GreySmith Courseware Forum/Non-Genetic Darwinism -Archive 1

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I have heard some interest in a course on non-genetic Darwinism, If it is decided to build one, I suggest it be put under the related topics division, what do you think?--Graeme E. Smith 19:26, 2 February 2009 (UTC)

There are many aspects of evolution besides the genotype. In fact, the genotype is very closely connected with the phenotype and environment. I agree that there should be better coverage of evolutionary biology on WV, and perhaps too much of evolutionary biology is focused on the genotype. I am all for a course on evolutionary biology, and I could give you feedback on the curriculum.

By the way, you don't need to worry about whether other people "approve" a course you develop. You can just create the page yourself. But if you tell other people with related interests, they might have things to offer. --AFriedman 20:16, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

You seem to misunderstand me, I am not a biologist. Non-Genetic Darwinism is not limited to Biology I can include examples which are biological, from Dr. Edelman's work, but I will also include examples that fall outside biology altogether. What do you think of putting the course under the Related Topics division? As a classification location within GreySmith Institute? The course itself would be in the standard names space, and thus available for WV members.

How about a GreySmith Institute course curriculum, with courses that overlap with other sections of Wikiversity? --AFriedman 01:19, 7 February 2009 (UTC)

Well, you said you edited my first page, so you would have noticed that I have a curriculum division on the first page, There are two Curriculum Subdivisions that I have laid out that would be natural locations to put overlapping courses, the Related Topics curriculum, and the Miscellaneous Topic curriculum The idea is that we can create courses for other areas of the WV, and just put our bragging rights on the GreySmith Institute Miscellaneous Topics page.--Graeme E. Smith 02:08, 7 February 2009 (UTC)

I have recently put up an outline for the Non-Genetic Darwinism course, What do you think?--Graeme E. Smith 20:29, 10 February 2009 (UTC)

Graeme, I like it. The title, though, I have a few issues with. There is MUCH more to evolution than Darwinism per se, and there are many other people who have contributed to evolutionary theory. Perhaps the course could be re-named "Evolution and its Ramifications?" Also, I wrote the "Darwin's Contributions" lesson for the course. If you go through it, that information is where I am coming from. --AFriedman 03:58, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

I recognize your contribution to the course, of course you have set a high standard for me to try to reach, and you have shot a cannonball across my bows, that will make it difficult to finish the rest of the course by including that reference to "Darwinism must Die". There seems to be a real drift here towards turning it into a discussion about Evolution, which is exactly wrong for this course. Evolution has little or nothing to do with how neurons connect at the fibril level. But I can make a case for non-genetic Darwinism and back it up with Dr. Edelmans TNGS theory. Frankly I don't worship Darwin, but I am warping his theory because it is the closest thing to what I need in order to explain Dr. Edelman's work. In this case it is an Alternative to Evolution not another name for it. Since Darwin is the source for the theory, according to Dr. Edelman's calling it Neural Darwinism, he needs at least some facetime. Could you rewrite this section to be a little less hostile to the idea of Darwinism having an application outside Biology?--Graeme E. Smith 04:24, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

I've tried to do this by adding a section about self-organization, but then I moved it to "Self-Ordering Systems" because I thought it would be a better fit for that section. Is this what you were thinking when you wrote that the course is not intended to be "a discussion about evolution"? I'm not sure. Part of the problem is that I don't understand your thoughts about the course's objective. (1) I don't understand what you mean by "evolution." The term has so many meanings. In the section about Darwin I have tried to use the meaning Darwin himself would use, i.e. the biological meaning, to clarify Darwin's actual contributions (rather than those others have associated with him). (2) Darwin's theories seem to have taken on a life of their own and how did Dr. Edelman use "Darwinism"? (3) Perhaps, rather than warping Darwin's theory, the course could describe Darwin's theory as he formulated it and as it was reformulated by others, and then proceed to explain any novel elaborations/differences? --AFriedman 05:33, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

You are getting closer, but I think the topic of this course is uncomfortable for you in some manner, otherwise you would not be having so many troubles thinking outside the box. One way of looking at this, is that the topic is not about genetics and DNA, but about other systems biological or otherwise that self-organize is a similar manner to the way that Genetics does during evolution. Instead of species, we might get, for instance, Neural Groups, Relationships between neurons that cause a group of them to approximate the same signal. The application of DNA is in the growth of the fibrils that connect them, but DNA does not determine which fibrils attach to which neurons. The power of Dr. Edelman's work lies in the fact that he has indicated where in the nervous system such a non-genetic Darwinism might occur. Part of the reason we need this topic, is simply because Darwinism has always meant Evolution, so when we start talking about Neural Darwinism there is a tendency to look for genetic factors. People just don't get it. In the book I am writing my sixth chapter deals with non-genetic Darwinism, and almost everybody I have shown it to, has had trouble with that chapter. I think it is a crucial concept for phenomenal Consciousness, and therefore also for Hybrid Consciousness, which my own theories are.--Graeme E. Smith 07:20, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

I took a look at your section on Self-Organizing Systems, and I decided it was still too oriented towards genetics so I took the liberty of rewriting and extending it. I left the original there to compare, take a look at it, and see if you can accept it or not. I found a neat A.I. project on Simulated Annealing but I don't know if it should be incorporated into the course or not, it seems too advanced for an Introductory Course.--Graeme E. Smith 09:00, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

I merged the two paragraphs. IMO for developing this course, perhaps your next priority is to write a clear explanation, keeping undefined technical terminology to a minimum, of Dr. Edelman's concept of Neural Darwinism. With a few sections like that, the rest of the materials might be easier to understand. Here is a WikiEducator how-to page about technical communication (it's still being worked on). --AFriedman 18:19, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

