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Dankfinger

Parasits and their evolutionary benefit/impact.

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Mosquitoes, lice and Fleas to Tapeworms and other parasitoids 

Are they benefiting the ecosystem and evolution in any way, or are they actually counterproductive to those things?

This is important to me for several reasons like anti-speciecism and religious arguments 

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A) There is nothing that benefits evolution, as there is no optimization involved (other than adaptation to current conditions). What parasites do is to potentially exert selective pressure on their hosts. Conversely, interaction with their hosts also affects their own trajectories.

B) Benefiting ecosystems is probably a more reasonable question. But the question is here what is defined as benefit to the ecosystem. E.g. improved resilience or robustness? Biodiversity? Specific input/output parameters ?

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Ok your answer is pretty damn close to perfect, i'm abit in awe.
But what do you mean that there is nothing that benefits evolution,  even if evolution dosn't contain optimization in a vacuum surely it can still be optimized- ?

argh tbh. the meaning of life is probally just to spread, for whatever reason the universes-ecosystem might have for it, so the optimal form of evolution is the one that takes over the universe the quickest.. 

And removing Parasites/parasitoids from the evolutionary equation- surely would just add more predators instead?

Edited by Dankfinger

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Just to be contrarian (I have none of CY's level of expertise)

I will go with benefit to evolution. (Not that evolution has a goal, but life is life)

They participate in evolution and with a slight benefit...if only to themselves. (The thinking being that life is more than a zero sum game)

Of course if you mean human evolution I have no idea...but lean toward get rid of them if it is safe to do so.

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15 hours ago, Dankfinger said:

even if evolution dosn't contain optimization in a vacuum surely it can still be optimized- ?

You would have to ask yourself, what is optimization in that context? Evolution essentially just means a change in the gene pool composition over time. What would be more optimal in this context? Faster change? Slower change? No Change? 

You may be thinking about fitness, instead, which is the ability to reproduce under a given set of parameters.

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16 hours ago, Dankfinger said:

But what do you mean that there is nothing that benefits evolution,

Evolution is an inevitable process for living populations. It can't NOT happen as long as there is reproduction, but it has no direction, other than change over time. 

I heard somewhere long ago that exposure to head lice helps strengthen the immune system, like much of the good bacteria we kill off with antibacterial soap. Hard to believe wrt lice. This isn't really a benefit to the process (since the process assumes an individual lives to reproduce), but I suppose it increases resiliency in a population and may have some impacts on their environment.

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7 minutes ago, Phi for All said:

I heard somewhere long ago that exposure to head lice helps strengthen the immune system, ...

The infants and primary schoolteachers will be pleased to learn that... oh, and threadworms. :D

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2 minutes ago, StringJunky said:

The infants and primary schoolteachers will be pleased to learn that... oh, and threadworms. :D

The gist of the article I read was saying most lice aren't carrying disease, but since they spread so rapidly through contact the SOP was to remove them. The removal methods are basically cleaning methods, so lice have the stigma of being unclean, even though they don't prefer dirty heads. 

The author wasn't trying to say we should court their presence, iirc, just that we needn't be so freaked out by them. Still, ugh.

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2 minutes ago, Phi for All said:

The gist of the article I read was saying most lice aren't carrying disease, but since they spread so rapidly through contact the SOP was to remove them. The removal methods are basically cleaning methods, so lice have the stigma of being unclean, even though they don't prefer dirty heads. 

The author wasn't trying to say we should court their presence, iirc, just that we needn't be so freaked out by them. Still, ugh.

Everything is a vehicle for something. As I get older, I appreciate the niches organisms inhabit.

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Good point with the lice, immune-system, I am just not sure how much it really matters, wouldnt our immune systems find other ways to improve, 
say we enginerred an universe perfectly similar to ours, just without parasites - hard to say if it would be better i guess.

But does make sense life is just out of randomness as it's pretty shitty tbh.   I can't imagine not being able to create much superior life, and we are probally low on the evolutionary scale, in totallity of the universe..  so that kind of concludes life/ evolution can be helped /patted the right direction, = evolving faster and more effective and intelligent, ( i am setting up some circumstances/answering your questions about "what is optimization", it's a kind of annoying question that should answer itself, as evolution/life should be able to be improved in more or less every way.) One of the ways improving our random evolutionary branch is to remove parasites from the equation.

On 28/6/2018 at 6:59 PM, StringJunky said:

Everything is a vehicle for something. As I get older, I appreciate the niches organisms inhabit.

What do you mean by niches organisms inhabit, been reading alot about niches now, and i doubt it's as radical as Nietzshe, but I still don't get it

Edited by Dankfinger

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On 27 June 2018 at 7:10 PM, Dankfinger said:

Mosquitoes, lice and Fleas to Tapeworms and other parasitoids 

Are they benefiting the ecosystem and evolution in any way, or are they actually counterproductive to those things?

This is important to me for several reasons like anti-speciecism and religious arguments 

They certainly benefit themselves.

Which is what ALL species do, nothing more. And by doing that they contribute to an ecosystem and they evolve. Defining benefit to an ecosystem or evolution is really just adding a human emotion to the question. Our intellect/emotions seem to define that a vibrant ecosystem or active evolution is somehow a good thing. But this is just a perception, and everyone will have a slightly different view anyway.

It's a bit like the common question I hear - "What's the point of wasps?" My answer is that the point of a wasp is to be a wasp. What's the point of a human to a wasp? Not much.

Everything that's living is part of the ecosystem, whether you consider it a 'parasite' or not. It will eat something else, and when it dies it will pass on the organic compounds to other living things. Just like humans. I guess we're all parasites if you stretch the definition.

