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Thread: How Do Phenotypes Get To Be How They Get To Be? (or) Is Natural Selection Biology's Phlogiston?

  1. #1 How Do Phenotypes Get To Be How They Get To Be? (or) Is Natural Selection Biology's Phlogiston? 
    Forum Freshman starlarvae's Avatar
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    Some creatures (and some plants) enjoy more reproductive success than others. This variability in reproductive success determines the allotments of genes that the next generation inherits. Specifically, the next generation inherits more of the genes of the more successful reproducers, and it inherits fewer of the genes of the less successful reproducers. These varying inheritances express themselves as various distributions of phenotypic traits, and that explains how phenotypes get to be how they get to be. (Read for "genes" shorthand for DNA, epigenetic markers and whatever else constitutes the machinery of inheritance.)

    So far so good for the theory of natural selection. But the truisms raise a question: Why do some creatures (and some plants) enjoy more reproductive success than others?

    The theory of natural selection assumes and asserts that reproductive success is a function of heritable phenotypic traits. According to the theory, variability among the heritable phenotypic traits in a local population causes the members of the population to exhibit variable reproductive success. Heritable phenotypic traits affect reproductive success by interacting with the environments in which their bearers live. A longer neck reaches higher fruits; a sharper eye detects more hidden prey, and so on. This is how traits lead to reproductive success, according to the theory.

    But this explanation begs more questions. Which attributes of a creature constitute phenotypic "traits"? And why should the heritable ones be credited with determining reproductive success?

    We coin a term, "trait", and identify, say, nose length, as one. We coin a term, "adaptation," and declare that a long (or short) nose is one. Its degree of adaptation relates the trait to "fitness," which determines reproductive success, which is a measure of the given creature's progeny: their number and viability and fertility.

    If we measure the noses of a generation of offspring, we might find an over-representation of nose-types associated with certain members of the parental generation. Natural selection theorists would regard this outcome as testifying to the reproductive success of those members of the parental generation, which would testify to their fitness, which would testify to their being adapted, which would testify to their possessing nose lengths within some range. To repeat: Reproductive success is a function of fitness, which is a function of adaptation, which is a function of heritable traits, goes the theory.

    The elaboration begs more questions: Which heritable traits are the adaptive ones? We can't say, offhand, because we can't distinguish between adaptive traits and other traits until we measure reproductive success. Once we do that, then we can credit whatever traits are overrepresented in the offspring generation with being adaptive and thereby conferring the fitness that led to the reproductive success of their earlier bearers. But we can credit traits with being adaptive only after reproductive success is measured, if we are to evaluate the theory of natural selection by its own terms.

    One can argue that traits contribute to reproductive success without being determinative, but then what becomes of the formula that says reproductive success is a function of fitness, which is a function of adaptation, which is a function heritable phenotypic traits? If that formula fails--if reproductive success is due to something else--then the theory of natural selection goes out the window, and we are left without a theory of how phenotypes get to be how they get to be.

    Variability of reproductive success necessarily reflects the interplay of countless variables, heritable phenotypic traits (nature) among them. Nonheritable phenotypic traits (nurture), along with countless environmental contingencies, also will affect reproductive success, positively or negatively. Dumb luck, being in the right place at the right time (or bad luck, being wrongly situated), might have more to do with reproductive success in many cases than having certain of one's phenotypic traits be more or less pronounced that the corresponding traits of stronger, faster, smarter--seemingly more fit--rivals.

    For example, if the rivals are north of the river and you're south of the river when the blaze consumes half the forest, or the pack of predators converges upwind of you but downwind of your rivals, or the rivals are sterile for having been caught in the plague as infants, then you might emerge as the more fit, based on your reproductive success, but not due to heritable phenotypic traits. Factors responsible for your reproductive success need have no connection to heritability.

    Nonetheless, in these scenarios your genes will be overrepresented in the next generation--all of your genes, whether we can concoct stories about any particular ones contributing to fitness, by playing adaptive roles, or not.

    The same thing applies to traits acquired through diet and/or exercise. In the case of acquired traits, no matter how important the traits are in determining reproductive success, they are not heritable. Only their genetic potential is heritable. Identical twins, even in the same environment, will not necessarily enjoy identical reproductive success. Nonheritable effects might rule the day.

    The natural selection theorist can counter that the local habitat's variability, typically small and random, will tend to cancel itself out over time, leaving genetic effects to determine reproductive outcomes. But the formula can be read either way: The local population's phenotypic variability, typically small and random, will tend to cancel itself out over time, leaving environmental (nonheritable) effects to determine reproductive outcomes.

    The foregoing suggests that natural selection theory be formulated as a problem of signal-to-noise ratio. That is, the burden on the theory is to show that the variability of heritable phenotypic traits within a species in a local population, limited as it is by developmental constraints, nonetheless is significant enough to account for the variability of reproductive success among the members of a generation. Can the variability of the heritable traits in a given generation, the signal, rise above the day-in day-out contingencies of the environment and the intrinsic developmental constraints that limit the variability of phenotypes in a given generation, the noise, to override these factors and determine reproductive outcomes generation after generation?

    What magnitude of variability is necessary to tip the scales? A nose-length variability of one cell? A hundred cells? A nanometer? An inch?

    In a given habitat, selection pressures will operate above a given magnitude of variability for any given trait. But for any given trait, how does nature determine that threshold of significance? If the determination depends on someone first measuring reproductive success, then we've made no progress beyond the truisms of the first paragraph of this post.

    Even computers programmed to simulate evolution use criteria to decide which simulated creatures enjoy which levels of reproductive success. This must be so, if evolution is to occur among the simulated creatures. But nature has no criteria by which to select winners and losers. Fitness? By which criteria is that to be assigned? Adaptation? Ditto. The buck stops at varying reproductive success itself.

    Like pagan myths, adaptation, fitness and selection personify nature. They are fig leaves hung on the unsettling parts of secular ideology. As a guiding narrative, natural selection is becoming shopworn. We notice the scent of biological phlogiston. Phenotypes get to be how they get to be by some other means.


    Last edited by starlarvae; April 25th, 2012 at 02:18 PM.
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    You're not half as intelligent as you think you are.

    For example, if the rivals are north of the river and you're south of the river when the blaze consumes half the forest, or the pack of predators converges upwind of you but downwind of your rivals, or the rivals are sterile for having been caught in the plague as infants, then you might emerge as the more fit, based on your reproductive success, but not due to heritable phenotypic traits. Factors responsible for your reproductive success need have no connection to heritability.
    No reputable scientist would posit solely that reproductive success is a function of heritable traits which adapt animals to the environment. There are different mechanisms of action. Natural selection is only one. There is also the growing field of epigenetics, which discusses how certain proteins can turn genes "on" and "off" during one's lifetime depending on one's behavior. You should look into it (you were close to understanding it with the "exercise comments"). And, of course, rare, chance events that animals may be entirely unprepared for. Your scenario makes sense. It's about the only thing you've written that makes sense, in fact. Biology is very complicated, it isn't as simple and clear cut as you've made it out to be.


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    But nature has no criteria by which to select winners and losers.
    That's silly - of course it does.

    Factors responsible for your reproductive success need have no connection to heritability.
    So? They only need to involve heritable traits once in a while, in a small part of the environment, at long intervals, to drive evolution.

    But the formula can be read either way: The local population's phenotypic variability, typically small and random, will tend to cancel itself out over time, leaving environmental (nonheritable) effects to determine reproductive outcomes.
    Which is one reason species with large populations in stable environments tend to persist in recognizable form for many tens of thousands of years, rather than evolve further.
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    I'm intrigued by your use of words. As us "scientists" are spelling hazards mostly. But i disagree with starvalarvae. On the points that i think there are selection parameters. Determined by our surroundings. But we can never have all the criteria, as you did not incorporate things like the unexpected, or luck in your computer program. This way you will never end up where you want to be, as there are always factors you didn't incorporate.

    The parameters for an experiment, is to use a time period as short as possible. This natural selection your talking about is to broad, huge and has to many variables.

    On gottspieler, i know that epigenetics has effect on the phenotype, though i am not sure how to see this. I thought epigenetics (in the cell) was mainly used as a promotor/silencing agent. As i don't know the rest of it yet.
    Growing up, i marveled at star-trek's science, and ignored the perfect society. Now, i try to ignore their science, and marvel at the society.

    Imagine, being able to create matter out of thin air, and not coming up with using drones for boarding hostile ships. Or using drones to defend your own ship. Heck, using drones to block energy attacks, counterattack or for surveillance. Unless, of course, they are nano-machines in your blood, which is a billion times more complex..
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    It is sad to see an accomplished writer use words to obfuscate rather than clarify. Gotspeiller was correct - he just got the fraction wrong.
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    Why do some creatures (and some plants) enjoy more reproductive success than others?
    Sorry if I havent read the entire post with great attention, but a quick response would be that's the way the cookie crumbles, crap happens any which way and what ever result results whether is neat and poetic or not.
    I think some phenotypes or genes result from a blend, some result from selective pressures (at some point in the past), others arent and are carried along or vary over time through mutations without selective pressure. I cannot imagine that the exact number of hairs on your eyebrow, plus or minus one, has any effect on your survival or reproductive success, in our present environment. On the other hand, when you note the similarities between the hydrodynamic forms of sharks, dolphins, and Ichthyosaur marine reptile, you get a sense that the various variations of circumstances for these creatures had a relative constant, that of a water environment, which over a long time nudged "some" of the genetic properties in an hydrodynamic direction.
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    Woo-Woo Warning

    Please read star.larvae's link. Here is his (her) hypothesis and the reason for his OP:
    1. Stars constitute a genus of organism.
    2. The stellar life cycle includes a larval phase.
    3. Biological life constitutes the larval phase of the stellar life cycle.

