METAZOA, Animal life and the birth of the mind, Peter Godfey-Smith

Accept what point? You say that artificial breeding is a random process and I disagree with that specific statement.
I am not talking about inbreeding.

Artificial Selection: Breeding for Desirable Traits

Charles Darwin invented the term, not the process

Updated on March 04, 2018

Artificial selection is the process of breeding animals for their desirable traits by an outside source other than the organism itself or natural selection. Unlike natural selection, artificial selection is not random and is controlled by the desires of humans.

Animals, both domesticated and wild animals that are now in captivity, are often subjected to artificial selection by humans to achieve the ideal pet in terms of looks and demeanor or a combination of both.

more … Artificial Selection: Breeding for Desirable Traits

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I didn’t say anything about inbreeding depression. No wonder you think everyone is wrong, you make up what we say

That is a product of inbreeding depression. Unpredictable consequences of “artificial” selection. That goes back to what I was saying about complex chaotic systems being irreducible.

Alright, I learned a new term. But I’m not sure it applies here. They are purposely breeding for the flat nose. It’s predictable that the nose won’t work well.


Yes but lausten pointed out a negative consequence of inbreeding.

I will give it another shot. No mutations no selection. Now you do get some variation through sexual reproduction. But the initial source of that variation is mutations. Even if you are talking about asexual reproduction where in theory every division is an exact copy of the previous organism, adaptation takes place through errors in reproductive fidelity.

Let’s say I’m trying to produce a dog that is good at pointing birds. I look around and I see some are good at finding birds so I breed them with each other. Then I find some that stand still when they find them so I breed those. Now I have a pointing dog. The question is what made some have more of the traits I wanted than others from the same litter. Part of it is just the way genes mix in the reproductive process by chance. Part of it is due to actual randomness where mutations have popped up that enhance the existing traits. Nature is providing the variations and I’m just selecting the ones I want. To me calling it an artificial process is kind of species-centric. That is why I suggested we move on to genetic engineering at least that is more “artificial”. I suppose that pretty soon they will actually produce a new species.

I knew you were going to say that but you don’t like long winded answers :slight_smile:

I think you will find there were a lot of other negative and unpredictable consequences to inbreeding.

The reason I brought up out breeding depression is that you get that too with domestication. To prevent the problems with inbreeding sometimes you resort to out breeding. Here there are unpredictable consequences that result in the diminishment of the traits you were inbreeding for. The point is the unpredictable nature of complex chaotic systems.

I was really hoping that citizenchallengev4 would join us because we need more than three perspectives. Was it something I said? This kind of thing is only useful if there are disagreements. The more the merrier. I guess I could ask one of the chat-bots what it replies to the role of mutations in domestication?

He’ll jump in when he feels right.

Let me say that in general your perspective that “change” is due to genetic mutation from a range of causes, such as genetic damage, drift, etc.

When do genetic mutations happen?

Genetic mutations occur during cell division when your cells divide and replicate. There are two types of cell division:

  • Mitosis: The process of making new cells for your body. During mitosis, your genes instruct your cells to split into two by making a copy of your chromosomes.
  • Meiosis: The process of making egg and sperm cells for the next generation. During meiosis, chromosomes copy themselves with half the amount of chromosomes as the original (from 46 to 23). That’s how you’re able to get your genetic material equally from each parent.

How do genetic mutations lead to genetic variations?

A genetic mutation is a change to a gene’s DNA sequence to produce something different. It creates a permanent change to that gene’s DNA sequence.

Genetic variations are important for humans to evolve, which is the process of change over generations. A sporadic genetic mutation occurs in one person. That person passes their genetic mutation onto their children (hereditary), and it continues for generations. If the mutation improves that person’s chance of survival, or freedom from disease, then it begins being passed through generations and spread through the population. As the mutation passes from generation to generation, it becomes a normal part of the human genome and evolves from a gene variant into a normal gene.

more… What is a Genetic Mutation? Definition & Types

I will quote a Yale Professor who’s lectures on evolution for medical students I watched. “meiosis is a fair game”. He went on to make a “strange” aside, that is the secret of Democracy. I doubt that any of his students had any idea what he was talking about and thought he had gone off the rails.

I completely agree with him that the secret behind democracy is bottom up design or solutions without comprehension.

The question here is how much comprehension is required to engage in domestication. How much freewill does the breeder have? How much comprehension is require to have a degree of “freewill”. Are both “freewill” and consciousness a kind of delusion?

And that’s where microtubules come in.

In response to the question about selective cancellation of information in the brain, there are several examples that clearly show the evolution of the brain’s refined ability to “experience” and control (suppress) sensory “observation”.

Example can be found in eye-movement. While moving your eyes, your brain has learned to suppress all information and effectively go “blind” until the eye has refocused on the new object. This is to imprint a single frame rather than a “moving streak” . Discovering how this is done and used, will go a long way in understanding the “hard questions” about the evolution of the complex brain.

You: “How does the brain suppress the streaking of shifting frames?”


