Complexity

Discussion in 'Health and medical' started by Chupacabra, Apr 14, 2004.

  1. Chupacabra

    Chupacabra Guest

    The question that perplexes me - why does evolution progress
    from the simple to the complex? The simple bacteria and
    other "primitive" forms of live are by no means less
    "viable" then more complex forms -- animals and humans. Many
    of these "primitive" species remain the same for the
    hundreds of millions of years, survive perfectly in their
    enviroments and don't need to evolve into the complex forms.
    Indeed, complex forms are often more fragile and susceptible
    to the environment perturbations than primitive ones. So how
    natural selection alone can explain the general vector of
    evolution - from simple and primitive to more complex forms?
    Or could there exist some another force apart from the
    natural selection -- to "push" evolution in the direction of
    complexity, developed nervous system, self-awareness etc.???
     
    Tags:


  2. R Norman

    R Norman Guest

    On Thu, 15 Apr 2004 03:57:36 +0000 (UTC), sharikoff@lycos.ru
    (chupacabra) wrote:

    >The question that perplexes me - why does evolution
    >progress from the simple to the complex? The simple
    >bacteria and other "primitive" forms of live are by no
    >means less "viable" then more complex forms -- animals and
    >humans. Many of these "primitive" species remain the same
    >for the hundreds of millions of years, survive perfectly in
    >their enviroments and don't need to evolve into the complex
    >forms. Indeed, complex forms are often more fragile and
    >susceptible to the environment perturbations than primitive
    >ones. So how natural selection alone can explain the
    >general vector of evolution - from simple and primitive to
    >more complex forms? Or could there exist some another force
    >apart from the natural selection -- to "push" evolution in
    >the direction of complexity, developed nervous system, self-
    >awareness etc.???

    The general idea now is that there is no "progression" of
    evolution towards more and more complex forms. It is
    necessarily true that the original life forms were
    relatively simple. It is also true that we are rather
    complex. So if you look at evolution from the original form
    to us, it does seem like an increase in complexity. However,
    most living things are microorganisms and if you look at
    evolution from the original to a modern bacterium, you get a
    different impression.

    Another way to look at it is as a random walk process.
    Evolution tends to spread out organisms in all directions.
    However, it started with simple things and there is a lower
    bound to how simple an organism can be and still be alive.
    So there is necessarily an increase in average complexity
    with time. Still, most things remain simple.
     
  3. Tim Tyler

    Tim Tyler Guest

    chupacabra <sharikoff@lycos.ru> wrote or quoted:

    > The question that perplexes me - why does evolution
    > progress from the simple to the complex? The simple
    > bacteria and other "primitive" forms of live are by no
    > means less "viable" then more complex forms -- animals and
    > humans. Many of these "primitive" species remain the same
    > for the hundreds of millions of years, survive perfectly
    > in their enviroments and don't need to evolve into the
    > complex forms. [...]

    The bacteria are disadvantaged - since they can't easily
    cooperate with one another, and build large structures - and
    such cooperation seems to pay off.

    They have been (literally) overshadowed - and relegated to
    the nooks and crannies of the world. These days much of the
    work gets done by macroscopic organisms - such as trees.

    Once bacteria ruled the world - but now they in the middle
    of a period of decline. Their decline seems likely to
    continue - as much of the world's chemical processing gets
    taken over by machines - who will have stolen the bacteria's
    enzymatic secrets from their genomes.
    --
    __________
    |im |yler http://timtyler.org/ tim@tt1lock.org Remove
    lock to reply.
     
  4. "chupacabra" <sharikoff@lycos.ru> wrote in message
    news:c5l17g$2jpj$1@darwin.ediacara.org...
    > The question that perplexes me - why does evolution
    > progress from the simple to the complex? The simple
    > bacteria and other "primitive" forms of live are by no
    > means less "viable" then more complex forms -- animals and
    > humans. Many of these "primitive" species remain the same
    > for the hundreds of millions of years, survive perfectly
    > in their enviroments and don't need to evolve into the
    > complex forms. Indeed, complex forms are often more
    > fragile and susceptible to the environment perturbations
    > than primitive ones. So how natural selection alone can
    > explain the general vector of evolution - from simple and
    > primitive to more complex forms? Or could there exist some
    > another force apart from the natural selection -- to
    > "push" evolution in the direction of complexity, developed
    > nervous system, self-awareness etc.???
    >

    When a niche space is thoroughly exploited by a large clade
    or group of large clades of simple creatures what else can
    happen, but that species with more complex structures will
    be favored in order to exploit a new niche space?

