"In this case, “fittest” means the “[profitability of an organism] in its infinitely complex relation to other organic beings and to external nature.” 1"
We cannot measure this type of fitness scientifically, because it would require us to measure infinitely complex relations. 2 Therefore, this statement is not scientific but metaphysical. 3
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ReMine, W. J. (1993). The Biotic Message: Evolution Versus Message Theory. Saint Paul, Minn.: St. Paul Science.
Dawkins, R. (1996). Climbing Mount Improbable. New York: Norton.
- Darwin, 1859, p 115, as quoted by ReMine, 1993, p. 103 ↩
- Dawkins, 1996, p. 36: “As long as we try to add up all the contributions to an animal’s survival theoretically, in a computer, the programmer is going to have to make arbitrary, human decisions. What we ideally should do is simulate a complete physics and a complete ecology, with simulated predators, simulated prey, simulated plants and simulated parasites. All these model creatures must themselves be capable of evolving. The easiest way to avoid having to make artificial decisions might be to burst out of the computer altogether and build our artificial creatures as three-dimensional robots, chasing each other around a three-dimensional real world. But then it might end up cheaper to scrap the computer altogether and look at real animals in the real world, thereby coming back to our starting point!”
p 36: “Worse, length is one one of the countless aspects of an animal’s legs that interact with each other, and with lots of other things, to influence its survival. There is leg thickness, rigidity, brittleness, weight to carry around, number of leg joints, number of legs, taperingness of legs. And we’ve only considered legs. All the other bits of the animal interact to influence the animal’s probability of surviving.” ↩
- ReMine, 1993, p. 103-104 ↩