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Is there some reason evolution happens?

SarcasticIndeed
Posts: 2,215
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1/31/2013 6:56:53 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
I believe in Evolution, but I've always been bugged by the question of why is it there. Organisms want to survive, so they adapt and stuff, but why did the first cells or whatever those were want to survive? What pushed them to choose finding a way to continue spreading their genes rather than die? Why did they fancy living and reproducing? It seems pretty intuitive to us, we have the impulse to have sex and stuff, but why? Is it just dumb luck that eventually made organisms want to reproduce, or did it have to be so? If it was dumb luck, then does that mean that some life forms could be formed and then just died because they had no integrated wish for survival?

Thoughts? Opinions?
<SIGNATURE CENSORED> nac
Kinesis
Posts: 3,667
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1/31/2013 8:01:12 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Well, I know abiogenesis is very much an open topic of debate among biologists, but let's hypothesize that the first 'life form' was some kind of replicating crystal (I know that's one of the possibilities biologists are studying). It's a promising candidate because crystals do replicate themselves in nature. So, one of these crystals replicates itself and spreads around, but some of the times it replicates there's a defect or 'mutation' in the replication process. Occasionally, these mutations make the crystal replicate faster or survive longer to replicate more, and those improved crystals become more common over time. Eventually, as more and more beneficial mutations are added the crystals develop into extremely simple versions of what we might call 'organisms'. Those organisms are the most common ones, simply because they have the most beneficial mutations that help them replicate better.

Anyway, that's about my speculative limits because I really know jack sh*t about the topic. The point is, there doesn't need to be some teleological drive that pushes the organisms to reproduce. It's just that organisms that reproduce better naturally become more common over time - just as a mathematical necessity.

So yeah, sure, lots of organisms evolved that were unable to survive - a crystal with a mutation preventing it from replicating, a cell unable to undergo mitosis, an elephant with a defect that killed it at birth. But those organisms never left behind ancestors, so they aren't around today.
Floid
Posts: 751
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1/31/2013 9:55:11 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 1/31/2013 6:56:53 AM, SarcasticIndeed wrote:
I believe in Evolution, but I've always been bugged by the question of why is it there. Organisms want to survive, so they adapt and stuff, but why did the first cells or whatever those were want to survive? What pushed them to choose finding a way to continue spreading their genes rather than die? Why did they fancy living and reproducing? It seems pretty intuitive to us, we have the impulse to have sex and stuff, but why? Is it just dumb luck that eventually made organisms want to reproduce, or did it have to be so? If it was dumb luck, then does that mean that some life forms could be formed and then just died because they had no integrated wish for survival?

Thoughts? Opinions?

You misunderstand the general ideas behind evolution.

No want is necessary for evolution to occur. The organisms that survive reproduce and therefore present a platform for evolution.

What pushed them to spread their genes? No push is necessary, the organisms that do not spread their genes go extinct so we are left with the ones that did spread their genes.

Why did they fancy living and reproducing? Many probably did not fancy those things and they died out.

Why the impulse to have sex? That is an evolved feature that encouraged reproduction. The original organisms did not require sexual reproduction.
SarcasticIndeed
Posts: 2,215
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1/31/2013 10:10:15 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
So it is probable that there were lots of life forms starting on Earth, and that only some of them randomly got the impulse to spread their kind and survive, and they just passed on that characteristic to anything they created?

If so, has a mutation been observed where the "survival gene" has been switched off in an organism? Could that even happen?
<SIGNATURE CENSORED> nac
Ramshutu
Posts: 4,063
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1/31/2013 10:22:43 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 1/31/2013 10:10:15 AM, SarcasticIndeed wrote:
So it is probable that there were lots of life forms starting on Earth, and that only some of them randomly got the impulse to spread their kind and survive, and they just passed on that characteristic to anything they created?

If so, has a mutation been observed where the "survival gene" has been switched off in an organism? Could that even happen?

If something copies itself, but does so imperfectly, provided hose imperfections have an effect on the things ability to copy itself you will have evolution. It is a mathematical inevitability.

Survival, in raw, basic evolutionary sense is simply creating a copy of your dna.

