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Does evolution lead to the most complex and sophisticated organization of matter?

  1. Apr 13, 2005 #1
    This idea came out pondering the question if scientific research is limited in what it can achieve.

    Evolution is the process that can lead to the organization of matter as complex as the human mind. Scientific research can lead to different (not necessarily as complex) organizations of matter. There may be other processes in the universe which do not follow neither evolution nor man's scientific research to achieve even more complex and sophisticated organizations of matter. Maybe plasma effects at the center of stars or similar. The point is that matter may be organized into very complex structures like the mind but through different processes. There may be barriers between one process and another, for example evolution can only lead to a certain subclass of organized matter, man's scientific research can lead to another certain subclass of organized matter but may never be able to reach the class of objects that evolution can. Evolution may never be able to evolve silicon chips without having first evolved man. These may be barriers between progressing processes that limit what each process can achieve. The real point is that matter as such can be potentially organized into very complex structures, we may just never be able to force it past a certain limit. In this sense science may have a limit, but matter may not. And even if matter were organized in an alien very complex structure and internal process, we may not even be able to recognize it!
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 14, 2005 #2
    My point is more about how complicated can matter be organized in general whether through evolution or man made devices OR SOME OTHER PROCESS. We could force matter into an incredibly entangled construction of chips, neurons and mechanical parts WITH NO PURPOSE OR GOAL WHATSOEVER just to see how complicated matter can be organized. Now the resulting object would not have evolved through natural evolution, and neither through scientific - technological reasoning, so it would be a completely ALIEN object that has been produced according to a completely alien process. From our point of view as man, this object would be considered a work of ART or an ART form since it has no purpose except that of testing the limits of how complicated matter can be organized. In general how complicated can matter be organized whether for a goal or not ?

    Can we imagine a planet that naturally evolves color TVs without evolving any lifeform ? The fact that it coincides with a function useful to us could be just an quirk chance. Is evolution the only process capable of creating vastly complex organized mechanisms ? What are the real limits of MATTER as such disregarding the processes that organize it ?
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2005
  4. May 6, 2005 #3
    This is actually a very interesting question. I am surprised no one has responded to date. I'll give my opinion.

    Naturally, it would be possible to IMAGINE this because the human imagination is limitless-so the easy answer is 'yes'. To make it more interesting, lets restrict this idea to matter/energy/laws of physics we find in our universe, which is the only one we know anything about, and keep the discussion in the realm of the Real.

    It would be impossible for a color TV (as is constituted on this planet) to evolve in the absence of an intelligent builder. Why? It is a matter of differentiating events that can occur naturally with events that cannot occur naturally. Most of the physical parts of the color TV cannot evolve naturally. It is impossible to explain how a circuit board could evolve from random events. There is no natural process that would allow the random soldering of connections. The random heating of the solder connection would result in the heat destroying the circuit boards.

    In conclusion: In the imaginary world, the answer is yes. In the real world, the answer is no.
    Last edited: May 6, 2005
  5. May 7, 2005 #4
    I don't get your point.

    Evolution doesn't favor complexity and no one needs plasma TVs to survive.

    Also, plasma TVs are far less complex than living creatures.
  6. May 7, 2005 #5
    Evolution-changing from the simple to the complex-can occur either from random/chance changes or from intelligent intervention or presumed combination of both. This thread is intended (I hope Nameta9 agrees) to explore the most complex possible end products of random/chance evolution versus intelligent intervention evolution.

    In a sense, evolution does favor complexity over simplicity because it seems to produce more complexity. The question is-Is this new complexity the simplest form of new complexity? Evolution, it seems, favors complexity that works best-that which produces the most power.
  7. May 7, 2005 #6


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    Haven't we been over this before? There is nothing about evolution that necessarily increases complexity. Complexity might increase in a certain circumstance, but it might decrease in another circumstance, as when an uneeded organ is eliminated to save the energy of maintaining it for other needs of the organism.
  8. May 7, 2005 #7
    Perhaps we are using different definitions of 'evolution.' The operative definition of 'change that goes from the simple to the complex' does NECESSARILY need the concept of increasing complexity. However, my dictionary has six different definitions of evolution and most of them agree with you. Maybe we should ask Nameta9 to define his/her operative definition before continuing.
    Last edited: May 7, 2005
  9. May 7, 2005 #8
    Aren't we talking about evolution as in darwinism?

    Most definitions of evolution in general that talk about complexity point out that it is usually the case that complexity increases. This suggests it is just a coincidence. Its just that alot of every day things that evolve evolve into more complex things. And with this I mean the evolution of car design, software programs, etc.

    As for Darwinian evolution, realise that the complex animals and plants are only a small portion of all the living organisms on this planet. And it also took alot of time for them to evolve. You could call the development of complex organisms an exception. Most of the organism are very simple and have no problem staying that way. Growing more complex would not grant them any advantages.
  10. May 7, 2005 #9
    For some,the most interesting aspects of evolution are the parts that are producing complexities-it is more interesting to study a species that is planning trips to Mars than to study some mold growing on paint.

    Focusing on this 'complex' aspect of evolution, some might be interested in speculating on what the ultimate potential of evolution is. If no intelligent life had evolved, what would have been the ultimate potential of evolution? With intelligent life now adding additional complexities, what is the ultimate potential of evolution? Also, could something superior to human life (like ultra quantum computers or add your own speculation) evolve in the future?
  11. May 7, 2005 #10
    In theory anything could evolve through evolution. Given the right selection, mutations and enough time.

    I get the impression you do not really understand how evolution works.

    Can you imagine a situation in which the calculation of power of a quantum computer is a nessesity to survive? What would we use quantum computers for?

    A way would be sexual selection. If a male had to impress the female, or the other way around, with some amazing display of intelligence claiming all the food and high quality mates while the less intelligent would get nothing and die without children then given enought time those creatures would become absurdly intelligent. Or better, absurdly good at impressing the opposite sex through intelligence, which might not be the same.

    Also understand that a system created by evolution is put together differently than a designed system. Evolved systems are always redundant. Take any evolved system and take away some important parts and it will still function. If half an eye would not work at all it wouldn't evolve because half an eye would not create an advantage and thus be just as useful as no eye. So the eye mutation would never be selected.

    All systems in nature are good enough so the creature can reproduce. Making it any better wouldn't matter.

    So evolution works through steps. It is short term thinking. Take something and make a very small chance so it is a little better. Thats why land animals will never get a land animal design. They are stuck with a fish animal design adjusted for land. That is why we have spines.

    Looking at human evolution you will know that at some time in our evolution a human with below average intelligence was too stupid to survive. A human with fingers with less finesse/control than the average human was too clumsy to survive. Same with alot of other things. So a human with average backpain still functioned well enough to survive and reproduce. A human with those stupid knee joints we have now would still be effective enough to survive.
  12. May 7, 2005 #11


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    I don't know where you got that definition, but it is not the one that scientists, including evolutionists, use. Change due to random varietion and natural selection is close to the definition they use. Any suggestion of a long term "goal" like complexity, or for that matter simplicity, is called "teleology" and is scorned. Evolution tends to produce whatever changes are adaptive for the particular organism in the particular environment at the particular time. Never any guarantees as to the external qualities of the result.
  13. May 7, 2005 #12
    Ok. I am out voted. I'll change my operative definition of evolution: Forget about complexities, let evolution be changing from the simple to the simple, or whatever.

    Thank you, and good-by.
    Last edited: May 7, 2005
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