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Author Topic:   Kin Selection & Altruism
RAZD
Member
Posts: 20156
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 3.9


Message 91 of 136 (267521)
12-10-2005 11:45 AM
Reply to: Message 86 by pink sasquatch
12-10-2005 9:57 AM


Re: NO logical problem.
but it doesn't happen in all the cases. only those where the defense is to broadcast chemicals.

but one of the most commonly transferred ways involves passing on genetic info for the production of enzymes that break down the antibiotic.

conflating "most common" with "all" is a logical error.

This message has been edited by RAZD, 12*10*2005 11:57 AM


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand

RebelAAmerican.Zen[Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 86 by pink sasquatch, posted 12-10-2005 9:57 AM pink sasquatch has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 93 by pink sasquatch, posted 12-10-2005 12:24 PM RAZD has responded

  
RAZD
Member
Posts: 20156
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 3.9


Message 92 of 136 (267523)
12-10-2005 11:55 AM
Reply to: Message 88 by Cal
12-10-2005 10:05 AM


Re: Got it
so the fitness of the host depends on the {host\guest} interaction which depends on the guest?

the fitness of both 'guest' and 'host' need to be considered both separately and collectively.

natural selection operates on the total organism yes?

genetic drift (gd) could separate them in daughter cells: cell division could omit a guest or two (although some are nasty guests -- makes long term poison while producing short term antidote, daughter without guest has no antidote ... deselection due to gd's random division and not natural {survival\reproductive} selection fitness).

So is the host altruistic for harboring and assisting a plasmid that can kill off its offspring?


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand

RebelAAmerican.Zen[Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 88 by Cal, posted 12-10-2005 10:05 AM Cal has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 96 by Cal, posted 12-10-2005 1:07 PM RAZD has responded

  
pink sasquatch
Member (Idle past 4314 days)
Posts: 1567
Joined: 06-10-2004


Message 93 of 136 (267530)
12-10-2005 12:24 PM
Reply to: Message 91 by RAZD
12-10-2005 11:45 AM


Re: NO logical problem.
conflating "most common" with "all" is a logical error.

I never did so.

I simply stated that this is a nice (common) example of how gene transfer directly benefits the donor.

Thus, there is no need to invoke altruism or species-level selection to explain the evolution of such gene tranfer.

I'm not saying that this is the scenario in which gene transfer evolved, I'm simply saying similar conditions could have led to selection for gene transfer attributes.

No altruism needed.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 91 by RAZD, posted 12-10-2005 11:45 AM RAZD has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 95 by RAZD, posted 12-10-2005 12:58 PM pink sasquatch has responded

  
Cal
Inactive Member


Message 94 of 136 (267538)
12-10-2005 12:47 PM
Reply to: Message 90 by pink sasquatch
12-10-2005 10:36 AM


Re: technical vs philosophical
I don't think we need to invoke philosophy regarding these technical terms.

If pressed, I'd tend to agree (after directing you to my escape clause: "...almost a philosophical question..."), but it seems to depend somewhat on how the terms are being applied.

Mitochondrial genomes behave much differently than the genome proper, so a distinction is made in the terminology. Similarly, plasmids in a bacterium behave much differently than the bacterial genome, so a technical distinction is made.

As I mentioned above, it's important in a discussion about "altruistic behavior" to recognize what it is that is doing the 'behaving'. This is somewhat problematic, because our ideas about 'behavior' intuitively default to our first-hand knowledge about the macro-structures we refer to as "individual organisms" interacting with their environments. Frogs hop, bees sting, donkeys bray, playful children roll down grassy hills.

If we examine such behaviors in the context of their consequences for whole organisms, the math is going to work out differently than if we view them as composites of micro-behaviors at lower levels of structure (individual cells, or individual genes), and I think we risk importing some dubious conceptual baggage if we assume that 'behavior' can be regarded as equally meaningful at all levels -- when child rolls down a hill, there's a lot more going on than when a rock rolls down the same hill, even though the latter might be described as "behavior" on the part of the rock. When we speak about the "behavior" of a genome then, (or of a cell, or of a gene) we should remember that these are like rocks rolling down hills (it's especially important to remember that, because no matter where the discussion goes, it's going to be conducted in a language that is absolutely filthy with teleological assumptions).

With this caveat in mind, we could say that biological entities like cells or organelles have interests, and that mitochondria, and plasmids, have some interests in common with the cells that contain them, some interests which are independent of those of the cells, and perhaps some that are in conflict with them. To the extent that genomes behave, they do so by proxy; their behavior consists of influencing the behavior of the cell (and idea which can also be extended another level down, to that of the individual gene).


