Showing posts with label evolution. Show all posts
Showing posts with label evolution. Show all posts

Friday, September 18, 2015

Randomness, Selection, Evolution and the Bible.

Having said that, I agree that the suggestion that four billion years of random mutations produced an organism as refined and sophisticated as a human being, is an absurd idea.  The ease w/which an ecological system can be destroyed evinces fine tuning, IMO.  The analogy of the likelihood of an explosion in a printing factory creating the largest edition of the Oxford English Dictionary seems apropos to describe the idea of a strict non-supernatural directed evolution of the universe. EOCjlb

If a bunch of people picked over the explosion debris in the printing factory and selected the parts that came from the OED and reassembled them it is not absurd at all.  It might take them four billion years, but that is a lot of time for selection to work. 

Evolutionary selection is not kind to random mutations that do not help the organism.  The organism is lunch for an organism that has more beneficial random mutations. If the printing factory also printed Lewis Carrol all the nonsense would be eliminated from the debris.  Scripture evolved in the same way.  Pieces of debris from destroyed myths were picked over and reassembled into the various versions of Sacred Texts we have now.  You may believe that God helps the sorters in all cases, but it is really not necessary for the sorting out to take place. 

As for humans, there were many failures along the line to the present iteration of humanity that may be a failure as we speak due to a mutation that encourages belief in the idea that humans "dominate the earth" which may be making the earth habitable only for cockroaches and perhaps dinosaurs whose genes are conserved in birds.  

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Agricultural Commiunities vs Marauders

I certainly can deny out warlike nature.  All evidence is that before Abram came along and invented God, humans were agricultural - herding communities or hunter - gatherers where the ecology permitted it.  Their gods (if any) were generally earth/fertility oriented and community sustainability was an important moral imperative. 

War was rare although not non-existent, as there were tribal leaders that for one reason or another usually outgrowing their resource base could try to take what they wanted by warfare.  Usually settled communities could defend themselves and the marauders failed usually when the dysfunctional leader was killed. 

Abram's genius was inventing a leader that couldn't be killed because it didn't really exist, and who divided all the world simply into us and them.  Them just didn't count.  This was a successful concept, as poor young men could be convinced that it was "their" fault they were poor and horny and run off to battle for plunder, and women. 

As for the people who created the mythology, whether or not they were inspired by God is moot, as they believed in God, and codified the mythology based on that assumption.  My belief or lack thereof in God has nothing to do with what others believe.  I also do not think that 50+% of the population that believe in Christianity and Islam and at least pretend to read and abide by Scripture is "only a fraction." 

 I was not arguing that predatory tribes did not exist before or even after Abram invented God.  Tribal survival is always an evolutionary imperative.  If drought or other natural disaster makes your community uninhabitable the tribe or community if larger does what it takes to survive.  Since arable land is usually occupied and defended predation involves the expenditure of many warriors.  Those mass graves mentioned earlier may or may not have been all victims of predation.  In a battle of relatively equal weaponry one would expect the attackers to have the most casualties. 
At Crow Creek the lack of young women in the grave is more likely the result of the defenders giving the most important members of the tribe time to escape to safer ground than the biblical assumption that God delivered the virgins to the victors.  The site was defensible as noted by the defensive trenches that the attackers had to overcome.  The assumption that they did is optimistic at best.  The burning of the settlement may well have been a defensive move to remove the incentive for the attackers.  The fact that the site was abandoned for several weeks suggests to me that the attack failed with the loss and/or retreat of the attackers and the villagers returned later to honor the dead with a proper burial.

While predation and defensive warfare may have been common in prehistory, the long term survival of most communities on arable land suggests that predation was a poor tribal survival strategy.  That is until the Romans came along with their emperor Gods emulated by the Christian God that held all of "them" in contempt to be slaves and breeders, that predation became a way of life and a relatively successful one at that. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Group Selectionism

To many if not most biologists, the selfish gene approach is the best idea anyone ever came up with for explaining altruism in the animal kingdom. The only significant rival explanation, group selectionism, is extremely controversial by comparison. The issue is not yet settled.  Faust

For biologists the gene is the only hammer they have to bang on things with.  Dawkins was a biologist who established his credibility by showing how a gene for distinguishing brighter from darker areas in the environment as an example could have survival value and drive the evolution of complex visual structures collectively known as eyes. He was necessarily working on individual members of the phyla he was studying.  As it became necessary to study more complex traits like altruism the gene hammer became the wrong tool and group selection became an alternative for social animals which are a relatively recent evolutionary development.  I suspect the two theories are not rivals, but are different tools for investigating different evolutionary structures.