    The first niche spaces to be exploited in the early history
    of life were those that could support simple organisms.
    Therefore there were *always* more available niche spaces
    for more complex species than less.

    There is no *general vector* of evolution that determines
    that complexity will be favored. There is simply the drive
    to exploit available habitat in order to avoid competition
    from existing and diversified forms. Sometimes this will
    actually require the organim becomes more simple, as in the
    loss of limb structures in the evolution of marine mammals
    from terrestrial mammals. It does seem like the more
    successfull pathway for the organism, however, is the
    development of new functions.

    How large do you think the niche space is, or how many niche
    spaces do you think there are, for sentient beings on this
    planet? Will the next sentient being have to develop some
    new structure or function (say telepathy) in order to out
    compete us, or find a new niche space?

    Frank
     
  5. On Thu, 15 Apr 2004 03:57:36 +0000 (UTC), sharikoff@lycos.ru (chupacabra) wrote:

    >The question that perplexes me - why does evolution
    >progress from the simple to the complex? The simple
    >bacteria and other "primitive" forms of live are by no
    >means less "viable" then more complex forms -- animals and
    >humans. Many of these "primitive" species remain the same
    >for the hundreds of millions of years, survive perfectly in
    >their enviroments and don't need to evolve into the complex
    >forms. Indeed, complex forms are often more fragile and
    >susceptible to the environment perturbations than primitive
    >ones. So how natural selection alone can explain the
    >general vector of evolution - from simple and primitive to
    >more complex forms? Or could there exist some another force
    >apart from the natural selection -- to "push" evolution in
    >the direction of complexity, developed nervous system, self-
    >awareness etc.???

    The "drive" towards complexity is due to increased,
    successful reproduction in new niches. You said it: "Many of
    these 'primitive' species remain the same for hundreds of
    millions of years, survive perfectly in their environments
    and don't need to evolve into the complex forms." The "ones"
    that change and reproduce in new environments, do. Yes, when
    the environment changes and kills some of the complex forms,
    those complex forms that change and can reproduce in the new
    environment, do. Change and reproduction "push" evolution.
     
  6. Huck Turner

    Huck Turner Guest

    sharikoff@lycos.ru (chupacabra) wrote in message news:<c5l17g$2jpj$1@darwin.ediacara.org>...
    > The question that perplexes me - why does evolution
    > progress from the simple to the complex?

    It is a misunderstanding to say that there is such a thing
    as progress in evolution. Evolution is a diversification
    process so that all existing species are the leaves on a
    branching tree of ancestry. There is no objective sense in
    which you can say that any given species is more highly
    evolved than another. You can say that some species are
    older than others (crocodiles compared with finches, for
    example), but this may or may not correspond to the relative
    complexity of the species (are finches more complex than
    crocodiles?).

    > The simple bacteria and other "primitive" forms of live
    > are by no means less "viable" then more complex forms --
    > animals and humans. Many of these "primitive" species
    > remain the same for the hundreds of millions of years,
    > survive perfectly in their enviroments and don't need to
    > evolve into the complex forms. Indeed, complex forms are
    > often more fragile and susceptible to the environment
    > perturbations than primitive ones.

    Each species has to fit into a niche. Bacteria occupy a
    certain niche while more complex organisms occupy others.
    One is not better than another, although some environmental
    niches may be more enduring.

    > So how natural selection alone can explain the general
    > vector of evolution - from simple and primitive to more
    > complex forms? Or could there exist some another force
    > apart from the natural selection -- to "push" evolution in
    > the direction of complexity, developed nervous system, self-
    > awareness etc.???

    There is no drive towards greater complexity. Evolution
    often produces simpler variants from more complex variants,
    and in terms of raw numbers of organisms, there are vastly
    more individuals at the simple end (single celled organisms)
    than at the complex end, but while there is a lower bound on
    how simple things can be, there is no upper bound.
    Increasing the diversity of species must therefore increase
    the average complexity (because it can grow upwards but not
    downwards), but the distribution will still be heavily
    skewed towards the simple end.

    Another way of thinking about it is that each species has to
    fit a niche and there are more niches (i.e., ways of earning
    a living) to be exploited as complexity goes up, so up it
    goes. End of story.

