Jump to content
Science Forums

Natural Selection: Who selects?


LeeCollins
 Share

Recommended Posts

  • Replies 44
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Good question Lee. Or more correctly, TWO good questions.

 

Natural Selection is simple - "a natural process that results in the survival and reproductive success of individuals or groups best adjusted to their environment and that leads to the perpetuation of genetic qualities best suited to that particular environment" (WWWebster) The problem we run into is one of semantics. "Selection" can be used with or without intentional intellectual decision as part of it's process. I might use intellect to intentionally SELECT which channel to watch on TV. (Though watching TV might be catagorized as not involving intellect!). While an ant might SELECT some chaotically random search pattern to find a food source. A rock rolling down hill may SELECT a path to follow. Hopefully I can be considered to have a higher level of intellect than an ant. We both are intellectually superior to a rock. (Fear Factor watchers aside)

 

But there is nothing to justify adding "Who" to the discussion. Once a "Who" is added, "Nature" is removed. Plus adding the agent "Who" is rejected by Ockham's Razor.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by: Freethinker

Good question Lee. Or more correctly, TWO good questions. Natural Selection is simple - "a natural process that results in the survival and reproductive success of individuals or groups best adjusted to their environment and that leads to the perpetuation of genetic qualities best suited to that particular environment" (WWWebster) The problem we run into is one of semantics. "Selection" can be used with or without intentional intellectual decision as part of it's process. I might use intellect to intentionally SELECT which channel to watch on TV. (Though watching TV might be catagorized as not involving intellect!). While an ant might SELECT some chaotically random search pattern to find a food source. A rock rolling down hill may SELECT a path to follow. Hopefully I can be considered to have a higher level of intellect than an ant. We both are intellectually superior to a rock. (Fear Factor watchers aside) But there is nothing to justify adding "Who" to the discussion. Once a "Who" is added, "Nature" is removed. Plus adding the agent "Who" is rejected by Ockham's Razor.

 

The definition of Natural Selection begins: "a natural process that results in... "

This only describes the result - the result is recognized only after the selection has been made. This give NO insight into WHO (or if you like what) is making the selection.

As your example states YOU can select and an ANT can select (even something that seems chaotic and random). However, a rock can not.

 

More to the point is:

With the peppered-moths: Unless color change was purely random, the decision was made that is was better for the offspring to change color. Who made this descision?? Who said that it wasNOT better for the peppered moths to die off ?

 

I don't think you can say: "Plus adding the agent "Who" is rejected by Ockham's Razor."

'Select' is a verb that REQUIRES a noun. For example: "Think" cannot exist on its own - someone must THINK for thinking to get done. I cannot just say thinking was taking place without anyone doing it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I second FT here: Good question.

 

But it's a leading question. Why do you assume that a process with a result must begin with a conscious thought? Does that mean that every time snow melts and the water from it flows down a river, that someone decided that "now we need to melt this bit of water"?

 

If so, where did that process begin? With sunshine? Global warming? Seasonal change? And where does consciousness enter into the equation?

 

What is your answer to your own question, Lee?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by: Tormod

Does that mean that every time snow melts and the water from it flows down a river, that someone decided that "now we need to melt this bit of water"? If so, where did that process begin? With sunshine? Global warming? Seasonal change? And where does consciousness enter into the equation? What is your answer to your own question, Lee?

 

The sun is not reacting to anything it will give off whatever heat the season requires. The sun will give off this heat even if there WAS NO SNOW - NO MATTER WHAT. There is NO decision making involved. The heat from the sun melts thesnow. The heat did not arrive because snow needed to be melted. Physics dictates that, given enough heat, frozen water will thaw. This is always.

 

Now to contrast:

The peppered-moth DOES NOT CHANGE COLORS NO MATTER WHAT. They changed color at a specific time when the color needed to be changed. When this condition was over the peppered-moth returned to its original color.

