(split) Atheism and acceptance of science

Discussion in 'General Science & Technology' started by S.A.M., Jul 10, 2009.

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  1. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    survival of the fittest what? The fittest organism? The fittest group? The fittest species? The answer: the fittest genes.


    But thats not correct, genes with higher fitness become more common. There is no winner.
    And unless you're ignoring the fact that there is individual variation through several mechanisms including crossover in sexual reproduction, there are no copies.

    And natural selection does not work at the level of the gene. Stephen Hawkings intelligence "gene" if there is one, is pretty useless in the face of the fact that they come prepackaged with crippling disease. How many women you think wanna have his babies?
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2009
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  3. wesmorris Nerd Overlord - we(s):1 of N Valued Senior Member

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    lol.

    the phrase "toying with her prey" comes to mind for some reason. hmmmm.

    pardon.
     
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  5. Dub_ Strange loop Registered Senior Member

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    What the hell? That's exactly what I'm saying! That's natural selection operating on genes in a nutshell.

    Nonsense. Crossing over only affects how genes get allocated. Crossing over is not equivalent to gene mutation. There are copies of genes. Most genetic material is copied without mutating.

    For one, the example you offered has nothing to do with natural selection at the gene level. Second, there are clearly separate genes at work in this case. Hawkins is not physically paralyzed by his massive intellect. Beneficial genes can be and are grouped with detrimental genes all the time. It happens, and the theory predicts it. Dawkins uses a clever metaphor of a team of oarsmen in his book to illustrate this point. Dust off your copy (if indeed you have one) and read it.

    And to answer your final question: I would bet on a lot.
     
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  7. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    So which oarsman is going to save Prof Hawkings fit genes?

    :facepalm:
     
  8. Dub_ Strange loop Registered Senior Member

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    No one says they have to be saved at all. If a beneficial gene gets grouped with a detrimental gene, well, shit happens. Too bad. Presumably the beneficial gene was not the only one of its kind in the gene pool -- but even if it was, that's also just too bad. You're once again displaying your ignorance of the theory's substance.

    But to run with the example, I would say that his stunning genius and impressive material wealth make him a very attractive mate in spite of his disease.

    Feel free to show that I'm wrong.
     
  9. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    So you just proved all by yourself, that the fittest gene may not always survive,

    Congratulations.

    Ceteris Paribus
     
  10. Dub_ Strange loop Registered Senior Member

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    Your ignorance is stunning. The theory does not predict that the fittest gene will always survive. It predicts that the fittest genes have a higher probability of surviving and propagating, and thus over huge stretches of time they tend to dominate the gene pool. Is this really the root of your objections? This is incredibly basic.
     
  11. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    And you just proved that this is only true as a collective. Not as an individual gene.

    In my opinion, if your proposition is empirically falsified, you just provided evidence against it.
     
  12. CharonZ Registered Senior Member

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    Of course genes are not transmitted individually but by the organism. The question is, from the viewpoint of the gene, does its influence increase the overall chance of the organism to procreate (and hence increase the prevalence of the gene in the gene pool)? The selfish gene theory just stresses the fact that fitness is not tied to the survival of an organism, but rather the survival of its genes.

    It also does not make particular sense to view the fitness of the individual gene, but only in context of the organism in question. The given examples (especially with regards to Hawking, who apparently is the prime target for bad examples lately) are thus extremely poor.
     
  13. Dub_ Strange loop Registered Senior Member

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    How the hell do you think natural selection works? It operates on collectives! In this case, it works on the collective of individual genes. It would make no sense at all for natural selection to operate on a single entity -- there would be no pool of alternatives from which to select!

    To rephrase what I said earlier, it answers the question: survival of the fittest what? The fittest organisms (within the collective of organisms)? The fittest groups (within the collective of groups)? The fittest species (within the collective of species)? The answer: The fittest genes (within the collective of genes). I had assumed to this to be understood all along, since the alternative makes no sense whatsoever, but apparently I must spell everything out in simplified English.
     
  14. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    That is the worst ceteris paribus dodge I have ever seen.

    A herd of individual elephants! A culture of individual bacteria! A swarm of individual bees!

    :roflmao:

    Gnite

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  15. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

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    At least one, which is all it takes. Hawking's penis still works, and his brain works. However, that is beside the point. Hawking may share a gene for intelligence with his relatives. If the gene is truly beneficial to the organism, it's copies will become more numerous in spite of the few times it may occur in conjunction with genes that are not beneficial. If Hawking's gene for intelligence always occurs with the paralyzing gene, then that gene will become less numerous in the gene pool (at least historically- modern medicine may change the prospects of people with this disease). Genes are not strictly speaking individual units, they can be sets of units, parts of which are shared with other genes.
     
