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Author Topic:   Doesn't Natural Selection lead to Specified Complexity?
Peter
Member (Idle past 752 days)
Posts: 2161
From: Cambridgeshire, UK.
Joined: 02-05-2002


Message 32 of 138 (615811)
05-17-2011 4:42 AM
Reply to: Message 30 by Taq
05-16-2011 6:00 PM


Re: So: 'If it was designed intelligently then it is the product of intelligent design.'
Nuetrality is not a relationship to the environment, but an absence of a relationship.

The process of natural selection is deterministic, but the 'inputs' or variables upon which it works are not ... so the outcome is not necessarily the same. That's different to rolling dice.

Deterministic means: given the same inputs, and the same process the outcome is the same.

The process part is natural selection.

The inputs part are the random mutations & environmental conditions (possibly events).

The random number generator in a compiler is deterministic, but can be used to generate apparently random numbers by seeding the function with different values.

However: My original question was about evolution producing entities that would appear to have specified complexity, thus elliminating SC as a marker for intelligent design.

There seems to be a rough agreement that the 'specified' part could equally apply to evolutionarily generated entities as IDed ones.

That leaves complexity.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 30 by Taq, posted 05-16-2011 6:00 PM Taq has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 36 by Taq, posted 05-17-2011 3:37 PM Peter has replied

  
Peter
Member (Idle past 752 days)
Posts: 2161
From: Cambridgeshire, UK.
Joined: 02-05-2002


Message 33 of 138 (615814)
05-17-2011 4:48 AM
Reply to: Message 28 by PaulK
05-16-2011 1:27 PM


Re: So: 'If it was designed intelligently then it is the product of intelligent design.'
In what sense are the events that produce drift part of the environment?

Drift is genetic change, which in the description I have used is isolated as a specific and independant variable.

Mutations do not happen in response to the changing environment, they happen any way (as part of the error-laden replication process).

If a process isn't deterministic, how can it be a process?

Are you saying that if one could set up an eco-system identical to the earth of 65,000,000 years ago control every environmental sequence to happen exactly as it did, and trigger exactly the same mutations you would get a different result to what actually happened?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 28 by PaulK, posted 05-16-2011 1:27 PM PaulK has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 34 by PaulK, posted 05-17-2011 11:53 AM Peter has replied

  
Peter
Member (Idle past 752 days)
Posts: 2161
From: Cambridgeshire, UK.
Joined: 02-05-2002


Message 37 of 138 (615905)
05-18-2011 6:23 AM
Reply to: Message 36 by Taq
05-17-2011 3:37 PM


Re: So: 'If it was designed intelligently then it is the product of intelligent design.'
Taq writes:

Nuetrality is not a relationship to the environment, but an absence of a relationship.

How can you determine if a mutation is neutral without first having the environment interact with the population through evolutionary mechanisms?

There seems to be a rough agreement that the 'specified' part could equally apply to evolutionarily generated entities as IDed ones.

That leaves complexity.

The specification in ID rhetoric is nothing more than a sharpshooter fallacy. They draw a bull's eye around the arrow, or in the case of the actual biological systems they draw the bull's eye around the current DNA sequence.

As to complexity, this is exactly what we would expect to see in a top-down design process like evolution. You are bound to produce Rube Goldberg mechanisms when the design process is blind to the actual specifics of the design. The sign of intelligent design is often simplicity, not complexity.

'Simplicity' not 'Complexity' as a marker for intelligent design is something I have often brought up (on this forum in fact several years ago as well as more recently) -- so I'll have to agree with you on that one

In reference to nuetrality:

WE can only assess nuetrality of a mutation by comparing the features relating to that mutation with the environment.

The relationship between that mutation and the environment is non-existent ... that's why it's neutral.


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Peter
Member (Idle past 752 days)
Posts: 2161
From: Cambridgeshire, UK.
Joined: 02-05-2002


Message 38 of 138 (615906)
05-18-2011 6:27 AM
Reply to: Message 35 by Taq
05-17-2011 3:33 PM


Re: So: 'If it was designed intelligently then it is the product of intelligent design.'
Taq writes:

Nuetrality is not determined by the environment, . . .

Yes, it is. The effect that a mutation has on fitness is determined by the environment, and this includes neutral effects. A mutation conferring antibiotic resistance in an environment with antibiotics is a beneficial mutation. If antibiotics are removed from the environment then that mutation may very well become neutral or slightly detrimental. It is the environment which determines this.

