The Theory of Evolution - perfect?

How does science work? And what's all this about quantum mechanics?

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vegetariantaxidermy
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Re: The Theory of Evolution - perfect?

Post by vegetariantaxidermy » Tue Oct 03, 2017 10:24 pm

PauloL wrote:
Tue Oct 03, 2017 10:17 pm
thedoc wrote:
Tue Oct 03, 2017 1:50 am

Breathable for who, organisms that could not survive in an oxygen rich atmosphere, didn't and the atmosphere did favor other organisms. It's all a craps shoot, but it's not random, and it wasn't visionary.
Breathable for us, and not only us. Something non-random presupposes some force, even if only a driving force. Otherwise filling in Euromillions wouldn't be random.
Have you been taking 'English' lessons from Walker?

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Re: The Theory of Evolution - perfect?

Post by PauloL » Tue Oct 03, 2017 10:29 pm

vegetariantaxidermy wrote:
Tue Oct 03, 2017 10:24 pm

Have you been taking 'English' lessons from Walker?
I beg your pardon?

thedoc
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Re: The Theory of Evolution - perfect?

Post by thedoc » Tue Oct 03, 2017 11:15 pm

PauloL wrote:
Tue Oct 03, 2017 10:17 pm
thedoc wrote:
Tue Oct 03, 2017 1:50 am

Breathable for who, organisms that could not survive in an oxygen rich atmosphere, didn't and the atmosphere did favor other organisms. It's all a craps shoot, but it's not random, and it wasn't visionary.
Breathable for us, and not only us. Something non-random presupposes some force, even if only a driving force. Otherwise filling in Euromillions wouldn't be random.
Doesn't prove or demonstrate anything, except that it happened. Being non-random doesn't presuppose anything, especially not a driving force, it just happened that way. Evolution doesn't have any vision, evolution is just a reaction to the environment.

thedoc
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Re: The Theory of Evolution - perfect?

Post by thedoc » Tue Oct 03, 2017 11:16 pm

PauloL wrote:
Tue Oct 03, 2017 10:29 pm
vegetariantaxidermy wrote:
Tue Oct 03, 2017 10:24 pm

Have you been taking 'English' lessons from Walker?
I beg your pardon?
Stop that, it's not polite to beg.

davidm
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Re: The Theory of Evolution - perfect?

Post by davidm » Tue Oct 03, 2017 11:25 pm

PauloL wrote:
Tue Oct 03, 2017 10:17 pm
thedoc wrote:
Tue Oct 03, 2017 1:50 am

Breathable for who, organisms that could not survive in an oxygen rich atmosphere, didn't and the atmosphere did favor other organisms. It's all a craps shoot, but it's not random, and it wasn't visionary.
Breathable for us, and not only us. Something non-random presupposes some force, even if only a driving force.
No, it doesn't. This has been explained to you over and over again.

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PauloL
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Re: The Theory of Evolution - perfect?

Post by PauloL » Tue Oct 03, 2017 11:26 pm

thedoc wrote:
Tue Oct 03, 2017 11:15 pm
Doesn't prove or demonstrate anything, except that it happened. Being non-random doesn't presuppose anything, especially not a driving force, it just happened that way. Evolution doesn't have any vision, evolution is just a reaction to the environment.
Doc, something that just happened that way is random. Euromillions is paradigmatic of a random process as not even people who claim they can foresee future win it (otherwise you never had a Jackpot).

When someone won Euromillions, it just happened that way.

When someone get a high score in a school examination, part of it, but not all of it, just happened that way. There was a driving force or whatever you wish to call it. This is a non-random process.

So, evolution is random or non-random? Can you make your point more cogent?

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PauloL
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Re: The Theory of Evolution - perfect?

Post by PauloL » Tue Oct 03, 2017 11:28 pm

davidm wrote:
Tue Oct 03, 2017 11:25 pm
No, it doesn't. This has been explained to you over and over again.
What then are the assumptions of a non-random process for you? That was never explained. You only impose opinions without explaining.

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Re: The Theory of Evolution - perfect?

Post by thedoc » Wed Oct 04, 2017 2:32 am

PauloL wrote:
Tue Oct 03, 2017 11:26 pm
So, evolution is random or non-random? Can you make your point more cogent?
Evolution is non-random, OK.

Londoner
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Re: The Theory of Evolution - perfect?

Post by Londoner » Wed Oct 04, 2017 9:40 am

PauloL wrote:
Tue Oct 03, 2017 11:26 pm
Doc, something that just happened that way is random. Euromillions is paradigmatic of a random process as not even people who claim they can foresee future win it (otherwise you never had a Jackpot).

When someone won Euromillions, it just happened that way.
Which individual tickets will win Euromillions cannot be predicted by a ticket buyer in advance. On the other hand, they know how the lottery is conducted, they know that there will be willing tickets and so on, so the lottery is not random in that sense.

So the random-ness is not in the Euromillions process. Nor is there randomness in the fact that I buy a ticket - that is not a random act, I choose to do it deliberately, because I want to win.

