Self referent systems ( self organizing systems )

I claim that there is no use inherent in any object, in the absence of
organisms. The idea that purpose inheres in objects is simply indefensible.
No matter what purpose you claim an object has, it is always possible to
find a different purpose for the same object. That is because purposes are
in the uses of objects, not in the objects. What is the purpose of the Moon?
To cause tides? I'm sure that you would reject that idea. But how is it
different from saying that the purpose of a wing is to power flight?

I think I just answered that question. Yes, I would reject the idea that
the purpose of the Moon is to cause tides. The properties of the moon were
not selected (and natural selection is a form of selection) for that
purpose, so far as anyone can tell. Yet the purpose of a wing is to power
flight (and provide lift and control of flight) precisely because the
requirements of flight have resulted in the wing having certain properties
that make it perfectly suited to that use. And for that reason the wings of
insects, bats, and birds share certain features in common, despite the fact
that flight arose independently in these three groups.
-- Bruce

The notion of purpose implies meaning, we precieve a meaning in the
structure or actions of a system. This perception (an ongoing system
initself) is anthropomorphic. We are hardwired to expect notions of
meaning. When you discus the meaning of the purpose of a birds wing, what
you are asking is what do we percieve is the best function of a wing.
Suppose, for simplicity sake you are verry fond of scuba diving and and are
an amature naturalist. While investigating some islands you discover for
the first time a penguin. You may be led to believe that best adaptation of
a wing is to swim fast. We must be verry carefull not to attach any more
meaning than pure functionality. To say any function has a purpose is not
necessary; it simply has a function.

        Natural selection (often misunderstood) does not have a direction or
intentions (2 meanings); rather it operates under three principles of self
organizing systems (seperate from such meanings as purpose, reason, or plan).
Ashby's Principles of the Self-Organizing System "So in going from any state
to one of the equilibria, the system is going from a larger number of states
to a smaller. In this way, it is performing a selection, in the purely
objective sense that it rejects some states, by leaving them, and retains
some other state, by sticking to it. "
Heylighen states these two principles as,
Blind variation:
At the most fundamental level variation processes "do not know" which of
the variants they produce will turn out be be selected.
Selective retention:
Stable configurations are retained, unstable ones are eliminated.
        The asignment of a meaning like purpose to the functional self
organizing self referent systems in the process of evolution is like
deciding a career on the roll of dice.

Dave Spence Consulting Analyst
        at Anasazi Travel Systems
                (602) 906-7387