 

This is clearly action-reaction. If the condition never arose the moth would never have changed its color. The Sun, on the other hand, HAS NO CONDITION - it is always on. The change in the moths was "turned on" and then "turned off".

 

This is not the same.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by: LeeCollins

The definition of Natural Selection begins: "a natural process that results in... "

Yes and in review it is a poor definition. I have always been told that a def should not use the word itself. You'd think WWWebster would know better!

This only describes the result - the result is recognized only after the selection has been made. This give NO insight into WHO (or if you like what) is making the selection.

But here you miss the very well established answer, the WHO or WHAT is NATURE. As in:

 

NATURAL Selection.

 

I fail to see any confusion here.

As your example states YOU can select and an ANT can select (even something that seems chaotic and random). However, a rock can not.

Yes the rock can. The rock will "select" the path of "least resistance" to it achieving stasis.

 

Select - " to choose (as by fitness or excellence) ".

 

As gravity is the force acting on it, it will "choose" which ever path provides the greatest realization of the gravitational pull.

More to the point is:

With the peppered-moths: Unless color change was purely random,

The color choices are not nor will they ever be "purely random". The colors available will be limited by genetics and laws of physics. There will be colors and patterns that will not be part of the set of those available to the moth species.

the decision was made that is was better for the offspring to change color.

No such decision was ever made. I can just imagine mama and papa moth sitting down and looking thru a book of colors and patterns like choosing a sofa. "I like Muave" says mama, "let's have a gun metal gray son" says papa.

Who made this descision?? Who said that it was NOT better for the peppered moths to die off ?

Who decided there should be discussions between peppered moth parents in the first place?

 

You seem to have a long way to go to understand how Evolution works. This is not surprising. The general population has little factual knowledge about most of Science, even something as basic and simple as Evolution.

 

Yes peppered moths DO die off. Every single one of them that has ever been born or will ever be born has or will die off. It is a matter of how fast. Some won't make it to a caterpillar stage. Others not past chrysalis. Some will emerge from the chrysalis to become adult moths. Any of these that do not make it not only this far, but even further, to procreation, will not pass ANY genes on. Any mutations off any of these failures will not become part of the future gene pool.

 

Only those that had sufficient genetic strength to survive to that point (procreation) will be able to pass genes into the future gene pool. If a moth while emerging from the chrysalis is too visible against it's environment, it is more likely to become food for some other creature before it can reproduce. So those with the best ability to blend into the environment will survive the longest and therefore have the most progeny. Thus their genes, the ones with thier best camouflage coloring most prominent will proliferate while those with less advantageous coloring genes will help feed other species rather than procreate.

 

Natural selection.

 

If the environment changes, say it gets "dirtier", more gray, less colorful. Then the offsprings that have a tendency to less color will have a better chance of survival till procreation. Thus their genetics will be passed along more and with each generation the numbers of most appropriately colored moths will exist.

 

No one wrote this down in a Moth Primer and held classes for the caterpillars or emergent moths so they could DECIDE which color to make their offsprings.

<blockquote

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by: LeeCollins

Now to contrast:

The peppered-moth DOES NOT CHANGE COLORS NO MATTER WHAT.

This is correct. IT STAYS THE SAME COLOR.

 

It's progeny might, thru genetic mutation, have different coloring. but the peppered-moth DOES NOT CHANGE COLORS NO MATTER WHAT! (OK, a tagger with a can of spray paint might be around...)

They changed color at a specific time when the color needed to be changed.

NO THEY didn't. The peppered-moth DOES NOT CHANGE COLORS NO MATTER WHAT!

 

It's progeny might, thru genetic mutation, have different coloring. but the peppered-moth DOES NOT CHANGE COLORS NO MATTER WHAT!

When this condition was over the peppered-moth returned to its original color.

NO THEY didn't. The peppered-moth DOES NOT CHANGE COLORS NO MATTER WHAT!

 

It's progeny might, thru genetic mutation, have different coloring. but the peppered-moth DOES NOT CHANGE COLORS NO MATTER WHAT!

