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Author Topic:   An accurate analogy of Evolution by Natural selection
slevesque
Member (Idle past 2589 days)
Posts: 1456
Joined: 05-14-2009


Message 1 of 49 (511756)
06-11-2009 5:02 PM


I've been thinking about this for quite some time, what would be a correct analogy of Neo-Darwinian Evolution (Mutations+natural selection) ?

Its seems you always see the same analogies in creationist litterature: Tornado in your backyard would produce a boeing 747, mistakes in a blueprint of a house, etc.

I know Berlinski had an interesting analogy in his Don Quichote 'origins of all novels', which although very different, still doesn't represent evolution and natural selection perfectly.

There is also Sanford's analogy (in Genetic entropy) of an instruction manual to build wagon's, with blind robots etc. That was one of the most accurate I've seen since natural selection acts on the phenotype, not the genotype, etc.

So I thought it would be great to see what analogy you could come up with that would represent the most accurately evolution.

I'll give it a shot, I know it isn't complete, but here's mine:

___________________________________________________________________

I videotape my friends wedding on DVD. So I have one original of the event, and I decide to copy one hundred copies of it. I then watch all the copies and pick out the best one out of them all, and throw away all the other copies.

I then take this copy, and copy it again a hundred times. Once again, out of all these copies of the copy, I pick out the best one and throw out all the others.

At the end of my very exhausting day, having repeated this manoeuvre over a thousand times, I realize that the quality of video that I have is no longer the same as the original, but it is in fact much ____ (worse, better ?)

____________________________________________________________________

Now obviously, this is not a very 'natural' selection. It is truncation selection which doesn't happen in nature.

The fertility rate is also very high, at 99% (which can happen in the case of plants). Also, the poucentage of people available for selection is one hundred percent, which, once again, does not happen in nature.

My example would also represent a static environment. This can happen in nature, and is in fact the reason invoked to explain animals alive today that are the same as their fossil ancestors.

Any comments on how to upgrade my analogy is appreciated (although I want to keep it as simple as possible). If you have any analogy of your own, please post it here.


Replies to this message:
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AdminNosy
Administrator
Posts: 4754
From: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Joined: 11-11-2003


Message 2 of 49 (511759)
06-11-2009 5:33 PM


Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.
  
Dr Jack
Member (Idle past 53 days)
Posts: 3507
From: Leicester, England
Joined: 07-14-2003


Message 3 of 49 (511762)
06-11-2009 5:42 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by slevesque
06-11-2009 5:02 PM


There's a fundamental flaw in your analogy; in tape copying the best end point is defined as the starting point.
This message is a reply to:
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Nuggin
Member (Idle past 441 days)
Posts: 2965
From: Los Angeles, CA USA
Joined: 08-09-2005


Message 4 of 49 (511773)
06-11-2009 7:45 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by slevesque
06-11-2009 5:02 PM


Better Analogy
Here's a better one -

Chain Letters.

Now, with the age of email and fax machines, this no longer occurs however...

Waaay back in the day when chain letters were all the rage, people would have to literally retype them.

When that happened, small changes would occur.

From time to time embelishments on the story, or a typo in the name in one of the "one man didn't copy the letter and..." stories.

There have been studies where people have collected various versions of a chain letter and, through evaluating these "mutations" were able to trace it back and show the branches in its evolution.

Now, the problem with this analogy is that it's not something people are familiar with in their day to day life.

However, the advantage is...
http://www.silcom.com/~barnowl/chain-letter/evolution.html

You can send them to look at the info


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Stagamancer
Member (Idle past 2864 days)
Posts: 174
From: Oregon
Joined: 12-28-2008


Message 5 of 49 (511776)
06-11-2009 7:58 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by Nuggin
06-11-2009 7:45 PM


Re: Better Analogy
Now, the problem with this analogy is that it's not something people are familiar with in their day to day life.

Another problem is there's nothing analogous to natural selection in this analogy. It only really touches on mutations and increasing diversity.


