Evolution

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twinsen
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Re: Evolution

Postby twinsen » Thu Mar 12, 2015 1:41 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:And if the real engineer doesn't know that real electronics can have states other than 0 and 1, he should lose his job and whoever hired him should be encouraged to actually make sure potential employees know anything about the firld they're being hired to work in.


You want drop it. Ok,

Forget the manifacturing difference, electromagnetic induction, gray shades for transistors.

What about that "no clock" thing? WHO THE HELL WAS SYNCING IT?
A little dwarf inside?

Why I ask, do you know how this guy detected what part is useful? On/off one by one.
This shit + power-noice change + temp variation = ASYNC =>
Goodbye any logic and hope this will work.

Azrael, why do you say stupid things again? What electrons?
I beg you, be serious, and explain for example that "no-clock" thing.
(Im pretty sure, you cant say now: "ohh this have not been studied, we dont know how to sync delays but its possible" )

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Re: Evolution

Postby Neil_Boekend » Thu Mar 12, 2015 1:50 pm UTC

twinsen wrote:I will just wait, how much people will go for your:

Manifacture differences.
Electromagnetic induction.

All experienced electrotechnical engineers, me included. The EMC specialists can even understand most of the details of "why" and "how". Some of those EMC specialists would be able to simulate the behavior in extremely expensive software environments, assuming sufficient knowledge of the FPGA it works on.
With normal electronics design you try to minimize the effects used by this program.

In the spoiler are thoughts on the circuit from an EMC perspective (I am an electrotechnical engineer and used to be into EMC problems)
Spoiler:
the article wrote:Dr. Thompson peered inside his perfect offspring to gain insight into its methods, but what he found inside was baffling. The plucky chip was utilizing only thirty-seven of its one hundred logic gates, and most of them were arranged in a curious collection of feedback loops. Five individual logic cells were functionally disconnected from the rest-- with no pathways that would allow them to influence the output-- yet when the researcher disabled any one of them the chip lost its ability to discriminate the tones. Furthermore, the final program did not work reliably when it was loaded onto other FPGAs of the same type.

There are a few way this could work.
The one I can come up with is that the feedback loops are resonant amplifier circuits. They don't even have to connect to the input port, but rather have a trace somewhere that acts as an antenna, resonant at some harmonic overtone of the test signal. The signal from the antenna trace, amplified by the resonant amplifier circuits, would be fed into a detection circuit, the output of that detection circuit send to the test port.
Now if you stick the same firmware in another FPGA from the same production line the resonant frequencies of that antenna trace and of the amplifier circuits will be slightly different. Sufficiently different to stop the whole chip from working.

Of course I can't test that hypotheses. I don't have the chip in question, I don't have the firmware, I don't have the test equipment and I don't have an EMC simulation software package powerfull enough to simulate this. Nor do I have all the knowledge required. However, if you send a blank check to the Phillips EMC lab and supply them with the chip and the firmware I am sure they'd be able to test why and how it works. Don't be shocked if the bill runs into the millions of dollars, because EMC testing is incredibly expensive.

EMC is difficult. Every wire is an antenna, every wire is a coil, every combination of wires is a capacitor. Usually we minimize the effects of these behaviors, but an alternating current trough a wire in the chip will induce a current in the wire next to it. In high frequency system design this is a big problem and a huge opportunity.
I have some examples of this somewhere if you'd like to know.
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Re: Evolution

Postby PolakoVoador » Thu Mar 12, 2015 1:57 pm UTC

You see, this is the beauty of genetic algotithms. It can come up with crazy solutions that no engineer would think of in the first place. Of course, the resilience, robustness, etc of said solutions are not always guaranteed, as mentioned in the article (the circuit would not work in different chips). Nonetheless, they can show us novel ways to solve problems.

And speaking as a Computer Engineer who worked with FPGAs in the past: no, I would not doubt the mental faculties of anyone showing me results I find weird or non-intuitive. My first course of action would be to ask "Wait, what? Show me how and why it works. And if you don't know the why and the how, show me it working so I can try to understand it by myself", and after that, I would likely think "Neat, I didn't know you could do that. I'm gonna show it to my colleagues and be the cool guy at the office :)".

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Re: Evolution

Postby Izawwlgood » Thu Mar 12, 2015 1:59 pm UTC

I think we're long past the point of asking twinsen about their credentials or level of education.
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Re: Evolution

Postby SecondTalon » Thu Mar 12, 2015 2:06 pm UTC

No, I think we're long past the point of that having any relevance to twinsen's current ideas.

I mean, someone correct me if I'm wrong here -

Twinsen "This thing is impossible"
Shro "Well, here's a study from almost 20 years ago where it happened"
Twinsen "No it didn't"

I mean, I don't know where we go from there. Not a "Wait, really?", or a "How well was that peer reviewed?" or even a "That sounds unbelievable, I'm going to research follow-ups and see where it was shown to be bullshit as that's unbelievable"

None of that. Just a "lol nope"

Am I wrong in my interpretation of events here?
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Re: Evolution

Postby twinsen » Thu Mar 12, 2015 2:08 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:I think we're long past the point of asking twinsen about their credentials or level of education.


I have a master degree :) And even without it, Im still better than your wiki - posting. Thanks again for joining :P

Neil_Boekend: I like your explaination verry much. And I find this for high frequency quite possible.
I would be happy if you give me some of the examples you have in mind, if it doesnt cause any troubles to you... For later reading...

