The Ur-Quan Masters Home Page Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?
April 25, 2024, 06:59:21 am
Home Help Search Login Register
News: Celebrating 30 years of Star Control 2 - The Ur-Quan Masters

+  The Ur-Quan Masters Discussion Forum
|-+  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release
| |-+  Starbase Café (Moderator: Death 999)
| | |-+  Evolution in action?
« previous next »
Pages: 1 2 [3] 4 5 ... 9 Print
Author Topic: Evolution in action?  (Read 36818 times)
Arne
Enlightened
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 520


Yak!


View Profile WWW
Re: Evolution in action?
« Reply #30 on: January 15, 2007, 12:26:06 pm »

Wikipedia
At about 16 weeks of gestation, apoptosis takes place and an enzyme dissolves the tissue between the fingers and toes, and the webbing disappears. In some fetuses, this process does not occur completely between all fingers or toes and some residual webbing remains. The exact cause is not known. In cases, this condition appears to be hereditary.

So in this case the webbing is there from the start, then removed. Some other webpage told me this happens every thousand births or so. There seem to be both merge and duplicate functions. Not hugely surprising, but interesting. It's a bit like procedural modelling. You make a basic part, then you duplicate, rotate or whatever, and apply more changes after that. You don't model each part from scratch.

It's also interesting how the body (of a baby) is constructed by things shutting on and off, regulators, splitters, mergers, timers, you can't really tell what's it's gonna be until it's finished. There's scaffolds, placeholders, strange alien stuff. It's not a small human getting larger and larger, just like a painting isn't painted like a printer prints it or a harddrive saves it.. This also reminds me of procedural modelling.

Logged
RTyp06
*Smell* controller
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 491



View Profile
Re: Evolution in action?
« Reply #31 on: January 16, 2007, 01:08:23 am »

Quote
So in this case the webbing is there from the start, then removed. Some other webpage told me this happens every thousand births or so. There seem to be both merge and duplicate functions. Not hugely surprising, but interesting. It's a bit like procedural modelling. You make a basic part, then you duplicate, rotate or whatever, and apply more changes after that. You don't model each part from scratch.

Apoptosis (Greek: apo - from, ptosis - falling; commonly pronounced with a silent second p[1]) is a process of deliberate life relinquishment by a cell in a multicellular organism. It is one of the main types of programmed cell death (PCD), and involves an orchestrated series of biochemical events leading to a characteristic cell morphology and death. The apoptotic process is executed in such a way as to safely dispose of cell corpses and fragments.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apoptosis

Arne, I'm glad you brought this up because embryology is fascinating. My understanding is that when a baby's hands are being formed it is not "webbing" as you call it, but instead , the hands start out as flaps of tissue. Then ,programmed cell death etches out between the fingers and the bones of the hand start forming. What evolutionary "tool" brought programmed cell death into play? This also goes for temporary scaffolding structures such as the placenta and umbilical chord) that are used for a purpose then discarded when no longer needed.

For me, it is very difficult to imagine evolution producing programmed cell death. Especially when you consider how perfected the process is during fetal development (at least the vast majority of the time).

Also, in sort of  the same vein as PCD, I read that white blood cells not ony attack foriegin invaders in the body, but non functioning or damaged cells will emit a chemical signal so that white blood cells will remove them. Did a lucky random mutation(s) really bring this about millions of years ago?

Quote
It's also interesting how the body (of a baby) is constructed by things shutting on and off, regulators, splitters, mergers, timers, you can't really tell what's it's gonna be until it's finished. There's scaffolds, placeholders, strange alien stuff. It's not a small human getting larger and larger, just like a painting isn't painted like a printer prints it or a harddrive saves it.. This also reminds me of procedural modelling.

Intereseting indeed.
Logged
Arne
Enlightened
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 520


Yak!


View Profile WWW
Re: Evolution in action?
« Reply #32 on: January 16, 2007, 12:19:10 pm »

Quote
For me, it is very difficult to imagine evolution producing programmed cell death.

