Register | Sign In


Understanding through Discussion


EvC Forum active members: 50 (9179 total)
3 online now:
Newest Member: Jorge Parker
Post Volume: Total: 918,208 Year: 5,465/9,624 Month: 490/323 Week: 130/204 Day: 4/26 Hour: 0/0


Thread  Details

Email This Thread
Newer Topic | Older Topic
  
Author Topic:   Diversification: Random Walk or Biological Determinism?
Fosdick 
Suspended Member (Idle past 5613 days)
Posts: 1793
From: Upper Slobovia
Joined: 12-11-2006


Message 1 of 35 (488516)
11-12-2008 12:43 PM


It is easy enough for us to see that biological evolution will lead eventually to biological diversification. The most dramatic suggestion of this is the trend of diversification following the Permian Extinction:
Some would say, however, that there is no trend toward diversification. Instead, it’s only the mirage of a staggering drunk. Is biological diversification merely the result of the random-walk phenomenon? Or is there something meta-evolutionary about it? Does nature allow for any such determinism as this to foster some undiscovered holist principle?
I take notice of the evidence of natural diversification in non-living things as well, like rocks. There are several species of quartz, you know, that have accrued over time. So maybe nature allows for deterministic diversification in all of her domains.
Or maybe not? Any thoughts?
(Biological Evolution please?)
”FTF

I can see Lower Slobovia from my house.

Replies to this message:
 Message 3 by StevenFire, posted 11-12-2008 2:34 PM Fosdick has replied
 Message 16 by AnswersInGenitals, posted 11-15-2008 8:16 PM Fosdick has replied

  
Fosdick 
Suspended Member (Idle past 5613 days)
Posts: 1793
From: Upper Slobovia
Joined: 12-11-2006


Message 4 of 35 (488542)
11-12-2008 7:32 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by StevenFire
11-12-2008 2:34 PM


Steven, I'll take what you say to mean that you think there are meta-Darwinian forces at work to spread the biological news around.
”FTF

I can see Lower Slobovia from my house.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 3 by StevenFire, posted 11-12-2008 2:34 PM StevenFire has not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 5 by RAZD, posted 11-12-2008 7:56 PM Fosdick has replied

  
Fosdick 
Suspended Member (Idle past 5613 days)
Posts: 1793
From: Upper Slobovia
Joined: 12-11-2006


Message 6 of 35 (488546)
11-12-2008 8:18 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by RAZD
11-12-2008 7:56 PM


Re: random diversity
Thanks for joining in, RAZD.
RAZD writes:
Actually I think is it an emergent property of random events...
That's really the core question of this issue: Is diversification, in and of itself, an emergent property? If so it would seem that such an emergent property could exert pressure on a large biological system, which might be measured over the long term on planet Earth as three families of marine life per one million years (see graph in Message 1).
”FTF

I can see Lower Slobovia from my house.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 5 by RAZD, posted 11-12-2008 7:56 PM RAZD has seen this message but not replied

  
Fosdick 
Suspended Member (Idle past 5613 days)
Posts: 1793
From: Upper Slobovia
Joined: 12-11-2006


Message 10 of 35 (488593)
11-13-2008 11:52 AM
Reply to: Message 9 by RAZD
11-12-2008 11:17 PM


Re: Real effect
RAZD writes:
How do you measure diversity? by arbitrary categories. If one "lumps" you get more diversity than if one "splits". In one sense all we have is one form of life: DNA life. All the rest of it is just packaging for how the DNA gets around and reproduces.
In other words, I think increasing diversity is the usual consequence of evolutionary processes.
So is stasis, with the difference between diversity and stasis being random situations or events that divide populations.
Is said same diversification a consequence or an emergent property? I like Nosy's "consequence," because diversification happens after evolution occurs, if the environment is adaquently diverse. But, then again, water happens after the oxidation of hydrogen in a certain tempearure range, and it is considered by some chemists and physicists as an emergent property.
”FTF

I can see Lower Slobovia from my house.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 9 by RAZD, posted 11-12-2008 11:17 PM RAZD has seen this message but not replied

  
Fosdick 
Suspended Member (Idle past 5613 days)
Posts: 1793
From: Upper Slobovia
Joined: 12-11-2006


Message 15 of 35 (488709)
11-15-2008 12:14 PM
Reply to: Message 13 by Percy
11-14-2008 8:35 AM


Re: Real effect
Percy writes:
Complexity is usually measured as a function of the number of elements in a system and the number of relationships between those elements.
Percy,
That's probably an acceptable definition for complexity, but it reflects more on the mechanical aspects of the system. If I were to use the term "complexity" in describing a system from information theory's standpoint, I would want to address the "uncertainty" about the system. Complexity, then, becomes a measure of the system's "entropy". In Shannon's theory, "conditional entropy" S (i.e., complexity) is shown as:
S = D ” I,
where D is the systems "diversity" and I is the systems "average mutual information." (I'd show the equations, but it takes a little trouble”best to consult an information theory textbook or website).
I offer this only as an alternative to the mechanical notion of complexity.
”FTF

