Evolution : a process of ‘change’ not of ‘start’

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Evolution : a process of ‘change’ not of ‘start’

Postby lateralsuz on November 30th, 2019, 2:18 am 

I have long been intrigued by the phrase:

“Evolution is a process of change, but it isn’t really a process of ‘start’.”

This quote from the book ‘Our Existence Part 2 : The Nature and Origin of Life, Mind, and Soul’ by Christophe Finipolscie has many levels of consideration, but my basic question to you is whether you agree with it, and to what degree?

At one level it is perhaps traditional to argue that chemicals will always react and change into compounds etc. However we do not normally consider chemical reactions as Evolution.

Finipolscie, (a clear supporter of Evolution theory), therefore links Evolution to reproduction in species, and so identifies the living cell as the only known mechanism that we have for Evolution in the Universe.

At what point do you feel that we can consider something as ‘Evolution’ rather than just chemical reaction?
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Re: Evolution : a process of ‘change’ not of ‘start’

Postby bangstrom on November 30th, 2019, 2:44 am 

Chemical reactions are finely tuned to favor the evolution of living things. This may not have anything to do with the benefit of life but it may involve a long time random tweaking of the laws of physics as the universe evolves towards a state of the greatest chemical stability, which in turn, leads to favorable conditions for the start of biological evolution.
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Re: Evolution : a process of ‘change’ not of ‘start’

Postby lateralsuz on November 30th, 2019, 3:02 am 

While a relevant point, I think it is a separate debate to argue whether randomness and spontaneity truly exist, (but a theme which Finipolscie also explores in depth).

I am more interested in in trying to frame where we believe Evolution is occurring rather than just chemical reactions.

I'm not saying this is easy, but would like to explore / share ideas on this with you and others.
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Re: Evolution : a process of ‘change’ not of ‘start’

Postby Forest_Dump on November 30th, 2019, 2:15 pm 

I don't know anything about this Finipolscie but in proper (scientific) modern useage, evolution refers to change through time in living, reproducing life forms. It does not really address how life began (abiogenesis). It can be noted that when Erasmus Darwin first used the term he did refer to the unfolding of the universe but by the beginning of the 20th century (if not earlier) the term has come to be used specifically to describe change in the field of biology and not in inorganic matter. But we definitely have similar changes in other words and ideas through time. Boxing was once considered a science but not anymore and the meaning and understanding of "atom" has certainly changed since it was first used by the Greeks. So chemical reactions in inorganic contexts do not count as evolution and neither does the change through time in the universe unless you wish to propose some sci-fi like life to it. But that is pretty much pure religion to most.
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Re: Evolution : a process of ‘change’ not of ‘start’

Postby davidm on November 30th, 2019, 3:02 pm 

I read one of this guy’s blog posts and the opening to one of his books, and all I can say is GIGO. Oh, and also, LOL.
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Re: Evolution : a process of ‘change’ not of ‘start’

Postby charon on November 30th, 2019, 3:25 pm 

“Evolution is a process of change, but it isn’t really a process of ‘start’.”


Obviously it's a process of change. The question is, I take it, is whether there was a beginning at all. I'd say there wasn't.

I know one can pin-point a cell, or something like that, but that presupposes the conditions for it must have existed. Then where have those conditions come from... and so on back and back. There may have been no beginning to existence.

That may conflict with the idea of the big bang but, again, some sort of conditions must have existed for a big bang, or even a small bang, to have occurred at all.

If one floats the idea that it all came out of nothing then one has to ask why. Why should anything come, literally, out of absolutely nothing?

Especially when science has always said there's no such thing as absolutely nothing. 'Nothing is still something' they say.

So we're back to the first cause idea... and so on.

Personally, I don't like the idea of a 'cause'. If the first thing ever was a cause then existence is merely an effect. Is it just an effect of something? That doesn't seem right to me. So I'd look for something else.

We're not going to plumb the mystery of life quite so easily!
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Re: Evolution : a process of ‘change’ not of ‘start’

Postby lateralsuz on December 1st, 2019, 9:01 am 

davidm

Where does Finipolscie blog? I haven't seen any.