  16. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    Hi Charon, I just refreshed and saw you online.

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    So when a species goes extinct, its the genes that have not survived? Or the organism?


    Yeah, its a rather redundant definition, I have issues with that too. How many parts? Working units of DNA is fine, but we're no longer of the opinion that the non-working parts are as redundant as previously believed. Or that there are not distant effects from local processes.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2009
  17. Dub_ Strange loop Registered Senior Member

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    :facepalm:

    Should it be a herd of groups of elephants? A culture of aggregates of bacteria? A swarm of couples of bees? What do you think collectives are comprised of?
     
  18. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    No, it doesn't. It doesn't care how the copy gets into the progeny - any mechansim, from direct bequeathment of the parental genome entire to third party copy and reconstruction, is just fine.
    I predicted trouble from that odd qualification, "direct".

    The theory doesn't care how "direct" the linkage is.
    ? No. Hence nothing. You are ascribing great significance to mechanistic circumstance.
    More common = winner, quite often. It's one of the strongest predictors. When the major selection events show up, the most common are the most likely to make it simply by luck - they have an advantage.
    Lots of biological individuals at all levels survive by being good little herd, pack, school, team, hive, body, organ, etc, members. Some even reproduce - as individuals. As he has pointed out, another title for Dawkins's book could have been "The Cooperative Gene".
    Some of its genes - the unique ones - die off with the species (and all the organisms in it). Others, more fit in this sense, live on in other species.
     
  19. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

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    ? Of course there is. Within each "round" of selection (or a set of several rounds) those genes that become more common are indeed 'winners'. What are you on about here? If you want to say that there are not winners because the process is ongoing: again, of course. When natural selection takes a holiday, then the process will naturally end. But each "winner" experiences a trend of increase and eventual possible fixation.

    There certainly are. Look, I'm all for the partial disruption of the old Fisherian dogma (and am publishing some papers on one possible mechanism), but you can't deny that a coefficient of fitness or phenotypic differentiation translates into at least a partial trend in selection advantage. In a flat or nearly flat environmental phase space, I would expect that even scalar differences in gene function would translate into major selective advantage. It's no different than gaining power in linear analysis from replication among different environments with no crossover of phenotypic means.

    Sure it works at the level of the gene. Severely disadvantaged genes will be selected against, naturally, but crossover events serve to break up linkage disequilibrium where it exists.
     
  20. noodler Banned Banned

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    I detect a possible lack of understanding of certain statistical theories.

    Can we discuss the stochastic nature of evolution, with genes as "simple structures", even when they are not? Sure we can; just select a gene or two and watch it get all stochastic (but not in isolation).

    Let's start with something that all organisms have a copy of, a cytochrome...?

    p.s. perhaps asking questions isn't the way to get into the discussion; maybe I need to post something "controversial" as if I believe it wholeheartedly? Say something like: "Proteomics is actually the internal gene-altering process; an individual alters genes proteomically before passing them on, inherited genetic material is never a close or exact copy, it depends on how much proteomic variation occurs during sexual maturation. Different [classes of, and individual] organisms vary genetic material per lifetime, at different rates".

    Howzat..
     
  21. CharonZ Registered Senior Member

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    Please, do not use "proteomics" in such a context. It makes my eyes bleed. Proteomics is an analytical field dealing with the analysis of proteomes.

    This is a bit of an erroneous distinction. However in a simplified way one can say "both".
     
  22. noodler Banned Banned

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    Proteomics is supposedly distinct from genomics, as a discipline. Except it isn't a separate mechanism; proteins alter genes, this is well-known.

    Until recently it was believed that genetic material (sexually transmitted, say) was "immune" to proteomic alteration/variation. There is evidence that this will need revising - organisms mutate their genes before passing them on; reproduction at time t1, will have a slightly different genetic inheritability than at time t2 because the inherited material will have been (proteomically and genomically) varied. The fixed inheritance model is out of date.

    That means, organisms can pass on "uninherited" variations. Evolution includes changes in an organism's genome during its reproductive life.
     
  23. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    Because a species has genes that are unique to the species? If we are containing ourself to the level of the gene alone, why does the packaging as a genome bear context? And if we are at the level of the species, why not the organism?

    For whom? The particular genes? Or the organism? How would you estimate the trend in selection advantage? What would be your target of interest?
     
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