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Evolution and Free Will

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by bobhikes, Feb 27, 2014.

  1. bobhikes

    bobhikes infinitologist
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    Sexual preference in evolution allows for animals to choose features that the mates find preferable in their spouces to be. An example would be the bright colors in birds that while attact mates also make them more observable to preditors.

    I believe this is an example of Free choice among the animal kingdom and would take it a step futher and say simple preference can be a driver in evolution and preference or choice is available to all life.

    For example Plants like the rose use certain chemicals from the ground. My take would be that they have a preference for how the chemicals taste or perhaps how easy or hard it is to get that chemical. Now I provide coffee grounds for my roses. A specific chemical in the coffee grounds is attractive to some of my roses. These Roses bloosom extraordinary. This plants seeds produce plants that a higher percentage do better in coffee grounds. Now if coffee grounds are available over multiple generations you will eventually get a new species that developes with an actual need for coffee grounds. This was a plants choice not caused.

    If we go to animals. The fox for instance may decide it likes to eat chimpmunks. There are plenty of squirels or rabits but it likes the color, the chase or maybe the taste. As long as there are chimpmunks this fox will eat them. Animals like humans group with similarites. This fox finds a mate that also prefers to eat chimpmunks. There offspring would have a greater desire to eat chimpmunks. If chimpmunks are available over the generations the fox should eventually develop into another spieces suited to hunt and eat chimpmunks. Again a simple choice developing into a new species.

    Inconclusion for evolution to work life has to be about choice. The ability to choose a path either for survival or preference. There are several experiments with mice and plants that support this argument in part. I took liberties to expand the concept.
     
  2. Gjallarhorn

    Gjallarhorn N'yog-Sothep

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    You say a fox "may decide" to eat a certain animal because "it likes the color, the chase, or maybe the taste". Where did this preference come from?
     
  3. HonestJoe

    HonestJoe Well-Known Member

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    Is this some kind of parody? Instinct and preferences aren't a free choice. If an animal is attracted to a particular characteristic in a mate, it can't actively decide to be attracted to something else instead. You examples with plants only emphasise the point. Plants aren't conscious and are incapable of making informed choices. They only directly react to the environment they're in.
     
  4. bobhikes

    bobhikes infinitologist
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    Prove it to me, I am a gardener in the same garden with in an inch of each other plants of the same species will preform very differently. Tomato plants of the same species will grow and produce differently and taste different though they are in the same ground in rows and columns.

    I believe the plant uses choice to survive, especially in this enviroment. If they all just picked the same elements some would have to die. They specialize for a reason I don't understand they decide they only want this certain mineral and another will choose yet another mineral. They may decide to only take minerals from the right side and some will decide they perfer the left side.

    Prove they are incapable of making this decision. Why isn't the root a straight shoot directly to the minerals it needs.
     
  5. bobhikes

    bobhikes infinitologist
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    Choice. Life is all about choice. What is the difference between a Rock and a Bactrium. The bactrium can choose what to do. The rock only acts when acted upon. The first choice was probably to live or die from there it evolved to the multiple incredible decision machines we have today. Basically everything has become a choice.
     
    #5 bobhikes, Feb 27, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2014
  6. HonestJoe

    HonestJoe Well-Known Member

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    No, I can't be bothered when I don't trust that you're serious. If you really care, you would provide proof of your positive claim that plants have a conciousness and are capable of reasoned choice.
     
  7. Quintessence

    Quintessence Tale Weaver
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    There is actually an entire field developing around this right now on the cutting edge of botanical studies. The idea is to start studying plants like we study animals - as creatures that have behaviors. For example, a study was done on Sensitive Plant modeled after an animal study, and it uncovered that plants are capable of learning and adjusting responses. Creatures without brains can and do possess intelligence. Is it the same kind of intelligence that is found in animals? No, and the researchers aren't suggesting that. But they do wisely suggest that we get over our irrational animal biases that hate using words like "learning", "behavior," "reasoning" or "intelligence" to talk about the behaviors of non-animal life forms (or worse, sometimes we balk at using this for anything that isn't human). Non-animal life exhibits behaviors that are in many ways analogous to animal behaviors if we bother to study them and quit being so biased.

    That said, I'm not really defending the opening post. I don't believe in free will. I don't think any organism - plant, bacteria, dog, human - makes "reasoned choices" about anything. But I do find the cutting edge field of plant behavior absolutely fascinating as a scientist who loves botany, and I encourage you to take a gander at NPR's Science Friday story they ran on it this past January.
     