There has been a couple of papers written on this, atleast that's what google tells me when searching for

programmed cell death evolution
site:www.nature.com programmed cell death evolution

I know little of these processes, and I'm not gonna plow through those papers... but my hunch is that many tools like the ones I've mentioned were made early, and even if an asteroid slammed into us, a lot of the work nature has done would not be lost as long as some smaller lifeforms survive.

Anyways, I guess the point of my posts in this thread are that great complexity can come from much simpler functions, whether it's cultural or biological. I just wanted to point out that one mustn't judge the finished painting, but the complexity... (or maybe 'information') needed to produce it. Nature probably isn't too keen at having to come up with more tricky stuff than what's needed.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2007, 12:26:57 pm by Arne » Logged
RTyp06
*Smell* controller
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 491



View Profile
Re: Evolution in action?
« Reply #33 on: January 18, 2007, 01:33:10 am »

I wonder how adreniline and testosterone evolved. And what if it had evolved 10% , 50% stronger or weaker....?

Or if controlled by the amount a species has, what if we had 50% more? Less?

50% more Hitlers .. 50% more Gahndi and Mother Theresas? Would we all be hippies and hang around camp fires singing cum-by-yah(sp)? Wink
Logged
Arne
Enlightened
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 520


Yak!


View Profile WWW
Re: Evolution in action?
« Reply #34 on: January 18, 2007, 07:34:09 am »

Hitler's power was enabled by technologies and a social structure that we haven't had for that long though.

There's a section here called "November 14, 2006: Technology, history and destiny"
http://www.ted.com/tedtalks/

I haven't listend to all yet, but it's interesting how it was mentioned just how sub-optimal the human construction is. It's merely good enough, there's no pressure for anything more. Rapid technologal growth would enable us to step over that threshold and transcend into... something.

Today there are geeks that optimize code into just a few lines just to see how far they can push it. Maybe in the future they'll see how much of our junk DNA they can toss away, and still end up with a human (probably far more optimal than 'pre-transcendence' humans). That would truly be Intelligent Design.
Logged
johndaly
Zebranky food
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 1



View Profile
Re: Evolution in action?
« Reply #35 on: January 19, 2007, 11:55:13 pm »

This is not evolution.
Early in the development stage it is not uncommon that the cell cluster splits in two. This usually leads to identical twins. What also happens a lot is that the split cell clusters remerge and you only get one person. Conjoined twins like this happen if something goes wrong with the remerging process.

This is developmental and has nothing to do with DNA or evolution.
Logged
RTyp06
*Smell* controller
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 491



View Profile
Re: Evolution in action?
« Reply #36 on: January 20, 2007, 02:38:49 am »

Hitler's power was enabled by technologies and a social structure that we haven't had for that long though.

Yes you are right. Hitler was a coward anyway. 

Quote
There's a section here called "November 14, 2006: Technology, history and destiny"
http://www.ted.com/tedtalks/

I haven't listend to all yet, but it's interesting how it was mentioned just how sub-optimal the human construction is. It's merely good enough, there's no pressure for anything more. Rapid technologal growth would enable us to step over that threshold and transcend into... something.

I watched both the Kevin Kelly and Ray Kurzweil videos. These guys are excellent at comparing technological advances and evolution. Thanks for the link.

I have one glaring problem that neither discuss at all though. Technological advances are  true evolution. For example, the cars we drive today are directly taken from lessons learned in previous models that can clearly be traced back to primitive vehicles. Steam cars and model T's etc.. Technological evolution is indeed fact.

Biological evolution. First It does indeed look like *some* animals are advanced forms of previous animal forms, but not always. Trilobites for example (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trilobite), one of the oldest and most widespread animal fossils around the world, have biological features that are just as advanced as anything alive today. I read a while back one species had 15000 crystal lenses in it's eyes.

