthodoAy ever 6een co@@itted to constant s7eedis@G +n their original 7a7er, /ldredge and .ould clai@ed that 7aleon > tologists ;ere @ista8en in thin8ing that orthodoAy reEuired constant s7eed> is@. *as Dar;in hi@self a constant s7eedistG Dar;in often, and correctly, har7ed on the clai@ that evolution could onl" 6e gradual (at 6est, you @ight say". As Da;8ins (1 %!a, 7. 1&9" says, I3or Dar;in, any evolution that had to 6e hel7ed over the Du@7s 6y .od ;as not evolution at all. +t @ade a nonsense of the central 7oint of evolution. +n the light of this, it is easy to see ;hy Dar;in constantly reiterated the -radualness of evolution.I 4ut docu@entary evidence in su77ort of the clai@ that he ;as co@@itted to constant speedism is not Dust hard to find# there is a fa@ous 7assage in ;hich Dar;in clearly eA7resses the o77osite vie;, the vie; that could 6e calledHin t;o ;ordsH7unctuated eEuili6riu@? Many s7ecies once for@ed never undergo any further change ...# and the 7eriods, during ;hich s7ecies have undergone @odification, though long as @easured 6y years, have 7ro6a6ly 6een short in co@7arison ;ith the 7eriods during ;hich they retain the sa@e for@. I4ri-in7 &th and su6se> Euent eds# see Pec8ha@ 1 9 , 7. $'$.Q +ronically, ho;ever, Dar;in 7ut Dust one diagra@ in 4ri-in7 and it ha77ens to sho; steadily slo7ing ra@7s. Steven Stanley, another @aDor eA7onent of 7unctuated eEuili6riu@, re7rints this diagra@ in his 6oo8 (Stanley 1 %1, 7. (!" and @a8es the inference eA7licit in his ca7tion. 0ne effect of such clai@s is that today there is undou6tedly a tradition i@7uting constant s7eedis@ either to Dar;in hi@self or to neo>Dar;inian orthodoAy. 3or instance, Colin Tudge, a good science Dournalist, ;riting a6out /liJa6eth 1r6a-s recent clai@s concerning the 7ulse of evolution,

The tree of life 7u6lished 6y Dar;in in the 4ri-in (1%9 , 7. 11$". The tree de7icts a gradualistic 7attern of evolution. /ach fanli8e 7attern re7resents the slo; evolu> tionary divergence of 7o7ulations. Dar;in 6elieved that ne; s7ecies, and eventually ne; genera and fa@ilies, for@ed 6y this 8ind of slo; divergence. PStanley 1 %1.Q 3+.U)/ 1=. 7oints to the 7resu@ed i@7lications for orthodoAy of current research on the evolution of i@7alas and leo7ards? Traditional Dar;inis@ ;ould 7redict a steady @odification of the i@7ala over ( @illion years, even ;ithout cli@atic change, 6ecause it still needs to outrun leo7ards. 4ut, in fact, neither i@7alas nor leo7ards have changed very @uch. They are 6oth too versatile to 6e ;orried 6y cli@atic change, and co@7etition 6et;een the@ and ;ith their o;n 8ind does notHas Dar;in su77osedH7rovide sufficient selective 7ressure to cause the@ to alter. PTudge 1 (, 7. (9.Q Tudge-s 7resu@7tion that the discovery of three @illion years of stasis in the i@7ala and leo7ard ;ould confound Dar;in is a fa@iliar one, 6ut it is an artifact, direct or indirect, of a 7articular forced reading of the Ira@7sI in Dar;in-s (and other orthodoA" diagra@s. .ould has 7roclai@ed the death of gradualis@, 6ut is he hi@self, then, a gradualist (6ut not a constant s7eedist" after allG His denial that his theory 7ro7oses any Iviolent @echanis@I suggests that he is, 6ut it is hard to tell, for on the very sa@e 7age he says that, according to the theory of 7unctuated eEuili6riu@,

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change does not usually occur 6y i@7erce7ti6ly gradual alteration of en> tire s7ecies 6ut rather Pe@7hasis addedQ 6y isolation of s@all 7o7ulations and their geologically instantaneous transfor@ation into ne; s7ecies. P.ould 1 'a, 7. 1'.Q This 7assage invites us to 6elieve that evolutionary change could not be 6oth Igeologically instantaneousI and Ii@7erce7ti6ly gradualI at the sa@e ti@e. 4ut that is Dust ;hat evolutionary change must 6e ;hen there are no saltations. Da;8ins dra@atiJes the 7oint 6y 7assing along an eye>o7ening thought eA7eri@ent 6y the evolutionist .. 2edyard Ste66ins, ;ho i@agines a @ouse>siJed @a@@al for ;hich he 7ostulates such a tiny selection 7ressure in favor of increased siJe that there ;ould 6e no increase in siJe @easura6le 6y 6iologists studying the ani@al? As far as the scientist studying evolution on the ground is concerned, then, these ani@als are not evolving at all. ,evertheless they are evolving, very slo;ly at a rate given 6y Ste66ins- @athe@atical assu@7tion, and even at this slo; rate, they ;ould eventually reach the siJe of ele7hants. Ho; long ;ould this ta8eG... Ste66ins calculates that at his assu@ed very slo; rate of evolution, it ;ould ta8e a6out 1',=== generations.... Assu@ing a gen> eration ti@e of five years, ;hich is longer than that of a @ouse 6ut shorter than that of an ele7hant, 1',=== generations ;ould occu7y a6out !=,=== years. !=,=== years is too short to 6e @easured 6y ordinary geological @ethods of dating the fossil record. As Ste66ins says, The origin of a ne; 8ind of ani@al in 1==,=== years or less is regarded 6y 7aleontologists as IsuddenI or IinstantaneousI.- PDa;8ins 1 %!a, 7. '&'.Q Certainly .ould ;ould not call such a locally i@7erce7ti6le @ouse>to> ele7hant change a violation of gradualis@, 6ut in that case his o;n o77osition to gradualis@ is left ;ith no su77ort at all fro@ the fossil record. +n fact, he grants this (1 %'a, 7. (%("Hthe only evidence that his o;n field of 7aleon> tology is a6le to 7rovide in o77osition to gradualis@ goes in the ;rong di> rection. .ould @ay han8er for evidence of a revolutionary s7eed>u7 of one 8ind or another, 6ut the fossil record could only sho; 7eriods of stasis that suggest that evolution is often not even gradual. 4ut 7erha7s this a;8;ard fact can 6e turned to good use? 7erha7s the challenge to orthodoAy should 6e, not that it can-t account for the 7unc> tuations, 6ut that it can-t account for the eEuili6riaL Perha7s .ould-s challenge to the @odern synthesis should 6e that it is co@@itted to constant s7eedis@ after all? that, although Dar;in didn-t 7ositively deny eEuili6riu@ (indeed, he asserted that it occurs", he can-t actually eA7lain eEuili6riu@ ;hen it does occur, and such eEuili6riu@ or stasis, it @ight 6e argued, is a @aDor 7attern in the ;orld in need of eA7lanation. This is in fact the neAt direction .ould turned in his attac8 on the @odern synthesis.

Ho; can ;e clai@ to understand evolution if ;e only study the 7ercent or t;o of 7heno@ena that construct life-s directional history and leave the vast field of straight>gro;ing 6ushesHthe story of @ost lineages @ost of the ti@eHin the li@6o of conce7tual o6livionG P.ould 1 (c, 7. 1!.Q 4ut this 7ath has 7ro6le@s. 3irst, ;e @ust 6e careful not to @a8e the error that is the @irror i@age of .ould-s error a6out 7anada7tationis@. *e @ust not @a8e the error of I7aneEuili6riu@is@.I Ho;ever stri8ing or I7ervasiveI the 7attern of stasis turns out to 6e, ;e 8no; in advance that @ost linea-es do not eAhi6it stasis. 3ar fro@ it. )e@e@6er our difficulties in coloring in 2ulu and her cons7ecifics in cha7ter &G Most lineages soon die out, never having ti@e to esta6lish stasis# ;e ;ill only IseeI a s7ecies ;here there is so@ething salient and sta6le in the record. The IdiscoveryI that all s7ecies eAhi6it stasis @uch of the ti@e is li8e the discovery that all droughts last longer than a ;ee8. *e ;ouldn-t notice that there was a drought if it ;asn-t a long>lasting 7heno@enon. So, since a @odicu@ of stasis is a 7recondition for the identification of a s7ecies, the fact that all s7ecies eAhi6it so@e degree of stasis is @erely true 6y definition. ,evertheless, the 7heno@enon of stasis @ight 6e a real one in need of eA7lanation. *e should as8 not ;hy s7ecies eAhi6it sta6ility (so@ething true 6y definition" 6ut ;hy there are salient, identifia6le s7eciesHthat is, ;hy lineages go sta6le at all. 4ut even here, neo>Dar;inis@ has several o6vious ada7tationist eA7lanations for ;hy stasis should often occur in a lineage. *e have already seen the 7ri@ary one several ti@es? every s7ecies isH@ust 6eH a going concern, and going concerns @ust 6e conservative# @ost deviations fro@ the ti@e>tested tradition ;ill 6e Euic8ly 7unished 6y eAtinction. /ldredge hi@self (1 % " has suggested that a @aDor reason for stasis is Iha6itat trac8ing.I Sterelny (1 ', 7. &9" descri6es it this ;ay? As the environ@ent changes, organis@s @ay react 6y trac8ing their old ha6itat. They @ight @ove north as the cli@ate cools, rather than 6y evolv> ing ada7tations to the cold. PThis is not a @ista8eHSterelny is a Southern >emisphere 7hiloso7her of 6iologyL Q Selection ;ill usually drive trac8ing. 3or @igrants that follo; the ha6itat (7ersonally or 6y re7roductive dis> 7ersion" ;ill ty7ically 6e fitter than the 7o7ulation frag@ent that fails to @ove, for the residual frag@ent ;ill 6e less ;ell ada7ted to the ne; environ@ent and ;ill 6e faced ;ith ne; co@7etition fro@ other @igrants trac8ing their old ha6itat. ,ote that ha6itat trac8ing is as @uch a IstrategyI of 7lants as of ani@als. +ndeed, so@e of the clearest cases of s7eciation invo8e this 7heno@enon. As the iceca7 recedes after an ice age, the range of so@e ,orthern Asian 7lant s7reads to the north year after year, Ifollo;ingI the ice, and s7reading east

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and ;est as it goes, crossing in the 4ering Strait region, and 7erha7s even encircling the glo6e li8e the herring gulls. Then, as the ice advances south during the next ice age, it sheers off the connections 6et;een the Asian and ,orth A@erican 7arts of the fa@ily, creating t;o isolated ranges that then naturally diverge into distinct s7ecies, 6ut as they 6oth @ove south;ard in their res7ective he@is7heres, they continue to loo8 @uch the sa@e, because they trac8 their favored cli@atic conditions, instead of staying 7ut and going in for further ;inter ada7tations.! Another 7ossi6le eA7lanation of 7unctuated eEuili6riu@ is 7urely theo> retical. Stuart 5auff@an and his colleagues have 7roduced co@7uter @odels that eAhi6it 6ehavior in ;hich relatively long 7eriods of stasis are interru7ted 6y 6rief 7eriods of change not triggered 6y any IoutsideI interfer ence, so this 7attern see@s to 6e an endogenous or internal feature of the o7eration of 7articular sorts of evolutionary algorith@s. (3or a recent discussion, see 4a8, 3lyv6Derg, and Sne77en 1 &." +t is Euite clear, then, that eEuili6riu@ is no @ore a 7ro6le@ for the neo> Dar;inian than 7unctuation# it can 6e accounted for, and even 7redicted. 4ut .ould has seen yet another revolution lur8ing in 7unctuated eEuili6riu@. May6e the horiJontal ste7s of 7unctuation are not Dust (relatively" ra7id ste7s in Design S7ace# @ay6e ;hat is i@7ortant a6out the@ is that they are ste7s of speciation. Ho; could this @a8e a differenceG 2oo8 at figure 1=.1=. +n 6oth cases, the lineage at 5 got ;here it got 6y eAactly the sa@e seEuence of 7unctuations and eEuili6ria, 6ut the case illustrated on the left sho;s a sin-le species undergoing ra7id 7eriods of change follo;ed 6y long 7eriods of stasis. Such change ;ithout s7eciation is 8no;n as ana-enesis. The case illustrated on the right is an instance of clado-enesis7 change via s7eciation. .ould clai@s that the right;ard trend in the t;o cases ;ould have a different eA7lanation. 4ut ho; could this 6e trueG )ecall ;hat ;e

learned in cha7ter &? s7eciation is an event that can only 6e retros7ectively identified. ,othing that ha77ens durin- the sidewa"s mo%e could distinguish an anagenetic 7rocess fro@ a cladogenetic 7rocess. There has 6een s7eciation only if there is a later flourishing of se7arate 6ranches that survive long enough to 6e identifia6le as se7arate s7ecies. Couldn-t there 6e s7ecial 7rocesses of ;hat ;e @ight call hopeful s7e> ciationHor incipient s7eciationG Consider a case in ;hich s7eciation does occur. Parent>s7ecies A s7lits into daughter>s7ecies 4 and C. ,o; ;ind 6ac8 the ta7e Dust far enough in ti@e to dro7 a 6o@6 (an asteroid, a tidal ;ave, a drought, 7oison " on the earliest @e@6ers of the 4 s7ecies, as in the @iddle diagra@. Doing this turns ;hat had 6een a case of s7eciation into so@ething indistinguisha6le fro@ a case of anagenesis (on the right". The fact that the 6o@6 7revents those ;hose offs7ring it 8ills

!. .eorge *illia@s (1 ', 7. 1(=" dis7utes the i@7ortance of ha6itat trac8ing in stasis, noting that 7arasites, Iseasonal a@7litude of insolationI (a@ount of sunshine", and @any other environ@ental factors ;ould al;ays 6e different after a geogra7hical @ove, so that 7o7ulations ;ould never 6e a6le to stay in eAactly the sa@e selective environ@ent, and hence ;ould 6e su6Dected to selection 7ressure in s7ite of @oving. 4ut it see@s to @e that @uch if not all of the adDust@ent to these selection 7ressures could 6e invisi6le to 7aleontology, ;hich can only see in the fossil record the 7reserved changes in hard>7art design. Ha6itat trac8ing could 6e res7onsi6le for @uch of the paleontolo-icall" obser%; able stasis (and ;hat other stasis do ;e 8no; a6outG", even if *illia@s is right that this 6ody>7lan stasis ;ould have to @as8 concurrent nonstasis at @ost if not all other design levels in res7onse to the @any environ@ental changes that ;ould have to acco@7any any long>range ha6itat>trac8ing @oves. And unless @any s7ecies mo%ed in unison in their ha6itat trac8ing, there couldn-t 6e ha6itat trac8ing at all, since other s7ecies are such crucial ele@ents in any s7ecies- selective environ@ent.

' !

