Evolution — information increase and entropy

In summary, there is no real proof that the amount of information has increased within any species over time.
  • #36
artis said:
how slow beneficial mutations take place in generations and the time scales involved I wouldn't call it a day by no means.
Beneficial mutations take place on rather short time scales in a lab setting.
 
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  • #37
artis said:
apart from our intelectual/technological ability we are inferior to apes in terms of survival in the wild in almost every matter except tool use.

I'm not sure if this is true. The human body is a top product of evolution. There are not many species that can equally climb, swim, dive, run (both, fast and persevering, even in the midday heat), see, hear, smell and - that's our most important ability - eat almost everything. Humans are perfect generalists and that’s what we need our brains for. Specialists don’t need to be intelligent. Both, our physical and our mental abilities are optimized for adoption to different environments. Even without our intellectual/technological abilities we would still be competitive to most animals and even many apes. We just need to find a habitat that their bodies are not suitable for (e.g. chimps would have a hard time in the savanna).
 
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  • #38
artis said:
And if evolution only cares about survivability which is what Darwinism postulates and also knowing that natural selection is blind which you correctly pointed out which means it cannot foresee the result of it's own work then quite frankly "she" is also dumb (pun somewhat intended) because apart from our intelectual/technological ability we are inferior to apes in terms of survival in the wild in almost every matter except tool use.
But given that tool use did not came about instantly I'd say evolution "took a dangerous bet".

Not really. The increase in intellectual ability was a gradual process that took place over several million years. The loss of any abilities or advantages that we had when we were more like chimps also took place gradually over this time period and it is reasonable to think that at each step the gain from the first outweighed the loss from the latter. Otherwise it wouldn't have been selected for.

artis said:
I happen to think evolution as much as it is admired by atheists does not give satisfactory answers to some fundamental questions about the origin of life.

Atheism and evolution have nothing to do with each other. Theists were the ones who initially developed the theory and a considerable portion of subsequent scientists that expanded upon it were also theists. You might as well complain that atheists admire solid state theory or cell theory.

artis said:
One of the curiosities that I see is that even under perfect lab conditions we still haven't managed to replicate a single cell forming by itself, considering this in the light of the ancient primitive Earth and how slow beneficial mutations take place in generations and the time scales involved I wouldn't call it a day by no means.

Abiogenesis is a related but separate concept from biological evolution, and it isn't reasonable to think that we can replicate in a few decades an unknown process that took hundreds of millions of years in nature. Especially considering how little we know about the detailed environmental conditions of the early Earth.
 
  • #39
I never used the word "believe" in reference to evolution. I was quoting other people who misunderstand evolution. Non-scientists often use the phrase "believe in evolution" but they are using the words incorrectly. A scientist would never use the word "believe" in reference to evolution. The evidence for evolution is so overwhelming, it is a proven fact. I agree that nobody should use the word "believe" in the context of evolution. Unfortunately, non-scientists often use that incorrect language. I wish they would quit doing that.

Brains evolved over a billion years, so that did not happen quickly. If you are talking about the transition from chimp-like intelligence to human intelligence, they may have taken place over a million years. It is totally wrong to suggest that it was progressing towards any planned goal or that it was somehow preparing for eventual human intelligence. That is not what happened. At each stage, it was advantageous to become a little more intelligent. That provided an immediate benefit. Now, imagine that our ancestors were gradually becoming more intelligent, and then, at some point, they crossed a thresh hold, and suddenly became capable of far more impressive achievements. For example, at some point, representational art suddenly appeared. There is nothing remotely surprising or mysterious about that. It is certainly not any kind of evidence against evolution.

You say that you can't imagine it being the result of a small number of mutations. Well, it could have been the result of a small number of mutations. Simple initial conditions can lead to a complicated final result with far reaching consequences. For example, a single mutation could have led to the mechanical stresses that we now know cause the convolutions or "folds" in the brain, which increases the surface area, and thus, the intelligence. This is explained in the following article.

https://blogrecherche.wp.imt.fr/en/2016/02/25/brain-mechanics-convolutions

The fact that Newton's laws do not explain Maxwell's Equations is not any kind of flaw or criticism of Newton's Laws since they were never intended or designed to explain Maxwell's Equations. The fact that Darwin's theory of evolution does not address the origin of life is not any kind of flaw or criticism of Darwin's theory of evolution since it was never intended or designed to explain the origin of life.

That said, our understanding of the origin of life has improved tremendously, and we now have a basic understanding of how it happened. You can read about it here.



https://physics.aps.org/articles/v13/117

https://www.planetary.org/articles/20150209-planet-formation-origin-life

The fact that we can not yet reproduce it in the lab is irrelevant. There are lots of natural phenomena that we can not reproduce in the lab. We can't reproduce neutron stars in the lab. We can't reproduce the Big Bang in the lab. So what? That does not mean that are theories explaining those phenomena are not accurate.

