A direction to evolution

Discussions on general biology and biological evolution, genetics, zoology, ecology, botany, etc.

Re: A direction to evolution

Postby mitchellmckain on August 6th, 2018, 6:54 pm 

I really don't understand this black and white, absolutist approach to things whether science, philosophy, or religion. I am talking about this treatment of a theory as a logical proposition which is either true or false. It is the kind of thinking which says that Newtonian physics is false because it doesn't hold absolutely for everything. I cannot understand this kind of thinking because the degree of arrogance which imagines ANYTHING to hold absolutely and for everything is a bit unfathomable to me. It is preposterous to me to take one thing Darwin said and make disproving that this can be absolutely correct means the whole theory is wrong. Frankly, THIS is why so much of philosophy is just BS and it is science which actually works!!! It is because what fits the facts and not these bogus arguments which really counts!

Don't get me wrong... I don't hate philososphy. I see a great deal of value there, even as I do in religion -- and it is largely because I don't buy into this absolutist thinking or a one size fits all methodology.

So when we stop treating Darwinism as a logical proposition, the silliness above goes away. It is not a matter of determining whether all change happens precisely as Darwin surmised. This is SCIENCE NOT PHILOSOPHY and science doesn't work like that!!! Instead, as with the developments in physics we have successive approximations to the whole picture. Natural selection is critical part of that picture even if it is not the whole story and it is not whether gradualism explains everything but only that gradualism does explain a lot of things.

I am certainly a strong advocate of rapid evolutionary change among species at the brink of extinction (punctuated equillibrium) -- AND this is simply a logical extension of the mechanism of natural selection. I also believe that communal evolution (where communities protect individuals) plays a big role in the process -- so instead of being an end of evolution it is a stimulus for a whole new era of evolution in a different direction. In addition the random aspect of the process has often been exaggerated since studies of mutagenesis will show that a great deal of intentionality and control is involved in the production of variation. I suppose this means I am not a Darwinist -- but again I object to the treatment of this scientist and his work as philosophy (or ideology) rather than science.
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Re: A direction to evolution

Postby Reg_Prescott on August 6th, 2018, 8:31 pm 

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, if there are any. And, oooh, my poor head!!!

In response to recent posts, particularly those of Ken and Mitchell, I'd like to remind all that -- as Karl Popper pointed out -- if your theory can explain everything, this may be more cause for concern than celebration.

Popper's fave target was Adler:

"Why did that fellah throw himself in a river to save a child?" Aha!! My theory can explain that: low self-esteem

""Why did that fellah throw himself in a river to commit suicide?" Aha!! My theory can explain that: low self-esteem

Compare:

"Here's a species that entered the fossil record unannounced, did pretty much nothing, then disappeared equally mysteriously a few million years later". Aha! My theory can explain that.

"Here's a species that evolved gradually". Aha! My theory can explain that.

"Here's a coelacanth that doesn't seem to have changed much in 300 million years (or whatever)". Aha! My theory can explain that.


And, er, what exactly is your theory anyway?
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Re: A direction to evolution

Postby Reg_Prescott on August 6th, 2018, 8:42 pm 

As for the inevitable "You got anything better than this crap?" response, most recently rehearsed by Ken....

No, I don't.

And what do you do at the London Savoy when the waiter brings you a meal that tastes like crap? Bite your tongue because you're not a chef yourself?

"Well, can you do better?" - pouting angry Greek chef
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Re: A direction to evolution

Postby Reg_Prescott on August 6th, 2018, 9:01 pm 

mitchellmckain » August 7th, 2018, 7:54 am wrote:I really don't understand this black and white, absolutist approach to things whether science, philosophy, or religion. I am talking about this treatment of a theory as a logical proposition which is either true or false. It is the kind of thinking which says that Newtonian physics is false because it doesn't hold absolutely for everything. I cannot understand this kind of thinking because the degree of arrogance which imagines ANYTHING to hold absolutely and for everything is a bit unfathomable to me. It is preposterous to me to take one thing Darwin said and make disproving that this can be absolutely correct means the whole theory is wrong. Frankly, THIS is why so much of philosophy is just BS and it is science which actually works!!! It is because what fits the facts and not these bogus arguments which really counts!




As a matter of simple logic, any conjunctive statement of the form [A & B & C ... & N] is false if any one, or more, of the conjuncts is false.