This message is a reply to:
 Message 90 by pink sasquatch, posted 12-10-2005 10:36 AM pink sasquatch has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 102 by pink sasquatch, posted 12-10-2005 8:04 PM Cal has responded

  
RAZD
Member
Posts: 20156
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 3.9


Message 95 of 136 (267540)
12-10-2005 12:58 PM
Reply to: Message 93 by pink sasquatch
12-10-2005 12:24 PM


Re: NO logical problem.
No altruism needed.

how does this negate altruism in the other cases? especially if you are not conflating some with all ...?


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand

RebelAAmerican.Zen[Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 93 by pink sasquatch, posted 12-10-2005 12:24 PM pink sasquatch has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 97 by pink sasquatch, posted 12-10-2005 1:33 PM RAZD has responded

  
Cal
Inactive Member


Message 96 of 136 (267541)
12-10-2005 1:07 PM
Reply to: Message 92 by RAZD
12-10-2005 11:55 AM


Re: Got it
natural selection operates on the total organism yes?

Yes. But since a whole organism is the result of a unique composite of genes, it means that genes can have relative fitness independent of the whole organism; selection propagates downward to the level of the gene. In fact, whole organisms are transitory; only genes have an ongoing, autonomous existence.

So is the host altruistic for harboring and assisting a plasmid that can kill off its offspring?

Am I altruistic for harboring the cold virus currently struggling for control over my cellular mechanisms?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 92 by RAZD, posted 12-10-2005 11:55 AM RAZD has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 99 by RAZD, posted 12-10-2005 6:26 PM Cal has responded

  
pink sasquatch
Member (Idle past 4314 days)
Posts: 1567
Joined: 06-10-2004


Message 97 of 136 (267545)
12-10-2005 1:33 PM
Reply to: Message 95 by RAZD
12-10-2005 12:58 PM


Re: NO logical problem.
how does this negate altruism in the other cases?

What other cases? I'm talking about hypothetical non-altruistic possibilities for the arisal of gene transfer during evolution.

[Quite frankly, RAZD, most of your posts over the past few days have left me thinking, "what the fuck is he talking about?"]


This message is a reply to:
 Message 95 by RAZD, posted 12-10-2005 12:58 PM RAZD has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 98 by RAZD, posted 12-10-2005 5:45 PM pink sasquatch has responded

  
RAZD
Member
Posts: 20156
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 3.9


Message 98 of 136 (267593)
12-10-2005 5:45 PM
Reply to: Message 97 by pink sasquatch
12-10-2005 1:33 PM


Can't you see it? logical problem.
What other cases?

Lets see if I can lay it out for you;

pink sasquatch, msg 77 writes:

There are various ways of becoming resistant to antibiotics - but one of the most commonly transferred ways involves passing on genetic info for the production of enzymes that break down the antibiotic.

emphasis mine.

This means that there are some that do not act in this way. These would be "other" cases where that explanation is not a rebuttal of altruistic behavior.

RAZD, msg 91 writes:

conflating "most common" with "all" is a logical error.

pink sasquatch, msg 93 writes:

Thus, there is no need to invoke altruism or species-level selection to explain the evolution of such gene tranfer.

Not talking about the evolution of the process but the action of the process in those other cases.

RAZD, msg 95 writes:

how does this negate altruism in the other cases? especially if you are not conflating some with all ...?

The other cases would be where "some that do not act in this way."

pink sasquatch, msg 97 writes:

I'm talking about hypothetical non-altruistic possibilities for the arisal of gene transfer during evolution.

So? That's not the discussion. The discussion is about altruistic behavior.

Specifically here I'm talking about the behavior in those "other" cases where "some that do not act in this way" -- and whether it can be considered altruistic behavior or not ... the topic of the thread.

Your mechanism doesn't negate altruism in those cases.

Claiming it does is a logical fallacy (part for the whole). Claiming it explains something else is also a logical fallacy (strawman or non-sequitur).

"what ... is he talking about?"

I thought I've been fairly clear about what I am talking about (on several issues) only to have others rebut some different argument that I am not making. Did the english language change while I was sleeping?