Lastly, there are things in nature that we can not currently explain but we know that it is not magic. Obviously, if it exists, there has to be an actual logical explanation.
 
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  • #40
@Drakkith I'm not saying atheism and evolution are one I'm just pointing out the obvious that all people have personal beliefs besides official ones and often they reinforce one another , it's just a side effect of being human I guess.

@DrStupid I guess I have to agree with you that we are rather capable of adapting to different environments But all in all we cannot see the evolutionary steps in genetic information in a high resolution as of now is what I get? We can only see the general trends in DNA that let's us give approximate periods of divergence from one common species to a newer one,
I guess even if we had most of the transitional fossils at hand it won't help DNA wise as DNA deteriorates with age and conditions under which the sample have been so most of it would be heavily damaged?

PS.
judiefletcher said:
Lastly, there are things in nature that we can not currently explain but we know that it is not magic. Obviously, if it exists, there has to be an actual logical explanation.
Would you also apply logic to the origin of the universe?
Logic being an artificial tool is not universal and for most part I think it only works if we have the underlying tools with which we can apply it, I agree it works 9 times out of 10 but not 10/10.
 
  • #41
artis said:
But all in all we cannot see the evolutionary steps in genetic information in a high resolution as of now is what I get? We can only see the general trends in DNA that let's us give approximate periods of divergence from one common species to a newer one,
I guess even if we had most of the transitional fossils at hand it won't help DNA wise as DNA deteriorates with age and conditions under which the sample have been so most of it would be heavily damaged?

Pretty much.

artis said:
Logic being an artificial tool is not universal and for most part I think it only works if we have the underlying tools with which we can apply it, I agree it works 9 times out of 10 but not 10/10.

I challenge you to find an unambiguous and clear example of logic not being universal.
 
  • #42
artis said:
knowing that natural selection is blind
Blindness is merely a definition of what we call Natural Selection. It doesn't prove the existence or non-existence of other mechanisms. If one of the 'blind' choices involved the ability to self modify for a purpose then anything goes.
Lamarck is not totally dead yet.
 
  • #43
artis said:
OK, I am not disputing this but then the obvious question arises , how did this human brain came about?
I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that natural selection found a niche market where the human brain was developed in response to situations where doing whatever the human brain is good at was an advantage to survival, at least in the short run.
And if evolution only cares about survivability which is what Darwinism postulates and also knowing that natural selection is blind which you correctly pointed out which means it cannot foresee the result of it's own work...
The theory of evolution basically consists of two parts. There is the actual evolution, where descendants are different from their predecessors. This is pretty obvious just by noting that kids look different than their parents. Kids are genetically different than their parents. Species diverge when two populations from a common ancestor become genetically different enough that they can no longer mate with each other and have offsring. That's where natural selection shows up. Different circumstances require different traits to survive. That will cause two different populations to diverge. What it so perplexing about this?
then quite frankly "she" is also dumb (pun somewhat intended) because apart from our intelectual/technological ability we are inferior to apes in terms of survival in the wild in almost every matter except tool use.
Using inferior and superior to compare species is a human thing. Species either survive or they don't. Only humans try to analyze why one species did and one didn't which is ok until they start making judgments for nature in terms of inferior or superior traits. Nature doesn't care because...
But given that tool use did not came about instantly I'd say evolution "took a dangerous bet".
Nature doesn't "think." Stop thinking about nature in anthropomorphological terms and it will be easier to get the picture. Circumstances determine which traits are advantageous and which are not and those traits are spread out through the ecosystem so that, for example, a species only needs to gain enough of an advantage to acquire the resources it requires given competition with other species. Nature isn't going to "try" to make a wolf "better" by pointing its evolution such that it can climb trees, eat grass and fly to be a better wolf. A "better" wolf is whatever circumstances make certain traits advantageous and other not so much.
One of the curiosities that I see is that even under perfect lab conditions we still haven't managed to replicate a single cell forming by itself, considering this in the light of the ancient primitive Earth and...
I'm not sure why that is so "curious." Humans have been working on that for what, a century or two, pretty blindly. Nature had a few billion years, so nature an edge when it comes to making complex molecules by accident.
how slow beneficial mutations take place in generations and the time scales involved I wouldn't call it a day by no means.
Where did you get the idea that mutations always take a long time? You can watch it happen in a lab over a period of a few weeks. Here's a link to a video using a "petri dish" that's like 4 ft x 2ft and you can watch as the bacteria develop mutate to develop immunity to an antibiotic.
 
