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6 hours ago, dimreepr said:

Not an assumption of the theory, evolution has no purpose or goal, it just happens much like the evolution of the planet.

Stating that evolution exists without a goal is a bit of a non sequitur.  The entire basis of evolution - in whatever form - is improvement upon past iterations, which is a goal driven phenomena.  The underlying goal of adapting to the environment is so a species can survive and multiply, for example. 

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Posted (edited)
43 minutes ago, Alex_Krycek said:

Stating that evolution exists without a goal is a bit of a non sequitur.  The entire basis of evolution - in whatever form - is improvement upon past iterations, which is a goal driven phenomena.  The underlying goal of adapting to the environment is so a species can survive and multiply, for example. 

Evolution doesn't exist (other than in the abstract) it's not a thing, it has no urges or wants, it has no goal or purpose, it doesn't strive to be better; life just accidentally becomes a bit different sometimes.

Edited by dimreepr

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6 hours ago, dimreepr said:

Evolution doesn't exist (other than in the abstract) it's not a thing, it has no urges or wants, it has no goal or purpose, it doesn't strive to be better; life just accidentally becomes a bit different sometimes. 

Sure, I understand this worldview. It's the mainstream scientific philosophical outlook at this point in time: everything is random, there's no point to anything, life and evolution happen by chance, etc.  I'm just pointing out there is no evidence to support these assumptions.  You can of course harbor such a philosophy, but it's not objective fact.

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1 minute ago, Alex_Krycek said:

Sure, I understand this worldview. It's the mainstream scientific philosophical outlook at this point in time: everything is random, there's no point to anything, life and evolution happen by chance, etc.  I'm just pointing out there is no evidence to support these assumptions. 

What are you suggesting?

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6 hours ago, dimreepr said:

What are you suggesting?

That evolution is goal driven.  There is a "point".

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2 hours ago, Alex_Krycek said:

Stating that evolution exists without a goal is a bit of a non sequitur.  The entire basis of evolution - in whatever form - is improvement upon past iterations, which is a goal driven phenomena. 

That is not true. (Unless you define "improvement" to mean "whatever is produced as a result of evolution".)

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The underlying goal of adapting to the environment is so a species can survive and multiply, for example. 

That is true, although the use of the word "goal" is loaded because it implies there is some sort of advance planning involved. Evolution is a purely reactive process, so I don't think it can be described as having a goal. The place where it is going to end up (the "goal") can only be known in retrospect.

26 minutes ago, Alex_Krycek said:

That evolution is goal driven.  There is a "point".

Do you have any evidence to support that? 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Alex_Krycek said:

That evolution is goal driven.  There is a "point".

You seem to be implying some sort of design... By whom? God?

Or are you suggesting some sort of variant of the Gaia hypothesis

Edited by dimreepr

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4 hours ago, Alex_Krycek said:

Stating that evolution exists without a goal is a bit of a non sequitur.  The entire basis of evolution - in whatever form - is improvement upon past iterations, which is a goal driven phenomena.  The underlying goal of adapting to the environment is so a species can survive and multiply, for example. 

There is no purpose or goal in evolution.  The purpose of a star is not to fuse hydrogen.  The purpose of a river is not to send water to the ocean.  What we observe in nature is a consequence of physical laws, there is no purpose.

The basis of evolution is not improvement, that is too vague and subjective.  Evolution is simply that an animal that is suited to an environment will survive long enough to produce viable offspring and one that isn't will not produce offspring.

It may be that 200,000 years in the future man will have a brain that is only half the size that it is today.  That would be an 'improvement' because that trait of having a pea brain is best suited for the environment.

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5 hours ago, Alex_Krycek said:

That evolution is goal driven.  There is a "point".

This seems intuitive to many who don't understand the process, but the more I actually learned about evolution, the more I realized this is completely false. What was beneficial to one generation may not be to the next. How can there be a goal to a process that reacts to changing environments?

What's the goal of routing the laryngeal nerve under the heart in vertebrates? The larynx served a gill function in fish, but as vertebrates evolved, it was used to produce sounds from the throat. The distance from the larynx to the brain in most vertebrates is pretty short, yet the nerve that connects them goes down and under the heart before looping back. In a giraffe, the brain is mere inches away from the larynx, yet the laryngeal nerve is 15 feet long! 

If there was some sort of optimization going on, some kind of goal driving the process, wouldn't it correct some of the biggest flaws? What's the goal of bipedal humans having retinas that detach far too easily, and optic nerves that end in the field of the retina, creating a blind spot in the center, with eyelashes that are supposed to protect the eye from debris but fall out into the eye? We have too many sweat glands for efficient thermoregulation, our backs aren't meant for bipedalism, our pelvises are too small, and tiny blood clots can kill us. None of these design flaws is improving over time, so what kind of "goal" is working here?

