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? Man, ? Amazing
Member # 5755
Profile #175
quote:
Originally written by Nioca:

Have you spoken with every English-speaking person on this planet and determined that Excalibur is a singular anomaly? Or are you just guessing?
I have spoken with a statistically significant portion of the nation.

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Synergy, et al - "I don't get it."

Argon - "I'm at a loss for words..."
Posts: 4114 | Registered: Monday, April 25 2005 07:00
Raven v. Writing Desk
Member # 261
Profile Homepage #176
quote:
Originally written by Stillness:

Thanks for all the responses gang.... What I would most like to see though is a response to my request.
SoT pointed out two debates ago that many questions were being stacked up against Stillness, and that it was unfair to expect him to answer every single post. I think that's legitimate. However, I also think it's reasonable to expect Stillness to make a reasonable attempt at responding to at least some of the other participants' questions, if he wants us to respond to his.

Stillness, when people accuse you of not answering questions and changing the subject, you say that you don't do those things. Well, let me point out that you are doing them right now.

SoT also suggested, as I recall, that the debate would go much better with a moderator to help organize what exactly was being discussed. Barring that, however, I think it's only fair that we all try to respond to questions we are asked.

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Slarty vs. DeskDesk vs. SlartyTimeline of ErmarianG4 Strategy Central
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Posts: 3560 | Registered: Wednesday, November 7 2001 08:00
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Profile Homepage #177
quote:
Originally written by Jumpin' Salmon:

Is there some correlation between complexity and cellular combinations? If so, it would hardly be surprising that over time you would find that multicellular things developed where before they were just spatially juxtaposed.
You'll no doubt be pleased and interested to know that we have plenty of good examples of just about every imaginable step on the continuum between unicellular and multicellular life. Bacteria in colonies can behave in radically different ways from isolated bacteria, many fungi have both unicellular and multicellular stages in their life cycle, and marine biologists still argue over whether some kinds of algae are fundamentally multicellular organisms or colonies of single-celled organisms.

quote:
Originally written by Nioca:

And Salmon, how do you know that other people don't speak in similar patterns? Have you spoken with every English-speaking person on this planet and determined that Excalibur is a singular anomaly? Or are you just guessing?
He actually sounds pretty much exactly like my dad does when he tries to sound smart. That's not a good thing, unless one's goal is to come across as a pretentious git.

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The Empire Always Loses: This Time For Sure!
Posts: 9973 | Registered: Saturday, March 30 2002 08:00
Law Bringer
Member # 335
Profile Homepage #178
I frequently post in a self-consciously pretentious manner in order to cultivate my reputation as an insufferable bringer of petty pedantry. You don't think any less of me for it, do you?

—Alorael, who actually thinks Excalibur's comments here are quite reasonable. Nobody has been converted in one of these debates yet. They're exercises in futile argument. That doesn't make them any less fun, though, depending on your value of fun (see also: specified complexity, information, random).
Posts: 14579 | Registered: Saturday, December 1 2001 08:00
? Man, ? Amazing
Member # 5755
Profile #179
quote:
Originally written by Thuryl:

You'll no doubt be pleased and interested to know that we have plenty of good examples of just about every imaginable step on the continuum between unicellular and multicellular life. Bacteria in colonies can behave in radically different ways from isolated bacteria, many fungi have both unicellular and multicellular stages in their life cycle, and marine biologists still argue over whether some kinds of algae are fundamentally multicellular organisms or colonies of single-celled organisms.
You must know I am easily pleased. :D

Have you ever come across the Aplysia? I shared a house once with a gal that studied them, and they are fascinating creatures. They may be a demonstrative link between creatures with less systems and creatures with more systems. How about that as a definition for complexity? ;)

ps, Alo — I've never known you to be anything else than what you are. This change from Winnemucca has precipitated in the past six months, which is why it is so fascinating to witness.

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Synergy, et al - "I don't get it."

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Posts: 4114 | Registered: Monday, April 25 2005 07:00
Councilor
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Profile Homepage #180
Originally by Alorael:

quote:
I frequently post in a self-consciously pretentious manner in order to cultivate my reputation as an insufferable bringer of petty pedantry. You don't think any less of me for it, do you?
Nope. Dikiyoba already considered you the lowest of the low ever since Dikiyoba found out that you aren't actually an angelic transvestite. :P

Edit: Added quote.