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand

RebelAAmerican.Zen[Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 97 by pink sasquatch, posted 12-10-2005 1:33 PM pink sasquatch has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 101 by pink sasquatch, posted 12-10-2005 7:54 PM RAZD has responded

  
RAZD
Member
Posts: 20156
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 3.9


Message 99 of 136 (267605)
12-10-2005 6:26 PM
Reply to: Message 96 by Cal
12-10-2005 1:07 PM


organisms vs parts of organisms
In fact, whole organisms are transitory; only genes have an ongoing, autonomous existence.

but genes are also transitory if they are changing all the time due to "variations on a theme" processes.

personally I have some trouble with focusing on parts of systems as the active drivers for the whole systems.

I find the whole "selfish gene" approach to be false as it implies intention and direction on the part of a molecule.


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand

RebelAAmerican.Zen[Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 96 by Cal, posted 12-10-2005 1:07 PM Cal has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 100 by Cal, posted 12-10-2005 7:52 PM RAZD has not yet responded

  
Cal
Inactive Member


Message 100 of 136 (267624)
12-10-2005 7:52 PM
Reply to: Message 99 by RAZD
12-10-2005 6:26 PM


Re: organisms vs parts of organisms
but genes are also transitory if they are changing all the time due to "variations on a theme" processes.

And if they are (as many do) remaining pretty much the same over long periods of time, and finding their way into diverse organisms?

personally I have some trouble with focusing on parts of systems as the active drivers for the whole systems.

Yes, I can see that. I respectfully suggest that you work on it.

I find the whole "selfish gene" approach to be false as it implies intention and direction on the part of a molecule.

Dood, it's a metaphor. It is often said that "water seeks its own level", and "nature abhors a vacuum" -- both of which similarly 'imply intent' -- yet I would be surprised if you deemed either false on that basis; I expect you would understand that these are not intended to be interpreted literally.

Again, the problem you seem to be having is that you are attempting to apply an intuitive understanding of the way things work -- one gained by experience and observation at the level of whole organisms -- to entities at levels below that. If the presence of a gene within an organism (or a plasmid within a bacterial cell) produces results that tend to lead to the creation of more copies of the gene, more copies of the gene will tend to be created; the gene doesn't have to want to get replicated any more than a rock has to want to roll downhill.

This message has been edited by Cal, 12-10-2005 07:53 PM


This message is a reply to:
 Message 99 by RAZD, posted 12-10-2005 6:26 PM RAZD has not yet responded

  
pink sasquatch
Member (Idle past 4314 days)
Posts: 1567
Joined: 06-10-2004


Message 101 of 136 (267627)
12-10-2005 7:54 PM
Reply to: Message 98 by RAZD
12-10-2005 5:45 PM


Q: Can't you see it? logical problem. A: Look in the freakin' mirror, RAZD.
pink sasquatch, msg 97 writes:

I'm talking about hypothetical non-altruistic possibilities for the arisal of gene transfer during evolution.

So? That's not the discussion. The discussion is about altruistic behavior.

I was clearly discussing the evolution of gene transfer, something you had identified as altruistic behavior, claiming that there was no benefit to the donor cell.

I showed that you were wrong in many cases.

I never said all cases, despite the fact that you've tried to insist that's what I meant multiple times (no wonder you're having communication problems arguing against assumptions...)

I don't think "never" is necessary to negate a process as being altruistic. By your logic it seems that, say, cichlids producing young are being altruistic by providing food to predators, since it is rare that every single one of their young survives past fry stage. Altruism does not need to be invoked just because a behavior that benefits other organisms does not give a 100% return on the "donor" organism's investment - most behaviors are inefficient, including those that benefit others - a net benefit to the donor is all that is needed to negate altruism.

In the case of your single cell, perhaps it seems to you in your simplistic model that its "donation" of a plasmid to another cell is a sign of altruism. It is ignoring the reality that the donor cell under normal circumstances is likely to get something in return - either novel genetic information during transfer, or a neighbor who is going to help make something it needs to survive.

The occasion that the donor cell doesn't get a return on transfer isn't altruism by any means - instead, it is the donor getting screwed on its investment.

I thought I've been fairly clear about what I am talking about (on several issues) only to have others rebut some different argument that I am not making. Did the english language change while I was sleeping?

You decided to entirely ignore context, point out flaws in logic that don't exist, argue against assumptions, and point out strawman arguments I haven't made.

Isn't it funny that your communication skills are fine until someone solidly counters one of your assertions? Then suddenly you-no-speaky-the-english, and you meant something else entirely.

I'm tired of this shit.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 98 by RAZD, posted 12-10-2005 5:45 PM RAZD has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 103 by RAZD, posted 12-10-2005 8:41 PM pink sasquatch has responded

  
pink sasquatch
Member (Idle past 4314 days)
Posts: 1567
Joined: 06-10-2004


Message 102 of 136 (267633)
12-10-2005 8:04 PM
Reply to: Message 94 by Cal
12-10-2005 12:47 PM


Re: technical vs philosophical
Hey Cal,

I don't think I really disagree with anything in your post.

