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Perception and Evolution

Discussion of everything related to the Theory of Evolution.

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Perception and Evolution

Postby precisionart » Tue May 01, 2012 6:42 pm

At what point does perception enter the process of evolution. Are all the mechanisms of evolution 'blind'? In other words, it seems that a tremendous power is ignored - an organism can perceive their environment so why doesn't evolution capitalize on this instead of relying on random mutations etc. I am sure I am naive, but a clarification would be great.
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Postby canalon » Wed May 02, 2012 3:41 pm

Because there is no way for the environment to directly influence the genetic material. This is a bad thing as it does not allow active adaptation, but also a very good thing as it also permits stability in the genetic material.
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Re: Perception and Evolution

Postby precisionart » Thu May 03, 2012 7:07 pm

Because there is no way for the environment to directly influence the genetic material.


This doesn't seem to ring true. If so, how does any form of instinct, which is a environmental response, get passed on? Of course there are also secondary examples such as mate selection based on perception, but since they are not immediate encoding they are not as relevant to the inquiry.

It also seems (at least to me) that there is a neglect for intelligent (forgive the word) activity in evolution. Symbolic thought is the most gross form, but every life form has some form of organized responses which have the potential of playing a role in evolution. I also don't think it is a fallacy to say that since intelligence (leaving the word ill defined) is an activity of the products of evolution (namely, us), then it must be operative in the overall process/movement of evolution. Breaking the process up into discreet units (organisms, species) hides this obvious fact.
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Re: Perception and Evolution

Postby animartco » Wed May 09, 2012 11:49 pm

I agree absolutely Prescision art. If intelligence played no part in evolution it wouldn't have arisen in the first place. By altering its behaviour an animal alters its genetic makeup, by eating a different food using different muscles, moving to a different climate. It is a decision the animal makes in order to survive, and the adaptation in the genes follows this decision, of necessity. If the genes are unable to keep up in adapting to the changes in behaviour, the animal becomes extinct.
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Postby Darby » Thu May 10, 2012 2:28 pm

Lamarck just won't die...
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Re: Perception and Evolution

Postby Rap » Fri May 25, 2012 6:25 am

"Intelligence" is basically the ability to learn, and that ability is genetic. What is learned depends on the environment. Instinct is not intelligence, it is what the genes have "learned".

Life forms do not alter their own genetic makeup, but they can affect their offspring's genetic makeup by their "decisions", which may be based on learning. Their decisions will bring different evolutionary pressures to their offspring, which in turn will be selected under those different pressures, and the surviving genes may then be different.

We are on the edge of a revolution in evolution - learned behavior directly affecting one's own (and others) genetic makeup. Mankind is slowly developing the ability to redesign genes based on learned lessons. A revolution of this magnitude only happens every hundred million years or so. Maybe billions. I think sex was the last one this big. Hang on to your hat.
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Postby JorgeLobo » Fri May 25, 2012 10:36 am

Classic ignorance of science and evolution. As you say, intellignce is a capability - knowledge gained by that capability is an acquired character. You are effectively saying that an acquired character can be inherited. At the individual level, this is inconsistent with the understanding that genetic makeup - DNA sequences are established at in the zygote. Of course, expression of genetic potential con be influenced by many factors.
Give us some examples please of this acquired character being establshed as an inherited, genetic element.
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Re:

Postby Rap » Fri May 25, 2012 6:55 pm

JorgeLobo wrote:Classic ignorance of science and evolution. As you say, intellignce is a capability - knowledge gained by that capability is an acquired character. You are effectively saying that an acquired character can be inherited. At the individual level, this is inconsistent with the understanding that genetic makeup - DNA sequences are established at in the zygote. Of course, expression of genetic potential con be influenced by many factors.
Give us some examples please of this acquired character being establshed as an inherited, genetic element.


I assume you are adressing animartco, not me.
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Postby JorgeLobo » Sat May 26, 2012 2:00 pm

Not entirely - "edge of a revolution in evolution" is pretty lame. "Ability to redesign genes" is pretty immaterial in an evolutionary sense. At best it'll be a boutique operation for the wealthy in developed world. It may well diminsh Tay-Sachs, Huntington etc. in that population- a bunch that characteristically has very few offspring, a population segment of de minimus impact in context of continued population growth in the 3rd world that will drive toward greater genetic diversity and determine the evolutonary fate of our species.

But i did like the assonance - revolution in evolution - very nice sound.
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Re:

Postby Rap » Sat May 26, 2012 3:59 pm

JorgeLobo wrote:Not entirely - "edge of a revolution in evolution" is pretty lame. "Ability to redesign genes" is pretty immaterial in an evolutionary sense. At best it'll be a boutique operation for the wealthy in developed world. It may well diminsh Tay-Sachs, Huntington etc. in that population- a bunch that characteristically has very few offspring, a population segment of de minimus impact in context of continued population growth in the 3rd world that will drive toward greater genetic diversity and determine the evolutonary fate of our species.

But i did like the assonance - revolution in evolution - very nice sound.


I think that is the near-term view. I am talking about the long term - hundreds, maybe thousands of years. Taking this long view, to say that the "ability to redesign genes is pretty immaterial in an evolutionary sense" is enormously wrong. The ability to redesign genes is not some fad that will fade out after all the rich people have their blonde hair and blue eyes. On an evolutionary timescale, it will cause an explosion in the rate of evolution. In the future, people will not just be fiddling with eye color and Tay-Sachs, they will be fiddling with everything, and it won't be a boutique operation, it will be an evolutionary struggle of immense proportions, with all the good and bad that that implies. The development of sex allowed a great advance in the rate of evolution, by mixing genes rather than waiting for a mutation. This allowed the development of large and long-lived plants and animals, which would have taken trillions of years to evolve if they relied on mutations alone. The development of sex took how long, maybe a few hundred million years? In a thousand years, we will be intelligently designing genes and organisms and accomplishing in a few hundred years what it took sex a few hundred million years to accomplish. And that rate will increase. If we don't wipe ourselves out first. Like I say, hang onto your hat.
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Re: Re:

Postby OdinsRaven » Sat May 26, 2012 6:04 pm

Rap wrote: If we don't wipe ourselves out first. Like I say, hang onto your hat.



Perhaps the most important aspect of them all. Man tends to think there is a man-made solution for every "problem". A wise man once said, " They're trying to replace Beethoven, Mozart and Bach with Yani, Yani and Yani." At this rate, it's just a matter of time until we wipe out natural selection, which I predict will kill us in the long run.
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Re: Re:

Postby Rap » Sat May 26, 2012 6:32 pm

OdinsRaven wrote:
Rap wrote: If we don't wipe ourselves out first. Like I say, hang onto your hat.



Perhaps the most important aspect of them all. Man tends to think there is a man-made solution for every "problem". A wise man once said, " They're trying to replace Beethoven, Mozart and Bach with Yani, Yani and Yani." At this rate, it's just a matter of time until we wipe out natural selection, which I predict will kill us in the long run.


I don't know. I come from a long line of people who were pretty dedicated to survival and reproduction, and so do you. So does everybody else. I'm cautiously optimistic.
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