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July 11th, 2005 - Off in the distance
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The Bellinghman
Date: 2005-07-11 13:52
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Evolution is not a process which uses much in the way of feedback.

Well, there certainly is feedback, but it works purely on the basis that if the effect of genes in the organism is to promote the spread of those genes, then those genes are the ones that get spread.

(Yes, it's the oxymoronic 'survival of the fittest' restated. But great truths are often oxymoronic.)

What this means is that there is a very slow feedback process. A new gene may code for a protein that does something. That something may produce a physical effect. But the only way the gene 'learns' is if there is a next generation with lots of members, or no next generation at all. The physical effect itself can have no way of reflecting back to the gene itself. So, for example, brightly coloured flowers can't see their own colours.

And a new example, as mentioned in the BBC article: Deep-sea animal hunts with light. It's a creature that uses light to attract its prey, but is itself blind, and therefore has no concept of light.
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