4U22< 30) 4)0,T0SAU)US

unctuated EFuilibrium8 # >opeful Monster

' $

fro@ ever 6eing grand7arents could hardly @a8e a difference to ho; their conte@7oraries got sorted out 6y selective 7ressure. That ;ould reEuire so@e sort of 6ac8;ard>in>ti@e causation. +s this really trueG <ou @ay thin8 that this ;ould 6e true if the event that 8ic8ed off the s7eciation ;as a geogra7hic s7lit, guaranteeing the co@7lete causal isolation of the t;o grou7s (allo7atric s7eciation", 6ut ;hat if the s7eciation got under ;ay ;ithin a 7o7ulation that for@ed t;o re7roduc>tively inco@@unicative su6grou7s that co@7eted directly against each other (in a for@ of sy@7atric s7eciation"G Dar;in 7ro7osed, as ;e noted (see 7age &(", that co@7etition 6et;een closely related for@s ;ould 6e a driving force in s7eciation, so the 7resenceHthe nona6senceHof what can be retrospecti%el" identified as the first generations of a IrivalI s7ecies @ight 6e very i@7ortant indeed for s7eciation, 6ut the fact that these rivals are Igoing to 6eI the founders of a ne; s7ecies could not 7lay a role in the intensity or other features of the co@7etition and hence in the s7eed or direction of the horiJontal @otion in Design S7ace. *e @ay ;ell su77ose that relatively ra7id @or7hological change (side;ays @ove@ent" is a nor@ally necessary 7recondition for s7eciation. )a7idity of change is crucially affected 6y the siJe of the gene 7ool# large gene 7ools are conservative and tend to a6sor6 innovation atte@7ts ;ithout a trace. 0ne ;ay of @a8ing a large gene 7ool s@all is dividing it in t;o, and this @ay in fact 6e the @ost co@@on sort of do;nsiJing, 6ut thereafter it @a8es no difference ;hether or not nature discards one of the halves (as in the @iddle gra7h in figure 1=.11". +t is the 6ottlenec8 of a di@inished gene 7ool that 7er@its the ra7id @otion, not the 7resence of t;o or @ore different 6ottlenec8s. +f there is s7eciation, then two whole species 7ass through their res7ective 6ottlenec8s# if there is no s7eciation, then one whole species is 7ressed through a single 6ottlenec8. So cladogenesis cannot involve a 7rocess during a 7unctuation 7eriod different fro@ the 7rocess that occurs in anagenesis, 6ecause the difference 6et;een cladogenesis and anagenesis is defina6le only in ter@s of 7ost7unctuation seFuelae. .ould so@eti@es s7ea8s as if s7eciation does @a8e a difference. 3or instance, .ould and /ldredge (1 (, 7. ''9" s7ea8 of Ithe crucial reEuire@ent of ancestral survival after 7unctuated 6ranchingI (as sho;n on the left in figure 1=.11", 6ut according to /ldredge (7ersonal co@@unication" this is only a crucial epistemolo-ical reEuire@ent for the theorist, ;ho needs Iancestral survivalI as e%idence of descent. His eA7lanation is interesting. The fossil record is loaded ;ith cases in ;hich one for@ a6ru7tly sto7s and another, Euite different, for@ a6ru7tly a77ears Iin its 7lace.I *hich of these are cases of s;ift side;ays lea7s of evolution, and ;hich are cases of si@7le dis7lace@ent due to sudden i@> @igration of a rather distant relativeG <ou can-t tell. +t is only ;hen you can see ;hat you ta8e to 6e the 7arent s7ecies coeAisting for a ;hile ;ith ;hat

you ta8e to 6e its offs7ring that you can 6e Euite sure that there is a direct 7ath fro@ the earlier for@ to the later for@. As an e7iste@ological 7oint, this co@7letely undercuts the clai@ that .ould has ;anted to @a8e? that @ost s;ift evolutionary change has 6een acco@7lished 6y s7eciation. 3or if, as /ldredge says, the fossil record usuall" sho;s a6ru7t shifts without any Iancestral survival after 7unctuated 6ranching,I and if there is no telling ;hich of these are cases of 7unctuated anagenetic change (as o77osed to i@@igration 7heno@ena", then there is no ;ay of telling fro@ the fossil record ;hether s7eciation is a very freEuent or very rare acco@7ani@ent of ra7id @or7hological change.$ There @ight still 6e another ;ay of @a8ing sense of .ould-s insistence that it is s7eciation, not @ere ada7tation, that @a8es the 6ig difference in evolution. *hat if it turned out that so@e lineages go in for a lot of 7unctuation (and, in the 7rocess, 7roduce lots of daughter s7ecies" and other lineages do not, and those that do not do so tend to die outG ,eo>Dar;inians usually assu@e that ada7tations occur 6y the gradual transfor@ation of the organis@s in 7articular lineages, 6ut Iif lineages do not change 6y transfor@ation, then long ter@ trends in lineages can hardly 6e the result of their slo; transfor@ationI (Sterelny 1 ', 7. &%". This has long 6een considered an interesting 7ossi6ility (in their original article, /ldredge and .ould discuss it very 6riefly, and credit Se;all *right 1 !$ as one of its sources". .ould-s version of the idea (e.g., 1 %'a" is that ;hole s7ecies don-t get revised 6y the 7iece@eal redesign of their individual @e@6ers# s7ecies are rather 6rittle, unchanging things# the shifts in Design S7ace ha77en (largelyG oftenG al;aysG" 6ecause of s7ecies extinction and s7ecies birth. This idea is ;hat .ould and /ldredge (1 (, 7. ''&" call Ihigher level sorting.I +t is so@eti@es 8no;n as s7ecies selection, or clade selection. +t is hard to get clear a6out, 6ut ;e have the eEui7@ent already at hand to clarify its central 7oint. )e@e@6er 6ait>and>s;itchG .ould is in effect 7ro7osing a ne; a77lication of this funda@ental Dar;inian idea? don-t thin8 that evolution ma6es ad<ustments in eAisting lineages# evolution throws awa" ;hole lineages, and lets other, different, lineages 7ros7er. +t loo8s as if there are adDust@ents to lineages over ti@e, 6ut ;hat is really going on is 6ait>and>s;itch at the s7ecies level. The ri-ht le%el at ;hich to loo8 for evolutionary trends, he could then clai@, is not the level of the gene, or the organis@, 6ut the ;hole s7ecies or clade. +nstead of loo8ing at the loss of 7articular genes fro@ gene 7ools, or the differential death of 7articular genoty7es ;ithin a

$. 3or a si@ilar criticis@ of .ould, see Ayala 1 %'. See also .. *illia@s 1 ', 77. 9(> 9&# *illia@s, ;ho defines cladogenesis as the isolation, ho;ever short>lived, of any gene 7ool, also 7oints out the triviality to evolutionary theory of short>ter@ cladogenesis (77. %>1==".

' %

4U22< 30) 4)0,T0SAU)US

Tin6er to E%ers to Chance


7o7ulation, loo8 at the differential eAtinction rate of ;hole s7ecies and the differential I6irthI rate of s7eciesHthe rate at ;hich a lineage can s7eciate into daughter s7ecies. This is an interesting idea, 6ut it is not, as it first a77ears to 6e, a denial of the orthodoA clai@ that ;hole s7ecies undergo transfor@ation via I7hy>letic gradualis@.I 2et it 6e true, as .ould 7ro7oses, that so@e lineages s7a;n lots of daughter s7ecies and others don-t, and that the for@er tend to survive longer than the latter. 2oo8 at the traDectory through Design S7ace of each surviving s7ecies. +t, the ;hole s7ecies, is at any 7eriod of ti@e either in stasis or undergoing 7unctuated change, 6ut that change itself is a Islo; transfor@ation of a lineage,I after all. +t @ay 6e true that the 6est ;ay of seeing the long>ter@ @acroevolutionary 7attern is to loo8 for differences in Ilineage fecundityI instead of loo8ing at the transfor@ations in the individual lineages. This is a 7o;erful 7ro7osal ;orth ta8ing seriously, 6ut it neither refutes nor su77lants gradualis@# it 6uilds on it.% (The level shift .ould 7ro7oses re@inds @e of the level shift 6et;een hard;are and soft;are in co@7uter science# the soft;are level is the right level at ;hich to ans;er certain large>scale Euestions, 6ut it does not cast any dou6t on the truth of the eA7lanations of the sa@e 7heno@ena at the hard;are level. <ou ;ould 6e foolish to try to eA7lain the visi6le differences 6et;een *ordPerfect and Microsoft *ord at the hard;are level, and 7erha7s you ;ould 6e foolish to try to eA7lain so@e of the visi6le 7atterns of diversity in the 6ios7here 6y concentrating on the slo; transfor@ations of the various lineages, 6ut that does not @ean that they did not undergo slo; transfor@ations at various 7unctuation @ar8s in their history." The relative i@7ortance of s7ecies selection of the sort .ould is no; 7ro7osing has not yet 6een deter@ined. And it is clear that ho;ever large a role s7ecies selection co@es to 7lay in the latest versions of neo>Dar;inis@, it is no s8yhoo8. After all, the ;ay ne; lineages co@e onto the scene as candidates for s7ecies selection is 6y standard gradualistic @icro>@utationH unless .ould does ;ant to e@6race ho7eful @onsters. So .ould @ay have hel7ed discover a ne; crane, if that is ;hat it turns out to 6e? a heretofore unrecogniJed or una77reciated @echanis@ of design innovation, 6uilt out of the standard, orthodoA @echanis@s. Since @y diagnosis, ho;ever, is that he has all along 6een ho7ing for s8yhoo8s, not cranes, + @ust 7redict that he ;ill 8ee7 on loo8ing. Could there 7erha7s 6e so@ething else a6out s7eciation that is so s7ecial that it cannot 6e handled 6y

neo>Dar;inis@G Dar;in-s account of s7eciation, as ;e have Dust recalled, invo8ed co@7etition 6et;een close relatives. ,e; s7ecies usually ;in an address 6y driving out others in overt co@> 7etition (a 7rocess that Dar;in often descri6ed in his note6oo8s as I;edg> ingI ". This constant 6attle and conEuest 7rovides a rationale for 7rogress, since victors, on average, @ay secure their success 6y general su7eriority in design. P.ould 1 % 6, 7. %.Q .ould does not li8e this i@age of the ;edge. *hat is ;rong ;ith itG *ell, it invites ( he clai@s " a 6elief in 7rogress, 6ut this invitation, ;e have already seen, is as easily declined 6y neo>Dar;inis@ as it ;as 6y Dar;in hi@self. .lo6al, long>ter@ 7rogress, a@ounting to the vie; that things in the 6ios7here are, in general, getting 6etter and 6etter and 6etter, ;as denied 6y Dar;in, and although it is often i@agined 6y onloo8ers to 6e an i@7lication of evolution, it is si@7ly a @ista8eHa @ista8e no orthodoA Dar;inians fall for. *hat else @ight 6e ;rong ;ith the i@age of the ;edgeG .ould s7ea8s in the sa@e article ( 7. 19 " of Ithe 7lodding 7redicta6ility of the ;edge,I and + suggest that this is eAactly ;hat offends hi@ in the i@age? li8e the ra@7 of gradualis@, it suggests a sort of predictable7 mindless trud-e u7 the slo7es of Design S7ace (see, e.g., .ould 1 (d, ch. '1". The trou6le ;ith a ;edge is si@7le? it is not a s8yhoo8.

&. T+,5/) T0 /1/)S T0 CHA,C/? TH/ 4U)./SS SHA2/ D0U42/>P2A< M<ST/)<

E%en toda" a -ood man" distin-uished minds seem unable to accept or e%en understand that from a source of noise natural selection alone and unaided could ha%e drawn all the music of the biosphere. In effect natural selection operates u7on the products of chance and can feed nowhere elseE but it operates in a domain of %er" demandin- conditions7 and from this domain chance is barred.
HMACFU/S M0,0D 1 $1, 7. 11%

%. .ould-s ideas a6out Ihigher level s7ecies sortingI @ust 6e distinguished fro@ so@e loo8ali8e neigh6ors? the ideas a6out grou7 selection or 7o7ulation selection currently under intense and controversial scrutiny a@ong evolutionists. Those ideas ;ill 6e dis> cussed in the neAt cha7ter.

. ITin8er to /vers to ChanceI is a 6ase6all @e@e, i@@ortaliJing the dou6le>7lay co@> 6ination of three Hall of 3a@e infielders, Moe Tin8er, Mohnny (the Cra6" /vers, and 3ran8 Chance, ;ho 7layed together for Chicago in the ,ational 2eague fro@ 1 =( to 1 1'. +n 1 %=, )ichard Stern, a fresh@an in @y introductory 7hiloso7hy course, ;rote an eAcel > lent essay for @e, an u7date on Hu@e-s Dialo-ues7 this ti@e 6et;een a Dar;inian (Tin8er, of course" and a 6eliever in .od (/vers, of course", ending u7, a77ro7riately, ;ith Chance. The serendi7itous @ulti7le convergences of that title, given .ould-s o;n encyclo7edic 8no;ledge and love of 6ase6all, is si@7ly irresisti6le.


