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Derek Payne

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Complex design.

I am an Athiest or evolutionist, whatever.( A rose by any other name.) I agree with Richard Dawkins mostly , except in one instance. He goes on to say that any designer capable of designing something really complex, ( the design in nature.) has to be even more complex himself. What he has not taken into consideration is the species themselves. What could be a more simple explanation. When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.

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    Jun 16 2011: I'm sorry, I've not really understood you're meaning here.

    Can you ellaborate on what you mean by "What he has not taken into consideration is the species themselves. What could be a more simple explanation."
    • Jun 16 2011: Hi Simon. What I mean by not considering the species, is; since evolution is for the benefit of the species, then the species are best placed to decide what is best for the species. How this information is passed on, is the next big step for science. Its saves the need for a complex designer.
      • Jun 17 2011: How does a species decide where evolution will take it? For starters, evolution/natural selection is driven by variation caused by random mutations. Then, the selective pressures acting on a species are out of its control (climate, predation etc). The only species that has some say in where its evolution will go is our own as we can (or will be able to) change our genetic code at will. However, at the moment we choose not to due to ethical reasons. So even humans are not "guiding" their own evolution.
        • Jun 17 2011: Hi Alex. You write has if evolution is in charge of the changes. Environment ( climate change included.) is only the trigger, it's what pulls the trigger that will give us the answers we crave. Our own evolutionary destiny can only be guided by our needs to survive. With intelligence comes a knowledge of our mortality and an ever expanding environment. (The Cosmos.) If this is not evidence of a design, what is? Because of that need to change, due to nature's own pattern, what makes you think that man's genetic code -change would stand the test of time? It would be up against the biggest opponent, nature herself. Darwin experimented with cross breeding, but when left alone to their own device, the species returned gradually to their origin. You also mention ethical reasons for not changing genetic codes. We are one world, one race. The human race. Our intelligence comes from the multitude of positive and negative emotions, each complimenting one another. For example; how could we know love without knowing hate? We couldn't. Though we may not like to think so; intelligent life could not exist without them, it's the food that intelligent life feeds on. Without stimulation we would not be here. The source of how information is passed on by the species to evolution, is a question I hope will come along eventually.
        • Jun 20 2011: Hello Alex. Science says that evolution is random, but it is only a theory until proved so, random explains everything and tells us nothing. Environment is only the trigger, its what pulls the trigger that is the most important. I do agree that there are random mutations though. Mutations are not just the survival of the fittest. this scenario comes more prominent after mutations have created a variety of different species. It is not always the fittest that survive, it can also be the weakest. (Physically that is.)The apes are good example where intelligence reigns supreme. When danger threatens, they gather together holding sticks and stones accompanied by the most threatening noise. It strikes fear into most predators. About the dormancy; science and logic dictate that the first life was a dormant one. The virus perhaps. This being so, then traits from that first life-form must have been inherited by all its decendents, all life on earth. When we dream most of what we see can be traced to our everyday experiences. Then there are dreams that happen now and again where there is no possible explanation. Could this be the dormancy that all life has inherited? These dreams are hidden in our subconscious and all life has a subconscious, where else could it keep its memory? Without memory life would not know what to eat and where to find it, life could not exist. All life has a subconscious so all life must possess this dormancy, It has been said that bacteria has no subconscious with which I agree. But all life even bacteria or the virus have the instinct for survival or there would have been no beginning. This one emotion would have started to evolve to all the emotions we have today. This dormancy must be as important today as it was all those billions of years ago. We all know it is there, Science hides it head in the sand, I think I know the reason why. They dare not speak its name.
      • Jun 17 2011: I think that what you struggle with is the concept of the vast amount of time involved in evolving a complex organism. You are also quite Lamarckist (inheritance of acquired characteristics) in your views of evolution. And finally you seem to be advocating some new-age spirituality. None of which is going to help you in your understanding of evolution.

        You look at finished product and seem to think that there is no way that this complexity can arrived through random chance and that there must be some sort of guidance. I would also recommend "The Blind Watchmaker" if you get the chance. The speed of evolutionary change is dependent on the rate of mutation, the amount of selective pressure and the number of individuals.