Edit: It really explains both why another chip wont work, and why such useless stuff have been formed. (Its not that useless it seems)
And your idea, kinda spits in the face of the syncronization in general , so... It is possible. It was really good.

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Re: Evolution

Postby Azrael » Thu Mar 12, 2015 2:29 pm UTC

twinsen wrote:Azrael, why do you say stupid things again? What electrons?

twinsen wrote:I have a master degree :) .


Well you clearly haven't spent much time with quantum mechanics or how that field relates to the operation of integrated circuits. While the lowest level code operating on ICs is dealing with open or closed circuits (1 and 0 only), the electrons cruising around in the chip have far more potential states than "on" and "off" and the interactions in the materials that open and close individual transistors gates are incredibly complex and generally non-intuitive. It is really quite easy to make chips exhibit non-binary behaviors -- probably easier than it is to keep them operating properly, just look at the RF examples already posted. We write code and spend an enormous amount of effort and testing to make sure we're only using the 1/0 behavior of the circuit so as to allow us to adequately model and predict the chip's performance.

The evolving system demonstrated in the paper had no such boundary. Long term quality, consistency and predictability were not design drivers -- or even metrics the system could measure. While we strive to avoid and eliminate noise so that only our code is causing changes in behavior, the program may have found instances where the noise was causing a positive interference, so it kept that structure.

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Re: Evolution

Postby PolakoVoador » Thu Mar 12, 2015 2:35 pm UTC

SecondTalon wrote:No, I think we're long past the point of that having any relevance to twinsen's current ideas.

I mean, someone correct me if I'm wrong here -

Twinsen "This thing is impossible"
Shro "Well, here's a study from almost 20 years ago where it happened"
Twinsen "No it didn't"

I mean, I don't know where we go from there. Not a "Wait, really?", or a "How well was that peer reviewed?" or even a "That sounds unbelievable, I'm going to research follow-ups and see where it was shown to be bullshit as that's unbelievable"

None of that. Just a "lol nope"

Am I wrong in my interpretation of events here?


The only thing I would put different is "lol nope, u stoopid".

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Re: Evolution

Postby twinsen » Thu Mar 12, 2015 2:57 pm UTC

Azrael wrote:
twinsen wrote:Azrael, why do you say stupid things again? What electrons?

twinsen wrote:I have a master degree :) .


Well you clearly haven't spent much time with quantum mechanics or how that field relates to the operation of integrated circuits. While the lowest level code operating on ICs is dealing with open or closed circuits (1 and 0 only), the electrons cruising around in the chip have far more potential states than "on" and "off" and the interactions in the materials that open and close individual transistors gates are equally as complex. It is really quite easy to make chips exhibit non-binary behaviors -- probably easier than it is to keep them operating properly, just look at the RF examples already posted. We write code and spend an enormous amount of effort and testing to make sure we're only using the 1/0 behavior of the circuit so as to allow us to adequately model and predict the chip's performance.

The evolving system demonstrated in the paper had no such boundary. We strive to avoid and eliminate noise so that only our code is causing changes in behavior. When randomly testing configurations, the program may have found instances where the noise was causing a positive interference, so it kept that structure.


You are right, ofcourse. I agreed with that guy Neil upon this.
I may not have even single logic operation in the chip, and the chip will be doing something, if making electrons move the right way.
And since you have no logic "flowing"... that no-clock isnt a problem at all. And the EA, just kept what was most useful, no matter that it was useless for another chip. It makes all possible.

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Re: Evolution

Postby ucim » Thu Mar 12, 2015 3:16 pm UTC

In digital circuits that have a clock driving them, the purpose of the clock is to ensure that the system has arrived at a stable state for step #n before going on to step #n+1. The very reason for the clock is that the "ones" and "zeros" are not what the circuit makes; they are an oversimplification that is sometimes useful and are "encouraged to form" by overdriving the components. The clock helps us make easy-to-understand devices by reducing the range of possibilities, and ensuring that only those possibilities propagate to the next step.

Analog circuits have no driver clock. They are also much harder to understand, except for the simplest ones. This is why complex electronics are digital nowadays.

The chip in question was not a digital chip, despite being made of digital components. It used the messy analog aspects of the way things work, rather than enforce and rely on the simplified digital aspects.

Mathematics is pretty and perfect.
Spoiler:
Well, not so perfect as it seems. For example, there are different sizes of infinity, events with probability zero can happen, and there are true statements that cannot be proven. Wrap your head around that before you make proclamations about how evolution makes no sense. And that's just math.
The real world is not. I'll let you consider why this is so.

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Re: Evolution

Postby Izawwlgood » Thu Mar 12, 2015 3:31 pm UTC

twinsen wrote:I have a master degree :) And even without it, Im still better than your wiki - posting. Thanks again for joining :P
In what? And... are you serious? You ask for information, and it's provided, and you claim you're better than it, or can't be bothered to read it? How did you get through a masters program?

Because,
SecondTalon wrote:Am I wrong in my interpretation of events here?
Nope.
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Re: Evolution

Postby twinsen » Thu Mar 12, 2015 4:05 pm UTC

ucim wrote:In digital circuits that have a clock driving them, the purpose of the clock is to ensure that the system has arrived at a stable state for step #n before going on to step #n+1. The very reason for the clock is that the "ones" and "zeros" are not what the circuit makes; they are an oversimplification that is sometimes useful and are "encouraged to form" by overdriving the components. The clock helps us make easy-to-understand devices by reducing the range of possibilities, and ensuring that only those possibilities propagate to the next step.

