Forum:Anyone here think Darwin was wrong?

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Not totally of course, but I think life does not only adapt to the environment but actually creates its own environment in which to best replicate. As Frank Costello states in opening line of The Departed: "I don't want to be a product of my environment. I want my environment to be a product of me." I can't remember where I read it, possibly Fredkin or Deutsch?, but physics needs to take into account life as a fundamental force within the universe akin to gravity. An alien cosmologist when attempting to examine this planet could only explain the atmosphere, for example, by taking life into account. What does this mean for the free will/determinist debate? The instinctive drive of humans to create and live in virtual environments, or according to McLuhan, the invention of technology, ends up in wacky stuff like I do not claim to have any more knowledge that the average idiot in this area, just that I have been thinking about this whilst being suitably inebriated with my favourite substances of abuse. Any views or pointers to where I might explore further. Cheers. --Dirk Steele (talk) 14:08, 9 September 2012 (UTC)

Niche construction. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 15:53, 9 September 2012 (UTC)
Depends on what you mean by "wrong". He certainly nailed the thrust of the argument but, as is to be expected for a person writing in that age, he was a bit shaky on some things. For instance he knew nothing about genetics. Having said that, genetics was easily fitted into his scheme of things.--Weirdstuff (talk) 16:39, 9 September 2012 (UTC)
I don't really think he was wrong. I was just shamelessly grabbing attention for the thread. Niche Construction eh? Never come across that term. Thanks for the heads up. --Dirk Steele (talk) 17:29, 9 September 2012 (UTC)
The bait and switch tactic doesn't tend to win you many friends, something about being effectively lied to. --Mikal Harass Follow 17:41, 9 September 2012 (UTC)
Point noted and I apologise. Also the tactic seems to have nicely backfired on me since now the thread will develop in ways which I did not want. Is there a way one can edit a title once started? --Dirk Steele (talk) 19:50, 9 September 2012 (UTC)
Hey if he could put up with the mother-in-law, it was totally his business if he wanted to be married to a witch. Matzosphere (talk) 17:48, 9 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Darwin was wrong about some things. You can see why here in some of these links:

You can also read here in detail what Darwin got right and wrong which lists the evidence that Darwin was wrong about his ideas of heredity etc. Forests (talk) 18:18, 9 September 2012 (UTC)

Your point six is debatable. Consider Dawkins.--Weirdstuff (talk) 20:12, 9 September 2012 (UTC)
Point two has actually been retracted by the paper. --Dirk Steele (talk) 20:54, 9 September 2012 (UTC)
Point four also has an effective retraction within the article. Professor Stephen Stearns states "in general, what is the impetus to occupy new portions of ecological space if not to avoid competition with the species in the space already occupied?". It is probably unwise to use newspaper stories to argue your case. Dirk Steele (talk) 21:01, 9 September 2012 (UTC)
Point one is dubious also. "But modern genetics has revealed that representing evolutionary history as a tree is misleading, with scientists saying a more realistic way to represent the origins and inter-relatedness of species would be an impenetrable thicket. Darwin himself also wrote about evolution and ecosystems as a "tangled bank". I don't feel inclined to search other points any further. Dirk Steele (talk) 21:06, 9 September 2012 (UTC)
The main thing Darwin got wrong was describing the whole of nature as a universal struggle, we know know now cooperation plays an important factor in evolution (research symbiosis). You don't have to trust the newspaper cites but do check out the last link I cited, that website is owned by Gert Korthof who has spent his life researching evolution. if you are looking for scientific works on evolution then check out the book by James A. Shapiro titled Evolution: A View From The 21 Century. He talks about mechanisms such as horizontal gene transfer, symbiogenesis, whole genome doubling, modular and duplicative nature of protein evolution etc and explained how they do not conform to strict vertical inheritance and are opposed to Darwin's advocacy of gradual evolution via "numerous, successive, slight variations." Forests (talk) 21:19, 9 September 2012 (UTC)
I do not see how the term 'universal struggle' can be seen as mutually exclusive to 'co-operation'. If you think that that is the main thing Darwin got wrong you must be a complete Darwinist. So am I. Welcome to the club. Thanks for the links. --Dirk Steele (talk) 22:26, 9 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Darwin wrote that all organisms are in a universal struggle for existence and all have to compete with eachother. But we know that many species of plants and animals do not compete with eachother and that many actually operate through symbiosis (mutualism etc) this is the opposite of competition because it shows us instead of struggle and competition instead evolution can occur through co-operation. Scientific obsevation has shown us there clearly there is no universal struggle for existence. It is not possible to be a complete "Darwinist" because as stated Darwin was wrong about many things. In Darwin's 1858 paper which he presented to the Linnean Society he said "all nature is at war , one organism with another, or with external nature" are you saying you believe that because there is a great deal of evidence which debunks that claim. It all depends on how you define "darwinist" but most scientists thesedays do not accept that term and would not described themselves as one. See this article here which explains some of the problems with "Darwinism" and explains what that term means and some of the problems with it, it also explains non-Darwinian evolution, and objections from scientists to the Darwinian view. Forests (talk) 01:22, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
Wow. Controversy, debate and differences of opinion in science? Who'd a thought it? (And before Captain Obvious jumps in there is some sarcasm in that comment.)
But, more seriously, petty clearly Darwin couldn't have got the whole thing right first time way back when because he didn't have all the information we have today. It doesn't invalidate his general thrust though. And, by the way, Dawkins identifies himself as a neo-darwinist.--Weirdstuff (talk) 10:31, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
Exactly. Yes there were things he was wrong about but the basic idea of changes over time through natural selection was the main thing and he got that right. I think "incomplete" would be a better term - the fusion of classic Darwinism with genetics being the big jump. rpeh •TCE 10:42, 10 September 2012 (UTC)