What the heck does it take for a dogmatist to come out and admit a theory is false: a gun to the head or Barry Manilow's greatest hits?

Who knows, maybe Darwin did get some stuff right. But then again, you'd have to be some kinda super-dunce to get everything wrong -- which is what it seems to me some of you guys would require to admit that a theory is false.

The theory that all birds fly gets some stuff right. So does the theory that no birds fly. They are both false.

This is not negotiable, unless we move to the Lounge.
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Re: A direction to evolution

Postby Reg_Prescott on August 6th, 2018, 9:15 pm 

Reg_Prescott » August 7th, 2018, 2:02 am wrote:
SciameriKen » August 7th, 2018, 1:34 am wrote:Stove and his book are interesting - but I don't have the time to read and refute a whole book - care to summarize some of his finer points?


Ok, let's start with his somewhat startling refutation of Darwinism in Chapter One...

Premise One: If Darwinism was true there would exist everywhere and at all times in all species a constant struggle in which only a few survive (pretty sure Darwin said that)

Premise Two: Humans are a species

Premise Three: There is no such struggle in modern humans (assuming there ever was)

Conclusion: Darwinism is false

Generally, I find premise three gets attacked. But think about it, even in the most extreme examples you can think of, er the bubonic plague, say, it is not true that "very few survived". Maybe a third did.




Er, that was meant to be two thirds. Duh.
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Re: A direction to evolution

Postby hyksos on August 6th, 2018, 9:15 pm 

wolfhnd » August 7th, 2018, 12:14 am wrote:What is technology if not an extension of evolution, is it "unnatural"? Can anything be unnatural?

Serpent says "No steps, no stages." , then turns around literally 2 sentences later and says these details regarding resources are due to our "technology not evolution". By his admittance, technology is therefore a STAGE, contradicting his earlier assertion of "No steps, no stages".

consider that all evolution (even at micro populations) proceeds in steps and stages. https://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/side_0_0/punctuated_01

I would further assert that the saturation of trees on land was absolutely crucial to the formation of tree-dwelling primates. Contrary to Serpents assertion:

But it only takes a couple of trees for a primate to discover that climbing one is an easy escape from hyenas.

This is a statement of Lamarckian evolution. Lemarckian evolution is totally wrong. Primates absolutely have evolved hands for grasping branches, rotating shoulder bones for swinging from branches, and perhaps more importantly powerful color stereo vision for dwelling on branches without falling off. The very bone joint in our upper arms are a direct descended trait from our ancestral species that dwelled in the trees of ancient forests.

I am not budging on this assertion: Dense tall forest was absolutely required to have been pre-existing far prior to the emergence of and evolution of primates. Therefore there existed a STAGE of life on earth in which trees existed, saturated the ecosystems, and not a single primate was on them. At that STAGE OF TIME, primates had not even evolved yet and weren't even close to coming on the scene.

Up until 600 million years ago, all life on earth was single-celled bacteria. What does that mean? It means that there was a STAGE in history where all life on the surface of this planet was single-celled bacteria. That STAGE lasted 2.9 billion years.

Something suddenly happened at 600 mya that kicked off multicellularity. That time must have been (dare I say it?) a STEP from an earlier paradigm.
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Re: A direction to evolution

Postby Braininvat on August 6th, 2018, 9:24 pm 

Reginald:

Seems like a false equivalence to assert that NS reduces to a conjunctive statement. It's more like an assemblage of postulates. You may be in danger of beating up a strawman, Reg. I'm guessing the coelecanth didn't change much because it resides in an unusually static niche that placed little selective pressure for new adaptations. An actual scientist might study the coelecanth and its habitat and it's DNA and sea fossils and so on, rather than wring her hands over Darwin's imperfections as a soothsayer.
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Re: A direction to evolution

Postby Reg_Prescott on August 6th, 2018, 9:30 pm 

Braininvat » August 7th, 2018, 10:24 am wrote:Reginald:

Seems like a false equivalence to assert that NS reduces to a conjunctive statement. It's more like an assemblage of postulates.


Er, what's the difference?