4U22< 30) 4)0,T0SAU)US

Tin6er to E%ers to Chance (=1 are @uch @ore co@7lete and three>di@ensional than fossils usually are, and their classification 6y Charles *alcott early in this century ;as guided 6y his literal dissection of so@e of the fossils. He shoehorned the varieties he found into traditional 7hyla, and so @atters stood (roughly" until the 6rilliant reinter7retations in the 1 $=s and 1 %=s 6y Harry *hittington, Dere8 4riggs, and Si@on Con;ay Morris, ;ho clai@ed that @any of these creaturesHand they are an astonishingly alien and eAtravagant lotHhad 6een @isclassified# they actually 6elonged to 7hyla that have no @odern descendants at all, 7hyla never 6efore i@agined. That is fascinating, 6ut is it revolutionaryG .ould (1 % a, 7. 1(!" certainly thin8s so>. I+ 6elieve that *hittington-s reconstruction of 4pabinia in 1 $9 ;ill stand as one of the great docu@ents in the history of hu@an 8no;ledge.I His trio of heroes didn-t 7ut it that ;ay (see, e.g., Con;ay Morris 1 % ", and their caution has 7roven to 6e 7ro7hetic# su6seEuent analyses have te@7ered so@e of their @ost radical reclassincatory clai@s after all (4riggs et al. 1 % , 3oote 1 ', .ee 1 ', Con;ay Morris 1 '". +f it ;eren-t for the 7edestal .ould had 7laced his heroes on, they ;ouldn-t no; see@ to have fallen so far Hthe first ste7 ;as a dooJy, and they didn-t even get to ta8e the ste7 for the@selves. 4ut in any case, ;hat ;as the revolutionary 7oint that .ould thought ;as esta6lished 6y ;hat ;e @ay have learned a6out these Ca@6rian creaturesG The 4urgess fauna a77eared suddenly ( and re@e@6er ;hat that @eans to a geologist", and @ost of the@ vanished Dust as suddenly. This nongradual entrance and eAit, .ould clai@s, de@onstrates the fallacy of ;hat he calls Ithe cone of increasing diversity,I and he illustrates his clai@ ;ith a re> @ar8a6le 7air of trees of life. A 7icture is ;orth a thousand ;ords, and .ould e@7hasiJes again and again, ;ith @any illustrations, the 7o;er of iconogra7hy to @islead even the eA7ert. 3igure 1=.1' is another eAa@7le, and it is his o;n. 0n the to7, he tells us, is the old false vie;, the cone of increasing diversity# on the 6otto@, the i@7roved vie; of deci@ation and diversification. 4ut notice that you can turn the 6otto@ 7icture into a cone of increasing diversification 6y si@7ly stretchin- the %ertical scale. (Alternatively, you can turn the to7 7icture into a ne; and a77roved icon of the 6otto@ sort 6y sEueeJing the vertical scale do;n, in the style of standard 7unctuated>eEuili6riu@ diagra@sHe.g., on the right in figure 1=.!." Since the vertical scale is ar6itrary, .ould-s diagra@s don-t illustrate any difference at all. The 6otto@ half of his lo;er diagra@ 7erfectly illustrates a Icone of increasing diversity,I and ;ho 8no;s ;hether the very neAt 7hase of activity in the to7 diagra@ ;ould 6e a deci@ation that turned it into a re7lica of the 6otto@ diagra@. The cone of increasing diversity is o6viously not a fallacy, if ;e @easure diversity 6y the nu@6er of different s7ecies. 4efore there ;ere a hundred s7ecies there ;ere ten, and 6efore there ;ere ten there ;ere t;o, and so

But modern punctuationalismHespeciall" in its application to the %a; -aries of human histor"Hemphasi:es the concept of contin-enc"8 the unpredictabilit" of the nature of future stabilit"7 and the power of contemporar" e%ents and personalities to shape and direct the actual path ta6en amon- m"riad possibilities.
HST/PH/, MA< .0U2D 1 '6, 7. '1

.ould s7ea8s here not Dust of un7redicta6ility 6ut of the 7o;er of con> te@7orary events and personalities to Isha7e and direct the actual 7athI of evolution. This echoes eAactly the ho7e that drove Ma@es Mar8 4ald;in to discover the effect no; na@ed for hi@? somehow ;e have to get 7ersonalities Hconsciousness, intelligence, agencyH6ac8 in the driver-s seat. +f ;e can Dust have contingencyHradical contingencyHthis ;ill give the mind so@e el6o; roo@, so it can act7 and 6e responsible for its o;n destiny, instead of 6eing the @ere effect of a @indless cascade of @echanical 7rocessesL This conclusion, + suggest, is .ould-s ulti@ate destination, revealed in the 7aths he has @ost recently eA7lored. + @entioned in cha7ter ' that the @ain conclusion of .ould-s !onderful ' ife8 The Bur-ess Shale and the 9ature of >istor" (1 % a " is that if the ta7e of life ;ere re;ound and 7layed again and again, chances are @ighty sli@ that we ;ould ever a77ear again. There are three things a6out this conclusion that have 6affled revie;ers. 3irst, ;hy does he thin8 it is so i@7ortantG (According to the dust Dac8et, I+n this @aster;or8 .ould eA7lains ;hy the diversity of the 4urgess Shale is i@7ortant in understanding this ta7e of our 7ast and in sha7ing the ;ay ;e 7onder the riddle of eAistence and the a;eso@e i@7ro6a6ility of hu@an evolution.I" Second, eAactly ;hat is his conclusionHin effect, ;ho does he @ean 6y I;eIG And, third, ho; does he thin8 this conclusion (;hichever one it is" follo;s fro@ his fascinating discussion of the 4urgess Shale, to ;hich it see@s al@ost entirely unrelatedG *e ;ill ;or8 our ;ay through these Euestions fro@ third to second to first. 1= Than8s to .ould-s 6oo8, the 4urgess Shale, a @ountainside Euarry in 4ritish Colu@6ia, has no; 6een elevated fro@ 6eing a site fa@ous a@ong 7aleontologists to the status of an international shrine of science, the 6irth > 7lace of ... ;ell, So@ething )eally +@7ortant. The fossils found there date fro@ the 7eriod 8no;n as the Ca@6rian /A7losion, a ti@e around siA hun> dred @illion years ago ;hen the @ulticellular organis@s really too8 off, creating the 7al@ 6ranches of the Tree of 2ife of figure &.1. 3or@ed under 7eculiarly felicitous conditions, the fossils i@@ortaliJed in the 4urgess Shale

1=. <es, + 8no;, Moe Tin8er 7layed shortsto7, not third 6ase, 6ut cut @e a little slac8, 7leaseL


4U22< 30) 4)0,T0SAU)US

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The cone of increasing diversity. The false 6ut still conventional iconogra7hy of the cone of increasing diversity, and the revised @odel of diversification and deci> @ation, suggested 6y the 7ro7er reconstruction of the 4urgess Shale. P.ould 1 % a, 7. &!.Q 3+.U)/ 1=.1' it @ust 6e, on every 6ranch of the Tree of 2ife. S7ecies go eAtinct all the ti@e, and 7erha7s 7ercent of all the s7ecies that have ever eAisted are no; eAtinct, so ;e @ust have 7lenty of deci@ation to 6alance off the diversification. The 4urgess Shale-s flourishing and de@ise @ay have 6een less gradual than that of other fauna, 6efore or since, 6ut that does not de@onstrate anything radical a6out the sha7e of the Tree of 2ife. So@e say this @isses .ould-s 7oint? I*hat is s7ecial a6out the s7ectacular diversity of the 4urgess Shale fauna is that these ;eren-t Dust ne; species7 6ut whole new ph"laA These ;ere radicall" novel designsLI + trust this ;as never .ould-s 7oint, 6ecause if it ;as, it ;as an e@6arrassing fallacy of retros7ective coronation# as ;e have already seen, all ne; 7hylaHindeed,

ne; 8ingdo@sLHhave to start out as @ere ne; su6varieties and then 6eco@e ne; s7ecies. The fact that fro@ today-s vantage 7oint they a77ear to 6e early @e@6ers of ne; ph"la does not in itself @a8e the@ s7ecial at all. They mi-ht 6e s7ecial, ho;ever, not 6ecause they ;ere Igoing to 6eI the founders of ne; 7hyla, 6ut 6ecause they ;ere morpholo-icall" diverse in stri8ing ;ays. The ;ay for .ould to test this hy7othesis ;ould 6e, as Da;>8ins (1 =" has said, to Ita8e his ruler to the ani@als the@selves, un7reDudiced 6y @odern 7reconce7tions a6out -funda@ental 6ody 7lans- and classification. The true indeA of ho; unali8e t;o ani@als are is ho; unali8e they actually areLI Such studies as have 6een done to date suggest, ho;ever, that in fact the 4urgess Shale fauna, for all their 7eculiarity, eAhi6it no ineA7lica6le or revolutionary @or7hological diversity after all (e.g., Con>;ay Morris 1 ', .ee 1 ', McShea 1 (". The 4urgess Shale fauna ;ere, let us su77ose (it is not really 8no;n", ;i7ed out in one of the 7eriodic @ass eAtinctions that have visited the /arth. The dinosaurs, as ;e all 8no;, succu@6ed to a later one, the Cretaceous /Atinction (other;ise 8no;n as the eAtinction at the 5>T 6oundary", 7ro6a6ly triggered a6out siAty>five @illion years ago 6y the i@7act of a huge asteroid. Mass eAtinction stri8es .ould as very i@7ortant, and as a challenge to neo>Dar;inis@? I+f 7unctuated eEuili6riu@ u7set traditional eA7ectations (and did it everL", @ass eAtinction is far ;orseI (.ould 1 %9, 7. '&' ". *hyG According to .ould, orthodoAy reEuires IeAtra7olationis@,I the doctrine that all evolutionary change is gradual and 7redicta6le? I4ut if @ass eAtinctions are true 6rea8s in continuity, if the slo; 6uilding of ada7tation in nor@al ti@es does not eAtend into 7redicted success across @ass eAtinction 6oundaries, then eAtra7olationis@ fails and ada7tationis@ succu@6sI (.ould 1 'a, 7. 9(". This is Dust false, as + have 7ointed out? + cannot see ;hy any ada7tationist ;ould 6e so foolish as to endorse anything li8e IeAtra7olationis@I in a for@ so I7ureI as to deny the 7os> si6ility or even li8elihood that @ass eAtinction ;ould 7lay a @aDor role in 7runing the tree of life, as .ould 7uts it. +t has al;ays 6een o6vious that the @ost 7erfect dinosaur ;ill succu@6 if a co@et stri8es its ho@eland ;ith a force hundreds of ti@es greater than all the hydrogen 6o@6s ever @ade. PDennett 1 (6, 7. &(.Q .ould res7onded (1 (e" 6y Euoting a 7assage fro@ Dar;in hi@self, clearly eA7ressing eAtra7olationist vie;s. So is ada7tationis@ (today " co@@itted to this ho7eless i@7licationG Here is one instance ;hen Charles Dar;in hi@self has to count as a stra; @an, no; that neo>Dar;inis@ has @oved on. +t is true that Dar;in tended to insist, shortsightedly, on the gradual nature of all eAtinctions, 6ut it has long 6een recogniJed 6y neo>Dar;inians that this ;as due to his eagerness to distinguish his vie; fro@


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the varieties of Catastro7his@ that stood in the ;ay of acce7tance of the theory of evolution 6y natural selection. *e @ust re@e@6er that in Dar;in-s day @iracles and cala@ities such as the 4i6lical 3lood ;ere the chief rival to Dar;inian thin8ing. S@all ;onder he tended to shun anything that see@ed sus7iciously s;ift and convenient. The fact (if it is one" that the 4urgess fauna ;ere deci@ated in a @ass eAtinction is in any case less i@7ortant to .ould than another conclusion he ;ants to dra; a6out their fate? their deci@ation, he clai@s (1 % a, 7. &$n.", ;as random. According to the orthodoA vie;, ISurvivors ;on for cause,I 6ut, .ould o7ines (7. &%", IPerha7s the gri@ rea7er of anato@ical designs ;as only 2ady 2uc8 in disguise.I *as it truly <ust a lottery that fiAed all their fatesG That ;ould 6e an a@aJingHand definitely revolutionaryHclai@, es> 7ecially if .ould then eAtended it as a generaliJation, 6ut he has no evidence for such a strong clai@, and 6ac8s a;ay fro@ it (7. 9="? + a@ ;illing to grant that so@e grou7s @ay have enDoyed an edge (though ;e have no idea ho; to identify or define the@", 6ut + sus7ect that Pthe 2ady 2uc8 hy7othesisQ gras7s a central truth a6out evolution. The 4urgess Shale, in @a8ing this ... inter7retation intelligi6le 6y the hy7othetical eA7eri@ent of the ta7e, 7ro@otes a radical vie; of evolutionary 7ath;ays and 7redicta6ility. .ould-s suggestion, then, is not that he can 7rove the 2ady 2uc8 hy7othesis, 6ut that the 4urgess Shale @a8es it at least intelligi6le. As Dar;in insisted fro@ the 6eginning, ho;ever, all it ta8es is Iso@e grou7sI ;ith an IedgeI to 7ut the ;edge of co@7etition into action. So is .ould Dust saying that most of the co@7etition (or the co@7etition ;ith the largest, @ost i@7ortant effects" ;as a true lotteryG That is ;hat he Isus7ects.I *hat is his evidence for this sus7icionG He offers none at all. *hat he offers is the fact that he, loo8ing at these a@aJing creatures, can-t i@agine ;hy so@e ;ould 6e 6etter designed than others. They all see@ a6out eEually 6iJarre and ungainly to hi@. That is not good evidence that they didn-t in fact differ dra@atically in engineering Euality, given their res7ective 7redica@ents. +f you don-t even try to engage in reverse engineering, you are not in a good 7osition to conclude that there is no reverse>engineering eA7lanation to 6e discovered. He does offer a ;ager (7. 1%%"? I+ challenge any 7aleontologist to argue that he could have gone 6ac8 to the 4urgess seas and, ;ithout the 6enefit of hindsight, 7ic8ed out 9aroia7 Can;adaspis7 #"sheaia7 and Sanctaris for success, ;hile identifying Marrella7 4daraia7 Sidne"ia7 and 'eonchoilia as ri7e for the gri@ rea7er.I That-s a 7retty safe suc8er 6et, since all such a 7aleontologist ;ould have to go on is the outlines of organs visi6le in fossil traces. 4ut it could 6e lost. So@e really ingenious reverse engineer @ight so@eday 6e a6le to tell an a;fully

convincing story a6out ;hy the ;inners ;on and the losers lost. *ho 8no;sG 0ne thing ;e all 8no;? you can-t @a8e a scientific revolution out of an al@ost untesta6le hunch. (See also .ould 1 % a, 77. '(%>( , and Da;> 8ins 1 = for further o6servations on this score." So ;e are still stuc8 ;ith a @ystery a6out ;hat .ould thin8s is so s7ecial a6out the uniEue flourishing and de@ise of these a@aJing creatures. They ins7ire a sus7icion in hi@, 6ut ;hyG Here-s a clue, fro@ a tal8 .ould gave at the /din6urgh +nternational 3estival of Science and Technology, IThe +ndi> vidual in Dar;in-s *orldI (1 =, 7. 1'"? +n fact al@ost all the @aDor anato@ical designs of organis@s a77ear in one great ;hoosh called the Ca@6rian /A7losion a6out !== @illion years ago. <ou realiJe that a ;hoosh or an eA7losion in geological ter@s has a very long fuse. +t can ta8e a cou7le of @illion years, 6ut a cou7le of @illion years in the line of 6illions is nothing. #nd that is not what that world of necessar"7 predictable ad%ance ou-ht to loo6 li6e Pe@7hasis addedQ. )eallyG Consider a 7arallel. There you sit, on a roc8 in *yo@ing, ;atch> ing a hole in the ground. ,othing @uch ha77ens for ten, t;enty, thirty @inutes, and then, suddenlyH;hooshLHa strea@ of 6oiling ;ater shoots @ore than thirty @eters into the air. +t-s all over in a fe; seconds, and then nothing @uch ha77ensHDust li8e 6efore, a77arentlyHand you ;ait for an hour, and still nothing @uch ha77ens. This, then, ;as your eA7erience? a single, a@aJing eA7losion lasting 6ut a fe; seconds out of an hour and a half of tediu@. Perha7s you ;ould 6e te@7ted to thin8, ISurely this @ust 6e a uniEue and unre7eata6le eventLI So ;hy do they call it 0ld 3aithfulG +n fact, this geyser re7eats itself once every siAty>five @inutes, on average, year in and year out. The Isha7eI of the Ca@6rian /A7losionHits IsuddenI onset and eEually IsuddenI ter@inationH is no evidence at all for the thesis of Iradical contingency.I 4ut .ould see@s to thin8 that it is.11 He see@s to thin8 that, if ;e re7layed the ta7e of life, ;e couldn-t get another ICa@6rianI /A7losion the neAt ti@e, or ever. 4ut although that @ight 6e true, he has not yet offered us a single 6it of evidence. *here @ight such evidence co@e fro@G +t @ight co@e fro@ the co@7uter si@ulations of Artificial 2ife, for instance, ;hich do 7er@it us to re;ind the ta7e again and again. +t is sur7rising that .ould has overloo8ed the 7ossi6ility that he @ight find so@e evidence for (or against" his @ain

11. .ould says (1 % a, 7. '(=", in res7onse to Con;ay Morris-s o6Dections? IThe Ca@> 6rian eA7losion ;as too 6ig, too different, and too eAclusive.I See also the re@ar8s on the un7redicta6ility of IJigJagI traDectories ( .ould 1 % 6".


