Is There Another Force Besides Natural Selection?

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tommarcus
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Is There Another Force Besides Natural Selection?

Post by tommarcus » August 25th, 2018, 12:19 pm

Is there another force besides natural selection which drives the development of life?

I look at animals and watch how they act based on instinct. And that instinct can usually be traced to some biological composition which would cause them to act a certain way. Hunger and eating would be a simple example.

But then I see an action for which no biological or learning appears present. A hunting dog leading a walk for which he never was taught to do. DNA transmits physical makeup but does it convey a program also? How could it?

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LuckyR
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Re: Is There Another Force Besides Natural Selection?

Post by LuckyR » August 26th, 2018, 2:35 am

A couple of things. Natural selection is not a force, it is a human description of the fact that disadvantaged individuals don't breed as effectively as advantaged individuals. Instincts are in fact what appears to be "knowledge" without learning. Or biologic learning.
"As usual... it depends."

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ThomasHobbes
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Re: Is There Another Force Besides Natural Selection?

Post by ThomasHobbes » August 26th, 2018, 7:48 am

tommarcus wrote:
August 25th, 2018, 12:19 pm
Is there another force besides natural selection which drives the development of life?
Natural Selection is not a force or cause. It is an effect. It's an effect of variation.

When you understand that you will see how no other explanation is necessary.

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ThomasHobbes
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Re: Is There Another Force Besides Natural Selection?

Post by ThomasHobbes » August 26th, 2018, 7:52 am

tommarcus wrote:
August 25th, 2018, 12:19 pm
A hunting dog leading a walk for which he never was taught to do.
Hunting dogs that do not have a tendency to do this tend to be less successful than those that do.
Animals that do not feel hunger tend to die of starvation, and fail to pass on that characteristic.

Over millions of generations traits necessary for survival tend to stick, whilst negative traits tend to diminish.

Burning ghost
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Re: Is There Another Force Besides Natural Selection?

Post by Burning ghost » August 26th, 2018, 8:38 am

Tommarcus -

We don’t know. Also I could’ve said what LuckyR said, but I’m willing to look past misuse of scientific jargon and see the gist of what you’re asking.

The benefit to look at the world objetcively allows us a broader reach for subjective suggestions. What that means over all I’ve no idea and it may be relatively pointless to mere individual humans. We have a sense of things and we act in/with/about the world as we do regardless of how we choose to frame it causally in fluid narratives or fractured pieces of some assumed whole.

One thign for sure is the theory of evolution is far from complete just as our understanding of physics is far from complete. Neither are “wrong” though, merely unrefined and workable facts of how we view this causal existence called “life.” Ideas develop and change, but they don’t do so without building upon previous foundations that have already helped explain a great deal.

At certain scales of physical reality (meaning space-time) we’re able to present incredibly accurate predictions based on rules produced to explain natural phenomenon. Some proposed “unnatural phenomenon” is to me no phenomenon at all because if it lies beyond experience (as in in no way relates to human experience no matter how far removed) then what is it we’re talking about when we emptily “propose” such a ... well, ( ) zilch!
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JamesOfSeattle
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Re: Is There Another Force Besides Natural Selection?

Post by JamesOfSeattle » August 27th, 2018, 12:55 am

In contrast to others, I think it is very apt to describe natural selection as a force, albeit with the understanding that a more detailed explanation may not contain any mention of “force”. This is analogous to the “force” of gravity. In both cases referring to “force” simply indicates the observation of a tendency for things to develop in a certain way.

So to answer the OP, there are in fact other forces which drive life. For example, the forces that cause hydrophobic molecules to clump together to avoid water is how we get the lipid bilayers that form cells and how we get chains of amino acids to to take the correct form of proteins.

Now the instinctual behaviors you mention are almost certainly explainable via natural selection, i.e., determined by evolution. Note: more and more it seems there are epigenetic (so, non-DNA) mechanisms involved in particular circumstances, but I think all that still falls under “natural selection”.

The next level at which a “force” becomes involved is at the creation of abstract goals. Such goals generate behavior that tends in a certain direction. As life shifts to artificial life, it will be the forces of such goals which will begin to dominate the direction of life.

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Felix
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Re: Is There Another Force Besides Natural Selection?

Post by Felix » August 27th, 2018, 3:23 pm

I would say that Will is the other force involved in evolution. Being a subjective impulse, it is not amenable to reductive analysis, but in fact natural selection depends on it. For example, ecological isolation is necessary to produce selective variation within species but forced geographic segregation alone cannot account for it. That is, force of will can drive organisms to seek out and adapt to new habitats, and in so doing they develop different traits and characteristics.
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Thinking critical
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Re: Is There Another Force Besides Natural Selection?

Post by Thinking critical » August 28th, 2018, 6:14 am

tommarcus wrote:
August 25th, 2018, 12:19 pm
Is there another force besides natural selection which drives the development of life?

I look at animals and watch how they act based on instinct. And that instinct can usually be traced to some biological composition which would cause them to act a certain way. Hunger and eating would be a simple example.