All it takes to start evolution is simply a single case of something existing that can copy itself imperfectly as per first point.
Kinesis
Posts: 3,667
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1/31/2013 10:34:08 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 1/31/2013 10:10:15 AM, SarcasticIndeed wrote:
So it is probable that there were lots of life forms starting on Earth, and that only some of them randomly got the impulse to spread their kind and survive, and they just passed on that characteristic to anything they created?

If so, has a mutation been observed where the "survival gene" has been switched off in an organism? Could that even happen?

There isn't really an 'impulse'. It's just that, by mathematical necessity, things which replicate and survive better become more common over time. I don't think there's one single survival gene either. If anything, all the genes in an organism work together to promote the survival and reproduction of the organism.
Dirty.Harry
Posts: 1,585
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1/31/2013 11:04:05 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 1/31/2013 10:22:43 AM, Ramshutu wrote:
At 1/31/2013 10:10:15 AM, SarcasticIndeed wrote:
So it is probable that there were lots of life forms starting on Earth, and that only some of them randomly got the impulse to spread their kind and survive, and they just passed on that characteristic to anything they created?

If so, has a mutation been observed where the "survival gene" has been switched off in an organism? Could that even happen?


If something copies itself, but does so imperfectly, provided those imperfections have an effect on the things ability to copy itself you will have evolution. It is a mathematical inevitability.

Do you have any idea how complex a molecular system (a cell) must be before it can reach the stage of being able to reproduce copies of itself? A cell although tiny and taken for granted is an enormoulsy complicated molecular factory.

A cell contains numerous subsystems unless these are all present and working there is no cell - and without a cell there is no reproduction because the machinery that creates proteins using DNA as the guide will not be present.

There is no evidence at all that a colony of reproducing cells ever leads to increasing sophistication - most mutations (and these are caused by transcription errors in the cell) are benign and seem to yield no real functional change, the remaining class of transcription errors seem to cause harm and lead to a defective end result.

There is of course the important experiment caried out by Lenski that seems to show the eventual emergence of an ability in bacteria to grow on citrate. But the true significance of this (there is no significant structural change in these bacteria other than this new ability) is highly debatable and the role played by humnan intervention in the overall process (the experimenters) may also be relevant.

The Lenski experiment may be just another example of adaptation - until we see evidence of morphologically different descendants or new species etc it is pure conjecture to claim evolution ever happens in nature.

Survival, in raw, basic evolutionary sense is simply creating a copy of your dna.

All it takes to start evolution is simply a single case of something existing that can copy itself imperfectly as per first point.

Once again just because a biological cell can reproduce like this does not in any way prove that successive copies and copies of the copies and so on - will ever yield increasingly sophisticated organisms.

Just because we've begun to understand - at a molecular and mechanistic level - how a cell reproduces using DNA and so on - does not allow us to extrapolate that process and presume to predict very long term consequences of that copying by making sweeping statements about inevitability and so on.

Harry.
drafterman
Posts: 18,870
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1/31/2013 11:44:41 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 1/31/2013 6:56:53 AM, SarcasticIndeed wrote:
I believe in Evolution, but I've always been bugged by the question of why is it there. Organisms want to survive, so they adapt and stuff, but why did the first cells or whatever those were want to survive?

They didn't "want" to survive. They either did or they did. The ones that survived either did so by luck or by ability. The ones with luck would eventually lose it, the ones with ability would pass on the traits that made them able.

What pushed them to choose finding a way to continue spreading their genes rather than die? Why did they fancy living and reproducing? It seems pretty intuitive to us, we have the impulse to have sex and stuff, but why? Is it just dumb luck that eventually made organisms want to reproduce, or did it have to be so? If it was dumb luck, then does that mean that some life forms could be formed and then just died because they had no integrated wish for survival?

Thoughts? Opinions?

Why do people attribute conscious thought processes to evolution?
Kinesis
Posts: 3,667
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1/31/2013 12:01:56 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 1/31/2013 11:17:33 AM, GarretKadeDupre wrote:
LOL @ organisms evolving from crystals.

