Next: Darwin's Strange Inversion Of Reasoning

Next: Darwin's Strange Inversion Of Reasoning


Presented on February 17, 2009, by Dr. Daniel Dennett, Austin B. Fletcher Professor of Philosophy, Tufts University, as the third lecture in the University of Arizona College of Science lecture series, "Science That Transforms." Until Charles Darwin's Origin of Species it was assumed that life forms were built to a pre-existing plan. When Darwin showed that small inherited modifications shaped by survival sufficed to shape life on Earth, he was greeted by criticism for his "strange inversion of reasoning". A century later, Alan Turing added his own strange inversion: "in order to be a perfect and beautiful computer, it is not requisite to know what arithmetic is." Today, we can for the first time observe and understand Darwin's reasoning as the trillions of tiny robotic agencies called cells, that know nothing of the role they are playing, work together to compose the human minds that are able to discover this very fact.

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