    There is nothing inevitable about self-awareness,
    intelligence, language, morality or any of the other human
    traits that people tend to value so much. These traits just
    allow us to exploit a particular niche that evolution found
    for us. We earn a living by having these properties but at
    the cost of having an expensive brain which would not
    necessarily be worth the trouble for other species. It
    consumes a lot of energy and other nutrients, takes a long
    time to develop, and so on. In short, it may not be the most
    efficient way to get by in all environments.

    And if you really look at the relationship between
    reproductive success and properties like intelligence in
    humans, you'll find that thoughtful types have fewer
    children and usually later in life. This is neither good nor
    bad as far as I can see, but it suggests that the link
    between general intelligence and human evolution is less
    clear than many would have us think. It is unsurprising that
    the intellectual elite value intelligence and so tend to
    assume it is somehow the 'pinnacle' of evolution, but even
    if natural selection did favour intelligence (not obvious),
    we have no grounds for considering it more special than any
    other specific trait of any other species. It is just a
    trait that allows us to exploit a niche, just as flippers
    allow dolphins to exploit their niche. Dolphins can't think
    like us and we can't swim like them. Who's better? Of course
    the values of a society always reflect those of its rulers
    (i.e., the intellectual elite), so if you try telling anyone
    that intelligence has no particular claim to 'specialness',
    you're likely to encounter pretty serious resistance, but I
    see no alternative.

    H.

    ---
    Like-minds don't notice shared mistakes. Talk to
    someone else.
     
  7. << The question that perplexes me - why does evolution
    progress from the simple to the complex? The simple bacteria
    and other "primitive" forms of live are by no means less
    "viable" then more complex forms -- animals and humans. Many
    of these "primitive" species remain the same for the
    hundreds of millions of years, survive perfectly in their
    enviroments and don't need to evolve into the complex forms.
    Indeed, complex forms are often more fragile and susceptible
    to the environment perturbations than primitive ones. So how
    natural selection alone can explain the general vector of
    evolution - from simple and primitive to more complex forms?
    Or could there exist some another force apart from the
    natural selection -- to "push" evolution in the direction of
    complexity, developed nervous system, self-awareness etc.???
    >>

    I suggest two things.

    1. life becomes more complex because life IS an energy
    moderator (keeping within the temp range that allows for
    liquid water, highest enzyme reactions, etc.) Thus energy
    moderation with modification through descent.

    And complexity is the way to better modify that energy
    moderating system - better adapt life to its environment.

    2. As to speeds of change - I suggest this model

    As environmental fitness increases, stabilizing selection
    increases, and directional and diversifying selection
    decreases, and vice versa.

    Thus when adapted well - little change is forced. When not
    adapted, big change is selected for.
     
  8. Irr

    Irr Guest

    I found myself trying to tease out what exactly you mean by
    complexity, which I've found is where most conversations of
    this sort go awry. "More complex =~ larger" is loosely
    implied here, as is "more complex =~ more differentiable
    cell types" and as also is "more complex =~ more
    interactions". Rather than wager more likely misguided
    guesses, I figured I'd ask you if you could espouse a bit on
    your question. (This of course is the penultimate problem,
    well at least IMO. Complexity is about an umbrella a term as
    I can think of, and each of these implied meanings I've
    guessed at above has an entire school of evolutionary
    thinking).

    "chupacabra" <sharikoff@lycos.ru> wrote in message
    news:c5l17g$2jpj$1@darwin.ediacara.org...
    > The question that perplexes me - why does evolution
    > progress from the simple to the complex? The simple
    > bacteria and other "primitive" forms of live are by no
    > means less "viable" then more complex forms -- animals and
    > humans. Many of these "primitive" species remain the same
    > for the hundreds of millions of years, survive perfectly
    > in their enviroments and don't need to evolve into the
    > complex forms. Indeed, complex forms are often more
    > fragile and susceptible to the environment perturbations
    > than primitive ones. So how natural selection alone can
    > explain the general vector of evolution - from simple and
    > primitive to more complex forms? Or could there exist some
    > another force apart from the natural selection -- to
    > "push" evolution in the direction of complexity, developed
    > nervous system, self-awareness etc.???
     
