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Is There Another Force Besides Natural Selection?

Use this forum to discuss the philosophy of science. Philosophy of science deals with the assumptions, foundations, and implications of science.
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Felix
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Re: Is There Another Force Besides Natural Selection?

Post by Felix » September 6th, 2018, 12:01 pm

Greta: Those with less will to live survived less than those who had a strong survival urge, and the latter passed on more of their genes.
You have said nothing more than "those who survived had a will to survive" - obviously. And where was this survival urge prior to the existence of genes and genetic codes? Thinking critical's suggestion that is chemically based is nonexplanatory.
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Re: Is There Another Force Besides Natural Selection?

Post by Mark1955 » September 6th, 2018, 12:14 pm

Felix wrote:
September 5th, 2018, 1:28 am
I find it difficult to view life as a mindless mechanical process that is subject to the vagaries of random variation. I don't see why such a process would lead to a progressive evolution, I would think that it would instead produce rather static results.
If something changes the change will have an impact. Simple example, a bacteria suffers a mutation which corrupts one of the proteins it uses to metabolise sugar. Unable to generate energy from sugar this bacteria will die unless it has an alternative source of energy. If this source of energy is less efficient it will breed more slowly. In either case the non mutated bacteria will swamp the population of mutated ones. Since 95% of all mutations are detrimental this is the most likely occurrence, but in the 5% of events where the mutation is beneficial, the bacteria can metabolise sugar faster, then the mutant will replicate faster and become the dominant strain. Since mutation is always occuring, it being largely a random event, nothing is ever stable. A clear example of this happening is bacteria becoming resistant to antibiotics. It happens, we can see it happening, we kill literally billions of the little sods, but some place some time a mutation produces a resistant strain and next thing you know we're knee deep in them.
Felix wrote:
September 5th, 2018, 1:28 am
So something more than natural selection is driving it, perhaps some sort of hidden will in nature as I suggested.
The curse of the philosophy of science is that things that are hidden are generally discounted when another explanation is available. By rule we adopt the simplest explanation that fits the available evidence.
If you think you know the answer you probably don't understand the question.

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Hereandnow
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Re: Is There Another Force Besides Natural Selection?

Post by Hereandnow » September 6th, 2018, 2:34 pm

mark1955
There is no why, it just happens, although suffering is of course your view of things.
It just happens? Well, of course it does, and the rain just happens, but this doesn't mean we don't look more closely at the weather. And this spear in my side, that is not my view of things.
But anyway, look more closely at suffering and you might see that while there is no identifiable empirical "answer" to the question, you know, standing there all day screaming at the heavens yields nothing, nor does looking through telescopes and the like, the question does not therefore vanish as if you were looking for an alternative to plate tectonics theory and came up empty handed. It has a palpable presence, all of this disease, hunger, misery and the rest. This kind of thing is very different.

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Greta
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Re: Is There Another Force Besides Natural Selection?

Post by Greta » September 6th, 2018, 5:08 pm

Karpel Tunnel wrote:
September 6th, 2018, 12:57 am
Greta wrote:
September 5th, 2018, 4:58 pm
The will to live is a naturally selected trait.
I don't know if this is a response to me, but I have said this several times. But I want say again, we do not need to reduce the will to the will to survive. The will is more general and even pursuing despite obstacles goals that do not seem related to survival have effects on survival and even more so on how much one gets to procreate and the resources the spawn have.
You are suggesting that the survival instinct as a narrow part of something broader?

My impression is that the extrapolations are still the result of raw survival instinct. Instincts by definition are not reason or reasonable. You can be the most multi billionaire and still be so painfully insecure that even small criticisms are treated as existential threats.

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JamesOfSeattle
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Re: Is There Another Force Besides Natural Selection?

Post by JamesOfSeattle » September 7th, 2018, 1:52 am

I think all y’all [ I love that phrase] are abusing the concept of “will”.

Greta correctly points out that we have a number of instincts that help us survive, but these instincts do not create a “will to live”. These instincts, or desires, especially the major drives (the four F’s) are each control mechanisms that keep certain physiological traits at a certain level. The “Food” mechanism keeps our blood sugar (and probably some other things) at a certain level. Our “Fear” mechanism keeps our pain at a certain level (preferably zero). You can consider these desired levels as the goals of the instinct/desire. These and other mechanisms exist because they tend to help us survive.

Now there is another mechanism we have which helps us survive, and that is the one that allows us to generate abstract goals. And this is where “will” comes in, because along with the mechanism to create goals came the ability to focus on such goals. When we focus on one goal, the mechanism suppresses other goals, possibly including, at least to some extent, the instinctual goals. “Will” is an indication of how much of the other goals we can suppress. So a common test of will is holding your hand over a candle flame. You need to suppress the goal of avoiding pain.

And finally we come to a “will to live”. This comes about when we create “living” as an abstract goal. So a will to live is an indication of our ability to suppress other goals in order to promote that one goal. The preeminent (?) example is the guy who cut off his own arm which held him trapped after a fall while rock climbing. Now I know there are animals who have knawed off limbs to escape traps, but I doubt they had “living” as an abstract goal. Instead, I will wager they had a desire to not be trapped which competed with the desire to not have pain, and won.

*

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

Post by Burning ghost » September 7th, 2018, 2:18 am

Hereandnow wrote:
September 4th, 2018, 8:45 pm
ThomasHobbes
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.
You don't say. Tell Master Hobbes, why are we born to suffer and die?
Who says this? Because you assert something it doesn’t make it true. Better to say “If we’re born only to suffer and die then why could this possibly be so?”

To which we could come up with a multitude of speculative ideas and propositions - which could be fun - yet at base the question is an empty one.