I can see Lower Slobovia from my house.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 13 by Percy, posted 11-14-2008 8:35 AM Percy has not replied

  
Fosdick 
Suspended Member (Idle past 5613 days)
Posts: 1793
From: Upper Slobovia
Joined: 12-11-2006


Message 18 of 35 (488743)
11-16-2008 11:20 AM
Reply to: Message 16 by AnswersInGenitals
11-15-2008 8:16 PM


Re: Reducto ad Diversito.
AI writes:
Notice that this process favors species with the most intraspecies variability and thus with the built-in mechanisms to effect such variability, i. e., diversity breeds diversity. It is therefore not surprising that major extinction events are followed by major diversity events, an "explosion" of species radiation. We also notice that there is no need to talk about mysterious (mystical?) Emergent Properties - it is all due to simple, basic easily understood processes that are amenable to a reductionist analysis.
Why do you assume that all emergent properties are either mysterious or mystical? Isn't biological life an emergent property of abiotic nature? How did the genes get here if not by way of an emergent property of chemical systems? How did the eukaryotes evolve if not by way of an emergent property of prokaryotes? How did symbolic language arise if not as an emergent property of humans?
And the bottom-line question is: Does diversification happen randomly or deterministically? To this question you have answered: "diversity breeds diversity." So, why is that true for biological structures like organisms and not true for physical structures like rocks. I've never seen a population of stones diversify into an interstate highway without human intervention. That happens because of human determinism. Therefore, I would argue that "diversity breeds diversity" is evidence of biological determinism.
I get impression that you think biological life emerged on planet Earth by way of reducto ad diversito.
”FTF

I can see Lower Slobovia from my house.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 16 by AnswersInGenitals, posted 11-15-2008 8:16 PM AnswersInGenitals has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 19 by AnswersInGenitals, posted 11-16-2008 6:45 PM Fosdick has replied

  
Fosdick 
Suspended Member (Idle past 5613 days)
Posts: 1793
From: Upper Slobovia
Joined: 12-11-2006


Message 21 of 35 (488756)
11-16-2008 7:43 PM
Reply to: Message 19 by AnswersInGenitals
11-16-2008 6:45 PM


Re: An ab initio Reducto ad Diversito.
AIG writes:
I really don't think that we are disagreeing about anything, just reacting to different definitions of "emergent property". I had interpreted RADZ's use of the term (and also the direction that StevenFire seems to be going) as being the use that has emerged amongst chaos theorists (such as Stewart Kaufman), i. e., that as a system becomes more complex, certain traits and behaviors emerge that cannot be explained by the basic properties and components of the less complex system...
Yes, I can agree with that, more or less. We're talking about the same meaning of "emergent property," I think.
I believe you are using the term in the common colloquial sense of convenient or simplified terms to summarize complex systems or behavior.
Well, just how does your understanding of EP differ from mine? You mentioned Stewart Kauffman in support of your argument. Was he speaking in the colloquial sense when he said (in At Home In The Universe, 1995, p. 45)?:
quote:
There are compelling reasons to believe that whenever a collection of chemicals contains enough different kinds of molecules, a metabolism will crystalize from the broth. If this argument is correct, metabolic networks need not be built one component at a time; they can spring full-grown from a primordial soup. Order for free, I call it. If I am right, the motto of life is not We the improbably, but We the expected.
To me, Kauffan's statment is one place you can go to find mystery and mysticism. (I'd never say anything as reckless as that, and I've been known to say reckless things.)
Since I seem to be in an argumentative mood, I will point out that if you were to look long enough, you would see your population of stones diversify into pebbles, gravel, sand, and dust through the processes of erosion and weathering. But such unlimited generalization of the term would just be, I think, spreading too little butter over too much toast.
Is biological diversification like erosion? If so, then it would be a random walk. If not, it would have to be either fundamentally deterministic or an emergent property, or both.
”FTF
Edited by Fosdick The Fearless, : tidy, tidy

I can see Lower Slobovia from my house.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 19 by AnswersInGenitals, posted 11-16-2008 6:45 PM AnswersInGenitals has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 22 by straightree, posted 11-17-2008 3:29 PM Fosdick has replied
 Message 23 by AnswersInGenitals, posted 11-17-2008 4:14 PM Fosdick has replied
 Message 24 by Brad McFall, posted 11-17-2008 5:39 PM Fosdick has not replied

  
Fosdick 
Suspended Member (Idle past 5613 days)
Posts: 1793
From: Upper Slobovia
Joined: 12-11-2006


Message 26 of 35 (488805)
11-17-2008 7:47 PM
Reply to: Message 22 by straightree
11-17-2008 3:29 PM


Re: An ab initio Reducto ad Diversito.
straightree writes:
It could seem that erosion is just the destruction of rocks, but, at least in planet earth, it has been the starting point for soil building, that produced forests, and arable earth. So seen in that way, maybe it could be considered as rather deterministic.
I think this is fundamental to the Gaiaist philosophy.
”FTF

I can see Lower Slobovia from my house.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 22 by straightree, posted 11-17-2008 3:29 PM straightree has not replied