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  8. Gjallarhorn

    Gjallarhorn N'yog-Sothep

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    Preaching aside, you did not answer me. You said the choice was based on, to paraphrase, taste. Where did these tastes come from? Where does preference come from? Why does an animal prefer its tastes?
     
  9. bobhikes

    bobhikes infinitologist
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    Glad somebody posted it besides me. I have read some of the studies and I realize I'm fighting an uphill battle when I state all life equals choice.
     
  10. Quintessence

    Quintessence Tale Weaver
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    I wouldn't put it in that verbiage, but to me it seems pretty common sensical that any living organism needs to have the capability of sensing and then successfully navigating its environment through its behavior/responses in order to survive. I don't think "free will" is a necessary component of explanation, and is ultimately a non-falsifiable hypothesis.
     
  11. bobhikes

    bobhikes infinitologist
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    Preference is simply choice. I have two equal decisions(or more). I know where the rabbit lives and I know where the chimpmunk lives. I don't flip a coin to decide. What is the closest, what tasted better and maybe what was more exciting. I weigh the componets each. I give a 8 for closeness to the rabbit a 6 for closeness to the chipmunk, I give a 6 for chipmunk tastes better a 5 for rabbits taste, I give a 6 for the chipmunks chase and a 5 for the rabbits chase. I am at 18 for the Rabbit and 18 for the chipmunk. I still don't flip a coin I rate my favorite cateorgory. Closeness I give a 4, Taste I give a 6 and excitement I give a 6. I decide to hunt the chipmunk.

    These are all decisions based on my current thought process and future estimate for taste, excitement. I can not know exactly how the chipmunk tastes or how exciting it will be to chase him. I am guessing. This is not a process that can be caused. It is a choice.

    Any decision that involves something predicting future outcome can not be caused. A plant grows its root in one direction at first in search of minerals. It does not flip a coin an decide to go left, right up or down. There is no cause to force it to go in the first direction. It has to decide itself.
     
  12. Willamena

    Willamena Just me.
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    It is caused, it's just not caused by things outside the predictor, the agent. That's free will.
     
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  13. bobhikes

    bobhikes infinitologist
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    I call it choice but yes that was what I was getting to.
     
  14. Mycroft

    Mycroft Ministry of Serendipity

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    It wouldn't. Nature doesn't work that way. I find that nature tends to generate simplictic patterns. A fox will, probably, choose to predate upon a certain animal for how easy it is to kill/chase (animals do not engage in sport).
     
  15. Iti oj

    Iti oj Global warming is real and we need to act
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    I am an animal and i play sports, so does my cat.
     
  16. bobhikes

    bobhikes infinitologist
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    I've seen wild animals play with what will eventually become food.
     
  17. Mycroft

    Mycroft Ministry of Serendipity

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    Are you sure they're playing? Perhaps you're merely projecting human charactaristics here.
     
  18. Ouroboros

    Ouroboros Coincidentia oppositorum

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    I agree.

    It's a good point.

    That's based on the proteins that are manufactured by the cells from their DNA. Plants' "preferences" are very much based on the code in the DNA.

    That's not really choice, unless you consider natural processes as such as "choices." That means that it rains because the clouds choose to. The boulder rolls downhill because it's its choice. I'm okay if you make that equivocation, but I just want you to be aware of what you're saying there.

    The choices here are based on the chemical reactions in the neural pathways rather than DNA coding. It's more about experience and learning. The choices are influenced by environmental components rather than their DNA from birth.

    Well, the problem is that there's two different kinds of "choices" that you're talking about. DNA v learning/experience/neural pathways. They're not the same things.

    The thing here though is... Evolution is still true regardless of how the "Natural Selection" or "Sexual Selection" is defined or explained.
     
  19. Ouroboros

    Ouroboros Coincidentia oppositorum

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    I do gardening too.

    Yes, the plants act slightly different. They do so because of environmental components. A seed can be damaged. A seed can be effectively dead. The dirt doesn't have the same nutrition. The seed was planted to shallow or too deep. Bugs change their behavior. Light. Watering. Heat. Oxygen... It's a complex "machine", and the "choices" in plants are "programmed" in their DNA. These programs can change however through mutations. But they don't make conscious decisions like animals do.

    It's a stretch in my opinion. They don't choose this consciously. It's in their DNA to search for water or minerals.

    Because it doesn't always know where those minerals are.

    For you, it's just an inch away by looking at it. For a microscopic little cell that is going to divide a billion times, it has to go with what is closest, what is easiest, and where water goes.
     
  20. Ouroboros

    Ouroboros Coincidentia oppositorum

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    Wow! Interesting.

    Okay. I'll change my views accordingly. Very interesting.


    I will definitely read these articles.
     
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