The only element of randomness might be in my choice of particular numbers. Suppose I think it is important to pick certain numbers. In that case it would be because I believe I have inside knowledge, because I believe those numbers are lucky, and so on. Such beliefs may be irrational, but they mean my choice of numbers was not random.

Or, I accept I can have no way of predicting the winners and so do not pick particular numbers. I let the machine pick the numbers. I am then not picking numbers, I am simply buying a ticket. I am simply accepting the published odds. Again, that acceptance is not a random act.

In other words, I do not agree that Euromillions is a good example of a random process. (Not compared to me saying; 'Think of a number, any number' where there is no context.)
When someone get a high score in a school examination, part of it, but not all of it, just happened that way. There was a driving force or whatever you wish to call it. This is a non-random process.
I would say the score is not random because it describes the contents of the test-paper. The examiner should be able to explain the marking empirically; the test-paper shows 'X' and the marking scheme says that 'X' is worth one point.

So the mark is only a description of the paper itself. It does not attempt to describe the process by which the student came to write that test-paper, their desire to get a good mark and so on.
So, evolution is random or non-random? Can you make your point more cogent?
Evolution itself is a theory. It is non-random in the sense that it is a theory about something. Like the examination mark, it is an account of something else; it must correspond to that thing - the 'thing' in this case being the available evidence within natural history and general science.

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Re: The Theory of Evolution - perfect?

Post by PauloL » Wed Oct 04, 2017 10:33 am

thedoc wrote:
Wed Oct 04, 2017 2:32 am
Evolution is non-random, OK.
I ask 2 questions, you give half an answer. Are you a politico?

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Re: The Theory of Evolution - perfect?

Post by PauloL » Wed Oct 04, 2017 10:44 am

Londoner wrote:
Wed Oct 04, 2017 9:40 am
Your examples are fine. If I want to call someone and don't know his mobile number, here I can compose a 9-digit number starting in 9 and try it. I have non-random rules so I won't compose an 8-digit number. But my result will be random anyway and it'll be very hard matching the number I need.

Sure, lottery's rules are non-random. That's correct. But that doesn't help get a prize, because winning one is random within lottery's rules. Non-random rules make it random winning a prize. There's no option for non-randomness.

Put that way, examination is non-random nevertheless because rules aren't random again, but they allow you to walk non-randomly towards success as the rules tell you what you're expected to do for that. However, if you have a multiple choice examination and don't do what's expected to according to rules, you'll answer it at random, but this is a particular situation. There's an option for non-randomness here.

Of course, in your sense, which is correct to me, evolution isn't random in that the best fit will survive. This is the rule. But that rule doesn't invalidate a probability of 1 in 64 adding the codon that will work on an existing DNA string. There's no option for non-randomness choosing a codon. So, this is likely a lottery, not an examination. Making the best fit is random, isn't that correct?

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Re: The Theory of Evolution - perfect?

Post by Londoner » Wed Oct 04, 2017 12:25 pm

PauloL wrote:
Wed Oct 04, 2017 10:44 am
Your examples are fine. If I want to call someone and don't know his mobile number, here I can compose a 9-digit number starting in 9 and try it. I have non-random rules so I won't compose an 8-digit number. But my result will be random anyway and it'll be very hard matching the number I need.
The correct number for the person is not random. You just do not know it. That we do not know something does not make that thing 'random', not as the word is normally understood.
Sure, lottery's rules are non-random. That's correct. But that doesn't help get a prize, because winning one is random within lottery's rules. Non-random rules make it random winning a prize. There's no option for non-randomness.
In this case it is slightly different in that the winning number has not yet been determined, but there is going to be one, and as soon as there is then it will determine which is the winning ticket. Again, the fact that you, the ticket buyer, cannot predict this future event does not make it random.
Put that way, examination is non-random nevertheless because rules aren't random again, but they allow you to walk non-randomly towards success as the rules tell you what you're expected to do for that. However, if you have a multiple choice examination and don't do what's expected to according to rules, you'll answer it at random, but this is a particular situation. There's an option for non-randomness here.
I'm not sure what you are saying here. If I decided; I will answer the questions in this test in a random way, then my answers would be consequential of that decision.

As far as the test was concerned, my answers would be 'random' because they would have not been determined by the test questions. But as far as I was concerned, they were deliberate.

When we are asking if evolution is random, we have to make the same sort of distinctions. The theory we have formulated is not random, in that we want to construct a theory that will match the evidence. But it doesn't work the other way round, we do not think the evidence (the natural world) wants to match our theory!
Of course, in your sense, which is correct to me, evolution isn't random in that the best fit will survive. This is the rule. But that rule doesn't invalidate a probability of 1 in 64 adding the codon that will work on an existing DNA string. There's no option for non-randomness choosing a codon. So, this is likely a lottery, not an examination. Making the best fit is random, isn't that correct?
I'd want to question 'the best fit will survive'. That suggests the lottery, in that there is a winning ticket. But there are differences. Unlike the lottery, there is not necessarily going to be any winning tickets; the usual result is extinction.