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conclusion 6y loo8ing at the field of Artificial 2ife, 6ut he never @entions the 7ros7ect. *hy notG + don-t 8no;, 6ut + do 8no; .ould is not fond of co@7uters, and to this day does not even use a co@7uter for ;ord>7rocessing# that @ight have so@ething to do ;ith it. A @uch @ore i@7ortant clue, surely, is the fact that ;hen you do rerun the ta7e of life, you find all sorts of evidence of re7etition. *e already 8ne; that, of course, 6ecause convergent evolution is nature-s o;n ;ay of re7laying the ta7e. As Maynard S@ith says? +n .ould-s Ire7lay fro@ the Ca@6rianI eA7eri@ent, + ;ould 7redict that @any ani@als ;ould evolve eyes, 6ecause eyes have in fact evolved @any ti@es, in @any 8inds of ani@al. + ;ould 6et that so@e ;ould evolve 7o;> ered flight, 6ecause flight has evolved four ti@es, in t;o different 7hyla# 6ut + ;ould not 6e certain, 6ecause ani@als @ight never get out on the land. 4ut + agree ;ith .ould that one could not 7redict ;hich 7hyla ;ould survive and inherit the earth. PMaynard S@ith 1 ', 7. (&Q Maynard S@ith-s last 7oint is a sly one? if convergent evolution reigns, it doesn-t @a8e any difference which ph"la inherit the earth, 6ecause of 6ait> and>s;itchL Co@6ining 6ait>and>s;itch ;ith convergent evolution, ;e get the orthodoA conclusion that whiche%er lineage ha77ens to survive ;ill gravitate to;ards the .ood Moves in Design S7ace, and the result ;ill 6e hard to tell fro@ the ;inner that ;ould have 6een there if so@e different lineage had carried on. Consider the 8i;i, for instance. +t has evolved in ,e; :ealand, ;here it didn-t have any @a@@als to co@7ete ;ith, and it has converged on an a@aJing nu@6er of @a@@alian featuresH6asically, it-s a 6ird that 7retends it-s a @a@@al. .ould hi@self has ;ritten a6out the 8i;i and its re@ar8a6ly large egg (in 1 16", 6ut as Con;ay Morris 7oints out in his revie; (1 1, 7. !"? ... there is so@ething else a6out the 8i;i that receives only 7assing @en> tion, and that is the eAtraordinary convergence 6et;een 8i;is and @a@> @als. ... + a@ sure .ould ;ould 6e the last to deny convergence, 6ut surely it under@ines @uch of his thesis of contingency. .ould does not deny convergenceHho; could heGH6ut he does tend to ignore it. *hyG Perha7s 6ecause, as Con;ay Morris says, it is the fatal ;ea8ness in his case for contingency. (See also Maynard S@ith 1 ', Da;> 8ins 1 =, 4ic8erton 1 (" So no; ;e have an ans;er to our third Euestion. The 4urgess Shale fauna ins7ire .ould 6ecause he @ista8enly thin8s that they 7rovide evidence for his thesis of Iradical contingency.I They mi-ht illustrate the thesisH6ut ;e ;on-t 8no; until ;e do the sort of research that .ould hi@self has ignored.

*e have reached second 6ase. Must ;hat is .ould-s clai@ a6out contin> gencyG He says (1 =, 7. (" that Ithe @ost co@@on @isunderstanding of evolution, at least in lay culture,I is the idea that Iour eventual a77earanceI is Iso@eho; intrinsically inevita6le and 7redicta6le ;ithin the confines of the theory.I 4ur a77earanceG *hat does that @eanG There is a sliding scale on ;hich .ould neglects to locate his clai@ a6out re;inding the ta7e. +f 6y IusI he @eant so@ething very 7articularHSteve .ould and Dan Dennett, let-s say Hthen ;e ;ouldn-t need the hy7othesis of @ass eAtinction to 7ersuade us ho; luc8y we are to 6e alive# if our t;o @o@s had never @et our res7ective dads, that ;ould suffice to consign us 6oth to ,everland, and of course the sa@e counterfactual holds true of every hu@an 6eing alive today. Had such a sad @isfortune 6efallen us, this ;ould not @ean, ho;ever, that our res7ective offices at Harvard and Tufts ;ould 6e unoccu7ied. +t ;ould 6e astonishing if the Harvard occu7ant-s na@e in this counterfactual circu@stance ;as I.ould,I and + ;ouldn-t 6et that its occu7ant ;ould 6e a ha6itue of 6o;ling alleys and 3en;ay Par8, 6ut + would 6et that its occu7ant ;ould 8no; a lot a6out 7aleontology, ;ould give lectures and 7u6lish articles and s7end thousands of hours studying fauna ( not floraH.ould-s office is in the Museu@ of Co@7arative :oology ". +f, at the other eAtre@e, 6y IusI .ould @eant so@ething very general, such as Iair>6reathing, land>inha6iting verte> 6rates,I he ;ould 7ro6a6ly 6e ;rong, for the reasons Maynard S@ith @en> tions. So ;e @ay ;ell su77ose he @eant so@ething inter@ediate, such as Iintelligent, language>using, technology>inventing, culture>creating 6eings.I This is an interesting hy7othesis. +f it is true, then contrary to ;hat @any thin8ers routinely su77ose, the search for eAtra>terrestrial intelligence is as EuiAotic as the search for eAtra>terrestrial 8angaroosHit ha77ened once, here, 6ut ;ould 7ro6a6ly never ha77en again. 4ut !onderful 'ife offers no evidence in its favor (*right 1 = "# even if the deci@ations of the 4urgess Shale fauna ;ere rando@, ;hatever lineages ha77ened to survive ;ould, ac> cording to standard neo>Dar;inian theory, 7roceed to gro7e to;ards the .ood Tric8s in Design S7ace. *e have ans;ered our second Euestion. *e are finally ready to tac8le first 6ase? ;hy ;ould this thesis 6e of great i@7ortance, ;hichever ;ay it ca@e outG .ould thin8s that the hy7othesis of Iradical contingencyI ;ill u7set our eEuani@ity, 6ut ;hyG *e tal8 a6out the I@arch fro@ @onad to @anI (old>style language again" as though evolution follo;ed continuous 7ath;ays of 7rogress along un6ro8en lineages. ,othing could 6e furtiier fro@ reality. P.ould 1 % 6, P>1&.Q !hat could not 6e further fro@ realityG At first it @ight a77ear as if .ould ;as saying here that there is no continuous, un6ro8en lineage 6et;een the


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I@onadsI and us, 6ut surely there is. There is no @ore secure i@7lication of Dar;in-s great idea than that. As + 7ut it in cha7ter %, it is not controversial that ;e are all direct descendants of @acrosHor @onadsHsi@7le 7recellular re7licators under one na@e or another. So ;hat can .ould 6e saying hereG Perha7s ;e are @eant to 7ut the e@7hasis on I7ath;ays of pro-ressBHit is the 6elief in 7rogress that is so far fro@ the truth. The 7ath;ays are continuous, un6ro8en lineages all right, 6ut not lineages of glo6al 7rogress. This is true, 6ut so ;hatG There aren-t -lobal 7ath;ays of 7rogress, 6ut there is incessant local i@7rove@ent. This i@7rove@ent see8s out the 6est designs ;ith such great relia6ility that it can often 6e 7redicted 6y ada7tationist reasoning. )e7lay the ta7e a thousand ti@es, and the .ood Tric8s ;ill 6e found again and again, 6y one lineage or another. Convergent evolution is not evidence of glo6al 7rogress, 6ut it is over;hel@ingly good evidence of the 7o;er of 7rocesses of natural selection. This is the 7o;er of the underlying algorith@s, @indless all the ;ay do;n, 6ut, than8s to the cranes it has 6uilt along the ;ay, ;onderfully ca7a6le of discovery, recognition, and ;ise decision. There is no roo@, and no need, for s8yhoo8s. Can it 6e that .ould thin8s his thesis of radical contingency ;ould refute the core Dar;inian idea that evolution is an algorith@ic 7rocessG That is @y tentative conclusion. Algorith@s, in the 7o7ular i@agination, are algorith@s for 7roducing a 7articular result. As + said in cha7ter ', evolution can 6e an algorith@, and evolution can have 7roduced us 6y an algorith@ic 7rocess, ;ithout its 6eing true that evolution is an algorith@ for 7roducing us. 4ut if you didn-t understand that 7oint, you @ight thin8? If ;e are not the 7redicta6le result of evolution, evolution cannot 6e an algorith@ic 7rocess. And then you ;ould 6e strongly @otivated to 7rove Iradical contingencyI if you ;anted to sho; that evolution ;asn-t Dust an algorith@ic 7rocess. +t @ight not have recogniJa6le s8yhoo8s in it, 6ut at least ;e-d 8no; it ;asn-t all done ;ith nothing 6ut cranes. +s it li8ely that .ould could 6e so confused a6out the nature of algorith@sG As ;e shall see in cha7ter 19, )oger Penrose, one of the ;orld-s @ost distinguished @athe@aticians, ;rote a @aDor 6oo8 ( 1 % " on Turing @achines, algorith@s, and the i@7ossi6ility of Artificial +ntelligence, and his ;hole 6oo8 is 6ased on that confusion. This is not really such an i@7lausi6le error, on either thin8er-s 7art. A 7erson ;ho really doesn-t li8e Dar;in-s dangerous idea often finds it hard to get the idea in focus. That concludes @y Must So Story a6out ho; Ste7hen May .ould 6eca@e the 4oy *ho Cried *olf. A good ada7tationist should not Dust rest content ;ith a 7lausi6le story, ho;ever. At the very least, an effort should 6e @ade

to consider, and rule out, alternative hy7otheses. As + said at the outset, + a@ @ore interested in the reasons that have held the @yth together than + a@ in the actual @otives of the actual @an, 6ut it @ight see@ disingenuous for @e not even to @ention the o6vious IrivalI eA7lanations crying to 6e considered? 7olitics and religion. (+t could ;ell 6e that there is a 7olitical or religious @otivation 6ehind the yearning for s8yhoo8s + i@7ute to hi@, 6ut those ;ould not 6e rival hy7otheses# they ;ould 6e ela6orations of @y inter7retation, 7ost7ona6le to another occasion. Here + @ust 6riefly consider ;hether one of theseH7olitics or religionH@ight offer a si@7ler, @ore straightfor;ard inter7retation of his ca@7aigns, o6viating @y analysis. Many of .ould-s critics have thought so# + thin8 they are @issing the @ore interesting 7ossi6ility." .ould has never @ade a secret of his 7olitics. He learned his MarAis@ fro@ his father, he tells us, and until Euite recently he ;as very vocal and active in left>;ing 7olitics. Many of his ca@7aigns against s7ecific scientists and s7ecific schools of thought ;ithin science have 6een conducted in eA7licitly 7oliticalHindeed, eA7licitly MarAistHter@s, and have often had right>;ing thin8ers as their targets. ,ot sur7risingly, his o77onents and critics have often su77osed, for instance, that his 7unctuationis@ ;as Dust his MarAist anti7athy for refor@ 7laying itself out in 6iology. )efor@ers are the ;orst ene@ies of revolutionaries, as ;e all 8no;. 4ut that, + thin8, is only a su7erficially 7lausi6le reading of .ould-s reasons. After all, Mohn Maynard S@ith, his 7olar o77osite in the evolution controversies, has a MarAist 6ac8ground as rich and active as .ould-s, and there are others ;ith left>;ing sy@7athies against ;ho@ .ould has directed attac8s. (And then there are all the AC2U li6erals li8e @yself, though + dou6t if he 8no;s or cares." 3ollo;ing his return fro@ a visit to )ussia, .ould (1 '6" dre; attention, as often 6efore, to the difference 6et;een the gradualness of refor@ and the suddenness of revolution. +n this interesting 7iece, .ould (7. 1&" reflects on his eA7eriences in )ussia, and the failure of MarAis@ thereH -<es, the )ussian reality does discredit a s7ecific MarAist econo@icsIH6ut goes on to say that MarA has 6een 7roven right a6out Ithe validity of the larger @odel of 7unctuational change.I That does not @ean that, for .ould, MarA-s econo@ic and social theory ;as never the 7oint, 6ut it is not hard to 6elieve that .ould ;ould 8ee7 his attitudes a6out evolution on 6oard ;hile Dettisoning so@e 7olitical 6aggage that had outlasted its ;elco@e. As for religion, @y o;n inter7retation is, in one i@7ortant sense, a hy> 7othesis a6out .ould-s religious yearnings. + see his anti7athy to Dar;in-s dangerous idea as funda@entally a desire to 7rotect or restore the Mind>first, to7>do;n vision of Mohn 2oc8eHat the very least to secure our 7lace in the cos@os ;ith a s8yhoo8. ( Secular Hu@anis@ is a religion for so@e, and they so@eti@es thin8 that Hu@anity cannot 6e s7ecial enough to @atter if it is the 7roduct of @erely algorith@ic 7rocesses, a the@e + ;ill eA7lore in