    Form your own opinion. I have formed mine.
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    Forum Freshman starlarvae's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gottspieler View Post
    You're not half as intelligent as you think you are.
    It's amazing how quickly things turn personal once someone dares to question the doctrine of natural selection.

    No reputable scientist would posit solely that reproductive success is a function of heritable traits which adapt animals to the environment. There are different mechanisms of action. Natural selection is only one. There is also the growing field of epigenetics, which discusses how certain proteins can turn genes "on" and "off" during one's lifetime depending on one's behavior. You should look into it (you were close to understanding it with the "exercise comments"). And, of course, rare, chance events that animals may be entirely unprepared for. Your scenario makes sense. It's about the only thing you've written that makes sense, in fact. Biology is very complicated, it isn't as simple and clear cut as you've made it out to be.
    You're just reiterating what I said in my post, except I'd never say that biology is simple.
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    Quote Originally Posted by iceaura View Post
    But nature has no criteria by which to select winners and losers.
    That's silly - of course it does.
    No it doesn't, because nature can't select, any more than it can praise or condemn. Some creatures enjoy more reproductive success than others, and you can call that "selection" if you want, but doing so tells us nothing more than that some creatures enjoy more reproductive success than others.

    Factors responsible for your reproductive success need have no connection to heritability.
    So? They only need to involve heritable traits once in a while, in a small part of the environment, at long intervals, to drive evolution.
    You seem to be saying that heritability plays a minor, tangential, peripheral role in shaping phenotypes but that heritable traits "drive" evolution. Vrooom. Vrooom. You're making (little to) no sense.

    But the formula can be read either way: The local population's phenotypic variability, typically small and random, will tend to cancel itself out over time, leaving environmental (nonheritable) effects to determine reproductive outcomes.
    Which is one reason species with large populations in stable environments tend to persist in recognizable form for many tens of thousands of years, rather than evolve further.
    OK with me. I thought you were going to say I missed the boat.
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    On gottspieler, i know that epigenetics has effect on the phenotype, though i am not sure how to see this. I thought epigenetics (in the cell) was mainly used as a promotor/silencing agent. As i don't know the rest of it yet.
    I've read mostly the same. But we don't know the entire story yet, which is my point.
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    Quote Originally Posted by icewendigo View Post
    Why do some creatures (and some plants) enjoy more reproductive success than others?
    Sorry if I havent read the entire post with great attention, but a quick response would be that's the way the cookie crumbles, crap happens any which way and what ever result results whether is neat and poetic or not.
    I think some phenotypes or genes result from a blend, some result from selective pressures (at some point in the past), others arent and are carried along or vary over time through mutations without selective pressure. I cannot imagine that the exact number of hairs on your eyebrow, plus or minus one, has any effect on your survival or reproductive success, in our present environment. On the other hand, when you note the similarities between the hydrodynamic forms of sharks, dolphins, and Ichthyosaur marine reptile, you get a sense that the various variations of circumstances for these creatures had a relative constant, that of a water environment, which over a long time nudged "some" of the genetic properties in an hydrodynamic direction.
    I don't know that we disagree about much. But I am surprised that no one commenting on my post cares to use the vocabulary of adaptation and fitness, which I thought was central to the theory of natural selection. I seem to be the conservative one here, clinging to the established vocabulary. If evolution theorists are bailing on natural selection as an explanation of how phenotypes get to be how they get to be, then I guess I am late to the party, or beating a dead horse. Has evolution theory really retreated to a position of, "Well, lots of stuff happens and some stuff falls out of that, and that's what we get"? That's science?
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    Quote Originally Posted by starlarvae
    No it doesn't, because nature can't select, any more than it can praise or condemn. Some creatures enjoy more reproductive success than others, and you can call that "selection" if you want,
    Yes, we do want. And we do. So?

    Quote Originally Posted by starlarvae
    You seem to be saying that heritability plays a minor, tangential, peripheral role in shaping phenotypes but that heritable traits "drive" evolution.
    Pay attention to what I am actually saying, and avoid projecting your own "seem" into my stuff.

    My claim was that heritability did not need to be a universal, or even common, in traits, to play a major role in the determination, maintenance, change, and evolution of phenotypes. Traits do not in themselves "drive" Darwinian evolution - in my post, I assert that "factors responsible for reproductive success" drive evolution. Heritable traits would be one of those factors. Luck would be another.
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    "The theory of natural selection assumes and asserts that reproductive success is a function of heritable phenotypic traits. According to the theory, variability among the heritable phenotypic traits in a local population causes the members of the population to exhibit variable reproductive success. Heritable phenotypic traits affect reproductive success by interacting with the environments in which their bearers live. A longer neck reaches higher fruits; a sharper eye detects more hidden prey, and so on. This is how traits lead to reproductive success, according to the theory."

    Not sure if I'm following. Are you suggesting that reproductive success is dependant upon phenotypic traits caused by the environment, or by natural selection? When reaching higher fruits, such as a giraff, a longer neck could have possibly been a fluke that was considered benificial to the reproductive population, thus encouraging selection. A short neck would not have been an advantage and so would be eleminated by the same means in a particular environment.

    So, my question would be; what causes the "fluke?" This is a hypothetical question as I do not know what the giraff[e] evolved from or the phisiology of their most recent ancestor, but natrual selection is more of a concious, or subconcious, literal selection whether that be by strained resources (sexual selection) or advantages that urge the species to select (sexually). It seems more Freudian while there are other influences at the cellular level, right? These are questions.

    "There is also the growing field of epigenetics, which discusses how certain proteins can turn genes "on" and "off" during one's lifetime depending on one's behavior."

    When reading about epigenetics, there seems to be a bit of a psych slant, Freudian minus phallacy, when considering that behavior (cognitive processes) has any influence on genotypic expression. It's a very foggy area and isn't measurable. What is measurable is environmental pressures such as oxygen or heat. How do living beings adapt to these changes without selection and without mutations and is it heritable within the reproductive population? Not that it leads to speciation, but over millions of years via selection, can it? Or is it postulative phlogiston; a mere difference in terminology...something that is odorless, colorless, tastless, and without mass...well, isn't it gas? Same thing. Right? This is a question.

    Anywho, I do like the notion of the fig leaves and pagen beliefs. Was it not the fig leaf that separated us from beasts and inhibited natural selection? We now are able to have genetic counselling to determine if parteners are genetically compatible, but in the wild, was there such a thing or was it seeing which neck was able to reach the top of the tree to ultimately eat the fig?
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    I think we need to be a bit more specific about what we are saying. What exactly is a non inheritable trait that might lead to reproductive success? Tattos? Piercings? muscles from a obcessive exercise program? Or negatively, an injury or other chance event. Statisticly these things can be shown to be spread randomely over a population.
    To challenge "natural selection" is to espose 'un natural selection". Which begs the question of who or what is making the selection? By what means is the un natural selection being done? What is the method of un natural selection? Can you offer any evidence of the existance of this mechaism?
    If you say a screw was turned then you need to demonstrate the the existence of not only someone to turn it but also of a suitable screwdriver.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sealeaf View Post
    What exactly is a non inheritable trait that might lead to reproductive success? Tattos? Piercings? muscles from a obcessive exercise program? Or negatively, an injury or other chance event. Statisticly these things can be shown to be spread randomely over a population.
    Well, in the animal world, this would be - Talent -
    - Talent for hunting.
    - Talent for finding food.
    - Talent for finding shelter.

    In the plant world.. this would not, or barely exist. Maybe luck.. Same mostly with bacteria and fungi.
    Growing up, i marveled at star-trek's science, and ignored the perfect society. Now, i try to ignore their science, and marvel at the society.

    Imagine, being able to create matter out of thin air, and not coming up with using drones for boarding hostile ships. Or using drones to defend your own ship. Heck, using drones to block energy attacks, counterattack or for surveillance. Unless, of course, they are nano-machines in your blood, which is a billion times more complex..
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zwolver View Post
    Well, in the animal world, this would be - Talent -
    - Talent for hunting.
    - Talent for finding food.
    - Talent for finding shelter.
    Wouldn't these all have at least some degree of heritability? There are obvious physical factors such as better eyesight, strength, etc. that could contribute to these "talents". Purely psychological factors (intelligence, determination, etc) probably have a genetic component as well.
    Without wishing to overstate my case, everything in the observable universe definitely has its origins in Northamptonshire -- Alan Moore
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    Identical twins usually have different skills. I think the same is the case for animals. Genetics will have some degree of influence though, i still believe that.
    Growing up, i marveled at star-trek's science, and ignored the perfect society. Now, i try to ignore their science, and marvel at the society.

