It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.

 

Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.

 

A debate on the conseqences of biological evolutionary forces.

page: 3
3
<< 1  2    4 >>

log in

join
share:

posted on Jul, 19 2015 @ 04:05 PM
link   
a reply to: hydeman11

Hi,

I'm not a geneticist or a biologist by profession, but I have accumulated a little knowledge from friends. Perhaps you will excuse me from misapplied nomenclature or misunderstood concepts attendant to that fact. I am trying, though


If you recall, it was actually a physicist (George Gamow) who cracked the 3 base codon structure which was arguably the biggest breakthrough in genetic technology. So I feel at least some leeway should be acceptable for one outside the field.

As pointed out, not all loss of traits need be maladaptive. Loss of the trait for the particular protein coat around T cells confers immunity to HIV. Although this adversely affects immune function, in the case of HIV outbreak it is actually a survival advantage.

One of the tenets of MES is that there is a gradualism to change, so despite traits being spread across multiple genes, each genetic change enters the gene pool successively, not all at once. This ignores that there are functional tipping points along the way to trait change that are not advantageous. There are solutions to this, like Punctuated Equilibrium, Horizontal Transfer and Epigenetically coded for, but inactive, traits, yet none of these are part of MES in any definition that I have seen.

To my way of thinking (from a physics perspective) a block deletion seems much more likely than blocks of successive modification or some type of code insertion.

I must agree that I am looking at change from an individualist perspective. To me there is a rational disconnect in MES between how change arises, and how it spreads and is selected for. The proposed gradualism cannot happen because it starts with the individual and meets points where transmission to the populace is problematic.

Returning to the initial question, perhaps we do not perceive the volume of loss of traits because simpler organisms are physically smaller. There are physical limitations on cell size, smaller cell numbers therefore equate with smaller organisms. Up until we had the microscope, few would have conceived that there would be such a variety of tiny life? But even this would not account for the overwhelming evidence of movement towards complexity. To me, the 'de-traiting' process should be happening more, and more obviously.

Consider the case of the loss of eyes that you mentioned previously, you stated that this was because the biological 'cost' of having useless eyes was too great and therefore the inefficient ones were selected against. If we then consider flying insects (say locusts), then it appears that they have too many legs to be efficient. Why then is the insect genera so populous?


edit on 19/7/2015 by chr0naut because: (no reason given)




posted on Jul, 19 2015 @ 04:09 PM
link   
There are arguments to be made regarding the reality that some organisms which we would deem "inferior" are more advanced in their evolution than we are. Earthworms for example. We do not adapt, we force the earth to adapt and poison it in the process. Worms naturally enjoy a symbiotic relationship that benefits every player, resulting in a well rounded ecosystem. By this example, its difficult to weigh the pros and cons of the evolutionary process. As Einstein said, if we judge a fish by its ability to climb trees, then we are all arguably inferior to some extent. And there will always be a bigger fish no matter how badass you think you are. One day the food chain will swallow us whole.



posted on Jul, 19 2015 @ 08:30 PM
link   
a reply to: chr0naut
Howdy,

I don’t mind any misapplied terms or misunderstandings, as I certainly am no expert either. The best anyone can do is to try, and I commend anyone who does just that.

Now as for leeway, I agree that this topic (like any other) should be open for discussion outside of the experts’ circles. That said, their expertise and education is something I lack, so I just wanted to make my lack of expertise explicitly known.

I agree that not all “losses of traits” are maladaptive. I didn’t mean to suggest that most were. However, I was trying to explain why one could not automatically decouple selective forces from the survival of an organism that does have maladaptive traits as a result of a “loss of genes.” In other words, we might not see evidence of maladaptive losses of genotypic information because they result in maladaptive phenotypic traits, thus not being preserved in nature (and thus not being observed by humans). As you say about microscopic organisms, one must be able to see evidence of the problem before one knows if it exists.