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later cha7ters." .ould has certainly seen his tas8 as one ;ith cos@ic i@7li > cations, so@ething that is es7ecially clear in the e7i7hanies a6out the 4urgess Shale in !onderful 'ife. That @a8es his ;orld>vie; a Euestion of religion in one i@7ortant sense, ;hether or not it has a@ong its direct ancestors the official creed of his religious heritageHor any other organiJed religion. .ould often Euotes the 4i6le in his @onthly colu@ns, and so@eti@es the rhetorical effect is stri8ing. Surely, one thin8s, an article ;ith this o7ening sentence has to have 6een ;ritten 6y a religious @an? IMust as the 2ord holds the ;hole ;orld in his hands, ho; ;e long to enfold an entire su6Dect into a ;itty e7igra@I (.ould 1 (e, 7. &". .ould has often asserted that there is no conflict 6et;een evolutionary theory and religion. Unless at least half @y colleagues are dunces, there can 6eHon the @ost ra; and e@7irical groundsHno conflict 6et;een science and religion. + 8no; hundreds of scientists ;ho share a conviction a6out the fact of evolution, and teach it in the sa@e ;ay. A@ong these 7eo7le + note an entire s7ectru@ of religious attitudesHfro@ devout daily 7rayer and ;or> shi7 to resolute atheis@. /ither there-s no correlation 6et;een religious 6elief and confidence in evolutionHor else half of these 7eo7le are fools. P.ould 1 %$, 7. !%.Q So@e @ore realistic alternatives ;ould 6e that those evolutionists ;ho see no conflict 6et;een evolution and their religious 6eliefs have 6een careful not to loo8 as closely as ;e have 6een loo8ing, or else hold a religious vie; that gives .od ;hat ;e @ight call a @erely cere@onial role to 7lay (@ore on this in cha7ter 1%". 0r 7erha7s, ;ith .ould, they are careful to deli@it the 7resu@ed role of 6oth science and religion. The co@7ati6ility that .ould sees 6et;een science and religion holds only so long as science 8no;s its 7lace and declines to address the 6ig Euestions. IScience does not deal ;ith Euestions of ulti@ate originsI (.ould 1 16, 7. &9 ". 0ne ;ay of inter7reting .ould-s ca@7aigns ;ithin 6iology over the years @ight 6e as an atte@7t to restrict evolutionary theory to a 7ro7erly @odest tas8, creating a cordon sanitaire 6et;een it and religion. He says, for instance? /volution, in fact, is not the study of origins at all. /ven the @ore restricted (and scientifically 7er@issi6le" Euestion of life-s origin on our earth lies outside its do@ain. (This interesting 7ro6le@, + sus7ect, falls 7ri@arily ;ithin the 7urvie; of che@istry and the 7hysics of self>organiJing sys> te@s. " /volution studies the 7ath;ays and @echanis@s of organic change follo;ing the origin of life. P.ould 1 16, 7. &99.Q This ;ould rule the entire to7ic of cha7ter $ out of 6ounds to evolutionary theory, 6ut, as ;e have seen, that has 6eco@e the very foundation of Dar>

;inian theory. .ould see@s to thin8 that he should discourage his fello; evolutionists fro@ dra;ing grand 7hiloso7hical conclusions fro@ their ;or8, 6ut if so he has 6een trying to deny to others ;hat he allo;s hi@self. +n the concluding sentence of !onderful 'ife (1 % a, 7. ('(", .ould is ready to dra; a fairly s7ecific religious conclusion fro@ his o;n consideration of the i@7lications of 7aleontology? *e are the offs7ring of history, and @ust esta6lish our o;n 7aths in this @ost diverse and interesting of conceiva6le universesHone indifferent to our suffering, and therefore offering us @aAi@al freedo@ to thrive, or to fail, in our o;n chosen ;ay. Curiously enough, this stri8es @e as a fine eA7ression of the i@7lications of Dar;in-s dangerous idea, not at all in conflict ;ith the idea that evolution is an algorith@ic 7rocess. +t is certainly an o7inion + ;holeheartedly share. .ould, ho;ever, see@s to thin8 the vie; he is co@6ating so vigorously is deter@inistic and ahistorical, in conflict ;ith this creed of freedo@. IHy7er> Dar;inis@,I .ould-s 6ogey, is si@7ly the clai@ that no s8yhoo8s are needed, at any 7oint, to eA7lain the u7;ard trends of the 6ranches of the Tree of 2ife. 2i8e others 6efore hi@, .ould has tried to sho; the eAistence of lea7s, s7eed> u7s, or other ineA7lica6le traDectoriesHineA7lica6le 6y the tools of Ihy7er> Dar;inis@.I 4ut ho;ever Iradically contingentI those traDectories @ay have 6een, ho;ever I7unctuatedI the 7ace of travel has 6een, ;hether 6y Inon> Dar;inianI saltations or unfatho@ed I@echanis@s of s7eciation,I this does not create any @ore el6o; roo@ for Ithe 7o;er of conte@7orary events and 7ersonalities to sha7e and direct the actual 7ath ta8en a@ong @yriad 7ossi6ilities.I ,o @ore el6o; roo@ ;as needed (Dennett 1 %&". 0ne stri8ing effect of .ould-s ca@7aign on contingency is that he ends u7 turning ,ietJsche u7side do;n. ,ietJsche, you ;ill recall, thought that nothing could 6e @ore terrifying, @ore ;orld>shattering, than the thought that if you 8e7t re7laying the ta7e, it ;ould all ha77en again and again and againHeternal recurrence, the sic8est idea that any6ody ever had. ,ietJsche vie;ed his tas8 as teaching 7eo7le to say I<esLI to this a;ful truth. .ould, on the other hand, thin8s he @ust assuage the 7eo7le-s terror ;hen confronted ;ith the denial of this idea, if you 8e7t re7laying the ta7e, it wouldn/t ever ha77en againL Are 6oth 7ro7ositions eEually @ind>6ogglingG 1' *hich is ;orseG *ould it ha77en again and again, or never againG *ell, Tin8er @ight say, either it ;ould or it ;ouldn-t, there-s no denying thatHand in

1'. Phili7 Morrison has 7ointed out that if the 7ro7osition that there is other intelligent life in the universe is @ind>6oggling, so is its denial. There are no ho>hu@ truths of cos@ology.


4U22< 30) 4)0,T0SAU)US

fact the truth is a @iAture of 6oth? a little 6it of Chance, a little 6it of /ver. That-s Dar;in-s dangerous idea, li8e it or not.
CHAPT/) /2/1/,

CHAPT/) 1=? Dould/s self;st"led re%olutions7 a-ainst adaptationism7 -radu; alism7 and extrapolationism7 and for Bradical contin-enc"7B all e%aporate7 their -ood points alread" firml" incorporated into the modern s"nthesis7 and their mista6en points dismissed. Darwin/s dan-erous idea emer-es stren-thened7 its dominion o%er e%er" corner of biolo-" more secure than e%er. CHAPT/) 11? # re%iew of all the ma<or char-es that ha%e been le%eled at Darwin/s dan-erous idea re%eals a few surprisin-l" harmless heresies7 a few sources of serious confusion7 and one deep but mis-uided fear8 if Darwinism is true of us7 what happens to our autonom"=

Contro%ersies Contained

1. A C2UTCH 03 HA)M2/SS H/)/S+/S

N find on re;readin- it that the picture it presents is close to the one I would paint if I were to start afresh7 and write a wholl" new boo6.
HM0H, MA<,A)D SM+TH, introduction, 1 ( edition of his 1 9% 6oo8, The Theor" of E%olution

4efore turning in 7art +++ to an eAa@ination of Dar;in-s dangerous idea a77lied to hu@anity (and the hu@anities", let-s 7ause to ta8e stoc8 of our survey of controversies ;ithin 6iology 7ro7er. .ould has s7o8en of the IhardeningI of the @odern synthesis, 6ut also voiced his frustration a6out ho; the @odern synthesis 8ee7s shifting in front of his eyes, @a8ing it difficult to get off a good shot. +ts defenders 8ee7 changing the story, co> o7ting revolutionaries 6y incor7orating the good 7oints they @a8e into the synthesis. Ho; secure is the @odern synthesisHor its unna@ed successor, if you thin8 it has changed too @uch to 8ee7 its old titleG +s the current e@6odi@ent of Dar;inis@ too hard or too softG 2i8e .oldiloc8s- favorite 6ed, it has 7roven to 6e Dust right? hard ;here it had to 6e, and co@7liant a6out those issues that are o7en for further investigation and de6ate. To get a good sense of ;hat is hard and ;hat is soft, ;e @ay stand 6ac8 a 6it and survey the ;hole field. So@e 7eo7le ;ould still love to destroy the credentials of Dar;in-s dangerous idea, and ;e can hel7 the@ 6y 7ointing to controversies on ;hich they needn-t ;aste their energies, since no @atter ho; they co@e out, Dar;in-s idea ;ill survive intact or strengthened. And then ;e can also 7oint out those hard, fiAed 7oints ;hich, if destroyed, ;ould truly overthro; Dar;inis@H6ut they are fiAed for good reasons, and are a6out as li8ely to 6udge as the Pyra@ids. 2et-s consider first so@e te@7ting heresies that ;ould not overthro;


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Dar;inis@ even if they ;ere confir@ed. Pro6a6ly the 6est 8no;n has 6een cha@7ioned in recent years 6y the @averic8 astrono@er 3red Hoyle, ;ho argues that life did not originateHcould not have originatedHon /arth, 6ut has to have 6een IseededI fro@ outer s7ace (Hoyle 1 !&, Hoyle and *ic8> ra@asinghe 1 %1". 3rancis Cric8 and 2eslie 0rgel (1 $(, and Cric8 1 %1" 7oint out that this idea of panspermia has 6een cha@7ioned in various for@s since early in the century, ;hen Arrhenius ( 1 =%" coined the ter@, and, ho;ever unli8ely it @ay see@, it is not an incoherent idea. +t is not (yet" dis7rova6le that 7ri@itive life for@s (so@ething as Isi@7leI as a @acro or as co@7leA as a 6acteriu@" arrived 6y asteroid or co@et fro@ so@e other region of the universe and coloniJed our 7lanet. Cric8 and 0rgel go a ste7 further? it is even 7ossi6le that the 7ans7er@ia ;as directed7 that life 6egan on /arth as a result of our 7lanet-s 6eing deliberatel" IinfectedI or coloniJed 6y life for@s fro@ so@e;here else in the universe that got a head start on us, and indeed indirectly 7roduced us. +f ;e can no; send a s7acecraft loaded ;ith life for@s to another 7lanetHand ;e can, 6ut should notHthen, 6y 7arity of reasoning, others could have done it. Since HoyleHunli8e Cric8 and 0rgelHhas voiced the sus7icion (1 !&, 7. &(" that, unless 7ans7er@ia is true, Ilife has little @eaning, 6ut @ust 6e Dudged a @ere cos@ic flu8e,I it is not sur7rising that @any, including Hoyle hi@self, have su77osed that 7ans7er@ia, if confir@ed, ;ould shatter Dar;inis@, that dreaded threat to the @eaning of life. And since 7ans7er@ia is often treated ;ith derision 6y 6iologistsHIHoyle-s Ho;lerIH the illusion is fostered that here is a grave threat indeed, one that stri8es at the very core of Dar;inis@. ,othing could 6e further fro@ the truth. Dar;in hi@self sur@ised that life 6egan on /arth in so@e ;ar@ little 7ond, 6ut it @ight eEually have started in so@e hot, sulfurous underground 7ressure>coo8er (as has recently 6een 7ro7osed 6y Stetter et al. 1 (", or, for that @atter, on so@e other 7lanet, ;hence it traveled here after so@e astrono@ical collision 7ulveriJed its 6irth7lace. *herever and ;henever life started, it had to 6ootstra7 itself 6y some %ersion of the 7rocess ;e eA7lored in cha7ter $Hthat is ;hat orthodoA Dar;inis@ insists u7on. And as Manfred /igen has 7ointed out, 7ans7er@ia ;ould do nothing to solve the difficult 7ro6le@ of ho; this 6ootstra77ing ha77ened? IThe discre7ancy 6et;een the nu@6ers of seEuences testa6le in 7ractice and i@agina6le in theory is so great that atte@7ts at eA7lanation 6y shifting the location of the origin of life fro@ /arth to outer s7ace do not offer an acce7ta6le solution to the dile@@a. The @ass of the universe is -only- 1=' ti@es, and its volu@e -only- 1=9$ ti@es, that of the /arthI (/igen 1 ', 7. 11". The reason orthodoAy 7refers to assu@e a 6irth7lace on /arth is that this is the si@7lest and @ost scientifically accessi6le hy7othesis. That does not @a8e it true. *hatever ha77ened, ha77ened. +f Hoyle is right, then (darn it" ;e ;ill find it @uch harder to confir@ or disconfir@ any detailed hy7oth>

eses a6out eAactly ho; life started. The hy7othesis that life 6egan on /arth has the virtue of 7utting so@e ad@ira6ly tough constraints on storytelling? the ;hole story has to unfold in under five 6illion years, and it has to start ;ith conditions 8no;n to have eAisted on /arth in the early days. 4iologists li6e having to ;or8 ;ithin these constraints# they want deadlines and a short list of ra; @aterials, the @ore de@anding the 6etter.1 So they ho7e that no hy7othesis ;ill ever 6e confir@ed that o7ens u7 vast 7ossi6ilities that ;ill 6e ;ell>nigh i@7ossi6le for the@ to evaluate in detail. The argu@ents that Hoyle and others have given for 7ans7er@ia all 6elong in the 7hylu@ of Iother;ise there-s not enough ti@e,I and evolutionary theorists @uch 7refer to 8ee7 the geological deadlines intact and hunt for @ore cranes to do all the lifting in the ti@e availa6le. So far, this 7olicy has 6orne eAcellent results. +f Hoyle-s hy7othesis ;ere so@eday confir@ed, it ;ould 6e a gloo@y day for evolutionary theorists, not 6ecause it ;ould overthro; Dar;inis@, 6ut 6ecause it ;ould @a8e i@7ortant features of Dar;inis@ less disconfir@a6le, @ore s7eculative. 3or the sa@e reason, 6iologists ;ould 6e hostile to any hy7othesis that 7ro7osed that ancient D,A had 6een ta@7ered ;ith 6y gene>s7licers fro@ another 7lanet ;ho 6eca@e high>tech 6efore ;e did, and 7layed a tric8 on us. 4iologists ;ould 6e hostile to the hy7othesis, 6ut ;ould have a hard ti@e dis7roving it. This raises such an i@7ortant 7oint a6out the nature of evidence in evolutionary theory that it is ;orth eA7loring in greater detail, ;ith the hel7 of a fe; thought eA7eri@ents (dra;n fro@ Dennett 1 %$6, 1 =6". As @any co@@entators have noted, evolutionary eA7lanations are ines> ca7a6ly historical narratives. /rnst Mayr (1 %(, 7. ('9" 7uts it this ;ay. I*hen one atte@7ts to eA7lain the features of so@ething that is the 7roduct of evolution, one @ust atte@7t to reconstruct the evolutionary history of this feature.I 4ut 7articular historical facts 7lay an elusive role in such eA> 7lanations. The theory of natural selection sho;s ho; every feature of the natural ;orld can 6e the 7roduct of a 6lind, unforesightful, nonteleolog>ical, ulti@ately @echanical 7rocess of differential re7roduction over long 7eriods of ti@e. 4ut of course so@e features of the natural ;orldHthe short legs of dachshunds and 4lac8 Angus 6eef cattle, the thic8 s8ins of to@atoesHare the 7roducts of artificial selection, in ;hich the goal of the

1. 3or Dust this reason, 6iologists have @iAed e@otions a6out the recent (a77arent" discovery 6y M. *illia@ Scho7f (1 (" of fossil @icro6es roughly a 6illion years older ((.9 6illion instead of '.9 6illion" than orthodoAy has recently su77osed. +f confir@ed, this ;ould drastically revise a lot of standard assu@7tions a6out the inter@ediate dead> lines, giving @ore ti@e for the evolution of advanced for@s (I*he;LI", 6ut only 6y reducing the ti@e availa6le for the 7rocess of @olecular evolution to get all the ;ay to @icro6es (IUh ohLI".