You know, amazingly enough, personal incredulity isn't a particularly good guide to how the world is.
Stephen_Hawkins
Posts: 5,316
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1/31/2013 12:20:07 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
"Grass grows, birds fly, sun shines, and brother, I hurt people"

Short story long, evolution occurs because it cannot not occur. Evolution simply says that things which are better suited to survive, will survive. It is as vague and as simple as that. It isn't something that comes down to a coin flip, but instead it is simply a factor of determination. Better things do better than worse things.
Give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day. Teach him how to be Gay, he'll positively influence the GDP.

Social Contract Theory debate: http://www.debate.org...
Franz_Reynard
Posts: 1,227
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1/31/2013 12:46:39 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 1/31/2013 6:56:53 AM, SarcasticIndeed wrote:
I believe in Evolution, but I've always been bugged by the question of why is it there. Organisms want to survive, so they adapt and stuff, but why did the first cells or whatever those were want to survive? What pushed them to choose finding a way to continue spreading their genes rather than die? Why did they fancy living and reproducing? It seems pretty intuitive to us, we have the impulse to have sex and stuff, but why? Is it just dumb luck that eventually made organisms want to reproduce, or did it have to be so? If it was dumb luck, then does that mean that some life forms could be formed and then just died because they had no integrated wish for survival?

Thoughts? Opinions?

I see what you're saying.

Replication and/or reproduction is a natural characteristic of life. It just happens, just as much as metabolism or interaction with the environment happens, as an aspect of life. If it does not exhibit those characteristics, then it isn't alive.

However, desire didn't come into the picture until much later, when cognition manifested. With cognition comes the ability to act against innate characteristics. In other words, instead of a natural inclination, it becomes a decision. Rather than simply interacting with the environment, there comes stimulus. Rather than simply metabolizing, there comes hunger and satiety. Rather than simply reproducing, there comes concupiscence. It's a relatively recent development borne of a deviation from the innate programming of naturally alive things.
Ramshutu
Posts: 4,063
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1/31/2013 3:26:45 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 1/31/2013 11:04:05 AM, Dirty.Harry wrote:
At 1/31/2013 10:22:43 AM, Ramshutu wrote:
At 1/31/2013 10:10:15 AM, SarcasticIndeed wrote:
So it is probable that there were lots of life forms starting on Earth, and that only some of them randomly got the impulse to spread their kind and survive, and they just passed on that characteristic to anything they created?

If so, has a mutation been observed where the "survival gene" has been switched off in an organism? Could that even happen?


If something copies itself, but does so imperfectly, provided those imperfections have an effect on the things ability to copy itself you will have evolution. It is a mathematical inevitability.

Do you have any idea how complex a molecular system (a cell) must be before it can reach the stage of being able to reproduce copies of itself? A cell although tiny and taken for granted is an enormoulsy complicated molecular factory.

Modern cells have undergone up to 3.5 billion years of evolution.

I completely agree with you that a modern, or complex form of cell we see today (or even going back a significant amount of time) occuring by random chance is simply ridiculous.

This is why, at no point in my post did I say "Cell" or "Organism".

While there is no consensus on how life first got started, but it is most likely not even close to as complex as modern single celled life (or even viruses, which are an order of magnitude simpler), provided that it had the properties mentioned, it has to evolve, it is simply a mathematical inevitability; with a primordial cell likely being tens if not hundreds of millions of years worth of evolution later. Again, I'm not stating any of this as fact, but this is representative of the what the current state of sciencebeleives.

The rest of your thread is based on this "Cell" argument, which I don't disagree with you on so have ignored.
falconduler
Posts: 228
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2/2/2013 3:47:03 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 1/31/2013 6:56:53 AM, SarcasticIndeed wrote:
I believe in Evolution, but I've always been bugged by the question of why is it there. Organisms want to survive, so they adapt and stuff, but why did the first cells or whatever those were want to survive? What pushed them to choose finding a way to continue spreading their genes rather than die? Why did they fancy living and reproducing? It seems pretty intuitive to us, we have the impulse to have sex and stuff, but why? Is it just dumb luck that eventually made organisms want to reproduce, or did it have to be so? If it was dumb luck, then does that mean that some life forms could be formed and then just died because they had no integrated wish for survival?

the desire for the architect of the universe to create.

Thoughts? Opinions?
Sidewalker
Posts: 3,713
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2/2/2013 8:42:02 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 1/31/2013 6:56:53 AM, SarcasticIndeed wrote:
I believe in Evolution, but I've always been bugged by the question of why is it there. Organisms want to survive, so they adapt and stuff, but why did the first cells or whatever those were want to survive?