        A small population can evolve quicker than a large population, but it is less potential to do so due to less inherent variation. In case of a dramatic change of environment the selective pressures increase and this will speed up natural selection. Mutation rate can depend on solar activity etc. In general for a new beneficial mutation to spread through a large population you will need hundreds of generations if not thousands. In bacteria this can be done in days (hence the antibiotic strains we see), in mammals this will take thousands of years.

        The species has a whole has no say in where the selective pressures take it. What might be beneficial now (take increased melanin production in equatorial humans to protect against UV radiation), might be detrimental tomorrow (if they move to northern latitudes where they won't be able to make enough Vitamin D). Natural selection is random, brutal and takes a long time. There are far more variants that are no longer present in the gene pool than that made it through. Not because we decided to, but because the unfit variants did not manage to reproduce.
        • Jun 18 2011: Hello Alex. I agree with all you have written and I do appreciate it, but that is not the journey I am on. I am aware of "The watch maker." Your aim (I maybe wrong.) is to explain the very slow and complex way animal life mutates. When Dawkins talks about evolution being random, he is doing the same thing that religion does when being stumped by the unexplainable. One uses the excuse of divine help, the other uses the word random. They both explain everything but tell us nothing. I am sure Dawkins would confirm this. At the top of my list regarding evolution was; The Survival of the Fittest. It is no longer the case, at the top of my list now is; The Survival of the Most Intelligent. Science goes on forever talking about how the physical changes came about, but how did our intelligence develop through all this evolving. Science has reconstructed the demise of the dinosaur in so many ways, yet 99% of the population think it was by a meteor. (Power of suggestion maybe.) On the other hand they struggle and don't try to explain their purpose. Random means no purpose, like religion it stops us from thinking. The scale that brought this reign of terror has since been on the decline and it will probably not happen again. Why? Everything has a purpose. One more question; if intelligent life should become extinct, would life start again on its quest for intelligence.? Only if there is a design pattern would this be possible.
      • Jun 19 2011: I am starting to get it a bit more now. I think Intelligence is something that develops in social animals, especially if they're not as physically strong as some of their competitors. Being able to communicate advance plans, set traps etc would have been essential to early humans, and as a result would have been selected for (be it by the less intelligent getting killed by predators etc. or by the more intelligent getting recognition as the "alpha" males and females of the pack). Now how intelligence manifests itself on a physical level apart from an increase in brain volume to body size ratio, I don't know. Maybe in the ease in which new neuron connections form and reinforce themselves? All of which could arise by random mutation.

        The survival of the most intelligent IS the survival of the fittest for animals such as ourselves, chimpanzees or maybe even dolphins and wolves. For a solitary hunter such as a cheetah the ability to communicate has no benefit, so it wouldn't be selected for.

        Would intelligence develop again? Quite possibly, as it is obviously a highly successful trait for animals such as ourselves.
        • Jun 19 2011: Hi Alex. What you say is spot on. Intelligence would grow under pressure to survive. Before all that could happen there would have to be a genetic change to allow intelligence to develop more. The secret is in the memory, animals further down the evolutionary scale than ourselves have less memory and so are less intelligent.
      • Jun 20 2011: And the genetic change is a random mutation that was then selected for.

        Memory has something to do with the formation, reinforcement and selective culling of synapses, which again are biological effects that can be formed through the process of random mutation and selection.

        Nothing alive today is below us on the evolutionary scale. All species have had the same amount of time to adapt to the environment and undergone selection. Different species just have a different set of adaptations that allow them to thrive in their niche.
      • Jun 22 2011: "Science says that evolution is random"

        It isn't though. Mutations are random, selection isn't. Selection is the organiser. Deleterious mutations have a lower chance to be passed on than neutral ones or beneficial ones. I'd adviceyou to look at some texts describing population genetics or genetic drift.

        " It is not always the fittest that survive, it can also be the weakest. (Physically that is.)"

        Fitness in the evolutionary is not a description of physical fitness as in sports. Fitness is a measure of how well adapted an organism is to its environment. Physical fitness might be part of it in certain situations, but so might the ability to digest certain foods, a colour scheme or intelligence.

        "About the dormancy; science and logic dictate that the first life was a dormant one."

