Logic and evolution: the giraffe problem (Introduction)

by dhw, Sunday, January 13, 2019, 14:28 (156 days ago) @ David Turell

QUOTE: "The data so far obtained show that there are many suggestive but untestable hypotheses on this topic and that we really know nothing about the evolution of the long-necked giraffes. Moreover, a close examination of the evidence reveals several deep problems for any of the current hypotheses explaining the origin of these species exclusively by mutations, recombination and selection. "

David’s comment: Gould was always honest in his opinions. Darwin dos not explain the giraffe in any way. The giraffe appears full-blown like so many other organisms.

There are many suggested but untestable hypotheses on the subject of the origin of life and of all evolutionary innovations. That is why discussion and research go on unabated. Darwin would have attributed the long neck to an advantageous mutation followed by natural selection, Lamarck thought it was a characteristic acquired by reaching up for food, and I know at least one person who believes that 3.8 billion years ago his God provided the very first cells with special programmes for giraffes and their long necks, as well as for elephants’ trunks, cuttlefish camouflage, monarch butterflies’ reproduction cycles and migration routes, and every solution to every problem that bacteria would experience for the rest of time.

Under “Natural wonders”:
DAVID: [Amoeba] have amazing abilities that appear intelligent:
QUOTES: They set the amoeba in a special chamber filled with channels, and at the end of each channel the researchers placed some food. Instinctively, the amoeba would extend tendrils into the channels to try and get the food. When it does that, however, it triggers lights to go off in other channels. (David’s bold)
Physarum polycephalum is a very simple organism that does two things: it moves toward food and it moves away from light. Millions of years of evolution has made Physarum abnormally efficient at both of these things. (David’s bold)

"[…] the amoeba just reacts passively to the conditions and figures out the best possible arrangement by itself. What this means is that for the amoeba, adding more cities doesn’t increase the amount of time it takes to solve the problem. (dhw’s bold)

“'The mechanism by which the amoeba maintains the quality of the approximate solution, that is, the short route length, remains a mystery” (dhw’s bold)

DAVID: Amazing work by an amoeba/slime mold. This ability has been noted here previously. Note the article says the slime mold reacts automatically (instinctively).

Note the article says the amoeba figures out the best possible arrangement by itself, but the mechanism remains a mystery. My hypothetical solution to the mystery is that the amoeba figures out the best possible arrangement by itself. Of course once confronted with the problem, it would instinctively use its intelligence, which is not the same as saying that it is automatically following instructions issued 3.8 billion years ago, along with instructions for every undabbled innovation, econiche, lifestyle and natural wonder throughout the history of life.

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