Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

"Is evolution more intelligent than we thought?"

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • "Is evolution more intelligent than we thought?"

    From the "No Schist, Sherlock" files...
    Is evolution more intelligent than we thought?

    Published: 18 December 2015

    Evolution may be more intelligent than we thought, according to a University of Southampton professor.

    Professor Richard Watson says new research shows that evolution is able to learn from previous experience, which could provide a better explanation of how evolution by natural selection produces such apparently intelligent designs.

    By unifying the theory of evolution (which shows how random variation and selection is sufficient to provide incremental adaptation) with learning theories (which show how incremental adaptation is sufficient for a system to exhibit intelligent behaviour), this research shows that it is possible for evolution to exhibit some of the same intelligent behaviours as learning systems (including neural networks).

    In an opinion paper, published in Trends in Ecology and Evolution, Professors Watson and Eörs Szathmáry, from the Parmenides Foundation in Munich, explain how formal analogies can be used to transfer specific models and results between the two theories to solve several important evolutionary puzzles.

    [...]

    http://www.southampton.ac.uk/news/20...ory-study.page
    Watts Up With That? | The world's most viewed site on global warming and climate change.

  • #2
    ...erm, well I've been thinking about a theory, literature/fiction that is, that would explore whether it's ideas that really exist and make us, or the other way around. Obviously otherwise this is nonsense.
    Wisdom is personal

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Karri View Post
      ...erm, well I've been thinking about a theory, literature/fiction that is, that would explore whether it's ideas that really exist and make us, or the other way around. Obviously otherwise this is nonsense.
      Not necessarily. Top-down cosmology actually sort of works that way.
      Watts Up With That? | The world's most viewed site on global warming and climate change.

      Comment


      • #4
        Wellll, ... Maybe

        Given how weak most definitions of "intelligence" are I suppose this is one way of looking at it.

        Consider the human genome. It incorporates millions of inactive genes (sometimes inaccurately referred to as junk) that accumulated over the entire span of human evolution. In terms of the op, we could think of this as a sort of library, a record of solutions to environments our species has encountered before. Sampling the human population along a line from Archangel to Zambia demonstrates only a fraction of the variability latent in our genes. In a sense, our species is adaptable because our genome has 'seen it before.'

        Does this constitute a form of intelligence?
        Any metaphor will tear if stretched over too much reality.

        Questions about our site? See the FAQ.

        Comment


        • #5
          Since random chance and choice are at the basis of evolution, "intelligence" would not seem to be a factor. There is ample proof of evolution that did not follow any "intelligent" pathway to adaptation.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post
            Since random chance and choice are at the basis of evolution, "intelligence" would not seem to be a factor. There is ample proof of evolution that did not follow any "intelligent" pathway to adaptation.
            At least not any intelligence that man can comprehend.
            "Ask not what your country can do for you"

            Left wing, Right Wing same bird that they are killing.

            you’re entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Half Pint John View Post
              At least not any intelligence that man can comprehend.
              Watts Up With That? | The world's most viewed site on global warming and climate change.

              Comment


              • #8
                I think it is general accepted that we have evolved to evolve. What that means is difficult to define in a few paragraphs.
                We hunt the hunters

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by wolfhnd View Post
                  I think it is general accepted that we have evolved to evolve. What that means is difficult to define in a few paragraphs.
                  Evolution fills niches... Always has, always will.

                  At some level, life "knows" what it's doing.
                  Watts Up With That? | The world's most viewed site on global warming and climate change.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    One of the properties of life is intelligence. If we define intelligence as foresight. A tree knows when to drop it's leaves and ants know when to store food. A genetic code is like a book which holds a record of past experiences. There is even a growing body of evidence supporting epigenetic transmission of experience to offspring.

                    When we look at simple organism it is more difficult to see how they prepare for future events. Most single celled organism however are designed to have high rates of mutation which could be seen as a program for changing environments. Many singled celled organism also exchange genetic information so they "learn" about their environment collectively.

