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The work of natural selection...

Discussion of everything related to the Theory of Evolution.

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The work of natural selection...

Postby deostroll » Wed Feb 07, 2007 3:40 pm

This thread is a sequel to Origins of Life that I had started. That thread never discussed about the origin of life; rather it talked about natural selection and the idea of survival, i.e. staying alive.

Where does the idea of staying alive come from? I guess this is the work of natural selection again. This is my conclusion. The old thread also ventured into some religious debate at one point of time. These discussions are something no thread starter can help, but nevertheless it shows only one thing - we are curious to know about life. No one is ever satisfied with all the explanations!

We have also actively discussed topics such as maternal love and its significance in evolution. My say regarding that is our species would not have survived if there was no such thing as maternal love. It is not just our species but other mammalian species as well.

I do not see how this thread will become as popular as its prequel. But if anyone has ideas concerning natural selection and its significance in evolution please post it here. Keep expanding this thread with your posts... :D
PS: I happen to be a philosopher, rather than a true scientist...
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Postby burninbriar » Wed Feb 07, 2007 10:10 pm

I'm not sure if you posted a statement or a question? I,ll give it a shot.
First I think there has to be a distinction between love and the desire to mate. The desire to mate would have to evolve simultaneously with the species splitting into a male and female counterpart. Male and female would obviously be useless without the desire to mate and the desire to mate would be useless without a male and female.The emotion of love would have to evolve later after mating evolved, before mating, love would counteract survival of the fittest. Love and caring generally would cause an organism to put its self in harms way to protect its object of affection. I think that would mess with survival of the fittest.
Last edited by burninbriar on Thu Feb 08, 2007 3:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby deostroll » Thu Feb 08, 2007 6:27 am

Love is not a single entity. If we talk about love here we could be referring to different versions - maternal love, patriotism, respect, addiction, etc. I was talking with respect to maternal love.

Think, if all mammalian mothers had the tendency to consume their young what would this had resulted into? If you are denying the offspring its chance to survive and grow you are trying to make the species go extinct. It is this program that has played a significant role in evolution. The mother does sacrifice herself to protect young ones from other hungry male members in the group or other enemies. [Think during the primordial days here...]. This phenemenon is true even today.

As for your version: love as a consequence of mating or pre-mating. It is actually quite different from what I've mentioned; but I don't agree with calling that love. In my opinion, so as to differenciate, I'd call that attraction. Love and attraction are different. Perhaps they serve different purposes. The program called love calls out for the altruistic reaction of an individual to protect the other, whereas attraction does not... The purpose of attraction, I'd vaguely say, may be to perhaps help in procreation. This is just my idea.

burninbriar wrote:The emotion of love would have to evolve later, without mating, love would counteract survival

I COULD NOT POSSIBLY KNOW IF THIS COULD BE TRUE...:D


What I intended to communicate here is totally another point: love could be something naturally selected. So is attraction...
PS: I happen to be a philosopher, rather than a true scientist...
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Postby burninbriar » Thu Feb 08, 2007 4:26 pm

deostroll wrote:Love is not a single entity. If we talk about love here we could be referring to different versions - maternal love, patriotism, respect, addiction, etc. I was talking with respect to maternal love.

Think, if all mammalian mothers had the tendency to consume their young what would this had resulted into? If you are denying the offspring its chance to survive and grow you are trying to make the species go extinct. It is this program that has played a significant role in evolution. The mother does sacrifice herself to protect young ones from other hungry male members in the group or other enemies. [Think during the primordial days here...]. This phenemenon is true even today.

As for your version: love as a consequence of mating or pre-mating. It is actually quite different from what I've mentioned; but I don't agree with calling that love. In my opinion, so as to differenciate, I'd call that attraction. Love and attraction are different. Perhaps they serve different purposes. The program called love calls out for the altruistic reaction of an individual to protect the other, whereas attraction does not... The purpose of attraction, I'd vaguely say, may be to perhaps help in procreation. This is just my idea.

burninbriar wrote:The emotion of love would have to evolve later, without mating, love would counteract survival



I COULD NOT POSSIBLY KNOW IF THIS COULD BE TRUE...:D


What I intended to communicate here is totally another point: love could be something naturally selected. So is attraction...


I'm sorry, I think we are some what on the same page here, I made a spelling error. I meant to say "before mating". It should have read, "The emotion of love would have to evolve later after mating evolved, because before mating, love would counteract survival of the fittest."
In my first sentence I said "First I think there has to be a distinction between love and the desire to mate."
This quote should read "Love and caring generally would cause an organism to put its self in harms way to protect its object of affection." instead of Love and caring generally would cause an organism to put its self in harms way to protect its mate.. I made the corrections in the original post so I think it will be more clear now.
Before mating evolved, love and affection would put an organism in harms way for no reason as far as survival goes. After the evolution of mating, love and affection could be beneficial because it now takes more than one to reproduce so all parties need equal protection. Since this would require the evolution to be based on the needs of an other, I would think it would be more by chance rather than a forced change. As for the various forms of love and affection, that could develop over time.
I did not mean to imply that love as a consequence of mating or pre-mating , I was only looking at the likely order in which thing could occur.
Before breaking off into male and female counter parts, the offspring would probably be pretty self sufficient and the food source would probably not be conducive to cannibalism.