As for MES and gradualism… Well, I wasn’t taught that gradualism occurred commonly in the geologic past. However, I’ve seen graphic models which suggest some species do persist and change gradually, but I was taught the punctuated equilibrium was the general trend for evolution in the geologic past. As such, I thought punctuated equilibrium WAS part of MES, specifically the part that addresses speed. Likewise, phyletic gradualism is also another “speed” or “mode” that I was taught was equally valid if not equally likely or represented in the fossil record.
Now, even if these concepts were not part of MES proper, they are certainly complements to the foundation of MES, yes? Like any good scientific theory, you start with what you have evidence for and build from it based off of anomalous data. Anomalies help refine theory, because as we know, humans are fallible and work with necessarily incomplete data sets.

It may be the case that deletions are more common than insertions, but even if they are, I don’t see why that would be a problem.

I can see the problem if you are looking for individualistic evolution. The individual must somehow pass on its genes to the population in order for speciation to take place. And this is one of the more complicated parts, for sure, as there are many methods to do this. For example, asexual reproduction allows for genes to rapidly become more common in populations of bacteria. You merely increase the number of the individuals with that gene by “cloning” yourself. Ratio goes up. You could try sexual reproduction, in which case the matter is more complicated… A chance only a specific gene will be passed on, but a greater chance for genetic diversity through new combinations. You’ve already mentioned gene transfer as an alternative mechanism.

See, that’s what I think the problem here is. There are lots of complicated mechanisms working together and independently of one another. Some complement each other, some are alternatives for another process (but both may occur in different species). This is what MES and its “complementaries” are, though.
Now, I don’t know about the “de-traiting” thing. Let me give you a silly example of why I am hung up on this… Say I have an elephant with a gene for a long trunk. Say it “loses” the gene that makes it express a large trunk. Now it has a small snout instead. By losing one phenotypic trait, does it not necessarily gain another? If a trilobite loses lenses, does it not gain a smaller eye? Apparent losses are based on perspective, are they not?
Now for more arthropod discussion, the Devonian trilobites were responding to environment changes in which eye-sight was less favored in murky water (theoretically). Locusts have not been pressured to stand or perch less. Evolution does not strive for perfection, anyway. Evolution is more like, “Well, that’s good enough for its situation…” But if there is no selective pressure for fewer legs (and I don’t even know what would cause such a pressure…), then why should selective forces favor something with fewer legs? I’d imagine pressures would be more on avoiding being eaten by a bird. If you have a few spare legs that can be caught and ripped off without causing your death, maybe that’s better than fewer legs anyway?

That said, insects are not the only arthropods. Trilobites, crustaceans, horseshoe crabs, and arachnids all have variations on the arthropod body plan. We do see diversity in leg number of arthropods as a whole, even variation in insects. I do believe that diversity, or ability to adapt to multiple and varied environments, is what allowed them to be so populous. (I am referring to arthropods in general as well as insects).

Sincerest regards,
Hydeman



posted on Jul, 19 2015 @ 10:08 PM
link   
a reply to: hydeman11

I agree that MES and its complementary theories may well describe no 'directional' evolution but as I mentioned in the OP, I intended to be speculative and look forward in time.

What I am proposing is that future evolution of the human species will be directional by virtue of the fact that we now 'have the keys' & are likely to drive it.

Consider, if you will, the rise of telecommunications. The 'phone on the wall became the brick that we carried which became a tiny mobile which became a smartphone, which became a whole range of communication and computing devices including augmented reality ones. The devices are integrating into us, becoming more closely personal. We currently carry or wear them, the next level may be implantation but there is even a level beyond that.

We already have played with neural nets and DNA data storage. A biological solution to technological issues is very likely. This then suggests a new level in technological advancement. Genetic engineering of new organs that fulfill technological goals. How about inheritable wireless data communication?

Imagine me not having to type to you via a clumsy keyboard and a series of data links and screen, but a brain to brain communication. Nuanced with emotions and sensory data!

In this instance there will definitely be a direction.


edit on 19/7/2015 by chr0naut because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 19 2015 @ 11:18 PM
link   
a reply to: chr0naut

Howdy,

Ah, yes, sorry. I get distracted easily. My apologies for going off topic.

It seems like transhumanism is what you are concerned with then, yes? In that case, yes, human action could step beyond natural evolutionary processes and guide development. So long as our species survives long enough to develop the technologies required to do so, there is no reason we could not guide our own advancement.