But if you want to see it as benefit, then everything that exists 'benefits' the ecosystem because it is part of it.

Similar with evolution. A parasite might cause the host to evolve mechanisms to resist it. You might see that as benefit. Or it might just be happenstance.

But I think I would certainly say parasites are certainly not counterproductive. They benefit themselves, which is what we all do. They might be counterproductive to the host, but lots of things eat other things and we don't define them as parasites because they don't happen to live on a host.

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On ‎6‎/‎30‎/‎2018 at 7:28 AM, delboy said:

They certainly benefit themselves.

Great post delboy.

And "yup", mosquitoes certainly benefit themselves.

And mosquitoes also benefit the malaria parasite called a Plasmodium, as well as the yellow fever virus.

Of course humans don't think that is being "beneficial" and thus the reason they are always trying to kill all of those mosquitoes.   

 

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As stated above, for something to be a benefit, there has to be a purpose. There is no purpose to life, or evolution. 

Organisms appear to be doing their best to survive and reproduce, but it's just things reacting to stimuli. The nature of evolution means that those in the past which didn't react in a way which promotes survival and reproduction went extinct.  

Humans are the exception, we have a thinking brain, and can visualise dying, and picture the future. So we can dream up our own purposes. But that's all they are, human concepts. They don't mean anything outside of our own collective consciousness. 

Ecosystems are not really systems either, they are purposeless bits of the world. A system is a human picture of things that happen, that's all. The water of the Earth can be pictured as a system, with evaporation, clouds, ground water, rivers and lakes etc. But it's only a system in our heads. In reality, it's just how things behave, under the current conditions. So you can't benefit a system that has no purpose outside of our heads. Whatever happens, happens, and is just as "good" as any other happening.

Think of the Sahara desert. It used to be green Savanna with lakes and rivers. The climate changed it to a desert. It's not a worse ecosystem. It's just different.

If you introduce a human concept, that more life is better, THEN you can say that it's a worse ecosystem. But in reality, it's just a place.

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Okay Assholes-who think you got it all figured out, that life and evolution has no purpose, when fuckall you know.

However I finally have something interesting and clever to add - 

PARASITES: The first 1cell bacteria to grow inside another 1cell bacteria could be considered a parasite/parasitic and, yeah, basicly that is the reason multiple celled organisms came into being in the first place..

So Parasites, or parasitic life forms have got a huge impact on evolution/life.. 

Source: 

 hm

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31 minutes ago, Dankfinger said:

Okay Assholes-who think you got it all figured out, that life and evolution has no purpose, when fuckall you know.

If you're trying to be funny here, you missed the mark. If you're serious, you're far too sensitive to discuss science with. Our #1 rule here is civility. What makes you think it's in any way appropriate to be so rude and dismissive? AFAICT, every answer you were given was done so with respect.

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In any case, he still hasn't got the point. Even IF history was changed, it still wouldn't imply a purpose. You can change history by tossing a coin to make a decision. There's no purpose to which way the coin falls. Same with evolution.

Evolution give an ILLUSION of a purpose. Just by the nature of the process. Some organisms survive long enough to breed, some don't, and they reproduce copies that are very similar, but not exactly so. That's all you need for evolution, and it just continues, blindly, unthinkingly. 

There is no purpose, to evolve "higher" or "fitter" examples of life. It's just that the blind unthinking process has an inbuilt tendency to roll along in that direction, by it's very nature. And it shouldn't take a genius to recognise that. But if you are determined to block off the obvious, and go searching for meaning, you just turn yourself into a self-made fool.

I got evolution the very first time it was outlined to me, at the age of about twelve. And I'm no mega-brain. All it takes is an open mind.

 

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On 11/9/2018 at 1:15 PM, mistermack said:
On 10/9/2018 at 8:24 PM, Phi for All said:

If you're trying to be funny here, you missed the mark. If you're serious, you're far too sensitive to discuss science with. Our #1 rule here is civility. What makes you think it's in any way appropriate to be so rude and dismissive? AFAICT, every answer you were given was done so with respect.

Sorry, I was too emotional/sensitive yes, and i need to study linguistics coz getting misunderstood so much.
 

On 11/9/2018 at 1:15 PM, mistermack said:

In any case, he still hasn't got the point. Even IF history was changed, it still wouldn't imply a purpose. You can change history by tossing a coin to make a decision. There's no purpose to which way the coin falls. Same with evolution.

I got evolution the very first time it was outlined to me, at the age of about twelve. And I'm no mega-brain. All it takes is an open mind.

Yeah, I get it, and it was also explained pretty decent before you just did it, 
I mean it's cleaver enough, and does make sense.....

I just think life itself is probally 1 of biggest forces in the universe like time ect. and yeah.

This thread served it's purpose perfectly, coz of pretty amazing answers, and i do pity myself abit for showing so little respect with my wording afterwards, but fuck it, better luck next time ;)

 

Also to be fair, me getting triggered abit by the feeling of complete being certain about the entire universe some of u exuded,

but whatever, lets play with the thought

That we were made by a inferior god (inferior to another god/gods) that simply came up with inferior programming to evolution (inferior to the other god's evolution) 

; That would leave room to improve evolution,

like if u look on our evolution as an outdated gaming engine. 

Some new smarter form of life, with a much more sophisticated evolutionary capabilities, come by our universe, and we be gone soon.

Edited by Dankfinger

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To be fair, maybe AI/robotics is a new entire form of evolution able to separate itself from us and the biological boundaries, and like outcompete(exterminate) fungal/biological life if it wants. I.E. A stronger evolution.

Edited by Dankfinger

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