Complexity by Subtraction?
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05-05-2013, 08:30 PM (This post was last modified: 06-05-2013 02:13 PM by Full Circle.)
Complexity by Subtraction?
http://www.worldwidewanderings.net/Profe...mplsub.pdf
http://phys.org/news/2013-04-alternative...exity.html

"In a new study, McShea and co-author Wim Hordijk propose an alternative route. Instead of emerging by gradually and incrementally adding new genes, cells, tissues or organs over time, what if some so-called 'irreducibly complex' structures came to be by gradually losing parts, becoming simpler and more streamlined?"

So features like large brains, eyes and the like are the result of degradation over time from a superior precedent? And this more complex brain/eye came from where?
I must be missing something as the McShea I found is a Biology professor at Duke University http://biology.duke.edu/mcshealab/
I think the piece must have been written for sensationalism and doesn't accurately summarize their work.

I'd like to know what you all think.

Edit: spelling

“I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man’s reasoning powers are not above the monkey’s.”~Mark Twain
“Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man - who has no gills.”~ Ambrose Bierce
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05-05-2013, 09:39 PM (This post was last modified: 05-05-2013 10:00 PM by TheGulegon.)
RE: Complexity by Subtraction?
A lizard evolves eyes to see. Then it moves into a cave that's dark and no longer needs eyes. But maybe it doesn't completely lose it's ability to "see", it doesn't lose it's eyes fully. Eyes that were once as good as ours at detecting complicated surface images in the sunlight, now can only detect a light source, to detect heat or danger, but no definition of form. You could see that as "devolvement", or as adaptation. But given the presence of an appendix in our own bodies, I don't know what is trying to be said. Because the appendix had to evolve into being to serve some purpose, in the first place, for it to begin shedding functions until it is useful again, if indeed it ever does given enough time.

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06-05-2013, 04:51 AM
RE: Complexity by Subtraction?
"More complex" should not be confused with "superior". Irreducibly complex biological systems do exist, such that removing parts would render a mechanism non-functional. It's perfectly reasonable to expect that these systems developed from systems that had more parts that were in some way redundant and that those redundant parts have now been eliminated from the mechanism. Reducing a complex machine that performs a particular function into a simpler machine that performs the same function could result in a superior, more efficient mechanism that requires less energy and material to construct. The simpler system may also be more reliable due to a reduced part count.

Give me your argument in the form of a published paper, and then we can start to talk.
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06-05-2013, 07:22 AM
RE: Complexity by Subtraction?
(06-05-2013 04:51 AM)Hafnof Wrote:  "More complex" should not be confused with "superior". Irreducibly complex biological systems do exist, such that removing parts would render a mechanism non-functional. It's perfectly reasonable to expect that these systems developed from systems that had more parts that were in some way redundant and that those redundant parts have now been eliminated from the mechanism. Reducing a complex machine that performs a particular function into a simpler machine that performs the same function could result in a superior, more efficient mechanism that requires less energy and material to construct. The simpler system may also be more reliable due to a reduced part count.

I'm reading through the paper and this is what I am getting from it. When I first read the headline summary it appeared that IDists had come up with another screwball hypothesis for evolution or, in this case, de-evolution. Not the case.

“I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man’s reasoning powers are not above the monkey’s.”~Mark Twain
“Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man - who has no gills.”~ Ambrose Bierce
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06-05-2013, 09:56 AM
RE: Complexity by Subtraction?
(06-05-2013 04:51 AM)Hafnof Wrote:  "More complex" should not be confused with "superior". Irreducibly complex biological systems do exist, such that removing parts would render a mechanism non-functional. It's perfectly reasonable to expect that these systems developed from systems that had more parts that were in some way redundant and that those redundant parts have now been eliminated from the mechanism. Reducing a complex machine that performs a particular function into a simpler machine that performs the same function could result in a superior, more efficient mechanism that requires less energy and material to construct. The simpler system may also be more reliable due to a reduced part count.

"Notice that complexity as number of part types includes no notion of function.
This is complexity in what might be called its \pure" sense (McShea and Bran-
don, 2010), uncontaminated with any consideration of the degree of adaptedness,
sophistication, or function. It is not that functionality is unimportant. On the con-
trary, in studies of the evolution of complexity, a central question has to do with a
possible connection between complexity and functionality. (Indeed, it is central in
this one.) Rather, it is that in order to investigate that connection, it is essential
to keep the concepts separate."



And this outlines further what they are trying to say. Complexity in this sense, is not directly tied to function. Complexity is a defined term based upon the number of components that comprise it.

“Science is simply common sense at its best, that is, rigidly accurate in observation, and merciless to fallacy in logic.”
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06-05-2013, 10:28 AM (This post was last modified: 06-05-2013 10:49 AM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: Complexity by Subtraction?
(05-05-2013 08:30 PM)Full Circle Wrote:  http://www.worldwidewanderings.net/Profe...mplsub.pdf
http://phys.org/news/2013-04-alternative...exity.html

"In a new study, McShea and co-author Wim Hordijk propose an alternative route. Instead of emerging by gradually and incrementally adding new genes, cells, tissues or organs over time, what if some so-called 'irreducibly complex' structures came to be by gradually losing parts, becoming simpler and more streamlined?"

So features like large brains, eyes and the like are the result of degradation over time from a superior precedent? And this more complex brain/eye came from where?
I must be missing something as the McShaea I found is a Biology professor at Duke University http://biology.duke.edu/mcshealab/
I think the piece must have been written for sensationalism and doesn't accurately summarize their work.

I'd like to know what you all think.

Edit: spelling

See his p 24. The fish example does not "start at the beginning". The curves show increasing complexity, then adaptation, as stated above.
That's nothing new. If someone tries to say it accounts for the initial rise is complexity, or that they are trying to say a complex system was "dropped" by something or someone, they're barking up the wrong tree. As far as I see it, they're saying adaptation happens. We already knew that.

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06-05-2013, 02:11 PM
RE: Complexity by Subtraction?
(06-05-2013 10:28 AM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  
(05-05-2013 08:30 PM)Full Circle Wrote:  http://www.worldwidewanderings.net/Profe...mplsub.pdf
http://phys.org/news/2013-04-alternative...exity.html

"In a new study, McShea and co-author Wim Hordijk propose an alternative route. Instead of emerging by gradually and incrementally adding new genes, cells, tissues or organs over time, what if some so-called 'irreducibly complex' structures came to be by gradually losing parts, becoming simpler and more streamlined?"

So features like large brains, eyes and the like are the result of degradation over time from a superior precedent? And this more complex brain/eye came from where?
I must be missing something as the McShaea I found is a Biology professor at Duke University http://biology.duke.edu/mcshealab/
I think the piece must have been written for sensationalism and doesn't accurately summarize their work.

I'd like to know what you all think.

Edit: spelling

See his p 24. The fish example does not "start at the beginning". The curves show increasing complexity, then adaptation, as stated above.
That's nothing new. If someone tries to say it accounts for the initial rise is complexity, or that they are trying to say a complex system was "dropped" by something or someone, they're barking up the wrong tree. As far as I see it, they're saying adaptation happens. We already knew that.

Finally finished reading the paper and yes, the graph on page 24 make it very clear as to their thesis; namely the very simple evolves into complex and then continues evolving into a less complex, but more efficient structure. Makes perfect sense now.

“I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man’s reasoning powers are not above the monkey’s.”~Mark Twain
“Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man - who has no gills.”~ Ambrose Bierce
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