The meme theory, still in its scientific infancy (it's developer isn't even dead yet) may well be the tool needed for studying group selection, as social animals must have a non-genetic behavioral modification adaptation for survival as a group.  Group selection works in relatively few generations which make biologists very uncomfortable.  Predatory pack wolves evolved extremely quickly into a larger social structure of follower wolves and eventually dogs (and a smaller individual social organization coyotes etc.) with essentially no genetic adaptation.  Dogs, wolves, and coyotes can crossbreed with viable offspring, although the strong social differences make crossbreeding unlikely in normal environmental conditions.

The God meme has been extremely powerful in group selection at least for predatory human groups.  While it may not prove the existence of God as a real thing, it certainly proves the existence of the collective consciousness of the idea of God.  Whether there is a significant difference is not really a scientific question.  

Whether the God meme can survive above the tribal social level is an open question that is evolving even as we speak, but that is a different topic entirely.  

Monday, August 17, 2015

Evolution of War

Aug 16, 2015 -- 12:35PM, onefreespirit wrote:
When the popes led their faithful to war, they didn't do it by changing human nature to suit their purpose. Warlike behavior satisfies the human need to prove ourselves superior to others.

A totally unsupported and probably false assumption.  Nothing in human evolution indicates warlike behavior.  See aforementioned fragile skull.  Humans evolved by cunning not force.  Selecting agricultural crops so they were not dependent on dangerous foraging, domesticating food animals rather than hunting dangerous game, coopting follower wolves for predator warnings, (not exclusive to humans by the way)  breeding aggressive "sheepdogs" to protect the herds and domesticated small feline predators to control small rodents that domesticated themselves. 

The only significant predators were anti-social exploitive humans who raped, pillaged and burned those who had a sustainable agricultural society.  Even those sustainable societies used aggressive war as a last resort preferring to expend extensive resources on defensive structures to protect their cultures.  See the Great Wall of China, and Castles atop sheer cliffs. A few defenders with projectile weapons spears, rocks and fireworks (another cunning invention to avoid proving ones tribe superior.) could hold off invading hordes almost indefinitely. 

It took Abram, the God he created in his own image, and baby factories to make war and pillage a viable cultural strategy.    

Sunday, August 16, 2015

War Poster Boys

Lets not draw cave men BS conclusions from a Christian BS study.  Women's taste in male appearance changes like hemlines.  If Putz was really interested in evolution he would look at cross cultural traits rather than the misogynist Penn State Christian/football violent culture.  Probably at least half the men in the world do not have big muscles, heavy facial hair, square jaws, teeth that clench to take facial violence, (he forgot that one) deep voices, and a propensity to violence.

East Asians, South Asians, Africans, and what we know of indigenous people all lack most of those features, and women and men are generally the same size and shape. Lithe, flexible, versitile muscles good for other things than wielding clubs.  Dexterity in both genders.  A generally small face to make room for a bigger brain, in short a body and face designed by evolution for versatility, adaptability and cooperation.  Their fighting style (when forced to fight) is not strength but adaptability and expending as many men as necessary to overwhelm the enemy and not incidentally protect the women and children.  A few planes with Kamikaze pilots can destroy a battleship and a whole bunch of square jawed, heavily muscled, violence loving men.   

Three millennia of war and violence in the Middle East and Europe have changed not so much women's preferences, but which man got the harems, and ownership of the baby factories to make more men with big muscles, heavy facial hair, square jaws and teeth that clench to mitigate blows to the face (the only exposed area for armored men) and a propensity to violence.  The fact that they are an evolutionary minority speaks volumes about the propensity to violence in spite of their high birth rate. 