    Imagine, being able to create matter out of thin air, and not coming up with using drones for boarding hostile ships. Or using drones to defend your own ship. Heck, using drones to block energy attacks, counterattack or for surveillance. Unless, of course, they are nano-machines in your blood, which is a billion times more complex..
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zwolver View Post
    Genetics will have some degree of influence though, i still believe that.
    That is all you need.
    Without wishing to overstate my case, everything in the observable universe definitely has its origins in Northamptonshire -- Alan Moore
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    Quote Originally Posted by gottspieler View Post
    On gottspieler, i know that epigenetics has effect on the phenotype, though i am not sure how to see this. I thought epigenetics (in the cell) was mainly used as a promotor/silencing agent. As i don't know the rest of it yet.
    I've read mostly the same. But we don't know the entire story yet, which is my point.
    All the cells in your body (other than those of the symbionts & parasites you're hosting) are descended from the same zygote, the same fertilized egg cell. Yet, despite being genetically identical, the cells in your body exhibit many phenotypes. Muscle, nerve, pancreas, skin -- all very different cell types, morphologically and functionally, but genetically identical. How is it possible?

    Epigenetic markers switch genes on and off, or, to borrow language from neurology, they excite and inhibit genes. Its genetic switch settings determine a cell's morphology and function--its phenotype. As cells differentiate in a developing body, epigenetic markers do their thing.

    What's really interesting is that now it looks like evolution works the same way: DNA is highly conserved across species, yet species are able to vary dramatically phenotypically -- due to epigenetic regulation of gene expression. Extended commentary is here: Star Larvae: Ontophylogeny

    (Anybody else think it's weird that a science forum spell checker doesn't recognize "epigenetic"?)
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    Woo-Woo Warning

    Please read star.larvae's link. Here is his (her) hypothesis and the reason for his OP:
    1. Stars constitute a genus of organism.
    2. The stellar life cycle includes a larval phase.
    3. Biological life constitutes the larval phase of the stellar life cycle.

    Form your own opinion. I have formed mine.
    No doubt forests would have happily included this nonsense in his Highly Plausible List of Anti-Darwists.
    Without wishing to overstate my case, everything in the observable universe definitely has its origins in Northamptonshire -- Alan Moore
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    Quote Originally Posted by iceaura View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by starlarvae
    No it doesn't, because nature can't select, any more than it can praise or condemn. Some creatures enjoy more reproductive success than others, and you can call that "selection" if you want,
    Yes, we do want. And we do. So?
    If you call it selection, then you're giving up on the notion that selection explains anything. You're using it as a descriptor for the observation that some creatures enjoy more reproductive success than others. I thought natural selection theory was supposed to explain, not merely describe.

    My claim was that heritability did not need to be a universal, or even common, in traits, to play a major role in the determination, maintenance, change, and evolution of phenotypes.
    How does heritability play a major role if it is not universal, or even common, in traits?

    Traits do not in themselves "drive" Darwinian evolution - in my post, I assert that "factors responsible for reproductive success" drive evolution. Heritable traits would be one of those factors. Luck would be another.
    You're dancing. If heritable traits are not driving, and maybe mostly occupying passenger seats, then they never will arrive at the scenic towns of Adaptation or Fitness.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    Woo-Woo Warning

    Please read star.larvae's link. Here is his (her) hypothesis and the reason for his OP:
    1. Stars constitute a genus of organism.
    2. The stellar life cycle includes a larval phase.
    3. Biological life constitutes the larval phase of the stellar life cycle.


    Form your own opinion. I have formed mine.
    No doubt forests would have happily included this nonsense in his Highly Plausible List of Anti-Darwists.
    Can you provide a link to the Highly Plausible list? I'm always looking for useful references. Thanks.
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    d
    Last edited by starlarvae; April 21st, 2012 at 09:34 AM. Reason: sorry. not sure how to delete a post.
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    Quote Originally Posted by starlarvae
    If you call it selection, then you're giving up on the notion that selection explains anything. You're using it as a descriptor for the observation that some creatures enjoy more reproductive success than others.
    I'm using it as an informative and suggestive name for the collection of mechanisms involved in differential reproductive success. Why not?
    Quote Originally Posted by starlarvae
    How does heritability play a major role if it is not universal, or even common, in traits?
    By making major differences in the long term outcomes, of course.
    Quote Originally Posted by starlarvae
    Traits do not in themselves "drive" Darwinian evolution - in my post, I assert that "factors responsible for reproductive success" drive evolution. Heritable traits would be one of those factors. Luck would be another.

    You're dancing. If heritable traits are not driving,
    I'm pointing out that your rewrites of my assertions are significantly different from the assertions as written. There's no point in discussing assertions not made except by you, errors not committed by anyone except you, etc, in a thread about Darwinian evolution of phenotypes. No one is arguing that heritability of traits is not an important factor in "driving" evolutionary change.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sealeaf View Post
    I think we need to be a bit more specific about what we are saying. What exactly is a non inheritable trait that might lead to reproductive success? Tattos? Piercings? muscles from a obcessive exercise program? Or negatively, an injury or other chance event. Statisticly these things can be shown to be spread randomely over a population.
    To challenge "natural selection" is to espose 'un natural selection". Which begs the question of who or what is making the selection? By what means is the un natural selection being done? What is the method of un natural selection? Can you offer any evidence of the existance of this mechaism?
    If you say a screw was turned then you need to demonstrate the the existence of not only someone to turn it but also of a suitable screwdriver.
    Not necessarily. The differentiation of cells when an embryo develops doesn't involve selection, natural or unnatural. I suspect that the differentiation of species when evolution occurs doesn't involve selection, either. But instead it occurs due to the same mechanisms that regulate the differentiation of cells in a body.
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  27. #26  
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    Quote Originally Posted by iceaura View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by starlarvae
    If you call it selection, then you're giving up on the notion that selection explains anything. You're using it as a descriptor for the observation that some creatures enjoy more reproductive success than others.
    I'm using it as an informative and suggestive name for the collection of mechanisms involved in differential reproductive success. Why not?
    If you're conceding that heritable traits have no claim to that of being a signal that rises above the noise of the other factors, then we have no quarrel.


    Quote Originally Posted by starlarvae
    How does heritability play a major role if it is not universal, or even common, in traits?
    By making major differences in the long term outcomes, of course.
    How does it do that?

    Quote Originally Posted by starlarvae
    Traits do not in themselves "drive" Darwinian evolution - in my post, I assert that "factors responsible for reproductive success" drive evolution. Heritable traits would be one of those factors. Luck would be another.

    You're dancing. If heritable traits are not driving,
    I'm pointing out that your rewrites of my assertions are significantly different from the assertions as written. There's no point in discussing assertions not made except by you, errors not committed by anyone except you, etc, in a thread about Darwinian evolution of phenotypes. No one is arguing that heritability of traits is not an important factor in "driving" evolutionary change.
    When you say, "factors responsible for reproductive success drive evolution" you are significantly rewriting the theory of evolution by natural selection, which, by they way, tends not to be referred to as the theory of evolution by luck. Why not?
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    Quote Originally Posted by starlarvae View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Sealeaf View Post
    I think we need to be a bit more specific about what we are saying. What exactly is a non inheritable trait that might lead to reproductive success? Tattos? Piercings? muscles from a obcessive exercise program? Or negatively, an injury or other chance event. Statisticly these things can be shown to be spread randomely over a population.
    To challenge "natural selection" is to espose 'un natural selection". Which begs the question of who or what is making the selection? By what means is the un natural selection being done? What is the method of un natural selection? Can you offer any evidence of the existance of this mechaism?
    If you say a screw was turned then you need to demonstrate the the existence of not only someone to turn it but also of a suitable screwdriver.
    Not necessarily. The differentiation of cells when an embryo develops doesn't involve selection, natural or unnatural. I suspect that the differentiation of species when evolution occurs doesn't involve selection, either. But instead it occurs due to the same mechanisms that regulate the differentiation of cells in a body.
    The problem with that notion is that selection is a process we can and do observe happening. It is one we use to generate special purpose life forms. There are not a lot of wild toy poodles running around, we made them. The process you propose is not observed happening and cannot be made to happen experimentally. In fact there is no evidence that it is even possible. The evidence is that in the absence of any selective pressures on a population of living things the range of what is normal phenotypes for that species slowly broadens but specification does not occure.
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    Quote Originally Posted by starlarvae View Post
    I suspect that the differentiation of species when evolution occurs doesn't involve selection, either.
    You can suspect whatever you want. Where is the evidence?
    Without wishing to overstate my case, everything in the observable universe definitely has its origins in Northamptonshire -- Alan Moore
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    Quote Originally Posted by starlarvae View Post
    When you say, "factors responsible for reproductive success drive evolution" you are significantly rewriting the theory of evolution by natural selection
    Can you explain why you think that? It might help elucidate what it is that you don't understand about how evolution works.

