Interesting Topics on Evolution

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Bruce Kay

Gym climber
BC
Jan 2, 2013 - 07:01pm PT
here's an interesting little video, mostly to do with triggering dopamine / the pursuit of pleasure.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/story/2012/12/21/inside-your-brain-new-world.html



Mentioned in the context of how such a stimulus system was up to now an important evolutionary survival impulse, was the thought that our environment has changed so radically and so quickly that perhaps such an impulse is now working against our evolutionary interests. In other words our world has changed too quickly for this particular trait to genetically evolve toward something more beneficial.

Interesting in context of our ability / impulse for altruism. I wonder if our altruism is up to the needs of our current environment. It is to a very great degree extended only to our small tribes, no doubt pretty useful 100 years ago but maybe not so useful in a truly global "economy."
Timid TopRope

Social climber
'used to be Paradise, CA
Jan 2, 2013 - 08:15pm PT
Moosedrool's quotation by Jesse Nivens, "How to argue on the internet without becoming a troll" should be required reading for ST. Although practicing Nevin's advice would probably drive down readership and posting as many come here for content but stay for the flame-a-thons.

In the coming centuries, evolution will probably take a back seat to global warming as the majority of species will be unable to keep up with the exponential shift of climate change. Species that can evolve relatively quickly will rule the roost and usher in a floral-biotic change unheralded since the last big die-off.

All hail our heirs and masters of adaptability..........the cockroach.
Tony Bird

climber
Northridge, CA
Jan 3, 2013 - 09:06am PT
i'm not lending my voice to a consensus on altruism. altruism is something the researcher wants to see. he's getting a grant from someone somewhere who wants him to find it.

"did he who made the lamb make thee?"

the second law of thermodynamics
the second law of thermodynamics
Credit: Tony Bird

wish i could find the quote, i thought from desert solitaire, but i can't. seems like abbey suggests, as the lion pounces on the zebra at the end of a short, intense chase, that "love" is somehow involved in the whole thing. wishful thinking from someone still, essentially, mickeymouse christian at heart?
kaholatingtong

Trad climber
Nevada City
Jan 3, 2013 - 10:28am PT
interesting topic. i do not have much to add here being that i studied literature in college. i can however say that
based on what they tried to teach me in college, using the word "like" makes it, by definition, not a metaphor.

If you find yourself typing out the words, "It's kinda like if…" then stop immediately and delete what you've written... Metaphors—comparing the situation you're debating to a different situation—are the cyanide of online arguments.

carry on.
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
Jan 3, 2013 - 02:59pm PT
Many antipsychotic drugs that are used on schizophrenics are dopmamine antagonists. Meaning too much dopamine makes you psychotic. Many illegal drugs are dopamine agonists, meaning they provide a flood of dopamine. Too much Cocaine produces psychosis, so the balance of Dopamine theory holds up in that case. Brain chemistry is immensely complicated. Some of the drugs blockade the H1 hystamine receptors, which causes severe weight gain. There are some terrific papers on this.

The role of each receptor is actually poorly understood. Some of the drugs have been found, after the fact, to hit the adrenergic receptors while others hit certain Serotonin receptors. Again, many of the older antipsychotics do indeed block dopamine.

There is a long period of trial and error to find the correct drug to treat each individual's particular problem.

So..in this case, William Blake's position that excess is a good thing doesn't hold up as far as sanity is concerned.
BLUEBLOCR

Social climber
joshua tree
Jan 3, 2013 - 03:21pm PT


Let's talk, first of all, about the basic principles of science since we're dealing with foundational things. Science deals with a matrix when we're talking about natural science. We're talking about the way things are in a material universe, there is a matrix of things. You have to have matter, you have to have force, you have to have energy, you have to have space and you have to have time. That is...that is Herbert Spencer's great achievement, he died in 1903, he said, "Everything in the universe can be deposited in one of these categories...time, force, action, space and matter." Force and action comprising energy. There has to be time, there has to be energy which is force and action, there has to be space, and there has to be matter. And by the way, those five things which he defined in that order are all in Genesis 1, "In the beginning...that's time...God...that's force...created...that's action...the heavens...that's space...and the earth...that's matter." The matrix is in Genesis 1:1, that is a profound scientific statement. The universe in essence is a...is a matrix of space, time, matter, and energy. And all of it has to be existing at the same conflux. It all has to come together or none of it exists. One cannot exist without the other. The entire continuum must have existed simultaneously from the beginning. That is why you find it all in Genesis 1:1, it all had to be there. Science says it has to be there and Scripture says it is there.