The change in the moths was "turned on" and then "turned off".

Could you show us where that switch is located on each moth? Is it push button? Toggle?

 

Every generation has the potential for genetic mutation. Slight variances in size, color, ... any number of DNA coded elements. It is NEVER "turned off". And we are not talking about a single moth here or another over there. But the entire localized species. The entire peppered moth species has ALWAYS been changing. It ALWAYS WILL be changing. Those born with properties that are most advantageous to survival till procreation will pass tendencies to those properties to it's progeny. The average of the peppered moths in a given local will reflect which ever mutations have provided the greatest natural advantage in their local environment. The others will die trying. And die before succesfully procreating.

 

Thus

 

Natural Selection.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes the rock can. The rock will "select" the path of "least resistance" to it achieving stasis.

Select - " to choose (as by fitness or excellence) ".

As gravity is the force acting on it, it will "choose" which ever path provides the greatest realization of the gravitational pull.

 

I don't believe this. A rock can choose?? That is irrational.

Choose implies "comparing". Of the possible options, a subset is chosen.

 

Gravitational pull may act upon any physical body with mass. A rock is no exception. If the rock moved down the path of least resistance it is because IT HAD NO CHOICE. It was pulled - not asked.

I can choose to jump into the lake. But if i am pushed, then my choice was taken away.

 

No inanimate object can choose anything.

 

But here you miss the very well established answer, the WHO or WHAT is NATURE. As in: NATURAL Selection.

 

What in nature? The dirt, the air, the water what in nature did this. NATURE does not have a brain so how can it choose? If, by NATURE, you mean natural/scientific laws that govern nature then which laws? If natural selection has forces and mechanisms that I am unaware of, please enlighten me.

 

 

No such decision was ever made. I can just imagine mama and papa moth sitting down and looking thru a book of colors and patterns like choosing a sofa. "I like Muave" says mama, "let's have a gun metal gray son" says papa.

 

I admitted already that the moths themselves DID NOT CHOOSE!! I said that the choice was made because action was taken. Do you see any cause/effect in this?

 

Who decided there should be discussions between peppered moth parents in the first place?

We did, by choosing to discuss it. No physical law lead us here. I can not see what physical law lead to the color change of the moths.

 

I say again:

Who made this descision?? Who said that it was NOT better for the peppered moths to die off ?

 

If Nature does not think then WHO DOES because that is the only entity that can choose.

 

 

CHOSE:

v. chose, (chz) cho·sen, (chzn) choos·ing, choos·es

v. tr.


  1. <LI>To select from a number of possible alternatives; decide on and pick out.
    <LI>

    1. <LI type=a>To prefer above others: <CITE>chooses the supermarket over the neighborhood grocery store.</CITE>
      <LI type=a>
To determine or decide: <CITE>chose to fly rather than drive.</CITE>

 

SELECT:

v. se·lect·ed, se·lect·ing, se·lects

v. tr.

<DL>

<DD>To take as a choice from among several; pick out.

 

 

 

 

</DD></DL>

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by: TeleMad

The moths did not change color in response to changes in the environment: what changed was the RATIO of mottled to non-mottled moths. And what did the selecting was birds: they ate more of the moths that were more easily seen.

 

Short, simple, and the most likely answer. Evolution in action.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by: LeeCollins

I don't believe this. A rock can choose?? That is irrational.

Choose implies "comparing". Of the possible options, a subset is chosen.

The direction of your efforts is just wasting time on semantics. You are pretending that words which can, but don't have to, be used to discuss intentional intellegent interaction, can;t also be used as unintentional results of natural processes. You want to pretend that because the word "selection" is used, that something HAD to make an intentional informed decision. That does not promote an honest discussion.

 

PROVE that in the phrase "Natural Selection" that something HAD to make an informed intentional decision. And don't forget to PROVE that if in fact you CAN prove that something had to make the decision, that that something DOES exist.