  9. On Thu, 15 Apr 2004 03:57:36 +0000 (UTC), sharikoff@lycos.ru
    (chupacabra) wrote:

    The question that perplexes me - why does evolution progress
    from the simple to the complex? The simple bacteria and
    other "primitive" forms of live are by no means less
    "viable" then more complex forms -- animals and humans. Many
    of these "primitive" species remain the same for the
    hundreds of millions of years, survive perfectly in their
    enviroments and don't need to evolve into the complex forms.
    Indeed, complex forms are often more fragile and susceptible
    to the environment perturbations than primitive ones. So how
    natural selection alone can explain the general vector of
    evolution - from simple and primitive to more complex forms?
    Or could there exist some another force apart from the
    natural selection -- to "push" evolution in the direction of
    complexity, developed nervous system, self-awareness etc.???

    RN: The general idea now is that there is no "progression"
    of evolution towards more and more complex forms. It is
    necessarily true that the original life forms were
    relatively simple. It is also true that we are rather
    complex. So if you look at evolution from the original form
    to us, it does seem like an increase in complexity.

    However, most living things are microorganisms and if you
    look at evolution from the original to a modern bacterium,
    you get a different impression.

    Another way to look at it is as a random walk process.
    Evolution tends to spread out organisms in all directions.
    However, it started with simple things and there is a lower
    bound to how simple an organism can be and still be alive.
    So there is necessarily an increase in average complexity
    with time. Still, most things remain simple.

    MR:I think the "general idea" there has been no progression
    towards more complex forms is misleading. Looking at the
    Archeon, Proterozoic, Paleozoic, Mesozoic and Cenozoic
    eras there is certainly evidence of more diversity..even
    with the mass extinctions which have occurred. And I
    think in some important ways there have been a
    progression from more simple forms to complex forms. I
    realize bacteria have always been the Kings of the earth
    but it seems rather narrow to exclude all other life and
    just compare modern bacteria to ancient bacteria in terms
    of complexity.

    The first cells formed in the Archeon eon and were
    prokaryotic. Given the absence of free oxygen they must have
    secured energy through anaerobic pathways. Then during the
    Proterozoic eon oxygen began to accumulate. This ultimately
    stopped the further chemical origin of living cells. Aerobic
    respiration became the dominant energy releasing pathway.
    This led to the rise of multicelled eukaryotes and their
    invasion of far flung environments.

    It seems to me going from anaerobic pathways to aerobic
    respiration and from cells without a nucleus to multicelled
    eukaryotes represented a progression in complexity.

    Michael Ragland
     
  10. Malcolm

    Malcolm Guest

    "r norman" <rsn_@_comcast.net> wrote in message
    >
    > Another way to look at it is as a random walk process.
    > Evolution tends to spread out organisms in all directions.
    > However, it started with simple things and there is a
    > lower bound to how simple an organism can be and still be
    > alive. So there is necessarily an increase in average
    > complexity with time. Still, most things remain simple.
    >
    This was Sephen Gould's argument. The problem is that a
    "random walk" could only produce something that looked
    random - big agglomerations of cells maybe, but to
    exquisitely structured into a co-operative organism. It
    is true that some simple solutions to the problems of
    living still work. However for a substantial subset of
    organisms the more complex form offers an advantage. For
    instance, jawed mouths are more complex than jawless
    mouths and look longer to evolve. However the jawed
    fishes have radiated to fill a huge variety of niches,
    and even spread to the land, whilst the jawless solution
    is only viable in a few specialised niches, such as the
    parasitic hagfish and lampreys.
     
  11. Tim Tyler

    Tim Tyler Guest

    r norman <rsn_@_comcast.net> wrote or quoted:

    > The general idea now is that there is no "progression" of
    > evolution towards more and more complex forms. [...]

    Not /even/ Gould believed that! ;-)

    > It is necessarily true that the original life forms were
    > relatively simple. It is also true that we are rather
    > complex. So if you look at evolution from the original
    > form to us, it does seem like an increase in complexity.
    > However, most living things are microorganisms and if you
    > look at evolution from the original to a modern bacterium,
    > you get a different impression.
    >
    > Another way to look at it is as a random walk process.
    > Evolution tends to spread out organisms in all directions.
    > However, it started with simple things and there is a
    > lower bound to how simple an organism can be and still be
    > alive. So there is necessarily an increase in average
    > complexity with time. Still, most things remain simple.

    That is what Gould argued in his book on the subject.

    ...but I don't think he convinced very many people.

    I - for example - think his idea is complete nonsense.