Now once the matrix comes into instantaneous simultaneous existence, its processes then are designed to operate in an orderly fashion, going forward. All the different phenomena within the matrix of nature and life are sustained by the forces that exist in that matrix. Time goes on, space goes on, energy goes on, matter goes on. It is all instantaneously and simultaneously coming into existence, it is then not only brought into existence by some external force and source, but it is then kept in prefect balance and function by that same power. It is sustained by the same force that brought it into existence. But everything that God made was made in six days. And it says in Genesis 2:2, "God ended His work which He had made." God stopped making anything. If you know science, you understand that that is scientifically accurate, nothing is being created, nothing is coming into existence, nothing has since creation, day six, and God's cessation of His work. The complete cessation of creative activity has been, by the way, in advertently recognized by modern science and they call it the law, the first law of thermodynamics and the first law of thermodynamics is called the conservation of mass and energy...the conservation of mass and energy. This is THE most and universal and certain of all scientific principles. Science has shown and verified that there is nothing being created in the known universe today. Things are doing what they do but not coming into existence newly. There is nothing new in the universe. In fact, the Bible tells us this in the most unaffected, the most simple, the most direct ways without ever defending itself as if its made some statement contrary to fact.



For example, in the words that come to us in the ninth chapter of Nehemiah, "In praise to God, in blessing to God," we read in Nehemiah 9:6, "Thou alone art the Lord, Thou hast made the heavens, the heaven of heavens with all their hosts, the earth and all that is in them, the seas and all that is in them. Thou dost give life to all of them." You made it all, everything that exists in the heaven and the earth and the seas, everything that lives, you made it all. That is an affirmation of God's completed and ended creation. Everything that is You made, and You made it all in those six days of creation.

I think it's in Isaiah, there are a lot of Scriptures that we could look up but there is another one, I think it's in Isaiah...yes, chapter 40 verse 26, "Lift up your eyes and see who has created these stars, the one who leads forth their host by number, He calls them all by name, not one of them is missing." Nothing comes into existence and nothing goes out of existence. This is the law, the first law of thermodynamics, the law of the conservation of mass and energy. Nothing is being created, nothing is going out of existence. And this is exactly what the Bible says in the most unaffected way and without any scientific pretension. For example, Ecclesiastes 1:9, "That which has been is that which will be and that which has been done is that which will be done and there is nothing new under the sun." In the third chapter of Ecclesiastes, verse 14, "I know that everything God does will remain forever." There is nothing to add to it, there is nothing to take from it. It is God so...it is God who has so worked it, that which is has been already, that which will be has already been, for God seeks what has passed by. This is the continuum of the creative reality, spontaneous generation, new creation doesn't happen. What perpetuates the creation is the conservation of mass and energy. And every organism that is a living organism has the seed of life within itself to reproduce itself.

Now there's a second law of thermodynamics and science has labeled this law, and the second law of thermodynamics is this...nothing new is being created, nothing is being destroyed, that is in the sense the first law. The second law is, however, all things are tending toward increasing disorder. This is the second law of thermodynamics. Energy is running down. It is losing its capacity to perform its work. There is increasing disorder. That means that slowly but observably the processes that God set in motion are winding down. We're heading toward the death of this creation. Now they don't have an explanation for that and it's a very hard thing to come up with an evolutionary view that everything is getting more complex, more intelligent and better while at the same time they can show scientifically that energy is dissipating and everything is tending toward chaos and disorder. All energy is running down and heading toward being incapable of performing its function.



Now God didn't make the world that way. God did not make the world that way. In fact, when God finished His creation, Genesis 1:31, He looked at it all and said, "It's...what?...it's very good." How do we explain what's happened? The Bible is the only place you can go for an explanation. Science has no explanation for the second law of thermodynamics. It has no explanation for the first law. Why is it that everything came into existence in a matrix at one time and continues in that same matrix? Why is it that if this is all a matter of chance, coincidence and randomness that that's not happening again and again and again and again? Why is it that it has come into existence in such a matrix of complexity and sustained itself in that matrix of complexity? That, in fact, is what drove Einstein crazy, if you would call him crazy, because he couldn't figure out the power was that held everything together. And how then do you explain this slow death? What is the reason for that? Only the Bible explains the matrix, the power of God is the invisible power that holds it all together and sustains it. And only the Bible explains why it's all tending toward disorder and death and the explanation comes in Genesis 3, it is the Fall and God curses creation. God curses creation. You read Genesis 3, man is cursed, woman is cursed. Sin enters into the world, the land is cursed, the ground is cursed. You have to till and work by the sweat of your brow to get something out of the land and fight all the cursed elements, the thorns, the weeds. And man has to fight against the weakness of his own body and his weariness and illness and disease because death enters the world and women have pain in childbearing. The ground is cursed. The whole creation is cursed. Read Romans 8:20 to 22. In Romans 8:20 to 22 the whole creation groans under the weight of the curse.

