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Author Topic:   Irreducible Complexity, Information Loss and Barry Hall's experiments
Member (Idle past 235 days)
Posts: 3964
Joined: 07-01-2005

Message 91 of 136 (515355)
07-17-2009 12:23 PM
Reply to: Message 89 by traderdrew
07-17-2009 11:54 AM

Re: Sticking to the topic/s, and avoiding deceptions.
Obviously we are more sophisticated than E. coli. Has any bacteria ever developed cancer?

...I'm sorry, did you just ask whether a single-celled organism has ever gotten cancer, a disease characterized by unregulated cell replication and almost by definition only happens in multicellular organisms?

How exactly would that happen? That's like asking whether an amoeba has ever gotten heart disease, or whether a virus has ever had an aneurysm!

"Sophistication" depends on how you define the term. Do you mean more vs. less genetic information, as implied by the context of the discussion? Do you mean relative unicellular vs. multicellular life? Size? Adaptability? Behavior patterns? Reproduction methods? Variety of closely related species?

Depending on how you define "sophistication," humans could be the most sophisticated; or the duck-billed platypus could; or the blue whale could; perhaps the giant sequoias; a giant Argentine ant colony that spans 6 continents...

...or even a lowly species of bacteria.

And cell replication does go wrong in bacteria. Sometimes it results in a mutation. Sometimes the child cell simply dies. Relative "complexity" or "sophistication" in an organism doesn't seem to have any bearing on whether that organism is likely to develop a problem like cancer. Mutations, meaning spontaneous genetic differences not directly inherited from a parent organism and usually resulting from a DNA replication error, happen across all life.

In fact, some of the most frequently mutating organisms we know of are viruses and bacteria. HIV, the flu virus, and E. Coli all mutate at incredibly rapid rates, which is why flu vaccines don't always work, and we can't yet cure HIV.

HIV isn't even cellular. It uses RNA instead of DNA, and it mutates at a rate that puts human cells to shame. If your definition of "sophistication" is "susceptibility to copying errors," HIV is one of teh most "sophisticated" things on the planet.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 89 by traderdrew, posted 07-17-2009 11:54 AM traderdrew has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 93 by traderdrew, posted 07-17-2009 12:34 PM Rahvin has responded

Member (Idle past 235 days)
Posts: 3964
Joined: 07-01-2005

Message 95 of 136 (515364)
07-17-2009 1:03 PM
Reply to: Message 93 by traderdrew
07-17-2009 12:34 PM

Re: Sticking to the topic/s, and avoiding deceptions.
That question wasn't a question that I was asking her. The question was a question in an attempt to clarify one of my points.

Yes, your point that humans are more "sophisticated" than bacteria. But you chose to ignore everything I said on that subject, instead focusing on my mockery of your cancer question - which, rhetorical or not, demonstrated a total ignorance of the subject.

Would you care to actually address my points regarding sophistication and complexity?

HIV mutates at a rate of about 10,000 times faster of multicellular lifeforms. It seems to me that the lack of the sophisticated error correction mechanisms (which is there in the cell) plays a part in the rapid mutations in the HIV virus. By the way, what has all of these rapid mutations done to the HIV virus anyway? Has it evolved into a new type of virus?

It depends entirely on how you define "type." There are many different strains of HIV due to its rapid mutation - new strains continuously branch off and continue to evolve separately in each unfortunate host.

HIV patients tend to be at risk of mingling a different strain of HIV with their own (say, through intercourse with another HIV-positive person), and the "new" strain can be less effected by the patients current drug regimen. This can result in the "new" strain outcompeting the patient's initial infection and requiring a change in medication, very much like the antibiotic-resistant "superbugs" that keep popping up in the world of bacteria.

Basically, the rapid mutation rate has worked extremely well from the perspective of the virus - we're unable to cure it, and it continually frustrates our attempts to restrict its spread.

Your concept of the "goal" of evolution seems to be rather misguided. Forming a "new type" of virus is not necessarily the "goal." There is, in fact, no goal at all. Organisms that are more successful in reproducing outcompete those who are less successful. That's all. Nothing more. If a new strain outcompetes a previous strain, fine. If the new strain is inferior and dies out, that's fine too. Evolution is not a guided process, it is not intelligent, and it does not have any objective. It's simply the result of mutation and natural selection.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 93 by traderdrew, posted 07-17-2009 12:34 PM traderdrew has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 100 by traderdrew, posted 07-18-2009 10:37 AM Rahvin has not yet responded

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