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Stan Salthe Re Runnegar & Natural Selection

Stan Salthe Re Runnegar & Natural Selection

Binghamton University philosopher and zoologist Stan Salthe reacts to Ex NASA Astrobiology Institute Chief Bruce Runnegar's notion of natural selection.

Thoughts triggered by Dr. Durt's description of his interests. Darwinism is today a wildly
popular bandwagon / buzzword. In "quantum Darwinism", I am wondering if it really embodies all the aspects of Darwinism, which would include:

(1) competition between types (not individuals)

(2) replication of types, so that selection is not just for stability, but for reproductive

Given this, while we can see many examples of selection in nature -- for example, selection of a drainage system by an accumulating body of water -- these are not Darwinian selection What is selected here are individuals, and reproduction is not involved.

So, my question to Dr. Durt is: Is 'quantum Darwinism' really a type of Darwinism, or does
it merely refer to a more general selection effect. The logic is {selection {Darwinian

The reason I raise this is that Darwinian selection is politically marked. It is, one might say, a key part of the mythology of capitalism, and the global capitalist growth economy is clearly a major cause of our looming environmental disaster. -- STAN SALTHE

Welcome to Thomas Durt!

1. Name: Thomas Durt

2. Email address (to be used on Google Groups):

3. City (or cities) and country (or countries) of residence: Brussels Belgium

4. Personal and/or professional websites (if any): and

5. Education, experience, or affiliations relevant to EDU Themes or Questions (1 paragraph or more): My research field concerns Foundational Aspects of Quantum Mechanics, therefore I am interestedin the so-called Quantum Darwinism developed by Zurek, that mixes the idea of natural selection and of emergence of a world view. This topic is relevant to at least two EUD themes: Evolutionary and developmental processes in non-biological systems (physical, chemical, cultural, technological) and Information theory of evolution and development, intelligence theory at the universe and subsystem scales.

6. Research interests with respect to EDU Themes or Questions (1 paragraph or more): The way we think is of course related to the way the universe functions, but it is not clear for me how these two aspects of reality (our conceptions about the world and the laws that rule this world) coexist and influence each other.

We physicists tend to believe in the universality of our theories but nothing is less sure. I always asked to myself naive questions like: What is the world picture of a dolphin, or of a fly? What is the mathematics of bees? ..Besides, it is certain that sophisticated theories like Quantum Mechanics tell us something fundamental about the world we live in, and it was a great achievement for the human mind to be able to reveal such laws. Now, the quantum world seems sometimes to be so counterintuitive that it even contradicts our every day representation of the physical world.

The quantum darwinism suggests that throughout evolution, we elaborated a classical picture of the world we belong to, because this picture offered more benefits from an informational point of view in comparison to a quantum picture/representation of reality. This idea that species, while they evolve and differentiate develop certain senses and become blind to certain aspects of reality, is very interesting to me, also from a philosophical point of view.

Sophisticated theories like quantum mechanics and relativity, as well as the accompanying technological developments (sensors, measuring devices and so on) would constitute extensions of our natural senses that broaden and refine our world view...

7. Publications (peer-reviewed, trade, or other) related to EDU Themes or Questions: T. Durt, Z. Nat., 59 A, Quantum entanglement, interaction, and the classical limit (2004) 425.


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