Re: poly: Solar system development

From: Robin Hanson <>
Date: Mon Dec 15 1997 - 10:15:37 PST

Hal writes:
>Or it might turn out that the fastest way to expand does not involve
>holding the territory, but rather just skimming the cream of the resources
>available and launching outwards as quickly as possible. There might
>be only enough time to put up a "Kilroy was here" sign before launching
>the next wave of seeds.
>In that case it seems that evolution would not drive the post-launch
>behavior of the organism. It would be like today's living creatures
>once they are past breeding age. Evolution doesn't have anything to say
>about the nature of organisms which can't (any longer) reproduce.
>It might seem more logical for a replicator to want to hold its territory
>once it has launched its seeds outward and the border has become out
>of reach. But the only criterion for a replicator to successfully reach
>a new border oasis and be able to launch seeds is successful speed of
>launch in the past. Post-launch behavior has not been a survival trait.
>So over time we would expect to see relatively random behavior patterns
>among border replicators which have sent off their seeds.

I don't follow this analysis at all. How can you say these *replicators*
"can't any longer reproduce"? They are replicating! If there is some
distribution of inter-oasis and within-oasis strategies, there is a
selection effect where some of these strategies tend to appear more at
the frontier. A challenge is to analyze this selection effect to
figure out which colonization strategies will be selected for at the

Robin Hanson
RWJF Health Policy Scholar, Sch. of Public Health 510-643-1884
140 Warren Hall, UC Berkeley, CA 94720-7360 FAX: 510-643-8614
Received on Mon Dec 15 18:09:55 1997

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