[ExI] Tim May and DNA

John Clark johnkclark at gmail.com
Sun Feb 10 14:36:30 UTC 2019

On Sun, Feb 10, 2019 at 6:49 AM Ben Zaiboc <ben at zaiboc.net> wrote:

> * > I shouldn't think anyone here really thinks evolution can 'want'
> anything, but it's a bit of a misleading term, anyway.*

If nobody thinks the word was to be taken literally then how was it

> * > One thing that evolution does not do, is inevitably result in more
> complexity, or any other kind of advancement, in either the phenotype or
> the genotype.*

Stephen J Gould said that in all his books, but I don't think it's true and
neither does Richard Dawkins; he agreed that you could say Evolution drives
more toward diversification if you don't want to say it drives for more
complexity, but he also found :

*"a tendency for lineages to improve cumulatively their adaptive fit to
their particular way of life, by increasing the numbers of features which
combine together in adaptive complexes. ... By this definition, adaptive
evolution is not just incidentally progressive, it is deeply,
dyed-in-the-wool, indispensably progressive.**"*

Dawkins even thinks the ability of an animal to evolve can itself evolve,
one example would be segmentation, once Evolution came up with that it
allowed for much faster Evolution. Another example would be the eye, if the
ability to detect light is on Evolution's toolbelt (and no I don't think
Evolution literally has a belt full of tools) it opens up a huge range of

The Evolution of evolvability

It's true Evolution doesn't always produce more complexity, the ancestors
of parasites had more complexity not less, but in any era the most complex
species was almost always more complex than the most complex specie of an
earlier age. We have no way of comparing the the genotype but compare the
most complex phenotype that existed a billion years ago, a one celled
animal, to a worm that existed 600 million years ago, and then compare the
worm to Quetzalcoatlus, a flying creature with a 35 foot wingspread that
existed 66 million years ago. Or just compare the brain of a human to the
brain of a dinosaur

> >
> *Neither is what it does, random. It makes use of randomness (and can vary
> the degree of randomness used), of course, but the process itself is far
> from random.*

Mutation is random but Natural selection is not, it's the only way
information about the environment can get into the genome. And you need
both for Evolution.

 John K Clark
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