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Can Evolution Learn?

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posted on Mar, 2 2017 @ 10:45 PM
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A paper titled How Can Evolution Learn? has just been published in the journal Trends in Ecology & Evolution. In it, the authors propose that, under the influence of evolutionary pressure, genomes may behave like neural networks.

Neural networks are computer networks that ‘learn’ from ‘experience’ to produce better and better solutions to the problems they are asked to process. Every time a neural network produces a good solution, the connexions within the network that produced the solution are reinforced. When the network is later given another problem of the same kind, it will tend to use the same connexions to process it rather than starting from scratch and trying every possible path to a solution all over again.

Humans and other animals also learn the same way: successful processing paths in our brains are strengthened, unsuccessful ones atrophy. Over time the person or animal comes to acquire a useful behavioural trait or skill.

*


It isn’t very shocking to imagine that biological information-processing networks should have this property. The design of artificial neural networks is based on that of human brains and nervous systems. What is novel is the idea that gene networks, too, may work this way. Genomes may have an evolutionary bias towards developing workable adaptations to selective pressures, rather than just producing random mutations.

This hypothesis introduces a teleological factor into the model of evolution by natural selection. Of course, the authors of the paper are not suggesting that the hypothetical bias towards producing useful rather than deleterious mutations was God-given, but that it is itself a product of evolution. However, Creationists may be tempted to embrace the idea that life has a ‘designed’ preference towards evolving beneficial adaptations.

The original paper is behind a paywall, but this news article gives the gist: Life May Actually Be Getting Better at Evolving.

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Note
Please stay on topic. Other thread participants may do as they wish, but I shall only respond to those whose replies make it plain that they have read at least the linked news item. I shall make no comment on generic claims in favour of either creationism or evolution.


edit on 2/3/17 by Astyanax because: of compulsive editorialitis




posted on Mar, 2 2017 @ 11:02 PM
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a reply to: Astyanax




Of course, the authors of the paper are not suggesting that the hypothetical bias towards producing useful rather than deleterious mutations was God-given, but that it is itself a product of evolution. However, Creationists may be tempted to embrace the idea that life has a ‘designed’ preference towards evolving beneficial adaptations.


Here is where I have something of an internal struggle when I think about evolution.

To use a broad brush... I'm Catholic.

That being said.... I don't always buy what the church is selling.

In my professional life I deal with Civil and Mechanical/Electrical Engineering (and unfortunately Architects too).

I said all that to say that while I do... 100% believe in evolution.... (cavemen evolved from primates and all that).... I'm not completely sold on the idea that it is completely random and (for lack of a better phrase) The Hand of God wasn't involved.

Take the Leafy Sea Dragon or the Stick Bug as examples.

I understand the "Survival of the Fittest" position and if an animal is born with a mutation that helps it survive will help it create more offspring and that will, in turn, create more of the same (if that trait is dominant). However, I simply can't wrap my mind around the idea that even if spread over thousands (or hundreds of thousands) of years.... an animal will end up LITERALLY end up looking EXACTLY like it's surroundings.

Take the million monkey thing...


The infinite monkey theorem states that a monkey hitting keys at random on a typewriter keyboard for an infinite amount of time will almost surely type a given text, such as the complete works of William Shakespeare. In fact the monkey would almost surely type every possible finite text an infinite number of times. However, the probability of a universe full of monkeys typing a complete work such as Shakespeare's Hamlet is so tiny that the chance of it occurring during a period of time hundreds of thousands of orders of magnitude longer than the age of the universe is extremely low (but technically not zero).


I understand the principal but no amount of monkeys typing keyboards for any length of time will EVER recreate a novel.

If there was a SINGLE animal that evolved to look EXACTLY like its surrounding I MIGHT be able to sign-off on it. There are just too many. There is something going on... on a deeper level.

The best way I know to describe it is "guided evolution."



posted on Mar, 2 2017 @ 11:04 PM
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a reply to: Astyanax

It might be a bit woo-wooish and straying into the realm of what some might label pseudoscience but this Idea of
collective evolutionary learning sounds like it has some overlaps with Rupert Sheldrakes Hypothesis of Morphic fields.



posted on Mar, 2 2017 @ 11:07 PM
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rather then learn i think evolution is a function inputing infinity variables which is the spirit of the universe and its output is creation and it just keep compounding these variables till what it is now? since math is everywhere lol



posted on Mar, 2 2017 @ 11:32 PM
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a reply to: Astyanax

In my opinion, the thing that drives evolution is the will to live in all living organisms. When close to death, a living organism will struggle and do what it takes to survive. Sometimes successfully, sometimes not. The successful ones will procreate and continue.



posted on Mar, 2 2017 @ 11:46 PM
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I remember my first trip to a "big city" as a child (Pittsburgh). I stared in wonder at the magnificent glass and steel structures, jutting up all around us. I marveled at the engineering that went into every skyscraper, every bridge...

