There are no public objects sitting out there in some preexisting space. As the physicist John Wheeler put it, “Useful as it is under ordinary circumstances to say that the world exists ‘out there’ independent of us, that view can no longer be upheld.
That is not true. The article tries to establish that quantum mechanics has established this outrageous claim. However, quantum mechanics has not established any such thing.
Science is the objective, logical study of reality for the purpose of explaining some aspect of it.
Quantum mechanics offers little to no objective, logical explanations of anything. Therefore, it fails to be scientific. It offers little or no explanations that could concord with reality. Therefore, it fails to be a science. It fails to explain much of anything.
Quantum mechanics proves nothing but the incredible irrationality of those advocating it. And the sad incredulity of those that blindly accept it on faith.
Evolution has shaped us with perceptions that allow us to survive. But part of that involves hiding from us the stuff we don’t need to know. And that’s pretty much all of reality, whatever reality might be.
Evolution has nothing to do with that which we do not know being hidden from us.
Indeed, our senses are not aware of everything that exists. Our eyes do not detect things in the infrared spectrum. Nor do they detect things the size of pathogens.
Our sensory organs have definite limitations to their abilities. The eyes of animals generally cannot see in the infrared spectrum. Nor are they generally able to resolve objects the size of pathogens.
This is either because there is no or insufficient selective pressure for such abilities to exist. Or there may be no mechanism for such abilities to develop in the first place.
But just because our senses are not omniscient and have limitations, is no reason to question their validity.
But this is not hiding stuff from us. Natural selection favors those adaptations which increase survival. But it has nothing to do with hiding things as such.
The classic argument is that those of our ancestors who saw more accurately had a competitive advantage over those who saw less accurately and thus were more likely to pass on their genes that coded for those more accurate perceptions, so after thousands of generations we can be quite confident that we’re the offspring of those who saw accurately, and so we see accurately. That sounds very plausible. But I think it is utterly false. It misunderstands the fundamental fact about evolution, which is that it’s about fitness functions — mathematical functions that describe how well a given strategy achieves the goals of survival and reproduction.
If our ancestors saw significantly more accurately, then this would have increased their survival chances. And obviously, such organisms would be more likely to pass on their genes. Such genetic changes would be likely to be passed on. Natural selection would thus favor these genetic changes.
Evolution is about such genetic changes which tend to be accumulated over time, leading to changes in the gene pools of populations.
What are fitness functions?
According to the article:
Fitness functions [are] mathematical functions that describe how well a given strategy achieves the goals of survival and reproduction.
A fitness function is all well and good. If it allows one to approximate how a genetic change might affect how likely the organism is to survive
But evolution does not reduce to fitness functions. Evolution is not a synonym for them. Evolution is about changes in gene pools of populations over time. It refers to the fact that the heritable characteristics of populations change over time.
It refers to the fact that the genes of populations change over time. This leads to the characteristics of those populations changing over time.
This reduces to genes and attributes of organisms. It does not reduce to mathematical functions.
According to evolution by natural selection, an organism that sees reality as it is will never be more fit than an organism of equal complexity that sees none of reality but is just tuned to fitness. Never.
This makes no sense at all. Fitness is an indication of how well an organism can deal with its environment and thus survive.
It would be absurd to suggest that an organism that sees none of reality would be able to survive. Such an organism would be unable to deal with the slightest mortal threat. It would be unable to sustain itself.
How could such an organism be said to be fit by any rational standard? Fit for what? Survival? Obviously not. What standard of fitness is being applied? Not one that has survival as its standard.
How is an organism which would be unable to survive by more fit than one that senses reality and has a chance of survival?
How is an organism able to sense and deal with reality less fit than one that cannot hope to survive? When did being able to sense reality become a disadvantage?
How is being more likely to survive not more tuned to fitness than certain death?
And how does natural selection make the organism that senses reality less fit? The exact opposite is true. Natural selection would favor those organisms that see reality for what it is. And lead to the rapid elimination of those which did not.
An organism must sense reality as it is. The entire thing is a red herring. Natural selection favors those organisms that can sense reality. And only those because no organisms that do not see reality as it, could exist.
This is a gross misuse of mathematics. It treats the fitness function as some Platonic toolbox that supersedes reality. It pretends that you can use the equations in any way you wish. While putting in just any inputs and that any output is acceptable.
But the only valid inputs to a mathematical equation are those that have some concordance with reality. And the proper use of a mathematical function is to perform measurements and identify relationships.
It is not valid to use mathematics to generate nonsense. Which you then use to try to rationalize arguments against reality.
This brings us to the end of part one of this coverage of this article. Stay tuned in March for part two!