Analog circuits have no driver clock. They are also much harder to understand, except for the simplest ones. This is why complex electronics are digital nowadays.

The chip in question was not a digital chip, despite being made of digital components. It used the messy analog aspects of the way things work, rather than enforce and rely on the simplified digital aspects.

Mathematics is pretty and perfect.
Spoiler:
Well, not so perfect as it seems. For example, there are different sizes of infinity, events with probability zero can happen, and there are true statements that cannot be proven. Wrap your head around that before you make proclamations about how evolution makes no sense. And that's just math.
The real world is not. I'll let you consider why this is so.

Jose
In theory, there's no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.


Yes, you are absolutely right.

Please dont close the topic, I will be back in a week.
You gave me few ideas to try... and the rest of the guys too.

Thank you!

(or close it, I will open new one :P)

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Re: Evolution

Postby Neil_Boekend » Thu Mar 12, 2015 4:23 pm UTC

twinsen wrote:Neil_Boekend: I like your explaination verry much. And I find this for high frequency quite possible.
I would be happy if you give me some of the examples you have in mind, if it doesnt cause any troubles to you... For later reading...

Edit: It really explains both why another chip wont work, and why such useless stuff have been formed. (Its not that useless it seems)
And your idea, kinda spits in the face of the syncronization in general , so... It is possible. It was really good.

Thanks.

It doesn't need to be synced. It wouldn't even work when synced because that would destroy the amplifier circuits. Sincing is for suckers who cant try a million times. The way this was generated doesn't get depressed after design number 1,000 still isn't good enough.
Humans think about what to create so it doesn't take much time. Humans need to keep the variables in check, because many variables suck. As ucim noted, one of the purposes of the clock is to make things easy. To limit the states it can be in. To dampen the effect of billions of small imperfections.
Evolution doesn't think but it has all the time in the world to try and try and try and try. It doesn't get frustrated if the first billion attempts fail. It can't get frustrated. It just takes the time it needs. Removing the clock granted possibilities. Those billions of imperfections were not dampened. They were not censored. This allowed the evolving circuit to amplify them. To use them.
A human would go mad trying to account for the billions of variables of such an unclocked system. Evolution thrives on it.

My thoughts on a path how this FPGA circuit evolved:
Spoiler:
1. A few of the randomly chosen FPGA programs happened to have a really weak amplifier. Simply by chance. They will be in different places for each circuit.
2. That amplifier slightly amplifies the signal. Since each wire is an antenna this signal, ever so slightly, jumpes from trace to trace to the output port.
3. The fitness selection selects for this signal. An ever so slight signal on the output port. Most humans would call it noise but the fitness selection sees it is better than nothing.
4. The circuits with the strongest amplifiers survive.
5. Parts of those circuits are chosen at random in hundreds of different combinations.
6. The hundreds of child circuits are tested for their outputs. The ones with the strongest outputs are selected for fitness
8. Combine again like in 5
9. Fitness selection. Some circuits have only the pieces without an amplifier. Those get dumped. Some have 2 amplifiers: One from mommy and one from daddy. Those survive the selection step.
9. Combine again like in 5
10. Randomly change a few bits in each circuit.
11. Filter again. Most of the circuits will have two amplifiers. Maybe in some of those one of the amplifiers will be a tiny bit better because of the random change in step 10. Those will have a stronger signal and thus they will survive the selection. If not in this round than in any of the next ones.
Repeat 9 through 11 a couple of hundreds of times

Each time around the amplifiers are just a tiny bit better. Each time the signal gets a bit stronger. However, the selection program isn't just looking for a signal. It'll take any old signal if it can't find the correct signal. Some of the circuits happen to have a slightly stronger output signal on the frequencies the selection program is looking for. Those survive all selection processes.
After hundreds more combine/random/filter steps the signal will be practically only when the input frequency is right.

Then a large step. One of the circuits will have a DC component in it's output port when the right frequency is present. It happened by chance, if you try often enough this will happen. Probably a leak current in a component near the output port. It may even be damage caused by the constant reprogramming of the same single chip for a hundred thousand times. Where it exactly came from doesn't matter. It is there. Maybe it's only a couple of milivolts. But the selection program graded it as "fitter" than a circuits that didn't do that. Circuits that didn't use that flaw. It probably graded it as the fittest circuit in that generation.
As the cycles continue the selection program grades the circuits with a stronger DC signal as fitter. Thus the DC signal gets stronger and stronger. Until it is the only signal on the output port.
This was found after just over 4,000 generations.
4000 generations with 250 children in each generation means 1 million attempts. No sane human would do that by hand, but the evolution software didn't get bored. It didn't get frustrated. It just kept on going.
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Re: Evolution

Postby Weeks » Fri Mar 13, 2015 12:04 am UTC

twinsen wrote:I have a master degree :) And even without it, Im still better than your wiki - posting. Thanks again for joining :P


mods please dont close it so I can open new one
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Re: Evolution

Postby Azrael » Fri Mar 13, 2015 12:27 am UTC

twinsen wrote:(or close it, I will open new one :P)

No, you won't

Restarting a locked thread is the sort of behavior that gets you a warning and another lock. Which almost always leads to a third repost by the user and the inevitable ban from the moderator. You slid by this time on a technicality. 'Cause technically we like the occasional punching bag like this thread.