                    Microscopical Substantiation of Intelligence in Living Cells

                    "In this paper I propose that this problem-solving propensity, define it how you will, is evident even in single cells. Rather than being the lowly building blocks of higher and more illustrious forms of life, I postulate that cells embody the fundamental properties of intelligence. The manifestation of mental ability in more highly evolved organisms is not a feature that emerges from their complexity; rather, it is inherent in each cell. The community harnesses and amplifies this ability, but only because it is a property of the single cells of which these life-forms are comprised."

                    http://www.brianjford.com/a-08-12-in...telligence.pdf

                    Pathogen intelligence

                    "In neural networks, plasticity occurs on a variety of levels, ranging from cellular changes in neurons to large-scale alterations in neuronal anatomy and physiology (Bruel-Jungerman et al., 2007). In a parallel with the nervous system, pathogenic bacteria exhibit individual cellular sensing and behavior, as well as cooperative information processing including collective sensing, distributed information processing, joint decision making and even manipulation of the extracellular environment"

                    http://journal.frontiersin.org/artic...014.00008/full

                    Individuality in bacteria.

                    "While traditionally microbiologists have examined bacterial behavior averaged over large populations, increasingly we are becoming aware that bacterial populations can be composed of phenotypically diverse individuals generated by a variety of mechanisms. Though the results of different mechanisms, the phenomena of bistability, persistence, variation in chemotactic response, and phase and antigenic variation are all strategies to develop population-level diversity. The understanding of individuality in bacteria requires an appreciation of their environmental and ecological context, and thus evolutionary theory regarding adaptations to time-variable environments is becoming more applicable to these problems. In particular, the application of game and information theory to bacterial individuality has addressed some interesting problems of bacterial behavior. In this review we discuss the mechanisms of generating population-level variability, and the application of evolutionary theory to problems of individuality in bacteria."

                    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18652543


                    Non-genetic individuality: chance in the single cell

                    "The individuality of bacterial cells grown in homogeneous conditions was demonstrated by showing characteristic behavioural differences which persist over their lifespans. Poissonian fluctuation of small numbers of generator molecules can explain this individuality and may apply to such processes as differentiation and asynchrony of cultures."

                    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal.../262467a0.html

                    How brainless slime molds redefine intelligence

                    "Something scientists have come to understand is that slime molds are much smarter than they look. One species in particular, the SpongeBob SquarePants–yellow Physarum polycephalum, can solve mazes, mimic the layout of man-made transportation networks and choose the healthiest food from a diverse menu—and all this without a brain or nervous system. "Slime molds are redefining what you need to have to qualify as intelligent," Reid says."

                    http://www.nature.com/news/how-brain...igence-1.11811
                    We hunt the hunters

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Half Pint John View Post
                      At least not any intelligence that man can comprehend.
                      True, but that's the standard we have to work with, right? And evolution produced tons of freaks and dead ends, so by it's very nature it is not an "intelligent" process, but one which it motivated and guided solely by survival.

                      On the other end of the spectrum, we cannot credit things like the HIV virus for being "intelligent", but it has definitely evolved in a very short period of time driven by the same factor.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post
                        True, but that's the standard we have to work with, right? And evolution produced tons of freaks and dead ends, so by it's very nature it is not an "intelligent" process, but one which it motivated and guided solely by survival. ....
                        Interesting and I think that gets closer to the heart of the question.

                        If you give a human a test, a measure of intelligence might be how much better than random chance that person scores.

                        Not only are individual mutations random, even deleterious mutations will recur producing various genetic diseases in the process. So even though evolution might arrive at a "right answer" for a given set of conditions, the rates of hits to misses can be very low.

                        Considered this way, evolution may be a powerful process but not an intelligent one.
                        Any metaphor will tear if stretched over too much reality.

                        Questions about our site? See the FAQ.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          For starters, evolution is not random. Mutations may be random; however natural selection is not...

                          Misconceptions about natural selection


                          Because natural selection can produce amazing adaptations, it's tempting to think of it as an all-powerful force, urging organisms on, constantly pushing them in the direction of progress — but this is not what natural selection is like at all.

                          First, natural selection is not all-powerful; it does not produce perfection. If your genes are "good enough," you'll get some offspring into the next generation — you don't have to be perfect. This should be pretty clear just by looking at the populations around us: people may have genes for genetic diseases, plants may not have the genes to survive a drought, a predator may not be quite fast enough to catch her prey every time she is hungry. No population or organism is perfectly adapted.