 

Stop wasting our time in meaningless obfuscation. Your desire to pretend that "select" requires a mind does not make it so.

No inanimate object can choose anything.

Tell then that at the next football game when they use a coin flip to CHOOSE who kicks off.

 

But stop wasting our time on such obfuscation. If you have nothing to offer in the way of PROOF for your claims, besides claiming the words selected REQUIRE things they don't, admit it and move on.

But here you miss the very well established answer, the WHO or WHAT is NATURE. As in: NATURAL Selection.

What in nature? The dirt, the air, the water what in nature did this. NATURE does not have a brain so how can it choose? If, by NATURE, you mean natural/scientific laws that govern nature then which laws? If natural selection has forces and mechanisms that I am unaware of, please enlighten me.

Now if we can get past the dishonesty of pretending words have requirements they don't we can then actually discuss this.

 

If you want to assert that something outside of Nature is required for NATURE to operate NATURALLY, then provide PROOF for it.

 

If you truly are unaware of the factual and well supported laws of physics/ Nature that regulate the universe we exist in, then we can help educate you on them.

 

Such as in the other thread, your obvious lack of understanding of Evolution by claiming it involved "the first cell". Common mistake made by people that lack a full education in Evolutionary Theory. Or as often used by people that are intentionally using intellectually dishonest discourse to confuse the issue.

 

Abiogenesis is the scientific field which explores where "the first cell" may have come from. NOT Evolution.

 

Then one has to wonder which of the two catagories you fit in. Were you ignorant of the difference? Or were you intentionally lying about it?

 

I hope it was the first. That you were ignorant of the difference and thus the ignorance can be solved with a simple education.

 

If you are intentionally using lies, then we are all wasting time here.

I admitted already that the moths themselves DID NOT CHOOSE!! I said that the choice was made because action was taken. Do you see any cause/effect in this?

OK, a choice was "made". Unless you can show that something made an informed intellectual intentional predictive decision, then it is simply a matter of Natural Selection. Nature following the well established process of Natural Evolution.

Who

Now "who" DOES require "person".

 

Unless you can PROVE a requirement for an external intellegent agent "person" and overcome Ockham's Razor, there is nothing to talk about.

I can not see what physical law lead to the color change of the moths.

Your personal failure of vision seems to be the issue. Just because you either can not, or perhaps choose

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by: TeleMad

The moths did not change color in response to changes in the environment: what changed was the RATIO of mottled to non-mottled moths. And what did the selecting was birds: they ate more of the moths that were more easily seen.

Ya well, overall correct, but one minor issue. The intial driving force WAS a change in environment.

 

"Peppered moths rest during the day on tree trunks, where they are vulnerable to being eaten by birds. In pre-industrial England, tree trunks were gray. As illustrated here, gray moths are well camouflaged on gray tree trunks; black moths stand out.

...

When industry developed in England, pollution from factories turned tree trunks in forests in industrial areas black. As illustrated here, on black tree trunks, black moths are well camouflaged; gray moths stand out.

...

In industrial areas, because black moths avoided being eaten by birds, they survived better and therefore reproduced more (had higher fitness.) As a result, each generation, more and more of the offspring born came from black parents and inherited the black coloration, since the color differences between moths (gray versus black) are genetic. After many moth generations, almost all the moths in industrial areas were black. Black coloration is an adaptation to an environment with black tree trunks; that is, it has evolved through natural selection because black individuals have higher fitness in forests with black tree trunks than do gray moths."

http://www.utm.edu/~rirwin/moth.htm

 

 

"The story of the peppered moth

...

Industrial melanism refers to the darkening of color that occurred in a number of species of insects following the Industrial Revolution. This change appears to be related to the increase in pollutants in the environment."

 

http://www.ncseweb.org/icons/icon6moths.html

 

The literal phrasing you used is correct.

The moths did not change color in response to changes in the environment

 

But it allows some confusion. You could have just said:

The moths did not change color.

