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OfflineSeussA
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Evolution and natural selection (philosophy)
    #3886137 - 03/08/05 06:58 AM (12 years, 9 months ago)

Assumption: evolution occurs
Hypothesis: natural selection slows, not drives, evolution

Whenever I read about evolution, there is always a tie between natural selection and evolution. The basic idea given is that organisms compete, and the winners/survivors produce offspring that are better adapted to surviving the local environment. This is known as natural selection. Over time, as organisms become better and better within their local environment, they evolve into a new species that is incompatible with the old species.

Although I agree with natural selection, I do not agree that natural selection evolves new species. Actually, I think that it does the opposite. Natural selection takes what it has available and looks for an optimal solution to the problem. Branches that are sub-optimal are pruned from the system and the current organism is sharpened into a mean, lean, survival machine.

So where does evolution come from if not from natural selection? I suspect evolution is driven by mass extinction. If some natural event occurs that wipes out 90% of all organisms on earth, then there is less competition against each other and more competition against the environment. With less competition against each other, the organism have a chance to branch out and allow some of those sub-optimal paths to flourish. Sometimes, a sub-optimal path will lead to a better overall solution. As natural selection starts to take hold once again, the sub-optimal paths are once again pruned, forming new divisions or species.... until the next mass extinction.

... thoughts?


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Offlinegnrm23
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Re: Evolution and natural selection (philosophy) [Re: Seuss]
    #3886289 - 03/08/05 08:37 AM (12 years, 9 months ago)

"punctuated equilibrium"
???


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OfflineFrankieN
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Re: Evolution and natural selection (philosophy) [Re: Seuss]
    #3886365 - 03/08/05 09:31 AM (12 years, 9 months ago)

I do not think mass extinction plays such an important role in evolution. Ofcourse it will have a huge impact but I think the environment is a much more important factor in evolution. I think isolation played a huge role similar to what you say of mass extinction, imagine a species adapted to very harsh environments somehow comes to another less harsh environment and thrives, maybe hurting or helping the native species. There are so many factors involved with natural selction I don't see how you can say they are not the driving force of evolution, if natural selection does not drive it then what? Mass extinctions? Isn't that natural selection as well anyway, think about it nature selecting species wich survive catastrophic events.

"Whenever I read about evolution, there is always a tie between natural selection and evolution."
A tie? Just a tie? The two are practically one in the same. Unless you believe some outside force is directing all things, natural selection is evolution.

"Over time, as organisms become better and better within their local environment, they evolve into a new species that is incompatible with the old species."
Within a local environment there would probably be no old species left because they all became the new species. Now over a large environment, or were isolation of species is maintained for many generations, with differing conditions there may be some branching, and incompatibilities may begin. Really there is no "old" species or "new" species unless you travelled back in time and brought an organism into the future.

"Although I agree with natural selection, I do not agree that natural selection evolves new species. Actually, I think that it does the opposite. Natural selection takes what it has available and looks for an optimal solution to the problem."
You would be right if there was only one "problem", but the earth varies greatly in climate and terrain, and thats speaking on a very large scale, compared to the origins of evolution wich took place at a subatomic scale, combinations of proteins and nucleotides (if my memory serves me right) imagine all the different combinations of subatomic particles throughout the earth, and there changing all the time, it may as well be infinite.

"So where does evolution come from if not from natural selection? I suspect evolution is driven by mass extinction. If some natural event occurs that wipes out 90% of all organisms on earth, then there is less competition against each other and more competition against the environment."
Natural selection is a process that includes competition between species as well as with the environment. And there hasn't always been that much competition, at one point this earth was without life.

"As natural selection starts to take hold once again, the sub-optimal paths are once again pruned, forming new divisions or species.... until the next mass extinction."
Natural selection never lost it's hold, mass extinctions are a part of natural selection."Sub-optimal" paths are taken all the time in evolution, natural selection. Organisms are effected and changed by all sorts off things, and not always for the better, or worse, usually it falls in that middle ground, the grey area, most changes are so small and happen over such long periods of time there is never a chance to say wether they are good or bad, "optimal" or "sub-optimal", most changes do not even impact a species survival at all. Parts of organisms can evolve for no reason pertaining to the organisms ultimate survival at all, random mutations allowed to grow because they have no positive or negative impact.

A great book on evolution, though a little dry, is Darwins Dangerous Idea by Daniel Dennet, that is where most of my ideas on evolution came from.


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OfflineThe_Walrus
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Re: Evolution and natural selection (philosophy) [Re: Seuss]
    #3886388 - 03/08/05 09:47 AM (12 years, 9 months ago)

That is an interesting theory. I think natural selection is exactly like you said, the way nature 'prunes' certain traits which are unsuitable for the current environment. That is why all the different life forms we have are quite similar if you think about it. For example, there are so many different ways you can get visual information about the world, but there are only like 7 different 'eye designs' which occur in evolution, even species which went down completely different evolutionary paths can develop almost identical characteristics. Apparently our eye is almost 'eyedentical' (sorry) to that of an octopus. So natural selection is not the 'driving force' of evolution, but rather the 'guiding force' of evolution I believe.


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'Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count; everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted' - Albert Einstein


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Invisibleredgreenvines
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Re: Evolution and natural selection (philosophy) [Re: The_Walrus]
    #3886572 - 03/08/05 11:33 AM (12 years, 9 months ago)

All this stuff about purposeful evolution (nature pruning etc.) is a silly self centeredness that we have allowed ourselves to adopt. It really gets in the way of understanding what is going on.

Those who feel evolution has to be guided are *reverse thinking* and putting their own experience of consciousness before all else as the *proof of intention*.

It might help for you to know that consciousness as we know it, though without the new layer of civilization, has been rampant through all complex life forms since fish and maybe even before.

At each time the most illustrious consciousness thinks that it is both the pinnacle and purpose for everything. (spoiled children do too if you get my meaning)

From a historical point of view this is wrong, and evolution as a science is only historical. Anything predictive relies on *oracles*, and as a true and functioning oracle myself, I must say that prediction is romantic.

So we need to leave the "his" in historical and learn to live with chaos as the true oracle, otherwise evolution is too big an idea to fit in our heads ( and that is quite likely anyway )


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