                          Second, it's more accurate to think of natural selection as a process rather than as a guiding hand. Natural selection is the simple result of variation, differential reproduction, and heredity — it is mindless and mechanistic. It has no goals; it's not striving to produce "progress" or a balanced ecosystem.

                          This is why "need," "try," and "want" are not very accurate words when it comes to explaining evolution. The population or individual does not "want" or "try" to evolve, and natural selection cannot try to supply what an organism "needs." Natural selection just selects among whatever variations exist in the population. The result is evolution.

                          At the opposite end of the scale, natural selection is sometimes interpreted as a random process. This is also a misconception. The genetic variation that occurs in a population because of mutation is random — but selection acts on that variation in a very non-random way: genetic variants that aid survival and reproduction are much more likely to become common than variants that don't. Natural selection is NOT random!

                          http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/evo_32

                          Natural selection fills niches in the environment. The point of the article in the OP is that "evolution is able to learn from previous experience." It "knows" which mutations to select.
                          Watts Up With That? | The world's most viewed site on global warming and climate change.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Genetic mutations also exhibit non-random behavior...
                            Evolution Is Not Random (At Least, Not Totally)

                            By Tanya Lewis, Staff Writer | October 02, 2014

                            [...]

                            In the study, published Sept. 30 in the journal Royal Society Open Science, fisheries biologists Michael Garvin and his colleague Anthony Gharrett, of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, in Juneau, set out to see whether or not these mutations were truly random.

                            Stuck on repeat

                            In a previous study, Garvin and his colleagues analyzed the DNA from a number of species that encode a complex of proteins whose job is to produce ATP, the energy-rich molecule that powers cells. Changes in these bits of DNA allow a species to adapt to its environment, so they are said to be under "positive selection."

                            One day, Garvin was entering a DNA sequence for salmon into his computer, but he kept typing the sequence wrong, because there were so many repeats of the same two letters in the DNA, for example, "CACACACA," he said. These letters were right next to a positively selected site. He wondered if maybe the cell makes the same mistake in copying the repeated sequence when it replicates the DNA, perhaps including the wrong number of 'CAs,' for example. (These repeats themselves are not errors, but errors could be introduced in copying them.)

                            "It is kind of like buttoning up your shirt in the morning when you're tired and you miss one button," Garvin said. "Everything is off by one and there is a loop in your shirt and now you need to fix it. This loop is analogous to the DNA that needs to be repaired," he said.

                            When the cell is "fixing the buttons," the DNA has more time to mutate — a phenomenon called slip-strand mis-pairing. So these repeats — a physical property of the DNA — influence the mutation rate, the researchers said.

                            But even as a section of DNA is mutating, the sequence on either side of it, which contains the repeated section, cannot change too much or the protein won't work properly. The sequence would normally mutate until the repeat disappeared, but the need to preserve the sequence so the protein still works prevents the repeats from being eliminated. The result is a "mutational hot spot" in between stable DNA sequences, Garvin said.

                            Nonrandom forces

                            In the new study, the researchers looked at all of the DNA sequences under positive selection (or those that help an organism adapt to its environment), to see whether they were near a repeated sequence. They found that 97 percent of the sites were.

                            To find out if other DNA sequences that don't undergo positive selection also mutate in this way, Garvin identified all of the repeated sequences in the DNA of the species studied. He found that 60 percent of all mutating sites were next to a repeat.

                            "So in the end, most mutation is not random, at least for the DNA sequences we analyzed here," Garvin said. Rather, it is a combination of two opposing forces — the mis-pairing during DNA replication and the need to preserve a protein's function, Garvin said.

                            The findings could explain why evolution occurs much faster than if mutations were, in fact, totally random, the researchers said. The repeated sequences may also be necessary for evolution, they said.

                            [...]

                            http://www.livescience.com/48103-evo...ot-random.html
                            Watts Up With That? | The world's most viewed site on global warming and climate change.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              But saying evolution is intelligent is raising it to the status of a being, kinda the same way when you start treating companies as persons.
                              Wisdom is personal

                              Comment

                              Latest Topics

                              Collapse

                              Working...
                              X