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7rocess, and the rationale of the design ai@ed for, actually did 7lay a role in the 7rocess. +n these cases, the goal ;as eA7licitly re7resented in the @inds of the 6reeders ;ho did the selecting. So the theory of evolution @ust allo; for the eAistence of such 7roducts, and such historical 7rocesses, as s7ecial cases Horganis@s designed ;ith the hel7 of su7ercranes. ,o; the Euestion arises? can such s7ecial cases 6e distinguished in retros7ective analysisG +@agine a ;orld in ;hich actual hands fro@ another galaAy su77le@ented the Ihidden handI of natural selection. +@agine that natural selection on this 7lanet ;as aided and a6etted over the eons 6y visitors? tin8ering, farsighted, reason>re7resenting organis@>designers, li8e the ani@al> and 7lant>6reeders of our actual ;orld, 6ut not restricting the@selves to Ido@esticatedI organis@s designed for hu@an use. (To @a8e it vivid, ;e @ay su77ose they treated /arth as their Ithe@e 7ar8,I creating ;hole 7hyla for educational or entertain@ent 7ur7oses." These 6ioengineers ;ould have actually for@ulated, and re7resented, and acted on, the rationales of their designsHDust li8e auto@o6ile engineers or our o;n conte@7orary gene>s7licers. Then, let-s su77ose, they a6sconded. ,o;, ;ould their handi;or8 6e detecta6le 6y any i@agina6le analysis 6y 6iologists todayG +f ;e found that so@e organis@s ca@e ;ith service @anuals attached, this ;ould 6e a dead givea;ay. Most of the D,A in any geno@e is uneA7ressedH often called IDun8 D,AIHand ,ova.ene, a 6iotechnology co@7any in Hous> ton, has found a use for it. They have ado7ted the 7olicy of ID,A 6randingI? ;riting the nearest codon rendering of their co@7any trade@ar8 in the Dun8 D,A of their 7roducts. According to the standard a66reviations for the a@ino>acid s7ecifiers, as7aragine, gluta@ine, valine, alanine, glycine, glu> ta@ic acid, as7aragine, gluta@ic acid T ,F1A./,/ ( re7orted in Scientific #merican Mune 1 %!, 77. $=>$1". This suggests a ne; eAercise in Iradical translationI (Fuine + !=" for 7hiloso7hers? ho;, in 7rinci7le or in 7ractice, could ;e confir@ or disconfir@ the hy7othesis that trade@ar8sHor service @anuals or other @essagesH;ere discerni6le in the Dun8 D,A of any s7e> ciesG The 7resence of functionless D,A in the geno@e is no longer regarded as a 7uJJle. Da;8ins- ( 1 $!" selfish>gene theory 7redicts it, and ela6orations on the idea of Iselfish D,AI ;ere si@ultaneously develo7ed 6y Doolittle and Sa7ienJa (1 %=" and 0rgel and Cric8 (1 %=" (see Da;8ins 1 %', ch. , for the details". That doesn-t sho; that Dun8 D,A couldn/t ha%e a @ore dra@atic function, ho;ever, and hence it could have a @eaning after all. 0ur i@agined intergalactic interlo7ers could as readily have eAa7ted the Dun8 D,A for their o;n 7ur7oses as the ,ova.ene engineers eAa7ted it for theirs. 3inding the high>tech version of I5ilroy ;as hereI ;ritten in the geno@e of a ca66age or a 8ing ;ould 6e unnerving, 6ut ;hat if no such deli6erate clues ;ere left aroundG *ould a closer loo8 at the organis@ designs the@> selvesHthe 7henoty7esHreveal so@e telltale discontinuitiesG .ene>s7licers

are the @ost 7o;erful cranes ;e have yet discovered. Are there designs that si@7ly could not 6e erected ;ithout the hel7 of this 7articular craneG +f there are designs that cannot 6e a77roached 6y a gradual, ste7;ise redesign 7rocess in ;hich each ste7 is at least no ;orse for the gene-s survival chances than its 7redecessor, then the eAistence of such a design in nature ;ould see@ to reEuire, at so@e 7oint in its ancestry, a hel7ing hand fro@ a foresightful designerHeither a gene>s7licer, or a 6reeder ;ho so@eho; 7reserved the necessary succession of inter@ediate 6ac8sliders until they could yield their sought 7rogeny. 4ut could ;e ever conclusively esta6lish that so@e design had this feature of reFuirin- such a saltation in its ancestryG 3or over a century, s8e7tics have hunted for such casesHthin8ing that, if they ever found one, it ;ould conclusively refute Dar;inis@H6ut so far their efforts have sho;n a syste@atic ;ea8ness. Consider the @ost fa@iliar eAa@7le, the ;ing. *ings could not evolve in one fell s;oo7, runs the standard s8e7tical argu@ent# and if ;e i@agineHas ;e Dar;inians @ustHthat ;ings evolved gradually, ;e @ust ad@it that 7artially co@7leted ;ings ;ould not only not have 7rovided 7artial value 6ut ;ould have 6een a 7ositive hindrance. *e Dar;inians need ad@it no such thing. *ings that are good only for gliding (6ut not 7o;ered flight" have @anifest net 6enefits for @any actual creatures, and still stu66ier, less aerodyna@ically effective 7rotu6erances could have evolved for so@e other reason, and then 6een eAa7ted. Many versions of this storyHand other storiesHhave 6een told to fill in the ga7. *ings are not an e@6arrass@ent to orthodoA Dar;inians, or if they are, they are an e@6arrass@ent of riches. There are too man" different 7lausi6le ;ays of telling the story of ho; functioning ;ings could have evolved 6y gradual incre@entsL This sho;s ho; hard it ;ould 6e for anyone to devise an insur@ounta6le argu@ent to 7rove that a 7articular feature @ust have arisen 6y a saltation, 6ut at the sa@e ti@e it sho;s that it ;ould 6e Dust as hard to 7rove that a feature @ust have arisen without a saltation, unaided 6y hu@an or other intelligent hands. +ndeed, all the 6iologists + have Eueried on this 7oint have agreed ;ith @e that there are no sure @ar8s of natural, as o77osed to artificial, selection. +n cha7ter 9, ;e traded in the conce7t of strict 6iological 7ossi6ility and i@7ossi6ility for a graded notion of 6iological 7ro6a6ility, 6ut even in its ter@s, it is not clear ho; one could grade organis@s as I7ro6a6lyI or Ivery 7ro6a6lyI or IeAtre@ely 7ro6a6lyI the 7roducts of artificial selection. Should this conclusion 6e vie;ed as a terri6le e@6arrass@ent to the evolutionists in their struggle against creationistsG 0ne can i@agine the headlines>. IScientists Concede? Dar;inian Theory Cannot Dis7rove +ntelligent DesignLI +t ;ould 6e foolhardy, ho;ever, for any defender of neo>Dar;inis@ to clai@ that conte@7orary evolution theory gives one the 7o;er to read history so finely fro@ 7resent data as to rule out the earlier historical 7res>


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# Clutch of >armless >eresies


ence of rational designersHa ;ildly i@7lausi6le fantasy, 6ut a 7ossi6ility after all. +n our ;orld today, there are organis@s ;e 6now to 6e the result of foresighted, goal>see8ing redesign efforts, 6ut that 8no;ledge de7ends on our direct 8no;ledge of recent historical events# ;e-ve actually ;atched the 6reeders at ;or8. These s7ecial events ;ould not 6e li8ely to cast any fossily shado;s into the future. To ta8e a si@7ler variation on our thought eA7eri@ent, su77ose ;e ;ere to send IMartianI 6iologists a laying hen, a Pe8ingese dog, a 6arn s;allo;, and a cheetah and as8 the@ to deter@ine ;hich designs 6ore the @ar8 of intervention 6y artificial selectors. *hat could they rely onG Ho; ;ould they argueG They @ight note that the hen did not care I7ro7erlyI for her eggs# so@e varieties of hen have had their instinct for 6roodiness 6red right out of the@, and ;ould soon 6eco@e eAtinct ;ere it not for the environ@ent of artificial incu6ators hu@an 6eings have 7rovided for the@. They @ight note that the Pe8ingese ;as 7athetically ill>eEui77ed to fend for itself in any de@anding environ@ent they could i@agine. 4ut the 6arn s;allo;-s innate fondness for car7entered nest sites @ight fool the@ into the vie; that it ;as so@e sort of 7et, and ;hatever features of the cheetah convinced the@ that it ;as a creature of the ;ild @ight also 6e found in greyhounds, and 6e features ;e 8no; to have 6een 7atiently encouraged 6y 6reeders. Artificial environ@ents are the@selves a 7art of nature, after all, so it is unli8ely that there are an" clear signs of artificial selection that can 6e read off an organis@ in the a6sence of insider infor@ation on the actual history that created the organis@. Prehistoric fiddling 6y intergalactic visitors ;ith the D,A of earthly s7e> cies cannot 6e ruled out, eAce7t on the grounds that it is an entirely gratuitous fantasy. ,othing ;e have found (so far" on /arth so @uch as hints that such a hy7othesis is ;orth further eA7loration. And re@e@6erH+ hasten to add, lest creationists ta8e heartHeven if ;e ;ere to discover and translate such a Itrade@ar8 @essageI in our s7are D,A, or found so@e other uncontesta6le @ar8 of early ta@7ering, this ;ould do nothing to rescind the clai@ of the theory of natural selection to eA7lain all design in nature ;ithout invocation of a foresighted Designer>Creator outside the s"stem. +f the theory of evolution 6y natural selection can account for the eAistence of the 7eo7le at ,ova.ene ;ho drea@t u7 D,A 6randing, it can also account for the eAistence of any 7redecessors ;ho @ay have left their signatures around for us to discover. ,o; that ;e have seen this 7ossi6ility, ho;ever unli8ely it is, ;e also see that, if the s8e7tics had ever found their Holy .rail, the <ou>Couldn-t>.et> Here>fro@>There 0rgan or 0rganis@, it ;ould not have 6een conclusi%e against Dar;inis@ after all. Dar;in hi@self said that he ;ould have to a6andon his theory if such a 7heno@enon ;ere discovered (see note 9 of cha7ter ' ", 6ut no; ;e can see that it ;ould al;ays have 6een log>

ically coherent (ho;ever la@e and ad hocJ for Dar;inians to re7ly that ;hat they ;ere 6eing sho;n ;as telling evidence for the sur7rising hy7othesis of intergalactic interlo7ersL The 7o;er of the theory of natural selection is not the 7o;er to 7rove eAactly ho; (7re"history ;as, 6ut only the 7o;er to 7rove ho; it could have 6een, given ;hat ;e 8no; a6out ho; things are. 4efore leaving this curious to7ic of un;elco@e 6ut nonfatal heresies, let-s consider one that is a 6it @ore realistic. Did life on /arth arise Dust once, or 7erha7s @any ti@esG 0rthodoAy su77oses it ha77ened Dust once, 6ut there is no s8in off its 6ac8 if in fact life arose t;ice or ten or a hundred ti@es. Ho;ever i@7ro6a6le the initial 6ootstra77ing event @ay have 6een, ;e @ust not co@@it the .a@6ler-s 3allacy of su77osing that after it ha77ened once, the odds rose against its ha77ening again. Still, the Euestion of ho; @any ti@es life arose inde7endently o7ens u7 so@e interesting 7ros7ects. +f at least so@e of the assign@ents in the D,A are 7urely ar6itrary, then @ight there not have 6een t;o different genetic languages coeAisting side 6y side, li8e 3rench and /nglish, only entirely unrelatedG This has not 6een discoveredH D,A has clearly coevolved ;ith its 7arent, ),AH6ut that does not yet sho; that life didn/t arise @ore than once, 6ecause ;e don-t (yet" 8no; ho; ;ide the sco7e for variation in genetic code actually ;as. Su77ose there ;ere eAactly t;o eEually via6le and constructi6le D,A languages, Mendelese (ours" and :endelese. +f life arose t;ice, there ;ould 6e four eEui7ro6a6le 7ossi6ilities? 6oth ti@es Mendelese, 6oth ti@es :en> delese, Mendelese and then :endelese, or :endelese and then Mendelese. +f ;e ran the ta7e of life @any ti@es, and loo8ed at the ti@es in ;hich life arose t;ice, ;e-d eA7ect that half the ti@e 6oth languages ;ould get created, 6ut in one Euarter of those re7lays only Mendelese ;ould a77ear. +n those ;orlds, the D,A language of all organis@s ;ould 6e the sa@e, even though another language ;as Dust as 7ossi6le. This sho;s that the IuniversalityI (at least on our 7lanet" of the D,A language does not 7er@it a valid inference that all organis@s had arisen fro@ a single 7rogenitor, the ulti@ate Ada@, since, ex h"pothesi in these cases, Ada@ could have had an entirely inde7endent t;in of sorts, accidentally sharing the sa@e D,A language. 0f course, if life arose @any @ore ti@esHsay, a hundred ti@esHunder these sa@e conditions, then the li8elihood of only one of the t;o eEui7ro6a6le languages- a77earing ;ould 7lu@@et to 1anishing. And if in fact there are @any @ore than t;o eEually usa6le genetic codes, this ;ould si@ilarly change the i@7lications a6out 7ro6a6ility. 4ut until ;e 8no; @ore a6out the range of genuine 7ossi6ilities and their associated 7ro6a6ilities, ;e can-t get any good leverage to decide for sure that life arose Dust once. 3or the ti@e 6eing, it-s the si@7lest hy7othesisHlife only has to have arisen once.


