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Author Topic:   How is Natural selection a mechanism?
RAZD
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Message 72 of 191 (815581)
07-21-2017 11:15 AM
Reply to: Message 69 by AndrewPD
07-21-2017 8:39 AM


There are lots of differences here. Digestion and circulation are visible phenomena that we can obejectively study and that we see emerging from their components we don't see any thing like consciousness and sensation and cognition emerging from neurons these are private subjective phenomena only accessible to one person directly.

We can observe brain activity and the neuron patterns for different thoughts.

Emergent means that when a certain threshold is crossed then a new level of operation appears.

Self-consciousness for instance, is observable in several species, like chimps and porpoises, while it is absent from others (cats, birds, etc). So self-consciousness is an emergent property of brain function. And we can look at other emergent properties, such as problem solving and danger recognition.

So there are levels of consciousness, and the full consciousness we enjoy is more a matter of degree than a different kind of thought process/recognition.

Especially when each of these cognition levels provides an advantage for survival or reproduction and thus become selected.

Enjoy


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This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
 Message 74 by AndrewPD, posted 07-22-2017 11:01 AM RAZD has responded

  
RAZD
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Posts: 20460
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 3.6


Message 77 of 191 (815655)
07-22-2017 12:02 PM
Reply to: Message 74 by AndrewPD
07-22-2017 11:01 AM


RAZD writes:

We can observe brain activity and the neuron patterns for different thoughts.

This is not true.

How is this not true -- is MRI giving us false information?

Observing brain activity is not observing consciousness. ...

Curiously I did not say it was.

Enjoy


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This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
 Message 78 by AndrewPD, posted 07-22-2017 3:32 PM RAZD has responded

  
RAZD
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Posts: 20460
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 3.6


Message 79 of 191 (815664)
07-22-2017 3:57 PM
Reply to: Message 78 by AndrewPD
07-22-2017 3:32 PM


How would you design an experiment/test?
It is not clear however what this brain activity is doing, so claims of finding brain regions resonsible for X have to taken with a pinch of salt. Brain lesions have showed that lots of "thoughts" or perceptions and cognitions break down in weird ways. So for example people can lose the ability to name living things but not inanimate objects. United perceptions that we take for granted break down so there is no simple single perception to be mapped on the brain.

But we do know that it is doing something ... when there is no activity there is no there there.

Here is a bizzare example of 90% brain loss and normal functioning.

https://www.sciencealert.com/...derstanding-of-consciousness

Conversely, have you heard of the "god-helmet?"

http://www.religioustolerance.org/vis_brain.htm

Inducing thoughts, interesting (and potentially frightening) concept.

As a person with a "degree was in Psychology and Philosophy of mind," how would you design an experiment/test to learn more about the relation of brain activity to consciousness?

If it is an emergent facility, how could we define the threshold? using animals with different levels?

Enjoy


we are limited in our ability to understand
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This message is a reply to:
 Message 78 by AndrewPD, posted 07-22-2017 3:32 PM AndrewPD has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 80 by AndrewPD, posted 07-23-2017 2:18 PM RAZD has responded

  
RAZD
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Posts: 20460
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 3.6


Message 85 of 191 (815812)
07-24-2017 4:13 PM
Reply to: Message 80 by AndrewPD
07-23-2017 2:18 PM


Re: How would you design an experiment/test?
No experiment yet ...

It all depends on your definition of consciousness.

So take your definition and run with it.

I personally differentiate between consciousnesss and the contents of consciousness.

Seems to me you can't have consciousness without content, and that content would define the consciousness in question.

Brain injury can effect the contents of your consciousness however so can stubbing your toe or eating an ice cream.

Cutting of a hand can effect the way you handle things.

I don't know what would class as a minimal state of consciousness with limited content but consciousness needs a perceiver to be subject of experience.

So let's take a level of consciousness and see what happens: the ability to recognize self in a mirror. Chimps can, cat's don't. What is the difference in their brains?

There is no objective way to percieve the world.
10 people observing a tree does not make its existence more concrete as each person is having a personal perception.

Unless they independently describe the tree is such detail that one description can be verified in another, that the details in common for all 10 observers show consilience and the probability of valid descriptions.

For instance if I say chair, you have an idea of what I am talking about without even seeing the chair, because we have all had experiences with multiple things that are all called chair, that all share details in common which gives us an amorphous picture of the entity to envisage. If I fill in details, such as wooden back and cushioned seat, that picture becomes more defined and less amorphous. I can continue filling in details and the picture keeps getting sharper.

