Another way to look at evolution
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17-04-2013, 12:12 PM
RE: Another way to look at evolution
(17-04-2013 12:00 PM)Phaedrus Wrote:  You're arguing past each other.


Life is based on chemistry, and that chemistry interacts in a way that can be described as carrying information. Evolution works upon groups of organisms and the physical characteristics expressed due to the information expressed in their chemistry.

You're saying the same thing, but from two different conceptual levels. Chas is talking the chemistry level, Ghost is talking the informational level. Both are valid and essential to our understanding of biological evolution.

Sort of.

I am talking about the one instantiation of biological evolution that we know about.
And I think the OP is seeing that evolution 'just is', that it is reality and is not a concern of politics, morals, etc.

Ghost is generalizing to all possible realizations of evolutionary systems.
That's fine, but that's not what I believe the OP was intending to talk about.
But, of course, I could be wrong.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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17-04-2013, 01:30 PM
RE: Another way to look at evolution
Hey, Chas.

No. I'm talking about biological evolution. A gene can be transmitted and mutated in a computer and it has nothing to do with chemistry. So no, evolution, of any kind, even this instantiation, is not about chemistry.

I agree that evolution just is. But if one says that evolution, the process, is the result of chemistry, then one would be incorrect because it can quite easily occur independently of it. The reason is because the replicator, be it gene, meme, or yet unseen, is information, not a chemical.

But yeah, it exists independently of morality and politics in the sense that it's just a process like gravity or thermodynamics. That being said, as a social construction, it's all about morality and politics, but the OP sentiment is fine.

Now, what Phaedrus is saying has some merit as selection occurs at the level of the phenotype. I suppose that in the end, my only real concern is to disarm the conflation of gene and DNA. Because they're not the same thing.

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Matt
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17-04-2013, 02:04 PM
RE: Another way to look at evolution
(17-04-2013 01:30 PM)Ghost Wrote:  Hey, Chas.

No. I'm talking about biological evolution. A gene can be transmitted and mutated in a computer and it has nothing to do with chemistry. So no, evolution, of any kind, even this instantiation, is not about chemistry.

A gene on a computer is not biological evolution, only a simulation.
There are two levels we're talking about, the model and the instantiation. Let's keep them separate.

Quote:I agree that evolution just is. But if one says that evolution, the process, is the result of chemistry, then one would be incorrect because it can quite easily occur independently of it. The reason is because the replicator, be it gene, meme, or yet unseen, is information, not a chemical.

I am not confusing the process and the chemistry, I am differentiating an instance of evolution from evolutionary theory.

Quote:But yeah, it exists independently of morality and politics in the sense that it's just a process like gravity or thermodynamics. That being said, as a social construction, it's all about morality and politics, but the OP sentiment is fine.

Now, what Phaedrus is saying has some merit as selection occurs at the level of the phenotype. I suppose that in the end, my only real concern is to disarm the conflation of gene and DNA. Because they're not the same thing.

I'm not sure what you think the conflation is. Information and mechanism?

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17-04-2013, 03:45 PM
RE: Another way to look at evolution
Hey, Chas.

Quote:A gene on a computer is not biological evolution, only a simulation.
There are two levels we're talking about, the model and the instantiation. Let's keep them separate.

Soooooooooooooo, genetic engineers use paper and pen?

A gene on a computer is not a simulation. It's the gene itself. Because the gene is information. You're doing exactly what I'm cautioning against. Your thought process is that if the gene is not in DNA, then it's not a gene. That's incorrect. The gene is a gene anywhere that information exists. Including on a computer.

This is why Dennett's algorithm model is much better. You need three things for evolution; in fact, if you have these three things then you must have evolution. 1 - You need variation; which occurs due to mutation. Where and how that mutation happens is utterly irrelevant. Doesn't matter if it's from a copying error, from crossover, from diploidy, from a virus, from UV radiation or from a geek in a lab coat. 2 - You need heredity. If I create a gene in a lab and implant it in a genome and that genome is inherited, then that's heredity. 3- You need selection. My decision to alter a genome in a lab is every bit the selection pressure as this monstrosity:

[Image: Huge_Demon_Fish.jpg]

Quote: I am not confusing the process and the chemistry, I am differentiating an instance of evolution from evolutionary theory.

I don't know what that means. Hope I'm not coming off as a dick. I really don't get it.

Quote:I'm not sure what you think the conflation is. Information and mechanism?

The conflation is the notion that DNA is the only possible mechanism for genes, so much so that they may as well be considered the same thing. Conflation. That's essentially like saying a story and a book are the exact same thing. What I'm saying is that a story can be spoken aloud, typed into a Word document, emailed, posted online, sent over a telegraph as Morse code, signed or represented in pictograms. Wherever the story information is, the story is.

I liken it to the beginning of writing. To that point, story was only transmitted orally. One could go back to that period and say, "look, story is only transmitted orally, therefore oral transmission and story are the same thing." But now that a few thousand years of writing have gone by, we know that it can be stored and transmitted a number of different ways. Same with genes. Genes, ubiquitously, and for most of the history of this planet, were stored in DNA. We have just now started to examine the different ways it can be stored and transmitted and in a few thousand years, I'm sure there will be a whole truck load of ways. The important thing to understand and the point I'm driving at is that the information is not the storage device.