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Re: Evolution

Postby Shro » Fri Mar 13, 2015 4:14 pm UTC

I would like to take a minute (okay, it's going to be considerably longer than that) to point out some rudeness/use this thread as an example of how not to have a conversation - one post at a time.
twinsen wrote:Look what Shro "forgot to mention", from that study:
(From the link, right after that crazy stuff)

I didn't "forget to mention" anything. When you repeatedly show that you don't read other people's links and demand people summarize them for you in their own words, you can't fault them for only wanting to summarize parts of them at a time considering the effort that goes into something like that. Especially when they don't know if their time is going to be well spent or not. I chose to keep my summary restricted to a certain portion of this article and under 300 words, since you've demonstrated a lack of wanting to read blocks of texts much longer than that, so I adapted my conversation style to suit this particular element of your exhibited personality and as a protective mechanism for me not to waste too much of my time, also due to particular elements of your exhibited personality.
twinsen wrote:REALLY MAN???

What is this circuit? "Witchcraft"? "Voodoo"? "Prayer"?
Paraphrase: "I don't understand how this particular thing that happened works, so clearly it's not logic; here are some other things it could be that I think are the opposite of logic, to let you know how unconvinced I am about this." Basically a middle school level analogy. Unhelpful. Grating.

twinsen wrote:Man, if you tell that there is a chip, that detects shadows of grays, not only 0/1, that there are 5 cells that are not connected to anything, that its program doesnt work on similar chip, to someone, who concider yourself an engeneer in electronics...

He will not think that you are wrong. He will think you are retard or crazy person.

More paraphrasing: "This doesn't work in a way a chip is supposed to. If you take a chip that's not working the way it's supposed to to an electrical engineer would not just think you are wrong, he would have a disparaging opinion about you"
The disparagement of someone else, especially using ableist terms such as crazy or retarded, and even if it is by some proxy that exists in your imagination is just not cool. Or Nice. Not to mention the fact that it's completely wrong; as has been mentioned, most reactions towards something not working the way it's supposed to is curiosity and wanting to know more about why something has a novel behavior.

twinsen wrote:JudeMorrigan: Well, the fact is that there is a publication that such event occured, thats for sure. Is it possible that such chip can exist... I have seen ALOT of chips in my life. Perhaps when you die , you will have seen less than me. Some of them behaved strangely , due to different problems.
But this is retarded :)

Editing your posts after a response is made to address that response in your previous post: something you were repeatedly asked not to do, but continued doing anyway. If you didn't know this, forum posts are read one by one, usually in chronological order. When you put something as a response in your post that is viewed before the actual thing that you are responding to, no one knows what you're talking about in that portion until they actually get to the other person's post. You are increasing the amount of work that other people have to do to understand you. You are a stranger on the internet, and definitely not special enough for people to sit and try and figure out what you mean when you communicate so incredibly sloppily - and stubbornly. You were given a pass the first couple of times because we're reasonable people who understand that people might not know how things work, so you were given the benefit of the doubt. You continued to flaunt this and did the thing we very kindly asked you to not do anyway.
And then oh, the narcissism. You've seen a lot of chips in your life, so clearly, someone else will not have seen as many chips as you, and will not during their entire lifespan? Just. Wow. And them you admit that some chips do behave strangely, but don't quite have the mental capacity to connect the fact that maybe if some chips act strangely, maybe it's not so strange when this chip acts in a manner that I didn't expect.
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Re: Evolution

Postby twinsen » Wed Mar 18, 2015 2:23 pm UTC

Neil_Boekend, you are absolutely right.

For the past week, I was trying to find some reasons that such approach cannot be used in biological evolution.
(like instead of creating binary logic, or "program" as I call it, creating somethign that "works" - after all its what matters the most)

I found none, that actually are worth mentioning.

The way you explain the evolution of the chip is perfectly fine for me.
And I have no choice but to agree, that something similar can happen to our building blocks.

I still dont think that "evolution" is the moving force of human genome generation, but
as long as it is both possible and logical explaination.... I cant say anymore that its:
"the biggest crap ever"

And I was wrong to adressing it like that.

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Re: Evolution

Postby Neil_Boekend » Wed Mar 18, 2015 2:35 pm UTC

Thanks. I always enjoy explaining stuff.
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Re: Evolution

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Mar 18, 2015 2:55 pm UTC

twinsen wrote:I still dont think that "evolution" is the moving force of human genome generation, but
as long as it is both possible and logical explaination.... I cant say anymore that its:
"the biggest crap ever"
I can't quite parse you here - you still don't think evolution is the thing that led to our genome, but you agree it's logical and possible, and can't say it's crap?

So... What?
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Re: Evolution

Postby SecondTalon » Wed Mar 18, 2015 2:56 pm UTC

All I'm seeing is "I thought this thing was crap. Neil explained it, I did some more reading, and I no longer think it's crap"

I'll call that a victory for internet debate.
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Re: Evolution

Postby Yakk » Wed Mar 18, 2015 3:06 pm UTC

Look, there are two clear possibilities.

A) Someone on the internet was convinced they where wrong.
B) It's a trap.

Anyone care to Bayes?
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Re: Evolution

Postby Neil_Boekend » Wed Mar 18, 2015 3:13 pm UTC

*does a happy dance*

*gets looked at weird*
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Re: Evolution

Postby twinsen » Wed Mar 18, 2015 3:34 pm UTC

I agree that evolution is valid theory.

I am still not convinced its the way how it happened.
But its possible, and its logical.