[ Friday, January 11, 2008 22:21: Message edited by: Dikiyoba ]

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Episode 4: Spiderweb Reloaded
Posts: 4346 | Registered: Friday, December 23 2005 08:00
Lifecrafter
Member # 7723
Profile #181
quote:
Originally written by Thuryl:

quote:
Originally written by Stillness:

I’m sure that you think dolphins are more complex than blue-green algae
Then you're surer of that than I am.

Really!? How do you define complexity in such a way that a dolphin is not more complex than a single-celled organism? I’m really puzzled. All of the Darwinistic literature I’ve seen acknowledges that there’s increase. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard that the human brain is the most complex thing we know of.

You would disagree with this?

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Khoth,

Are you attempting to respond to my request? I really appreciate that. I don’t need proof of evolution though, because I accept evolution! Your human-chimp argument is interesting. I’d like to explore it.

Here’s what I’d like first, if you don't mind: At the top of page 7 in this thread is an inductive argument for why I believe that life was created by a willful agent and did not descend from one common ancestor through naturalistic means. I’m not saying it’s perfect, but it makes sense to me. What I’m asking is for you all to do the same and show your premises to support your belief that natural processes are responsible for all of the increase in complexity in organisms since the first life hit this planet.

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Slarty,

If I’m in a discussion, I respond. I’m pretty much out of this one unless I get a response to my request. It’s really not worth my time. I’m not looking to convert anyone, but I would at least like something progressive. Things like Stareye asking me the same questions over and over again after I’ve answered explicitly and people thinking I don't believe life evolves would be bearable if I got a little cooperation from the other side.

I don't understand quantum mechanics! I believe evolution occurs! :)
Posts: 701 | Registered: Thursday, November 30 2006 08:00
Master
Member # 5977
Profile Homepage #182
quote:
Originally written by Jumpin' Salmon:

Stillness, I am impressed by your word count so far. Irreducible complexity is something that you must have been studying for a while now in order to get such a firm grasp. And I grant you that the fossil record, for reasons I explained, is incomplete and doesn't show a whole picture. It is much like putting together a picture puzzle after a bunch of 5 year olds and a vacuum cleaner have been in the room. My point about predictability, is that scientists can predict, and do find, fossil records that are unknown at the time of prediction. But still, you may be right. But if you are, none of it makes any sense at all. You claim that a being, either of the Santa Claus variety or a troupe of aliens, monitors and visits the planet on a regular basis in order to guide it along on some path or direction. Since we have evolved from single celled organisms (only) into multicellular organisms capable of maintaining complex systems, I would have to ask a simple question. To what gain? Do you propose this planet is some giant science experiment for an ultracreature? Because honestly, there is absolutely no reason for what you are proposing to have ever happened. Absolutely none. Wait, actually there is one. Say if another earth-like habitat was populated with beings which questioned how exactly they formed from single celled creatures all the way to multicellular (and apparently multi-dimensional,) they seeded a newly formed planet 4 billion years ago with a few strands of DNA and some lakes of amino acids.

Yeah, that would make sense. Ultra creatures, yeah, that's the ticket.

What I find interesting is that the Mayas' explanation of why the Earth exists isn't that different. Ever played the game "Prey"? It tells of aliens coming to Earth to eat us, because we are their proparty. Millions of years ago, they found our planet. It was a desolate place of rock and sand. The aliens, though, needed food, and like farmers, they decided to simply seed our planet with living material: people, plants, you name it. They did exactly the same thing with thousands of other planets. And now they travel from planet to planet, with every visit taking just enough to survive the journey to the other planet. They don't come to eat all of us, therefor. They come and only take Texas with them, as was in the game, and then they leave. This goes on for centuries now, and I must say I find this a very interesting look at things.

What's also interesting, is the way they pictured the alien ship: basically, it's a huge living organism. It functions just as any normal organism on Earth would, with you, the player, being like a bacterium, and all guards on the ship behaving like white blood cells. The red blood cells are so called "harvesters", that collect goods from Earth and load them onto the ship. The goods (being mostly people, of course...) are prepared in such a way that the captain of the ship (the "mother", she is like a human brain) and the ship itself can absorb it and make good use of it.

Doesn't mean I believe a word of it, though...