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Three 'osers8 Teilhard7 'amarc67 and Directed Mutation


'. TH)// 20S/)S? T/+2HA)D, 2AMA)C5, A,D D+)/CT/D MUTAT+0,

,o; let us go to the o77osite eAtre@e and consider a heresy that ;ould 6e truly fatal to Dar;inis@ if it ;eren-t such a confused and ulti@ately self> contradictory alternative? the atte@7t 6y the Mesuit 7aleontologist Teilhard de Chardin to reconcile his religion ;ith his 6elief in evolution. He 7ro7osed a version of evolution that 7ut hu@anity at the center of the universe, and discovered Christianity to 6e an eA7ression of the goalHIthe 0@ega> 7ointIHto;ards ;hich all evolution is striving. Teilhard even @ade roo@ for 0riginal Sin (in its orthodoA Catholic version, not the scientific version + noted in cha7ter %". To his dis@ay, the Church vie;ed this as heresy, and for6ade hi@ to teach it in Paris, so he s7ent the rest of his days in China, studying fossils, until his death in 1 99. His 6oo8 The henomenon of Man (1 9 " ;as 7u6lished 7osthu@ously and @et ;ith international acclai@, 6ut the scientific esta6lish@ent, orthodoA Dar;inis@ in 7articular, ;as Dust as resolute as the Church in reDecting it as heretical. +t is fair to say that in the years since his ;or8 ;as 7u6lished, it has 6eco@e clear to the 7oint of unani@ity a@ong scientists that Teilhard offered nothing serious in the ;ay of an alternative to orthodoAy# the ideas that ;ere 7eculiarly his ;ere confused, and the rest ;as Dust 6o@6astic redescri7tion of orthodoAy. ' The classic savaging ;as 6y Sir Peter Meda;ar, and is re7rinted in his 6oo8 of essays, luto/s Republic (1 %', 7. '&9". A sa@7le sentence? I+n s7ite of all the o6stacles that Teilhard 7erha7s ;isely 7uts in our ;ay, it is 7ossi6le to discern a train of thought in The henomenon of ManB The 7ro6le@ ;ith Teilhard-s vision is si@7le. He e@7hatically denied the funda@ental idea? that evolution is a @indless, 7ur7oseless, algorith@ic 7rocess. This ;as no constructive co@7ro@ise# this ;as a 6etrayal of the central insight that had 7er@itted Dar;in to overthro; 2oc8e-s Mind>first vision. Alfred )ussel *allace had 6een te@7ted 6y the sa@e a6andon@ent, as ;e sa; in cha7ter (, 6ut Teilhard e@6raced it ;holeheartedly and @ade it the center7iece of his alternative vision. ( The estee@ in ;hich Teilhard-s 6oo8 is still held 6y nonscientists, the res7ectful tone in ;hich his ideas are

alluded to, is testi@ony to the de7th of loathing of Dar;in-s dangerous idea, a loathing so great that it ;ill eAcuse any illogicality and tolerate any o7acity in ;hat 7ur7orts to 6e an argu@ent, if its 6otto@ line 7ro@ises relief fro@ the o77ressions of Dar;inis@. *hat a6out that other notorious heresy, 2a@arc8is@, the 6elief in the inheritance of acEuired characteristicsG & Here the situation is @uch @ore interesting. The @ain a77eal of 2a@arc8is@ has al;ays 6een its 7ro@ise of s7eeding u7 the 7assage of organis@s through Design S7ace 6y ta8ing ad> vantage of the design i@7rove@ents acEuired 6y individual organis@s during their lives. So @uch design ;or8 to do, and so little ti@eL 4ut the 7ros7ect of 2a@arc8is@ as an alternati%e to Dar;inis@ can 6e ruled out on logical grounds alone? the ca7acity to get 2a@arc8ian inheritance off the ground in the first 7lace presupposes a Dar;inian 7rocess (or a @iracle" (Da;8ins 1 %!a, 77. ' >(==". 4ut couldn-t 2a@arc8ian inheritance 6e an i@7ortant crane within a Dar;inian fra@e;or8G Dar;in hi@self, notoriously, included 2a@arc8ian inheritance as a 6ooster 7rocess (in addition to natural selection" in his o;n version of evolution. He could entertain this idea 6ecause he had such a foggy sense of the @echanics of heredity. (To get a clear idea of ho; unconstrained Dar;in-s i@agination a6out @echanis@s of inheritance could 6e, see Des@ond and Moore 1 1, 77. 9(1ff, for an account of his 6old s7eculations a6out I7angenesis.I " 0ne of the @ost funda@ental contri6utions to neo>Dar;inis@ after Dar;in hi@self ;as August *eis@ann-s (1% (" fir@ distinction 6et;een the -erm line and the somatic lineE the ger@ line consists of the seA cells in an organis@-s ovaries or gonads, and all the other cells of the 6ody 6elong to the so@a. *hat ha77ens to so@atic>line cells during their lifeti@e has a 6earing, of course, on ;hether that 6ody-s ger@ line flo;s into any 7rogeny at all, 6ut changes to the so@atic cells die ;ith those cells# only changes to ger@>line cellsH@utationsHcan carry on. This doctrine, so@eti@es called *eis@annis@, is the 6ul;ar8 that orthodoAy eventually raised against 2a> @arc8is@H;hich Dar;in hi@self thought he could countenance. Might
Teilhard-s vie;s can certainly 6e a77lauded 6y so@e orthodoA Dar;inians. (Meda;ar de@urs on this 7oint." 4ut in any event, HuAley could not 6uy all that Teilhard ;as offering. I<et for all this HuAley finds it i@7ossi6le to follo; Teilhard -all the ;ay in his gallant atte@7t to reconcile the su7ernatural ele@ents in Christianity ;ith the facts and i@7lications of evolution-. 4ut, 6less @y soul, this reconciliation is Dust ;hat Teilhard-s 6oo8 is aboutAB (Meda;ar 1 %', 7. '91". &. + restrict 2a@arc8is@ to inheritance of acEuired characteristics throu-h the -enetic apparatus. +f ;e relaA the definition, then 2a@arc8is@ is not clearly a fallacy. After all, hu@an 6eings inherit (6y legacy" acEuired ;ealth fro@ their 7arents, and @ost ani@als inherit (6y 7roAi@ity" acEuired 7arasites fro@ their 7arents, and so@e ani@als inherit (6y succession " acEuired nests, 6urro;s, dens fro@ their 7arents. These are all 7heno@ > ena of 6iological significance, 6ut they are not ;hat +.a@arc8 ;as getting atHheretically.

'.The rhetorical @ethod of I6o@6astic redescri7tionI of the co@@on7lace ;as first descri6ed 6y Paul /d;ards ( 1 !9" in an essay on another continental o6scurantist, the theologian Paul Tillich. (.Teilhard-s 6oo8 had an unli8ely cha@7ion in /ngland, Sir Mulian HuAley, one of the contri6utors toHindeed, the 6a7tiJer ofHthe @odern synthesis. As Meda;ar @a8es 7lain, ;hat HuAley ad@ired in Teilhard-s 6oo8 ;as largely its su77ort for the doctrine of the continuity of genetic and I7sychosocialI evolution. This is a doctrine + a@ @yself enthusiastically su77orting under the heading of the unity of Design S7ace, so so@e of


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Three 'osers8 Teilhard7 'amarc67 and Directed Mutation


*eis@annis@ still 6e overthro;nG Today the odds against 2a@arc8is@ as a @aDor crane loo8 @uch @ore for@ida6le (Da;8ins 1 %!a, 77. '%%>(=(". 3or 2a@arc8is@ to ;or8, the infor@ation a6out the acEuired characteristic in Euestion ;ould so@eho; have to get fro@ the revised 6ody 7art, the so@a, to the eggs or s7er@, the ger@ line. +n general, such @essage>sending is dee@ed i@7ossi6leHno co@@unication channels have 6een discovered that could carry the trafficH6ut set that difficulty aside. The dee7er 7ro6le@ lies ;ith the nature of the infor@ation in the D,A. As ;e have seen, our syste@ of e@6ryological develo7@ent ta8es D,A seEuences as a reci7e, not a 6lue7rint. There is no 7oint>for>7oint @a77ing 6et;een 6ody 7arts and D,A 7arts. This is ;hat @a8es it eAtre@ely unli8elyHor in so@e cases i@7ossi6leHthat any 7articular acEuired change in a 6ody 7art (in a @uscle or a 6ea8 or, in the case of 6ehavior, a neural control circuit of so@e sort" ;ill corres7ond to any discrete change in the organis@-s D,A. So, even if there ;ere a ;ay of getting a change order sent to the seA cells, there ;ould 6e no ;ay of composin- the necessary change order. Consider an eAa@7le. The violinist assiduously develo7s a @agnificent vi6rato, than8s largely to adDust@ents 6uilt u7 in the tendons and liga@ents of her left ;rist Euite different fro@ the adDust@ents she si@ultaneously 6uilds u7 in her right ;rist, the ;rist of her 6o;ing ar@. The reci7e for ;rist> @a8ing in hu@an D,A @a8es 6oth ;rists fro@ a single set of instructions that ta8es advantage of @irror>i@age reflection (that-s ;hy your ;rists are so @uch ali8e ", so there ;ould 6e no si@7le ;ay to change the reci7e for the left ;rist ;ithout @a8ing the sa@e (and un;anted" change in the right ;rist. +t is not hard to i@agine ho; Iin 7rinci7leI the e@6ryological 7rocess @ight 6e caDoled into re6uilding each ;rist se7arately after the initial construction ta8es 7lace, 6ut even if this 7ro6le@ can 6e overco@e, the chances are s@all indeed that this ;ould 6e a practical @utation, a localiJed and s@allish revision in her D,A, that corres7onds closely to the i@7rove@ents her years of 7ractice have created. So al@ost certainly her children ;ill have to learn their vi6rato the sa@e ;ay she did. This is not Euite conclusive, ho;ever, and hy7otheses that have features at least strongly re@iniscent of 2a@arc8is@ 8ee7 7o77ing u7 in 6iology and are often ta8en seriously, in s7ite of the general ta6oo against anything s@ac8ing of 2a@arc8is@.9 + noted in cha7ter ( that the 4ald;in /ffect has

often 6een overloo8ed, or even shunned, 6y 6iologists ;ho confused it ;ith so@e dread 2a@arc8ian heresy. The saving grace for the 4ald;in /ffect is that organis@s 7ass on their particular capacit" to acFuire certain charac> teristics, rather than any of the characteristics they actually acEuire. This does have the effect of ta8ing advantage of the design eA7lorations of indi vidual organis@s, as ;e sa;, and hence is a 7o;erful crane under the right circu@stances. +t is Dust not 2a@arc8-s crane. 3inally, ;hat a6out the 7ossi6ility of IdirectedI @utationG /ver since Dar;in, orthodoAy has 7resu77osed that all @utation is rando@# blind chance @a8es the candidates. Mar8 )idley (1 %9, 7. '9" 7rovides the stan> dard declaration? 1arious theories of evolution 6y directed variation- have 6een 7ro7osed, 6ut ;e @ust rule the@ out. There is no evidence for directed variation in @utation, in reco@6ination, or in the 7rocess of Mendelian inheritance. *hatever the internal 7lausi6ility of these theories, they are in fact ;rong. 4ut that is a @ite too strong. The orthodoA theory @ustn-t presuppose any 7rocess of directed @utationHthat ;ould 6e a s8yhoo8 for sureH6ut it can leave o7en the 7ossi6ility of so@e6ody-s discovering non@iraculous @ech> anis@s that can 6ias the distri6ution of @utations in s7eed>u7 directions. /igen-s ideas a6out Euasi>s7ecies in cha7ter % are a case in 7oint. +n earlier cha7ters, + have dra;n attention to various other 7ossi6le cranes that are currently 6eing investigated? trans>s7ecies I7lagiaris@I of nucleotide seEuences (Houc8-s DrosophilaJ7 the crossovers @ade 7ossi6le 6y the innovation of seA (Holland-s genetic algorith@s", the eA7loration of @ulti7le variations 6y s@all tea@s (*right-s Ide@esI" that return to the 7arent 7o7ulation (Schull-s Iintelligent s7eciesI", and .ould-s Ihigher level s7ecies sorting,I to na@e four. Since these de6ates all fit co@forta6ly ;ithin the co@@odious ;alls of conte@7orary Dar;inis@, they don-t need further scrutiny fro@ us, fascinating though they are. Al@ost al;ays, the issue in evolutionary theory is not 7ossi6ility in 7rinci7le, 6ut relative i@7ortance, and the issues are al;ays much @ore co@7leA than + have 7ortrayed the@. ! There is one area of ongoing controversy, ho;ever, that deserves a so@e> ;hat fuller treat@ent, not 6ecause it threatens so@ething hard or 6rittle in the @odern synthesisHho;ever it co@es out, Dar;inis@ ;ill still 6e stand>

9. Da;8ins (1 %!a, 7. ' " issues the right caveat? 2a@arc8is@ is Iinco@7ati6le ;ith e@6ryology as ;e 8no; it,I 6ut Ithis is not to say that, so@e;here in the universe, there @ay not 6e so@e alien syste@ of life in ;hich e@6ryology is 7refor@ationistic# a life>for@ that really does have a -6lue7rint genetics-, and that really could, therefore, inherit ac> Euired characteristics.I There are other 7ossi6ilities that @ight 6e called 2a@arc8ian as ;ell. 3or a survey, see 2and@an 1 1, 1 (# for another interesting variation on the the@e, see Da;8ins- account of IA 2a@arc8ian ScareI (Da;8ins 1 %', 77. 1!&>$%".

!. To those ;ho ;ant to eA7lore these and other controversies @ore fully, 1 reco@@end the follo;ing 6oo8s as 7articularly clear and accessi6le to neo7hytes willin- to wor6 bard. 4uss 1 %$, Da;8ins 1 %', .. *illia@s 1 ', and, as an invalua6le hand6oo8, 5eller and Uoyd 1 '. Mar8 )idley 1 ( is an eAcellent teAt6oo8. 3or a @ore accessi6le 7ri@er, Calvin 1 %! is a ri77ing good story, ;ith enough 6old s7eculation thro;n in to ;het your a77etite for @ore.


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Cui Bono=


ing strongH6ut 6ecause it has 6een seen to have 7articularly u7setting i@7lications for the eAtension of evolutionary thin8ing to hu@anity. This is the de6ate over the Iunits of selection.I

(. Cui 40,0G
B!hat/s -ood for Deneral Motors is -ood for the countr".B Hnot said 6y Charles /. *ilson, 1 9( +n 1 9', Charles /. *ilson ;as 7resident of .eneral Motors, and ne;ly elected U.S. President D;ight /isenho;er no@inated hi@ to 6e his Secretary of Defense. At his no@ination hearing 6efore the Senate Ar@ed Services Co@@ittee in Manuary 1 9(, *ilson ;as as8ed to sell his shares in .eneral Motors, 6ut he o6Dected. *hen as8ed if his continued sta8e in .eneral Motors @ightn-t unduly s;ay his Dudg@ent, he re7lied? I3or years, + thought ;hat ;as good for the country ;as good for .eneral Motors and vice versa.I Unfortunately for hi@, ;hat he actually said did not have @uch re7licative 7o;erHthough Dust enough for @e to locate a descendant in a reference 6oo8 and re7roduce it once again in the 7receding sentence. *hat re7licated li8e a flu virus in the 7ress re7orts of his testi@ony, on the other hand, ;as the @utated version used as the e7igra7h for this section# in res7onse to the ensuing furor, *ilson ;as forced to sell his stoc8 in order to ;in the no@ination, and he ;as dogged 6y the IEuotationI for the rest of his days. *e can 7ress this froJen accident into ne; service. There is little dou6t wh" the @utated version of *ilson-s re@ar8s s7read. 4efore 7eo7le ;ould a77rove Charles *ilson for this i@7ortant decision>@a8ing 7ost, they ;anted to assure the@selves a6out ;ho ;ould 6e the principal beneficiar" of his decisions? the country or .eneral Motors. *as he going to @a8e selfish decisions, or decisions for the 6enefit of the ;hole 6ody 7oliticG His actual ans;er did little to reassure the@. They s@elled a rat, and eA7osed it in the @utation of his ;ords that they disse@inated. He see@ed to 6e clai@ing that no6ody should 6e concerned a6out his decision>@a8ing, since even if the 7rinci7al or direct 6eneficiary ;as .eneral Motors, it ;ould all ;or8 out fine for the ;hole country. A du6ious clai@ to 6e sure. Although it @ight 6e true @ost of the ti@eHIother things 6eing eEualIH;hat a6out the ti@es ;hen other things ;ouldn-t 6e eEualG *hose 6enefit ;ould *ilson further in those circu@stancesG That is ;hat had 7eo7le u7set, and rightly so. They ;anted the actual decision>@a8ing 6y the Secretary of Defense to 6e directl" res7onsive to the national interest. +f decisions reached under those 6enign circu@stances 6enefited .eneral Motors (and