Also - I don't know what you mean by GIGO
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Re: Evolution : a process of ‘change’ not of ‘start’

Postby lateralsuz on December 1st, 2019, 9:08 am 

forest

So chemical reactions in inorganic contexts do not count as evolution


You are honing-in to the factor that intrigues me.

Let us say that inorganic reactions, (which Abiogenetic research may yet identify), lead to change but not evolution in the reproductive sense.
Is it just reproduction that forms the transition of our definition into life?

If not, what other factors might determine that transition?
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Re: Evolution : a process of ‘change’ not of ‘start’

Postby lateralsuz on December 1st, 2019, 9:17 am 

charon

I know one can pin-point a cell, or something like that, but that presupposes the conditions for it must have existed.


I agree - especially for the start of life as opposed to the start of existence.

But the quote essentially says that evolution can't explain the origin of the first living cell from which all forms of life then emerged. To me it also begs the question of what represents the transition from inorganic to living?

Do you have a view on what the critical factor(s) might be?
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Re: Evolution : a process of ‘change’ not of ‘start’

Postby Forest_Dump on December 1st, 2019, 10:01 am 

There are all kinds of chemical changes that are not related to life. Iron will rust, for example, but we do not call that life or evolution. Defining the boundary for when, how or why life appeared certainly becomes tricky and a topic of interest but properly speaking, evolution and/or the theory (or theories) of evolution do not apply until there is self replication.
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Re: Evolution : a process of ‘change’ not of ‘start’

Postby charon on December 1st, 2019, 10:28 am 

lateralsuz » December 1st, 2019, 2:17 pm wrote:charon

I know one can pin-point a cell, or something like that, but that presupposes the conditions for it must have existed.


I agree - especially for the start of life as opposed to the start of existence.

But the quote essentially says that evolution can't explain the origin of the first living cell from which all forms of life then emerged. To me it also begs the question of what represents the transition from inorganic to living?

Do you have a view on what the critical factor(s) might be?


Carbon?
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Re: Evolution : a process of ‘change’ not of ‘start’

Postby Forest_Dump on December 1st, 2019, 11:06 am 

I think technically life predated the cell. A virus, for example, appears to be more primitive than a cell but usually counts as being alive. There are some good starting books that might help here. There are a number by Dawkins with an overview of the topic as well as one by Matt Ridley called "The Red Queen" that is worth looking at. All may well be a bit out of date now (science marches on, after all) but definitely worth beginning with.
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Re: Evolution : a process of ‘change’ not of ‘start’

Postby TheVat on December 1st, 2019, 4:03 pm 

lateralsuz » December 1st, 2019, 6:01 am wrote:
Also - I don't know what you mean by GIGO


An old coder's acronym. "garbage in, garbage out"
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Re: Evolution : a process of ‘change’ not of ‘start’

Postby lateralsuz on December 2nd, 2019, 6:30 am 

Thanks 'TheVat'.

When people choose to attack the author rather than the issues, it tends to suggest that the attacker is fearful of the debate and has lost the argument.

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Re: Evolution : a process of ‘change’ not of ‘start’

Postby lateralsuz on December 2nd, 2019, 6:43 am 

Re: carbon

There are many compounds which contain carbon but which are not considered to be anything to do with life.

Carbon is certainly an important factor in living cells, but so are many other catalysts throughout a cell's metabolisms, as well as compounds in DNA.

I view carbon as a facilitator - but it is still just one chemical component.

Abiogenetic research speculates about another as yet unknown reproductive processes, and without reproduction I don't believe you can say that something evolves - but only occurs by chance.

When you look at the odds of even a single specific protein occurring by chance, the odds of it happening once, let alone twice, are almost unbelievable.

It is equally important to consider what would allow a pre-life evolutionary path determine that a new chemical was 'more successful'.
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Re: Evolution : a process of ‘change’ not of ‘start’

Postby davidm on December 2nd, 2019, 10:31 am 

lateralsuz » December 2nd, 2019, 4:30 am wrote:Thanks 'TheVat'.

When people choose to attack the author rather than the issues, it tends to suggest that the attacker is fearful of the debate and has lost the argument.

lateralsuz


I've already covered all this in-depth in other threads. I refer you to them. I'm not wasting more time on this. And your probability estimate for a protein occurring is laughable. Evolution is not a chance process.
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Re: Evolution : a process of ‘change’ not of ‘start’

Postby davidm on December 2nd, 2019, 11:54 am 

Ah, well.