  • #44
Drakkith said:
I challenge you to find an unambiguous and clear example of logic not being universal.
Is that a relevant argument? Logic is based on axioms and can only give the right answers is all the factors are included in any logical statement.

I'm staggered that Darwinism has survived so long and is treated almost as a religion and it is expected to explain everything. We have had more than one generation of all the major modern Physics theories but people still hang on to Darwinism. In the same way that 'we' accept the possibility of life forms turning up on their own it may be that self directed evolution has already become a significant factor in human development (perhaps as a result of the natural selection we all know and love).

But that's not something that we can prove of disprove; we haven't even got over the first hurdle of the origin of life. Not in the remit of PF, though.
 
  • #45
sophiecentaur said:
I'm staggered that Darwinism has survived so long and is treated almost as a religion and it is expected to explain everything. We have had more than one generation of all the major modern Physics theories but people still hang on to Darwinism. In the same way that 'we' accept the possibility of life forms turning up on their own it may be that self directed evolution has already become a significant factor in human development (perhaps as a result of the natural selection we all know and love).

It's expected to explain everything because there hasn't been sufficient evidence to support any other theory. Besides, evolution has hardly been stagnant for the last 150 years. Significant advances have been made and are still being made.
 
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  • #46
This paper might help you understand a little more- check out the references. It’s an interesting topic that is being heavily studied. The increase cannot be measured in the way that you are thinking, but the change may be shown to occur (overall and not discretely) through a couple of methods.
 
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  • #47
Fervent Freyja said:
This paper might help you understand a little more- check out the references. It’s an interesting topic that is being heavily studied. The increase cannot be measured in the way that you are thinking, but the change may be shown to occur (overall and not discretely) through a couple of methods.
Interesting paper. I will need more exposure to the ideas before I can say I have taken them on board.
 
  • #48
Drakkith said:
It's expected to explain everything because there hasn't been sufficient evidence to support any other theory. Besides, evolution has hardly been stagnant for the last 150 years. Significant advances have been made and are still being made.
You have a point there, of course. It's true that the mechanisms of genetics are much better known than they were, even just ten years ago but Darwinism is the word that's reached for whenever change needs to be 'explained'. I know the word 'explain' isn't really appropriate because the only evidence about the process is either based on assigning historical circumstances to evidence of change (put down as natural) or (afaiaa) the results of experiments on organisms which, by definition, are not natural. There's still a gap in the middle and the last thing I want to be put in that gap is a god figure. But I guess that we Atheists tend to follow that view in a religious way.
 
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  • #49
bobob said:
I'm not sure why that is so "curious." Humans have been working on that for what, a century or two, pretty blindly. Nature had a few billion years, so nature an edge when it comes to making complex molecules by accident.
Where did you get the idea that mutations always take a long time? You can watch it happen in a lab over a period of a few weeks. Here's a link to a video using a "petri dish" that's like 4 ft x 2ft and you can watch as the bacteria develop mutate to develop immunity to an antibiotic.

You are stating that nature made those molecules by accident as a fact, even though I know this is the favored mainstream view it is not yet a fact, rather a hypothesis.
I do believe there is a difference timewise in how bacteria develop antibiotic resistance due to microevolution versus how humans might have gotten their current bodies and went through macroevolution.@Fervent Freyja , thanks for the paper will check it out.@Drakkith as for the logic thing, logic is just a human construct as much as math is. that being said sure it does work to explain certain physical phenomenon but only after we have had the chance to actually test and prove or at least have some externally supplied proof of the very thing we try to describe with our logic.
If logic was so universal I believe we wouldn't have all the problems we do have with quantum mechanics.
Can you or anyone explain with logical arguments the entanglement of particles? Not the process but the underlying reason for why it happens.

Can we or will we ever be able to reason the origin aka the cause of the universe? I doubt so.

And just as an example, the reasoning that life on Earth was started by an external intellect is just as reasonable as the reasoning that by random chance something as complex as working cells and "primitive" life just fell into existence. Until we have definite proof for either one or the other there can be multiple reasonable explanations to a single event, in fact such has been the case for many phenomenon.

Reason I think is a great tool but it's definitely not universal.
 
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  • #50
Fervent Freyja said:
This paper might help you understand a little more- check out the references.
It was indeed interesting. I like the idea. But the site says that the paper has zero citations, so it does not appear influential.

Even the authors say that the paper is "a proposal to explain the nature of biological evolution." As a proposal, it is speculation, not the result of evidence.
 
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  • #51
Speaking about entropy, isn't this article cited by @Fervent Freyja one order more complex itself than the idea of natural selection because I read it in the article that quote
in a similar approach, proposes that mechanical selection of novel information drives evolution. In the next section, it will be described the mathematical model of the dynamics of message transmission, as a proposal to explain the nature of biological evolution.