Braininvat » August 7th, 2018, 10:24 am wrote:
You may be in danger of beating up a strawman, Reg. I'm guessing the coelecanth didn't change much because it resides in an unusually static niche that placed little selective pressure for new adaptations. An actual scientist might study the coelecanth and its habitat and it's DNA and sea fossils and so on, rather than wring her hands over Darwin's imperfections as a soothsayer.


Well, this seems to me like more vacuous circularity, with all due respect, my old pal. Remember that Niles Eldredge quote about niches being defined by their occupants?
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Re: A direction to evolution

Postby hyksos on August 6th, 2018, 9:39 pm 

wolfhnd » August 6th, 2018, 10:21 pm wrote:Some species are not evolving or evolving very slowly and they have to be excluded from consideration. This logic is built into question but even so how can you speak on evolution where it is not taking place.

We must consider two possibilities


  • Evolution may walk mutations up a fitness landscape, and then each variation becomes "frozen" in their local optima. (This is mentioned in books I have here , furnished upon request). This is the same kind of phenomena that takes place in any numerical optimization procedure. The danger of getting "stuck in a local optimum". Evolution simulated on a computer definitely goes this way. The question is open : whether this happens the real earth with real species. It certainly could be going on. It would mean all existing life forms are destined to become like sharks and hagfish. To reach a local optimum of fitness and "freeze out".
  • If a particular gene finds a way to make a perfect copy of itself, and to protect itself with corrective mechanisms if damaged. Then that gene will likely persist more in the future. This cannot be denied because it is a statistico-mathematical truism. Those genes who make perfect copies will tend to be around more in the far future BECAUSE they have perfected copying themselves. But not all genes could or should do this, because a successful species needs "genetic breathing room" to adapt to unknown future changes to the environment. SO there is an interplay , a struggle, between two contradictory evolutionary pressures. On one hand to make perfect copies of genes, but on the other to allow mutatable breathing room to allow for future modification. You can't have 100% of both at the same time. You have to strike a fine balance between them.


We may say that hagfish, sharks, and horseshoe crabs did not strike that fine balance. They went to the extreme of so perfectly correcting all mutations to their genes, that they look nearly identical to their ancestral species that existed prior to the dinosaurs.

Viruses (if they evolve) are the opposite extreme. They change their genetic matieral so rapidly that the "Trade off" genes with other viruses while "still alive". In a process called horizontal gene transfer.
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Re: A direction to evolution

Postby SciameriKen on August 6th, 2018, 10:02 pm 

Reg_Prescott » Tue Aug 07, 2018 1:01 am wrote:
mitchellmckain » August 7th, 2018, 7:54 am wrote:The theory that all birds fly gets some stuff right. So does the theory that no birds fly. They are both false.


Ahh my old friend NoShips hath returned. Maybe you've been here a while - in any case - the thread is yours good sir... exit left :)
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Re: A direction to evolution

Postby Serpent on August 7th, 2018, 12:20 am 

hyksos » August 6th, 2018, 8:15 pm wrote:[quote="[url=http://www.sciencechatforum.com/viewtopic.php?p=338936#p338936]
Serpent says "No steps, no stages." , then turns around literally 2 sentences later and says these details regarding resources are due to our "technology not evolution". By his admittance, technology is therefore a STAGE, contradicting his earlier assertion of "No steps, no stages".

Is therefore a STAGE? A product, yes. A side-effect, yes. Where does STAGE come from? The only way you can justify that allegation is if I had at any time accepted an ascension theory of evolution. I have not.

consider that all evolution (even at micro populations) proceeds in steps and stages.

Consider that those crises are not responsible for all of evolution but only for the occasional and uncharacteristic spurt in the development of isolated species under stress. That would not invalidate ordinary gradual adaptation and selection.

Primates absolutely have evolved hands for grasping branches, rotating shoulder bones for swinging from branches, and perhaps more importantly powerful color stereo vision for dwelling on branches without falling off. The very bone joint in our upper arms are a direct descended trait from our ancestral species that dwelled in the trees of ancient forests.

How does this require that trees cover the entire landmass? Did nothing else exist at the same time - just trees and monkeys? Was there no room anywhere on the planet for a few crocodile, some antelopes and an acre or two of grassland with crickets?
What makes tree saturation crucial to the formation of a joint?

I am not budging on this assertion: Dense tall forest was absolutely required to have been pre-existing far prior to the emergence of and evolution of primates.