However, I'm not sure that such would fall under the definition of evolution. In the broad sense, I think of evolution as speciation. Unless we create different species through our technologies, I don't think the term "evolution" is apt. Then again, if we can put jellyfish genes in tomatoes, why couldn't we one day genetically alter a subset of the population and create a new species?

In the narrower sense of evolution, though, this new alternative mechanism of "evolution" would wreak havoc with taxonomy. We would have to rely more heavily on cladistics and keep records of ancestry (because genomes could become worthless...). It might, in the end, be too different a process from evolution to put it under the evolution umbrella. It might just have to stay under the definition of "genetically engineered." Perhaps a cousin to the theories in the same sense that Human Selective breeding (dogs) is a cousin to Natural Selection?

That is a very interesting line of thought, though. Thank you for clarifying.

Sincerest regards,
Hydeman



posted on Jul, 19 2015 @ 11:58 PM
link   
a reply to: chr0naut



I do understand that selection pressures and other factors AFTER the point of mutation, would come into play, but selection pressures cannot change an organism under MES processes.


Selection pressures change a POPULATION 'under MES processes', not individuals. This is not an important point: it is a VITAL point.



That is entirely dependent on the genetic change being introduced by mutation (and less so by genetic drift as it falls from the 'vogue' of MES).


Yes. Mutation in an individual provides the 'pool' of possibilities that natural selection can filter into the population as a whole.

This paragraph hints that you are still not really comfortable with the central mechanism of how evolution works according to the MES.

1) random mutation affects an individual.

Every individual is different from his parents in some small degree. Many of the differences may be just different expressions of an allele; for instance, blue eyes instead of green. But many of those differences are actual mutations. The chances of the new mutation being passed to the children of the new born depends completely on whether that new born can reproduce or not. If the new born dies at birth, or is eaten before it reproduces, or the mutation prevents it from reproducing, then the mutation does not survive. If the mutation allows that individual to reproduce better than other individuals in its own population, then the frequency of that mutation in the population will rise. Every member of every generation is born a little bit different than its parents and the other members of its generation. Some will have useful mutations that will spread into the population.

2) natural selection affects the population.

Natural selection is the process whereby those mutations in individuals in one generation are successful in passing their individual mutations on to the next generation. The spread of that mutation into the population is a change in the 'base' DNA of the entire population. Individuals in each generation mutate (each individual has, in general, different mutations) and when they reproduce, natural selection filters those mutations 'choosing' which are worthy of spreading into the population as a whole.

3) Individuals mutate and reproduce (or not); Populations evolve.

Evolution is 'change over time'. Individuals do not change over time; populations change over time. A mutation is an 'error' during reproduction: the parent does not change, the child does not change. The child is different from the parent, yet neither has changed. Thus a mutation is not evolution. Populations on the other hand do evolve; as mutations spread from one generation to the next it is that change in the population as a whole that is evolution.



From a genetic standpoint, the deletion of a block of genetic code is more likely (and therefore more frequent) than successful insertion of new code.


Why would you think that? There are at least SEVEN other types of mutations (at least nine altogether) other than insertion or deletion. Your argument would seem to depend on restricting mutation to just insertion or deletion. What evidence do you have that deletions are more frequent than insertions or any combination of the eight non-deletion mutations?



This would mean that deletion of a trait (which is dependent upon that block of deleted code) should be more common than the rise of a new trait.


Since there are seven other mutation types, all of which can end up coding for 'something new', your assertion really doesn't hold. At the DNA level, discussion of a mutation producing a 'new' trait, means 'coding for a different amino acid or for preventing the production of an amino acid. Ultimately this dictates what proteins are produced since amino acids are the building blocks of proteins.

Now you may well be right (but in this case I doubt it - by all means provide evidence of my error), that deletions are more prevalent than all other types of mutation. If the deletion causes the elimination of some vital trait, the individual will not live, or if it lives will not reproduce, or if it reproduces it will produce less capable offspring. In other words, the 'bad' mutation will be removed from the population, sooner or later. Clearly 'good' mutations caused by other mutation types will out number 'bad' mutations caused by deletion (or any other kind of mutation). That is what natural selection does - filters out 'bad' mutations. Even if 'bad' mutations outnumber 'good' mutations a million to one (which is likely absurd), it is ONLY the 'good' mutations that survive. The 'bad' mutations will not be seen.