War. Nature or Nurture

I certainly can deny our warlike nature.  All evidence is that before Abram came along and invented God, humans were agricultural - herding communities or hunter - gatherers where the ecology permitted it.  Their gods (if any) were generally earth/fertility oriented and community sustainability was an important moral imperative. 

War was rare although not non-existent, as there were tribal leaders that for one reason or another usually outgrowing their resource base could try to take what they wanted by warfare.  Usually settled communities could defend themselves and the marauders failed usually when the dysfunctional leader was killed. 

Abram's genius was inventing a leader that couldn't be killed because it didn't really exist, and who divided all the world simply into us and them.  Them just didn't count.  This was a successful concept, as poor young men could be convinced that it was "their" fault they were poor and horny and run off to battle for plunder, and women. 

As for the people who created the mythology, whether or not they were inspired by God is moot, as they believed in God, and codified the mythology based on that assumption.  My belief or lack thereof in God has nothing to do with what others believe.  I also do not think that 50+% of the population that believe in Christianity and Islam and at least pretend to read and abide by Scripture is "only a fraction."

Violent Men and Evolution.

Yes this is what I think about. And you can go further than 'culture'. Science says men evolved to be violent. And our closest relatives in the trees are in male dominant hierarchy. So religion didn't create these things. Biology did.  Curious

Neither premise is clearly supported by "Science."  See Bonobos which are our closest simian relatives. 

If Homo Sapiens evolved to be violent we would look more like Neanderthals and Klingons.  The human skull is evolved to avoid violence.  The brain is easily concussed and if violence is anticipated some sort of a helmet is needed to avoid damage to the fragile skull.  Note that the Neanderthals were bigger, stronger, smarter and had a protected brain but still lost out to Sapiens, they could rape Sapiens women, but we couldn't rape theirs.  (No Neanderthal mDNA in humans,)

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Goo to Zoo to You Redux.

Again, I challenge you to take a look at just what the DNA Information coding and non-coding system is.  The signature of Yahweh is there in every single "jot and tittle" of that three dimensional CODE-SYSTEM.  Codes DON'T evolve!  You need to deal with that FACT! --YEC
Sorry, Yahweh, God or whoever that misanthropist was that Moses invented to control his people, was not around a few billion years ago when that first twisted strand of goo found a lipid bubble to live in and start the process of divide and conquer that resulted in the zoo, originally one celled replicating organisms that found out that cooperation beat fending alone in the difficult environment of the early earth.  Those cooperating organisms made their DNA better and more efficient at eating goo and replicating, until eventually Moses, Yahweh, Blü and I evolved. 

God probably doesn't even have or know about DNA, since Moses didn't know enough about it to invent it when he invented God. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Moral Evolution

I am not jumping to conclusions.  I have presented on many threads and on this one clear evidence that morality coevolved with modern humans.  That social moral nuance is taught like language is clear, but like basic grammar, basic morality is an evolutionary, that is genetic property of the mind/brain.  One might argue with one of Blü's moral imperatives, but in general they are the source of absolute morality, not some sky god.  Sky gods can and do influence the social moral nuances for believers, in some cases quite strongly, as the follow the leader basic imperative is strongly reinforced by vuvuzelas in fancy dresses in over decorated balconies telling believers what God wants as to morality, but it is moral only for believers whether it is hate fags or love your neighbor.    

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Moral Evolution

In several different ways we are quite different from other hominid species.  One is the huge brain which is too large for the birthing pelvis and therefore must develop significantly after birth.  Probably associated with this is the hidden estrus which makes a single mating by a dominant male unlikely to be successful in continuing his line.  Both make the human social structure much different from other hominids.  If the male wants to insure his paternity he must pair up long term with a female (and make sure no other male has access to the female.)  This obviously has a huge impact on morality which must have evolved with the brain size of the baby.  

The concurrent evolution of the infant totally dependent on parents for everything from wiping herm ass, learning language, and getting from one place to another for nearly a whole gestation period and the hidden estrus had to have a major effect on the moral relationships between men and women especially for the man.  I suspect the traditional cave man dragging the woman to the cave by the hair would have trouble getting enough sex to maintain his line.  The guy who provided dinner and a dance regularly would have a much better chance. 