    Do you think "reproductive success" is somehow not a factor (in fact, the factor) in selection?
    Without wishing to overstate my case, everything in the observable universe definitely has its origins in Northamptonshire -- Alan Moore
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sealeaf View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by starlarvae View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Sealeaf View Post
    I think we need to be a bit more specific about what we are saying. What exactly is a non inheritable trait that might lead to reproductive success? Tattos? Piercings? muscles from a obcessive exercise program? Or negatively, an injury or other chance event. Statisticly these things can be shown to be spread randomely over a population.
    To challenge "natural selection" is to espose 'un natural selection". Which begs the question of who or what is making the selection? By what means is the un natural selection being done? What is the method of un natural selection? Can you offer any evidence of the existance of this mechaism?
    If you say a screw was turned then you need to demonstrate the the existence of not only someone to turn it but also of a suitable screwdriver.
    Not necessarily. The differentiation of cells when an embryo develops doesn't involve selection, natural or unnatural. I suspect that the differentiation of species when evolution occurs doesn't involve selection, either. But instead it occurs due to the same mechanisms that regulate the differentiation of cells in a body.
    The problem with that notion is that selection is a process we can and do observe happening. It is one we use to generate special purpose life forms. There are not a lot of wild toy poodles running around, we made them. The process you propose is not observed happening and cannot be made to happen experimentally. In fact there is no evidence that it is even possible. The evidence is that in the absence of any selective pressures on a population of living things the range of what is normal phenotypes for that species slowly broadens but specification does not occure.
    No, we don't observe selection happening. We observe differential reproductive success. Calling it selection just muddies the waters, because selection implies, or at least connotes, (it entails) criteria by which selections are made. If you think nature uses criteria to make selections, then you are anthropomorphizing nature. Stop it. We're trying to be scientists.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by starlarvae View Post
    I suspect that the differentiation of species when evolution occurs doesn't involve selection, either.
    You can suspect whatever you want. Where is the evidence?
    spelled out at Star Larvae: Ontophylogeny
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by starlarvae View Post
    When you say, "factors responsible for reproductive success drive evolution" you are significantly rewriting the theory of evolution by natural selection
    Can you explain why you think that? It might help elucidate what it is that you don't understand about how evolution works.

    Do you think "reproductive success" is somehow not a factor (in fact, the factor) in selection?
    I stated that poorly. You were right to call me on it.

    Of course, factors responsible for reproductive success drive evolution. The question is, "What are those factors?" Natural selection theory says that they are heritable phenotypic traits. That's an assertion. All we actually observe are differences in reproductive success.
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    How is everyone here defining "reproductive success"? Are you determining this at the numbers being produced or the numbers that survive to reproduce again?
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    Muscle, nerve, pancreas, skin -- all very different cell types, morphologically and functionally, but genetically identical. How is it possible?
    All cells have the ability to potential differentiate into specific types of cells early on. They lose such plasticity later on as they become specialized to specific functions. This is why stem cells hold so much promise in regenerative medicine and blood disorders.

    "cellular differentiation is the process by which a less specialized cell becomes a more specialized cell type. Differentiation occurs numerous times during the development of a multicellular organism as the organism changes from a simple zygote to a complex system of tissues and cell types. Differentiation is a common process in adults as well: adult stem cells divide and create fully differentiated daughter cells during tissue repair and during normal cell turnover. Differentiation dramatically changes a cell's size, shape, membrane potential, metabolic activity, and responsiveness to signals. These changes are largely due to highly controlled modifications in gene expression. With a few exceptions, cellular differentiation almost never involves a change in the DNA sequence itself. Thus, different cells can have very different physical characteristics despite having the same genome."

    Gene expression involves enhancers, promoters and repressors which act on DNA.
    Last edited by gottspieler; April 22nd, 2012 at 06:59 PM.
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    The easiest way to say this, is that the cell "locks" certain specific DNA. This can no longer be used in this specific type of cell. Many cells lock the reproductive DNA to ensure it can no longer proliferate. The more DNA is locked, the more specific the cell is. As a tissue cell, has locked all but the tissue specific DNA, plus the house keeping genes.

    This locking system is also called cell differentiation. I just name it as easy as possible to understand. As some of these guys go over the top with their scientific explanations. The locking process doesn't remove the unused DNA, (except on red blood cells), but it curls up and can't be read or unwound by proteins this cell can still produce.

    This means stem cells are unique in a way that it is the only cell type that can still be anything. (though there are many stem cell types that can no longer be anything, and have been specified to a certain cell type, like a blood cell, or skin cell, or muscle cell.)
    Growing up, i marveled at star-trek's science, and ignored the perfect society. Now, i try to ignore their science, and marvel at the society.

    Imagine, being able to create matter out of thin air, and not coming up with using drones for boarding hostile ships. Or using drones to defend your own ship. Heck, using drones to block energy attacks, counterattack or for surveillance. Unless, of course, they are nano-machines in your blood, which is a billion times more complex..
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  37. #36 Measuring Reproductive Success 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barbi View Post
    How is everyone here defining "reproductive success"? Are you determining this at the numbers being produced or the numbers that survive to reproduce again?
    Good question. A first approximation might have to do with the number and viability and fertility of offspring, relative to competitors within the local population of the given species. Do the offspring themselves have to reproduce to justify crediting the parents with reproductive success? What about the grand-offspring? How many generations into the future do we consider? Take your pick, I suppose.
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    Quote Originally Posted by gottspieler View Post
    Muscle, nerve, pancreas, skin -- all very different cell types, morphologically and functionally, but genetically identical. How is it possible?
    All cells have the ability to potential differentiate into specific types of cells early on. They lose such plasticity later on as they become specialized to specific functions. This is why stem cells hold so much promise in regenerative medicine and blood disorders.

    "cellular differentiation is the process by which a less specialized cell becomes a more specialized cell type. Differentiation occurs numerous times during the development of a multicellular organism as the organism changes from a simple zygote to a complex system of tissues and cell types. Differentiation is a common process in adults as well: adult stem cells divide and create fully differentiated daughter cells during tissue repair and during normal cell turnover. Differentiation dramatically changes a cell's size, shape, membrane potential, metabolic activity, and responsiveness to signals. These changes are largely due to highly controlled modifications in gene expression. With a few exceptions, cellular differentiation almost never involves a change in the DNA sequence itself. Thus, different cells can have very different physical characteristics despite having the same genome."

    Gene expression involves enhancers, promoters and repressors which act on DNA.
    Yes. And the (relatively) new discipline of evolutionary developmental biology (evo-devo) looks to the same kinds of genetic switch-flipping mechanisms to account for the differentiation of species during evolution.
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    Then why did you write

    Muscle, nerve, pancreas, skin -- all very different cell types, morphologically and functionally, but genetically identical. How is it possible?
    ????

    Oh, I see now...I thought you were asking me the question. You posed it to yourself and answered it. Nevermind.
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    You're just reiterating what I said in my post
    No, I don't recall typing this:

    what becomes of the formula that says reproductive success is a function of fitness, which is a function of adaptation, which is a function heritable phenotypic traits? If that formula fails--if reproductive success is due to something else--then the theory of natural selection goes out the window, and we are left without a theory of how phenotypes get to be how they get to be
    .

    OR:

    Phenotypes get to be how they get to be by some other means
    What do you mean by this? You give off an aura of unwarranted arrogance. You behave like a man who thinks he is a genius. You act like you have some new, groundbreaking theory of evolution. So what is your theory. Without obfuscating please. We don't need the poetry.
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    I agree with gottspieler. I have nothing against you starlarvae, but you tend to come over to me as arrogant. And i myself have learned (the hard way) that arrogance, on any website is jumped upon like pirana's on a bleeding cow. Try to ease up on the certainties, and ask more questions.

    "A man who knows all, knows nothing", "Asking a good question is a sign of true wisdom" , "There are enough ungrounded claims in the world to BE the ground"

    Dunno if the quotes were from somewhere. I didn't mean to steal/borrow them. I recalled what i wanted to say in a colorfull but simple line.
    Growing up, i marveled at star-trek's science, and ignored the perfect society. Now, i try to ignore their science, and marvel at the society.

    Imagine, being able to create matter out of thin air, and not coming up with using drones for boarding hostile ships. Or using drones to defend your own ship. Heck, using drones to block energy attacks, counterattack or for surveillance. Unless, of course, they are nano-machines in your blood, which is a billion times more complex..
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  42. #41  
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    Quote Originally Posted by gottspieler View Post
    You're just reiterating what I said in my post
    No, I don't recall typing this:

    what becomes of the formula that says reproductive success is a function of fitness, which is a function of adaptation, which is a function heritable phenotypic traits? If that formula fails--if reproductive success is due to something else--then the theory of natural selection goes out the window, and we are left without a theory of how phenotypes get to be how they get to be
    .

    OR:

    Phenotypes get to be how they get to be by some other means
    What do you mean by this? You give off an aura of unwarranted arrogance. You behave like a man who thinks he is a genius. You act like you have some new, groundbreaking theory of evolution. So what is your theory. Without obfuscating please. We don't need the poetry.
    I have a favorite alternative to natural selection theory, but if I say much about it then this thread is likely to be demoted to the Pseudoscience category (this happened to me once before), so I'd prefer to keep the discussion focused on natural selection theory. My argument is just that natural selection is a bad theory. It can't explain what it purports to explain--namely, how phenotypes get to be how they get to be. If it doesn't work, then it doesn't work. There's no necessary burdon on me to propose an alternative.
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    Quote Originally Posted by starlarvae View Post
    I have a favorite alternative to natural selection theory, but if I say much about it then this thread is likely to be demoted to the Pseudoscience category
    I'm surprised it hasn't already.

    (this happened to me once before)
    Are you surprised?