I was sure that it makes no sense, but Neil's logic...
It just makes sense, and I cannot say anymore that evolution is crap.
(No matter how likely I think is such thing to happen)

Edit: Would you like to keep this discussion?

For the chip example we have that part of the algorithm, that can allways tell if:
Formation N is better or not than formation N-1.

What if, we dont have that part? In other words, if we cannot tell that the curent formation is better or worse for verry verry large system?
Last edited by twinsen on Wed Mar 18, 2015 3:39 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Evolution

Postby Whizbang » Wed Mar 18, 2015 3:36 pm UTC

From here, in my opinion, it is just a matter of looking at the actual research being done or that has been done, and get out of analogy mode. See it in real-world examples.

I also recommend reading this: http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/evo_01

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Re: Evolution

Postby Sizik » Wed Mar 18, 2015 3:47 pm UTC

The recurrent laryngeal nerve (cw: giraffe dissection) is a good example of evolution producing something less efficient than a "designer" would.
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Re: Evolution

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Mar 18, 2015 3:48 pm UTC

SecondTalon wrote:All I'm seeing is "I thought this thing was crap. Neil explained it, I did some more reading, and I no longer think it's crap"
Maybe, but then, this, again;
twinsen wrote:I agree that evolution is valid theory. I am still not convinced its the way how it happened. But its possible, and its logical.


And then he writes;
twinsen wrote:It just makes sense, and I cannot say anymore that evolution is crap.


So... what?

I read that as "I understand murdering people is bad, but I am not convinced choking someone to death is bad. But, it's possible, and it's logical, so I can no longer call condemnation of strangulation 'crap'".
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Re: Evolution

Postby speising » Wed Mar 18, 2015 4:48 pm UTC

twinsen wrote:What if, we dont have that part? In other words, if we cannot tell that the curent formation is better or worse for verry verry large system?

Selection is an integral part of evolution. If a variant isn't any better or worse for survival, it won't be selected for or against. I'm not sure what will happen with it then, i guess it just gets diluted more and more in future generations.

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Re: Evolution

Postby Whizbang » Wed Mar 18, 2015 6:31 pm UTC

speising wrote:
twinsen wrote:What if, we dont have that part? In other words, if we cannot tell that the curent formation is better or worse for verry verry large system?

Selection is an integral part of evolution. If a variant isn't any better or worse for survival, it won't be selected for or against. I'm not sure what will happen with it then, i guess it just gets diluted more and more in future generations.



I think that falls under the category of Genetic Drift, meaning that some variations survive or fill the population and some don't, simply as a matter of luck.

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Re: Evolution

Postby SecondTalon » Wed Mar 18, 2015 9:09 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:
SecondTalon wrote:All I'm seeing is "I thought this thing was crap. Neil explained it, I did some more reading, and I no longer think it's crap"
Maybe, but then, this, again;
twinsen wrote:I agree that evolution is valid theory. I am still not convinced its the way how it happened. But its possible, and its logical.


And then he writes;
twinsen wrote:It just makes sense, and I cannot say anymore that evolution is crap.


So... what?

I read that as "I understand murdering people is bad, but I am not convinced choking someone to death is bad. But, it's possible, and it's logical, so I can no longer call condemnation of strangulation 'crap'".
You're still putting this in Real World terms, where an argument or debate with another person can lead to complete changes of opinion.

This is the internet. Someone admitting that their beliefs and understanding have been changed by another person on the internet is a unicorn blowing a centaur while a satyr plays air guitar in the background, 'cause that's how satyrs roll.
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Re: Evolution

Postby ucim » Wed Mar 18, 2015 9:42 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:
twinsen wrote:I agree that evolution is valid theory. I am still not convinced its the way how it happened. But its possible, and its logical.
And then he writes;
twinsen wrote:It just makes sense, and I cannot say anymore that evolution is crap.

So... what?
So... he's reconsidering his opinion based on things we've shown him. Remember that pre-existing opinions about evolution, like those about religion, are very ingrained, and tied in with an entire worldview. Logic rarely gains a toehold. Here, it has. That's massive.

twinsen wrote:For the chip example we have that part of the algorithm, that can allways tell if:
Formation N is better or not than formation N-1.
What if, we dont have that part? In other words, if we cannot tell that the curent formation is better or worse for verry verry large system?
We don't need to. Real life provides the tool: death. For an individual organism, this only happens once, and could easily be due to bad luck rather than "fitness", but if you have many many organisms then in that growing and reproducing population, those which are fittest will eventually predominate.

In real life, if the sample population is small enough, luck will tend to predominate, and the fittest might not get a chance - the species could go extinct. Them's the breaks.

Nature doesn't care. It just keeps on throwing the dice.

Anyway, that's the theory. This is a theory that can be tested; a lot of actual research has been done with organisms, and a lot of study has been done on the fossilized remains from the past. By reading about this research you will gain an idea as to why scientists have come to the conclusions that they have. It's piecemeal, mistakes were made along the way, but the pattern that emerged and the reasoning behind it is quite convincing.

Your next step to understanding would be to read that research (or digests of it as they appear in textbooks and wikis, which can point you to their sources). Go to the public library and talk to a librarian about how to read up on the subject with this in mind, then follow their suggestions. Perhaps take some courses at the local college in biology and evolution, depending on your level of interest.

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Re: Evolution

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Mar 18, 2015 9:52 pm UTC

ucim wrote:So... he's reconsidering his opinion based on things we've shown him. Remember that pre-existing opinions about evolution, like those about religion, are very ingrained, and tied in with an entire worldview. Logic rarely gains a toehold. Here, it has. That's massive.
And in the following sentence saying that he's not changed his mind.