The other major difference was the evolution from a hunter/gatherer nomadic life style to an agricultural settlement based society. Again it would seem that the moral evolution would be concurrent with the settled social structure.   

The agricultural settlement where the division of labor among women and men, the men doing the muscle work of tillage and clearing, with opportunistic hunting and field and flock depredation prevention, certainly must have had moral evolutionary effects on both genders:  Women with strong social and community development skills would have much better evolutionary success in the critical chore of  getting a child to puberty.  In the absense of breakfast diners, a man who left home with a substantial breakfast, and could look forward to a substantial dinner, would be much better prepared to concentrate on his daily community chores.   

To be continued ...

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Goo to Zoo to Me

Here are some facts which we each have to interpret.
....wouldn’t you agree that it is also absurd to say that this happened by chance? You might comment that natural selection is a 'non-random process', but going back further you must believe in 'chance' and how did a non-random process evolve from randomness? Is randomness not the right word? Do you think it is reasonable to suggest the universe was always orderly from nothing? Or how would you put it?
Do you just have to shrug your shoulders and say 'existence is weird' and leave it at that?
How do you see the world?  

 I see the world as a scientist, chemist to be precise.
Once the plasma of the Big Bang cooled sufficiently for protons and electrons to form, electromagnetics will cause them to form hydrogen.  Gravity clumps up the hydrogen and collapses it eventually getting it hot enough form a star which blows up scattering hydrogen and helium which forms new stars with the carbon – nitrogen - oxygen fusion cycle.  These blow up scattering carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen and oxygen all over the universe.  These are the main building blocks of amino acids which are found everywhere in the universe.  The other extremely stable compound formed from this mess is water.  No chance just chemistry.

Get these all together on a big rock orbiting a star at the right distance that the water is liquid and all sorts of weird chemistry happens.  Carbon in particular is a promiscuous chemical and joins up with almost anything including itself to form all sorts of stuff including  goo and lipid membranes and bubbles which don’t really dissolve in water but mix with it.  Again no chance just chemistry.

Big complicated carbon molecules with amino acids and bases tend to fold up in ways that keep the amino acids and bases out, again chemistry, carbon bonds tightly to itself and other radicals stick out. Acids and bases sticking out tend to attract other carbon compounds with acids and bases sticking out sometimes end to end sometimes side to side.  The side to side match-ups tend to fall apart, but the end to end are fairly stable.  Still just goo, but some of the goo gets trapped in a lipid bubble which concentrates goo stuff.  But after a while, measured in millions of years, give or take a million, one of those folded goo molecules probably a simple RNA molecule attracts goo stuff sideways in a way that matches up with the RNA.  As mentioned the sideways bonds are weak and the matched goo splits off.  Now there are two replicators attracting goo stuff.  In a while one of the replicators adds something that makes it better able to attract goo stuff, and it becomes the most successful and the other replicators disappear.  In a while a matchup containing thiamine instead of uracil proves to be even more stable and DNA becomes the dominant replicator. Still just goo making more goo. 

When the DNA and RNA start working together to manipulate the lipid membrane we begin to move from goo to zoo.  DNA which splits the lipid membrane when it replicates can be called the beginning of the zoo.  The single cell organisms compete for resources and the most successful live to split again.  Some cooperate with other organisms to be even more successful and become more common.  One group develops a way to react to the environment to compete better for resources and again some compete well enough to replicate and the others die off taking their inadequate DNA with them.  The groups get better and smarter about reacting to the environment in each case surviving long enough to replicate.  This continued for countless generations, each generation getting better at filling its niche on the rock until I won. Hat tip to Mary-Ella Holst from her Lottery

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Evolution of Belief

Evolutionary models explain how humans evolved social brains that were optimal for conformity to group norms, and that means they will adopt whatever ideas, rituals, art, attitudes, etc. that identifies tribal association.  That's why someone from Denver is more likely to wear a Broncos jersey rather than people living in othe cities with their own football team.  Or why people in the USA are more likely to be some form of Christian and people in the Middle East more likely to be Muslim.  People affiliate and then defend affiliation for various reasons, but most certainly involves a degree of denial. F1fan

How do you determine which group norms are untrue?  If one gains social status (in Denver) from arguing that John Elway, or whomever is the greatest Quarterback in the religion of the NFL is this denial that there may be other quarterbacks that may be in the running? Is it a false belief? Is it a disfunctional belief in Denver?  Do you think a Bart Starr fan store selling nothing but Packer and Starr paraphernalia would be successful in Denver?

