Toward a Biology Worthy of Life > The Poverty of the Instructed Organism > Brief excerpt
A project by Stephen L. Talbott

Who is supposed to have programmed the organism?

THEN, OF COURSE, THERE IS THE PROBLEM of the programmer. In the case of the only programs we know, he or she must stand apart from the programmable medium in order to design its program. When this problem is raised, one routinely hears an appeal to natural selection as the “real” programmer. Yet, far from explaining the presence of programs, natural selection, as conceived by evolutionary theorists, can only be another name for the outcome of competition among many already existing programs. Natural selection assumes the goal-directed activities of organisms, including their drives to sustain their own lives and reproduce. The theory does not explain these activities; it is founded upon them.

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