    IMO, Dawkins destroys Gould's argument thus:

    ``Notwithstanding Gould?s just scepticism over the tendency
    to label each era by its newest arrivals, there really is a
    good possibility that major innovations in embryological
    technique open up new vistas of evolutionary possibility and
    that these constitute genuinely progressive improvements
    (Dawkins 1989; Maynard Smith & Szathm?ry 1995). The origin
    of the chromosome, of the bounded cell, of organized

    multicellularity, of gastrulation, of molluscan torsion,
    of segmentation ? each of these may have constituted a
    watershed event in the history of life. Not just in the
    normal Darwinian sense of assisting individuals to survive
    and reproduce, but watershed in the sense of boosting
    evolution itself in ways that seem entitled to the label
    progressive. It may well be that after, say, the invention
    of multicellularity, or the invention of metamerism,
    evolution was never the same again. In this sense there
    may be a one-way ratchet of progressive innovation in
    evolution.''

    ...and concludes:

    ``For this reason over the long term, and because of the
    cumulative character of coevolutionary arms races over the
    shorter term, Gould?s attempt to reduce all progress to a
    trivial, baseball-style artefact constitutes a surprising
    impoverishment, an uncharacteristic slight, an unwonted
    demeaning of the richness of evolutionary processes.''

    - http://www.world-of-
    dawkins.com/Dawkins/Work/Reviews/1997-06fullhouse.shtml

    I think Gould's point here is toast.

    ...and this is before we have made much mention of the
    specific effects of arms races between large-brained
    organisms trying to outwit each other.

    Gould isn't here to defend himself...

    ...though I know he would argue that looking at large-
    brained organisms would be anthropomorphic...

    ...so does anyone else care to argue that evoultion has no
    large-scale direction, or trend favouring the accumulation
    of technology, (and thus complexity)?

    On the face of it, it is hard to look at the world at
    the moment and not have it scream "PROGRESS" at you on
    all channels.

    Gould only managed it at all because he was a paleontologist
    - and not a technologist - but even then his proofreader
    should have told him he was talking complete nonsense.
    --
    __________
    |im |yler http://timtyler.org/ tim@tt1lock.org Remove
    lock to reply.
     
  12. Tim Tyler

    Tim Tyler Guest

    Frank Reichenbacher <me@nospam-for-me.net> wrote or quoted:

    > There is no *general vector* of evolution that determines
    > that complexity will be favored.

    Two effects seem to fit this bill - at least on a
    large scale:

    * The progressive accumulation of technology - e.g.
    photosynthesis, haemoglobin, etc;

    * Co-evolutionary arms races between large-brained
    organisms;

    The first one it the fundamental one. The second one does
    directly produce complexity - but it really relies on the
    first one to explain why it is ultimately favoured.

    The fact that nature is constantly learning new tricks -
    but rarely forgets old ones that were any use gives
    evolution an unmistakable progressive character - a
    direction, if you will.

    Some would go even further - and say that evolution has a
    "goal" - or at least is behaving as though it has one - by
    consitently heading in a specific direction.
    --
    __________
    |im |yler http://timtyler.org/ tim@tt1lock.org Remove
    lock to reply.
     
  13. << Another way to look at it is as a random walk process.
    Evolution tends to spread out organisms in all directions.
    However, it started with simple things and there is a lower
    bound to how simple an organism can be and still be alive.
    So there is necessarily an increase in average complexity
    with time. Still, most things remain simple.
    >>

    If I am correct this is the Gould idea that he suggests as
    seen by a drunk leaving a bar. But this 'falls down' when
    you look at the option Gould never mentions. The drunk lays
    down and does not move at all . And this from a co-creator
    of punctuated equilibrium! Tom Hendricks, Musea zine ed.
    http://musea.digitalchainsaw.com"

    Musea GUARANTEES every musician, painter, writer, etc. a
    REVIEW - a tough review - a fair review.