Stillness: I wonder... Because in fact the human brain isn't any more complex than any other bacterium or alga. The only difference, is that the brain is made up by million and millions of cells, but each individual cell in the brain isn't that more complex than any alga.

[ Friday, January 11, 2008 23:41: Message edited by: Thralni ]

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Posts: 3029 | Registered: Saturday, June 18 2005 07:00
...b10010b...
Member # 869
Profile Homepage #183
quote:
Originally written by Stillness:

Really!? How do you define complexity in such a way that a dolphin is not more complex than a single-celled organism? I’m really puzzled. All of the Darwinistic literature I’ve seen acknowledges that there’s increase. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard that the human brain is the most complex thing we know of.
Maybe that's true and maybe it isn't, but you're the one talking about complexity here and now, so it's up to you to propose a definition of complexity and explain why it's coherent. I hold no particular position on the topic of whether or not a dolphin is more complex than a single-celled organism, because I'm not as yet committed to holding any particular definition of "complexity"; it's up to you to, as you love to say, show the logical premises that support your conclusions. I don't feel like doing your homework for you today.

quote:
Here’s what I’d like first, if you don't mind: At the top of page 7 in this thread is an inductive argument for why I believe that life was created by a willful agent and did not descend from one common ancestor through naturalistic means. I’m not saying it’s perfect, but it makes sense to me. What I’m asking is for you all to do the same and show your premises to support your belief that natural processes are responsible for all of the increase in complexity in organisms since the first life hit this planet.
First, could you please tell me what you mean by "natural processes", and what would constitute a non-natural process? It's clear by this point that you speak a language that closely resembles but isn't actually English, so using common-sense definitions only leads to you twisting our words.

[ Saturday, January 12, 2008 00:19: Message edited by: Thuryl ]

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The Empire Always Loses: This Time For Sure!
Posts: 9973 | Registered: Saturday, March 30 2002 08:00
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Stillness, I don't know what you want. You've said that you accept that evolution is true. Presumably you mean on the small scale, just, but we have given explanations for how what you seem to call "complexity" can increase - for example, the middle part of my last post.

So that shows that it's possible. What shows that it's actually true isn't a short logical argument, but many thousands of pieces of evidence and successful predictions, a few of which I posted earlier.

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Barcoorah: I even did it to a big dorset ram.

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Posts: 1798 | Registered: Thursday, October 4 2001 07:00
Raven v. Writing Desk
Member # 261
Profile Homepage #185
quote:
Originally written by Stillness:

Slarty,

If I’m in a discussion, I respond. I’m pretty much out of this one unless I get a response to my request. It’s really not worth my time. I’m not looking to convert anyone, but I would at least like something progressive. Things like Stareye asking me the same questions over and over again after I’ve answered explicitly and people thinking I don't believe life evolves would be bearable if I got a little cooperation from the other side.

Stillness, there have been numerous times that you have asked a question, somebody has answered it, and you have asked the question again without addressing the answer. Discussing is about being willing to explain things to the other side even when you think you have already done so adequately. I don't think you answered Stareye's question in this thread, and you can't expect people to remember 30 pages of previous threads half of which were eaten by the UBB.

I don't blame you for being pretty much out of this one, but I think it's disingenuous to be in it when you want to ask a question, and out of it otherwise. In this discussion both sides appear to have more questions than answers (as befits the topic)! If you're done with the discussion then get out of the discussion, for crying out loud.

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Slarty vs. DeskDesk vs. SlartyTimeline of ErmarianG4 Strategy Central
"Slartucker is going to have a cow when he hears about this," Synergy said.
Posts: 3560 | Registered: Wednesday, November 7 2001 08:00
Lifecrafter
Member # 7723
Profile #186
Koth, thanks for being patient with me.

The mind can imagine all sorts of possibilities. What I’m more concerned with is what nature actually does, not what we theorize it can do. I don’t believe it actually progressed from the simpler life forms to the more complex ones. I want to see the logic behind accepting that it did. I ask because I think it includes illogical, circular reasoning.

1) Although not seen, it is theoretically possible for natural selection to make increases in complexity.
2) We can’t allow willful agency to be the cause.
3) Natural selection must be responsible for all complexity.


At its heart is this thinking in my experience and estimation of Neo-Darwinism. I want it exposed or I want to be corrected if I’m wrong so we both know what we’re dealing with.