Is your belief that there is no guiding force behind evolution necessarily true?  Does a plurality of Gods indicate that there must be none or "One ring to rule them all" including the god of unguided evolution?

Perhaps the human brain evolved to conform to group norms and accept those group norms as true, since arguing the falsity of group norms carries social penalties up to and including death by torture.  Including arguing against secular beliefs. 

Atheists still are subject to social sanctions for arguing against the prevailing religious beliefs of a country or state.  Does this mean atheism is false?  Does it mean atheism is true?

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Animal Grouping for Survival


Evolutionary science of social animals indicate that for survival most members of the social group, whether it is a herd, a tribe, a pod, a pack, or whatever,  are genetically programmed to follow the leader, without question, even over the cliff.  Secularists are not immune to this programming, see the Secular Humanist Manifesto, Modern Paganism, The Human Potential movement, Western Buddhism, sundry woo-woo gurus, etc.

There is also strong survival programming for those separated from the social group for whatever reason, including refusal to jump the cliff, to find others of their species to start a new social group to continue the species.  The new social group will create new leaders to provide coherence and stability, and not incidentally protect the social group from predation frequently from others of the same species. 

I just spent a weekend at a popular convention where people gathered to find Dungeon Masters to lead them into battle and adventure.  The attendees were by and large well educated, secular, comfortable financially, but in need of a group adventure temporary and fantasy but nonetheless a group experience.  See also any sport fanatic. 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Happiness and Suffering.

What awareness has you come to you through happiness?  What awareness has come through suffering?  -  Seefan

Happiness, both for those important to me and for myself brings awareness that my behavior especially my social behavior is correct and moral.  Technically it means that dopamine and serotinin are stimulating the social awareness compliance centers in the brain to produce the feeling of pleasure in complying with social rules for good behavior.  

Suffering, both for those important to me and for myself means that something is seriously awry in my social system and I must do whatever is necessary to repair the damage.  As an example I hear a baby crying in a burning building indicating that it is suffering.  Since a universal evolutionary imperative for social animals is to protect the next generation at any cost including a serious threat of survival for the adult, I am compelled to enter the probably fatal environment to attempt to get the baby out.  If I can get the baby out of a window safely, the dopamine and serotinin will activate the social compliance centers to mitigate the pain and suffering I feel from the fire.  If I can get out the window myself great, if not I have done the socially necessary thing and will die happy as the building collapses around me.  

Please note that death is the other bookend to my life and nothing follows.  My social group may remember me as a hero, but I won't be aware of that except momentarily as the building collapses.  But no matter. I have done other beneficial things for my society, and when death comes the dopamine and serotinin will flood the social compliance centers so at death I will be happy and I will indeed rest in peace.   

No God. Just evolutionary success that allows the baby to live to enjoy my legacy.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Godless Evolution in a Nutshell

As the universe evolved heavy elements were created in hot massive stars that exploded seeding the universe with heavier elements that could react as elements do because of energy considerations to form compounds.   Some of the lighter elements, carbon, oxygen, and nitrogen, commonly reacted with hydrogen to form methane, ammonia and carboxylic acid, which in turn reacted to form amino acids the building blocks of life.  As stars and planets formed out of dust clouds in space those amino acids were distilled onto planets that were suitable in distance and energy flux to contain liquid water. Eventually life formed on such planets.  Hardly something from nothing.  But no creator necessary, simply physics, chemistry and energy.
As life evolved it became necessary for survival to sense and react to the environment in which life existed, as finding nutrients and avoiding being one, was necessary for survival and reproduction.  Those organisms that were good at sensing and reacting to the environment reproduced and thrived until something that sensed and reacted better came along and became locally dominant.  Repeat, repeat, repeat, until part of the package needed for survival was in addition to experiencing and doing, thinking, planning, and feeling were added to the mix.  In particular feeling good about the opposite sex to form pair bonds to facilitate getting infants to be reproducing adults.  Thinking and planning are added relatively early in evolution as all mammals and birds appear to do so.  

