Why would our genes want to "survive" unless they were designed to do so?

rybak303
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Why would our genes want to "survive" unless they were designed to do so?

I hear a lot from atheists about how our sole purpose is to propagate our genes? That our genes like those of all life forms want to survive and propagate. But why do genes “want” to survive and propagate? How can something which has no conscious or will “want” to do anything let alone “survive” and propagate unless it was programmed by an outside conscious/will to do so?


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rybak303 wrote: I

rybak303 wrote:

I hear a lot from atheists about how our sole purpose is to propagate our genes? That our genes like those of all life forms want to survive and propagate. But why do genes “want” to survive and propagate? How can something which has no conscious or will “want” to do anything let alone “survive” and propagate unless it was programmed by an outside conscious/will to do so?

 

 

Ok, imagine an electron and a proton. Sometimes, for better visualization of the concept of electrostatic forces, we may say that electron and proton "want" to attract each other.  In fact, by "want" we imply the electrostatic Coulomb forces that cause the particles to accelerate toward one another.  

Actually, this attraction can be better described by the tendency of a system to reach an equilibrium state with the minimum of free energy (maximum entropy).  The similar physics laws control chemical reactions including those that involve genes.  I would risk to propose that genes which contribute to a life form with better survival chances also increase the entropy ... of a system... well, it's interesting here.   [here I thought for a while]  You should also keep in mind that physics laws are primary "movers" and causes are secondary.

Yes, and if you think that scientific terms are difficult, then simply go with "want".  Just do not take "want" literally and you will be fine. 


Atheistextremist
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Every genome is an ecosystem

 

in which individual genes compete to survive and evolve through interaction with other genes and transposable genetic components. DNA demonstrably evolved from archaic RNA but the exact process of abiogenesis remains unknown. What is known is that RNA fossils still exist in the DNA of living creatures.

So rybak - you have to decide whether abiogenesis is possible in this real world of RNA and DNA, or if it's all down to a magic god who's skulking around outside the universe careful to ensure we don't see his shadow when he opens the lid.

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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rybak303 wrote: I

rybak303 wrote:

I hear a lot from atheists about how our sole purpose is to propagate our genes? That our genes like those of all life forms want to survive and propagate. But why do genes “want” to survive and propagate? How can something which has no conscious or will “want” to do anything let alone “survive” and propagate unless it was programmed by an outside conscious/will to do so?

 

That's simple. Imagine genes, that somehow don't want to survive and propagate. Where are they? Long lost in history, dead. Only genes that survive and propagate can withstand time and therefore be here today with us. There were many mutations of genes in the past, but these that did everything else but survival just didn't make it.

Of course, genes get transferred in packages, and don't get erased from gene pool as long as they don't impede survival, so we actually have a lot of genes that have nothing to do with survival. 

Propagation of genes is not our sole purpose, it's a vital supportive mechanism that gives us time and opportunities to pursue our own purpose.

Beings who deserve worship don't demand it. Beings who demand worship don't deserve it.


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Read this, rybak. Perhaps it will help your comprehension.

 

The "Avidians" are a race of digital beings in a computer world called Avida run by scientists at Michigan State University, with computer code instead of DNA that is copied - not quite perfectly - every time they breed. The random copying errors create differences in their code which dictate how well, or badly, they will perform in their simulated world.

Early experiments put the Avidians on a grid of cells, and let them live and die there. The grid had a gradient of food - cells at one end have more than the ones at the other, where the Avidians begin. After 100 generations of breeding, a mutation led to one of them evolving a "gene" instructing it to move forward. When it landed in a more food-rich cell, it reproduced more quickly, and had more offspring than its rivals.

After thousands more generations, the Avidians had evolved something more impressive: a rudimentary memory. They had started moving towards the food source in a zig-zag motion, changing direction when they were going in the wrong direction. To do that, they had to be able to compare their current cell to the previous one. Robert Pennock, one of the scientists behind the experiments, told New Scientist: "Doing this requires some rudimentary intelligence. You have to be able to assess your situation, realise you're not going in the right direction, reorient, and then reassess."

