01 July 2010

Quote for the day

"Looking back [at evolution] I am overwhelmingly impressed by the way in which chemistry has gradually given way to electronics. It is not unreasonable to describe the first living creatures as entirely chemical in character. Although electrochemical processes are important in plants, organized electronics, in the sense of data processing, does not enter or operate in the plant world. But primitive electronics begins to assume importance as soon as we have a creature that moves around..... The first electronic systems possessed by primitive animals were essentially guidance systems, analogous logically to sonar or radar. As we pass to more developed animals we find electronic systems being used not merely for guidance but for directing the animal toward food..... The situation is analogous to a guided missile, the job of which is to intercept and destroy another missile. Just as in our modern world attack and defense become more and more subtle in their methods, so it was the case with animals. And with increasing subtlety, better and better systems of electronics become necessary..... I find it a sobering thought that but for the tooth-and-claw existence of the jungle we should not possess our intellectual capabilities, we should not be able to inquire into the structure of the Universe, or be able to appreciate a symphony of Beethoven. Viewed in this light, the question that is sometimes asked — can computers think? — is somewhat ironic..... What on earth do those who ask such a question think they themselves are?"

Fred Hoyle, 1964

7 Comments:

Blogger Ranch Chimp said...

Interesting quote ... it avtually bring's a Hell of alot of thought to mind on different avenue's.

Thanx Guy .........

01 July, 2010 09:35  
Blogger Sunny Insomniac said...

I must admit, this made me laugh! Where do you find such intriguing quotes?

~Sunny Insomniac

P.S.
I'm sure you are, but are you familiar with the term "speciation?" Just wondering!

01 July, 2010 14:28  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

RC: I hope so. Popular thinking has a ways to go yet to catch up with current knowledge.

SI: I found this particular one cited in Richard Dawkins's The Extended Phenotype, a fascinating book on evolutionary biology.

In 1964 Hoyle's words were indeed somewhat speculative, but we know much more about brain function today than we did 46 years ago or even than 10 years ago. Hoyle's insight was ahead of its time.

01 July, 2010 15:57  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

SI: Oops! You put "speciation" in quotes and I misread it as "speculation" (well, I am overdue for new glasses.....).

I do know the word "speciation", but I'm not quite sure of the thrust of your intent in citing it?

01 July, 2010 16:49  
Blogger Sunny Insomniac said...

I mentioned "speciation" because whenever I see the term evolution, (which is thrown around so much) I immediately think of speciation. In my humble opinion (I'm just a musician/writer after all), it seems to be a more specific term for the process. I was just wondering if it was a term used more specifically for creationists like myself, or for the scientific community at large. I suppose I wanted to pick your brain on the subject.

And about the glasses--HAHAHAHA! I feel you on that one. I try and squint sometimes instead of searching out my glasses from whatever random place I threw them the night before. I can't put them in the same place to save my life.

~Sunny Insomniac

01 July, 2010 21:30  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Well, "speciation" (splitting of one species into two) is one of the things that happens in the course of evolution, but there's a great deal more to evolution than that.

02 July, 2010 02:57  
Anonymous rita said...

RC is right it is a thought provoking quote. For me the thought implies human beings might be more predisposed toward technology then we realize.

02 July, 2010 08:24  

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