Okay. Have your dense tall forest. Nobody says they didn't exist or that they didn't contribute to arboreal primate development.
Therefore there existed a STAGE of life on earth in which trees existed,

They still do. But they don't fill up the whole land-mass, and never needed to. For a departure in species lifestyle, you only need the presence of trees in a region where that species already exists.
saturated the ecosystems, and not a single primate was on them.

Something was on them. Chipmunks, birds, ants, snails, dryads...

At that STAGE OF TIME, primates had not even evolved yet and weren't even close to coming on the scene.

So? Where there are trees, tree-dwellers thrive, diversify, find their niches. Some develop into successful big-brains, some develop into successful little-brains; some are less successful and go extinct.
Are you saying that primates "suddenly" burst into existence as a response to trees?
Why can't you imagine pre-primates running around on the ground? Rats still do, and they've got thumbs and incredibly flexible skeletons. So do lizards, and they can also live on rocks and under stuff. Some little mouse ran up a tree for safety, liked it, built a house up there, brought home his bride and had many little arboreal rodents that eventually diversified into marmosets and lemurs.

Up until 600 million years ago, all life on earth was single-celled bacteria. What does that mean? It means that there was a STAGE in history where all life on the surface of this planet was single-celled bacteria. That STAGE lasted 2.9 billion years.

Well, it's hard, slow work, terraforming Terra. That PERIOD lasted 2.9 billion years.
Something suddenly happened at 600 mya that kicked off multicellularity.

Some life form must have SATURATED some place?
Maybe.
Or else, conditions changed, perhaps due to a cosmic event, perhaps due to a chemical or thermal tipping-poit on the earth's surface. Things that happen suddenly are usually extinctions and catastrophes, which means that whatever is capable of a major alteration in its habits and responses has a better chance of surviving than all the organisms that are less able to adapt. We've already been through this one with Wolfhund and bacteria. Of course, "sudden" may be a hundred thousand years, which is quite a lot of bacterial lifetimes - it's hard to put precises time-stamps on events in the remote past.

That time must have been ... a STEP from an earlier paradigm.

That time could have been a DIVERGENCE or a DEPARTURE from or a VARIATION on the earlier paradigm.
Calling it a step presumes that all of evolution happens in this way and invites the assumption that it is "supposed" or "meant" to happen in this way. It doesn't. It happens chronologically and there is a terrific temptation to think of now as the top of all the time that's gone before; where it's all been headed. Really, it's just a point on a line.
These exceptional events may be significant from a particular (anthropocentric) POV, and are certainly dramatic, but are far from the whole story of life.
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Re: A direction to evolution

Postby Reg_Prescott on August 7th, 2018, 1:04 am 

Some people say history, and perhaps natural history, is just one damn thing after another.

Not to ruin your life's work, but was hoping for company in the pub.
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Re: A direction to evolution

Postby mitchellmckain on August 7th, 2018, 1:51 am 

Reg_Prescott » August 6th, 2018, 7:31 pm wrote:Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, if there are any. And, oooh, my poor head!!!

In response to recent posts, particularly those of Ken and Mitchell, I'd like to remind all that -- as Karl Popper pointed out -- if your theory can explain everything, this may be more cause for concern than celebration.


Indeed! And when evolution is treated like a theory of everything (and it sometimes is) then that is good reason to get real skeptical and suggest that this is going a bit too far.
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Re: A direction to evolution

Postby hyksos on August 7th, 2018, 2:23 am 

Serpent » August 7th, 2018, 8:20 am wrote:Consider that those crises are not responsible for all of evolution but only for the occasional and uncharacteristic spurt in the development of isolated species under stress. That would not invalidate ordinary gradual adaptation and selection.

There are too many examples of steps and stages for this to be denied.

Regarding Punctuated Equilibrium, we do not see gradualism even in simulated ecosystems run on a computer. We see long periods of boring cycling, punctuated by sudden catastrophes that "shake up" the system.

I have written and run such simulations myself and they are on youtube (in portion at least). I can tell you personally what I saw when running them particularly at the beginning. You start them off and the simulated organisms run in a circle for about 20 minutes bouncing off the walls. Roughly 10 to 20 minutes into this something suddenly changes. A "film" of the organisms becomes stable on a piece of boundary within the ecosystem. This happens suddenly -- like an eyeblink in simulation time. The "film" is then a little busy patch of replicators who are keeping to a certain place rather than running around like crazy.

