• StreetlightX
    3.1k
    But there is only one living creature. Species are only several steps of genetic diversity away from each other. We differentiate one species from the next because they can't mate. That's it. But that just reflects their distance from each other in the nodal network. They are all the same.MikeL

    Ha, this is a wonderfully provocative way of putting it, but I think it's pushing the semantic boundaries a bit to say that all species are ultimately 'the same'. The philosophical danger lies in the denial of novelty: the genotype network must not be thought of in terms of a set of pre-existing possibilities that is here and there instantiated depending on environmental contingencies (Bergson's critique of possibility, if you're familiar with it, would be applicable). This would be a kind of evolutionary philosophy of emanation. Instead, the network itself needs to be something that is differentiated in time, itself shaped by the process of actualization such that it too, comes into being - co-eval, as it were - with the differentiation of species. This would be a evolutionary philosophy of immanence, rather than emanation. This is pretty abstract, but I hope it makes sense.
  • MikeL
    644
    I can see the checkerboard of lights in the network lighting up and switching off as the adaptive space is traversed. How do we go from central emanation to central immanence though? (I'm not very well acquainted with Bergson except for 3min of a Livebox Recording that put me to sleep, and a critique on the holographic mind). I'll have to check it out.
  • MikeL
    644
    Oh, do you mean differentiated in the meaning of differential equation? New level that underpins the genotype network?
  • MikeL
    644
    Oh, I see, the evolutionary tree, whose flashing tips are the current points on the genotype network.
  • MikeL
    644
    It's still eminence though through time. The expanding sphere. Where's the immanence?
  • MikeL
    644
    Life is the immanence expanding through the changing material landscape, causing life to flash on and off like blinking Christmas lights.
  • Rich
    3.2k
    Bergson, was a genius of intuition, maybe centuries ahead of his times in visualizing the nature of nature. Through his literature, he attempted to share this vision of the nature of nature which was the result of studying patterns in many disciplines which he mastered. DeBroglie, one of the greatest quantum physicists, paid homage to Bergson's vision, in particular how he was able to envision quantum, by intuition alone, several decades before scientists began to unveil the mysteries of quanta.

    In narrow ways Sheldrake and Robbins have been able to expand and expound on his ideas (Whitehead I'm afraid went off the deep end), but no one that I have found has been able to do much better. So the best way to understand Creative Evolution is to immerse yourself in it and observe it from within. You have to really feel it because you are part of it. I do this via the arts, e.g. Tai Chi, Qigong, drawing, dancing, singing, writing, and also sports and most importantly health practices. Reading about it or debating it just will not do. You have to practice it.

    Understanding Creative Evolution is a life time study since you are an active participant. Begin by creating and enhance your creativity process by sharing Bergson's open words and ideas. Also, it is very interesting to sit back at times and observe the creative process of others. The mass movement to turn humans into robots is quite a show.
  • MikeL
    644
    Hi Rich, I do understand what you mean, moreso since we started talking. I'm watching Sheldrake now and will try and get into Bergson after that. I like the concept of the morphic field that Sheldrake's espousing, although I wonder about the experiments he cites.

    There is a mass movement to turn robots into humans too, so maybe they'll meet in the middle somewhere. Bionically limbed, digitally minded, arguing between the two who is the more real.
  • Rich
    3.2k
    There is a mass movement to turn robots into humans too, so maybe they'll meet in the middle somewhere. Bionically limbed, digitally minded, arguing between the two who is the more real.MikeL

    No one really believe in the robotic movement or determinism. It is the Emperor with No Clothes. People pretend because of economic interests, most especially in that dehumanization is like slavery. In turns people into disposable commodities. How else could the medical industry be allowed to kill tens of thousands of people each year with impunity? Can you imagine any other industry be allowed such luxury?

    Be that as it may, becoming fully and truly creative in your life brings meaning and joy so wishing you much luck and happiness on your journey.
  • MikeL
    644
    I think the human like robot era's coming Rich. It's just code. Layer upon layer, subroutine upon subroutine. Trial and error.

