Member # 1
posted 26. November 2001 14:04
Inventions, Algorithms, and Biological Design
by John R. Bracht
ABSTRACT—This paper outlines a new model for understanding biological invention, based upon an extensive study of human inventiveness originating in Russia shortly after the Second World War. This science, known as the Theory of Inventive Problem Solving and referred to by the Russian acronym TRIZ, relies upon the study of human patents to reveal general principles of invention. TRIZ recognizes two distinct mechanisms of invention, operating upon two distinct types of problems. The first, trial and error, is a remarkably accurate description of the neo-Darwinian mechanism, natural selection. Furthermore, the trial and error mechanism has been found to be severely limited in the sorts of problems it can solve; these limitations are also found to apply to the Darwinian mechanism. The second mechanism, lacking an explicit TRIZ name but referred to here as the intentional mechanism, is the source of true inventiveness. The science of evolutionary programming gives insight into precisely why the intentional mechanism is required; certain fundamental parameters must be given before the Darwinian mechanism can even operate and these parameters are themselves out of reach of the Darwinian mechanism. Certain key events in the history of life require alterations of this sort of fundamental parameter, and it is precisely these events that the neo-Darwinian model fails to explain. Consequently, it is the inescapable conclusion that there is a second mechanism, an intentional mechanism, which operates in nature and is responsible for the changes that are not accountable via the Darwinian mechanism.
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-27 November 2001
[ 11 July 2002, 10:35: Message edited by: Moderator ]