Did this happen once? No. It happens every single time without fail in every 'run' of the simulation.

(I could say a million other things here which dovetail with others who have run such simulations. Including Daniel Dennet. Maybe later as time permits.)

For the purposes of this thread, we have a numbers game to consider. A desktop PC with 16 GB of RAM in it has a boundary. The total number of bits in the machine is literally this number : 134,217,728,000.

Code: Select all
To contrast, here is the number of atoms in a cup of tea.
10,237,639,700,000,000,000,000,000


That limitation comes at a cost. All genetic algorithms and ecosystem simulations must be doomed to saturate. Saturation entails that the entire environment is overrun with organisms, and then a 'master species' emerges whose genes dominate the entire environment. The diversity of the population plummets and the simulation stops going anywhere. Computers are extremely limited versus the real world, and so all sims must reach an end state.

Imagine we had a future computer from science fiction, which could simulate an environment to the granularity of atoms -- and that super computer could somehow run much faster than "realtime". In principle, there is nothing stopping that simulation from evolving genuine bacteria with internal cellular matrix or even multicellular fungus. Hell, with a large enough computer we might even get plant life going. In principle -- there is nothing impeding this possibility. The only hurdle is limited computing power.

We can ask whether the surface of the earth is also "doomed to saturate" eventually. Saturation won't look exactly like what we see in simulation. The scale differences between virus and ocean whales is vast, and so I do not see a grey goo scenario manifesting. Other forms of saturation are possible. Namely all species perfect the replication and "repairing" of their genes and become stuck in local optima. (As has happened with sharks, hagfish, and horseshoe crabs.)

If it is the case that the life on earth is doomed to saturation -- then it follows by logic that evolution does indeed have a direction. The direction is towards this inevitable end-stage of saturation. By logic evolution would have a direction, because we could uniquely identify this end-state of the biosphere.

This theory would run contradictory to Richard Dawkins. Dawkins claims that evolution is a random and directionless wandering through a "search space" of genetic possibilities. No rhyme, no reason, and no pesky "direction".

Dawkins promulgates his pet hypothesis in public as if it were fact. But the discipline of biology is actually silent about it one way or the other.
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Re: A direction to evolution

Postby Serpent on August 7th, 2018, 9:09 am 

Soooo --- the direction of life is toward death? That conclusion didn't need all this rigmarole, any more than primates needed forest to cover all land surfaces.

I'm not defending Dawkins, btw - I'm not even very familiar with his work. Just saying this saturation business is okay for Sundays and holidays, but you can't simply discount all the weekday evolution because your computer simulation is boring. While your model has a world full of just primates in trees, where play the deer and the antelope?
Where are the elephants???
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Re: A direction to evolution

Postby hyksos on August 7th, 2018, 4:26 pm 

Serpent --

I worry that your participation in this thread may run afoul of the topic, and that you are just being combative for the sake of combat.

To re-capitulate,
hyksos » July 12th, 2018, 1:00 am wrote:Does evolution have a larger and broader direction to it? Perhaps evolution slowly gives rise to "higher levels of conscious awareness" or some such.

Your thoughts?

Deer , antelope, and elephants can all co-exist in an "end state" of evolution on a planet's surface. That's perfectly reasonable. Never have I ever in this thread suggested that "All species must eventually evolve towards a single form X" or that all species on earth are doomed to become intelligent upright walking multicellular mammals. That assertion would be so silly as to be dismissed off-hand. Bacteria have remained bacteria for billions of years. Bacteria would "play a role" as bacteria in an end-state of evolution (if indeed an end state will happen, more later) I never meant this topic to drown in high-school level biology.
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Re: A direction to evolution

Postby hyksos on August 7th, 2018, 4:34 pm 

I think I can get the topic a little more focused.
plausible scenarios

I. Evolution is an "open-ended" process. Endless directionless. And eternally creates new variations forever and ever.

II. Evolution is a long process, but must grind to a halt in an end-state on any given planet.

III. Once a planet begins to host an industrial species -- they overproduce energy, drive global warming, and wipe themselves out through environmental degradation.