SecondTalon wrote:You're still putting this in Real World terms, where an argument or debate with another person can lead to complete changes of opinion. This is the internet. Someone admitting that their beliefs and understanding have been changed by another person on the internet is a unicorn blowing a centaur while a satyr plays air guitar in the background, 'cause that's how satyrs roll.
The internet is full of non-scientists, who TIL are as awesome as intermythical species sex rock n' roll... Which, I mean, obvi.
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Re: Evolution

Postby Quercus » Wed Mar 18, 2015 10:28 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:
ucim wrote:So... he's reconsidering his opinion based on things we've shown him. Remember that pre-existing opinions about evolution, like those about religion, are very ingrained, and tied in with an entire worldview. Logic rarely gains a toehold. Here, it has. That's massive.
And in the following sentence saying that he's not changed his mind.

twinsen may not have changed his mind, but he has certainly changed his attitude. I'd say that he now has a more-or-less healthy scepticism given his current level of knowledge. He says he's still not convinced - that's good in my opinion. I think as scientists/scientifically literate people it's easy to lose sight of the huge amount of background knowledge that forms the foundation of our opinions. Without at least some of that background, "I don't know" is really the only intellectually honest answer. Now, of course, everyone should get the background needed to form an informed view on these things in school, but that's a discussion for another thread.

It's also the case that it's probably optimal to default to provisionally trusting scientific consensus on scientific issues, but even to develop that attitude one needs to have enough knowledge to be able to see what it is about scientific methods and the scientific community that means that you can generally trust it in this way (after all you definitely shouldn't default to trusting everybody in authority).

Personally I know that it took me until my second year of undergraduate biology before I was absolutely 100% convinced of evolution (or more precisely the neo-Darwinian synthesis) on a personal level, without trusting to scientific consensus for at least parts of it.

SecondTalon wrote:You're still putting this in Real World terms, where an argument or debate with another person can lead to complete changes of opinion. This is the internet. Someone admitting that their beliefs and understanding have been changed by another person on the internet is a unicorn blowing a centaur while a satyr plays air guitar in the background, 'cause that's how satyrs roll.
The internet is full of non-scientists, who TIL are as awesome as intermythical species sex rock n' roll... Which, I mean, obvi.

I read that as an analogy for something which is rare to the point of being triply mythological and then some, rather than something that is awesome.

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Re: Evolution

Postby DaBigCheez » Thu Mar 19, 2015 1:17 am UTC

ucim wrote:Real life provides the tool: death. For an individual organism, this only happens once...

[citation needed]
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Re: Evolution

Postby ucim » Thu Mar 19, 2015 1:18 am UTC

DaBigCheez wrote:
ucim wrote:Real life provides the tool: death. For an individual organism, this only happens once...

[citation needed]
I'd provide one, but original research is frowned upon. :)

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Re: Evolution

Postby twinsen » Thu Mar 19, 2015 7:20 am UTC

Ucim, yes, we allready agreed, that death is "the threat for the cat", "the ability to float" and "the voltage output of the chip", and works fine, if you consider it at level for one segment.

Now think of a situation where you need to develop significantly, before making a difference.

Lets say we are some kind of a weird plants. If we compete, you try to grow bigger leaves than mine, I try to grow bigger than yours. You grow in heigh, I grow in heigh.
More sun - more food - bigger chance of survival. And the chip logic works. Noone argues.

In the search of more energy, thouse plants go up every generation. Like 1m, 1.1, 1.2....3m heigh.
It is clear that N generation has bigger chance of survival than N-1 generation.

Now, lets say that when we compete, another plant is involved, that cant match our speed of growth. (For example his structure does not allow him to be higher, becouse wind breaks him, so he cant evolve so quick in both structure and form.) This plant is trying to find another sourse of energy, by eating insects.

For this, it needs to have some cells that produce nectars to lure insects.
Some cells that produce something that makes insect into "plant food".
Some leaves that are shaped as containers.
Some leaves (or part of other ones), that can contract and capture them.

If in the first case , im sure 1.1 m is better than 1.0 m,
In the second case, even the plant has perfectly formed sweet nectar cells, It does not have any use, without having all the parts of the complex system.
So, why should it keep the nectar, and wait for the other parts, if its useless now?

More interesting question: Why should it keep the nectar, if it brings harm.(For example wasting 1 energy to produce it)

The main problem I see here is if you have like 10 parts of a system.

part 1 is harmful, becouse you lose energy, required to survive
part 2 is harmful, becouse you lose energy, required to survive
part 3 is harmful, becouse you lose energy, required to survive
....
part 10 is harmful, becouse you lose energy, required to survive

If you have the 10 parts, you gain 100 times the invested energy, ensuring your survival.

It is obvious , that N better than N-1 doesnt work, becouse you need to activate thouse parts all together, to make any sense.

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Re: Evolution

Postby Quercus » Thu Mar 19, 2015 8:34 am UTC

twinsen wrote:The main problem I see here is if you have like 10 parts of a system.

part 1 is harmful, becouse you lose energy, required to survive
part 2 is harmful, becouse you lose energy, required to survive
part 3 is harmful, becouse you lose energy, required to survive
....
part 10 is harmful, becouse you lose energy, required to survive

If you have the 10 parts, you gain 100 times the invested energy, ensuring your survival.

