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  #21  
Old 18th May 2016, 05:59 PM
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Default Re: The Paradox of Evolution

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Strato said View Post
Indeed, Dan.

R. Dawkins in The Extended Phenotype, commenting on another 'expositor' on evolution (a genetic determinist) declares in him 'a wanton eagerness to misunderstand,' regarding the guy's rationalisation for helpless male philanderers.

"Evidently, for Rose, genetic determinism is determinism in the full philosophical sense of irreversible inevitability. He assumes that the existence of a gene 'for' X implies that X cannot be escaped. In the words of another critic of 'genetic determinism', Gould (1978), 'If we are programmed to be what we are, then these traits are ineluctable. We may, at best, channel them, but we cannot change them either by will, education, or culture.'"

Sorry about that mischievous digression. That conversation is back on another thread: Free Will.

Anyhow, against Rothman, attributes in organisms aren't for anything as though, since they were selected for, or more correctly, survived selection - culling, and can be recognised as successful adaptations (so far), then such evolution was driven by purpose, with an end in sight.

Evolution is ongoing.

Maybe today's male dickie bird is somewhat cognizant that his song is turning the female birdie on hormonally.

That's no substantiation of the notion that reproduction has always had separate and teleological purposiveness within evolution.
Spearchucker added this thread recently about survivor bias. I think it's closely related to the points you've just made.

http://www.atheistfoundation.org.au/...light=survivor

By only seeing survivors, or in fact the end result of many generations of survivors, we have a biased view that lends itself to seeing intentional design where there really doesn't need to be any.
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  #22  
Old 18th May 2016, 06:24 PM
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Default Re: The Paradox of Evolution

I see Dawkins refers to Gould (1978) there.

For some reason that paper is being referenced on a number of fora lately.

Might help if some of the referencers refreshed their memory of what is in that paper.
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  #23  
Old 18th May 2016, 07:49 PM
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Default Re: The Paradox of Evolution

The Big Blue Butterfly has refreshed the hell out of us on that paper.
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  #24  
Old 18th May 2016, 08:10 PM
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Default Re: The Paradox of Evolution

And an excellent refreshment it was and all.

Is a seminal paper, not specifically for its criticism of adaptationism, which was nothing new, but for its specific inclusion and interleaving of the several means of evolutionary change and its rather prescient refutation of many of the strawmen currently floating around. Third way anyone?
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  #25  
Old 18th May 2016, 11:45 PM
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Default Re: The Paradox of Evolution

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Hmmm. There is purpose and intent in evolution.
Not in evolution, but in the forms evolution creates. Humans have purpose and intent, and humans are a product of evolution, but there was no purpose or intent in the arisal of the human form.
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  #26  
Old 19th May 2016, 08:53 PM
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Default Re: The Paradox of Evolution

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Hmmm. There is purpose and intent in evolution. Purpose and intent, like any other, is an emergent property of the evolutionary process. And of course I am not just talking about the obvious ones: human beings.

In forest elephants the quality of the matriarch's leadership is crucial to the group survival. In other words her personality, intelligence and experience count for a lot. In herds with matriarch's who have been culled by poaching, the herds do far less well, because they are led by less experienced females. So for many social animals, leadership determines group fitness, and hence the average survival and fecundity of herds.

In more solitary species, the Cheetah mother's skills, personality and intelligence are crucial for cub survival.

How far down this goes in the grades of organization of animals I am not sure, but the glimmerings of personality and intelligence in fruit fly grades of organism, which may be modest, but significant enough [perhaps to contribute].

I am unsure how strong this effect is, but it is there. There is some understanding of the Baldwin effect, but I suspect it is greater than we imagine, because we have only recently learning the extent of animal intelligence and personality, and have only begun to link it to how evolution itself "behaves". For example, recent work on Corvids [crows etc] have demonstrated cognitive skills not even imagined, say 50 years ago by most biologists.

My critics on this matter have dismissed it as mere natural selection, but although emergent from NS, it is different enough in its own right [like Sexual Selection], to be considered a "special case" of NS.