7resu@a6ly @ost of the@ ;ould, if *ilson-s long>held ho@ily is true ", that ;ould 6e Dust fine, 6ut 7eo7le ;ere afraid that *ilson had his 7riorities 6ac8;ards. This is an eAa@7le of a to7ic of 7erennial and 7ro7er hu@an concern. 2a;yers as8, in 2atin, Cui bono=7 a Euestion that often stri8es at the heart of i@7ortant issues? *ho 6enefits fro@ this @atterG The sa@e issue arises in evolutionary theory, ;here the counter7art of *ilson-s actual dictu@ ;ould 6e? I*hat-s good for the 6ody is good for the genes and vice versa.I 4y and large, 6iologists ;ould agree, this @ust 6e true. The fate of a 6ody and the fate of its genes are tightly lin8ed. 4ut they are not 7erfectly coincident. *hat a6out those cases ;hen 7ush co@es to shove, and the interests of the 6ody (long life, ha77iness, co@fort, etc." conflict ;ith the interests of the genesG This Euestion ;as al;ays latent in the @odern synthesis. 0nce genes had 6een identified as the things ;hose differential re7lication ;as res7onsi6le for all the design change in the 6ios7here, the Euestion ;as unavoida6le, 6ut for a long ti@e theorists could 6e lulled, li8e Charles *ilson, ;ith the re > flection that 6y and large ;hat ;as good for the ;hole ;as good for the 7art and vice versa. 4ut then .eorge *illia@s (1 !! " dre; attention to the Eues> tion, and 7eo7le 6egan to realiJe that it had 7rofound i@7lications for our understanding of evolution. Da;8ins @ade the 7oint unforgetta6le 6y fra@> ing it in ter@s of the conce7t of the selfish gene (1 $!", 7ointing out that fro@ the gene-s I7oint of vie;,I a 6ody ;as a sort of survival @achine created to enhance the gene-s chances of continued re7lication. The old Panglossianis@ had di@ly thought in ter@s of ada7tations 6eing for Ithe good of the s7eciesI# *illia@s, Maynard S@ith, Da;8ins, and others sho;ed that Ifor the good of the organis@I ;as Dust as @yo7ic a 7ers7ective as Ifor the good of the s7eciesI had 6een. +n order to see this, one had to ado7t a still @ore undeluded 7ers7ective, the gene-s 7ers7ective, and as8 ;hat ;as good for the genes. At first it does see@ hard>6oiled, coldhearted, ruthless. +t re@inds @e, in fact, of that hac8neyed rule of thu@6 @ade fa@ous in hard>6oiled @ystery stories? cherche: la femmeAHloo8 for the ;o@anL $ The idea is that, as any tough>@inded, ;orldly>;ise detective should 8no;, the 8ey that unloc8s your @ystery ;ill involve so@e ;o@an or other in so@e ;ay or other. Pro6a6ly 6ad advice, even in the styliJed and unrealistic ;orld of ;hodunits. 4etter advice, clai@ the gene centrists, is cherche: le -eneA *e sa; a good eAa@7le of this in the account in cha7ter

$. The original or at least 7ri@ary source of Bcherche: la femmeAB is AleAandre Du@as-s (that-s Du@as pere7 not filsJ novel 'es Mohicans de aris7 in ;hich the ins7ector, M. Mac8al, enunciates the 7rinci7le several ti@es. The re@ar8 has also 6een attri6uted to Talleyrand and others. (Than8s to Mustin 2ei6er for the scholarly sleuthing."


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Cui Bono=


of David Haig-s sleuthing, 6ut there are hundreds or thousands of others that could 6e cited. (Cronin 1 1 and Matt )idley 1 ( survey the history of this research u7 to the 7resent." *henever you have an evolutionary 7uJJle, the gene-s>eye 7ers7ective is a7t to yield a solution in ter@s of so@e gene or other 6eing favored for one reason or other. +nsofar as ada7tations are @anifestly for the good of the organis@ (the eagle>as>organis@ surely 6enefits fro@ its eagle>eye and eagle>;ing", this is largely for the *ilsonian reason? ;hat-s good for the genes is good for the ;hole organis@. 4ut ;hen 7ush co@es to shove, ;hat-s good for the genes deter@ines ;hat the future ;ill hold. They are, after all, the re7licators ;hose varying 7ros7ects in the self>re7lication co@7etitions set the ;hole 7rocess of evolution in @otion, and 8ee7 it in @otion. This 7ers7ective, so@eti@es called gene centris@, or the gene-s>eye 7oint of vie;, has 7rovo8ed a great deal of criticis@, @uch of it @isguided. 3or instance, it is often said that gene centrism is Ireductionistic.I So it is7 in the good sense. That is, it shuns s8yhoo8s, and insists that all lifting in Design S7ace @ust 6e done 6y cranes. 4ut as ;e sa; in cha7ter (, so@eti@es 7eo7le use Ireductionis@I to refer to the vie; that one should IreduceI all science, or all eA7lanations, to so@e lo;est levelHthe @olecular level or the ato@ic or su6ato@ic level (6ut 7ro6a6ly no6ody has ever es7oused this variety of reductionis@, for it is @anifestly silly". +n any event, gene centris@ is triu@7hantly non>reductionistic, in that sense of the ter@. *hat could 6e less reductionistic (in that sense of the ter@" than eA7laining the 7resence of, say, a 7articular a@ino>acid @olecule in a 7articular location in a 7articular 6ody 6y citing, not so@e other @olecular>level facts, 6ut, rather, the fact that the 6ody in Euestion ;as a fe@ale in a s7ecies that 7rovides 7rolonged care for its youngG The gene-s>eye 7oint of vie; eA7lains things in ter@s of the intricate interactions 6et;een long>range, large>scale ecological facts, long> ter@ historical facts, and local, @olecular>level facts. ,atural selection is not a force that IactsI at one levelHfor instance7 the @olecular level as o77osed to the 7o7ulation level or organis@ level. ,atural selection occurs 6ecause a su@ of events, of all sorts and siJes, has a 7articular statistically descri6a6le outco@e. The 6lue ;hale teeters on the 6rin8 of eAtinction# if it goes eAtinct, a 7articularly @agnificent and al@ost i@7ossi6le to re7lace set of volu@es in the 2i6rary of Mendel ;ill cease to have eAtant co7ies, 6ut the factor that 6est eA7lains ;hy those characteristic chro@oso@es, or collections of D,A nucleotide seEuences, vanish fro@ the earth @ight 6e a virus that so@eho; directly attac8ed the D,A>re7licating @achinery in the ;hales, a stray co@et landing near the 7od of the survivors at Dust the ;rong ti@e, or a surfeit of television 7u6licity, causing curious hu@ans to interfere catastro7hically ;ith their 6reeding ha6itsL There is al;ays a gene-s>eye descri7tion of every evolutionary effect, 6ut the @ore i@7ortant Euestion is ;hether such a descri7tion @ight often

6e @ere I6oo88ee7ingI (and as unillu@inating as a @olecular>level 6oA score of a 6ase6all ga@e". *illia@ *i@satt (1 %=" introduced the ter@ I6oo88ee7ingI to refer to the fact, agreed to on all sides, that the genes are the storehouse of infor@ation on genetic change, leaving it de6ata6le ;hether the gene>centered vie; ;as <ust 6oo88ee7ing, a charge that has often 6een @ade (e.g., 6y .ould 1 'a". .eorge *illia@s (1 %9, 7. &" acce7ts the la6el 6ut vigorously defends the i@7ortance of 6oo88ee7ing? IThe idea that 6oo88ee7ing has 6een ta8ing 7lace in the 7ast is ;hat gives the theory of natural selection its @ost i@7ortant 8ind of 7redictive 7o;er.I (See 4uss 1 %$, es7ecially 77. 1$&ff., for i@7ortant reflections on this clai@." The clai@ that the gene>centrist 7ers7ective is 6est, or @ost i@7ortant, is not a clai@ a6out the i@7ortance of @olecular 6iology, 6ut a6out so@ething @ore a6stract? a6out ;hich level does the @ost eA7lanatory ;or8 under @ost conditions. Philoso7hers of 6iology have 7aid @ore close attention, and @ade @ore su6stantive contri6utions, to the analysis of this issue than to any other in evolutionary theory. + have Dust @entioned *i@satt, and there are othersH to 7ic8 Dust so@e of the 6est, David Hull ( 1 %=", /lliot So6er (1 %1a", and 5i@ Sterelny and Phili7 5itcher (1 %%". 0ne reason 7hiloso7hers have 6een attracted to the Euestion is surely its a6>stractness and conce7tual intricacy. Thin8ing a6out it soon gets you into dee7 Euestions a6out ;hat it is to eA7lain so@ething, ;hat causation is, ;hat a level is, and so forth. This is one of the 6rightest areas in recent 7hiloso7hy of science# the scientists have 7aid res7ectful attention to their 7hiloso7hical colleagues, and have had that attention re7aid ;ith 8no;ledgea6le and ;ell>co@@unicated analyses and argu@ents 6y the 7hiloso7hers, to ;hich the scientists in turn have res7onded ;ith discussions of their o;n of @ore than ;or8aday 7hiloso7hical significance. +t is a rich harvest, and + find it hard to tear @yself a;ay fro@ it ;ithout giving a 7ro7er introduction to the su6tleties in the issues, all the @ore so 6ecause + have strongly held o7inions a6out ;here the 6ul8 of the ;isdo@ lies ;ith these controversies, 6ut + have a different agenda here, ;hich is, curiously enough, to drain the drama fro@ the@. They are eAcellent scientific and 7hiloso7hical 7ro6le@s, 6ut no @atter ho; they co@e out, their ans;ers ;on-t have the i@7act that so@e have feared. (This ;ill 6e a to7ic of further discussion in cha7ter 1!." The tantaliJing recursions and reflections of evolutionary eA7lanation are reason enough for 7hiloso7hers to 7ay close attention to the units>of>selection controversy, 6ut another reason it has attracted so @uch attention is surely the reflection ;ith ;hich ;e 6egan this section? 7eo7le feel threatened 6y the gene-s>eye 7ers7ective for the sa@e reason they felt threatened 6y Charles *ilson-s allegiance to .eneral Motors. Peo7le ;ant to 6e in charge of their o;n destinies# they ta8e the@selves to 6e 6oth the deciders


C0,T)01/)S+/S C0,TA+,/D

Cut Bono=


and the 7rinci7al 6eneficiaries of their decisions, and @any are afraid that Dar;inis@, in its gene>centered version, ;ill undercut their assurance on that score. They are a7t to see Da;8ins- vivid 7icture of organis@s as @ere vehicles created to carry a gaggle of genes into future vehicles as intellectual assault and 6attery. So one reason, + venture, ;hy organis@>level and grou7>level 7ers7ectives are so freEuently hailed as a ;orthy o77onent to the gene>level 7ers7ective is the 6ac8ground thoughtHnever articulatedH that we are organis@s (and ;e live in grou7s that @atter to us"Hand ;e don-t ;ant our interests 7laying second fiddle to any othersL My hunch is, in other ;ords, that ;e ;ouldn-t care ;hether 7ine trees or hu@@ing6irds ;ere I@ere survival @achinesI for their genes if it ;eren-t for our realiJation that ;e 6ear the sa@e relation to our genes that they 6ear to theirs. +n the neAt cha7ter, + ;ant to 7ut that ;orry to rest 6y sho;ing that this is really not soL 0ur relationshi7 to our genes is i@7ortantly different fro@ the relationshi7 of any other s7ecies to its genesH6ecause ;hat !e are is not Dust ;hat ;e as a s7ecies are. This ;ill 7ull the 7lug, draining all the anAiety out of the still fascinating and unresolved conce7tual Euestions a6out ho; to thin8 a6out the units of selection, 6ut 6efore + turn to that tas8, + @ust @a8e sure the threatening as7ect of the issue is @ade clear, and several co@@on @isconce7tions are cleared u7. Perha7s the @ost @isguided criticis@ of gene centris@ is the freEuently heard clai@ that genes si@7ly cannot have interests (Midgley 1 $ , 1 %(, Stove 1 '". This criticis@, if ta8en seriously, ;ould lead us to discard a treasury of insights, 6ut it is flatly @ista8en. /ven if genes could not act on their interests in Dust the ;ay ;e can act on ours, they can surely have the@, in a sense that is uncontroversial and clear. +f a 6ody 7olitic, or .eneral Motors, can have interests, so can genes. <ou can do so@ething for your o;n sa8e, or for the sa8e of the children, or for the sa8e of art, or for the sa8e of de@ocracy, or for the sa8e of... 7eanut 6utter. + find it hard to i@agine ;hy any6ody ;ould want to 7ut the ;ell>6eing and further flourishing of 7eanut 6utter a6ove all else, 6ut 7eanut 6utter can 6e 7ut on the 7edestal Dust as readily as art or the children can. 0ne could even decideHthough it ;ould 6e a strange choiceHthat the thing one ;anted @ost to 7rotect and enhance, even at the cost of one-s o;n life, ;as one-s o;n genes. ,o sane person ;ould @a8e such a decision. As .eorge *illia@s (1 %%, 7. &=(" says, IThere is no conceiva6le Dustification for any 7ersonal concern ;ith the interests (long>ter@ average 7roliferation " of the genes ;e received in the lottery of @eiosis and fertiliJation.I 4ut that doesn-t @ean that there aren-t forces 6ent on furthering the sa8es or interests of genes. +n fact, until Euite recently, genes ;ere the 7rinci7al 6eneficiaries of all the selective forces on the 7lanet. That is to say, there ;ere no forces ;hose principal 6eneficiary ;as anything else. There ;ere accidents and catastrophes (lightning 6olts and tidal ;aves", 6ut no stead" forces acting syste@atically to favor anything 6ut genes.

To ;hose interests is the actual Idecision>@a8ingI of natural selection @ost directly res7onsiveG +t is not controversial that conflicts 6et;een genes and 6odies (6et;een genes and the 7henoty7ic eA7ressions of the genoty7es of ;hich they are a 7ro7er 7art" can arise. Moreover, no one dou6ts that in general the 6ody-s clai@ to 6e considered the 7rinci7al 6eneficiary la7ses as soon as it has co@7leted its 7rocreational @ission. 0nce the sal@on have fought their ;ay u7strea@ and successfully s7a;ned, they are dead @eat. They literally fall a7art, 6ecause there is no e%olutionar" pressure in favor of any of the design revisions that @ight 7revent the@ fro@ falling a7art, giving the@ nice long grand7arent>retire@ent 7eriods li8e those @any of us get to enDoy. +n general, the 6ody is thus only an instru@ental, and hence secondary, 6eneficiary of the IdecisionsI @ade 6y natural selection. This is true throughout the 6ios7here, revealed in a 7attern ;ith a fe; i@7ortant variations. +n @any 7hyla, 7arents die 6efore their offs7r