Meet Christophe Finipolscie

Did you know that the power in your muscles comes from a myriad of tiny chemicals which have legs that actually walk?


Did you know that this is total BS? Motor proteins do not walk, if by “walk” one means, with intent. Even humans and other animals do not walk with complete intent; a lot of walking is auto-pilot. Motor proteins act according to well understood biochemical processes that pose no problem to science and do not in any way betoken some kind of rudimentary mind or purpose.

Did you know that the only known mechanism for biological Evolution is based on the living cell, and therefore it is impossible for it to explain the origin of the first cell - the origin of Life?


Did you know that this is also total BS? This is the usual creationist trope — the cell is so complex, it is not possible to explain how it arose. But the first cell evolved, over a long period of time. The first replicators subject to natural selection were simple. Trying to explain exactly how life began is difficult, because it happened so long ago, leaving little evidence. It may never be possible to explain how the first simple replicator arose, but that does not mean it is impossible in principle to do so, and indeed, science has discovered many plausible pathways to abiogenesis. This guy either has no idea what he is talking about, or he is lying.


Scientists are still desperately trying to find another chemical mechanism for the origin of Life through the study of 'Abiogenesis'. They are not even close.



Desperately? Whatever could account for such a loaded (and inaccurate) word? Let me guess: The poor scientists are in this (nonexistent) mad, frantic struggle because unless they succeed, naturalism goes out the window. Complete piffle. Evolution itself is a well understood, fully naturalistic process even if we never pinpoint exactly how life began. Also, scientists are not trying to find “another chemical mechanism” for abiogenesis. The ones we have are just fine and dandy, thanks. It is merely a matter of pinning down the exact sequence of events from among well understood processes.

There are many aspects of Life which seem to break the core principles of science.


No, there are not.

- by it seeming to be an assembling influence/force;


Not even sure what he is trying to say here.

- requiring sterile chemicals to make choices and perhaps even to have a crude degree of awareness.


Absolutely nothing in chemistry, biochemistry or evolutionary biology requires “sterile chemicals” to make choices or have any awareness whatever. Do snowflakes “choose” to make the patterns that they do? Does water “choose” to freeze? Do hydrogen and oxygen “choose” to combine to form water? What twaddle!

Do you know the examples which demonstrate this?


None do.

When you realise the issues which have been thrown up by scientific research, you begin to wonder if the principles on which mainstream theory is operating need to be modified and possibly broadened.


Science always modifies and broadens its theories. We know far more about evolution and biology than Darwin could even hope to know, for example.

The other question which I am often asked is - why are so many people unaware of these proven facts?


Because they aren’t facts, proven or otherwise.


I cannot say, but when you know them you are then free to reassess the story which you thought you knew, and perhaps allow you to make better decisions about your life.


What a giant non sequitur! Make better decisions about your life? What decisions would those be — to find Jesus, maybe?

This guy is either some kind of ID/creationist or maybe some species of New Age/panpsychist. None of what he writes has any bearing on science, or even correctly characterizes science.
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Re: Evolution : a process of ‘change’ not of ‘start’

Postby davidm on December 2nd, 2019, 12:31 pm 

I might add that I read a few pages from one of this guy’s books, which can be found online. In addition to the fact that he is astonishingly ill-informed, his prose is so bad it was like watching misfiring robots clunking around in a warehouse, trying, without success, to move boxes from point A to point B. The boxes (and his chain of logic) repeatedly tumbled to the floor.
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Re: Evolution : a process of ‘change’ not of ‘start’

Postby TheVat on December 2nd, 2019, 1:19 pm 

The rigors of wading through false teleology are considerable.
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Re: Evolution : a process of ‘change’ not of ‘start’

Postby davidm on December 2nd, 2019, 2:35 pm 

BTW, if motor proteins “choose” to walk, couldn’t they “choose” not to? Yet they never do. If they stop working, it’s because they are damaged or destroyed.

What about hydrogen and oxygen? Two hydrogen atoms pick up an oxygen atom in a bar and suggest a threesome: “Hey, babe, let’s make a water molecule!”