When we shift our gaze or move our eyes rapidly, our brain employs several mechanisms to suppress the streaking or blurring of visual information. Let’s explore some of these processes:

  1. Neuroplasticity and Adaptation:
  • The brain’s remarkable ability to adapt and change, known as neuroplasticity, plays a crucial role.
  • Neurons in the primary motor cortex (located in the frontal lobes) control voluntary movements. Different areas of this cortex correspond to specific body parts, forming a “body map” called the homunculus.
  • When we shift our gaze, the motor cortex adjusts its activity to smoothly transition from one visual target to another. This adaptation prevents streaking or jerky movements1.

This is but one of the evolved “sensory control programs” (via natural selection) that sets the modern brain apart from the earliest light-patch sensory observation and excitatory stimulation from the difference between “lightness and darkness”.

In the area of sensing mechanical and neural “differential equations”, the original bacterial cilia may well be the beginning of the use of “action potentials” that trigger physical responses to both internal and external electrochemical imbalances.

Excitatory and inhibitory processes in the brain have the following differences12345:

  • Excitatory neurons release neurotransmitters that fire an action potential in the postsynaptic neuron.
  • Inhibitory neurons release neurotransmitters that inhibit the firing of an action potential.
  • Excitatory neurotransmitters increase the trans-membrane ion flow of the post-synaptic neuron, while inhibitory neurotransmitters decrease it.
  • Inhibitory signals promote calmness and relaxation, while excitatory signals promote alertness and arousal.

In a philosophical sense, evolution is not causal, but the result of natural selection for “survivability and contribution to the local and general gene-pool”


I’m busy :grin: :raising_hand_man:

Though I woke up early and just had a chance to read most of this thread.

“Randomness” in biology is a slippery slope, more philosophy than anything. I did discover a fascinating article which makes sense to me, since it mentions many things others overlook. Long article that I’ll have to reread some other time, lots to process.



Thanks for taking the time to respond. I enjoyed the article and it does help clarify some of the deeper questions. I’m more of the autistic/deterministic type for whom the question of creating meaning in life has never been a problem. Whatever I happen to be doing is meaningful.

You may be surprised to learn I don’t have that much of a problem with the authors point. One things he may be missing is that Dennett is a compatibalist. The author may be ignoring to some extent that compatibalism is incompatible with determinism. It turns out that Dennett’s entire body of work is to show that determinism is compatible with “freewill”. What he calls the intentional stance.

What I have been trying to do, and it seem with little success, is to show that there is a relationship between randomness and freewill. That it is also the source of “natural” as opposed to “artificial” intelligence. I used quantum computing as an example that while difficult to understand because of the technology is in the end a simple concept.

When Dennett says that consciousness is kind of an illusion he is trying to tie the physical to the way we experience reality. His point is to avoid the confusion introduced by “the big questions”. In a way it is the same thing that Plato was doing when he said that the idea of a thing is more real than the thing itself. I put it another way, the abstract becomes real by interaction with physical reality through cultural evolution. That takes us to randomness.

The question isn’t if randomness is real but rather if it is a useful tool that culturally evolved. It is an abstraction that has become real through interaction with physical reality in the same way that the abstraction of zero is real. You could even argue that if the universe was actually random it couldn’t exist. But that is one of those “big questions” that get in the way of what we can comprehend.

What I disagree on about Dennett’s narrative is the question of emergence. Why he doesn’t take the same approach to emergence he takes to other issues I don’t understand. I think it is tied to his humanity. Dennett’s problem with religion isn’t so much that it is a superstition but that it is dehumanizing. It is illustrated by his creation of a group to help pastors that have lost their faith. Dennett simply believes religion creates a lot of unnecessary misery. In his usual fashion he sides steps the “big question” of God’s existence. The flaw is in his idea that humans are somehow special. Emergence doesn’t actually explain that. As I said it is more a stand in for ignorance. So is randomness, zero and freewill. When it comes to the question of the specialness of humans a tautology is actual appropriate. Humans are special because we “believe” they are. It becomes real through interaction with physical reality. Without that belief social organization become impossible and that is all we need to know. The authors casual dismissal of philosophy may actually be a mistake.

I enjoy reading your ideas and am impressed, there are a lot of posers (regarding serious student of life) that come along, but you seem for real to me. Now that doesn’t mean I agree with all you write, much doesn’t make sense to me, because I’m coming at all this from a way different direction.

This is all about my own personal process to make sense of the world around me and my own unique character, from time I was a toddler. I didn’t go to college, I was not disciplined, I wanted to get out and live and experience and I did. My “academic” education started with my Oma, whom we spent weeks worth, over the course of the years of our grade school years.

With some decades old Encyclopedia Britannica collection, she introduced me to Earth sciences and the, at that time 1958ish-1965ish, mysteries that had baffled mankind since forever. I think of that. (Parents and home reinforced the curiosity and learning loving attitude) I belong to the last generation that could still imagine a limitless Earth, containing unexplored regions and ageless questions - and recognize as much, while most seem to be oblivious. I’ve personally tasted the experience of the age old staring at the untouchable moon, only to see it walked on when I was a young teenager.

