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Population genetics, "happens for the good of the speci

Discussion of everything related to the Theory of Evolution.

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Population genetics, "happens for the good of the speci

Postby mmbell32 » Tue May 10, 2005 4:05 pm

On a recent exam in Pop. Genetics-evolution-ecology, i wrote on one of the essay questions that "...this happens for the good of the species." The professor circled this statement, and said it was toatally wrong. I have been thinking about it for about three weeks now and i can not seem to figure out what is so wrong, but by her reaction it is obviously something very wrong. Can any of you comment on this statement in general.
Thank you in advance.

M.M.Bell[/b]
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Postby Jelanen » Tue May 10, 2005 6:19 pm

IMHO, genetics works on an organisimal level, ie. whats good for the organism. If whats good for the organism ends up being good for the species, then cool, but to suggest what you wrote would indicate a gestalt "species mind" directing things.
Or I could be totally wrong...theres a reason I stay out of this forum.,.,

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Postby mith » Tue May 10, 2005 8:26 pm

What was the question though?
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Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
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Postby James » Tue May 10, 2005 8:35 pm

That answer makes evolution seem like an active process- where an outcome has been decided and worked towards. However, evolution is a passive process; it happens naturally, there is no goal decided by the species, natural selection just leads to evolution.
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Postby canalon » Tue May 10, 2005 8:39 pm

"For the good of the species..." is usually one of those expression you have to ban when you work on evolution. The level(s) at which evolution is taking place is still a hot debate among different authors. For some evolution is taking place at the gene level (selfish genes, Dawkins is the most famous author defending this theory), at the organism level (classical darwinism) or at higher levels (family, species,etc.. It is usually called "Kin selection"). And ther are other theories suggesting even weirder (but interesting and not compltely absurd) selection levels (P. Sonigo published a few things on this... in French).

Like Jelanen I am not going to give any definitive answers on this subject. That would be much too difficult. Each author has his/hers strong points, and it is hard to prove or disprove anything.
But as the dominant explanation is selection at the organism level, it should be avoided to speak of the good of the species. Just like you should avoid finality in your explanations.

HTH

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Postby mith » Tue May 10, 2005 8:43 pm

I am almost 100% sure that what canalon said is correct to some degree or the other depending on how it is interpreted.
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Postby canalon » Tue May 10, 2005 8:45 pm

mithrilhack wrote:I am almost 100% sure that what canalon said is correct to some degree or the other depending on how it is interpreted.


Huh? :?
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Postby mith » Tue May 10, 2005 9:00 pm

Avoiding finality :D
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Postby canalon » Tue May 10, 2005 9:09 pm

mithrilhack wrote:Avoiding finality :D


Oh! Only one meaning for me ther is none!... in evolution at least :wink:
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Postby Inuyasha » Tue May 10, 2005 9:58 pm

LOL. one thing to remember is that evolution occurs only to a population not to a person.
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Postby canalon » Wed May 11, 2005 3:30 am

Inuyasha wrote:LOL. one thing to remember is that evolution occurs only to a population not to a person.


But selection which is the driving force of evolution happens only at the organism level. Probably the weak point of the selfish gene theory in my opinion: genes maybe selected, but not without the organism around :D
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Postby jes » Thu May 12, 2005 8:47 am

Canalon wrote:But selection which is the driving force of evolution happens only at the organism level. Probably the weak point of the selfish gene theory in my opinion: genes maybe selected, but not without the organism around :D


Yes, but the genes build the organisms and make them what they are. So when natural selection work on the organisms, it's really working on the genes.
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