As far as evidence goes, we both have all the same evidence and I think it all points to something different, but I was able to give a concise argument. Use your examples and delineate your logic. It’s going to help the discussion.

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Thralni, complexity is not just about quantity. So you can’t count the cells in a human brain and say they are equal in complexity to an equivalent count of single celled organisms just because of the number of them. Complexity is about the connections and interactions in a system. So among many other things, the cells in our brain give rise to the human mind, which can control and harness the power of this planet on a scale that is unequaled, can actually leave the planet, and can ponder and examine the brain that produces it.

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Thuryl, it’s not about me “doing my homework.” I was asking for your professional insight. Now I’m very curious as to what you do so that you’ve never considered relative complexity of various organisms.

Complexity – the degree to which a system is characterized by an intricate arrangement of parts, units, etc.

So take a toddler stacking blocks up to reach the cookie jar, to a preteen making a wooden go-cart, to an actual car, to a space shuttle. There is an increase in complexity because the parts have to interact in a more and more intricate way to accomplish their purpose. I feel odd telling you that this same disparity in complexity is seen in living things.

By “natural processes” I mean phenomena of the physical world (especially those that we can observe and investigate) excluding human manufacture or interference. So bees making honey, crystals forming, and natural selection are natural processes. Bee keeping, diamond cutting, and dog breeding are artificial (although these do involve natural processes).

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Slarty, I’ve told him at least three times on this thread that I don’t understand quantum mechanics, once even stating the extent to which I was familiar with it and saying it seemed ok, but that I don’t really know. I asked him to explain it to me and said I would tell him what I think. I even accepted the point he was making about absolute certainty and perfect knowledge.

-->*I don’t understand quantum mechanics.*<-- Did I answer the question now? What if I ask you if you accept an idea you barely understand without explaining what I mean and when you keep telling me it sounds ok, but you don’t get it and ask for an explanation I say you’re dodging the issue?

As far as the other responses go, I’m trying to focus on a logical argument from the Neo-Darwinistic side. If we can get there I’ll address the other stuff. But it will be after we can focus and understand each other with clear, concise statements of the respective positions. I’m hanging on at the moment in hopes that we can. If we can’t, I will get out of the discussion fully as you suggest.
Posts: 701 | Registered: Thursday, November 30 2006 08:00
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quote:
Originally written by Stillness:

[QB]1) Although not seen, it is theoretically possible for natural selection to make increases in complexity.
2) We can’t allow willful agency to be the cause.
3) Natural selection must be responsible for all complexity.


At its heart is this thinking in my experience and estimation of Neo-Darwinism. I want it exposed or I want to be corrected if I’m wrong so we both know what we’re dealing with.
You are indeed wrong. It's more like:
1) There is a lot of similarity among lifeforms. Groups of similar species tend to have similar geographical distribution. Etc, etc.
2) Common ancestry would explain this.
3) Common ancestry, if true, would imply other things, such as the things I brought up earlier.
4) Those things turn out to be the case.
5) Therefore, common ancestry is very likely to be true, and it has predictive power. You get out of it more than you put in.

Note in particular that, contrary to your view of the logic:
1) There is a lot of evidence for it, and it is seen.
2) Arguments for it are positive, based on its explanatory and predictive ability, not based on enumerating and excluding alternatives.

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Posts: 1798 | Registered: Thursday, October 4 2001 07:00
Law Bringer
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Profile Homepage #188
I've already addressed complexity. Go back up and read it. Although it's frequently discussed informally when evolution comes up, it's not a scientific term. That's why Thuryl can't professionally talk about complexity. It has no meaning.

—Alorael, who agrees that things are informally more complex thanks to evolution. Keep in mind, though, that blue-green algae is just as highly evolved as dolphins. Clearly evolution doesn't necessarily lead to complexity, although it can.
Posts: 14579 | Registered: Saturday, December 1 2001 08:00
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quote:
Originally written by Stillness:

Thuryl, it’s not about me “doing my homework.” I was asking for your professional insight. Now I’m very curious as to what you do so that you’ve never considered relative complexity of various organisms.
Now I'm rather curious as to what you imagine that biologists actually do. Under what circumstances do you think a biologist would need to compare the relative complexity of various organisms?

quote:
Complexity – the degree to which a system is characterized by an intricate arrangement of parts, units, etc.
"Intricate"? You've gone and defined a word in terms of one of its synonyms. That's not helpful at all!