Of course the 'deletion' may result in an advantageous mutation as well, who knows?.

A single mutation is very seldom a 'big ticket' change, whether 'good' or 'bad'. Big changes are the result of the accumulation over many generations of little changes. In general, a hit to one of those little changes will not result in the complete elimination of the accumulated changes. In engineering terms this would be a truly significant 'single point of failure'. Such a big hit would seldom allow the individual to successfully reproduce. Again, remember that in order for the POPULATION to lose some trait, the original INDIVIDUAL that lost that trait due to some mutation must be able to reproduce the mutation to the next generation and that loss must provide sufficient advantage to the population that is is 'allowed' by natural selection to spread generation by generation.
edit on 19/7/2015 by rnaa because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 21 2015 @ 02:44 PM
link   

originally posted by: chr0naut
Yes, but I didn't plagiarize, it would appear that another site is stealing content.



You may actually be right here. You made this thread on the 18th and the article was written on the 19th. Plus the term "thread" was used and that doesn't make sense in an article. Ug that website is all kinds of messed up.
edit on 21-7-2015 by Barcs because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 21 2015 @ 02:49 PM
link   
a reply to: Barcs

Howdy,

In chr0naut's defense, my internet search is showing the O.I. thread to be made the day after this one on ATS in google search. Also, I've seen a similar event to this on ATS before where another site WAS copying threads from here. (Don't even know how to begin to search for those posts though...). In your defense, the site itself lists "posted on" dates going all the way back to 2012 (on the bottom) on my screen with July 19th posted on the top.

Sincerest regards,
Hydeman



posted on Jul, 21 2015 @ 02:52 PM
link   
a reply to: hydeman11

Yes, you are correct. I originally misread the article to say the "15th" when it was actually the 19th. I updated my post. Chr0naut is in the right here.



posted on Jul, 21 2015 @ 02:59 PM
link   
a reply to: Barcs

Howdy,

Sorry, I must have typed that before seeing your edited post. Plagiarism is an important issue, and one that needs to be protected against, so I could certainly understand your post. What I don't understand is why other websites would plagiarize entire thread topics such as this.

Sincere regards,
Hydeman



posted on Jul, 21 2015 @ 03:30 PM
link   

originally posted by: Barcs

originally posted by: chr0naut
Yes, but I didn't plagiarize, it would appear that another site is stealing content.



You may actually be right here. You made this thread on the 18th and the article was written on the 19th. Plus the term "thread" was used and that doesn't make sense in an article. Ug that website is all kinds of messed up.


Thanks BARCS, the mods are on to it.

It looks like it is some kind of search referencing (other) conspiracy sites. The link, at the bottom of the quote, that points back to its ATS source is white text on white background.

I imagine that no-one will bother with any take-down stuff (as it was, really, a search result on a fairly broken web site), but I imagine the mods will look at blocking the address range of the competing site.

In another thread, someone suggested that competing sites might be using things like trolling as a way to harm ATS's reputation. Could be that other sites are engaging in some kinds of cyber attack but I'm sure that ATS will remain above it all.




posted on Jul, 21 2015 @ 08:36 PM
link   

originally posted by: hydeman11
a reply to: chr0naut

Howdy,

Ah, yes, sorry. I get distracted easily. My apologies for going off topic.

It seems like transhumanism is what you are concerned with then, yes? In that case, yes, human action could step beyond natural evolutionary processes and guide development. So long as our species survives long enough to develop the technologies required to do so, there is no reason we could not guide our own advancement.

However, I'm not sure that such would fall under the definition of evolution. In the broad sense, I think of evolution as speciation. Unless we create different species through our technologies, I don't think the term "evolution" is apt. Then again, if we can put jellyfish genes in tomatoes, why couldn't we one day genetically alter a subset of the population and create a new species?