Life stopped being automata sometime after the Ribozyme/RNA epoch.
It is very likely the case that the birdsong of the male causes hormones and neurotransmitters to discharge in the female. He is trying to get her entranced.

Despite the glory and the song and dance of the birds of paradise, she still chooses, critically whether the poor guy makes the grade. So, although the selfish gene applies, where the organism is a survival machine for heritable genes, replicators, to ride in, there is volition, choice and knowledge, as you say, driving individual and group survival and sexual selection.

Life happens through physics and chemistry, then becomes autonomous, self directing.

Dan Dennett discusses the evolution of evolvability.
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  #27  
Old 20th May 2016, 10:30 AM
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Default Re: The Paradox of Evolution

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Not in evolution, but in the forms evolution creates. Humans have purpose and intent, and humans are a product of evolution, but there was no purpose or intent in the arisal of the human form.
This is getting into hair-splitting territory.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but while there is no purpose or intent behind evolution, the capability for purpose and intent of the evolving organisms themselves does influence evolution.
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  #28  
Old 20th May 2016, 11:01 AM
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Default Re: The Paradox of Evolution

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142857 said View Post
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Spearthrower said View Post
Not in evolution, but in the forms evolution creates. Humans have purpose and intent, and humans are a product of evolution, but there was no purpose or intent in the arisal of the human form.
This is getting into hair-splitting territory.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but while there is no purpose or intent behind evolution, the capability for purpose and intent of the evolving organisms themselves does influence evolution.
Yes..and no.

Behaviour will of course influence selection pressures but don't necessarily supply directed pressures.

I always use Imo as an example.

Imo was a Japanese macaque on the island of Koshima.

The macaques of Koshima had their diet supplimented with sweet potatoes which were dumped next to a stream.

One day Imo decided to wash her potatoes in the stream to remove the sand. Within a short while the whole tribe was washing potatoes in the stream.

One day a few years later Imo discovered if she washed her potatoes in the sea they had a nice salty taste. Within a short while the whole tribe was washing potatoes in the sea.

Imo's behaviour has changed the behaviour of her whole troop and with it the selective pressures they are exposed to. The question is whether the new selective landscape is purposive?

I'm guessing not.

For example the troop now forages predominantly along the shore and not in the forest as before. Predatory pressures are different, field of view is different, diet is different, sun exposure is different, they climb less, their salt levels are much higher. Perhaps their parasite load is different.

These things all supply selective pressures which are different to their previous experience and potentially set them on a different path. Perhaps they now start eating shellfish and swimming a lot and ultimately end up as otters?

Was any of this purposive? Were any of these factors deliberately managed by the monkeys for some explicit purpose?

Imo was a real monkey btw and the papers reporting on her discoveries are readily available.
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  #29  
Old 20th May 2016, 11:06 AM
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Default Re: The Paradox of Evolution

Also...

The Spandrels of San Marco and the Panglossian Paradigm: A Critique of the Adaptationist Programme



...again has some relevance.
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  #30  
Old 20th May 2016, 11:25 AM
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Default Re: The Paradox of Evolution

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142857 said View Post
This is getting into hair-splitting territory.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but while there is no purpose or intent behind evolution, the capability for purpose and intent of the evolving organisms themselves does influence evolution.

I really don't think it is splitting hairs to be honest.

I think it's necessary to make it clear that there is no purpose (capital p or not) behind evolutionary forces.

The stuff that gets retained works now, has an immediate benefit, not for some desired outcome.

This is where the only meaningful distinction between natural and artificial selection lies. We can purposively select traits that are not immediate to the environment, and we provide the selection benefit of that gene via a breeding environment.

Can other species? I don't know. Certainly other species, even those with very limited mental capabilities, can craft environments that induce selection in other species, but there's no apparent purpose there, rather a byproduct of selected behaviors results in a different environmental pressure.

Perhaps human society has created such an environment where certain behaviors offer a selection benefit, but can even that be said to be purposive?

To me, there needs to be a distinction between behaviors that are good right now, and behaviors that would benefit a future scenario. Only the latter could be said to be purposive, the former can simply be explained by genetically crafted behavior.

Last edited by Spearthrower; 20th May 2016 at 11:27 AM.
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