{It’s like today flying and noticing how few seems to have any appreciation for the layers of amazing wonder at work, from functioning airports, to the flight of planes, to getting in and out of the sky without crashing. None of it registers to so, so many. All most want and dream of is consuming as much as possible, it’s so unconnected to physical reality I could, hell sometimes do, cry. }

Over the following years I became personally invested learning more about the tectonics revolution, discovery of antibiotics & DNA was still a big things, and all the promises, and space race and all the promises, etc, etc. Watching a wonderment gave way to understanding that got ever deeper, without getting close to the full depth.

I got my high school diploma and ran to the mountains and living and women and wandering and learning on my own, including many biographies of the great men and women of history and science and psychology and politic - to satisfy my own curiosity. Always working my problem for myself, trying to understand who I was, why I was here? And what the heck the purpose was of this whole crazy world was.

So when you write stuff like “Dennett is a compatibilist” it’s like, sure, if you say so. But his writing (and I’ve listen/read to a couple books and some articles ) for all the interesting they’ve been, it has never inspired me to spend the kind of time studying his words to be able to make an intelligent comment on them.

I’ll leave that to others who have done the homework - and then trust their work according to my BS-meter and RedFlag-indicator.

The first part of that makes sense to me, in a way.
Still, I don’t think “randomness” is the term you’re looking for, . . .
As for “freewill” over the past couple years I’ve learned to recognize how utterly contrived that entire “freewill” debate has gotten. It start with the fact choices must be made, and outcomes are unpredictable, but moment and direction can be influences.

Plus I think Mark Solms and others who talk about “FREE WON’T” provide a much more humanely constructive way of looking at this “Free Will” challenge to sanity.

I’m about to turn 69 and find my time is more crowded than ever, with much less time for hanging out at CFI, though some of the dialogues, and intellectual stuff I’m working on remains ever churning and evolving in my mind.

September 2020

At I have a little series that tries to describe what I’m working on, at the time I was still hoping for some connections, real feedback and discuss like stuff I experienced while tramping around in the '70s & '80s. Didn’t pan out that way, and I’ve come not to worry about much anymore, I’ve done the hard work, the figuring it out, now it’s down to trying to write about it in a way that makes sense to people who are still trapped within their mind’s bubble and simply incapable of imaging the reality around themselves without themselves in it.

They can’t image their minds as something flowing over the top of a physical, biological/geological reality, that’s solid as heck all around us. Deeply appreciating that Earth’s evolution proceed down one specific path, even through the future was and will always be full of infinite possibilities, only one reality will survive the moment and become part of the past. And that I am a creature, blessed with a body and brain - that can observe, experience and produce a mind such as ours.

Everything else is happening within our minds doing the best it can with what it has, no matter which body it is fated to be part of.

Human Mind ~ Physical/biological reality

In a way it’s trivial, still it’s the foundation we are built upon.

Wolfhnd, what school of thought that might resemble I don’t know and am not particular concerned with at this point - what I am concerned with is writing clearly enough for future readers who have been forced to shed the delusions so many we love and respect cling to today.

If you want to get a better idea of what I’m wresting with, here’s the state of affairs back in 2022, I don’t disavow any of it, in fact the cascading consequence of this perspective keep getting deeper and more relevant.

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Or to put it more succinctly,
I believe in a bottom up evolutionary understanding and perspective

I can’t take any philosophy seriously that doesn’t explicitly acknowledge and incorporate a modern evolutionary perspective, along with a profound appreciation for the fact that we are evolved biological creatures, and our body/brain produces our mind & sense of self - as a first base fundamental.

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When I have time I will read some of your links.

To start with I agree that we don’t have time to read all the references people throw at us. I try not to make too many appeals to authority but rather present ideas as I understand them. It exposes your vulnerabilities, your humanity if you like.

Everyone has something to teach us. We don’t come to these forums to hear the opinions of experts but to see how other people interpret what they have read or experienced. As you say we avoid the “posers”, the people that are not genuine. Exposing the posers is what lausten is doing when he says things such as he said to me that he thinks I may be a secret theist. That tells me a lot about how he thinks and that helps in communication. If I understand you right that is why you are here, to be a better communicator. To get a better understanding of how other people think or see the world. It seems like a reasonable purpose to me.

One of the things that I think I have observed about you is the idea that people come before ideas? That any idea that is dehumanizing is “wrong” in some fundamental sense. If that is the case I agree that it is a good starting point. A proper frame of reference. Without really understanding you all I would add is that there are practical limitations on how open you can afford to be.

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Tru da, …

Gotta run, my little lady got just a stinky to clean up, oh oops too much info? :wink:

It is a lot easier to have a conversation with someone like you that have laid their “philosophy” out in some detail. I’m afraid I have no blog that you could refer to so it puts you at a disadvantage. I will however create a topic here we can continue talking in. If you would rather not then have lausten remove it.

I’m looking forward to it.


For what it’s worth Hoffman really gets into the weeds and frankly his words and intellectual dishonesty irritated the heck out of me, he’s a scamming self-serving man in my eye, whereas Steve Daut and his book “Buddha Science” seemed a way more honest approach to me, plus he keeps it simple so I enjoyed going through my review of his book and I like that I could be much less antagonistic then confrontation Hoffman’s BS.