We have many intuitions in our life and the point is that many of these intuitions are wrong. The question is, are we going to test those intuitions?
-Dan Ariely
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Nuggin
Member (Idle past 441 days)
Posts: 2965
From: Los Angeles, CA USA
Joined: 08-09-2005


Message 6 of 49 (511778)
06-11-2009 8:28 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by Stagamancer
06-11-2009 7:58 PM


Re: Better Analogy
Another problem is there's nothing analogous to natural selection in this analogy. It only really touches on mutations and increasing diversity.

Not true. Better letters are more likely to get read, copied and resent while letters which are less influential are more likely to end up in the trash.


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Dr Adequate
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Posts: 16052
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 3.3


Message 7 of 49 (511815)
06-12-2009 3:49 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by slevesque
06-11-2009 5:02 PM


I've been thinking about this for quite some time, what would be a correct analogy of Neo-Darwinian Evolution (Mutations+natural selection) ?

There's no exact analogy --- obviously the only thing that's completely like evolution is more evolution.

Your videotape analogy, besides using artificial selection, has the disadvantage that there is no room in it for the sort of beneficial mutations that we observe in nature. I can't see how the process you propose could lead to anything other than degradation of the image.


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Dr Jack
Member (Idle past 53 days)
Posts: 3507
From: Leicester, England
Joined: 07-14-2003


Message 8 of 49 (511816)
06-12-2009 4:16 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by slevesque
06-11-2009 5:02 PM


Darwin: the original and the best
It occurs to me that the best analogy remains the one that Darwin himself used: domestication and artificial selection.

Edited by Mr Jack, : Added subtitle


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slevesque
Member (Idle past 2589 days)
Posts: 1456
Joined: 05-14-2009


Message 9 of 49 (511954)
06-13-2009 12:51 AM
Reply to: Message 3 by Dr Jack
06-11-2009 5:42 PM


There's a fundamental flaw in your analogy; in tape copying the best end point is defined as the starting point.

The end point could be better then the starting point I would think. I mean, the quality, definition etc. of the image could be better at the end than at the beginning.

Sort of like going from a DVD quality image to an HD quality image. (I'm referring only to image quality, not necessarily all the technology behind it of course)

So I don't think the starting point in my analogy is the best it could be, it still could go up or down.

Edited by slevesque, : No reason given.


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slevesque
Member (Idle past 2589 days)
Posts: 1456
Joined: 05-14-2009


Message 10 of 49 (511958)
06-13-2009 12:59 AM
Reply to: Message 7 by Dr Adequate
06-12-2009 3:49 AM


Your videotape analogy, besides using artificial selection

Well it represents a truncation selection, which is much more efficient than natural selection.

has the disadvantage that there is no room in it for the sort of beneficial mutations that we observe in nature. I can't see how the process you propose could lead to anything other than degradation of the image.

As I've said in the previous reply, the initial image quality isn't the best it could be, so it does leave room for beneficial errors.


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Coyote
Member (Idle past 55 days)
Posts: 6117
Joined: 01-12-2008


Message 11 of 49 (511961)
06-13-2009 1:12 AM
Reply to: Message 9 by slevesque
06-13-2009 12:51 AM


Analogy -- not!
There's a fundamental flaw in your analogy; in tape copying the best end point is defined as the starting point.

The end point could be better then the starting point I would think. I mean, the quality, definition etc. of the image could be better at the end than at the beginning.

Sort of like going from a DVD quality image to an HD quality image. (I'm referring only to image quality, not necessarily all the technology behind it of course)

So I don't think the starting point in my analogy is the best it could be, it still could go up or down.

If you're going to do an analogy, at least get one which reflects the reality you're trying to model.

Going from a DVD image to an HD image is not even close. There is no feedback mechanism!

With evolution, beneficial mutations are retained and spread through the population, while deleterious mutations are flushed from the population. There is a very active feedback mechanism at work.

There is no such mechanism in copying a DVD, or in any analogy involving non-living things.


Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.
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slevesque
Member (Idle past 2589 days)
Posts: 1456
Joined: 05-14-2009


Message 12 of 49 (511963)
06-13-2009 1:21 AM
Reply to: Message 11 by Coyote
06-13-2009 1:12 AM


Re: Analogy -- not!
In my analogy, I would think there is a feedback mechanism (If I understand correctly what you mean by this), since I copy the video 100 times, and then make a selection of the best video at of them all to copy again 100 hundred times, etc.
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Coyote
Member (Idle past 55 days)
Posts: 6117
Joined: 01-12-2008


Message 13 of 49 (511968)
06-13-2009 1:41 AM
Reply to: Message 12 by slevesque
06-13-2009 1:21 AM


Re: Analogy -- not!
In my analogy, I would think there is a feedback mechanism (If I understand correctly what you mean by this), since I copy the video 100 times, and then make a selection of the best video at of them all to copy again 100 hundred times, etc.

I disagree that your analogy has any relation to evolution through natural selection and other mechanisms.

Your "100 videos" simply have no relation to descent with modification and natural selection.

To be closer, you would have to run millions of copies and then keep all videos which appeared better while discarding all videos which appeared worse. Rinse and repeat.


Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.
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slevesque
Member (Idle past 2589 days)
Posts: 1456
Joined: 05-14-2009


Message 14 of 49 (511972)
06-13-2009 2:06 AM
Reply to: Message 13 by Coyote
06-13-2009 1:41 AM


Re: Analogy -- not!
Your "100 videos" simply have no relation to descent with modification and natural selection.

Well, each copied video is different from the previous one (modification) and I select the best one out of them (selection). So it must have some relation to an extent.

To be closer, you would have to run millions of copies and then keep all videos which appeared better while discarding all videos which appeared worse. Rinse and repeat

Are you saing that in nature, natural selection keeps all the better phenotypes, and flushes out all the bad phenotypes in a population, every generation ?

Also, I took 100 copies because it is the fertility rate of plants, where evolution is advantageous because if a plant has 100 offsprings, you can discard 99 and still maintain population size. Of course I can decide to keep 2 copies each generation, instead of 1, but then it would represent a growing population size.

Saying that I would need to do millions of copies is analogous to saying that a specie has individuals that could have millions of offsprings. I don't know if any species has this fertility rate (maybe in the insects like ants ... even then millions seems like a lot)

Of course my analogy was representing a population size of 1 individual (for simplification). If I wanted to represent a population size of, let's say, 1000 in my example, then I would have to take 1000 original videos of the same event (from the same viewpoint, as a camera who could record on multiple films at a time). Then I would make 100 copies of each video (meaning a total of 100 000 new individuals per generation) and flushing 99 000 each time, meaning 1000 get to 'reproduce' as to keep the population size stable.

Obviously, representing sexual recombination would be more difficult. Perhaps make 500 pairs of videos, and then combining the images (they are all from the same viewpoint)? hhmmmm ... I don't think this would represent it well enough, thus why I didn't include sexual recombination in my original analogy.


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Theodoric
Member
Posts: 5777
From: Northwest, WI, USA
Joined: 08-15-2005


Message 15 of 49 (511974)
06-13-2009 2:20 AM
Reply to: Message 14 by slevesque
06-13-2009 2:06 AM


Re: Analogy -- not!
Why do have such a need for an analogy? You will never find a close analogy. Do you even understand what evolution is? There is no entity picking out the best. What is the criteria for the best in evolution? That which survives, I guess. Your analogy has a predetermined idea of what is best. Sometimes the most different form the previous generation will be more prone to survive. There are so many issues with your analogy it is tough to decide where to start, so I won't bother.

It seems to me that you want to have this analogy accepted so that you can make the point that as generations go forward quality goes down. Therefore,you will claim, there is some sort of law of thermodynamics thing that things resort to to chaos. You are very transparent. No one has agreed with you that this is a good analogy. No matter how many times you adjust it or claim it it is, it wont get better.

The analogy sucks. Your premise sucks. Why don't you just get to you point. Tell us what you think the outcome of your analogy would be.


Facts don't lie or have an agenda. Facts are just facts
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