    Be that as it may, becoming fully and truly creative in your life brings meaning and joy so wishing you much luck and happiness on your journey.Rich

    It sounds like you're saying goodbye or marking a milestone. You going away for a while?
  • Rich
    3.2k
    Not at all. I'm around searching for new ideas! O:)
  • MikeL
    644
    Good to know, I might have some Bergson questions for you later. :)
  • Srap Tasmaner
    2k
    , there are not billions and billions of different lifeforms on earth, there is only one organism covering the adaptive landscape like a mat.MikeL

    That's really not a bad starting point in my opinion. The first three billion years of life on Earth is single-cell organisms. The last billion is multicellular, and the cells of any one multicellular organism are not that different from the cells of another. DNA, ribosomes, microtubules, membranes, all the machinery developed over three billion years is common to everyone.
  • MikeL
    644
    Yes, that would be on the time axis expanding radially from a center of life billions of years back in time, emerging like an expanding sphere.

    To understand the adaptive landscape we need to stop thinking about individual organisms and start considering entire populations. A possum, in order, to become a kangaroo would need to undergo several hundred or thousand mutations. This would require that every mutation was either positive or neutral. There could be no negative mutations, as this would wipe out the organism.

    The key is to understand the variability in the population. The Genetic Drift can now occur, with mutations being wiped out but successul combinations surviving. In this way the seemingly impossible divide between the possum and the kangaroo can be bridged.

    When we consider that a series of mutations has occurred to create the kangaroo, we must also remember that the kangaroo is now a different species. Life on this earth is a colllection of species, and thus the genetic map that is overlaid on the adaptive landscape can be thought of as continuous, just as it is continuous for the kangaroo and possum.

    We should also consider that the adaptive landscape changes over time. It rises up and collapses again. So where before there may have been a bridge that allowed the possum to slowly evolve to the kangaroo, that bridge has now probably collapsed.

    Do you want me to go on or am I confusing you to much?
  • MikeL
    644
    I should elaborate on the population a bit more for you. Every variant in the population is either more suited or less suited to its environment or has not net change. If it is a positive or neutral variant, it moves one step closer to becoming the kangaroo or wombat, and exists in tandem with the possum. if it is not, it has entered the valley and will not survive.

    Through this consecutive action through time we can step our way carefully toward being a kangaroo. We can claim to have walked along a ridgeline, skirting the valley, in order to arrive safely at our destination. This is genetic drift. The genome has drifted slowly toward the kangaroo, wombat etc all at the same time.
  • MikeL
    644
    It has done this by filling out every possible combination that allowed it to occur.
  • Srap Tasmaner
    2k
    . This would require that every mutation was either positive or neutral. There could be no negative mutations, as this would wipe out the organismMikeL

    I'm not sure this is the right way to look at it, although I'm far from being an expert. There isn't a one-to-one map between an organism's features and its genome. How and whether a gene is expressed depends on lots of factors, including other genes. Mutation is the factor we're most interested in, and carries the greatest share of the randomness burden, but in addition to environment (including the developmental environment) there's the shuffling of genes in sexual reproduction.

    Every variant in the population is either more suited or less suited to its environment or has not net changeMikeL

    I think again that's assuming all changes in the genome show up immediately in way that can be readily judged based on the current environment. Suppose part of a population carries an unexpressed gene that's useful when the environment changes, and part of that sub-population carries a variant of another gene that allows that useful gene to be expressed, then they'll end up winning.

    Anyway, I agree with almost everything in your last two posts. Did you think I wouldn't for some reason?
  • Srap Tasmaner
    2k
    I'm far from being an expertSrap Tasmaner

    Heh. I've garbled the science by the way I'm using the word "gene" but I think what I was trying to say is okay. Trying to unrust.
  • StreetlightX
    3.1k
    Oh, do you mean differentiated in the meaning of differential equation?MikeL

    I mean differentiated rather in the sense of symmetry groups, where groups are defined (read: differentiated) by their invariance under rotation. If one imagines the adaptive landscape 'beginning' as entirely flat - that is, as entirely symmetrical - then speciation - the distribution of peaks and troughs across the now differentiated landscape, breaks that symmetry. Paths that were once available now become closed off: phylogeny now becomes path-dependant, closing off certain evolutionary possibilities.

    However because the landscape is multidimensional, paths closed off by speciation in one dimension may open up paths along other dimensions. What is at stake here is the creation of new possibilities. In other words, the adaptive landscape is not just a series of possibilities but a series of changing possibilities, which are themselves dependent upon the actual paths of speciation. Because these paths themselves are contingent (upon the changes in actual environment), the adaptive landscape cannot be seen as a simple set of pre-existing possibilites which are then realized by the random walk of evolution or not. Possibilities themselves are subject to change such that the landscape evolves along with the species that populate it.