IV. (more speculatory) evolution gives rise to intelligent species that leaves its host planet and "populates the galaxy" (or whatever the Singularity folks are saying now)

V. (woo, if you are into woo.) "The universe is coming to know itself." Higher conscious awareness is the direction -- etc etc.

I believe raw orthodox Darwinism with macroscopic species only -- must go towards scenario (II). Simulation supports this. Further if there is no identifiable end-stage, then I still believe the process of evolution would eventually reach a stable "limit cycle" (I'm borrowing that term from nonlinear dynamics).

(In my humble opinion) the only mechanism that could manifest scenario (I) would be the existence of viruses that transfer genes between species using retrotransposon enzymes. Linkage for lost: https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/biochemistry-genetics-and-molecular-biology/retrotransposon

Charles Darwin did not know about the existence of viruses -- or of the existence of bacteria. Orthodox Darwinism has no mechanism of horizontal gene transfer , nor of the possibility of radical symbiosis (where for example mitochondria have their own DNA line).
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Re: A direction to evolution

Postby Serpent on August 7th, 2018, 6:05 pm 

hyksos » August 7th, 2018, 3:26 pm wrote:Serpent --
Deer , antelope, and elephants can all co-exist in an "end state" of evolution on a planet's surface.

I doubt it: most, if not all of those species will be extinct by then, replaced by cities and food-cattle. But it's not the end-times I was addressing.

What I'm skeptical about is the "saturation" stages. All the oceans full of bacteria before a hydra or mussel can grow; all the land covered in tall dense forest as a prerequisite to the advent of primates.
Yes, there was a lot of jungle, and yes, some mammals (and some birds, reptiles, amphibians and insects) adapted to an arboreal lifestyle.

But it could take millions of years to turn a proto-squirrel into a lemur. Meanwhile, where were the precursors of plains- and marsh- and desert- and rock-dwelling species supposed to be developing? All the herbivores and the carnivores which follow them had to be incubating alongside the primates - somewhere. They obviously didn't go arboreal. But I'm pretty sure they also didn't just sit in a cocoon and wait for the perfect monkey before they'd come along to chew up the scenery.
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Re: A direction to evolution

Postby wolfhnd on August 7th, 2018, 8:18 pm 

mitchellmckain » Mon Aug 06, 2018 10:54 pm wrote: In addition the random aspect of the process has often been exaggerated since studies of mutagenesis will show that a great deal of intentionality and control is involved in the production of variation.


This is the third time that this suggestion has come up. As far as I know every definitive study has failed to demonstrate the suggested hypothesis.

The concept of random like zero are not only difficult for humans to contemplate but seem to contradict the scientific consensus on determinism. Eisenstein captured the intuitive response in his statement that God does not play dice. The importance of random I feel can't be over emphasized. No random, no universe, no evolution, no creativity.
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Re: A direction to evolution

Postby BioWizard on August 14th, 2018, 1:57 pm 

hyksos » 11 Jul 2018 04:00 pm wrote:Does evolution have a larger and broader direction to it?


Yes. All of them.
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Re: A direction to evolution

Postby mitchellmckain on August 14th, 2018, 7:15 pm 

wolfhnd » August 7th, 2018, 7:18 pm wrote:
mitchellmckain » Mon Aug 06, 2018 10:54 pm wrote: In addition the random aspect of the process has often been exaggerated since studies of mutagenesis will show that a great deal of intentionality and control is involved in the production of variation.


This is the third time that this suggestion has come up. As far as I know every definitive study has failed to demonstrate the suggested hypothesis.

I already told you where the demonstration can be found -- in studies of mutagenesis. It was found that E-coli selectively protect UV damage to their own DNA from their own DNA repair mechanism. You have to be willfully blind not to see how this is a stark example of intentionality and control in the production of variation. And this is one of the simplest organisms without sexual reproduction. In more complex organisms this intentionality and control is found in the process of sexual reproduction, where all kinds of means have been developed to introduce variation into the genome (such as chromosome crossover). The control in such processes is obvious -- where essential genes are always transimitted. Again you have to be willfully blind not to see the intensionality and control involved in the production of variation.

wolfhnd » August 7th, 2018, 7:18 pm wrote:The concept of random like zero are not only difficult for humans to contemplate but seem to contradict the scientific consensus on determinism. Eisenstein captured the intuitive response in his statement that God does not play dice. The importance of random I feel can't be over emphasized. No random, no universe, no evolution, no creativity.