And left it at that. The existing months did NOT change color. But the Environment was the major factor for the Evolutionary change of color of the

RATIO of mottled to non-mottled moths

Otherwise, nice concise job.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by: Tormod

Originally posted by: TeleMad The moths did not change color in response to changes in the environment: what changed was the RATIO of mottled to non-mottled moths. And what did the selecting was birds: they ate more of the moths that were more easily seen.

Short, simple, and the most likely answer. Evolution in action.

 

Now that's reasonable.

 

So who evolved? and how was that evolution triggered?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The direction of your efforts is just wasting time on semantics. You are pretending that words which can, but don't have to, be used to discuss intentional intellegent interaction, can;t also be used as unintentional results of natural processes. You want to pretend that because the word "selection" is used, that something HAD to make an intentional informed decision. That does not promote an honest discussion.

 

PROVE that in the phrase "Natural Selection" that something HAD to make an informed intentional decision. And don't forget to PROVE that if in fact you CAN prove that something had to make the decision, that that something DOES exist.

 

Stop wasting our time in meaningless obfuscation. Your desire to pretend that "select" requires a mind does not make it so.

 

This is silly so i really can't discuss it too long. Rocks don't choose, cions don't choose. What Tormod

said made sense - the birds chose. I don't know if that is correct but it at least is POSSIBLE.

I didn't write dictionary. It attributes decision making to choosing. It also attributes decision making to selecting. So i am as correct or as incorrect as the dictionary.

 

Instead of trying to make it crystal-clear for me, you attack as pretending and being dishonest. If you have nothing in the way of answers then your replies are useless to me.

 

Your personal failure of vision seems to be the issue. Just because you either can not, or perhaps choose not to see, the obvious process of Evolution in it, does nt mean it is not there.

 

Is there any explaination in this reply? Is there anything that helps my vision in this reply?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by: LeeCollins

This is silly so i really can't discuss it too long.  Rocks don't choose, cions don't choose. What Tormod

 said made sense - the birds chose.  I don't know if that is correct but it at least is POSSIBLE.

 

For the record, I didn't say that, Telemad did.

 

The point is of course that the moths that survived where the less visible ones, ie - survival of the fittest. Who does the choosing has nothing to do with it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by: LeeCollins

Your personal failure of vision seems to be the issue. Just because you either can not, or perhaps choose not to see, the obvious process of Evolution in it, does nt mean it is not there.

Is there any explaination in this reply? Is there anything that helps my vision in this reply?

There is only help if you choose to listen to it.

 

You had used what Richard Dawkins calls the "Argument from Personal Credulity". That just because you have trouble understanding/ accepting something, it must be wrong.

 

Originally posted by: LeeCollins

I can not see what physical law lead to the color change of the moths.

 

You also kept trying to twist words to require things they do not require. Again your "Argument from Personal Credulity" was the only thing you offered to support your claim that there must be some intellect involved somewhere along the way.

 

While in the example under discussion it was stated that birds could be considered the "decision makers" by their eating which ever moths were more visible. But this would require that they had specific intent of creating a change in the moth's cosmetics. This is not the case.

 

And in other examples of similar Evolutionary changes, we have the length of sparrow bills which increase or decrease in <u>average length</u> based on water table level in some environments.

 

If the bird was the "decision maker" in the moth case, then the water would be the "desicion maker" in the sparrow example. And we are back to the problem of your asserting a requirement for intellectual involvement in a NATURAL process.

 

So it is up to you as to whether my response will help your "vision" or not. You can "decide" to ignore the corrections to your acceptance of fallacies and usage of obfuscation, or not. I just present them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you FreeThinker.

i think iunderstand what you are saying about the moths now. What i don't understand is this;was there a biological change involved in all this or(as Tormod said) did the moths that were less visible geteaten less and so had a greater reproduction rate therefore producing more less visible moths or both?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share


×
×
  • Create New...