    This is why I think the checkerboard-of-lights image is not quite right: such a image locates change only at the level of the species, which move across a board of fixed lights. The trick is to imagine the lights themselves warping the board as they flicker across it. Again at stake here is the necessity to secure the the possibility of novelty: if the board is fixed, it becomes possible, in principle, to exhaust the 'combinations' of lights turned on and off across it. But evolution is not just a matter of combinatorics: one must think the coming-into-being of the network itself.

    Another more technical and precise way to put it is that the topology of the network - the relations between nodes, and not just the distribution of the nodes across the network itself - is subject to change, contingent upon the actual path(s) of evolution. It's this reflexive movement upon the very space of possibility itself that marks the difference between an emanative and immanentist account of evolution.
  • Srap Tasmaner
    2k
    There isn't a one-to-one map between an organism's features and its genome.Srap Tasmaner

    Should also have explicitly said there's not a single genome to find its way around the valley. You get whatever you get when some part of the population's gene pool makes it over there.
  • MikeL
    644


    Should also have explicitly said there's not a single genome to find its way around the valley. You get whatever you get when some part of the population's gene pool makes it over there.Srap Tasmaner

    Yeah, that's precisely the idea Srap Trasmaner. The latency in the DNA you speak of also enables further penetration along the ridge. It's a good point.


    I understand what you mean. The adaptive landscape is itself changing through time, throwing up troughs and waves. Evolution tries to run the rise of waves. Because we can think of life as starting at Point A, we can see that it is an expanding sphere. An expanding sphere is constantly expanding its Surface Area as it expands radially. New combination of genotypes come into existence to cross the new expanse.

    And while there is divergent evolution, there is also convergent and so we get rift lines between adjacent species as well, but like a maze we could trace this back radially toward the center, through our tree of life to find the junction. These rift lines can merge into one species, because there is only ultimately one organism, however, as this article points out, it is unlikely.

    I think the adaptive landscape is an interesting interface too. It's spongy. When we think that there are carnivores feeding on herbivoures feeding on plants, or ants feeding on moss etc, we can see that life is not only riding the adaptive landscape, it is part of the adaptive landscape. Thus at the interface of life, the surface of the expanding sphere there are layers - heirachy.

    As a seed for thought, if we were to fix our camera in cross section through the adaptive landscape as it moves upward through time, watching different layers of the heirachy expand and contract as waves and troughs form, it looks an awful lot like a quantum vacuum.
  • MikeL
    644
    We also know that life arose from the adaptive landscape. It is an interesting boundary, or continuum.
  • MikeL
    644
    I think we can also surmise that the sphere is hollow, as life is riding time, and time is not washing through a predetermined state of life, merely illuminating it - or is it?

    There is a very interesting question here. In the outwardly expanding sphere (through time), new areas appear like great cavities in the sphere- or as blank canvases of the adaptive landscape. Eventually they will fill with genomes. The thing is the genomes do not spontaneously appear inside the space, they must, as genetics says drift into it from the edges. This is an argument against a force of life, and a potential pandoras box I wouldn't mind exploring. Could you argue that the adaptive landscape is the force?

    But the idea of genetic drift is itself no entirely accurate. A better name would be genetic hopping. Each variant is a hop further along. This is not pure semantics, as in the race toward the centre of the empty cavity by the genome, those that can jump the further the fastest will get there first and can set up shop before the others.

    Here's an extract from an article on Jumping Genes - also called Transposons. Transposons are long portions of the genome that jump about from one section of the DNA strands to another, often causing deleterious effects to the organism.

    "Transposons Are Not Always Destructive
    Not all transposon jumping results in deleterious effects. In fact, transposons can drive the evolution of genomes by facilitating the translocation of genomic sequences, the shuffling of exons, and the repair of double-stranded breaks. Insertions and transposition can also alter gene regulatory regions and phenotypes. In the case of medaka fish, for instance, the Tol2 DNA transposon is directly linked to pigmentation. One highly inbred line of these fish was shown to have a variety of pigmentation patterns. In the members of this line in which the Tol2 transposon hopped out "cleanly" (i.e., without removing other parts of the genomic sequence), the fish were albino. But when Tol2 did not cleanly hop from the regulatory region, the result was a wide range of heritable pigmentation patterns (Koga et al., 2006).
    The fact that transposable elements do not always excise perfectly and can take genomic sequences along for the ride has also resulted in a phenomenon scientists call exon shuffling. Exon shuffling results in the juxtaposition of two previously unrelated exons, usually by transposition, thereby potentially creating novel gene products (Moran et al., 1999).