Science has no explanation for the first law of thermodynamics which they are glad to label but cannot explain how the complex matrix can come into existence in a moment, which all of which is required for anything to exist out of nothing. They cannot explain that nor can they explain how it holds itself together because there's no way to find the power that holds it together scientifically, nor can they explain the principle of disintegration and disorder in the second law of thermodynamics. The Bible explains both perfectly.

The Bible also explains that the second law of thermodynamics without calling it that is working its way down to an end, and the end must come and it will come, only it won't die a slow death, it will die an immediate death, as I just read you, when the Lord Jesus destroys this cursed universe and establishes a new heaven and a new earth. And in the new heaven and the new earth, there will be a different matrix. There will be a different matrix. There will be no time, there will be no space, there will be the energy of eternal life. It will be a completely different matrix and there will be no second law of thermodynamics. There will be no death, no sickness, no sorrow, no dying, no decay, no unrighteousness, no trouble, to pain, no destruction, and so forth and so forth.

So, you see, when you talk about science at the very basic level, it is only the Bible that gives you any sensible understanding for the way things really are. And we would expect that the one who made things the way they are, knows the way they are, and tells us the truth about the way they are. I stand so firmly before you as somebody who is not a scientist, by any stretch of the imagination, to say to you that I have read as extensively as I can read in science, particularly in those many, many months when I was going through Genesis chapters 1, 2 and 3, trying to understand science, true science, comparison to Scripture, and I have yet to find and I am supported by Christian scientists all over the country and all over the world who study far more in depth and more diligently than I who back up the fact that there has never ben any...any scientific discovery that is in true fact the way it really is that contradicts the biblical record...never...never.
___

The message has been around forever!! It just takes aHeightened conscienseness ,
and a Willing Soul to transpire Gods Spirit into communication.

Jus Inhale'in
BB
rectorsquid

climber
Lake Tahoe
Jan 3, 2013 - 03:27pm PT
I think that we are evolving. Environmental factors still affect who lives and who dies. We like to think that doctors keep every baby alive and that anyone who is an idiot or a genius can have kids but it is a bit egocentric to think that we are somehow above survival of the fittest.

But what is fit? Maybe money through inheritance is fit. Maybe good looks and no brains are fit. Evolution is a subtle thing and what is happening to us now in every way is part of the process.

We need to ignore everything affecting people that happens after they are past the child bearing age but even that is changing.

It's a shame that we won't ever be around to see how it turns out. We might become flesh eating monsters or we might become balls of intelligent life.

Dave
moosedrool

Trad climber
lost, far away from Poland
Jan 3, 2013 - 03:27pm PT
Base, the two known variants of the dopamine receptor gene are DRD2 A1 and DRD2 A2. In the USA, about 30% of the population carries the A1 gene. This gene expresses about 40% less D2 dopamine receptors than the A2 variant. Less receptors means less dopamine uptake, means unhappiness. This sub population is prone to addictions, such as alcohol, or climbing! Some researchers postulate that the A2 variant evolved from the A1.
rectorsquid

climber
Lake Tahoe
Jan 3, 2013 - 03:31pm PT
As for altruism, I think that it is genetic. Survival of a species is more important than survival of an individual when it comes to natural selection. Sacrificial behavior that saves a large number of others that have similar altruistic genetics will mean the altruism genes get passed on and flourish.

"You must be like the wolf pack, not the six-pack."

Dave
WBraun

climber
Jan 3, 2013 - 03:33pm PT
The Bible is the only place you can go for an explanation.

Are you sure ......
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Jan 4, 2013 - 01:29am PT
I just read Donald's recommended articles on neanderthal and a couple of others on the same page - very interesting. I think we have to be careful of conclusions based on one human pelvis and one newborn head however as neanderthal provides one of the best examples in the literature of bad conclusions based on a sample of one. Marcelin Boule wrote three volumes on the first type specimen, describing it as "stooped and beetle browed", without ever noticing that it was an old and extremely arthritic specimen.

