Monday, October 18, 2010

How instinctive strategies have evolved

Excerpt from: Stomatopod Deceptive Use of Reputation, Roy L Caldwell, In: Deception: Perspectives on Human and Non-Human Deceit. R. W. Mitchell and N. S. Thompson, eds., State University of New York Press, pp. 129-145.

"The use of reputation and bluff in stomatopods should not be viewed as conscious acts.  Rather, they are the product of natural selection operating on probabilities of performance and response.  The selective equation has balanced over many generations the costs and benefits of generating, as well as accepting or discounting, signals that correlate with the probable outcome of a contest.   The resulting product is further tuned by experience and by the degree to which information so derived is available and accurate.
I hope that by demonstrating the occurrence of such supposedly complex mechanisms as reputation and bluff in relatively simple animals such as stomatopods, I can suggest the existence of similar processes producing "deceptive" interactions in more sophisticated animals whose sensory and integrative capacities make objective analysis much more difficult."

My comment:  Note how the writer avoids direct reference to the heritability of the lessons of experience, yet at the same time lays out fairly clearly how it leads to to the evolvement of non-conscious strategizing in a species.

Excerpt from: A 21st Century View of Evolution,
James A. Shapiro
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology,
University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637

"Molecular genetics has amply confirmed McClintock's discovery that living organisms actively reorganize their genomes (5). It has also supported her view that the genome can "sense danger" and respond accordingly (56). The recognition of the fundamentally biological nature of genetic change and of cellular potentials for information processing frees our thinking about evolution. In particular, our conceptual formulations are no longer dependent on the operation of stochastic processes. Thus, we can now envision a role for computational inputs and adaptive feedbacks into the evolution of life as a complex system. Indeed, it is possible that we will eventually see such information-processing capabilities as essential to life itself."

My comment: To "sense danger" equates to a suspicion of potential harm.  We can see how the necessity for a strategic response has evolved in the complex strategies  of "deceptive interactions" employed by the stomatopods.  So did the strategies produce the forms, or the forms select the strategies?  The answer should be obvious.

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