A later experiment added a new twist: cells that contained instructions on where to go to find food. Some of those instructions were simply "do what you did in the last cell". In order to make sense of those instructions, Avidians had to evolve a more complex memory - and duly did so. Laura Grabowski, another of the researchers, said: "The environment sets up selective pressures so organisms are forced to come up with some kind of memory use - which is in fact what they do."

This sheds some light on how intelligence originally evolved: MSU zoologist Fred Dyer says: "Laura's work suggests that the evolution of an ability to solve simple navigational problems depends on first evolving a simple short-term memory - and this in digital organisms that still don't exhibit something you would call learning." But the findings may, in the future, allow researchers to create true artificial intelligence.

Dr Grabowski says: "In the past, the approach has been to start with high-level intelligence and reproduce that in a computer.

"This is the opposite. We're showing how complex traits like memory can be built from the bottom up, from things that are really very simple."

She demonstrated this by getting Avidians to evolve an attraction to light sources. She then used the evolved code to control a real-world robot - and it moved towards the light.

Another team, led by Jeff Clune, another MSU scientist, is attempting to create more complicated intelligence through evolution. His system, called HyperNEAT, is made of computer-simulated "neurons", the role of each of which is determined by equations based on the cell's position within the simulated "brain". This allows complex brains to be built up from relatively simple instructions. Further, you can change those instructions, and get a different brain.

Dr Clune tests each brain in a virtual robot, and gets them to perform tasks like moving across a surface. He picks the brains that do well at the task, and then makes copies of them, with the random errors in the instructions that, as with the Avidians, lead to evolution. He has found that his evolved brains have become better than traditional neural network brains at the tasks he sets. He says: "Brains that have been evolved with HyperNEAT have millions of connections, yet still perform a task well, and that number could be pushed higher yet.

"This is a sea change for the field. Being able to evolve functional brains at this scale allows us to begin pushing the capabilities of artificial neural networks up, and opens up a path to evolving artificial brains that rival their natural counterparts.

"That is a lofty long-term goal, of course, but this technology allows us to start marching towards it."

 

Home

http://avida.devosoft.org/

 

Background

http://avida.devosoft.org/wiki/IntroductionAndBackground

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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rybak303 wrote: I

rybak303 wrote:

I hear a lot from atheists about how our sole purpose is to propagate our genes?

I disagree.

Reproduction is only a function of life, not a purpose. Purpose implies intent, and there is no intent in blind processes like evolution.

rybak303 wrote:
That our genes like those of all life forms want to survive and propagate. But why do genes “want” to survive and propagate?

They don't 'want' to survive. They are the blueprint for the organism. Organisms try to survive. If they are intelligent enough, like humans, then they also want to survive.

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let alone “survive” and propagate

When organisms reproduce, they pass on their genes to their offspring. The genes 'survive' by being present in the succeeding generation. They 'propagate' as populations of organisms spread and multiply.

 

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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This type of argument

This type of argument assumes cognition as a "creator" is needed for biological life to exist. If that is true, then why do men have nipples and why do cockroaches and bacteria outnumber humans? Why do eagles have better eyesight than humans?

And even outside biological evolution why are so many objects on in the universe useless to human beings and not only useless, but dangerous to humans?

Assuming a creator is needed for human life, any life, or any object for that matter begs the question of the problem with infinite regress.

It makes the false assumption that complexity is the starting point when the reverse is true in that complexity is a random manifestation of predictable observations arising out of simpler things.

A atom is simple compared to a molecule. A molecule of water is simple compared to the ocean. The hurricanes that manifest into a complex weather pattern result from multiple more simple sources, No sane person in their right mind thinks hurricanes can think.

Neither can the individual atoms that make up my DNA. I am the result of a natural process, not a magical battle between Superman vs Kriptonite.