If I try to describe something you have not experienced it is more difficult.

What would an unobserved tree appear like? ...

Well we would know it doesn't make a sound and the husband is still wrong ... OSLT.

It seems a loaded question: what would something unobserved look like when observed ... not having been observed the little details would not be known, so how could those details be described?

One could certainly provide an amorphous generalization of all trees as a starting point, like we just did with the chair.

Consciousness is indisposable to science and it is minds that see purpose and function and patterns etc. A reality with no consciousness would be irrelavant ...

To people. It would not be irrelevant to organisms living in it in spite of a lack of consciousness. Are trees conscious?

I look forward to your experiment.

Enjoy


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
RebelAmerican☆Zen☯Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
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This message is a reply to:
 Message 80 by AndrewPD, posted 07-23-2017 2:18 PM AndrewPD has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 86 by AndrewPD, posted 07-24-2017 5:40 PM RAZD has responded
 Message 91 by AndrewPD, posted 07-24-2017 8:25 PM RAZD has acknowledged this reply

  
RAZD
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Posts: 20460
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 3.6


Message 92 of 191 (815828)
07-24-2017 9:24 PM
Reply to: Message 86 by AndrewPD
07-24-2017 5:40 PM


Re: How would you design an experiment/test?
Persistent vegetative state is an example of the difficulty in assessing states of consciousness.

Curiously I have no trouble with a "persistent vegetative state" meaning there is no there there. At the point where the brain stem ceases to function it meets the current medical practice in determining when a human life has ended. This criteria has been developed over a significant period of time with a lot of ethical input from all sides into the specific ethical considerations involved.

The legal standard of death is very clear - from What is the medical definition of death? (click):

UNIFORM DETERMINATION OF DEATH ACT
§ 1. [Determination of Death.] An individual who has sustained either
(1) irreversible cessation of circulatory and respiratory functions, or
(2) irreversible cessation of all functions of the entire brain, including the brain stem, are dead.
A determination of death must be made in accordance with accepted medical standards.

That's the legal nuts and bolts of it: either failure of {heart\lung} system or total brain failure. Any person with either of these failures is universally and legally considered to be dead.

When that standard has not been met with a person in a coma it gets a little trickier ... the issue of personhood comes into play here, which should align with the issue of consciousness and capacity to have consciousness. Personally I feel that the families should be allowed to decide based on the best evidence/advice from medical professionals.

Enjoy


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RAZD
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Posts: 20460
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
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Message 114 of 191 (815954)
07-26-2017 8:25 PM
Reply to: Message 111 by NoNukes
07-26-2017 5:41 PM


arguement from the gaps of knowledge
It is challenging the idea that consciousness is an emergent property, that can be readily explained eventually and derived from natural selection.

You haven't made any such argument. Your thoughts are private because there is no outward indication of what goes on inside your head. That should not be all that surprising given that your skull is opaque. That condition would be the same whether or not consciousness was an emergent property.

Get a better argument.

It looks like AndrewPD is trying to make the argument that consciousness is god-given rather than an emergent property of the brain due to our current lack of knowledge re the connection between brain function and consciousness.

This ignores all the various levels of consciousness in other organisms that show it is a difference in degree rather than a difference in kind/type/category.

Fail.

Enjoy


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RAZD
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Posts: 20460
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 3.6


(1)
Message 124 of 191 (816113)
07-29-2017 12:05 PM
Reply to: Message 118 by AndrewPD
07-28-2017 2:09 PM


The list is a scam for the gullible
My Dad, who taught Biology and Ecology could have signed this without qualms -- except for the inteniontal misuse of this list by people lying about what it means to sign it.

“We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged.”

https://dissentfromdarwin.org/sign-the-list/

(A) being skeptical of any claims of science is what science does -- that's why theories are tested and tested and tested, and can never be "proven" ... and so the result are regarded tentatively. After years of testing the theory without any instances of invalidation the theory may be regarded as a strong theory and scientists can accept the theory with high confidence as providing the best explanation known.

(B) as has been pointed out "random mutation and natural selection" are not the only processes known to affect the evolution of populations, so of course they alone are not sufficient, you need the whole enchilada.

(C) "Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged” ... is what science does.

So this list is meaningless in regards to the value of evolution in science ...

And beyond that, it is not the people that validate the science, it is the evidence and the testing results, the objective empirical evidence that validates the science.

You've been scammed. You need to be more skeptical of such claims.