If there are no anti-biotics in the environment, then a mutation that confers resistance to anti-biotics is nuetral -- agreed.

But it is nuetral because it does not react with the environment -- that is there is an absence of a relationship rather than the existence of a nuetral relationship.

Maybe that's just the same thing looked at from different angles though.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 35 by Taq, posted 05-17-2011 3:33 PM Taq has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 41 by Taq, posted 05-18-2011 11:35 AM Peter has replied

  
Peter
Member (Idle past 752 days)
Posts: 2161
From: Cambridgeshire, UK.
Joined: 02-05-2002


Message 39 of 138 (615907)
05-18-2011 6:34 AM
Reply to: Message 34 by PaulK
05-17-2011 11:53 AM


Re: So: 'If it was designed intelligently then it is the product of intelligent design.'
PaulK writes:

quote:

In what sense are the events that produce drift part of the environment?

Have you forgotten that you defined the environment to include ALL events occurring in the relevant time period? You're asking in what sense events are events, another of those self-answering questions.

Yes. I separate mutation itself as a separate variable ... because that's how I define my 'mental model'.

quote:

If a process isn't deterministic, how can it be a process?

How does a stochastic process fail to be a process? Your question doesn't make any sense to me.


There is no such thing as a stochastic process -- there are simply processes which we can only model stochastically because we are unable to accurately model the vast number of variables involved.

quote:

Are you saying that if one could set up an eco-system identical to the earth of 65,000,000 years ago control every environmental sequence to happen exactly as it did, and trigger exactly the same mutations you would get a different result to what actually happened?

Of course not - not that that question has any relevance to my post at all.


In which case the process is deterministic.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 34 by PaulK, posted 05-17-2011 11:53 AM PaulK has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 40 by PaulK, posted 05-18-2011 11:27 AM Peter has replied

  
Peter
Member (Idle past 752 days)
Posts: 2161
From: Cambridgeshire, UK.
Joined: 02-05-2002


Message 42 of 138 (615950)
05-18-2011 2:31 PM
Reply to: Message 41 by Taq
05-18-2011 11:35 AM


Re: So: 'If it was designed intelligently then it is the product of intelligent design.'
...and if there is a change in fitness then there is a relationship between the mutation and the environment, otherwise there isn't.

No longer sure of the relevance of this bit.

If natural selection can operate in such a way that the results of its 'design process' appear to be 'specified' then 'specified complexity' cannot be a marker for intelligent design.

Natural selection operates in some way on a set of mutations which DO relate to the environment with the end result being entities which appear to have been designed for that very environment.

So SC cannot be used in support of ID.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 41 by Taq, posted 05-18-2011 11:35 AM Taq has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 44 by Taq, posted 05-18-2011 2:46 PM Peter has replied

  
Peter
Member (Idle past 752 days)
Posts: 2161
From: Cambridgeshire, UK.
Joined: 02-05-2002


Message 43 of 138 (615951)
05-18-2011 2:42 PM
Reply to: Message 40 by PaulK
05-18-2011 11:27 AM


Re: So: 'If it was designed intelligently then it is the product of intelligent design.'
Environment and Drift:

Not changing the subject. Events in the environment do not cause drift. Genetic mutations happen, largely at random (and possibly from environmental factors like radiation or chemical mutagens), but that aspect is segregated into 'genetic mutation' as a separate/isolated variable.

Determinism:

In what way does it undermine my point?

Processes:

I cannot see drift as a process.

Some genetic mutations occur which have no relationship to the environment (via natural selection), and some of these mutations become fixed in the population for no particular reason (they just happen to be common, or the population size dwindled or ...)

No specific process at work there.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 40 by PaulK, posted 05-18-2011 11:27 AM PaulK has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 49 by PaulK, posted 05-18-2011 4:11 PM Peter has replied

  
Peter
Member (Idle past 752 days)
Posts: 2161
From: Cambridgeshire, UK.
Joined: 02-05-2002


Message 45 of 138 (615954)
05-18-2011 2:51 PM
Reply to: Message 44 by Taq
05-18-2011 2:46 PM


Re: So: 'If it was designed intelligently then it is the product of intelligent design.'
I think we just view 'nuetrality' slightly differently ... but not in a way that matters much.