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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, Strange said:

Do you have any evidence to support that? 

There is emerging evidence in neuroscience to suggest that genetics can be directly influenced by the environment.  That is, when an organism encounters certain environmental circumstances it's DNA begins to adapt in real time to that environmental stimulus.  In one study, subsequent generations of mice were conditioned to fear a unique and synthetic olfactory stimulus that was not found in nature.  The parents were conditioned to fear the smell, and subsequent generations also feared it:

  1. Studying the biological basis for those effects in humans would be difficult. So Ressler and his colleague Brian Dias opted to study epigenetic inheritance in laboratory mice trained to fear the smell of acetophenone, a chemical the scent of which has been compared to those of cherries and almonds. He and Dias wafted the scent around a small chamber, while giving small electric shocks to male mice. The animals eventually learned to associate the scent with pain, shuddering in the presence of acetophenone even without a shock.
  2. This reaction was passed on to their pups, Dias and Ressler report today in Nature Neuroscience1. Despite never having encountered acetophenone in their lives, the offspring exhibited increased sensitivity when introduced to its smell, shuddering more markedly in its presence compared with the descendants of mice that had been conditioned to be startled by a different smell or that had gone through no such conditioning. A third generation of mice — the 'grandchildren' — also inherited this reaction, as did mice conceived through in vitro fertilization with sperm from males sensitized to acetophenone. Similar experiments showed that the response can also be transmitted down from the mother. https://www.nature.com/news/fearful-memories-haunt-mouse-descendants-1.14272

Similarly, another study tested the genetic effects of environmental conditioning by the parents in relation to fitness and memory:

  1. In Feig’s study, mice genetically engineered to have memory problems were raised in an enriched environment–given toys, exercise, and social interaction–for two weeks during adolescence. The animals’ memory improved–an unsurprising finding, given that enrichment has been previously shown to boost brain function. The mice were then returned to normal conditions, where they grew up and had offspring. This next generation of mice also had better memory, despite having the genetic defect and never having been exposed to the enriched environment. https://www.technologyreview.com/s/411880/a-comeback-for-lamarckian-evolution/

Epigenetic inheritance challenges the old paradigm of evolution and natural selection.  Personally I think it's more plausible than the previous model of evolution.  Why wouldn't organisms begin to adapt genetically in real time in response to their environment?  It seems much more logical that direct interaction with the environment would be the true driver of evolution, rather than random chance. 

Edited by Alex_Krycek

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4 minutes ago, Alex_Krycek said:

There is emerging evidence in neuroscience to suggest that genetics can be directly influenced by the environment.  That is, when an organism encounters certain environmental circumstances it's DNA begins to adapt in real time to that environmental stimulus.  In one study, subsequent generations of mice were conditioned to fear a unique and synthetic olfactory stimulus that was not found in nature. 

This is epigenetic. Nothing to do with changes to DNA.

It may help speed adaptation to changes in the environment. But that does not mean that the end result was planned.

4 minutes ago, Alex_Krycek said:

Epigenetic inheritance challenges the old paradigm of evolution and natural selection

Of course it doesn't.

4 minutes ago, Alex_Krycek said:

Personally I think it's more plausible than the previous model of evolution. 

IT IS NOT A MODEL OF EVOLUTION.

Sheesh. You really shouldn't be commenting in a thread where you know zero about the subject.

4 minutes ago, Alex_Krycek said:

It seems much more logical that direct interaction with the environment would be the true driver of evolution, rather than random chance. 

But nature doesn't work according to what you, personally, think is logical.

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, Strange said:

IT IS NOT A MODEL OF EVOLUTION.

These are the exact ideas proposed by Jean-Baptiste Lamarck.  Do you not recognize a direct contradiction with the precepts of Darwinian evolution?

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Sheesh. You really shouldn't be commenting in a thread where you know zero about the subject.

I disagree with your assumptions.  Is that intolerable to you?

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But nature doesn't work according to what you, personally, think is logical.

Why evolution happens is still speculation.  Your mental construct of what you think evolution is is subjective.  You say it occurs by random chance with no purpose.  Ok.  Prove it.

Edited by Alex_Krycek

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20 minutes ago, Alex_Krycek said:

These are the exact ideas proposed by Jean-Baptiste Lamarck.

That was a theory of evolution. It has been falsified.

Epigenetic is not a mechanism for evolution. It does not modify genes. (It may have some small effects on behaviour that indirectly affect the success or otherwise of the organism and hence, as a third order effect, have some influence over future evolution.)

22 minutes ago, Alex_Krycek said:

I disagree with your assumptions. 

You are disagreeing with science (apparently on the basis of not really understanding it).

22 minutes ago, Alex_Krycek said:

Why evolution happens is still speculation. 