As an adult, I look out at the universe. I see magnificence. The absolute apex of engineering.

"Evolution theory" is bunk. The academics believe in this, because they cannot admit that we have just barely figured out Legos...
edit on 3-3-2017 by madmac5150 because: My cat made me



posted on Mar, 3 2017 @ 12:19 AM
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a reply to: madmac5150

tru



posted on Mar, 3 2017 @ 01:08 AM
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Good job O.P. I'll have to look into this more.



posted on Mar, 3 2017 @ 03:02 AM
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originally posted by: madmac5150
I remember my first trip to a "big city" as a child (Pittsburgh). I stared in wonder at the magnificent glass and steel structures, jutting up all around us. I marveled at the engineering that went into every skyscraper, every bridge...

As an adult, I look out at the universe. I see magnificence. The absolute apex of engineering.

"Evolution theory" is bunk. The academics believe in this, because they cannot admit that we have just barely figured out Legos...


What?

Because you dont grasp something means evolution is bunk?

Yes evolution *IS* the definition of awarding the right outcomes. It has nothing to do with someone else already having achieved an outcome, so you get to dismiss it.

Put your hand in a fire. Ouch, right? do it again? well you're doomed to fail and bye bye. Is that god? no, it's you.

Same on any level. The traits that do not reward good outcomes, are left to perish, while those traits that allow you to overcome things, give you an upper hand.

Evolution is exactly that. a million years of getting things right. Right up till the brain starts to go "Uhh must be god" and then it is reliant on the machines made to kill, to survive. If belief was a tool, we'd have no religious wars. Knives, the ability to wield a stick, throw a rock, shoot a gun... take religion, god, back to just words... and you will be gone in 50 years.

If survival of the fittest was renamed Survival of the most believable.. lol.. I pray (pun intended) that logical minds would see religion as a failure, and we'd all move on.



posted on Mar, 3 2017 @ 03:28 AM
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Funny if your genetic process had its own intelligence. Would give a new meaning to intelligent design. I think the same thing sometimes.



posted on Mar, 3 2017 @ 03:46 AM
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originally posted by: killerworm51
Funny if your genetic process had its own intelligence. Would give a new meaning to intelligent design. I think the same thing sometimes.


Intelligent design as currently proposed and evolutionary learning, are two different things.

Does a river learn it's path to it's destination, or does it occur over time, due to efficiency, and because flowing back to itself is a negative trait?



posted on Mar, 3 2017 @ 04:14 AM
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a reply to: savemebarry

A river neither cares nor learns, It is simply lead by gravity.

Is learning not an intelligent process?



posted on Mar, 3 2017 @ 04:48 AM
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a reply to: eluryh22

You have a lot to learn about evolution...

For one, cavemen didn't evolve from the primates, we are still classified in the primate category, we all share the same common ancestor, lineage and same attributes and even DNA strands as lemurs, chimpanzees, etc, etc. Taxonomically, we are apes still in science.

To get a good understanding of how evolution works, look into the guppies or Trinidad, or the samurai crabs of Japan.
Both are good examples of how evolution has many, many different drivings forces, survival of the fittest is only a small portion of evolution.



posted on Mar, 3 2017 @ 06:57 AM
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a reply to: Astyanax

Reality is designed. This process is missed by both the Christian seeing Involution (baptism) and the secular world seeing evolution (rising to new life). Each is relative to the other, which is as it should be in a programmed reality. Sentience in any created system must be simulated in both a real and copied environment. The real environment is our mind. The copied environment is built from inside out. Evolution is not the cause of life, but the adaptation of life. The cause is involution, or entering the stream of changed states.

E in Latin means 'out of.' Volution means circling a center. Name the processes in nature that give us time and you name the relative state to time, which is the same. See my thread on this topic: Mind, Time Space - All One Thing

Evolution is the quantum flow of collapsing wave function. If you use the link above, see that the mind actuates a shadow that then collapses from higher to lower dimensions. This one fact alone negates evolution as a cause of changed states into a relative state to involution, or the collapse of indeterminate wave function from higher mind to Time. Time, then, becomes the thing producing your own body as a shadow. The shadow of the body is a 2D plane, which verifies what I am saying.

You can also look at this video to see how geometry in a linear matrix does the same, resolving to three states of perfection beyond the fourth dimension. In all higher dimensions, there are only three regular polytopes possible. A regular polytope is in invariance, which is the invariant symmetry that produces our reality as fixed laws governing the translation of symmetry. Invariant symmetry and translational symmetries are too much to explain here, but the WIKIs do a great job of showing you this. Do not kid yourself. Science knows what I am saying and would attempt a lie about this rather than face the truth. Invariance exists. Translation of invariance is a state of involution, not evolution.