Enjoy

Edited by RAZD, : No reason given.


we are limited in our ability to understand
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RAZD
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Posts: 20460
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 3.6


Message 134 of 191 (816195)
07-31-2017 11:19 AM
Reply to: Message 127 by AndrewPD
07-29-2017 12:33 PM


Re: arguement from the gaps of knowledge
I would describe myself as an agnostic who is skeptical of any claims. I have no interest in invoking gods. You can suggest the deficiency of one explanation without proffering an alternative.

I used to be quite atheistic (after a traumatic religious childhood) until I did my degree later in life which involved a lot of philosophy mind and some cognitive science and theorizing about perception.

Fair enough, but the problem I see is your reluctance to see consciousness as an emergent property of brain function. It's one thing to be skeptical, but an agnostic should be skeptical of alternative arguments in the same degree, and the only alternative that I can see is that it would be some spiritual essence: if it doesn't come from inside then it must come from outside.

As an agnostic leaning deist I lean towards the former explanation as having more credibility.

Philosophy of mind also studies philosophy of language as did cognitive psychology and looks at the problem of semantic and representational properties.

I explored some of this in Perceptions of Reality v3 (there are several versions, this one is open for comments).

Perception theory undermines our knowledge of and access to the world and ends invoking mysterious homunculi receiving representational maps in the brain.

For me this gets into the individual's worldview with cognitive dissonance\consonance acting as a filter for what is accepted and what is rejected. See Cognitive Dissonance and Cultural Beliefs, particularly Message 8

Enjoy

Edited by RAZD, : .


we are limited in our ability to understand
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RAZD
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Posts: 20460
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 3.6


(1)
Message 154 of 191 (816379)
08-03-2017 2:44 PM
Reply to: Message 150 by 1.61803
08-03-2017 10:46 AM


Re: Inception
When I was learning to drive my school driving instructor told me that a when you are a good driver your passengers will not remember your commute. But if you suck as a driver you they will remember every close call, jamming their foot on a imaginary brake etc.. ha ha.

Friend: "when I die I want to go peacefully in my sleep, like my dad ...
... not yelling and screaming like his passengers ..."


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RAZD
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Joined: 03-14-2004
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Message 169 of 191 (816512)
08-05-2017 12:21 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by AndrewPD
09-03-2009 7:02 PM


the original topic issue was ... ?
I'm a little confused. I went back to see what the original post asked and saw

Aren't mutating genes the sole mechanism by which organisms are formed?

While the thread title is

How is Natural selection a mechanism?

To answer the first question, single cell organisms produce offspring by budding, asexual reproduction, where they make a copy of themselves; sexual organisms produce offspring by mingling genes between parents, producing variety when there are more than one version of a gene in the genome.

In both cases mutations can cause alterations of the genotype and produce modified organisms. They are part of the process of forming new forms of organisms.

To answer the second question let me ask the converse:

How is Natural Selection not a mechanism?

If I take a bag of coins and flip them, putting the "heads" in one pile and the "tails" in another, and then take all the "tails" and flip them again, adding the "heads" to the "heads" pile and continuing to flip the coins ...

  • will I end up with the bag of coins all in the "heads" pile?
  • will that happen sooner or later than flipping all the coins at once until they are all "heads?"

I ask this because it seems that your topic has wandered away from your original question/s.

Enjoy


we are limited in our ability to understand
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RAZD
Member
Posts: 20460
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 3.6


Message 174 of 191 (816527)
08-05-2017 2:55 PM
Reply to: Message 171 by AndrewPD
08-05-2017 2:08 PM


Re: the original topic issue was ... ?
I have found this definition of natural selection.

"Evolution acts through natural selection whereby reproductive and genetic qualities that prove advantageous to survival prevail into future generations."

http://nectunt.bifi.es/.../mechanisms-of-evolutionary-change

This is survival of the fittest ...

Well and good, but I would say "survival of those able to survive and reproduce" as this de-emphasizes the relative abilities\merits of all who survive and reproduce.

... that has been described as tautologous because it means that anything that survives is defined as fit.

Indeed, and yet it tells us the difference between fit and unfit: survival and reproduction.

But this led making a value judgement about traits which had a negative social effect. And so people decided which traits they thought were being or would be selected.

"Social darwinism" imho is/was due to the emphasis on "fittest" and taking it to some ideological extreme. Republican ideology can be seen as "survival of the richest" or "survival of those rich enough to survive" and thus puts over arching emphasis on economic success at the expense of others.

But anything that survives is being selected. As soon as something dies without having offspring it is deselected, trivially so.