We have a good theory, which has been around for well over 100 years and has a mountain of supporting evidence. The fact that you are either ignorant of the theory and the evidence, doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

24 minutes ago, Alex_Krycek said:

Your mental construct of what you think evolution is is subjective.  You say it occurs by random chance with no purpose.  Ok.  Prove it.

Giving you a beginners class in evolutionary theory is off topic for this thread. And not really the role of a science forum. I suggest you get a few good introductory books from the library (throw out a few bibles to make room). And then come back and ask some questions about the things you don't understand.

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, Strange said:

That was a theory of evolution. It has been falsified. Epigenetic is not a mechanism for evolution. It does not modify genes. (It may have some small effects on behaviour that indirectly affect the success or otherwise of the organism and hence, as a third order effect, have some influence over future evolution.)

Perhaps, but the articles I linked to raise some interesting questions.  Why would behavior be measurably affected in subsequent generations if the environmental stimulus that caused the behavior was absent?  I find that interesting.  Also:

  1. In a second study, researchers found that rats raised by stressed mothers that neglected and physically abused their offspring showed specific epigenetic modifications to their DNA.
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You are disagreeing with science (apparently on the basis of not really understanding it).

Incorrect.  I understand Darwinian evolution full well.  However, I question if there is a purpose behind it, and if the full story has been told.

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We have a good theory, which has been around for well over 100 years and has a mountain of supporting evidence. The fact that you are either ignorant of the theory and the evidence, doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

Again, incorrect.  I studied the evidence in university like everyone else.  Yes, there is a mountain of evidence that evolution occurs, of course, but little to no evidence for why it occurs.  Causation of evolution is still firmly in the realm of speculation.  You can posit that it's purely random and purposeless, but there is no proof of that.

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Giving you a beginners class in evolutionary theory is off topic for this thread. And not really the role of a science forum.

 

Unnecessary, as is your condescension.  Like everyone else I learned about the theory of Darwinian evolution.  I understand the premises being put forth, and like I said, I don't question that evolution is a fact.  However I think Darwin's theory is incomplete.  Why, and yes, in large parts, how evolution occurs is still open for exploration.  You seem to be conflating these two issues.

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I suggest you get a few good introductory books from the library (throw out a few bibles to make room). And then come back and ask some questions about the things you don't understand.

I don't read the bible, thanks.  Funny thing is, your reaction reminds me of a lot of some of the religious people I know.  They patronize, condescend, and then dismiss.  Interesting.

 

Edited by Alex_Krycek

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6 minutes ago, Alex_Krycek said:

I understand Darwinian evolution full well.

How well do you understand Copernican orbital mechanics? Or Heronic thermodynamics? 

Sorry, but it always irritates me when someone uses the early pioneering efforts in a field of study in their arguments against that field, as if theories don't improve. It's basically a strawman, since everybody else is discussing the modern mainstream theory, and not just the earliest parts you claim to have studied full well.

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42 minutes ago, Alex_Krycek said:

Perhaps, but the articles I linked to raise some interesting questions.  Why would behavior be measurably affected in subsequent generations if the environmental stimulus that caused the behavior was absent?  I find that interesting.  Also:

  1. In a second study, researchers found that rats raised by stressed mothers that neglected and physically abused their offspring showed specific epigenetic modifications to their DNA.

Look up the word "epigenetic". There is no change to the DNA sequences in the genes. There are (temporary) changes to gene expression caused by markers separate from the gene sequence. These effects do not last over more than one or two generations.

43 minutes ago, Alex_Krycek said:

I understand Darwinian evolution full well

I see no evidence of that.

44 minutes ago, Alex_Krycek said:

Again, incorrect.  I studied the evidence in university like everyone else.  Yes, there is a mountain of evidence that evolution occurs, of course, but little to no evidence for why it occurs.  Causation of evolution is still firmly in the realm of speculation. 

Clearly you have not understood the theory (which is a theory that explains how evolution occurs). And the evidence is consistent with this theory. This is not speculation, it is science. 

(Obviously, evolution occurs; that has been known for millennia.)

46 minutes ago, Alex_Krycek said:

However I think Darwin's theory is incomplete. 

Darwin's theory was incomplete. It has been massively extended (based on new evidence and an understanding of the underlying mechanisms). And, because it is a scientific theory, it is almost certainly still incomplete.

 

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1 hour ago, Alex_Krycek said:

Why, and yes, in large parts, how evolution occurs is still open for exploration. 

Like any theory, the "how" is ALWAYS open to exploration. That's the power of theory, and you should full well know that. This is what I meant earlier about really studying evolution. When you see the evidence that supports modern mainstream evolutionary theory, you begin to see that evolution can't NOT happen. Given everything we've observed (especially since Darwin), how would you stop it?

"Why" isn't in the purview of science, and you should full well know that, too. Why is a philosophy question. Two doors down on the left.

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