Evolution is non-negation. It is true. The proper way to see it is from higher dimensions (invariance) to lower changed states. Archetypes are simulated in lower dimensions for refinement above. HEAVEN is not a realm up there. UP is not a cardinal direction, but a dimensional state. See the link.

Why three and only three? Neutron, Proton and Electron. Father, Son and Holy Spirit (mind). Wave, Particle and Mind. Trimurit! How did the Hindus know this? Orthogonal is at right angles, just like dimensions. MIND!. LINE BRANCH FOLD - Use a Compass and Square. Center circle. Branch and Fold. Masons know too! The truth of sacred geometry and the key to the Builder's Tower is a guarded secret. See this to see how they hide it: Star Wars Rogue One. The Hindus knew this, which is an embarrassment to science today. Pride before the fall of yet another temple.





edit on 3-3-2017 by DayAfterTomorrow because: I had a fold wrong. New line and branch. Seek, Find and Adaptation!



posted on Mar, 3 2017 @ 08:31 AM
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Learning simply via trial and error perhaps?!

Taken from Is the human race evolving or devolving?

Unfortunately, anthropocentric thinking is at the root of many common misconceptions in biology.

Chief among these misconceptions is that species evolve or change because they need to change to adapt to shifting environmental demands; biologists refer to this fallacy as teleology. In fact, more than 99 percent of all species that ever lived are extinct, so clearly there is no requirement that species always adapt successfully. As the fossil record demonstrates, extinction is a perfectly natural--and indeed quite common--response to changing environmental conditions. When species do evolve, it is not out of need but rather because their populations contain organisms with variants of traits that offer a reproductive advantage in a changing environment.

Another misconception is that increasing complexity is the necessary outcome of evolution. In fact, decreasing complexity is common in the record of evolution.



posted on Mar, 3 2017 @ 08:58 AM
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originally posted by: killerworm51
a reply to: savemebarry

A river neither cares nor learns, It is simply lead by gravity.

Is learning not an intelligent process?


You tell me. Are so called intelligent things actually doing anything to better the world, or merely subsisting ? honest question.

Do you see what you consider intelligence as a way forward, or just evolving to cope with the environment.

I posit we are are nothing more than evolved states of things to come. if we can avoid self destruction. That *I* may think, does not mean *I* have anything to offer. Do you?

Who does?

it's the same as the river... the flow of it all shapes the way things will go. nothing more, nothing less.

A leaf can fall from a tree, it's easy.. it took evolution to let that leaf drop. just because you can drive a car, says nothing..

edit on 3-3-2017 by savemebarry because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 3 2017 @ 09:16 AM
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Meh... If we came from monkeys then there wouldn't be anymore monkeys. But we're all entitled to our opinions so if you wanna believe, that's your choice.



posted on Mar, 3 2017 @ 09:57 AM
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originally posted by: LSU0408
Meh... If we came from monkeys then there wouldn't be anymore monkeys. But we're all entitled to our opinions so if you wanna believe, that's your choice.


This has to be one of the most willfully ignorant and uneducated bits of poo I've seen regarding the modern evolution synthesis in quite awhile. That's impressive considering some of the garbage posted on ATS daily.

Humans share a common ancestor with the other currently living great apes. This means that all of the apes who lived in the ecological niches that existed when these lines diverged no longer exist. The gorillas, chinpanzee, bonobo and orangutan who likewise are living today, did not exist 15 million years ago when monkeys and apes diverged. Nor were any of them alive 8 million years ago when they great apes in Africa diverged. All surviving apes(including Homo sapiens sapiens) are creatures that evolved to thrive within specific ecological niches. This is why some species love where they do today. To say that if we evolved from X creature then there shouldn't be any similar creatures alive today shows a horrific failure in our education system.

Saying evolution is untrue because you don't understand it is akin to insisting that 2+2=5 and refusing to show how you got the incorrect answer. It's disingenuous and incredibly ignorant.



posted on Mar, 3 2017 @ 10:05 AM
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a reply to: Astyanax

Wow. That is fascinating! What an idea! Using computer science to solve problems with evolution produces an example of how evolution may actually build up a knowledge base of workable traits within an organism. Very interesting stuff and I'll be interested to see if anything can be find to back up the findings in nature.



posted on Mar, 3 2017 @ 10:07 AM
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originally posted by: LSU0408
Meh... If we came from monkeys then there wouldn't be anymore monkeys. But we're all entitled to our opinions so if you wanna believe, that's your choice.

Nothing about that statement is true. We didn't evolve from monkeys and even IF we did, that still doesn't mean that there wouldn't be monkeys on the planet.



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