Ask A Genius 445 – Paths of Increasing Order (2)

In-Sight Publishing

Ask A Genius 445 – Paths of Increasing Order (2)

November 16, 2018

[Beginning of recorded material]

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: How can that argument be misinterpreted or misused?

Rick Rosner: One of the greatest philosophical cottage industries has been being wrong about consciousness. It is easy to make category errors. The category error is one of the most fruitful areas of doing jokes.

We should talk about category errors in joke-making. You are talking about one thing but then it turns out that you’re talking about another thing. I should be sitting in front of Twitter looking for some of these.

It is hard to talk about evolution without teleological language or biases slipping in. Because the deal is evolution doesn’t want anything. It doesn’t have a purpose. Evolution exploits niches in the world.

For instance, there is a niche or set of niches biased towards the formation of visual receptors. It turns out that it is relatively easy to evolve eyes. So, eyes have evolved a gazillion times over evolutionary history.

When you discuss stuff like that, it is often easy shorthand to say stuff like, “Evolution likes eyes,” or, “Evolution is biased towards eyes,” which, if you’re not careful, assigns purpose to evolution.

I assume, similarly, if you’re not careful about talking about information processing that is at a high enough level to be considered conscious to avoid certain mysticisms sneaking in, I don’t know.

To reiterate, we have a lot of questions as to why increasing order in the universe tends to generate little individual information processors. This becomes more about questions than about answers.

[End of recorded material]


Rick Rosner

American Television Writer


Rick Rosner

Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Editor-in-Chief, In-Sight Publishing


In-Sight Publishing


[1] Four format points for the session article:

  1. Bold text following “Scott Douglas Jacobsen:” or “Jacobsen:” is Scott Douglas Jacobsen & non-bold text following “Rick Rosner:” or “Rosner:” is Rick Rosner.
  2. Session article conducted, transcribed, edited, formatted, and published by Scott.
  3. Footnotes & in-text citations in the interview & references after the interview.
  4. This session article has been edited for clarity and readability.

For further information on the formatting guidelines incorporated into this document, please see the following documents:

  1. American Psychological Association. (2010). Citation Guide: APA. Retrieved from
  2. Humble, A. (n.d.). Guide to Transcribing. Retrieved from

License and Copyright

In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at and


© Scott Douglas Jacobsen, Rick Rosner, and In-Sight Publishing 2012-2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, Rick Rosner, and In-Sight Publishing with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s