I am not sure about that first line in the paragraph, it seems a little negative, but otherwise I can accept the merged paragraph. If you look directly below the section on Self-Ordering Systems, you will see that it is a section on neural selection. This is actually where I was planning on putting Dr. Edelman's work, So your suggestion is well taken. However without the background of the Evolution Algorythm, you still might not understand how the self-organizing neural elements are Darwinian in nature.--Graeme E. Smith 20:51, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

OK, I fleshed out the content of the areas on Neural Selection, I still have to go back and put in a few links to make it easier to understand.--Graeme E. Smith 00:21, 12 February 2009 (UTC)

Wow! Your section about Dr. Edelman is really interesting, and some of the best and clearest writing of yours that I've seen. Why don't you write 2 similar sections: 1. What the Evolution Algorithm is. 2. What simulated annealing is. We don't know these things and that would make the course much clearer. --AFriedman 03:56, 12 February 2009 (UTC)

OK, I still haven't put in a section on simulated annealing, I am not sure where it should go, but I did up a general overview for the Philosophy and Culture section., I also moved the Physics stuff down to the bottom of the page, so that it will make sense.--Graeme E. Smith 20:44, 14 February 2009 (UTC)

I think you've really improved the page. It's long enough that it would probably be more readable as a multi-page course, with each lesson as a subpage. Perhaps do that first and then write the section on simulated annealing, which could be a new section you add to the outline? --AFriedman 21:12, 14 February 2009 (UTC)

I saw the speed sign, I was thinking of splitting it into four or five sections based on topics, and using a Lesson 1/Lesson 2/Lesson 3/Lesson 4 type pattern, with maybe next and back buttons so that the student doesn't have to worry about what I called the lessons in order to navigate.

The first page, might include the Darwin Stuff, the Second Page the Philosophy and Culture stuff, the third page, the non-biological stuff, the fourth page the Physics stuff, and so on. I think that the simulated annealing should go in either before or after the physics stuff.Maybe before.--Graeme E. Smith 21:45, 14 February 2009 (UTC)

Sounds good. Go for it. --AFriedman 21:52, 14 February 2009 (UTC)

I wasn't expecting you to move the Darwin stuff off of the first page, it looks kind of stark without some more content. I finally remembered how to drag and drop stuff in windows, and it worked so I was able to populate the various files, as quickly as I had expected to last night when I actually managed to panic and rewrite a whole page by hand.--Graeme E. Smith 22:06, 15 February 2009 (UTC)

How do you drag and drop stuff? I moved the information using copy/paste, and then delete. Take a look at some of the courses I've been working on (linked to on my Userpage) to see some main pages that don't have lessons, but don't look stark. There are different philosophies about this. --AFriedman 22:21, 15 February 2009 (UTC)

Yeah, I tried that last night, but I am using a new browser I am not familiar with, and when I flipped tabs to get to the other file, the browser dropped the copy, I had recorded. It was a real bummer. To Drag and drop, first you have to have both windows up in the same frame, I open a new window, and drop it in size, drop the original window in size, then arrange the two files one over the other, then I highlight the text I want to move, and click on it, and holding the button down, drag it to the other window and release it. I just was too tired last night to think of it. The course doesn't have to be stark, that is why I used to have a fairly large paragraph introducing it, but someone reduced it to two sentences, and now I think it looks stark.--Graeme E. Smith 23:37, 15 February 2009 (UTC)

Thanks for telling me and hope you can figure out how to use the new browser. I was the one who changed the paragraph introducing the course--I thought that information could be presented more clearly in fewer words. There are lots of other things to put on the first page: a more detailed summary of the topics which are in the course, images, colorful boxes, a list of instructors/participants, links to related courses and other websites...you get the idea. IMO the highest priority here is to finish the content of the course and put in external references, and then things can be cleaned and spruced up. I'm very impressed by how hard you've been working. --AFriedman 02:55, 16 February 2009 (UTC)

Well, you know how it is, being a fat, ugly, welfare bum, with mental health problems, I have lots of time to spend at my computer, and no real life to interfere. OK, well, I did up the rest of the physics of self-organization page, take a look at it and get back to me on what you think. I have also added some Assignment sections, take a look at them and see if they are too harsh. What do you think about the Non-Biological Darwinism page, should I just trim off the extra headings at the bottom, and let it stand on its own, or should I flesh them out? I am disinclined to finish them for some reason, it might be related to my mental health, or they might be gilding on the lily so to speak, so your opinion is welcome. --Graeme E. Smith 02:29, 17 February 2009 (UTC)

On the Internet, no one knows you're a fat, ugly welfare bum with mental health problems unless you tell them so :). And that's part of what the Internet is for IMO, to give people unique opportunities to do really good things. I'll probably look at your course more intensively and make some more edits later, but I did change the completion status of the course (it's much more than Launch by now). I do think you should finish the last section, because what you've outlined sounds really interesting. It can always be cut later. Then the next step is to fill in the details. I'm a student and I have an exam the day after tomorrow, but will have more time within the next few weeks. --AFriedman 16:37, 17 February 2009 (UTC)

I cleaned up non-biological Darwinism, and added an assignment section to Neural Selection,then I added a conclusion section and assignments for it. Let me know what you think? Are the Assignments too vague/Abstract? Too high a level of thought for an Introduction?--Graeme E. Smith 18:20, 21 February 2009 (UTC)

As a first draft it looks fine. I'm making some edits to your course now. --AFriedman 15:34, 22 February 2009 (UTC)