  
Fosdick 
Suspended Member (Idle past 5613 days)
Posts: 1793
From: Upper Slobovia
Joined: 12-11-2006


Message 27 of 35 (488807)
11-17-2008 8:10 PM
Reply to: Message 23 by AnswersInGenitals
11-17-2008 4:14 PM


Re: An ab initio Reducto ad Diversito.
AIG writes:
You are making the mistake so commonly found in creationist diatribes: If something is partly random, then it must be completely random. They accept the randomness of mutations but ignore the deterministic aspect of natural selection.
Ah, I didn't know there was one”the orange one. If natural selection is deterministic then you are saying that a population is predisposed one way or another to "differential reproductive success amongst individuals across the population" (E. O. Wilson et al.) THAT is all that NS really is. It's not some Selector who is out to pick His favorites. Perhaps you are a closet Creatin (just kidding).
Yes, erosion has a random component, but it also has a deterministic component due to the environment in which the erosion occurs.
But that is not really what determinism is. What you are speaking of is only mechanical, like a river carving out a gorge. The river has no determinism to do that, and neither does gravity.
”FTF

I can see Lower Slobovia from my house.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 23 by AnswersInGenitals, posted 11-17-2008 4:14 PM AnswersInGenitals has not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 28 by New Cat's Eye, posted 11-17-2008 9:58 PM Fosdick has replied
 Message 29 by RAZD, posted 11-17-2008 11:15 PM Fosdick has replied

  
Fosdick 
Suspended Member (Idle past 5613 days)
Posts: 1793
From: Upper Slobovia
Joined: 12-11-2006


Message 30 of 35 (488832)
11-18-2008 10:44 AM
Reply to: Message 29 by RAZD
11-17-2008 11:15 PM


Re: back up the creek
RAZD writes:
FTF writes:
What you are speaking of is only mechanical, like a river carving out a gorge. The river has no determinism to do that, and neither does gravity.
So is the gorge an emergent property of water flow and the random actions of erosion?
A very good question. I've heard people out here speak of the Columbia River gorge as the work of God, which might qualify it as an emergent property. That would be a act of Divine Hydraulics. But I personally don't think so. Mechanical things like that don't need to be glorified. When a rock falls to ground and leaves a divot, I don't think that divot is an EP.
”FTF

I can see Lower Slobovia from my house.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 29 by RAZD, posted 11-17-2008 11:15 PM RAZD has seen this message but not replied

  
Fosdick 
Suspended Member (Idle past 5613 days)
Posts: 1793
From: Upper Slobovia
Joined: 12-11-2006


Message 31 of 35 (488833)
11-18-2008 10:48 AM
Reply to: Message 28 by New Cat's Eye
11-17-2008 9:58 PM


Re: An ab initio Reducto ad Diversito.
So, CS, should I put you down as one who thinks biological diversification is a random walk?
”FTF

I can see Lower Slobovia from my house.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 28 by New Cat's Eye, posted 11-17-2008 9:58 PM New Cat's Eye has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 32 by New Cat's Eye, posted 11-18-2008 12:25 PM Fosdick has replied

  
Fosdick 
Suspended Member (Idle past 5613 days)
Posts: 1793
From: Upper Slobovia
Joined: 12-11-2006


Message 33 of 35 (488842)
11-18-2008 1:17 PM
Reply to: Message 32 by New Cat's Eye
11-18-2008 12:25 PM


Re: An ab initio Reducto ad Diversito.
Works for me. It's all in the attitude: I win when I win and I win when I fall.
”FTF

I can see Lower Slobovia from my house.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 32 by New Cat's Eye, posted 11-18-2008 12:25 PM New Cat's Eye has not replied

  
Fosdick 
Suspended Member (Idle past 5613 days)
Posts: 1793
From: Upper Slobovia
Joined: 12-11-2006


Message 35 of 35 (489003)
11-20-2008 7:41 PM
Reply to: Message 32 by New Cat's Eye
11-18-2008 12:25 PM


Re: An ab initio Reducto ad Diversito.
CS writes:
So, is biological diversity random.... I guess when you boil it down, it has to have some random component from the mutations...
I have to agree with Dawkins that selfish gene activities like replication and propagation (usually via fertilization) are deterministic. Genes are nothing if not determined to survive. They may be the most deterministic things in nature. If diversification is be proven to be a deterministic act of genes”i.e., a "tool" for their survival”then I think diversification is a form of biological determinism. But I'm not sure diversification is always beneficial to the genes. I could see arguments on both side of the issue.
...but then the environmnet determines (in that mechanical sense) whether or not the diversity will increase.
Do you consider the diversification of cracks in drying mud a deterministic act? Is there's a difference between mechanical diversification and deterministic diversification? I think so.
”FTF

I can see Lower Slobovia from my house.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 32 by New Cat's Eye, posted 11-18-2008 12:25 PM New Cat's Eye has not replied

  
Newer Topic | Older Topic
Jump to:


Copyright 2001-2023 by EvC Forum, All Rights Reserved

™ Version 4.2
Innovative software from Qwixotic © 2024