Re: Evolution, the central dogma and mutation (was Re:

Timothy Bates (
Mon, 01 Mar 1999 15:14:11 +1100

hi Adrian,

> Tim, my friend, you have almost totally ignored my question about emergent
> phenomena (all the really interesting phenomena seem to be,
> awareness, philosophy, politics, music, art, etc.).

Yes. I don;t see it as skirting, because I simply don't believe they have "emerged". I think that they entirely reduce to their proximal cause(s) - DNA or whatever. Nothing more is added from anywhere.

> DNA is to them as metallurgists are to bullets, they are necessary as a first
> step, but a whole additional level of structure and development is required.

Metallurgists actions plus properties of alloys are a complete and total explanation of bullet's. Bullets are a consequence of these two things and to say the bullet "emerges" from them is redundant.

Often people will say some ethereal property (like wetness) emerges from things (like hydrogen and oxygen joining to form water). They criticize physicist's explanations of water for "leaving out the wetness", but, as Daniel Dennett notes using exactly this example, that is the whole point. Physical explanations do just that, they _explain_ the wetness - that is why they leave it out.