Which is more complex: a machine with 100 parts that all need to be in exactly the right position in order for it to work, or a machine with 1000 parts that can all be arranged in a large number of different ways and still work?

[ Saturday, January 12, 2008 12:23: Message edited by: Thuryl ]

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Posts: 9973 | Registered: Saturday, March 30 2002 08:00
Shaper
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Profile #190
In a mathematical sense there is something to be said about the involvement of dimension when discussing complexity.

Take for instance, the equation x^2 + 1. Over the real numbers, this polynomial is irreducible. However, adding a dimension, leads to a rather simple factorization (x+i)(x-i).

Complexity as a whole cannot be measured without discussing at what scope you are considering it.

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Lt. Sullust
Quaere verum
Posts: 2462 | Registered: Wednesday, October 3 2001 07:00
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If it makes anyone feel better, I want you to know that I have learned a lot from following this debate. I always suspected this ID thing to be rubbish, but now I know for sure.
Posts: 57 | Registered: Monday, December 20 2004 08:00
? Man, ? Amazing
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Stillness - Myself and others have clearly delineated how evolution is an excellent model of the progression of life from the formation of the planet to present. We have discussed how it can be used to predict future discoveries from within the fossil record, and how it has been used in the past for that purpose. Evolution is a descriptive term for a process that has been observed. It is not reliant on logic. It simply is. That may be the underlying problem with this discussion. You want to question it using logic. That is simply not possible, as it doesn't require logic. Does gravity require logic? Does the behavior of electromagnetic waves require logic? No. They simply are things that have been observed, time after time, to be how they are.

So, having failed to provide you with the logic behind evolution, are you still interested in this discussion?

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Posts: 4114 | Registered: Monday, April 25 2005 07:00
Shaper
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It may be possible to create a mathematical model of evolution using cellular automata. Given strict definitions and axioms, proving things would simpler and less likely to be misinterpreted.

The largest part of the work there would be setting up the definitions and the axioms...

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Lt. Sullust
Quaere verum
Posts: 2462 | Registered: Wednesday, October 3 2001 07:00
The Establishment
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Profile #194
Evolutionary or natural selection algorithms are an exciting and well established field used in engineering. It is defined in terms of age-dependent branching and Markov processes from probability and stochastic process theory.

I'm doubt the evolution of life here on Earth has ever been modeled with any accuracy or will anytime soon. The problem, as you state, is getting all of the environmental factors and how they impact survivability/fitness factors. Unlike complexity, these things are fairly well defined, although very difficult to calculate in practice. The other issue is sheer computation power. Modeling something that big would probably use more than the world's computing resources.

[ Saturday, January 12, 2008 21:01: Message edited by: *i ]

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Shaper
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As I've thought more about the problem I have come to realize that. I'm hoping I can still put together a simple model. Some of the details still need worked out; but I'll post an outline of the model sometime soon...

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Lt. Sullust
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Posts: 2462 | Registered: Wednesday, October 3 2001 07:00
Off With Their Heads
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One of the problems with putting forward a concise argument in favor of common descent is that the evidence is so vast and overwhelming that it's hard to summarize. All I'm really doing is summarizing the Wikipedia page on the subject.

The fossil record sometimes shows evolution happening, as in the case of the evolution of the horse, for which the fossil record is remarkably complete, or in the case of transition fossils, which definitely are found. Thus, we know that things change from one form to another, sometimes fairly drastically, and we know the mechanism: evolution.

Moreover, vestigial organs (the appendix) and poor adaptations (the panda's thumb), along with homologous structures of various kinds (bat wings) and junk DNA, are present so widely that we know that nearly every species shows traces of descent from something significantly different. So what we actually see happening in certain cases can be generalized to many more.

Likewise, careful computer simulations show that evolution of the sort needed to produce the diversity that we see today from the conditions of many millions of years ago. So simulations, too, suggest that life had to diversify from its original condition.

In short, life, the world, and everything of sufficient scope that we can test show that the life that we see could evolve from a single common ancestor (or perhaps a few) billions of years ago. Some of the things we observe would be rather odd if things didn't evolve from each other. Therefore, it makes most sense to suggest that they did evolve from each other.

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