But then I see an action for which no biological or learning appears present. A hunting dog leading a walk for which he never was taught to do. DNA transmits physical makeup but does it convey a program also? How could it?
I guess it depends on what you mean exactly by "drives the development of life" because then you go on to talk about origin or cause of innate behaviours.

Classically, natural selection is used to describe the process which drives evolution, in other words natural selection means survival of the fittest. Is there something else that intervenes in the evolution of species? Perhaps human intervention, but certainly not a force.

In regards to innate behaviour, such as hunting instincts in dogs, these traits are predisposed as a result of the genetic blueprint of the brain (gene expression). As specific genes are passed down from one successful generation to the next, it stands to reason that the same method responsible for passing down physical traits would also account for innate mental attributes. After all the brain is just another organ with some basic bio-chemical composite as the rest of the body.
This cocky little cognitive contortionist will straighten you right out

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Greta
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Re: Is There Another Force Besides Natural Selection?

Post by Greta » August 28th, 2018, 6:43 pm

"Natural selection" refers to changes in biology over the last four billion years.

There was geological development that occurred before abiogenesis, a development that made abiogenesis possible. The Earth started out as an unstructured blob of rocks in the Sun's proto-planetary disc but over time developed the complexity in structure and form life to emerge.

That geological change is not formally referred to as "evolution". Nonetheless, "geological evolution" was obviously an earlier part of a larger process that later on included biological evolution, and now includes "technological evolution". It's all still the same process in the change from protoplanetary asteroid to a planet with intelligent technologically adept life.

If we consider our own journey from zygote to now, we too went through phases, turning points - in pregnancy, as babies, toddlers, children, teens, young adults, mature adults, older adults, elderly and geriatric. All these things are just growth and change in the universe, which occurs everywhere all the time at varying rates.

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Re: Is There Another Force Besides Natural Selection?

Post by Karpel Tunnel » August 28th, 2018, 6:56 pm

I guess contraints of given forms would affect things.

IOW having an extra arm in the middle of your face would likely lead to structural problems. The small muscles of the face working around the circumferance of the skull suddenly integrating with a jutting out limb, more or less at a right angle, the torque...off the top of my head it seems unlikely to hold. So one can class this as a part of natural selection - that such homo sapiens with face arms would be able to use their senses less well, the arm would not qwork well, etc. and this leads to selection out. But another way to put it is that GIVEN the shape and functions of current bodies some changes are much more likely to take place and be a benefit. So the given bodies determine likely good forms.

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Greta
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Re: Is There Another Force Besides Natural Selection?

Post by Greta » August 28th, 2018, 7:51 pm

As a wannabe sci-fi writer, I very much like the idea of face arms :)

They would interfere with the field of vision, so a face-limbed mutant would be perhaps less likely to survive and reproduce than peers better able to see predator and prey. The ability to feed oneself with one's arms full is not enough of an advantage to overcome the disadvantages. Every "feature" on an animal or plant comes at a cost from its energy needs, so minimalism is the order of the day, with no more features than are necessary.

This is why humans have dull senses as compared with most other mammals. Our brain is so energy hungry that, if we had also incredible senses, we'd need many more calories to live than we do now. However, there was an ice age about 60,000 years ago, which killed off a huge portion of the human species at the time, drastically reducing their numbers.

In that scenario, it's easy to imagine how the people then with lower energy needs would have an advantage. That could have resulted in sharper senses and less intelligence but instead it seems that more effective brains were more advantaged and the senses dulled. There's probably not much to sense in vast snowy fields anyway :)

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Re: Is There Another Force Besides Natural Selection?

Post by Steve3007 » August 29th, 2018, 3:41 am

Elephants seem to do ok with their face-arms.

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Greta
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Re: Is There Another Force Besides Natural Selection?

Post by Greta » August 29th, 2018, 3:52 am

Good point. I was thinking of an extra appendage, like some horrid arm protruding from the forehead. I might have been thrown by associating trunks with tentacles rather than arms. Trunks are interesting things - multi purpose limbs. I wonder if they catch colds? I'm thinking that an elephant with a stuffy trunk might find its trunk mobility and grip restricted.

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ThomasHobbes
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Re: Is There Another Force Besides Natural Selection?

Post by ThomasHobbes » August 29th, 2018, 5:26 am

JamesOfSeattle wrote:
August 27th, 2018, 12:55 am
In contrast to others, I think it is very apt to describe natural selection as a force, albeit with the understanding that a more detailed explanation may not contain any mention of “force”. This is analogous to the “force” of gravity. In both cases referring to “force” simply indicates the observation of a tendency for things to develop in a certain way.
This absurd misconception lies at the heart of one of the greatest confusions of our world.
It's no wonder that weird concepts such as ID and creationism persist when NS is so poorly conceived.

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ThomasHobbes
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Re: Is There Another Force Besides Natural Selection?

Post by ThomasHobbes » August 29th, 2018, 5:28 am

Felix wrote:
August 27th, 2018, 3:23 pm
That is, force of will can drive organisms to seek out and adapt to new habitats, and in so doing they develop different traits and characteristics.
Will is a trait arrived at by natural selection, so you only confirm that NS is at the heart of all evolution.

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