        In biology this is the definition of dormancy: "In a condition of biological rest or inactivity characterized by cessation of growth or development and the suspension of many metabolic processes." This is not what you mean, but I still don't get what you mean with dormant.

        "These dreams are hidden in our subconscious and all life has a subconscious, where else could it keep its memory? Without memory life would not know what to eat and where to find it, life could not exist. All life has a subconscious so all life must possess this dormancy, It has been said that bacteria has no subconscious with which I agree. But all life even bacteria or the virus have the instinct for survival or there would have been no beginning. This one emotion would have started to evolve to all the emotions we have today."

        Sorry but this is just new age mumbo-jumbo. If you do not have a complex nervous system you cannot store memories. Emotions are human construct. A survival instinct is obviously selected for. Those that survive reproduce, if you lack a survival instinct you won't passon your genes. We talked about the Blind Watchamker earlier, the Selfish Gene might be another one you want to look at.
        • Jun 22 2011: Hi Alex. I have mislead you. My appoligies. I agree with your description, mutations are random, but what I was trying to get across was the intelligence factor, that crept in from who knows where. When I said physical, I had wrongly tried to emphasize the impact that intelligence made to evolution. What I was trying to explain about the dormancy was; if that dormancy is still with us, then evolution is by design and not random as suggested. I have researched this part of my work and at this point I am sure you would not agree with me if I told you. This is purely because it is a new way to go. There is one question I would like answered; is there proof of a primitve, let's say virus, having no other but the instinct for survival or is it just a theory. You say that emotions are a human construct, but my studies involved a lot of species with various levels of emotion, the higher the level, the more intelligent the species. Alex I hope there is solid proof regarding the fact that life could not have begun from nerve lacking systems, I can't see how science can predict with any confidence, that which they cannot see. Sorry if you think I am stubborn, but I have experienced so many mistakes made by science, it's like politics, you can't believe a word they say. Sorry again for misleading you, I put it down to my lack of education and my age.
      • Jun 22 2011: Would it be possible to explain exactly in a couple of sentences what you actually mean with the words dormant and dormancy? Because I am still not clear what your use of the word is.

        Life obviously started from organisms without a nervous sytem, as nerve cells require specialised cell types which only arose when multicellular life started.

        I still think you project human concepts on to other organisms. Viruses or bacteria have no emotions. Survival is not an emotion, it is a given. A living organism that does not include a mechanism to survive long enough to reproduce will not pass on its genetic material, one that does will. There is no "want" to survive, it is all down to selection again. Most "emotions" you attribute to animals will be instincts, it is only really mammals that show anything resembling emotions such as fear or pleasure.

        As for your criticism of science, Ifeel that this might be due to a lack of understanding of the scientific method. Scientists don't expect you to believe them, they expect you to look through the data and come to a similar conclusion. Most scientific "discoveries" that have since been proven wrong (eg mmr/autism link, table top fusion etc) were due to the non-scientific media over inflating the importance a single paper, without waiting for other scientists to carry out the same investigations and either reinforcing or disproving the conclusions from the original paper. Something like the theory of natural selection has so much empirical data from so many sources that is highly unlikely to be false. The development of intelligence fits in to the natural selection quite readily, so I don't see why you are looking for another paradigm. If you had some hard data, preferably peer-reviewed to back your assertions up, the more brusque members of this site would take you more serious. I try to be civil in my arguments and try to educate, as that is what I do for a living.
        • Jun 23 2011: Hello Alex; I sense an element of frustration, please bear with me. The evidence of a dormant beginning I have started to register and have had 100% success up to now. Whether I am right or wrong will not be decided at this moment, there is a lot more evidence to gather. The dormancy that I refer to is the dormancy that science assumes was the first life-form. It's all about matching that dormancy with life today. I have consulted an advanced biologist, in fact he is a friend whom I met at the writer's club. When you mention selective instinct for survival, I agree totally. The difference with the virus is; it means attaching to a living host. There are theories that this came about because there probably was two kinds of virus. The way science goes about trying to convince itself as well as others, leaves me in no doubt that there could be another answer. No need for you to answer Alex and thank you for your imput, I do appreciate it.

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