“I’m sorry, not tonight, boys, I have a headache!”
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Re: Evolution : a process of ‘change’ not of ‘start’

Postby charon on December 2nd, 2019, 3:00 pm 

lateralsuz » December 2nd, 2019, 11:43 am wrote:Re: carbon

There are many compounds which contain carbon but which are not considered to be anything to do with life.

Carbon is certainly an important factor in living cells, but so are many other catalysts throughout a cell's metabolisms, as well as compounds in DNA.

I view carbon as a facilitator - but it is still just one chemical component.

Abiogenetic research speculates about another as yet unknown reproductive processes, and without reproduction I don't believe you can say that something evolves - but only occurs by chance.

When you look at the odds of even a single specific protein occurring by chance, the odds of it happening once, let alone twice, are almost unbelievable.

It is equally important to consider what would allow a pre-life evolutionary path determine that a new chemical was 'more successful'.


I read somewhere that the difference between organic and inorganic compounds was the presence of carbon/hydrogen bonds. I should have made that clearer.

Mind you, when you asked for possible criteria that facilitated the transition between the two, I was hoping we weren't going down the route of an unanswerable, possibly metaphysical, question. Hence carbon :-)
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Re: Evolution : a process of ‘change’ not of ‘start’

Postby lateralsuz on December 3rd, 2019, 6:23 am 

Moderator - can we please ask the contributors to stay on topic, and also resist inaccurate tirades?

BTW, if motor proteins “choose” to walk, couldn’t they “choose” not to? Yet they never do. If they stop working, it’s because they are damaged or destroyed.

What about hydrogen and oxygen? Two hydrogen atoms pick up an oxygen atom in a bar and suggest a threesome: “Hey, babe, let’s make a water molecule!”

“I’m sorry, not tonight, boys, I have a headache!”


I have looked again at the text of the book, and the author doesn't say anything about 'choosing to walk'. This is an invention of the contributor here, who seems outraged at his own invention.

This seems to be true for many of his other comments. But it would distract from the debate to address the ones that are not relevant to topic

For the sake of this particular point, it is undeniable that motor proteins walk on a form of 'legs'. There are many on-line animations to demonstrate that which are nothing to do with the author as far as I can tell.

I don't know how these motor proteins begin or end their journeys across a cell, but the text books clearly say that they navigate across a complex network of pathways to seemingly get to a specific destination.
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Re: Evolution : a process of ‘change’ not of ‘start’

Postby lateralsuz on December 3rd, 2019, 6:39 am 

Davidm

I don't know where you get your quotes from, but it doesn't really matter.

I don't know why your expletives are permitted in a debating forum, but they don't do you or your beliefs any justice... especially when they don't seem accurate.

We all know that abiogenetic research is looking for an alternate means of reproduction and evolution, to a degree that can produce even some of the basic components of life. But it hasn't done so yet as far as I'm aware. And therefore the author's comments do not seem inaccurate.

The purpose of this topic however is to determine where we might conceptually draw the line between chemical change and evolution and through that, possibly identify some of the mechanisms that may distinguish life from non-life.

If you wish to comment then please keep it relevant to the topic.
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Re: Evolution : a process of ‘change’ not of ‘start’

Postby lateralsuz on December 3rd, 2019, 6:50 am 

Charon

Mind you, when you asked for possible criteria that facilitated the transition between the two, I was hoping we weren't going down the route of an unanswerable, possibly metaphysical, question.



If you believe in mechanisms and chemical processes then you presumably feel that the workings of living things are all answerable... even if we don't yet know what the answer is as yet.

There are real mysteries in life in factors that we see every day, and within every cell. I would think it is valid for any scientist to speculate about how the issues might be resolved, and what the key elements might be.

Richard Dawkins was not afraid to tackle this when he argued that there wasn't enough time since the emergence of the first cell for random processes to generate the life that we see today. To assist this he sought a more subtle process influence to steer the direction of evolution. He called this 'positive selection', which added to Darwin's 'survival' factor.