    My argument is just that natural selection is a bad theory. It can't explain what it purports to explain--namely, how phenotypes get to be how they get to be. If it doesn't work, then it doesn't work. There's no necessary burdon on me to propose an alternative.
    Except it does work. (Although, as our dear friend forests would keep reminding us, it may not be the whole story.)

    I'm not sure if you just don't understand it or if your fantasy blinds you to the evidence.
    Without wishing to overstate my case, everything in the observable universe definitely has its origins in Northamptonshire -- Alan Moore
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    About phenotypes, what determines what we look like. Not as a species, but as an individual. The intronic mutations or polymorphisms? And which alleles apply for facial structure. From let's say, Brad Pitt?..

    As genes do not specify where the eye is (on the millimeter), and neiter do they specify where the nose begins or ends. My guess is, it's all intronic. What do you think?
    Growing up, i marveled at star-trek's science, and ignored the perfect society. Now, i try to ignore their science, and marvel at the society.

    Imagine, being able to create matter out of thin air, and not coming up with using drones for boarding hostile ships. Or using drones to defend your own ship. Heck, using drones to block energy attacks, counterattack or for surveillance. Unless, of course, they are nano-machines in your blood, which is a billion times more complex..
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by starlarvae View Post
    I have a favorite alternative to natural selection theory, but if I say much about it then this thread is likely to be demoted to the Pseudoscience category
    I'm surprised it hasn't already.

    (this happened to me once before)
    Are you surprised?

    My argument is just that natural selection is a bad theory. It can't explain what it purports to explain--namely, how phenotypes get to be how they get to be. If it doesn't work, then it doesn't work. There's no necessary burdon on me to propose an alternative.
    Except it does work. (Although, as our dear friend forests would keep reminding us, it may not be the whole story.)

    I'm not sure if you just don't understand it or if your fantasy blinds you to the evidence.
    I made my case in the post that started this thread. Let me know what fault you find in it.
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    If this were a Bio exam, do you think you'd pass Mr. Larvae?
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    Postplanetary life
    manufactures the protons needed to create, then metamorphoses into, new stars
    Like aliens? Not being clear here...

    Technology plays a necessary role in evolution. It enables biological life to emigrate from planets to weightless space.
    What now?

    Biology evolves within an ontogenetic program that in its entirety, on- and off-planet, constitutes a generational life cycle of the stellar organism.
    Go ahead and attempt to explain this...yes, it will end up in the Pseudoscience section where you don't want it to be but where it belongs but that is unavoidable and you know it. So don't be afraid. Go all out. What you're proposing isn't science and you are well aware of it. Back up your claims if you can. We are all waiting... just promise me you won't spout this nonsense to young children and or the uninitiated and confuse them about what genuine science is all about...
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    But no matter how many terms science coins to name the tendency of matter to self organize, offering each as being more scientific than its predecessors, the concept of the spontaneous organization of matter into complex systems remains mysterious. An occult life force and "self organization" are operationally indistinguishable concepts. The difference between them is one of metaphysical assumption; nature's self-organizing capacity constitutes a borderland shared by science and religion.
    NO. This isn't true in the least. You are doing sloppy science (ignoring the results of the Miller-Urey experiment in this case specifically) and your philosophical claim that "an occult life force and self-organization are operationally indistinguishable concepts" is entirely unwarranted.

    Complex systems are gods, then, and complexity theory is a brand of theology
    Again...NO. Complex systems are not like gods...they don't spontaneously generate matter by some unknown, imaginary supernatural mechanism. Complex systems form from the accumulation of minor changes over time...light sensitive spots evolve into eyes...fins into limbs, etc over the course of millions of years.
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    the carbon cycle, the nitrogen cycle, and similar recyclings of materials that operate globally, taken collectively, constitute a planetary metabolism.
    So your argument is that because chemical reactions take place on Earth that the Earth is a living organism with its own metabolism? Is all of Earth alive? The atmosphere? The water? The soil? What is your definition of "life"?
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    Given phenotypic plasticity and the impoverishing effects of weightlessness on bone and muscle tissue, one should be able to predict the morphology, or body shape, of native extraterrestrials. Similarly, given neuroplasticity and the enriching effects of weightlessness on brain tissue, one should be able to predict the psychology of native extraterrestrials
    Who are these "native extraterrestrials" and why do you imagine they'd be anything like us?
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    Biology is the larval phase of the stellar life cycle.
    the "coincidence" of black holes and biological organisms requiring the same values of the fundamental constants is no coincidence at all.
    This requires further explanation.
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    ...mistake post
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    Quote Originally Posted by starlarvae
    Natural selection theory says that they are heritable phenotypic traits. That's an assertion. All we actually observe are differences in reproductive success.
    We observe heritable phenotypic traits quite often, the correlations between them and reproductive success are thoroughly documented, and the mechanisms underlying such correlation are often easily demonstrated.

    Quote Originally Posted by starlarvae
    How many generations into the future do we consider? Take your pick, I suppose.
    Enough to establish displacement of the former genetics - can be one generation in the case of a natural disaster and population bottleneck with selection mostly luck, can take thousands in the case of major skeletal modifications of small and fluctuating advantage in a large initial population.

    Your "pick" would have to be justified on physical grounds and observed or well argued causation - it would of course not be arbitrary.
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    Quote Originally Posted by starlarvae View Post
    I made my case in the post that started this thread. Let me know what fault you find in it.
    It is wrong.
    Strange likes this.
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    Quote Originally Posted by starlarvae View Post
    I made my case in the post that started this thread. Let me know what fault you find in it.
    From what you write, I can't tell if you are genuinely ignorant of how evolution works or are deliberately misrepresenting it in order to bolster your science fiction story.

    Apart from that? It is wrong.
    Without wishing to overstate my case, everything in the observable universe definitely has its origins in Northamptonshire -- Alan Moore
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    Constantly saying "it's wrong" does not make a real topic. Just give your interpretation of what is right then. As half of what starlarvae is VERY open to interpretation. And the rest mostly is correct. Though some points he makes are totally unsupported.
    Growing up, i marveled at star-trek's science, and ignored the perfect society. Now, i try to ignore their science, and marvel at the society.

    Imagine, being able to create matter out of thin air, and not coming up with using drones for boarding hostile ships. Or using drones to defend your own ship. Heck, using drones to block energy attacks, counterattack or for surveillance. Unless, of course, they are nano-machines in your blood, which is a billion times more complex..
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    Others, far better than me, have explained his misconceptions/misrepresentations. I can't see anything to add. Some people are so deluded that further discussion is futile.
    Without wishing to overstate my case, everything in the observable universe definitely has its origins in Northamptonshire -- Alan Moore
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zwolver View Post
    Constantly saying "it's wrong" does not make a real topic.
    If you choose, as Starlarvae does, to use elegantly phrased sentences and cleverly constructed paragraphs to convey nonsense, then the content is still nonsense and does not make a real topic. However, I shall accede to your implied admonition and tell starlarvae where (s)he is wrong. The following is not necessarily comprehensive. Starlarvae's words will be identified by blue text.

    1. But the truisms beg a question: This statement refers to a concise description of some aspects of evolutionary theory provided by starlarvae in 1st paragraph of the OP. The concise description may just qualify as a group of truisms, but only because starlarvae has so truncated the description. Were a comprehensive description provided then the inherently disparaging claim that these are truisms would be readily dismissed. This is either poor logic or dishonesty. (Other alternatives may exist: I do not currently see them.)

    2. The theory of natural selection assumes and asserts that reproductive success is a function of heritable phenotypic traits. The theory does not make such assumptions, but establishes that this is the case in diverse ways through proper evaluation of many observations. To claim that the theory assumes its conclusions is either a gross misunderstaning of the scientific process and the meaning of the word theory, or it is a deliberate misrepresentation of the facts. (Other alternatives may exist: I do not currently see them.)
    Secondly, starlarvae's statement here strongly implies that in terms of the theory of natural selection only heritable phenotypic traits account for reproductive success. This is assuredly not the case, so the statement is misleading in the extreme.

    3. Which attributes of a creature constitute phenotypic "traits"? And why should the heritable ones be credited with determining reproductive success? Well, duh! Phenotypic traits are well defined. We'll run with wikipedia for convenience: A phenotype is the composite of an organism's observable characteristics or traits: such as its morphology, development, biochemical or physiological properties, phenology, behavior, and products of behavior (such as a bird's nest). Phenotypes result from the expression of an organism's genes as well as the influence of environmental factors and the interactions between the two.

    It is misleading to suggest, as you do with your question, that their is some kind of mystery here.

    4. And why should the heritable ones be credited with determining reproductive success? Why would they not be so credited? Are you suggesting that only heritable one are so credited? That's what you appear to be suggesting and once again that is totally misleading.

    So, by the fourth paragraph of the OP we have four serious misrepresetations or misinterpretations of evolutionary theory before we have even got into the meat of starlarvae's argument. Four points wherein starlarvae is simply wrong. Do I really need to wade through more drivel?
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    Quote Originally Posted by gottspieler View Post
    Given phenotypic plasticity and the impoverishing effects of weightlessness on bone and muscle tissue, one should be able to predict the morphology, or body shape, of native extraterrestrials. Similarly, given neuroplasticity and the enriching effects of weightlessness on brain tissue, one should be able to predict the psychology of native extraterrestrials
    Who are these "native extraterrestrials" and why do you imagine they'd be anything like us?
    I'm referring specifically to our descendants, but the term applies to any organisms born in space.