That said, what I found most interesting was the notion that neanderthals brain grew to maturity at about the same rate as other great apes whereas the human brain grows slower and thus has a longer learning period and time for more neurons to connect. This could well be what distinguishes Homo sapiens from all the others and explain the explosion in culture about 60,000 years ago.

The other interesting recent finding that explained a lot to me was the discovery that neanderthals went through a population bottleneck before Homo sapiens arrived. According to these new findings, although they were numerous at one time, there were few of them and rather inbred by the time Homo sapiens arrived. The event that precipitated their decline in numbers was probably the advent of an ice age or perhaps an epidemic.

We have never found signs of great battles between the two so have always wondered why neanderthals became extinct. If they were few in number and inbred, this would have caused genetic defects, still born births and high infant mortality, which makes their demise more understandable. It also means the one new born head specimen we have, also might not be representative.
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Jan 4, 2013 - 02:42am PT
SciAm July, 2011 / Douglas Fox: The Limits of Intelligence

And a podcast by the author on the subject as well:

Podcast: How Physics Limits Intelligence

Summary: Summary

Human intelligence may be close to its evolutionary limit. Various lines of research suggest that most of the tweaks that could make us smarter would hit limits set by the laws of physics.

Brain size, for instance, helps up to a point but carries diminishing returns: brains become energy-hungry and slow. Better “wiring” across the brain also would consume energy and take up a disproportionate amount of space.

Making wires thinner would hit thermodynamic limitations similar to those that affect transistors in computer chips: communication would get noisy.

Humans, however, might still achieve higher intelligence collectively. And technology, from writing to the Internet, enables us to expand our mind outside the confines of our body.
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Jan 4, 2013 - 02:46am PT
"You must be like the wolf pack, not the six-pack."

"If you do not learn to master your rage....your rage will become your master. That's what you were gonna say, right?"

Falls into favorite family flix folder!




when the Lord Jesus destroys this cursed universe and establishes a new heaven and a new earth. And in the new heaven and the new earth, there will be a different matrix.
That's not really working for me, that Jesus has to come and destroy dad's perfect creation in order to make it better. You'd think these all powerful creators of universes could get it right the first time, or they weren't as perfect and all knowing as they/we like to think. And if they're so all knowing and all powerful, why can't they show up and improve it a little without destroying it? It's so all or nothing with these God types.....
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Jan 4, 2013 - 03:13am PT
Yeah, "cursed universe" says it all with regard to just how f*#ked up religion can get this side of human sacrifice.
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Jan 4, 2013 - 03:19am PT
"Love this house you built dad, it's bigger and better than anyone has ever built one. Comfy too. But there's this annoying little mosquito buzzing around, I've decided to name him Satan. You see dad, unfortunately you weren't able to do away with this Satan bug, so...surely you won't mind if I burn the house down and build an even better one, right?

This time though, no Satan bug."
Bruce Kay

Gym climber
BC
Jan 4, 2013 - 05:11am PT
fascinating article about the possible link of crime and lead in the environment. The hypothesis is that decreasing incarceration rates may be linked to a clean up of toxic lead contamination in certain environments.


http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2013/01/lead-crime-link-gasoline


Tony Bird

climber
Northridge, CA
Jan 4, 2013 - 06:09am PT
i hope you include war in your definition of human sacrifice, healyje, because that's what it is.
Sierra Ledge Rat

Mountain climber
Old and Broken Down in Appalachia
Jan 4, 2013 - 06:17am PT
1. Are humans still evolving?

Of course, all species are always in the process of evolution at all times. But you have to understand that the process of genetic replication and repair is also evolving to become more accurate and sophisticated, at least in higher species.

2. Is group selection...

Altruism may be a combination of genetic programming and social programming... Depending on your definition of altruism. You can define altruism as a conscious choice. In that case, it's purely social conditioning.

Watch this video of a leopard killing a monkey, but then caring the dead monkey's infant as if it was its own child. Is this altruism or genetics?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TqklTPCRLGI

3. What is the likelihood...

Astronomers are finding hundreds of planets like earth in the universe. The likliehood of life on other planets is very high.
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Jan 4, 2013 - 04:24pm PT
SLR: But you have to understand that the process of genetic replication and repair is also evolving to become more accurate and sophisticated, at least in higher species.

Do you have any links to support this assertion? I'd be interested to see them if that's so. Lots of 'lower' species have sophisticated and accurate genetic repair capabilities, much less so in 'higher' species.
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Jan 4, 2013 - 04:26pm PT
On the brain size front:

Scientists breed big-brained guppies to demonstrate evolution's trade-offs
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