    The ability of transposons to increase genetic diversity, together with the ability of the genome to inhibit most TE activity, results in a balance that makes transposable elements an important part of evolution and gene regulation in all organisms that carry these sequences."
  • MikeL
    644
    And if we know the speed of time causing the radial expansion, and the size of the adaptive landscape at different points in time....oh crap, the size of the adaptive landscape hasn't changed. The depth of the interface has -the heirachy of life which has built up like a soil on top of it.
  • MikeL
    644
    This sums up my thinking so far. What do people think? Can you follow the logic? Are there any errors in the logic? Are there any insights you can glean or directions you can suggest?

    At the instant the first twinkling of a genome appeared, an invisible probability landscape (of existence through time) shot up around it and bubbled like quantum foam under a sheet. The bubbling was much slower than quantum foam though.

    The crests represented survival of a genome and the troughs were annihilation. The new life did not have to traverse the landscape. It could have grown its population right where it was without any change to its genome, hoping the probability crest it was on never collapsed. (this probability landscape considered the ability of the genome organism to survive given the current state of the environment in which is found itself- and so it is called the adaptive landscape as well).

    The probability landscape foretold that if you want to go from point A to point B (from a possum to a kangaroo) through alterations to the genome, here is the path- follow the ridges (crests). The population, in order to traverse the path would need to modify its genome in sequential steps. Only a certain section of the population would make each step, and if successful would balloon out into its own population.

    While this is happening the probability landscape is also shifting uneasily. Crests are rising and troughs are forming. A trait that may be advantageous today (like swimming in the water) may not be advantageous tomorrow - (the water dries up).

    Life spread out radially through the probability landscape by alterations to the genome as is required for movement along it. Could it see the path and direct the genome to some extent, or was its spread blind? That is a question this OP wrestles with. By invoking populations we don't need a sentience to accomplish the movement. It's like dragging a mat over the landscape, some parts will go into the dip others will go onto the crest. This does not rule out that it may have been directed.

    Thus life can be thought of as a group of branching tentacles spreading from the same original genome, each genome a single step differentiated from that before or after it. Or more technically as a set of interlocking nodes: [source http://www.molecularecologist.com/2015/02/bigger-on-the-inside/]

    It gets really weird when one genome is dependent on another genome for its survival. This existence of the second genome would form part of the crest for the genomic map of the first and yet would occupy a vastly different place on the actual genomic map, given that each step is say one change of the genome.

    For example a herbivore may depend on the acacia plant for survival. On the genomic map they are in very, very different places - so different are their genomes. And yet the existence of the acacia means that a genome that can allow the digestion of acacia - forms the crest of the herbivore.

    - OR the rise of man may send it's probability landscape into a trough.

    So the very presence of each different genomic variation creates new probability waves proximally and distally in the landscape.

    ONE THING IS CERTAIN - If life stopped evolving it would perish: It must mutate lest the crest it is on sink into the abyss. Is this Creative Evolution?
  • MikeL
    644
    However because the landscape is multidimensional, paths closed off by speciation in one dimension may open up paths along other dimensions. What is at stake here is the creation of new possibilities. In other words, the adaptive landscape is not just a series of possibilities but a series of changing possibilities, which are themselves dependent upon the actual paths of speciation. Because these paths themselves are contingent (upon the changes in actual environment), the adaptive landscape cannot be seen as a simple set of pre-existing possibilites which are then realized by the random walk of evolution or not. Possibilities themselves are subject to change such that the landscape evolves along with the species that populate it.

    This is why I think the checkerboard-of-lights image is not quite right: such a image locates change only at the level of the species, which move across a board of fixed lights. The trick is to imagine the lights themselves warping the board as they flicker across it. Again at stake here is the necessity to secure the the possibility of novelty: if the board is fixed, it becomes possible, in principle, to exhaust the 'combinations' of lights turned on and off across it. But evolution is not just a matter of combinatorics: one must think the coming-into-being of the network itself.
    StreetlightX

    After all that, I think I just ended up rewording you StreetlightX.
  • StreetlightX
    3.1k
    I understand what you mean. The adaptive landscape is itself changing through time, throwing up troughs and waves. Evolution tries to run the rise of waves. Because we can think of life as starting at Point A, we can see that it is an expanding sphere. An expanding sphere is constantly expanding its Surface Area as it expands radially. New combination of genotypes come into existence to cross the new expanse.MikeL

    Another way to think about this, if you're interested, is in terms of the topological properties that characterize such a landscape. Two parameters in particular are of interest: the distribution of singularities across the landscape (points of inflection, attractors, maxima, minima, etc), as well as the rates of change of the associated points in the network (dy/dx). Thinking about it this way allows us to drop the language of 'possibility', which, from the point of view of ontogenesis, is metaphysically suspect (again, remember that because possibility is itself subject to change, it cannot serve as the ontogenetic element which accounts for the topology and nodal distribution of the network; it is instead "derivative" of changes that happen 'in real time', as it were).