In the narrower sense of evolution, though, this new alternative mechanism of "evolution" would wreak havoc with taxonomy. We would have to rely more heavily on cladistics and keep records of ancestry (because genomes could become worthless...). It might, in the end, be too different a process from evolution to put it under the evolution umbrella. It might just have to stay under the definition of "genetically engineered." Perhaps a cousin to the theories in the same sense that Human Selective breeding (dogs) is a cousin to Natural Selection?

That is a very interesting line of thought, though. Thank you for clarifying.

Sincerest regards,
Hydeman


I personally view transhumanism as an intermediary stage, a technologic solution to something that will become the new norm after the tech work is forgotten.

Consider that we may have to redefine speciation. While there may not be a bio-incompatibility between an augmented being and a human, there are going to be barriers to procreation.

Would an 'augment' choose a human for a mate? Is there a chance that the offspring will not have the traits hoped for?

Definitely, the world would be highly polarized into the 'have' and 'have nots'. I would imagine that the augments would view humans as being oddities like we perceive the Luddites were. And soon humans would be likely to become as extinct as true Luddites are today.

But aside from that, could it not be taken that, after a point and taken as a complete continuum of process, evolution does have a direction (because we will direct it)?



posted on Jul, 21 2015 @ 11:26 PM
link   
a reply to: chr0naut

Or maybe be a bit more poignant in what you're asking. Motivation behind it.



posted on Jul, 22 2015 @ 03:43 AM
link   
Devolution is the decentralization of political power. The word has no meaning in evolutionary theory.

Yet it is clear enough what the OP means: a decrease in complexity that is adaptive. Decreases in complexity that are maladaptive occur all the time — we call them deformities, monstrosities, genetic defects, etc. They don't result in 'devolution' because they rarely get to reproduce, or the mutation may not be heritable even if they do.

Are adaptive decreases in complexity rare? They seem common enough to me.
  • Lots of animals that adopt a troglodytic lifestyle lose their vision — one example is a fish called Astyanax.

  • Cetaceans are descended from land animals that lost their legs, and still carry vestigial pelvic bones inside their bodies. I understand some creationists are, amusingly, trying to dispute this.

  • There are ten different familes of legless lizards, adding up to hundreds of different species, which have lost their limbs just as cetaceans have.

One could extend the list, but it hardly seems worth the trouble. The 'lack of evidence for "devolution"' is an obvious creationist canard, one I've seen aired many times before on ATS and long debunked.


edit on 22/7/15 by Astyanax because: of bad tags.



posted on Jul, 23 2015 @ 03:16 AM
link   

originally posted by: Astyanax
Devolution is the decentralization of political power. The word has no meaning in evolutionary theory.

Yet it is clear enough what the OP means: a decrease in complexity that is adaptive. Decreases in complexity that are maladaptive occur all the time — we call them deformities, monstrosities, genetic defects, etc. They don't result in 'devolution' because they rarely get to reproduce, or the mutation may not be heritable even if they do.

Are adaptive decreases in complexity rare? They seem common enough to me.
  • Lots of animals that adopt a troglodytic lifestyle lose their vision — one example is a fish called Astyanax.

  • Cetaceans are descended from land animals that lost their legs, and still carry vestigial pelvic bones inside their bodies. I understand some creationists are, amusingly, trying to dispute this.

  • There are ten different familes of legless lizards, adding up to hundreds of different species, which have lost their limbs just as cetaceans have.

One could extend the list, but it hardly seems worth the trouble. The 'lack of evidence for "devolution"' is an obvious creationist canard, one I've seen aired many times before on ATS and long debunked.



I don't think that anyone is denying that there are some adaptions that are what could be called "retrograde" to a movement towards complexity. What I was assuming, though is that it would happen far more frequently that such a loss of traits would be successful and a selection advantage.

To my view, it appears that there is a decided preference, where one should not be.



posted on Jul, 23 2015 @ 03:46 AM
link   
a reply to: chr0naut


I don't think that anyone is denying that there are some adaptions that are what could be called "retrograde" to a movement towards complexity.

What movement towards complexity?


What I was assuming, though is that it would happen far more frequently that such a loss of traits would be successful and a selection advantage.

Why would anyone assume that?


To my view, it appears that there is a decided preference, where one should not be.

