Re: The Blind Watchmaker

From: HARNAD Stevan (
Date: Fri Jun 07 1996 - 22:36:00 BST

> From: "Gates, James" <>
> Date: Tue, 28 May 1996 11:31:56 +0100 (BST)
> The blind watchmaker is not a person, just a process. The expression
> is used to explain that a process randonly alters and amends
> creatures. In this way the creatures may survive or perish, depending
> if the creature, can survive in the enviroment.

What about genes, which are the carriers of this changes?

> The creatures most
> adapted to the enviroment, survive, and are more likely to dominate
> over other variations. This random process of variation, has been
> going on since the beginning of life on this planet, if it was not
> for this there would be no life on planet as we know it. This is the
> theory behind darwins process of evolution. But the blind watchmaker
> is completely random, where as darwins theory uses, a filter to stop
> any creatures which can not adapt to the enviroment.

No, the Dawkins's Blind Watchmaker is the same theory as Darwin's; it's
just a suggestive metaphor. There is no "filter" except the usual one:
Nothing succeeds like success. Whatever random change, coded by a
machine, happens to survive and reproduce better, will be there in the
next generation, whereas whatever succeeds less well, won't. The filter
is blind.

> Richard Darwkins
> who created the phrase the blind watchmaker has produced a program
> that shows this process. Starting with a basic organism, such as a
> tree the computer randomly morphs the organism, he has been able to
> produce an evolutionary pattern which simulate animals of today.
> Therefore proving that, it is indeed possible.

Read the other threads on evolution to sort it out a bit more clearly
and correctly. Then relate to the bigger questions, e.g., Universal
Grammar or cognition.

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