But to continue with your idea of "behaviors" and "interests" - I think we need to also keep in mind that many of these "behaviors" are "gambles", in that they don't always benefit a given entity's "interests".

Just because these "gambles" occasionally pay-off for the "interests" of others, but not of the "gambler", does not mean that the "gambler" was acting altruistically.

I think this is where RAZD's supposed altruistic gene transfer fails - it assumes "philanthropist" where it should be assuming "gambler".

Sorry about the anthropomorphism... (Though I enjoy the metaphor...)


This message is a reply to:
 Message 94 by Cal, posted 12-10-2005 12:47 PM Cal has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 104 by Cal, posted 12-10-2005 9:22 PM pink sasquatch has responded

  
RAZD
Member
Posts: 20156
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 3.9


Message 103 of 136 (267643)
12-10-2005 8:41 PM
Reply to: Message 101 by pink sasquatch
12-10-2005 7:54 PM


tired of this?
I was clearly discussing the evolution of gene transfer,

Yep, and as I noted that was not what the discussion was about before you entered it.

but hey. enjoy a big whopping empty victory, arguing a position that is 90 degrees to the discussion in spite of repeated attempts otherwise. blow the horns and send out the dogs. whoopie. (twirls noisemaker over head, throws confetti).

Isn't it funny that your communication skills are fine until someone solidly counters one of your assertions? Then suddenly you-no-speaky-the-english, and you meant something else entirely.

OR ... consider that I actually did mean something else in the first place.

OR ... have another tantrum.

enjoy.


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand

RebelAAmerican.Zen[Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 101 by pink sasquatch, posted 12-10-2005 7:54 PM pink sasquatch has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 105 by pink sasquatch, posted 12-10-2005 10:12 PM RAZD has responded

  
Cal
Inactive Member


Message 104 of 136 (267658)
12-10-2005 9:22 PM
Reply to: Message 102 by pink sasquatch
12-10-2005 8:04 PM


life is a gamble
I think we need to also keep in mind that many of these "behaviors" are "gambles", in that they don't always benefit a given entity's "interests".

I agree. But if a gambler makes the best play possible in a given situation, he may be said to be acting in his best interests -- and this is still true even if he loses. After all, gamblers don't have to win every time. The billions of dollars gambling casinos rake in every year are based on a very slight edge the house has over the player in the typical game (often less than 2%), and depend heavily on the fact that the significance of this edge is not intuitively obvious to the average player. It's easy to underestimate the steady, grinding power of a subtle, sustained statistical bias, and something that came as a revelation for me was when I first realized that reproductive success can be measured in very small increments. I tend to use the phrase "tend to" a lot; in biology, it often seems more accurate to speak of what "tends to" happen, rather than of what "happens".

Besides that, until all the 'choices' have been clearly expressed, and their consequences plotted on a payoff matrix, it may not be obvious which 'strategy' offers the best advantage in the long run.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 102 by pink sasquatch, posted 12-10-2005 8:04 PM pink sasquatch has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 106 by pink sasquatch, posted 12-10-2005 10:20 PM Cal has responded
 Message 109 by RAZD, posted 12-11-2005 8:35 AM Cal has responded

  
pink sasquatch
Member (Idle past 4314 days)
Posts: 1567
Joined: 06-10-2004


Message 105 of 136 (267674)
12-10-2005 10:12 PM
Reply to: Message 103 by RAZD
12-10-2005 8:41 PM


Re: tired of this?
Thanks for deciding again to whine about what you see as errors in the logic of my post rather than discussing the content.

Yep, and as I noted that was not what the discussion was about before you entered it. but hey. enjoy a big whopping empty victory, arguing a position that is 90 degrees to the discussion in spite of repeated attempts otherwise.

Actually, I was discussing the evolution of gene transfer "altruism" with Cal and you engaged me. Therefore, the discussion was about gene transfer in an evolutionary perspective before you entered it.

Therefore it is you who is guilty of "arguing a position that is 90 degrees to the discussion in spite of repeated attempts otherwise."

And you wonder why I get pissed off...

Ridiculous. You don't own the thread and get to decide what is and is not discussed.

enjoy.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 103 by RAZD, posted 12-10-2005 8:41 PM RAZD has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 108 by RAZD, posted 12-11-2005 8:25 AM pink sasquatch has responded

  
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