Bayesian methods since the time of Laplace have been understood by their practitioners as closely aligned to the scientific method. Indeed a recent champion of Bayesian methods, E. T. Jaynes, titled his textbook on the subject Probability Theory: the Logic of Science. Many philosophers of science including Karl Popper and Donald Campbell have interpreted the evolution of Science as a Darwinian process consisting of a 'copy with selective retention' algorithm abstracted from Darwin's theory of Natural Selection. Arguments are presented for an isomorphism between Bayesian Methods and Darwinian processes. Universal Darwinism, as the term has been developed by Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett and Susan Blackmore, is the collection of scientific theories which explain the creation and evolution of their subject matter as due to the operation of Darwinian processes. These subject matters span the fields of atomic physics, chemistry, biology and the social sciences. The principle of Maximum Entropy states that systems will evolve to states of highest entropy subject to the constraints of scientific law. This principle may be inverted to provide illumination as to the nature of scientific law. Our best cosmological theories suggest the universe contained much less complexity during the period shortly after the Big Bang than it does at present. The scientific subject matter of atomic physics, chemistry, biology and the social sciences has been created since that time. An explanation is proposed for the existence of this subject matter as due to the evolution of constraints in the form of adaptations imposed on Maximum Entropy. It is argued these adaptations were discovered and instantiated through the operations of a succession of Darwinian processes.
- Pub Date:
- January 2010
- Physics - General Physics
- The 29th International Workshop on Bayesian Inference and Maximum Entropy Methods in Science and Engineering. AIP Conference Proceedings, Volume 1193, pp. 40-47 (2009)