I am not interested in what the lowest IQs and most uneducated are incapable of understanding. The concepts of random and zero have been a part of scientific thinking and analysis for a long time and the imbecility of deconstructionist rhetoric and ideological willfulness does not interest me either.

In that statement by Einstein as well as similar statements by Feynmann, is captured the inherent conflict between the premises of scientific inquiry and what the findings of science force us to accept as fact. If anything, this is an irrefutable proof of the objectivity of science which refuses to cater to subjective intuitions.

wolfhnd » August 7th, 2018, 7:18 pm wrote:The importance of random I feel can't be over emphasized. No random, no universe, no evolution, no creativity.


You are over-reacting! I am no determinist. I think the indeterministic nature of the universe as discovered by quantum physics is irrefutable. Furthermore I think it is fundamental to the nature of life and consciousness. BUT that does not mean that the role of randomness in many presentations of the process of evolution has not been exaggerated. When PBS shows make the claim that the viruses evade our antibiotics just because of the pure chance of random variation, I think the BS meter has blown out. Living things develop strategies to survive and the use of variation is one of those strategies.
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Re: A direction to evolution

Postby Braininvat on August 14th, 2018, 10:05 pm 

There is a lot to be learned about adaptive variation strategies by looking at transposons in immune systems. I've seen research in immune adaptations in vertebrates where there appears to be a better rapid response to changing disease threats by encouraging transposons (also called "jumping genes"). I.e. a sort of benign mutagenesis, rather than the standard suppression of transposons which in other situations is the "safer" option. Could it be called a sort of "directed randomness"? The shuffling of cards in hopes of getting a better hand in the next deal.
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Re: A direction to evolution

Postby wolfhnd on August 14th, 2018, 11:28 pm 

Intentionality and control in the production of variation. Sounds a lot like intelligent design to me.

The more controlled studies I have seen point to not intentionally but a random change in population.

Epigenetic can sometimes appear to be a limited form of acquired adaptation but is probably irrelevant to a direction to evolution.
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Re: A direction to evolution

Postby mitchellmckain on August 16th, 2018, 12:15 am 

wolfhnd » August 14th, 2018, 10:28 pm wrote:Intentionality and control in the production of variation. Sounds a lot like intelligent design to me.

Sounds to me you are blindly equating things like the way the McCarthyites and southern conservative hicks would plaster "communist" on everything they disagree with.

There is NOTHING similar in this at all. Intelligent design means some outside force is designing living organisms according to their desire. Living things making their own choices in response to environmental challenges is diametrically opposed to this.

Such a stark black and white approach to the point of cramming round pegs in square holes is a red-flag telling us that we are dealing with an ideologue.

wolfhnd » August 14th, 2018, 10:28 pm wrote:The more controlled studies I have seen point to not intentionally but a random change in population.

Oh boy! Do you have it wrong! But maybe you misspoke. Perhaps you meant to say that the studies show variations are random. The change in gene pool of the population is NOT random because natural selection is not random -- and the change in the populations is due to BOTH variation AND natural selection.

But once you have that blunder cleared up then there is still your over-reaction to what I said. I most certainly did not say that there is no randomness in variation. Intentionality and control in the production of variation means that natural selection FAVORS some degree of random variation (ergo intensionality - the evolution of mechanisms that increase variation) but also favors limiting the variations in ways that increase the chances that the variations are viable (ergo control -- the mechanisms increase variation in limited ways). The more complex the organism the greater those limitations must be or not enough offspring will be viable enough for the species to survive.

wolfhnd » August 14th, 2018, 10:28 pm wrote:Epigenetic can sometimes appear to be a limited form of acquired adaptation but is probably irrelevant to a direction to evolution.

Ah so that is your ideological blinder.... Epigenetics can certainly be an alternative means of limiting the damage of random variation, but putting the whole burden of this on epigenetics is unreasonable and does not agree with the evidence.

I find the reference to a direction in evolution confusing. I have been flatly denying there is any such thing as a direction to evolution except what the environment requires for survival -- and when the environment is favorable enough then there is not one direction but multitudes (many strategies work). Are you arguing that there is an inherent universal direction in the process of evolution itself?
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