The first cells didn"t have the awareness to "want" to survive. There are observed and completely natural form-building activities in which there is a natural tendency for units of matter to self-organize in a way that preserves their identities and extends their existence in time and space.

Heat from the sun causes a net increase in energy on earth that results in an increase in order and complexity. The process that generates that heat involves four relatively unstable hydrogen atoms merging to become one helium atom, a much more complex assembly of matter that is much more stable. The helium atom that forms has a finely balanced nucleus that is positively charged, which is balanced by negatively charged electrons which fall into precisely ordered patterns of predetermined orbits around the nucleus. Any excess energy that might disturb this order is rejected in such a way that it takes a large amount of energy to remove an electron, so it displays a tendency for self-preservation and regeneration. The Helium atom is assembled into whole that is more than the sum of it's parts, its more stable, and it will in fact recover it's form when damaged by an outside force, it possesses a new potential but there is no "will" or "want" involved, it is just an innate tendency of the physical laws that apply to combinations of matter.

What pushed them to choose finding a way to continue spreading their genes rather than die?

They didn"t "choose", they were self-replicating molecules, and those replicating molecules with a tendency for fecundity made more copies and those that were more stable lasted longer, it was a combination of the survival of the fittest (more stable) and survival of the luckiest (survived and then replicated).

Why did they fancy living and reproducing?

They didn"t "fancy" it; they were just complex units of matter following the laws of physics, chemistry and biology. They were naturally stable units of matter that were self-integrating because of physical laws applied to the innate qualities of such complex forms of matter.

It seems pretty intuitive to us, we have the impulse to have sex and stuff, but why? Is it just dumb luck that eventually made organisms want to reproduce, or did it have to be so?

A strong argument can be made that there is an observed natural tendency for life to proliferate, there is an inherent property of matter to regenerate stable forms when disturbed by an outside force, and at a certain advanced levels of complexity that tendency might manifest itself as an organism that wants to reproduce. I don"t know but perhaps that means it did have to be so.

If it was dumb luck, then does that mean that some life forms could be formed and then just died because they had no integrated wish for survival?

Thoughts? Opinions?

I"d say that lack of integration implies unstable, so in a sense, yes, but I don"t think it"s accurate to call it an integrated "wish" for survival, at the time of first cells it was an integrated tendency that didn"t involve "will", it was a natural interaction of complex forms of matter.
"It is one of the commonest of mistakes to consider that the limit of our power of perception is also the limit of all there is to perceive." " C. W. Leadbeater
Polaris
Posts: 1,120
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2/7/2013 8:06:23 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 1/31/2013 6:56:53 AM, SarcasticIndeed wrote:
I believe in Evolution, but I've always been bugged by the question of why is it there. Organisms want to survive, so they adapt and stuff, but why did the first cells or whatever those were want to survive? What pushed them to choose finding a way to continue spreading their genes rather than die? Why did they fancy living and reproducing? It seems pretty intuitive to us, we have the impulse to have sex and stuff, but why? Is it just dumb luck that eventually made organisms want to reproduce, or did it have to be so? If it was dumb luck, then does that mean that some life forms could be formed and then just died because they had no integrated wish for survival?

Thoughts? Opinions?

Science answers the HOW, let philosophy answer the WHY.
eastcoastsamuel
Posts: 20
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2/8/2013 10:44:55 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 1/31/2013 6:56:53 AM, SarcasticIndeed wrote:
I believe in Evolution, but I've always been bugged by the question of why is it there. Organisms want to survive, so they adapt and stuff, but why did the first cells or whatever those were want to survive? What pushed them to choose finding a way to continue spreading their genes rather than die? Why did they fancy living and reproducing? It seems pretty intuitive to us, we have the impulse to have sex and stuff, but why? Is it just dumb luck that eventually made organisms want to reproduce, or did it have to be so? If it was dumb luck, then does that mean that some life forms could be formed and then just died because they had no integrated wish for survival?

Thoughts? Opinions?
There's no reason why. It just happens. Starting to think that there is a reason why to the processes and creation of evolution leads into dangerous thinking.