Those animals that have evolved to assist humans in guarding, herding, rodent control and other needed functions around settlements have learned to sense human feelings of happiness, joy, wonder, and do things that create them in order to survive in the presence of humans.  See Facebook threads of cute animals doing things to please humans.  

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Infinite Monkeys, Typewriters, and Shakespeare.

However it is a fact that a finite number of primates breeding with no target in mind, did produce the entire works of Shakespeare. Not with typewriters obviously, but with quill pens.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

My Creator

Define God -beliefnet

I have no problem understanding my creators. Countless generations of organisms survived to reproduce culminating in a group of intelligent creative survivor humans that were my ancestors and finally my parents. Both of whom I know and who helped me understand the society of which I am a part. End of creation story.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Memes in Evolution.

Is This Life All There Is?. - Beliefnet

While for 3.5 billion years, reproduction has been key and is still important in evolution, in the last 10,000 years of so Homo Sap has thrown an incredible wild card into the picture in the form of memes. Suddenly that moral element has become one of the most important determinants of survival for life on earth. The 'moral' failing of not getting along with the dominant humans is detrimental for survival as a species and as an individual I might add.

The human species is no exception. Morality, that is compliance with the mores of the tribe whatever that tribe is, is critical not only to survival as an individual but survival for the memes that might become part of the culture of the tribe. In a real sense the tribal memes are the modern mechanism of human evolution. The meme of divine right king led tribes is effectively dead, although the despot led tribal meme is unfortunately alive and well.

I suspect that in the lifetime of my grandchildren the religion meme will have disappeared, and certainly the trip-omni God gene associated with many religions. Out breeding resources is always a fatal mistake, although the death throes of that meme suicide are always ugly.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Tribe as the Human Evolutionary Unit.

What is the Purpose of Religion? - Beliefnet

As the human evolutionary selection unit is the tribe, as long as tribes were small enough and cohesive, a god was a useful entity to take the responsibility of leadership from the tribal leaders. 'Hey, it isn't me making bad things happen, it is God. I only take credit for the good things that happen.' Religion codifies the social necessities of tribal cohesion, providing the moral and social rules that allow the tribe to function. Another important function of religion is to codify and preserve the stories that transmit those moral and social rules. Humans are story telling animals and the stories told in the gatherings are the way the mores are transmitted and preserved.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Evolution in a Knowledge Based Society

Is Religious Misogyny Viable in a Modern economy - Beliefnet

Darwin is no more relevant to modern evolutionary theory than the Bible is to modern morality.

Evolutionary theory suggests that whatever sexual dimorphism in behavior and breeding functions that works for the species studied in the ecological niche they find themselves in will result in an evolutionary advantage. However when the niche changes a species than cannot adapt may well become extinct.

In a survival desert marauding niche, with high infant mortality and high male mortality in war a female human as a brood mare, socializer of children and society made evolutionary sense.

In a modern society with sophisticated medicine and technology the evolutionary pressure seems to be for maximizing intellectual innovation, and eliminating half of the population from that activity seems like an evolutionary dead end. Out breeding resources is another evolutionary dead end. We are seeing in countries like China and India and some parts of the USA that women are critical participants in the economy, and fit in the 2.1 replacement children as time permits. Or not at all in many cases.

Nobody is trying to turn them into men. They still are the producers of the next generation, but if men want to participate genetically in the next generation, the rules have changed considerably. It is no longer useful to fuck anything with a vagina, she probably is infertile until she finds someone that will be a good parenting partner. Which these days means recognizing her intellectual contributions to the society and the economy.

One of the reasons misogynistic religions are so down on homosexuality is that the good parenting partner may well be female, and the requirements for getting sperm into that mix can be interesting to say the least. It happens, frequently naturally, but never by accident.