It is obvious , that N better than N-1 doesnt work, becouse you need to activate thouse parts all together, to make any sense.


The simple answer is that that sort of system doesn't get produced by evolution. Anything which requires multiple steps which are significantly disadvantageous will not get off the ground. I say significantly disadvantageous because selection is slow to remove slightly disadvantageous mutations, especially in a large population, so some of these may persist long enough for other synergistic changes to occur before they are selected out of existence.

The key is that there are a surprising number of ways to get to complex systems which are neutral-to-advantageous at every stage. The argument you are making is called irreducible complexity and IMO it's mainly an illusion that comes from not having a lot of knowledge about the detailed anatomy/pysiology/biochemisty etc. that's being discussed.

To take your example of carnivorous plants, firstly there is no plant which receives its energy or carbon from eating animals. All carnivorous plants are also photosynthetic and get their energy from sunlight and their carbon from the atmosphere. What carnivorous plants get is some of their nutrients (and not usually all of their nutrients) from animals. That's things like nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, iron etc. The one that is particularly important is nitrogen, and increasing acquisition of nitrogen in nitrogen-poor soils is the principal selective driver for the evolution of plant carnivory.

This reduces the problem you pose somewhat, as any modification which leads to more insects/other animals dying close to the plant will increase the local availability of nitrogen and be selected for. Most carnivourous structures in plants are thought to evolve from hairy leaves. Hairy leaves exist for multiple other reasons, including to discourage predators, to trap dew for water and to protect the plant from photobleaching caused by excess sunlight. I think we can agree that making a leaf more or less hairy is not irriducibly complex.

Hairy leaves trap water droplets, and insects get stuck to water droplets due to surface tension (you will have seen this if you have ever had a fly land in your drink). These trapped insects die and are decomposed by bacteria. This releases nutrients onto the leaf surface, which plants are able to take up. Lots of plants can do this to some degree, so lots of "non-carnivorous" plants are already very inefficiently carnivorous and all natural selection has done is increase the efficiency of this process. This can be achieved in multiple ways.

So to look at your points:

twinsen wrote:For this, it needs to have some cells that produce nectars to lure insects.
Some cells that produce something that makes insect into "plant food".
Some leaves that are shaped as containers.
Some leaves (or part of other ones), that can contract and capture them.


1) Not really - insects already land on plants all the time, maybe to eat the plant, maybe just to have a place to rest or a good vantage point to observe predators or prey. Sure, if a plant produces attractive substances they can get more insects to land on them, and at every stage this is selected for because any increase in insects increases the nitrogen availability.
2) Not really - insects that die on or around plants already get broken down, by bacteria. If you secrete digestive enzymes then the process becomes more efficient and this can be selected for. Note that all plants produce various degredative enzymes used for internal metabolic processes, defence against pathogens etc., so it's not as if the plant has to evolve an entirely new class of enzyme.
3) Not really - insects are already trapped by water droplets on hairy leaves. Modifications can again make this process more efficient, for example by not fully unrolling a furled leaf during its development so that it forms a closed tube as in a pitcher plant, or secreting sticky substances as in a honeydew.
4) Not really - this is not a mechanism used by all carnivorous plants, and it's definitely not required for efficient carnivory. Plants can have contractile structures for other purposes e.g. for tracking sunlight or hiding leaves from predators, so again evolution is gradually able to modify existing mechanisms that evolved for other, simpler, purposes.

I think the key is that the system is not as interdependent as it first appears, and improving individual components of the system generally does actually produce individual selective advantages. Whether those advantages are sufficient to overcome any disadvantages (e.g. requirement for greater energy) depends on the degree of selection pressure. In the case of carnivourous plants the selection pressure imposed by nitrogen limitation can be massive. These plants generally evolved in places where finding nitrogen is like finding water in the sahara, places where most plants can barely grow. Anything which gives one plant even slightly more nitrogen than its competitors is hugely advantageous. Energy isn't necessarily scarce in these environments - really you're trading a common resource (energy) for a rare resource (nitrogen), so the amount of energy that it makes evolutionary sense to spend on acquiring nitrogen can be quite large.

If you are interested in more on this a lot of this information came from the wikipedia article on carnivorous plants, which seems to actually be rather good and contains a large section on evolution.

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Re: Evolution

Postby twinsen » Thu Mar 19, 2015 11:22 am UTC

Quercus, all you say is true.

Alot of the plants can absorb some useful stuff trough their leaves directly. Ofcourse its possible that thouse with hair, that keeps water to sufficate small insects, and some bacteria in the water to do the work. This can happen, even if the plant has plenty of other sourses, and doesnt give a shit about the 3 insects died on him today.

But again in this example you have quite simple chain: Hair on leaves > moisture > bacteria and decaying insects.

And I can argue about effectiveness.
Without something to "lure" insects, the chance to land on you is like the chance to land on rock. How much do you think is : landable_area_on_plant/landable area all around?
You need thouse sweet nectars, and you need them in the right spot to lure insects. If you are luring them outside of your suffication trap, you are not doing anything good.( Or at least one lure and careful placed traps depending on the position. Whats important - positioning matters)

And what insects do you sufficate? Really small and weak.
You can do better if you have better traping, like rapid leaves movement and can-like leaf shape.
But you will have to get rid of that hair on your leaves, and change the shape. It will fuck up your old functionality.
What are you doing in the years waiting for completing the new mechanism?