Second. All human made technology  has advanced through intelligence. Sure we use trial and error in some cases to see what might work and what might not, but we intelligently choose between them. Since nature can't intelligently choose features and only selects for  an advantage of some sort, we should see all kinds of useless biological artifacts that are neutral in survival terms and this doesn't seem to be the case. Instead we see perfection and optimization that nearly mirrors technilogical advances.

Darwin, On the Origin of Species,Chapter 9: On the Imperfection of the Geological Record
: "But just in proportion as this process of extermination has acted on an enormous scale, so must the number of intermediate varieties, which have formerly existed on the earth, be truly enormous. Why then is not every geological formation and every stratum full of such intermediate links? Geology assuredly does not reveal any such finely graduated organic chain; and this, perhaps, is the most obvious and gravest objection which can be urged against my theory. The explanation lies, as I believe, in the extreme imperfection of the geological record.


Quote
Today there are geeks that optimize code into just a few lines just to see how far they can push it. Maybe in the future they'll see how much of our junk DNA they can toss away, and still end up with a human (probably far more optimal than 'pre-transcendence' humans). That would truly be Intelligent Design.

More and more we are finding that "Junk" DNA  has uses. Latent effects and regulatory roles are the most common thus far.
« Last Edit: January 20, 2007, 02:41:42 am by RTyp06 » Logged
Arne
Enlightened
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 520


Yak!


View Profile WWW
Re: Evolution in action?
« Reply #37 on: January 20, 2007, 12:43:03 pm »

Quote
Instead we see perfection and optimization that nearly mirrors technilogical advances.

I don't think this is true. There are more faulty states than working ones. With just random mutation, things would surely go downhill. Natural selection can push things upwards... but with no foresight it's not very good at optimizing beyond what the environment requires. Also, it tends to get stuck on smaller local peaks on 'mount improbable'. It does not understand that one might have to go down for a bit in order to reach another higher peak later.

We're not that far up on 'mount improbable' yet, but I think technology gives us a vastly better climbing tools than what regular evolution offers, such as foresight, an easy way to truly 'irreducably complex' constructions. I suspect that in the next 100 years we might climb further than evolution has brought us in 3 550 000 000 years. And even if God made us, we'll still make his work look like that of a dabbling amateur.

« Last Edit: January 20, 2007, 12:50:06 pm by Arne » Logged
RTyp06
*Smell* controller
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 491



View Profile
Re: Evolution in action?
« Reply #38 on: January 21, 2007, 04:42:15 am »

Ok , fair enough. You, Luki and others do not see near perfection in biology where I do. Thinking about it, our differing opinions here really don't matter so let me ask you this:

When you see an automobile, a TV set, a circuit board or any other human made technology do you see a chance assembelage of parts?

Then, when you see biological structures such as a human hand, the eye, the digestive system, or the delicate bones of the inner ear do you see a chance assembelage of parts in each?

I see intention and purpose in both examples. Thus I logically deduce that somthing more than random, chance mutation is responsible for these biological systems. To me, the only true similarity between human technology and biological "technology" is that they are both built and manufactured. Human Technolgy is built by factory workers following a blueprint. Biological technology is built by microcellular "machines" that follow a DNA blueprint. Quite litterally.
Logged
Arne
Enlightened
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 520


Yak!


View Profile WWW
Re: Evolution in action?
« Reply #39 on: January 21, 2007, 03:56:03 pm »

Quote
When you see an automobile, a TV set, a circuit board or any other human made technology do you see a chance assembelage of parts?
No.
These are tools made to be used by humans.

Quote
Then, when you see biological structures such as a human hand, the eye, the digestive system, or the delicate bones of the inner ear do you see a chance assembelage of parts in each?
No.
This brew needs natural selection and inheritence. The 'purpose' is effective self-replication.