    From a philosophical point of view I think then that it's actually useful to shift from the geometric POV to a topological POV because it allows us to focus less on already-specified 'properties' (specific genomic traits, in this case), and more on the processes by which they come into being. It's the difference between tracking continuous variation in topological form and tracking the discrete differences in already differentiated species.
  • MikeL
    644
    Yeah, it opens up a much more interesting toolbox.

    Defining the singularities in a genomic landscape in a topological map would be the challenge. For example, in a topographic field the maxima would be best thought of as the crest that the genomic marbles would want to roll away from, down the sides of. The minima would be what they roll into. The valleys, from our previous discussions would be where the genomes 'want to' go (ie they would follow the path of least resistance).

    You might define attractors similar to those things in the pinball machines that suck the ball onto them, or as weaker more gravity like entities gradually turning the general direction of genomic mutation. This is an appealing idea. In the case of the adaptive landscape attractors might direct genome variation directionally, so they do enter the abyss to as great an extent. I wonder what type of force could act like that on the genome that is not a maxima or minima?

    The other point to consider with the rising and falling of the adaptive topographic landscape is if the marbles themselves do not fall into some type of rhythm of movement. The larger the groups of marbles, the more that they should act like a group and wash around together.

    What are your thoughts on it StreetlightX?
  • MikeL
    644
    Life had to begin moving almost immediately upon its conception, lest it sink immediately back into the void, which I imagine was bubbling a lot more furiously back then given the fragility the first lifeforms must have had. It chose a direction and spread outward. We can call this direction of evolution the Slope of Creativity and can apply the properties of a slope to it. The Slope of Creativity is distinguishable from singularities which are features of the topography.

    Even with maxima and minima and attractors popping up and down at various points, unless we invoke intentionality to the movement of the genome we still end up with relatively unmoving genomes. They will shuffle about on the spot. The way around intentionality is to invoke a slope. (This slope acknowledges the presence of a Creative Force that permeates all things and is directional).

    The Slope of Creativity would impose directionality on the general movement of genomes, ensuring the marbles are rolling (down hill) all the time irrespective of maxima and minima. Behind the moving genomes are the genomes of dinosaurs and sabre tooth tigers etc which have not been revisited by life.

    When we invoke the Slope of Creativity, we could have our attractors tugging at the genome pools as they passed by, our maxima providing slopes to roll up and back down (evolutionary culdesacs) and our minima being dips they may become stuck in.

    The Slope of Creativity would also allow an organism to approach, and crest a maxima and come down the other side without being obliterated, so long as the maxima was not too high.

    It is possible even with a Slope of Creativity that some genomes get trapped at the base of a maxima or in a minima) in which case we would get very interesting flow patterns around them.

    And what would happen on the lee side of a non-crested maxima? It would open up new space when the maxima gate was lowered again.

    The opening and closing of the gates as the marbles rolled through the terrain would create different sets of genome clusters, moving together. This does raise the issue of potentially moving through a set of genomes previously visited if some of the singularities were the same.

    I'm starting to genetically drift myself now.
  • StreetlightX
    3.1k
    I wonder what type of force could act like that on the genome that is not a maxima or minima?MikeL

    I suppose this is where environmental contingencies come into play; the evolution of the eye for example - a common example of convergent evolution - is largely a response to the 'attractor' that is the nexus of movement, light, and the need to avoid predators/find food. Insofar as a range of different species meet these 'requirements', they end up acting, collectively, as an attractor for the evolution of the eye. This is amplified by the fact that - as the work on genomic networks demonstrates - there are multiple possible evolutionary toward the eye.

    This is, I should add, a rigoirously anti-Platonic approach to morphogenesis, insofar as the evolution of the eye is not governed by some Ideal form which is instantiated differently across different species, but by environmental contingencies which act as attractors among a topological evolutionary space.
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