    Contact me for our policy. Samples:
    http://musea.digitalchainsaw.com/reviews1.html
     
  14. Guy Hoelzer

    Guy Hoelzer Guest

    in article c5l17g$2jpj$1@darwin.ediacara.org, chupacabra at
    sharikoff@lycos.ru wrote on 4/14/04 8:57 PM:

    > The question that perplexes me - why does evolution
    > progress from the simple to the complex? The simple
    > bacteria and other "primitive" forms of live are by no
    > means less "viable" then more complex forms -- animals and
    > humans. Many of these "primitive" species remain the same
    > for the hundreds of millions of years, survive perfectly
    > in their enviroments and don't need to evolve into the
    > complex forms. Indeed, complex forms are often more
    > fragile and susceptible to the environment perturbations
    > than primitive ones. So how natural selection alone can
    > explain the general vector of evolution - from simple and
    > primitive to more complex forms? Or could there exist some
    > another force apart from the natural selection -- to
    > "push" evolution in the direction of complexity, developed
    > nervous system, self-awareness etc.???

    I already see a large number of responses and my personal
    response has pretty well been represented if you stitch
    together bits from the set of other responses; but I just
    can't resist putting in my 2 cents on a subject that
    interests me so much.

    Evolution has produced increasingly complex organisms
    BECAUSE IT CAN. I do not mean this to be sarcastic or devoid
    of meaning. As I see it, life originated because there was a
    sufficiently potent energy gradient across space that life
    could effectively dissipate. The energy rich side of the
    gradient fuels living processes and the cold of the upper
    atmosphere, especially on the dark side of the planet, draws
    out the energy after its quality has been degraded to yield
    the work of constructing and maintaining the living systems.
    The constructive emergence of dissipative systems like this
    involves an increase in complexity, by definition, and it
    seems to be generically true that such systems continue to
    increase in complexity unless they run into constraints. The
    two sources of constraint that jump into my mind are the
    degree of potential represented by the gradient (it takes a
    more potent gradient to support development of a more
    complex system) and the material limitations of the system.
    Life is clearly far less constrained in the latter way
    compared to say the diversity of dissipative structures able
    to form in the earth's atmosphere. As pointed out by others,
    you can easily imagine some of the ecological factors that
    provide mechanisms of increasing species complexity. For
    example, the origin of simple organisms creates niches
    (potentials) that can be best filled by the emergence of
    more complex organisms, which creates new niches, and so on.
    It also takes more fuel (and a greater cold sink) to support
    the evolution of more species rich and complex food webs
    than to support smaller food webs. I would predict that the
    most complex organisms would be particularly vulnerable to
    extinction if the sun suddenly became dimmer.

    Guy
     
  15. Peter F.

    Peter F. Guest

    "chupacabra" <sharikoff@lycos.ru> wrote in message
    news:c5l17g$2jpj$1@darwin.ediacara.org...
    > The question that perplexes me - why does evolution
    > progress from the simple to the complex?

    Perhaps for you personally, it might be a philosophically
    pioneering move to start perceiving this your perplexity as
    a part of a perfectly profound and, according to fundamental
    laws of fundamental physics and neuropsychobiology, fully
    legitimate, philosophical feeling! Whether or not you are
    now being told about this feeling for the 'premiere fois',
    it is necessary to recognize it in order to achieve an
    exceptionally pleasing take on, or philosophically omni-
    inventorial overview (including of "first causes") of what
    is going on.

    As part of preparing oneself to be *entirely*
    philosophically and intellectually realistic, one has to
    consistently incorporate a dimension of absolute mystery
    into such a philosophical overview. But that is not all!
    What has to be deliberately intellectually incorporated is a
    "Tolerance Principled" acceptance of (and 'analytical
    approach affecting' attitude towards) an
    ultimate/fundamental uncertainty (about what is going on)
    RIGHT ALONGSIDE the _complete certainty_ that we exist
    ['have a probability score very close to 1' :)] as part of
    the self-patterning - into variously complex classes of self-
    knots (as suggested by the quantum-'mechanical' String/M-
    theory) - of What Is.

    And, don't trust people (whose reply posts pre-date mine;)
    to have an as realistically reasoned and tightly science-
    aligned philosophical spine as mine! ;-|

    This because they have not found - or have even refused
    to follow ;-< - my philosophical way around the fact that
    we tend to be, and _have evolved_ to tend to be,
    "AEVASIVE". %-}

    ------------------------------------------------------------
    ------------
    AEVASIVE _is_ complex yet simple set of science-aligned
    philosophical insights _thus compactly conceptualized_.

    What I mean by AEVASIVE I mean with a pragmatic implicitness
    and a "fuzzsilly" logic no more _imprecise and silly_ than
    is for strategic reasons 'accEPTable'.

