Re: predictions if wave passed here

From: David Blenkinsop (
Date: Wed Oct 18 2000 - 08:37:40 MDT

Earlier, Robin Hanson wrote:

> Hal Finney wrote:
> >Selection/evolution plays no part in determining the fate of colonies
> >which have fallen behind the wave. Their behavior is unselected-for.
> >There is no selection pressure to favor colonies which hold onto the
> >systems after launching seeds (once the frontier has become unreachable).
> Imagine a group of humans trapped in a sub on the bottom of the sea,
> with no chance of rescue. I suppose you could say that their behavior
> is unselected for. And in one sense you'd be right. But in another
> sense not . . evolution would have
> encouraged their ancestors to try to escape, even when things seemed
> hopeless.
> Colonists fallen behind the traveling wave still have a non-zero chance
> of making it back to the front. If that is how they think of their
> situation, they might still try as hard as possible to move forward fast.

Yikes! So, you're saying that the settlers left behind might *fail* to
settle, and would instead commit suicide in a drive for still greater
reproductive success. This is quite *unlike* your submarine analogy
where just sitting still is suicide!

Myself, now that I better understand what Robin Hanson is saying here, I
find that I think the whole Cosmic Commons thing is utter nonsense!
In effect, the whole idea is at odds with other comments that Robin has
made in the past, about the likely inevitability of life's successfully
colonizing all sorts of niches? So, maybe you've got some folks running
lemminglike for the frontier, this is no argument for a total lack of
"stay at home" settlers. Maybe this amounts to some sort of strange
assumption that selection could *elimate* variation?

David Blenkinsop <>

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Mon May 28 2001 - 09:50:17 MDT