    If I find the time, I'll start a Pseudoscience thread on The Hypothesis. That would be a better place to get into details. But I appreciate your interest.
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    test test test
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Zwolver View Post
    Constantly saying "it's wrong" does not make a real topic.
    If you choose, as Starlarvae does, to use elegantly phrased sentences and cleverly constructed paragraphs to convey nonsense, then the content is still nonsense and does not make a real topic. However, I shall accede to your implied admonition and tell starlarvae where (s)he is wrong. The following is not necessarily comprehensive. Starlarvae's words will be identified by blue text.
    1. But the truisms beg a question: This statement refers to a concise description of some aspects of evolutionary theory provided by starlarvae in 1st paragraph of the OP. The concise description may just qualify as a group of truisms, but only because starlarvae has so truncated the description. Were a comprehensive description provided then the inherently disparaging claim that these are truisms would be readily dismissed. This is either poor logic or dishonesty. (Other alternatives may exist: I do not currently see them.)
    What specifically does my "truncated" account get wrong?

    2. The theory of natural selection assumes and asserts that reproductive success is a function of heritable phenotypic traits. The theory does not make such assumptions, but establishes that this is the case in diverse ways through proper evaluation of many observations. To claim that the theory assumes its conclusions is either a gross misunderstaning of the scientific process and the meaning of the word theory, or it is a deliberate misrepresentation of the facts. (Other alternatives may exist: I do not currently see them.)
    Secondly, starlarvae's statement here strongly implies that in terms of the theory of natural selection only heritable phenotypic traits account for reproductive success. This is assuredly not the case, so the statement is misleading in the extreme.
    What determines a creature's degree of reproductive success? If it's just a bunch of variables interacting willy-nilly, then there is no hope for the theory of natural selection. If it's something else, please share the specifics.

    3. Which attributes of a creature constitute phenotypic "traits"? And why should the heritable ones be credited with determining reproductive success? Well, duh! Phenotypic traits are well defined. We'll run with wikipedia for convenience: A phenotype is the composite of an organism's observable characteristics or traits: such as its morphology, development, biochemical or physiological properties, phenology, behavior, and products of behavior (such as a bird's nest). Phenotypes result from the expression of an organism's genes as well as the influence of environmental factors and the interactions between the two.

    It is misleading to suggest, as you do with your question, that their is some kind of mystery here.
    This has been called the granularity problem. Is the lens of the eye a trait? or the whole eye? or the eye plus the optic nerve? or all that plus the visual cortex? There are no natural joints at which to cleave creatures into traits.

    4. And why should the heritable ones be credited with determining reproductive success? Why would they not be so credited? Are you suggesting that only heritable one are so credited? That's what you appear to be suggesting and once again that is totally misleading.
    If one generation's phenotype doesn't hinge on the heritability of the X's that were responsible for the reproductive success of the more successful reproducers of the previous generation, then natural selection theory is incoherent.
    Last edited by starlarvae; April 26th, 2012 at 10:44 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by starlarvae
    If one generation's phenotype doesn't hinge on the heritability of the X's that were responsible for the reproductive success of the more successful reproducers of the previous generation, then natural selection theory is incoherent.
    That is false.

    Natural selection does not have to operate on all traits all the time to have great influence and result in evolutionary change; just the occasional trait, a heritable one, once in a while.

    Phenotypes do not "hinge on the heritability" of anything, btw. They hinge on the interactions between genetic code and developmental environment.
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    Quote Originally Posted by starlarvae View Post
    This has been called the granularity problem. Is the lens of the eye a trait? or the whole eye? or the eye plus the optic nerve? or all that plus the visual cortex? There are no natural joints at which to cleave creatures into traits.
    I really don't know what you mean by this. The eye was originally first founded on slug like creatures.
    Evolution of the eye - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    And every part was there from the beginning, but it was once just a piece of photoreceptive skin.
    Growing up, i marveled at star-trek's science, and ignored the perfect society. Now, i try to ignore their science, and marvel at the society.

    Imagine, being able to create matter out of thin air, and not coming up with using drones for boarding hostile ships. Or using drones to defend your own ship. Heck, using drones to block energy attacks, counterattack or for surveillance. Unless, of course, they are nano-machines in your blood, which is a billion times more complex..
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    What mechanism is involved in specializing a specific trait for example: the vision of a hawk, sonar ability of a dolphin, or infa-red capabilities of a snake?
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    Natural selection.
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  66. #65 How ?? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by iceaura View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by starlarvae
    If one generation's phenotype doesn't hinge on the heritability of the X's that were responsible for the reproductive success of the more successful reproducers of the previous generation, then natural selection theory is incoherent.
    That is false.

    Natural selection does not have to operate on all traits all the time to have great influence and result in evolutionary change; just the occasional trait, a heritable one, once in a while.

    Phenotypes do not "hinge on the heritability" of anything, btw. They hinge on the interactions between genetic code and developmental environment.
    For a given species, how does "the genetic code" get to be how it gets to be? Or. is it the same for all species?

    How would you distinguish between traits that are what they are because of genetic drift from traits that are what they are because of adaptation > fitness > reproductive success?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zwolver View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by starlarvae View Post
    This has been called the granularity problem. Is the lens of the eye a trait? or the whole eye? or the eye plus the optic nerve? or all that plus the visual cortex? There are no natural joints at which to cleave creatures into traits.
    I really don't know what you mean by this. The eye was originally first founded on slug like creatures.
    Evolution of the eye - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    And every part was there from the beginning, but it was once just a piece of photoreceptive skin.
    Fine, but where does the visual trait end? The visual system depends on the circulatory system, which depends on the digestive system, which depends on the muscular system, and so on. So, is the entire organism a trait? There's no non-arbitrary way to carve up an organism into traits. "Trait" is not a natural kind. It is something we invented.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barbi View Post
    What mechanism is involved in specializing a specific trait for example: the vision of a hawk, sonar ability of a dolphin, or infa-red capabilities of a snake?
    Nobody knows, but there's lots of speculation. My point is that natural selection is not that mechanism.
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    Quote Originally Posted by gottspieler View Post
    the carbon cycle, the nitrogen cycle, and similar recyclings of materials that operate globally, taken collectively, constitute a planetary metabolism.
    So your argument is that because chemical reactions take place on Earth that the Earth is a living organism with its own metabolism? Is all of Earth alive? The atmosphere? The water? The soil? What is your definition of "life"?
    Metabolism comprises two joined processes: anabolism (building up) and catabolism (tearing down). Each provides raw material for the other. Metabolism can produce curious phenomena, such as systems that persist for long periods in states of stable disequilibrium. Examples include biological organisms and the biosphere considered as a whole.

    Is all of you alive? each atom in your body? would you argue that "because chemical reaction take place" in your body that you are a living organism with your own metabolism?
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    Quote Originally Posted by gottspieler View Post
    But no matter how many terms science coins to name the tendency of matter to self organize, offering each as being more scientific than its predecessors, the concept of the spontaneous organization of matter into complex systems remains mysterious. An occult life force and "self organization" are operationally indistinguishable concepts. The difference between them is one of metaphysical assumption; nature's self-organizing capacity constitutes a borderland shared by science and religion.
    NO. This isn't true in the least. You are doing sloppy science (ignoring the results of the Miller-Urey experiment in this case specifically) and your philosophical claim that "an occult life force and self-organization are operationally indistinguishable concepts" is entirely unwarranted..
    How would you distinguish them, operationally?

    Complex systems are gods, then, and complexity theory is a brand of theology
    Again...NO. Complex systems are not like gods...they don't spontaneously generate matter by some unknown, imaginary supernatural mechanism. Complex systems form from the accumulation of minor changes over time...light sensitive spots evolve into eyes...fins into limbs, etc over the course of millions of years.
    If they are self-created, then they are divine. Or is a self-organizing complex system the effect of an outside cause?
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    Quote Originally Posted by starlarvae View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Zwolver View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by starlarvae View Post
    This has been called the granularity problem. Is the lens of the eye a trait? or the whole eye? or the eye plus the optic nerve? or all that plus the visual cortex? There are no natural joints at which to cleave creatures into traits.
    I really don't know what you mean by this. The eye was originally first founded on slug like creatures.
    Evolution of the eye - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    And every part was there from the beginning, but it was once just a piece of photoreceptive skin.
    Fine, but where does the visual trait end? The visual system depends on the circulatory system, which depends on the digestive system, which depends on the muscular system, and so on. So, is the entire organism a trait? There's no non-arbitrary way to carve up an organism into traits. "Trait" is not a natural kind. It is something we invented.
    Certain mutations only affect specific types of cells. Certain aspects of cellular function may be altered in one cell type without affecting others. In other cases, there could possibly be coevolution of traits or the changes would be so gradual that other systems would not have trouble "catching up". Cells communicate with one another and perhaps certain changes in one type of cell could initiate change in other types of cells.
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    Quote Originally Posted by gottspieler View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by starlarvae View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Zwolver View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by starlarvae View Post
    This has been called the granularity problem. Is the lens of the eye a trait? or the whole eye? or the eye plus the optic nerve? or all that plus the visual cortex? There are no natural joints at which to cleave creatures into traits.
    I really don't know what you mean by this. The eye was originally first founded on slug like creatures.
    Evolution of the eye - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    And every part was there from the beginning, but it was once just a piece of photoreceptive skin.
    Fine, but where does the visual trait end? The visual system depends on the circulatory system, which depends on the digestive system, which depends on the muscular system, and so on. So, is the entire organism a trait? There's no non-arbitrary way to carve up an organism into traits. "Trait" is not a natural kind. It is something we invented.
    Certain mutations only affect specific types of cells. Certain aspects of cellular function may be altered in one cell type without affecting others. In other cases, there could possibly be coevolution of traits or the changes would be so gradual that other systems would not have trouble "catching up". Cells communicate with one another and perhaps certain changes in one type of cell could initiate change in other types of cells.
    What are cells actually communicating to one another?
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    Quote Originally Posted by gottspieler View Post
    Biology is the larval phase of the stellar life cycle.