I don't think the question I posed is unreasonable.
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Re: Evolution : a process of ‘change’ not of ‘start’

Postby davidm on December 3rd, 2019, 10:17 am 

Um, what expletives?
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Re: Evolution : a process of ‘change’ not of ‘start’

Postby davidm on December 3rd, 2019, 10:20 am 

lateralsuz » December 3rd, 2019, 4:39 am wrote:Davidm

I don't know where you get your quotes from, but it doesn't really matter..


They are in his blog, to which I gave you a link.
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Re: Evolution : a process of ‘change’ not of ‘start’

Postby davidm on December 3rd, 2019, 11:12 am 

lateralsuz » December 3rd, 2019, 4:50 am wrote:
Richard Dawkins was not afraid to tackle this when he argued that there wasn't enough time since the emergence of the first cell for random processes to generate the life that we see today.


Exactly! And Darwin agreed! This is what you seem not to understand, and explains your confusion over the chances of a protein forming, which you wrongly deem to be vanishingly small. This would certainly be true if evolution were a random process — but it isn’t! And it was Darwin, not Dawkins, who showed this.

To assist this he sought a more subtle process influence to steer the direction of evolution. He called this 'positive selection', which added to Darwin's 'survival' factor.


No, you are wrong. Dawkins’ “positive selection” is also called “Darwinian selection.” The only thing that Dawkins added was to elucidate the process that Darwin identified in phenotypes at the genetic level, because Darwin did not know anything about genes.

Positive selection is when gene variants, or alleles, go to fixation in a specific population. This just is Darwin’s natural selection, but explained genetically. The opposite, negative selection, also called purifying selection, occurs when deleterious alleles are purged from a population. Yet sometimes, because of genetic drift, which is not selection, deleterious alleles can also sweep to fixation.

Selection and drift, acting on mutations, are the engines of evolution. Drift is a chance process, but selection most assuredly is not. Thus, all claims about this or that happening being vanishingly small, as you seem to think, go right out the window, since such claims presuppose that the very randomness that selection eliminates.


I don't think the question I posed is unreasonable.


And I have answered it.
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Re: Evolution : a process of ‘change’ not of ‘start’

Postby davidm on December 3rd, 2019, 11:24 am 

lateralsuz » December 3rd, 2019, 4:39 am wrote:We all know that abiogenetic research is looking for an alternate means of reproduction and evolution ...


No, you are again wrong. Reproduction and evolution do not apply to abiogenesis, only to life. Evolution occurs when existing life forms reproduce with variation, and hence immediately become targets of positive and negative selection, as well as drift.

As to abiogenesis, as I previously noted, there are plenty of plausible pathways to it. I suggest you acquaint yourself with them.

I hope you find that relevant to the topic!
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Re: Evolution : a process of ‘change’ not of ‘start’

Postby Forest_Dump on December 3rd, 2019, 11:27 am 

People seem to have been looking for something lse to explain nature and the history of the universe since Paley's book more than 200 years ago and it seems to me that they keep getting further away because others using science, etc., just keep coming up with better answers. Behe was an interesting challenge and he did give me some great exercise in picking apart his complex but bad logic. I would even go so far as to suggest that it was thanks to creationists and IDers that we got so many books by Dawkins, Dennett, Pinker, etc. I think the science keeps marching on but, who knows, maybe we are in line for another surge in publishing with more of a focus on the logic problems these guys throw out. I have to admit though, personally I have a huge stack of books etc on the reconstructions of actual evolutionary/geological history that I am more interested in but if any have more of an interest in the wishful thinking of some of these guys, have at it.
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Re: Evolution : a process of ‘change’ not of ‘start’

Postby davidm on December 3rd, 2019, 11:43 am 

lateralsuz » December 3rd, 2019, 4:23 am wrote:
I have looked again at the text of the book, and the author doesn't say anything about 'choosing to walk'. This is an invention of the contributor here, who seems outraged at his own invention.


Then you clearly do not understand what the author is saying. Here, again, is the link to his blog post. Please read it.

In his post, he clearly links the behavior of motor proteins to “requiring sterile chemicals to make choices and perhaps even to have a crude degree of awareness.” Those are HIS WORDS, not mine!

If he does not wish to impute choice and awareness to “walking” motor proteins, then why in the world does he raise them in the first place? — in the very first sentence of his post, no less! The point is, motor proteins are not a mystery, as discussed here.
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