It may seem trivial at first glance, but that is the mechanism by which the sick and weak are gleaned from the breeding populations, leaving the breeding population better adapted to their ecological niche. Evolution occurs in populations rather than individuals.

There is no trait that can't easily be made extinct. Why a trait survives is down to the properties it was freely given by biochemistry.

Indeed. The genotype to phenotype expression -- the overall genetic chemistry of inheritance and mutation modifications -- can be beneficial in one case and detrimental in another.

Natural selection seems entirely negative. It implies nature is deselecting bad traits. But all it seems to be is banal observation that somethings survive and somethings don't.

Indeed. The other half of the equation is mutations adding new traits:

When you start giving a hierarchy of desirable traits or reductive explanations we've seen where that leads.

Not sure what you are saying here. The process of evolution makes no attempt to develop "desirable" traits other that survival and reproduction.

I am exclusively gay and that has led to the puzzle of how this ruthless mechanism wouldn't have weeded that out. That is a teleological standpoint like we knew the mind of nature and can describe what it wants to create.

There are several possibilities. (1) Your genes are also carried by siblings, and their survival and offspring survival may benefit from your assistance. (2) It is not a genetic trait, but one that occurs during development as a fetus due to environmental effects. (3) It is a common mutation due to sexual reproduction mixing of DNA where the gene for sex and the gene for attraction are disassociated. etc.

Whatever, it is not confined to the human species. Bonobos are known for open relationships, for example.

quote:
Bonobos (the "Left Bank Chimps"), also known as pygmy chimpanzees, were the last ape species to be identified (in 1926), some three centuries after theBonobo standing on shoulders other apes were known to science.

That's because they only live in one small and shrinking place, the swampy equatorial forests of the left bank of the Congo River (common chimps are the Right Bank Chimps, extending from Tanzania and Uganda all of the way to West Africa).

Bonobos walk upright somewhat more easily than the chimps can. Still, walking on all fours is less tiring for both bonobos and chimps.

The uncommon social structure, sexual behavior and intellectual capacity of bonobos give us a unique glimpse of the roots of human nature.

Bonobos are much less aggressive and hot-tempered than are chimpanzees, and are not nearly as prone to physical violence. They are less obsessed with power and status than are their chimpanzee cousins, and more consumed with Eros. As de Waal puts it in his book, "The chimpanzee resolves sexual issues with power; the bonobo resolves power issues with sex." Or more coyly, chimpanzees are from Mars, bonobos are from Venus.


quote:
Homosexual behavior in animals is sexual behavior among non-human species that is interpreted as homosexual or bisexual. This may include sexual activity, courtship, affection, pair bonding, and parenting among same-sex animal pairs. Research indicates that various forms of this are found throughout the animal kingdom.[1][2] As of 1999, about 500 species, ranging from primates to gut worms, have been documented engaging in same-sex behaviors.[3][page needed][4] According to the organizers of the 2006 Against Nature? exhibit, it has been observed in 1,500 species.[5]

Bonobos, which have a matriarchal society, unusual among apes, are a fully bisexual species—both males and females engage in heterosexual and homosexual behavior, being noted for female–female homosexuality in particular. Roughly 60% of all bonobo sexual activity occurs between two or more females. While the homosexual bonding system in bonobos represents the highest frequency of homosexuality known in any species, homosexuality has been reported for all great apes (a group which includes humans), as well as a number of other primate species.[69][70][71]

Dutch primatologist Frans de Waal on observing and filming bonobos noted that there were two reasons to believe sexual activity is the bonobo's answer to avoiding conflict. Anything that arouses the interest of more than one bonobo at a time, not just food, tends to result in sexual contact. If two bonobos approach a cardboard box thrown into their enclosure, they will briefly mount each other before playing with the box. Such situations lead to squabbles in most other species. But bonobos are quite tolerant, perhaps because they use sex to divert attention and to defuse tension.


One thing for sure is that the fundamentalist ideologues have it wrong, it happens in nature and therefore is natural behavior.

Then there is issue of what was selected as opposed to what is a spandrel. A Spandrel is certainly any easy way for any unevolutionary trait to get a free ride.

And many mildly deleterious mutations can go along for the ride when they are on selected genes.

What happens when the spandrel becomes a trait for sexual selection ... Peacock tail?

Enjoy


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
RebelAmerican☆Zen☯Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


• • • Join the effort to solve medical problems, AIDS/HIV, Cancer and more with Team EvC! (click) • • •

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