That's a real-world, on-this-planet observation.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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17-04-2013, 07:20 PM
RE: Another way to look at evolution
Chas is talking about evolution-as-fact, the method by which biological evolution happens normally, without human intervention.

Ghost is talking abstract evolutionary information theory and universal Darwinism.

E 2 = (mc 2)2 + (pc )2
614C → 714N + e + ̅νe
2 K(s) + 2 H2O(l) → 2 KOH(aq) + H2 (g) + 196 kJ/mol
It works, bitches.
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17-04-2013, 10:02 PM
RE: Another way to look at evolution
Hey, Phaedrus.

What does that even mean? Evolution-as-fact? There's nothing abstract about what I'm saying. What I'm saying is very straight forward.

Evolution is NOT a chemical process.

And human intervention IS a normal part of evolution. We are nothing more than a selection pressure.

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18-04-2013, 11:14 AM
RE: Another way to look at evolution
Just because something is straight forward doesn't mean it isn't abstract. I'll explain.


For billions of years, selection pressures such as food, predators, paratization, climate, sexual partners, and natural disasters drove evolution on Earth.

Human intervention via selective breeding has only been involved for the last 10,000 years or so, and direct intervention at a genetic level for only about 60 years. We are a new thing on this planet; it is semantically reasonable to refer to the 4 billion years prior to these new methods as "normal" and the last ten thousand years as "novel". In time, what is now new and unusual may become "normal". We shall see.

Information is a human mental construct, at least as far as we can tell so far. It is a way of rationalizing reality, just as concepts of molecules and particles are. The difference is that, at the very core of things, particles exist as discreet packets of energy which interact according to physical laws. Information does not have a physical basis, except as we see it in the interaction of physical things.

Thus by saying something happens on a chemical level, what Chas is really saying is that evolution occurs as a physical interaction independent of human conception.

You are looking at it through the (quite useful! and valid!) lens of genetic informational theory, which is a human conception used to understand the physical process, AND which can be applied to other physical processes with similar attributes, and to certain conceptual systems, such as via memetics.

Just because "genetic information" can be transferred onto a computer, then back into genes, doesn't mean that the information has an existence discrete from our conception of it. It requires tools, encoding, and decoding to make that leap from organic chemistry to electrons in semiconductor, and back to organic chemistry. This is a physical process constructed for that reason; the information moved does not have an independent existence.


Am I getting through to you?



And of course our conceptions, such as information, exist in the particles interacting in our brains. But just because the system that is our brain sees a pattern or information somewhere, does not mean that that information exists outside of our brain. Something perceived by a brain does not become physically real.

E 2 = (mc 2)2 + (pc )2
614C → 714N + e + ̅νe
2 K(s) + 2 H2O(l) → 2 KOH(aq) + H2 (g) + 196 kJ/mol
It works, bitches.
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18-04-2013, 11:24 AM
RE: Another way to look at evolution
(17-04-2013 03:45 PM)Ghost Wrote:  This is why Dennett's algorithm model is much better. You need three things for evolution; in fact, if you have these three things then you must have evolution. 1 - You need variation; which occurs due to mutation. Where and how that mutation happens is utterly irrelevant. Doesn't matter if it's from a copying error, from crossover, from diploidy, from a virus, from UV radiation or from a geek in a lab coat. 2 - You need heredity. If I create a gene in a lab and implant it in a genome and that genome is inherited, then that's heredity. 3- You need selection.....


.....The conflation is the notion that DNA is the only possible mechanism for genes, so much so that they may as well be considered the same thing. Conflation. That's essentially like saying a story and a book are the exact same thing. What I'm saying is that a story can be spoken aloud, typed into a Word document, emailed, posted online, sent over a telegraph as Morse code, signed or represented in pictograms. Wherever the story information is, the story is.

I liken it to the beginning of writing. To that point, story was only transmitted orally. One could go back to that period and say, "look, story is only transmitted orally, therefore oral transmission and story are the same thing." But now that a few thousand years of writing have gone by, we know that it can be stored and transmitted a number of different ways. Same with genes. Genes, ubiquitously, and for most of the history of this planet, were stored in DNA. We have just now started to examine the different ways it can be stored and transmitted and in a few thousand years, I'm sure there will be a whole truck load of ways. The important thing to understand and the point I'm driving at is that the information is not the storage device.

That's a real-world, on-this-planet observation.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt

Ghost,

Other than the biological evolutionary system which resulted in life on this planet, can you give an example of an evolutionary system that is not in some way dependent on intellect? It seems to me that all evolutionary systems in which the details of their origination are known require intellect.
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18-04-2013, 11:57 AM
RE: Another way to look at evolution
I'm done here,

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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18-04-2013, 02:08 PM
RE: Another way to look at evolution
(18-04-2013 11:57 AM)Ghost Wrote:  I'm done here,

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt

Shucks.....I have a tremendous amount of respect for you Matt especially with respect to your knowledge about evoution. I was really hoping you would comment on this other way of looking at evolution.

To anyone else reading this thread: I have thought for a few years now that perhaps the biological evolutionary system of which we are products required intellect because it seems every evolutionary systems whose origins are known require intellect.

Now I believe the counter argument would be that logically there must be at least one instance of an evolutionary system coming into existence without intellect. However that counter argument depends on an assumption that intellects can only come into existence via an evolutionary process. I believe that IBMs Watson machine proves such an assumption to be false. It has been proven that intellects don't necessarily need to come into existence via evolution.
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