A response to randomness

July 12, 2009 in Math

In response to my post on the WSJ's recent randomness article, B emailed me the following (reproduced here with permission):

The quoted WSJ article writes

"We find false meaning in the patterns of randomness for good reason: we are animals built to do just that… Many studies illustrate how this basic aspect of human nature translates to a misperception of chance."

This cannot be right. It cannot even be meaningfully wrong. Animals are not built; we are constantly re-encoded at every generation by a process that selects only for whatever helps the survival of offspring that will of course carry that novel encoded information. Over the past ~ 10 million years, this positive natural selection on our ancestral hominid DNA has selected our species for delayed brain development, with the longer period of vulnerability allowing - requiring - love and attention.

From that infant socialization unique to our species, comes the emergence of subjectivity, free will and self-consciousness, by imitation of the care-giving adult's constant attentions. So if we are built for anything, we are built for reproducibility of emotional states: imitation in other words is a necessity, and imitation is by definition a pattern.

In short, love is a pattern, and a random sequence of emotional states is a torture; to make this a matter of intellectual habit, misses the point.

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