And without hair, you should really get your own enzymes this time. While forming the new way (like container way) to hold water,
you will be basicly without bacteria. Later when formed correctly, it may have some water (not sure if its enough).

My point is - you are doing somethign step by step, and that is ok.
I dont think it can get everything "a bit working" and make it better.
Some of the systems are all working, or not working at all.

If you dont like this example , there are tons other.

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Re: Evolution

Postby Izawwlgood » Thu Mar 19, 2015 12:05 pm UTC

twinsen wrote:I dont think it can get everything "a bit working" and make it better.
And yet, it did, for literally everything, and we have a pretty good grasp of how, again, for literally everything.
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Re: Evolution

Postby Quercus » Thu Mar 19, 2015 12:32 pm UTC

twinsen wrote:My point is - you are doing somethign step by step, and that is ok.
I dont think it can get everything "a bit working" and make it better.
Some of the systems are all working, or not working at all.


Yes, and those are the sort of systems that don't evolve and therefore don't exist in biology. No-one is saying that you can evolve any system you can imagine, evolution is actually really heavily constrained in the sort of solutions it can adopt, for this very reason. What I can say is that I've looked at quite a few biological systems and I've not come across one that is "all working, or not working at all." It can often look that way on the surface, but when you get down to the physiology and biochemistry you can see that your process is often just another process that's been duplicated, modified and then built on.

twinsen wrote:And I can argue about effectiveness.
Without something to "lure" insects, the chance to land on you is like the chance to land on rock. How much do you think is : landable_area_on_plant/landable area all around?
You need thouse sweet nectars, and you need them in the right spot to lure insects. If you are luring them outside of your suffication trap, you are not doing anything good.( Or at least one lure and careful placed traps depending on the position. Whats important - positioning matters)

And what insects do you sufficate? Really small and weak.
You can do better if you have better traping, like rapid leaves movement and can-like leaf shape.

So what if your mechanism is really inefficient to start with? If there's one thing that evolution has in abundance it is time. Small survival advantages + time = selection. In a nitrogen limited environment the plant that catches 2 insects per year will eventually outcompete one that only catches 1 insect per year. There is a level below which a small selective advantage can be swamped by genetic drift, but at least for large populations that level is very low indeed.

But you will have to get rid of that hair on your leaves, and change the shape. It will fuck up your old functionality.
What are you doing in the years waiting for completing the new mechanism?

There's nothing stopping multiple traits from evolving in concert - you can get changes in leaf shape and get less hairy leaves at the same time. Also, I don't really see that either rapid leaf movement or pitcher-type leaves would be made ineffective by hairy leaves (in fact the hairy, sticky leaves of the sundews are fairly integral to their trap mechanism). If they would be more effective with less hairy leaves, that could easily evolve as a refinement afterwards.

Getting rid of hairs is in any case not a complex evolutionary step - it's the sort of thing that can be accomplished with a single mutation in a single gene in a single generation. This has been shown in the main plant model organism Arabidopsis thaliana. Mutations which inactivate the GLABROUS1 gene cause a complete loss of leaf hairs (trichomes), and there are at least five genes in which individual mutations are known to depress trichome formation

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Re: Evolution

Postby Mokele » Thu Mar 19, 2015 2:09 pm UTC

twinsen wrote:And I can argue about effectiveness.
Without something to "lure" insects, the chance to land on you is like the chance to land on rock. How much do you think is : landable_area_on_plant/landable area all around?
You need thouse sweet nectars, and you need them in the right spot to lure insects. If you are luring them outside of your suffication trap, you are not doing anything good.( Or at least one lure and careful placed traps depending on the position. Whats important - positioning matters)

And what insects do you sufficate? Really small and weak.
You can do better if you have better traping, like rapid leaves movement and can-like leaf shape.
But you will have to get rid of that hair on your leaves, and change the shape. It will fuck up your old functionality.
What are you doing in the years waiting for completing the new mechanism?

And without hair, you should really get your own enzymes this time. While forming the new way (like container way) to hold water,
you will be basicly without bacteria. Later when formed correctly, it may have some water (not sure if its enough).

My point is - you are doing somethign step by step, and that is ok.
I dont think it can get everything "a bit working" and make it better.
Some of the systems are all working, or not working at all.

If you dont like this example , there are tons other.


You're forgetting exaptation - something may evolve for one reason, then be co-opted for a new purpose.

Sticking to plants, hairs are *very* common in plants as a mechanism to fight off insect pests, and sticky hairs also occur purely as an anti-pest measure. Thus there are plenty of plants that kill insects just like sundews and butterworts, but without consuming them. To become a carnivore, all they need to do is absorb what they've already caught. Some just use local bacteria, but others have evolved enzymes.

Pitfall traps have a similar evolutionary history - many plants collect water in their leaves, either as an accident of morphology or specifically as a reservoir. As anyone who's ever left a glass of water outside and forgotten about it for a while can attest, that alone is enough to catch insects, as animals as small as insects often have a real problem with surface tension. As before, just add bacteria and you've got carnivory even before you add enzymes.

Supporting this, there are a number of "maybe carnivorous" plants that straddle this boundary, such as the bromeliad Brocchinia reducta (no nectar glands, dubious ID of a single enzyme, with the only lure being UV-reflective waxy coating that's common in all bromeliads) and Roridula (just a typical plant with sticky hairs, but a symbiotic insect eats the other trapped insects and poops on the plant, giving it nutirients). There's even a whole Wikipedia page on "protocarnivorous plants".
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