Romana's Extro def, continued (was Re: Stephen Jay Gould and Pro

Michael Butler (
Thu, 9 Jan 1997 13:34:59 PST

Damien said...
no correlation between complexity and species longevity. The argument seems
solid. It has little bearing, of course, on purely cultural change, which
is why the Spike will be the product of memes - the `Lamarckian' units of
human minds and passions - rather than the raw contest of genes.

Stuart Kauffman, who represents the alternative point of view, insists that
self-organisation is a hallmark of life in our universe.

I say:
And this conflation is close to the root of my problem with the
working definition for Extropy recently floated by Romana here and on
her Web site.

I wrote a little essay on something I called the "Bacterium
Coefficient" that I think is relevant--I'll try to find time to post
it here soon. In a nutshell, I'd phrase it in this context as:
"1. Is a successful monoculture a 'living system'?
2. If so, what is its level of Quality (value) compared to other 'living systems'?"

It turns out to have consequences in the "art vs. survival" war.

Anybody here read Pirsig's _Lila_? He posits four regimes of Quality,
enough different from each other that "strong" reductionism misses 3/4 of what
is going on...

MMB, at but not for OCC