Friday, 3 March 2017

Life may actually be getting better at evolving

quote [ The networks of genes in each animal is a bit like the network of neurons in our brains, which suggests they might be "learning" as they go ]
[SFW] [science & technology] [+1 Interesting]
[by arrowhen@12:04amGMT]


lilmookieesquire said @ 12:12am GMT on 3rd Mar
this is a big deal to me, because I can't stand the use of "evolved to ___" because to my understanding, evolution comes from random mutation, which means mutation happens, and things don't evolve towards any specific purpose. But if they do, then I can stop feeling hostile towards that phrase.
arrowhen said @ 12:21am GMT on 3rd Mar
You can evolve to stop feeling hostile towards that phrase!
hellboy said @ 5:40am GMT on 3rd Mar
Evolution is change but not necessarily progress, i.e. organisms adapt to changes in their environment, but a modern organism might be ill-suited to the environment eons ago. IOW, evolution isn't a linear track to some Platonic ideal. Something can evolve in order to be better adapted to its environment, but there's no intention to evolution beyond survival of the fittest at a particular time and place.

Or as I like to put it, Nature tries everything.
lilmookieesquire said @ 6:16am GMT on 3rd Mar
That's exactly what I mean, I think.

I often hear things phrased like "Humans evolved sweat glans in order to keep cool in desert environments."

I'd assume that sweat glads happened and animals (etc) that had them were able to better deal with crossing desert environments and thrive in new habitats, but they didn't evolve something to deal with something. They evolved something and it gave them an advantage etc.

No? It's entirely possible I'm dated.
hellboy said @ 10:02am GMT on 5th Mar [Score:1 laz0r]
No, that's basically right. That's natural selection.
Bob Denver said @ 3:26am GMT on 3rd Mar
Groups do "evolve to _____". They evolve to environmental fitness, for example. And yes, it is natural selection through the environmental effects on random mutations (cf. "Ain't Ma Nature a Bitch?!!") but the primary purpose of life appears to remain alive. Dawkins argued that the primary purpose of life is to spread the gene— I'd say that the gene has done a really good job of making that personal.
hellboy said @ 5:41am GMT on 3rd Mar
Yeah, what he said.

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