    [This strategy is part of a "light-making" (both
    illuminating and relief-achieving) anthropocentric approach
    at grasping What Is going - and approach that centrally
    includes a explanatory terminological theme that suits being
    described as "SEPTIC humored"]

    By EPT I insinuate (refer to) an in a sense effectively
    philosophy terminating explanatory platform terminology
    that I contrived as part of an only semi-confused campaign
    of self-edutainment (now extended into an Internet-based
    philanthropically oriented organization for the promotion
    of EPT and EPT-aligned ideas - namely EAIMC Internetional
    Ptd Lty. %-)]
    ------------------------------------------------------------
    ----------------
    -

    Most generally, Evolution is (even if it might - for all I
    care - be interspersed by local slippages into _devolution_)
    best and preeminently definable NOT JUST as a "filling up of
    niches" - which in turn may be seen as
    projections/realizations of potentials of a (quasi-Platonic)
    biological configuration space - but as a patterning process
    that on the whole for a while produces: "increasingly
    complex patterns on decreasing numbers of occassions in
    decreasing numbers of places".

    P
     
  16. in article c5l17g$2jpj$1@darwin.ediacara.org, chupacabra at
    sharikoff@lycos.ru wrote on 15/4/04 3:57 PM:

    > The question that perplexes me - why does evolution
    > progress from the simple to the complex? The simple
    > bacteria and other "primitive" forms of live are by no
    > means less "viable" then more complex forms -- animals and
    > humans. Many of these "primitive" species remain the same
    > for the hundreds of millions of years, survive perfectly
    > in their enviroments and don't need to evolve into the
    > complex forms. Indeed, complex forms are often more
    > fragile and susceptible to the environment perturbations
    > than primitive ones. So how natural selection alone can
    > explain the general vector of evolution - from simple and
    > primitive to more complex forms? Or could there exist some
    > another force apart from the natural selection -- to
    > "push" evolution in the direction of complexity, developed
    > nervous system, self-awareness etc.??

    My theory is explained here

    ed-evolution.co.nz/selfishH/selfish_helper.ssi

    I have since I wrote this paper added some more aspects
    but they have not been published either in journals or to
    the web as et

    --

    Phillip Smith phills@(buggger).co.nz replace bugger with
    ihug http://www.applied-evolution.co.nz

    "he who is smeared with blubber has the kindest heart" -- a
    Greenland Eskimo adage
     
  17. Tim Tyler

    Tim Tyler Guest

    IRR <iotarhorho@r3m0v3.hotmail.com> wrote or quoted:

    > I found myself trying to tease out what exactly you mean
    > by complexity, which I've found is where most
    > conversations of this sort go awry. "More complex =~
    > larger" is loosely implied here, as is "more complex =~
    > more differentiable cell types" and as also is "more
    > complex =~ more interactions". Rather than wager more
    > likely misguided guesses, I figured I'd ask you if you
    > could espouse a bit on your question. (This of course is
    > the penultimate problem, well at least IMO. Complexity is
    > about an umbrella a term as I can think of, and each of
    > these implied meanings I've guessed at above has an entire
    > school of evolutionary thinking).

    There are several ways of defining biological complexity.

    Common metrics involve things like counting the number of
    different cell types an organism produces - and estimating
    the "kolmogorov complexity" of its genome.

    Though the definitions may differ in detail, they tend to be
    correlated - and in discussions like this it tends not to
    matter very much which one you use.
    --
    __________
    |im |yler http://timtyler.org/ tim@tt1lock.org Remove
    lock to reply.
     
  18. Anon.

    Anon. Guest

    TomHendricks474 wrote:
    > << Another way to look at it is as a random walk process.
    > Evolution tends to spread out organisms in all directions.
    > However, it started with simple things and there is a
    > lower bound to how simple an organism can be and still be
    > alive. So there is necessarily an increase in average
    > complexity with time. Still, most things remain simple.
    > >>
    >
    >
    > If I am correct this is the Gould idea that he suggests as
    > seen by a drunk leaving a bar. But this 'falls down' when
    > you look at the option Gould never mentions. The drunk
    > lays down and does not move at all .

    And then he dies. It's called no evolution, and leads to
    extinction.

    Goulds' point is simply that if you start of simple, then
    the only direction to go is towards complexity. If you're at
    the bottom, the only way to go is up...