However, in both cases, chance may dictate the general route because of butterfly effects.
Logged
RTyp06
*Smell* controller
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 491



View Profile
Re: Evolution in action?
« Reply #40 on: February 13, 2007, 01:10:04 am »

http://www.pbs.org/wnet/brain/index.html

Check out this PBS series about the human brain. I highly recomend the 3D brain map and the episodes. (The mind illusions and explanations are pretty cool too). Seeing this, I'll bet even the most hardcore evolutionist amongst us will have at least a slight tinge of doubt to a naturalistic, chance chemical origin and evolution of this amazing organ.

Absolutely fascinating.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2007, 01:16:06 am by RTyp06 » Logged
meep-eep
Forum Admin
Enlightened
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2847



View Profile
Re: Evolution in action?
« Reply #41 on: February 13, 2007, 02:50:17 am »

If you throw a truckload of tennis balls down a mountain, it's a matter of chance what route they are going to take, but it is no miracle that most of them end up somewhere at the bottom.

Chance can produce organised results, as long as there is some property driving it, whether it's "distance to the centre of the earth" or "fitness to survive".
Note that the balls don't know where they're supposed to end up.
Logged

“When Juffo-Wup is complete
when at last there is no Void, no Non
when the Creators return
then we can finally rest.”
Mugz the Sane
*Many bubbles*
***
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 159


need coffee...


View Profile
Re: Evolution in action?
« Reply #42 on: February 14, 2007, 01:11:35 pm »

It's the aliens! [/jerking around]

Seriously.

Let us assume that it is God (or whoever) controlling evolution. Fine, cool. We designed cars to move us around, and have been improving on the basic design for over 100 years to move us around more efficiently, more cleanly, and so on. The end result is that you can compare a 1899 model car to a 1999 model car. See any similarities, apart from the presence of an engine and four wheels? Quite. The purpose remains the same, though - transport.

I think it is safe to assume that God has some eventual goal in mind for humanity, even if it is only as an evolutionary testbed.

Now let us assume that evolution is a self-controlled thing. WHAT GOAL IS EVOLUTION WORKING TOWARDS? Creating Gods?

Evolution is a competitive thing, survival of the species. Evolution allows a species to develop an edge, increasing said species' odds of survival in a system in which several species compete. Every species develops along a certain path to take advantage of a niche. Humanity removed itself from the niche thing aeons ago, thanks to [developing] the intelligence needed to develop science and then apply it.

We have rendered our physical environment less of a factor than it was when we were still banging rocks together to keep warm. TRANSLATION: instead of us adapting to our environment, we adapt our environment to us. So we have taken some of the pressure off evolution/God i.t.o. physical, but what about cerebral?

The only answer I can think of is transcendance. Either the Creator is creating fellow Creators, or the universe is preparing to spawn a God.

[and if the collective human race is/becomes God, I turn atheist]

This is what my rather limited view can contribute. I just hope it was a breath of fresh air and not a stale brainfart...
Logged

I'm seriously considering going to Bali to paint nude women.
Draxas
Enlightened
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 1044



View Profile
Re: Evolution in action?
« Reply #43 on: February 14, 2007, 05:27:30 pm »

A self-contained evolutionary drive is not working toward any goal at all; it's a natural force. Personifying "evolution" is like personifying "gravity" or "tectonic shift." Are these forces working towards any goal? I should think that nobody would suggest that they are (go ahead, prove me wrong).

Attempting to ascribe human motivations to the natural world is a dangerous trap, and is at the core of logical fallacies like ID. Natural forces aren't striving toward some future objective, they simply exist.
Logged
countchocula86
*Smell* controller
****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 345


Culture 20!


View Profile
Re: Evolution in action?
« Reply #44 on: February 14, 2007, 09:43:42 pm »

Why does evolution need a god to control it?
Logged

I like to think you killed a man. It's the romantic in me.
Pages: 1 2 [3] 4 5 ... 9 Print 
« previous next »
Jump to:  


Login with username, password and session length

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.21 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!