Having a relationship which is nuetral (as you I think put it) or having an absence of a relationship amount to the same thing i.e. those mutations are not acted upon by natural selection.

The other bit we seem to agree on -- so that's quite good


This message is a reply to:
 Message 44 by Taq, posted 05-18-2011 2:46 PM Taq has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 46 by Taq, posted 05-18-2011 3:03 PM Peter has replied

  
Peter
Member (Idle past 752 days)
Posts: 2161
From: Cambridgeshire, UK.
Joined: 02-05-2002


Message 47 of 138 (615958)
05-18-2011 3:11 PM
Reply to: Message 46 by Taq
05-18-2011 3:03 PM


Re: So: 'If it was designed intelligently then it is the product of intelligent design.'
It won't be 50-50 if there are other mutations which are being selected for or against.

The indivuals with the 'selectable' mutations will affect the gene distribution in the population regardless of any nuetral mutations present.

Nuetral meaning that they have no affect on fitness ... which in turn means they have no relationship to the environment.

To detect the nuetrality investigators would need to reference the environment, but that's not the same as there being a relationship between a nuetral mutation and the environment.

The ostrich mutation MIGHT have a relationship to a deep sea environment (if for example it changed the ability to absorb oxygen from sea water) but not to the environment that the ostrich IS in.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 46 by Taq, posted 05-18-2011 3:03 PM Taq has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 48 by Taq, posted 05-18-2011 4:07 PM Peter has replied

  
Peter
Member (Idle past 752 days)
Posts: 2161
From: Cambridgeshire, UK.
Joined: 02-05-2002


Message 50 of 138 (616053)
05-19-2011 6:47 AM
Reply to: Message 49 by PaulK
05-18-2011 4:11 PM


Re: So: 'If it was designed intelligently then it is the product of intelligent design.'
Drift:

Could you perhaps give me a reference or short description of this process of drift?

My understanding is that 'drift' referes to the change in gene distribution in a population which is not associated with any selective pressure.

That would seem to be purely about the random mutations.

I would also assume that some mutations are more likely than others (since we are talking about chemistry when it comes down to it).

Drift (in not being influenced by the environment) must be subordinate to selective change in gene distribution (where selective pressures exist). So this is used to explain how, in the absence of any obvious selective pressure, gene distribution still changes.

It's more to do with the prevelance of a specific, nuetral change than aything else. So it isn't a process.

Determinism:

I didn't say that determinism was special in any way.

There is no such thing a as a freak accident -- there are situations for which the number of variables are so vast, with such complicated interactions that we are unable to comprehend them.

Sometimes we have to settle for 'random' or 'stochastic' or 'chaotic'

I can see drift as a function of genetic mutation, but not as a process which relates environment to genetic mutation.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 49 by PaulK, posted 05-18-2011 4:11 PM PaulK has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 52 by PaulK, posted 05-19-2011 12:31 PM Peter has replied

  
Peter
Member (Idle past 752 days)
Posts: 2161
From: Cambridgeshire, UK.
Joined: 02-05-2002


Message 51 of 138 (616054)
05-19-2011 6:54 AM
Reply to: Message 48 by Taq
05-18-2011 4:07 PM


Re: So: 'If it was designed intelligently then it is the product of intelligent design.'
Taq writes:

It won't be 50-50 if there are other mutations which are being selected for or against.

All population genetics assume an ideal population. A neutral mutation has the same chance of being linked to a detrimental or beneficial allele so the it does average out to 50-50 for all neutral mutations in an ideal population.


But surely you have to include the possibility that the nuetral mutation occurs alone in some individuals.

So the split can never be 50-50.

If there are three possibilities surely there is a 60% chance that the nuetral mutation will continue (2 out of 3 cases).

Nuetral meaning that they have no affect on fitness ... which in turn means they have no relationship to the environment.

I have addressed this quite a few times. This is false. It is the relationship between the mutation and the environment that determines the effect on fitness, even if that effect results in no net change.

See below

The ostrich mutation MIGHT have a relationship to a deep sea environment (if for example it changed the ability to absorb oxygen from sea water) but not to the environment that the ostrich IS in.

Right. So the neutrality of a mutation is determined by the relationship between the mutation and the environment that the organism is in.


