Comment by brendan-furneaux on Selection vs Control · 2019-06-02T20:55:15.847Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · LW · GW

It strikes me that evolution by natural selection has most of the characteristics you attribute to a control system, not a selection system: feedback is far from perfect, each step of evaluation is heavily constrained by previous outputs and there is no going back, most of the search space is unreachable, it operates on the territory and there is no map, there is no final output distinct from the computation itself, and as you mentioned, it is strictly "on-line". It's true that it is massively parallel, and in this sense different elements of the search space are evaluated and either accepted or rejected at each "step". I'm not sure that evolution is "obviously a selection process according to the distinction as [you] make it".

Of course, it is an astoundingly inefficient optimizer, of whichever type it is, so it is not surprising that it lacks many of the stereotypical characteristics of its class.

Comment by brendan-furneaux on [Answer] Why wasn't science invented in China? · 2019-04-24T21:18:25.490Z · score: 7 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I think I parsed this quote differently than you.

The new kind of scientific activity emerged only in a few countries of Western Europe, and it was restricted to that small area for about two hundred years.

Your question from the following paragraph:

[W]hat factors caused the rapid accumulation of knowledge in specifically only a few countries and for only those two hundred years?

suggests that you interpreted the quote to mean "The new kind of scientific activity was restricted to the few countries of Western Europe where it emerged, and a period of about two hundred years [before dying out/being replaced by new kinds of scientific activity]." This would suggest that we should look for causes in Western Europe at the beginning and end of this time period.

I interpreted it to mean "After emerging in a few countries of Western Europe, the new scientific activity was restricted to that small area for two hundred years [before spreading to other areas]". This would suggest that causes are to be found in Western Europe at the beginning of this time period, and in the rest of the world at the end of it.

You have read the whole work and not just isolated quotes, so you are much more familiar with the context. Do you think as a whole it supports your parsing over mine?

Comment by brendan-furneaux on My Bayesian Enlightenment · 2018-09-22T13:15:53.548Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

It has been a year since this code was posted and the user has deleted their account, but for the benefit of anyone else reading for the first time, I would like to point out that the case for breed == 3 (two girls) is unhandled; because the default answer := 0 this means that in the case of two girls, the mathematician is modeled as saying "at least one is a boy". Incorrect code gives the incorrect result.