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Author Topic:   Questions on "Random" Mutations
Fosdick 
Suspended Member (Idle past 3665 days)
Posts: 1793
From: Upper Slobovia
Joined: 12-11-2006


Message 76 of 80 (411461)
07-20-2007 6:06 PM
Reply to: Message 50 by Jazzns
07-16-2007 7:50 PM


Extended phenotypes
Jazzns wrote:

Life in no way mimics the "evolution" of technology.

Dawkins, in his The Extended Phenotype, offers a good argument to the contrary. He says the evolution of technology is evidence of "the long reach of the gene," which is in every way about the evolution of human life (or almost any life). Web building is a spider's technology—a spider's extended phenotype—and it is just as much a survival advantage as any human's food-capturing invention. Cone snails and hydras shoot harpoons at their victims. Electric eels electrocute theirs. Chimps might club theirs to death. Ant lions use sand and gravity to make pitfalls to catch their victims. Is there something new and uniquely human about technological evolution?

—HM


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 Message 77 by NosyNed, posted 07-20-2007 6:36 PM Fosdick has responded

    
NosyNed
Member
Posts: 8842
From: Canada
Joined: 04-04-2003


Message 77 of 80 (411467)
07-20-2007 6:36 PM
Reply to: Message 76 by Fosdick
07-20-2007 6:06 PM


Technology Evolution
Jazzns writes:

Life in no way mimics the "evolution" of technology.

Hoot Mon writes:

Dawkins, in his The Extended Phenotype, offers a good argument to the contrary. He says the evolution of technology is evidence of "the long reach of the gene," which is in every way about the evolution of human life (or almost any life). Web building is a spider's technology—a spider's extended phenotype—and it is just as much a survival advantage as any human's food-capturing invention. Cone snails and hydras shoot harpoons at their victims. Electric eels electrocute theirs. Chimps might club theirs to death. Ant lions use sand and gravity to make pitfalls to catch their victims. Is there something new and uniquely human about technological evolution?

Dawkins is not saying anything against what Jazzns wrote. He is not talking about the evolutionary nature of the development of technology. He is using this (as it says in the quote) of the "extension" of genes into things beyond what we normally call the phenotype.

The genes we evolved for problem solving brains are, only in an indirect way, "expressed" as technology now. The technology does not reproduce with variation from within and selection from without. The changes only have the most passing of likeness to biological evolution. Jazzns is correct.

However, maybe, in this century we will see that change. Greater use of evolutionary algorithms for the design of technology might make technologies more resemble living things. If we produce designs that we don't actually understand in detail (as has already happened) and we allow those to be jumping off points for the next technology and (since we don't understand them) we make more or less random changes then technology will indeed evolve and mimic life very well indeed.

Edited by NosyNed, : spelling again

Edited by NosyNed, : and dbcodes


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 Message 76 by Fosdick, posted 07-20-2007 6:06 PM Fosdick has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 78 by Fosdick, posted 07-20-2007 7:39 PM NosyNed has responded

  
Fosdick 
Suspended Member (Idle past 3665 days)
Posts: 1793
From: Upper Slobovia
Joined: 12-11-2006


Message 78 of 80 (411476)
07-20-2007 7:39 PM
Reply to: Message 77 by NosyNed
07-20-2007 6:36 PM


Re: Technology Evolution
NosyNed wrote:

The technology does not reproduce with variation from within and selection from without.

Aah...that depends on how you define those terms.

The changes only have the most passing of likeness to biological evolution.

Nah...they're almost seamless in the Dawkinsian sense. Genes and memes are sibblings of the same mother.

—HM


This message is a reply to:
 Message 77 by NosyNed, posted 07-20-2007 6:36 PM NosyNed has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 79 by NosyNed, posted 07-20-2007 8:29 PM Fosdick has responded

    
NosyNed
Member
Posts: 8842
From: Canada
Joined: 04-04-2003


Message 79 of 80 (411480)
07-20-2007 8:29 PM
Reply to: Message 78 by Fosdick
07-20-2007 7:39 PM


Re: Technology Evolution
I simply don't see it that way. I don't know if you can explain it so I will.

The nature of the reproduction, the introduction of variations and the selection are very different in form. So I see different definitions.

The evolution of technology differs in that:
1) a variation is chosen to meet a goal and the goal comes first.
2) the variation can come from anywhere it is not constrained by what the parents have, by having to produce a step that still gives a viable intermediate. I.e., IC an be overcome in one leap without "scaffolding" or "pre-adaption".
3) there is very little "trail and error" instead of the entire selection process being trail and error.

I'm thinkin' there is more but I'm heading out. That is enough, for me, to demonstrate the large lack of similarity.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 78 by Fosdick, posted 07-20-2007 7:39 PM Fosdick has responded

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 Message 80 by Fosdick, posted 07-21-2007 10:02 AM NosyNed has not yet responded

  
Fosdick 
Suspended Member (Idle past 3665 days)
Posts: 1793
From: Upper Slobovia
Joined: 12-11-2006


Message 80 of 80 (411550)
07-21-2007 10:02 AM
Reply to: Message 79 by NosyNed
07-20-2007 8:29 PM


Re: Technology Evolution
Both biological and technological evolution are manifestations of digital communication. Both genes and memes are communicated digitally. Genes use nucleotides and codons as bits and bytes, while memes use letters and words in the same capacity. You can't have biological evolution without digitally communicated genes. And you can't have technological evolution without digitally communicated memes.

—HM


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 Message 79 by NosyNed, posted 07-20-2007 8:29 PM NosyNed has not yet responded

    
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