WE determine nuetrality by relating it to the environment -- or not.

If we cannot find a relationship to the environment we term the mutation as nuetral wrt fitness.

We determine that because there is no relationship to the environment, surely.


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Peter
Member (Idle past 752 days)
Posts: 2161
From: Cambridgeshire, UK.
Joined: 02-05-2002


Message 53 of 138 (616177)
05-20-2011 6:16 AM
Reply to: Message 52 by PaulK
05-19-2011 12:31 PM


Re: So: 'If it was designed intelligently then it is the product of intelligent design.'
At the top of your post you said I defined drift correctly, and at the bottom you said I defined it incorrectly.

How do you define drift?

If the mutations are neutral wrt environment, then they can ONLY become fixed due to prevalence OR being co-present with selectable mutations.

Niether situation represents a process (i.e. a set of defined steps and/or functions -- or is that an incorrect definition of process).

Do you disagree that, for example, weather patterns could be predicted if we had a perfect model of the weather systems around the earth?

Do you disagree that the reason we cannot create a perfect model of weather patterns is that the system is too complex for us to fully understand?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 52 by PaulK, posted 05-19-2011 12:31 PM PaulK has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 54 by PaulK, posted 05-20-2011 9:09 AM Peter has replied

  
Peter
Member (Idle past 752 days)
Posts: 2161
From: Cambridgeshire, UK.
Joined: 02-05-2002


Message 56 of 138 (616534)
05-23-2011 5:08 AM
Reply to: Message 55 by Ryan
05-21-2011 8:10 AM


Random Mutations
Because there are a vast number of scientific studies reported in peer reviewed journals that discuss, detail and describe them.

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Peter
Member (Idle past 752 days)
Posts: 2161
From: Cambridgeshire, UK.
Joined: 02-05-2002


Message 57 of 138 (616535)
05-23-2011 5:21 AM
Reply to: Message 54 by PaulK
05-20-2011 9:09 AM


Re: So: 'If it was designed intelligently then it is the product of intelligent design.'
A mutation can become prevalent in a population for one of two reasons:

1) the mutation itself is in some-way preferred (maybe there is a predisposition towards a certain type of 'error' in some genes). Not saying there is, just saying that's a possible cause.

2) the mutation occurs in indivdiuals who also have a beneficial mutation.

I DID read your post, there was just very little in it.

At a very high level one could draw a flow-chart for natural selection.

At no level could you describe drift as any kind of sequence or logic.

So: I asked for you to define drift -- you have basically accepted my definition, but stated that I don't understand my own definition of drift. A definition which, by definition, defines the way I think about drift.

In many ways I don't see what you want me to change in my thinking. All I have said is that the gene distribution in a population is an accumulation of genetic changes dominated by natural selection, but have accepted that 'drift' plays it's part.

Ignore drift ... since it is not a filter and therefore not relevant to my OP.

Natural Selection can act as a filter over the gene changes, and therefore lead to 'specificity' thereby elliminating 'specified complexity' as a pillar of ID.

Ignore determinism. You don't agree with my position on that, that's OK. I simply have a 'not playing dice with the universe' kind-of attitude.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 54 by PaulK, posted 05-20-2011 9:09 AM PaulK has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 58 by Dr Adequate, posted 05-23-2011 5:46 AM Peter has replied
 Message 59 by PaulK, posted 05-23-2011 1:04 PM Peter has replied

  
Peter
Member (Idle past 752 days)
Posts: 2161
From: Cambridgeshire, UK.
Joined: 02-05-2002


Message 60 of 138 (616933)
05-25-2011 5:41 AM
Reply to: Message 59 by PaulK
05-23-2011 1:04 PM


Re: So: 'If it was designed intelligently then it is the product of intelligent design.'
I think you are confusing natural selection with evolution as a whole.

Since I am interested in the specifying capability of natural selection, and since drift can be viewed as 'chance' then for the purposes of THIS discussion we can neglect drift.

Check back -- an answer you gave to one of my questions means that you acknowledge the determinism of natural selection.

Your third option for drift being 'purely by chance' is insufficient for explanation.

If a particular mutation becomes prevalent then there WILL be a reason for that.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 59 by PaulK, posted 05-23-2011 1:04 PM PaulK has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 63 by PaulK, posted 05-25-2011 8:15 AM Peter has replied

  
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