As far as I understand random mutations just occur and if beneficial they make the organism last longer or reproduce in higher numbers so the process which selects this mutation to endure longer over the others is chance essentially, by chance one got lucky so to say and now he has "better cards" to play with.

This information approach proclaims that the cells somehow screen to find "novel information" sort of like an X factor approach to potential evolutionary beneficial changes?
Have I got the menaing of the article right or not?
Ok a few questions on my own,
1) does the mutation rate on average for macro beings differs a lot from species to species or is it around in the same ballpark?
2) If we know (which I don't know while writing this) the mutation rate then can we extract the probability of a beneficial mutation to come along and express it in a formula, then compare the mathematical probabilities of evolution with the data that we have from fossil DNA samples and what we know so far , or has this already been done?
One of the reasons I'm asking is because if looking back to the very primitive first life forms , if they had to wait long for a beneficial "life changing" mutation then there would be a high risk factor of evolution dying off soon after it had started.
Pardon the speculation on my part but it would seem to me that if the mutations rates have always been the same then I find it hard to see how the early simple life forms could have had the chance to get a grip and move on in order to produce further life. But I'm interested to hear some input on this.
 
  • #52
artis said:
can we extract the probability of a beneficial mutation
I rather doubt it. The majority of random tweaks to the genome will be neutral. Tweaks to junk DNA. Loss of unimportant functionality. Loss of function masked by the presence of another gene. Some significant fraction will be directly harmful. Some small fraction will be beneficial. But that benefit might take a long time (generations) to manifest.

It might even take a lucky combination of tweaks to get a benefit while each tweak separately could be detrimental.

Edit: Actually, one might be able to back into a relevant figure. Try to track the change rate for the species genome versus the mutation rate of an individual's DNA from birth to reproduction.
 
  • #53
So if information is related to entropy - the content being proportional to the number of potential random permutations, how do humans have more 'information' than other creatures?

We have 42 chromosomes whereas the shrimp I ate for lunch has 90, so given that 90 chromosomes provides a larger permutation space than 42, do shrimps have more information?

Looking directly at DNA, the human genome has 6.4 billion base pairs, but an amoeba has over 290 billion, so again, does not the ameoba genome contain more information as the permutation space is vastly larger?
 
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  • #54
jbriggs444 said:
Some small fraction will be beneficial. But that benefit might take a long time (generations) to manifest.
True, but not the only case. A virus might select for some previously neutral trait. Then the virus goes extinct, leaving the effects of the selection without any apparent advantage remaining. The number of variations, the number of organisms and the number of years is too huge to be able to make simple logical statements connecting specific benefits to specific traits.

Isn't the tardigrade able to survive in many more environments than humans? Depending on how you rank, that could make the tardigrade more advanced in evolution than humans.
 
  • #56
artis said:
One of the reasons I'm asking is because if looking back to the very primitive first life forms , if they had to wait long for a beneficial "life changing" mutation then there would be a high risk factor of evolution dying off soon after it had started.

First it would be helpful to me if you (and everyone) would be more precise in the use of the terms "mutation" and "selection".

The very primitive first life forms did not need to worry about being eaten! They could just happily do their thing just like their parents did. When there appeared a beneficial mutation in some distant relatives it may have been existentially threatening; but they could always move to the south side of town...this is probably why speciation eventually occurred...This is my attempt to say I don't think your argument makes any sense. In fact what does "evolution dying off" even mean? Individuals live and die.

The fact that the Darwin's theory of evolution for more than a hundred years drove a revolution in paleontology is impressive enough. The flood of added confirmatory DNA information in the subsequent 50 years simply fills in the unshakeable foundation. Is every bit of supposition correct? Of course not. But to seriously endanger the fundamental theory would require some remarkable new evidence, none of which you provide nor is presently extant.

'
 
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  • #57
artis said:
If logic was so universal I believe we wouldn't have all the problems we do have with quantum mechanics.
Can you or anyone explain with logical arguments the entanglement of particles? Not the process but the underlying reason for why it happens.

There are no problems with quantum mechanics. You just don't like it because it doesn't match up to your everyday experiences here in the macro world.

artis said:
And just as an example, the reasoning that life on Earth was started by an external intellect is just as reasonable as the reasoning that by random chance something as complex as working cells and "primitive" life just fell into existence. Until we have definite proof for either one or the other there can be multiple reasonable explanations to a single event, in fact such has been the case for many phenomenon.

Nonsense. We have overwhelming evidence supporting evolution and absolutely none supporting an 'external intellect'. Again, there are no major problems with evolution, you just don't like it.
 
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  • #58
Thread locked - hanks for participating.
 

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