Why does it so appear to you? Have you taken an inventory?



posted on Jul, 23 2015 @ 03:54 AM
link   

originally posted by: chr0naut

I'll start by providing an observation and some questions arising from it:

To me, by observation, it appears that there has been an overall 'direction' of life processes towards biological complexity, functional efficiency and integration with existing lifeforms. Yet in a stochastically neutral environment, it should be expected that there would be equal movement contrary to those concepts. For the purposes of this discussion, I'll call this 'devolution'. Do you know of devolutionary examples and, if there are such devolutions, why are they not as equally apparent as evolutionary ones?


Darwinism, if something devolves it becomes less survivable, and won't be around as much if at all.



posted on Jul, 23 2015 @ 05:24 AM
link   

originally posted by: Vector99

originally posted by: chr0naut

I'll start by providing an observation and some questions arising from it:

To me, by observation, it appears that there has been an overall 'direction' of life processes towards biological complexity, functional efficiency and integration with existing lifeforms. Yet in a stochastically neutral environment, it should be expected that there would be equal movement contrary to those concepts. For the purposes of this discussion, I'll call this 'devolution'. Do you know of devolutionary examples and, if there are such devolutions, why are they not as equally apparent as evolutionary ones?


Darwinism, if something devolves it becomes less survivable, and won't be around as much if at all.


As others have noted, sometimes the burden of evolved characteristics like eyes or limbs, do not give a survival advantage. For instance in a low visibility environment, the extra biological burden of having eyes confers no survival advantage and therefore is selected against. Or in an aquatic environment, arms and legs create drag to movement and therefore a creature without them (aquatic mammals) survives better than one with.



posted on Jul, 23 2015 @ 05:44 AM
link   

originally posted by: Astyanax
a reply to: chr0naut


I don't think that anyone is denying that there are some adaptions that are what could be called "retrograde" to a movement towards complexity.

What movement towards complexity?


What I was assuming, though is that it would happen far more frequently that such a loss of traits would be successful and a selection advantage.

Why would anyone assume that?


To my view, it appears that there is a decided preference, where one should not be.

Why does it so appear to you? Have you taken an inventory?


I can think of many species that appear to have gained biological traits as they adapted.

I can think of very few that have lost traits as they adapted (although there are some).

Since there is no preference towards the gaining or loosing of a trait, should they not arise with similar frequency?

Also, how would you know if any particular species had not successively gained and lost multiple traits in the process of adaption to a dynamic environment. Such variety of adaption would seem reasonable in nature but would make a mockery of anyone attempting to try and determine the sequence of changes likely to have occurred. I suspect that is why some have a blind spot when it comes to their pet theory - It is something which would make the whole issue less clear and they'd rather hold to simplistic paradigms in preference.

I have not done an audit of all life on Earth but the little bit I do know shows what I believe is a clear disparity between the loss of traits and the gaining of them. You can't argue with the numbers.


edit on 23/7/2015 by chr0naut because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 23 2015 @ 08:51 AM
link   
a reply to: chr0naut


Since there is no preference towards the gaining or loosing of a trait, should they not arise with similar frequency?

Are the biochemical processes involved in losing a trait the same as or similar those involved in acquiring one? Do the elements of these processes have a comparable likelihood of occurring? Are the resulting organisms viable? Are they comparable in their viability to their progenitors? Is their selective fitness comparable? All these questions need to be answered in the affirmative before the discussion becomes worth having. What information do you have on them?


Also, how would you know if any particular species had not successively gained and lost multiple traits in the process of adaption to a dynamic environment.

If we can't tell, what is the point of this discussion? It's totally hypothetical, without reliable evidence to support any conclusion.


I have not done an audit of all life on Earth but the little bit I do know shows what I believe is a clear disparity between the loss of traits and the gaining of them. You can't argue with the numbers.

So, although we cannot reliably deduce, from living specimens, genetics or the fossil record, whether losses of 'complexity' (what's complexity?) are more or less frequent than increases, you've decided to assume that the 'numbers' support your -- what did you call it -- 'pet theory'? Breathtaking.



new topics

top topics



 
3
<< 1  2    4 >>

log in

join