I don't even know where to begin. You jump from unrelated point to unrelated point. -- You first draw some sort of false dichotomy between "adaptation" and "changing the environment to better suit your ends". (I actually got banned from a creationist forum for pointing out that modern evolutionary theory makes no such distinction. Spiders make webs, beavers make dams, humans make houses, etc. I doubt Darwin made such a distinction either - anyone know?) -- Then you suggest that life is a fundamental force of nature or something, and use the example that you need to use "life" to explain the content of our atmosphere. Nonsense. We can explain the content of our atmosphere using biology (aka "life"), and we can explain biology with chemistry, and we can explain chemistry with physics. -- The you bring up free will and determinism. You first need to define your terms. You need to define your terms sufficiently rigorously that "humans have free will" is falsiable, and "humans do not have free will" is falsifiable. Let me know when you get such a definition and hypothetical observations that would confirm or deny it. LiberalOfAnUnknownVariant (talk) 00:29, 14 September 2012 (UTC)

Yes I agree this was just idle speculation on my part. So now I have been exploring niche construction - there is a distinction between an 'active change' and a 'by-product' within evolutionary theory. No? My rambling thoughts revolved around the life's ability to construct 'virtual environments' (I would define the invention of books and other technologies here) and possible genetic evolution that may result. Ending up with 'Are we living in a simulation' as a philosophical thought. The invention of the Wii, and our ability to digitise 'motion' fascinates me. Considering how our technology has advanced within the last 100 years I wonder about what we may be doing 5000 years from now. Many years ago I was quite interested in Ed Fredkin's digital physics and CA. I was thinking about how cosmologists would be able to identify 'life'. (I think it was David Deutsch's Fabric of Reality that asked this question.) What do my questions reveal concerning the debate between free will and determinism? Is life purely deterministic? I probably had been too heavily influenced by a copious amount of THC but just wanted other people's ideas to explore this stuff further. Just fun and not serious. Any good ideas about where I could research further? Ta. --Dirk Steele (talk) 23:54, 16 September 2012 (UTC)
Niche construction is not opposed to by-products (or "spandrels" to use Gould and Lewontin's term). Niche construction is better thought of an expansion of Dawkins' idea of the "extended phenotype (EP)" beyond its effects at the genetic level. Dawkins (2004) explains his objections to niche construction beyond his original formulation of the EP and Hunter (2009) gets into criticisms of a gene-centric view of the EP. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 00:47, 17 September 2012 (UTC)
I do not agree with your description/explanation of a 'by-product' as a spandrel. I think soil is a by-product of plants. Is this, though, an evolved behaviour, because immortality is not genetically diversive enough, so nature must therefore reuse chemicals, or a phenotypical trait given that genetic diversity due to death is an advantage to the development of a species? I am confused. Any thoughts? --Dirk Steele (talk) 01:29, 29 September 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for the links. I will peruse. --Dirk Steele (talk) 16:44, 17 September 2012 (UTC)

Oh btw, LOAUV, enjoyed reading your page. You think Popper was wrong about induction? You think that the universe is computable? So we can predict the 'behaviour' of an individual photon? Is a ramdom event therefore impossible? There is no 'chaos' theory? Anywhere you can provide more links that I can explore I would be grateful. (I do not consider myself having any knowledge here - just like to read up on stuff and explore ideas I may have missed out on... Cheers. Dirk Steele (talk) 00:16, 17 September 2012 (UTC)

There's a lot here to unpack. Might be better to take this to my talk page or something. I think Popper is wrong about induction - there are categories of theories besides "falsified" and "not falsified yet" - you also have "well established and well supported theories" as a useful category, and that is inductive reasoning. Next is this thing about determinism. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to claim that determinism is true. Definitely not. If you want to point out where you think my user page says that, I'll try to clear it up. Note that quantum theory is an accurate predictive (probabilistic) model which is consistent with the description that some events are random. Finally, please note that I'm kind of an outlier in modern philosophy of science. Apparently some of my views were "refuted" by Popper long ago. LiberalOfAnUnknownVariant (talk) 07:25, 18 September 2012 (UTC)
Sorry, I may have been mistaken about thinking you were a determinist due to your comment ' we can explain life using biology etc ... then assuming we can explain our thoughts with physics. I am confused about all these issues and my mind is trying to uncover some 'big picture' which may not exist. I need to read and learn more than my limited life will probably allow. --Dirk Steele (talk) 23:26, 18 September 2012 (UTC)
No prob. Again, I'll push my views because I think they're right, but I'm not infallible. I am also ignorant of a lot of philosophy, as Neb will quickly point out. LiberalOfAnUnknownVariant (talk) 07:01, 19 September 2012 (UTC)