    the "coincidence" of black holes and biological organisms requiring the same values of the fundamental constants is no coincidence at all.
    This requires further explanation.
    It's not a coincidence because stars and biological organisms are two stages of the same life cycle.
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    Quote Originally Posted by gottspieler View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by starlarvae View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Zwolver View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by starlarvae View Post
    This has been called the granularity problem. Is the lens of the eye a trait? or the whole eye? or the eye plus the optic nerve? or all that plus the visual cortex? There are no natural joints at which to cleave creatures into traits.
    I really don't know what you mean by this. The eye was originally first founded on slug like creatures.
    Evolution of the eye - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    And every part was there from the beginning, but it was once just a piece of photoreceptive skin.
    Fine, but where does the visual trait end? The visual system depends on the circulatory system, which depends on the digestive system, which depends on the muscular system, and so on. So, is the entire organism a trait? There's no non-arbitrary way to carve up an organism into traits. "Trait" is not a natural kind. It is something we invented.
    Certain mutations only affect specific types of cells. Certain aspects of cellular function may be altered in one cell type without affecting others. In other cases, there could possibly be coevolution of traits or the changes would be so gradual that other systems would not have trouble "catching up". Cells communicate with one another and perhaps certain changes in one type of cell could initiate change in other types of cells.
    I don't think I have an argument with that. But it adds mud to the water in terms of figuring out what might qualify as a trait. It seems like anything from a specific gene to an entire physiological system might qualify -- for purposes of identifying adaptations that lead to fitness, which leads to reproductive success.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barbi View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by gottspieler View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by starlarvae View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Zwolver View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by starlarvae View Post
    This has been called the granularity problem. Is the lens of the eye a trait? or the whole eye? or the eye plus the optic nerve? or all that plus the visual cortex? There are no natural joints at which to cleave creatures into traits.
    I really don't know what you mean by this. The eye was originally first founded on slug like creatures.
    Evolution of the eye - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    And every part was there from the beginning, but it was once just a piece of photoreceptive skin.
    Fine, but where does the visual trait end? The visual system depends on the circulatory system, which depends on the digestive system, which depends on the muscular system, and so on. So, is the entire organism a trait? There's no non-arbitrary way to carve up an organism into traits. "Trait" is not a natural kind. It is something we invented.
    Certain mutations only affect specific types of cells. Certain aspects of cellular function may be altered in one cell type without affecting others. In other cases, there could possibly be coevolution of traits or the changes would be so gradual that other systems would not have trouble "catching up". Cells communicate with one another and perhaps certain changes in one type of cell could initiate change in other types of cells.
    What are cells actually communicating to one another?
    Many, many things. Upregulation and downregulation signals are given to genes within certain cells. Some signals are involved in chemotaxis. Some can induce growth in other cells.
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    Quote Originally Posted by starlarvae View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by gottspieler View Post
    Biology is the larval phase of the stellar life cycle.


    the "coincidence" of black holes and biological organisms requiring the same values of the fundamental constants is no coincidence at all.
    This requires further explanation.
    It's not a coincidence because stars and biological organisms are two stages of the same life cycle.
    That's part of what I don't understand...what do you mean by this? That because we are made of stars basically that stars are alive and essentially gave birth to living organisms?
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    Quote Originally Posted by starlarvae View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by gottspieler View Post
    But no matter how many terms science coins to name the tendency of matter to self organize, offering each as being more scientific than its predecessors, the concept of the spontaneous organization of matter into complex systems remains mysterious. An occult life force and "self organization" are operationally indistinguishable concepts. The difference between them is one of metaphysical assumption; nature's self-organizing capacity constitutes a borderland shared by science and religion.
    NO. This isn't true in the least. You are doing sloppy science (ignoring the results of the Miller-Urey experiment in this case specifically) and your philosophical claim that "an occult life force and self-organization are operationally indistinguishable concepts" is entirely unwarranted..
    How would you distinguish them, operationally?

    Complex systems are gods, then, and complexity theory is a brand of theology
    Again...NO. Complex systems are not like gods...they don't spontaneously generate matter by some unknown, imaginary supernatural mechanism. Complex systems form from the accumulation of minor changes over time...light sensitive spots evolve into eyes...fins into limbs, etc over the course of millions of years.
    If they are self-created, then they are divine. Or is a self-organizing complex system the effect of an outside cause?
    No, because a self-organizing complex system wouldn't be a self -organizing system if it were affected by an outside cause...
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    Quote Originally Posted by starlarvae View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by gottspieler View Post
    the carbon cycle, the nitrogen cycle, and similar recyclings of materials that operate globally, taken collectively, constitute a planetary metabolism.
    So your argument is that because chemical reactions take place on Earth that the Earth is a living organism with its own metabolism? Is all of Earth alive? The atmosphere? The water? The soil? What is your definition of "life"?
    Metabolism comprises two joined processes: anabolism (building up) and catabolism (tearing down). Each provides raw material for the other. Metabolism can produce curious phenomena, such as systems that persist for long periods in states of stable disequilibrium. Examples include biological organisms and the biosphere considered as a whole.

    Is all of you alive? each atom in your body? would you argue that "because chemical reaction take place" in your body that you are a living organism with your own metabolism?
    I'd consider all of me being alive, yes. But you have a very broad definition of life. If you want to say that the Earth itself is alive...then why? Yes, there are the carbon and nitrogen cycles. Is that enough to classify something as alive? No. The Earth doesn't respond to stimuli (not in the same way animals do at least), it doesn't grow and it doesn't reproduce. The argument for stars being alive is stronger, and I agree that they correspond to some (but not all) of the standards for what constitutes life, such as growth and metabolism. However, although the elements of stars may be passed onto planets,etc. later on, this is not the same thing as biological reproduction. You're comparing apples to oranges.
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  79. #78 The Stellar Organism 
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    Quote Originally Posted by gottspieler View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by starlarvae View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by gottspieler View Post
    Biology is the larval phase of the stellar life cycle.


    the "coincidence" of black holes and biological organisms requiring the same values of the fundamental constants is no coincidence at all.
    This requires further explanation.
    It's not a coincidence because stars and biological organisms are two stages of the same life cycle.
    That's part of what I don't understand...what do you mean by this? That because we are made of stars basically that stars are alive and essentially gave birth to living organisms?
    I mean it literally. The case for the stellar organism is made here The Stellar Organism: Stars are Alive!
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    No, we asked for evidence, not your silly blog...
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  81. #80  
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    Quote Originally Posted by starlarvae View Post
    The case for the stellar organism is made here The Stellar Organism: Stars are Alive!
    I think there must be some mistake. That appears to be a link to some extraordinarily bad science fiction.
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    Quote Originally Posted by starlarvae View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by gottspieler View Post
    That's part of what I don't understand...what do you mean by this? That because we are made of stars basically that stars are alive and essentially gave birth to living organisms?
    I mean it literally. The case for the stellar organism is made here The Stellar Organism: Stars are Alive!
    No, we asked for the evidence to be explained here, not to be link-spammed to your blog.
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    I warned you guys in post #7. It is childish to say 'I told you so'. I feel childish today. I told you so.
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    Quote Originally Posted by starlarvae View Post
    I mean it literally. The case for the stellar organism is made here The Stellar Organism: Stars are Alive!
    I'm genuinely curious. Do you really believe this drivel? How does that happen? Did it start off as a bit of fun but you somehow became convinced by your own delusions? Or were you born with an inability to separate reality and fantasy?