I have trouble with the whole idea though,. in the first place, the first male and female mutations would more than likely be repulsive to the rest of the species and rejected. They would have to start totally on there own. That is why I said that the desire to mate would have to evolve simultaneously with the mutation.Its also difficult to understand why an organism that replicates itself would evolve to a more complicated and less efficient means of reproduction.

As far as maternal love, that would probably have to evolve before they evolve to a food source conducive to cannibalism.
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Postby burninbriar » Thu Feb 08, 2007 9:42 pm

I think an other thing to keep in mind is that at the time an organism would be capable of changing from a self replicating to a male & female type, it would have to be a very simple life form. No more complex than absolutely necessary to create the male and female components and the desire to mate. In other words I don't think you would have something evolved to the point of looking like a mouse and reproducing by its self and then mutate, I would think it would look more like a splotch under a microscope.??? If thats the case, its diet would not include hunting and killing pray so the maternal instincts to protect the young from other members of the species would probably have several million years to develop.
I sure hope someone more intelligent than me gets in on this because I really don't know and this is interesting to me.

Please excuse my last posts, sometimes I'm not very good at conveying my thoughts.
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Postby AstusAleator » Fri Feb 09, 2007 4:16 am

Is "love" something that is even defined by biology? As has been noted, there are many forms of love. Many different people have many different ideas about what love is...
Do animals experience love?

I don't think you can really apply love to a concept like natural selection until you define it in biological terms.
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Postby burninbriar » Fri Feb 09, 2007 5:07 am

You might have a point on love, but I think you have to consider the desire to mate just to be able to determine at what point the organism would be evolved enough mentally to mate (mental capacity to have the desire) so you can determine at what point it goes from a single cell organism to a species with a male and female.

Is there a designated point in evolution where male and female came to be?
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Postby deostroll » Fri Feb 09, 2007 6:29 am

AstusAleator wrote:Do animals experience love?


Yes. I had mentioned about the tendency of the mother to sacrifice itself to protect her young. This is a form of love. Or rather biological altruism. Have you heard of that term? If you come to philosophically argue, its one and the same thing on one level.
PS: I happen to be a philosopher, rather than a true scientist...
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Postby deostroll » Fri Feb 09, 2007 6:37 am

I guess we can define love in biological terms. But I don't know how. If biological altruism was proved, why not love...
PS: I happen to be a philosopher, rather than a true scientist...
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Postby AstusAleator » Sat Feb 10, 2007 9:03 am

I think many people would quickly try to draw a distinction between animals behaving altruistically, and human "love". Again, love is a multi-definition word.

If you mean it in the sense of altruism, then I think you can continue to explore the topic scientifically, but you should no longer call it love, just altruism. I know it seems like just semantics, but precision of language is important in science.

Also, define what you mean by altruism. There are different forms of altruism, even within the field of ecology.


If you don't start with a clearly stated question, you won't find any clear answer.
What did the parasitic Candiru fish say when it finally found a host? - - "Urethra!!"
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Postby narrowstaircase » Sat Feb 10, 2007 9:55 am

i think that for this conversation we can define love as altruism and also assume we know the single definition of this word. simply, acting selflessly. there really is no need for intellectual sidesteps.

apparent altruistic behaviour in animals has been explained by evolutionary psychology (selfish gene theory), the problem i have with this theory is that it extends itself to human behaviour, which in my own reading and thus understanding i've acknowledged as being insufficient in explaining our true ultruistic behaviour.

apparent altruism has been noted in the mother-offspring relationship of animals as well as in group settings (i forget the term for it) where for example there is a 'lookout' individual that riskes its life to warn the other individuals in the group of any danger. im not aware of any other cases of apparent altruism. i say apparent because in these cases it is the genes of the relatives that are being protected.

humans are known to risk their own lives to save people who are not related to them and even other species of animals or even wilderness in general. this is true altruism.

so now we have to ask ourselves what role does altruism play in the developement of a species? what was its biological pathway that led it being part of us? what is its relationship with consiousness? is altruism our species instincts? great questions that always excite me and keep me very happy to be studying biology.
"Oh wearisome Condition of Humanity! Borne under one law, to another bound: Vainley begot, and yet forbidden vanity, Created sicke, commanded to be sound: What meaneth nature by these diverse lawes? Passion and Reason, selfe-division cause."
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Postby narrowstaircase » Sat Feb 10, 2007 10:07 am

on the topic of staying alive

have you read anything on negative entropy? this law states that energy within an open system tends to form larger, more complex and more stable arrangements of matter over time. staying alive is the "more stable" effect of this process in action within the biota on earth. its simply a law of thermodynamics that (most)universities seem to diregard in their curriculum for some reason o.0

this second path to the second law of thermodynamics is responsible for all the heirarchy of matter that has developed on earth. from subatomic molecules to atoms to molecules all the way to humans. in it small 'things' come together to form larger 'things'. this law has been described as the law of intergrativeness. its the reason our bodies work so well. each cell has given up its individuallity and become part of a whole, so that an organised system can exist.

this intergrativeness is important in concidering how and why we (humans) developed into what we are.

edit: introduced integrativeness as a law on earth.
"Oh wearisome Condition of Humanity! Borne under one law, to another bound: Vainley begot, and yet forbidden vanity, Created sicke, commanded to be sound: What meaneth nature by these diverse lawes? Passion and Reason, selfe-division cause."
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