Nor is the fit the 'the best', because there is no specific standard. Survival is simply not-going-extinct. No form of survival is better than any other form of survival.

If it was a lottery, it would be one where nobody ever chooses their ticket. Every so often, any people holding tickets with particular characteristics (say those containing no prime numbers, or those with the particular sequence '4738') are culled. The numbers on your ticket can slowly change, but you cannot choose how they change, nor know if this change will help you survive a future culling. So, your number is 'random' only in the sense that whether it will turn out to be good or bad is unknown and out of the control of the holder.

The evolutionary biologist looks at the tickets held by the current survivors, tries to find the rules that describe how numbers can change, as well as examining the tickets dropped by those who got culled, and tries to work out the history of past cullings.

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Re: The Theory of Evolution - perfect?

Post by PauloL » Wed Oct 04, 2017 12:47 pm

Londoner wrote:
Wed Oct 04, 2017 12:25 pm
Euromillions has non-random rules. Filling in a Euromillions can be non-random. Winning it is random. There no choice you can win it non-randomly whatever you do.

The winner could have learned the numbers from a dream. Matching the prize was random anyway, unless a connection could be established between the dream and number later drawn.

Here's there's no possible discussion.

You can answer an examination randomly of course. The point is that you have a choice doing that non-randomly, because you can guess the correct answer from questions (the rules), something you can't in a lottery. The difference is that an option for non-randomness exists in an examination but it doesn't exist in a lottery.

I think there's a big confusion between randomness and non-randomness.

When Nature adds a codon to an existing DNA chain is the concrete codon put there random or not for you?

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Re: The Theory of Evolution - perfect?

Post by Belinda » Wed Oct 04, 2017 3:55 pm

Paulol wrote:
evolution is random or non-random? Can you make your point more cogent?
There are two usages of the word 'random'.

One of those means unpredictable. This use of 'random' applies to lotteries, or roulette where the event is caused by forces but is unpredictable.

The other usage of 'random' means that the event in question is uncaused.
Are gene mutations caused but unpredictable? Or are gene mutations uncaused?

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Re: The Theory of Evolution - perfect?

Post by Londoner » Wed Oct 04, 2017 4:24 pm

PauloL wrote:
Wed Oct 04, 2017 12:47 pm

Euromillions has non-random rules. Filling in a Euromillions can be non-random. Winning it is random. There no choice you can win it non-randomly whatever you do.
I think the numbers on the ticket are a distraction. You do not really 'win' it by picking particular numbers. All you do is buy a chance to win. That chance (assuming it isn't rigged) is not random, it is set.

You do not know whether you will win it when you buy the ticket because you cannot predict the future. 'Not knowing something' is not the same as saying 'it is random'.
You can answer an examination randomly of course. The point is that you have a choice doing that non-randomly, because you can guess the correct answer from questions (the rules), something you can't in a lottery. The difference is that an option for non-randomness exists in an examination but it doesn't exist in a lottery.
Well strictly speaking, I can't answer an examination question randomly. If my answer was random, it would have no connection to the question. It would not really be 'an answer to an exam question', because it had no relationship to it. In fact, it would not even be an 'answer'. We would rather talk of a 'random response' which could include doing nothing, eating the paper, or not attending the exam. In fact, a truly random response to an exam would be if somebody was not aware there was any exam to respond to.

(In terms of the lottery, it would be like buying a ticket with no knowledge that it was a lottery ticket, that there was such a thing as a lottery, a draw, prizes etc.)

Whereas if I am giving 'random answers', then they are no longer really random. For example, suppose I wrote down various answers but didn't look at the questions, that would still be a response limited by 'what sort of things are answers to questions'. As with buying the lottery ticket, I would be wise to guess that I probably wouldn't pass the exam, but I might.

So I think that randomness describes a lack of relationship between one thing and another. I ask:'Think of a word' There is no context, you do not know what I want to do with the word, I do not know either, so there is no reason to pick one word over any other. In that situation the word you think of will be random.
When Nature adds a codon to an existing DNA chain is the concrete codon put there random or not for you?
That suggests there is 'nature' which includes things like DNA, and also an agency 'Nature' (capital 'N') which does things to ordinary 'nature'. This is surely misleading.

DNA is one thing in a universe in which everything is always changing. We single out DNA as a particular thing because we are trying to trace a particular sequence of cause and effect, but the character of DNA is no different to any other chemical in the universe. It makes no more sense to write 'Nature adds a codon' than to say 'Nature adds oxide to iron' or 'Nature dissolves salt in water'

To answer your question as closely as I can, I would say that the fact that DNA changes is not 'random' in that it fits in with the way I understand the universe generally.

But without that context of understanding, if the question was 'Why is there a universe of any kind (including DNA)?' then any answer would be metaphysical. But it would not be 'random', it would just be unknowable.

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