    Clearly you know little about how evolution works but, as always in cases like this, I am not sure if you have come up with your own fantasy because of that, or if your mind refuses to understand the science because you are too engaged with your nonsense.
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    I warned you guys in post #7. It is childish to say 'I told you so'. I feel childish today. I told you so.
    Your warning kept me on the sidelines as a bemused observer. The OP is either engaging in a bit of fun, or has a deep cognitive deficit. In case the former is true, I've chosen not to indulge him. If the latter is true, there's no hope of a useful dialogue, so I've just watched the Ionesco/Beckett homage unfold.
    Last edited by tk421; April 30th, 2012 at 11:01 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by starlarvae View Post
    The theory of natural selection assumes and asserts that reproductive success is a function of heritable phenotypic traits. According to the theory, variability among the heritable phenotypic traits in a local population causes the members of the population to exhibit variable reproductive success. Heritable phenotypic traits affect reproductive success by interacting with the environments in which their bearers live. A longer neck reaches higher fruits; a sharper eye detects more hidden prey, and so on. This is how traits lead to reproductive success, according to the theory.
    Well, not exactly.
    Since you used neck length, I'll use it.
    Parent A has a statistical neck length x, parent B has a statically y. The offspring will be x or y or in between but can be beyond x or y "randomly" and is heritable. Got it?
    If the length of the neck puts the individual offspring at a competitive disadvantage, then it will be eliminated from the gene pool. This is called "natural selection". Thus, the next generation will have a neck length statistically better than before.
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    I had abandoned posting in this thread. However, you have duplicated the above post as a discrete new thread and I have replied to that. Likely the moderators will lock that one and leave this, so here is my response:

    The last sentence may be more appropriately phrased as : "Thus, the next generation will have a neck length that is statistically more likely to be fitter for the current environment." It is those important caveats that starlarvae does not understand.
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    The requirements for evolution do not just exist in the individual but in the whole population. Without a large population with inherent variabilities in the genome, the life form is incapable of evolution. Even with directed evolution such as artificial breeding you must start with the characteristic you want in the finished product. You cannot make race horses from clydesdales unless you get a chance mutation and that could take a very long time.

    If a creature needs to evolve, there does not need to be a single gene that overcomes the threat or improves the survivability. Multiple genes for the required trait come into effect. Long legs as well as a long neck will help you reach that set of higher leaves. Ten different genes might control leg length and five more for neck length. If long legs and long neck mate, then you get a taller creature. So if a portion of the population survives the evolutionary barrier all the factors that comprise the survivor's genome will come into play and determine the course of the evolution. Biological diversity requires genetic diversity because that determines the liklihood a creature will survive. A million clones will all succumb to the same disease (don't get me started on somatoclonal variation please because natural animal cloning is rare) or evolutionary pressure.
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  89. #88  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by starlarvae View Post
    I mean it literally. The case for the stellar organism is made here The Stellar Organism: Stars are Alive!
    I'm genuinely curious. Do you really believe this drivel? How does that happen? Did it start off as a bit of fun but you somehow became convinced by your own delusions? Or were you born with an inability to separate reality and fantasy?

    Clearly you know little about how evolution works but, as always in cases like this, I am not sure if you have come up with your own fantasy because of that, or if your mind refuses to understand the science because you are too engaged with your nonsense.
    Time will tell who's got the skinny on what's really going on. The Hypothesis either will go the way of cold fusion or it will get the last laugh, like the once-ridiculed theory of plate tectonics and continental drift. Or like Lynn Margulis, who got the last laugh on her peers who dismissed her theory of endosymbiosis.

    Just curious, what essential attributes of living things do you think stars lack?
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  90. #89  
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    Quote Originally Posted by starlarvae View Post
    Just curious, what essential attributes of living things do you think stars lack?

    Physical, chemical, electrical response to external stimuli.
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  91. #90  
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    I had abandoned posting in this thread. However, you have duplicated the above post as a discrete new thread and I have replied to that. Likely the moderators will lock that one and leave this, so here is my response:
    The last sentence may be more appropriately phrased as : "Thus, the next generation will have a neck length that is statistically more likely to be fitter for the current environment." It is those important caveats that starlarvae does not understand.
    More likely? How can you tell if the neck lengths that result actually are more fit or not? I think you will need to wait and measure the reproductive success of the creatures with those neck lengths. Based on the result of that measurement, you might be able to say that those creatures were more fit. But then all you're saying is that they had more reproductive success than creatures with different neck lengths. It's a tautology.

    Or would you say that fitness and reproductive success really are just two names for the same thing?
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  92. #91  
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    Quote Originally Posted by starlarvae View Post
    Or would you say that fitness and reproductive success really are just two names for the same thing?
    Well, duh. Yes. That is what "fitness" means. I thought in the time you have been away, you might have learnt something about evolution, rather than making up fantasies.
    Without wishing to overstate my case, everything in the observable universe definitely has its origins in Northamptonshire -- Alan Moore
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  93. #92  
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    Quote Originally Posted by starlarvae View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by starlarvae View Post
    I mean it literally. The case for the stellar organism is made here The Stellar Organism: Stars are Alive!
    I'm genuinely curious. Do you really believe this drivel? How does that happen? Did it start off as a bit of fun but you somehow became convinced by your own delusions? Or were you born with an inability to separate reality and fantasy?

    Clearly you know little about how evolution works but, as always in cases like this, I am not sure if you have come up with your own fantasy because of that, or if your mind refuses to understand the science because you are too engaged with your nonsense.
    Time will tell who's got the skinny on what's really going on. The Hypothesis either will go the way of cold fusion or it will get the last laugh, like the once-ridiculed theory of plate tectonics and continental drift. Or like Lynn Margulis, who got the last laugh on her peers who dismissed her theory of endosymbiosis.

    Just curious, what essential attributes of living things do you think stars lack?

    DID YOU NOT EVEN READ MY EARLIER POST CONCERNING THIS ISSUE?

    Why the hell did I waste time typing it...
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  94. #93  
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    Quote Originally Posted by starlarvae View Post
    The Hypothesis either will go the way of cold fusion or it will get the last laugh, like the once-ridiculed theory of plate tectonics and continental drift.
    They laughed at Galileo. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.
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    Without wishing to overstate my case, everything in the observable universe definitely has its origins in Northamptonshire -- Alan Moore
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  95. #94  
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    Quote Originally Posted by gottspieler View Post
    Why the hell did I waste time typing it...
    Poor old starmaggot has closed his mind to new ideas and is totally divorced from reality. He is beyond help.
    Without wishing to overstate my case, everything in the observable universe definitely has its origins in Northamptonshire -- Alan Moore
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  96. #95 the lives of stars 
    Forum Freshman starlarvae's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gottspieler View Post
    I'd consider all of me being alive, yes. But you have a very broad definition of life. If you want to say that the Earth itself is alive...then why? Yes, there are the carbon and nitrogen cycles. Is that enough to classify something as alive? No. The Earth doesn't respond to stimuli (not in the same way animals do at least), it doesn't grow and it doesn't reproduce.
    The granularity problem applies here, too. Maybe the Earth is better thought of as being, not an organism in itself but, rather, the reproductive organ of the solar system. Then, the fact that it doesn't reproduce itself ceases to be an issue. As for it not responding to stimuli -- I can't figure what you mean. All physical things respond to stimuli. Physics is all about physical cause (stimuli) and effect (response). As for Earth not growing, take your argument to Wikipedia: "The proto-Earth grew by accretion until its interior was hot enough to melt the heavy, siderophile metals." But it wouldn't be an issue anyway, because growth is not required for something to be alive. Do paramecia grow?

    The argument for stars being alive is stronger, and I agree that they correspond to some (but not all) of the standards for what constitutes life, such as growth and metabolism. However, although the elements of stars may be passed onto planets,etc. later on, this is not the same thing as biological reproduction. You're comparing apples to oranges.
    I consider the elements being passed on, from their dispersal in nova explosions to their incorporation into new stellar nebulae, as akin to fertilization, not reproduction. True reproduction, from one generation of stars to the next, occurs through the intermediate larval phase of the stellar life cycle, which is biological.

    Once stars fuse all of the primordial protons into trans-hydrogen atoms, the universe will undergo what is called heat death. Or so they say. But biological life and/or its solid-state successors will manufacture fresh protons, and so keep the stellar generations rolling.
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    I am utterly fascinated by your seeming not to be insane and able to converse normally, while at the same time holding something as totally bonkers as this true. Man, the internet never ceases with its wonders.
    MeteorWayne and Strange like this.
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

    "Gullibility kills" - Carl Sagan
    "All people know the same truth. Our lives consist of how we chose to distort it." - Harry Block
    "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle
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  98. #97 B o n k e r s 
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    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER View Post
    I am utterly fascinated by your seeming not to be insane and able to converse normally, while at the same time holding something as totally bonkers as this true. Man, the internet never ceases with its wonders.
    Thanks for noticing.

    I'm sure you've come across the quote, I think from Einstein, about the universe being not only stranger than we think, but stranger than we can think.
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  99. #98  
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    That doesnt make stars living things.
    If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. -Thorin Oakenshield

    The needs of the many outweigh the need of the few - Spock of Vulcan & Sentinel Prime of Cybertron ---proof that "the needs" are in the eye of the beholder.
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  100. #99  
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    Quote Originally Posted by starlarvae View Post
    I'm sure you've come across the quote, I think from Einstein, about the universe being not only stranger than we think, but stranger than we can think.
    Exactly. Your idea isn't strange enough. Must try harder. Come on, you might find one or two people (on a non-science forum) who actually go "wow, man, that ideas is like so, you know, awesome. It must be true. The colors ..."

    Which of course, by the "logic" of this Einstein quote, would prove your idea wrong. You need to come up with something no one could believe if it has any chance of being as strange as the universe. In fact, you have to come up with an idea that even you don't believe.
    Without wishing to overstate my case, everything in the observable universe definitely has its origins in Northamptonshire -- Alan Moore
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  101. #100  
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    Quote Originally Posted by starlarvae View Post
    I'm sure you've come across the quote, I think from Einstein, about the universe being not only stranger than we think, but stranger than we can think.
    This is a famous quote generally attributed to J.B.S. Haldane.
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