 

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rybak303 wrote: I

rybak303 wrote:

I hear a lot from atheists about how our sole purpose is to propagate our genes? That our genes like those of all life forms want to survive and propagate. But why do genes “want” to survive and propagate? How can something which has no conscious or will “want” to do anything let alone “survive” and propagate unless it was programmed by an outside conscious/will to do so?

 

...Because things that don't breed don't survive. Reproduction was the most useful evolution ever.

Bridge breeding proves evolution false.


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PimpingWolfwood

PimpingWolfwood wrote:

rybak303 wrote:

I hear a lot from atheists about how our sole purpose is to propagate our genes? That our genes like those of all life forms want to survive and propagate. But why do genes “want” to survive and propagate? How can something which has no conscious or will “want” to do anything let alone “survive” and propagate unless it was programmed by an outside conscious/will to do so?

 

...Because things that don't breed don't survive. Reproduction was the most useful evolution ever.

But the original question was WHY do we want to reproduce. I was making the point that reproduction of any biological life is not a result of "desire" or "cognition" anymore than a magnate can chose what metal it clings to.

"Why do we want to survive" is merely a false assumption that without a human brain other life would not replicate. Clearly it does. Plants and bacteria will never have the capacity to be aware like a human is, but they survive, not a s a matter of "desire", but process.

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Brian37

Brian37 wrote:

PimpingWolfwood wrote:

rybak303 wrote:

I hear a lot from atheists about how our sole purpose is to propagate our genes? That our genes like those of all life forms want to survive and propagate. But why do genes “want” to survive and propagate? How can something which has no conscious or will “want” to do anything let alone “survive” and propagate unless it was programmed by an outside conscious/will to do so?

 

...Because things that don't breed don't survive. Reproduction was the most useful evolution ever.

But the original question was WHY do we want to reproduce. I was making the point that reproduction of any biological life is not a result of "desire" or "cognition" anymore than a magnate can chose what metal it clings to.

"Why do we want to survive" is merely a false assumption that without a human brain other life would not replicate. Clearly it does. Plants and bacteria will never have the capacity to be aware like a human is, but they survive, not a s a matter of "desire", but process.

I get the bent of the question, but the implication of my answer was this -- things that didn't replicate themselves didn't survive, thus we don't see them. Only the things with that specific adaptation are alive today. That's why we reproduce. I don't think the question was asked with full understanding of evolution -- so we gave the same answer via different paths.

Bridge breeding proves evolution false.


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PimpingWolfwood

PimpingWolfwood wrote:

Brian37 wrote:

PimpingWolfwood wrote:

rybak303 wrote:

I hear a lot from atheists about how our sole purpose is to propagate our genes? That our genes like those of all life forms want to survive and propagate. But why do genes “want” to survive and propagate? How can something which has no conscious or will “want” to do anything let alone “survive” and propagate unless it was programmed by an outside conscious/will to do so?

 

...Because things that don't breed don't survive. Reproduction was the most useful evolution ever.

But the original question was WHY do we want to reproduce. I was making the point that reproduction of any biological life is not a result of "desire" or "cognition" anymore than a magnate can chose what metal it clings to.

"Why do we want to survive" is merely a false assumption that without a human brain other life would not replicate. Clearly it does. Plants and bacteria will never have the capacity to be aware like a human is, but they survive, not a s a matter of "desire", but process.

I get the bent of the question, but the implication of my answer was this -- things that didn't replicate themselves didn't survive, thus we don't see them. Only the things with that specific adaptation are alive today. That's why we reproduce. I don't think the question was asked with full understanding of evolution -- so we gave the same answer via different paths.

We are wasting our time here. God did it and that is all we need to know. M-Kay?

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
Check out my poetry here on Rational Responders Like my poetry thread on Facebook under BrianJames Rational Poet also on twitter under Brianrrs37


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Uh, no. It was the Invisible

Uh, no. It was the Invisible Pink Unicorn in all her majesty.