Reader Comments

Post a new comment on this article

Is fitness properly measured in this analysis?

Posted by JonathanBetzBrown on 26 Sep 2008 at 22:46 GMT

This analysis starts from the assumption that evolution "should" cause an organism to achieve optimal fitness, defined as multplying as rapidly as possible. Not only is this definition invalid from the standpoint of the biome as a whole, it beams down from a perspective of omniscience that is not obviously appropriate to the analysis of evolution, which is neither a teleologic nor a forward-seeing process.

RE: Is fitness properly measured in this analysis?

jclune replied to JonathanBetzBrown on 28 Sep 2008 at 18:31 GMT


Thank you for reading our article and commenting on it.

I agree with you that evolution is not a teleological process. We do not make such an assumption in the paper. We merely inquire whether natural selection tends to find the mutation rate that maximizes long-term adaptation. Given that our research demonstrates that natural selection fails to find the mutation rate that maximizes long-term adaptation, the paper actually supports the notion that evolution is not, to use your words, a 'forward-seeing process.'

I apologize, but I do not understand your concerns regarding the fitness measurement. If you could explain them at greater length perhaps I could answer your questions. The Avida digital evolution platform, and its concept of fitness, has been used in numerous articles in top journals. Please see references 25-34 in the manuscript for examples. I mention these previous publications to let readers know that the validity of the system has been repeatedly vetted by the most strict peer review processes.

Thank you again for your interest in our work.
Jeff Clune