    Bob

    --
    Bob O'Hara

    Dept. of Mathematics and Statistics
    P.O. Box 4 (Yliopistonkatu 5) FIN-00014 University of
    Helsinki Finland Telephone: +358-9-191 23743 Mobile:
    +358 50 599 0540 Fax: +358-9-191 22 779 WWW:
    http://www.RNI.Helsinki.FI/~boh/ Journal of Negative
    Results - EEB: http://www.jnr-eeb.org
     
  19. R Norman

    R Norman Guest

    On Thu, 15 Apr 2004 23:44:55 +0000 (UTC), "Malcolm"
    <malcolm@55bank.freeserve.co.uk> wrote:

    >
    >"r norman" <rsn_@_comcast.net> wrote in message
    >>
    >> Another way to look at it is as a random walk process.
    >> Evolution tends to spread out organisms in all
    >> directions. However, it started with simple things and
    >> there is a lower bound to how simple an organism can be
    >> and still be alive. So there is necessarily an increase
    >> in average complexity with time. Still, most things
    >> remain simple.
    >>
    >This was Sephen Gould's argument. The problem is that a
    >"random walk" could only produce something that looked
    >random - big agglomerations of cells maybe, but to
    >exquisitely structured into a co-operative organism. It is
    >true that some simple solutions to the problems of living
    >still work. However for a substantial subset of organisms
    >the more complex form offers an advantage. For instance,
    >jawed mouths are more complex than jawless mouths and look
    >longer to evolve. However the jawed fishes have radiated to
    >fill a huge variety of niches, and even spread to the land,
    >whilst the jawless solution is only viable in a few
    >specialised niches, such as the parasitic hagfish and
    >lampreys.
    >
    >
    A number of people have commented on my statement about
    evolution as a random walk with no specific tendency to
    evolve towards more complexity. Here is a better description
    of what I was trying to explain.

    Imagine an abstract "phenotype landscape" spread out, each
    point representing one possible type of organism. Imagine it
    organized by "complexity", something we can't really define
    or measure but we know it when we see it. On one side are
    the simple things, on the far end are the most complex.
    There is a wall on the simple end -- too simple and you
    can't sustain life. We don't know (or haven't reached) a
    wall on the complex end. In the beginning, you start with a
    bunch of cells all bunched along the wall at the simple end.
    Evolution is a random walk. There is no specific tendency to
    get more complex nor is there any specific tendency to get
    less complex. There is only a tendency to change, to move
    from where you are to another location. The changes are
    random in direction; a "drunkard's walk". Over time,
    organisms tend to fill the landscape, spreading out over
    everything. As time goes on, organisms spread farther and
    farther into the complex region. The leading edge always
    gets more and more complex. The average always gets more and
    more complex.

    Still, the mechanism of evolution in no way demonstrates a
    tendency to produce complexity. The mechanism of evolution
    is to produce and select for change. The "move towards
    complexity" is simply a product of the diffusion process
    (the random walk) and the boundary conditions (a barrier at
    the simple end) and the initial condition (start
    concentrated at the simple end).

    The existence today of a huge variety of less complex
    organisms (most genomic variability lies in the prokaryotes)
    shows that there are enormous numbers of habitats and niches
    where simple shows a high degree of fitness. On the other
    hand, there are enormous numbers of niches where complex
    shows higher fitness. We rather large terrestrial organisms
    tend to focus on the latter, completely overlooking the
    former. If we were microscopic aquatic organisms, we might
    have a different perspective.
     
  20. Tim Tyler

    Tim Tyler Guest

    Malcolm <malcolm@55bank.freeserve.co.uk> wrote or quoted:
    > "r norman" <rsn_@_comcast.net> wrote in message

    > > Another way to look at it is as a random walk process.
    > > Evolution tends to spread out organisms in all
    > > directions. However, it started with simple things and
    > > there is a lower bound to how simple an organism can be
    > > and still be alive. So there is necessarily an increase
    > > in average complexity with time. Still, most things
    > > remain simple.
    >
    > This was Sephen Gould's argument. The problem is that a
    > "random walk" could only produce something that looked
    > random - big agglomerations of cells maybe, but to
    > exquisitely structured into a co-operative organism.

    Gould's argument was that *complexity* followed a
    random walk.

    This criticism doesn't apply to that claim.

    It /would/ apply to the claim that evolution - or genomes -
    followed a random walk - but Gould never made those
    assertions in the first place.
    --
    __________
    |im |yler http://timtyler.org/ tim@tt1lock.org Remove
    lock to reply.
     

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