Within limits of some field fo invstigation it makes perfect logical sense to ask about causal relations and how things work. Teleologically I am not really sure what purpose we are reaching for if asking questions about reasons for suffering and dying, rather we can down to coming to terms with these brute facts as best we can.

If we look at this as a book unread then we down ask about what the purpose is of reading the book and decide not to read it because of this. We start to read and see if we can glean something useful for ourselves and if we cannot we may not be so ready to pick up another “book”. It seems overall though that we’re always going to “read” said “book/s” so why not get to it and see what kind of interesting story we can find and even participate in.

The “book” of suffing and death gives a say to realise teh spectru within which they lie; some take the opposite of death to be life and suffering to be pleasure - not me, but whatever which way you sort through it the field of experience and understanding takes on more dimensions.

Anyway, the OP seems rather naff. Evolution is an obvious truth even if we’re far from understanding its machinations. I always fear closet Creationists lurk in threads like this

The most overwhelmingly universal pattern in nature is entropy. We’ve no idea what it is only that apparent homeostasis is like a eddy in a onward flowing river. It’s downhill all the way even if you get stuck for a while in a little whirlpool. The whirl is beautiful though right!? ;)
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Thinking critical
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Re: Is There Another Force Besides Natural Selection?

Post by Thinking critical » September 7th, 2018, 7:18 am

Felix wrote:
September 6th, 2018, 12:01 pm
Greta: Those with less will to live survived less than those who had a strong survival urge, and the latter passed on more of their genes.
You have said nothing more than "those who survived had a will to survive" - obviously. And where was this survival urge prior to the existence of genes and genetic codes? Thinking critical's suggestion that is chemically based is nonexplanatory.
The bio chemical explanation describes the process which drives living organisms to procreate such as natural pheromones e.c.t..
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 » September 7th, 2018, 7:02 pm

Thinking critical wrote:
September 7th, 2018, 7:18 am
Felix wrote:
September 6th, 2018, 12:01 pm
You have said nothing more than "those who survived had a will to survive" - obviously. And where was this survival urge prior to the existence of genes and genetic codes? Thinking critical's suggestion that is chemically based is nonexplanatory.
The bio chemical explanation describes the process which drives living organisms to procreate such as natural pheromones e.c.t..
The biochemistry certainly is critical. The survival instinct was born of chemical and physical reflexes, but has developed enough to confuse owners as to the origin of their will.

For example, avoiding danger. The 'danger sensing' of microbes stems from innate responses like that of the immune system. Since we are ourselves effectively a world of microbial colonies, you could say that the answer to this question truly lies within :)

That's why nervous systems and brains exist; when nerves and data processing emerged, they aided survival by allowing for flexible responses rather than rigid chemical reflexes. The existence of brains tells us that flexibility and adaptability are potent survival traits.

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SimpleGuy
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Re: Is There Another Force Besides Natural Selection?

Post by SimpleGuy » September 8th, 2018, 1:28 pm

Well if natural selection would be something constant. Natural selection can even select people with a superior immune system , that are as a result (of a genetic mutation) degraded in their mental capablities. A selection would simply claim some kind of utility function in a way. But how biochemistry of plants changed, due to the mass extiction of fern plants in the jurassic times of dinosaurs, even the microbiological bacterial environment changes.
Thus there can be no proclaimed plan in evolution it's stochastic and chooses over huge time scales with random choice. There is a selection but the criterions don't stay constant.

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Frewah
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Re: Is There Another Force Besides Natural Selection?

Post by Frewah » October 3rd, 2018, 4:45 pm

What comes to mind is mutation. I *think* it explains the creation of flowers. It may explain the creation of cellulose which is very neat for trees so that all the good stuff, which some dinosaurs fed on, would no longer be within reach.

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LuckyR
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Re: Is There Another Force Besides Natural Selection?

Post by LuckyR » October 3rd, 2018, 6:16 pm

I don't believe this thread has even scratched the surface of horizontal gene transfer (or lateral gene transfer)
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Mark1955
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Re: Is There Another Force Besides Natural Selection?

Post by Mark1955 » October 7th, 2018, 3:12 am

LuckyR wrote:
October 3rd, 2018, 6:16 pm
I don't believe this thread has even scratched the surface of horizontal gene transfer (or lateral gene transfer)
Lets start https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5116166/
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Burning ghost
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Re: Is There Another Force Besides Natural Selection?

Post by Burning ghost » October 7th, 2018, 3:20 am

Would it be helpful to lock this thread and start up one with a more suitable title?

Maybe something like “Our Understanding of Evolutionary Processes” or “Big Questions about Evolutionary Processes”?

Note: Just don’t want people to read the title of this thread and ignore it - the title is rather off kilter having presented “Natural Selection” as a “Force”.
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ThomasHobbes
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Re: Is There Another Force Besides Natural Selection?

Post by ThomasHobbes » October 7th, 2018, 5:25 am

Burning ghost wrote:
October 7th, 2018, 3:20 am
Would it be helpful to lock this thread and start up one with a more suitable title?

Maybe something like “Our Understanding of Evolutionary Processes” or “Big Questions about Evolutionary Processes”?

Note: Just don’t want people to read the title of this thread and ignore it - the title is rather off kilter having presented “Natural Selection” as a “Force”.
Indeed it is.

What forces NS to work is the need to survive, which is also not really a distinct force per se. And how NS works is through the "force" of death, and failure to reproduce. Were we to use the metaphor of 'force' they would have to be 'negative forces'; and such a term is contradictory.

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ThomasHobbes
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Re: Is There Another Force Besides Natural Selection?

Post by ThomasHobbes » October 7th, 2018, 5:27 am

LuckyR wrote:
October 3rd, 2018, 6:16 pm
I don't believe this thread has even scratched the surface of horizontal gene transfer (or lateral gene transfer)
Microbes are not as sexy as macro-organisms.

Locked