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What, exactly, is trying to survive, and why?

Discussion in 'Evolution Vs. Creationism' started by idea, Jan 6, 2015.

  1. idea

    idea Well-Known Member

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    What survives?
    Does DNA survive? No, it changes... A species that evolves does not survive. Evolution wipes out previous species and replaces them with new ones, this is not survival, this is progression.

    Why does anything want to survive?
    I suppose this gets into the nature of what conscience/will/mind/self-awareness etc. is.

    Is survival really the motivation behind everything?

    DNA does not survive, it changes. Did the fashion trends of the 1970's "survive"? no, they changed. The rocks survive by not changing... I don't think survival is what is going on with life - I think everything is trying to progress, not merely survive.

    What do you think?
     
  2. George-ananda

    George-ananda Advaita Vedanta and Spiritualist and Pantheist
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    I think Brahman is the core of everything and is best described as pure consciousness sat-chit-ananda (being -bliss-awareness). So the core of all finite beings has a drive for survival and happiness which are the correlates of pure being-bliss-awareness in the finite form.
     
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  3. Faybull

    Faybull Well-Known Member

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    it changes, but remembers.
     
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  4. outhouse

    outhouse Atheistically

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    Yes it does.

    Do new species not contain DNA?

    Is it now dead?

    Does it not breathe?

    is that not over imaginative and have nothing to do with the context of your OP?

    It factually survives and changes with each birth.


    I think you desperately need a biology class
     
  5. mainliner

    mainliner no one can de-borg my fact's ...NO-ONE!!

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    evolution doesnt wipe out species ...... it just changes the original.
     
  6. Faybull

    Faybull Well-Known Member

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    except for those species evolution has irrevocably wiped, or is is irrevocable? Surely God can wipe that, it being irrevocable?
     
  7. outhouse

    outhouse Atheistically

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    "Absorbed" might be a better word.

    At no time in any aspect of nature, has any one of the thousands of deities created, ever been able to be attributed to any part, in any way.
     
  8. Mestemia

    Mestemia Advocatus Diaboli
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    I think you should stop with the anthropomorphism.
     
  9. HiEv

    HiEv Citation Needed

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    It may change, but it's still DNA. So the answer is actually "yes".

    This depends on how rigidly you define "species". For your answer to be correct your definition would have to be so rigid that you are a different species than your parents, siblings, and children, because they all have different DNA from you.

    In fact, your whole argument seems to confuse "DNA"/"species" with individuals, without realizing it.

    Sometimes it eventually sort of does that, sometimes it doesn't. One branch of a species may evolve very little from its ancestors, while another branch of that same species in a different location may evolve many changes, making it a far different species.

    The idea that evolution "wipes out previous species", however, is terribly inaccurate. The species aren't "wiped out", they're slowly and almost imperceptibly modified over many generations until they differ enough from whatever arbitrary point you picked in its evolution to count as a different species. That said, much of the DNA of the earlier species will continue to survive in the new species, so it was not "wiped out" at all.

    So, it wasn't wiped out, it does survive in a way, and "progression" is relative to a goal, and evolution doesn't have goals. You're basically wrong in every respect here.

    Most life doesn't have enough intellect to "want" anything, as we do. Survival is simply what they evolved to do. If they hadn't then they would have died out.

    Bringing intention into the question is both unwarranted and unnecessary.

    Of course not, however that which does not survive long enough to reproduce does not pass on those non-survival genes, while that which does survive long enough to reproduce will continue to pass on those genes which enabled it and its ancestors to survive and reproduce.

    You, I, and every living being on this planet come from an unbroken line of billions of years of living beings that were capable of surviving and reproducing. When you think about it that way, it's not really that surprising that survival is the motivation behind a lot of things.
     
  10. Bunyip

    Bunyip pro scapegoat

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    The genes survive, that is indeed survival. Sure, species evolve - but that evolution preserves their genetic code. Evolution does not at all wipe out previous species - they just slowly change over time.
    To perpetuate their genes is one good reason.
    Changing is surviving, only things that survive can change.
    Yes, retro gear is still very popular, and always will be.
     
  11. LuisDantas

    LuisDantas Aura of atheification
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    That you really failed to understand natural selection.
     
  12. idea

    idea Well-Known Member

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    Evolution embraces anthropomorphism - it is recognizing those characteristics within ourselves in other creatures around us.

    So... there are no species which are in fact "extinct", they have all just... evolved? Most people think there are many species which are now extinct, wiped out, dead, erased - even though some of their children are still around.

    Survival is a goal. Living things have goals and ambitions - most living things have the goal of living and reproducing etc.

    It is pretty cool to think about, but I don't think DNA is what has survived - how similar is our DNA to what existed billions of years ago? has anything from billions of years ago actually survived?

    The genes have not survived, they have changed.
     
  13. Mestemia

    Mestemia Advocatus Diaboli
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    So you have no intentions of learning?
    Satisfied with your strawmen?

    Thanks for the heads up.
     
  14. Bunyip

    Bunyip pro scapegoat

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    They have survived by changing.
     
  15. LuisDantas

    LuisDantas Aura of atheification
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    No, it does not, and it is not.


    "To wipe out" suggests an active pursuit. Extinction is passive.


    Hmm, maybe you could tell us what you understand evolution as being?
     
  16. HiEv

    HiEv Citation Needed

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    I don't think you understand what "anthropomorphism" means.

    "Anthropomorphism" is when you (usually incorrectly) attribute human or human-like intentions to something which isn't human.

    Evolution doesn't "embrace" anything. It doesn't have intentions or goals.

    Nor does much of life "want" anything. Plants and bacteria, to name a few examples, don't "want" to survive, it's just what they do.

    Anthropomorphizing those things to give them intentions they don't actually have can mislead you to what is actually going on here, which is why Mestemia suggested you should stop doing it.

    You're conflating "extinct" with "wiped out". Those don't mean exactly the same thing.

    Yes, most species that have ever lived are now extinct. However, most have not been "wiped out" entirely, because much of their DNA survives in the species which exist today. Dinosaurs may be extinct, but much of their DNA lives on in every species of bird that exists today.

    Saying that they've been erased or wiped out paints a rather inaccurate picture of what's actually happened, because they haven't actually been entirely erased as you suggest.

    Survival can be a goal, however that doesn't mean that it's always a goal. Sometimes it's simply a result. (E.g. If someone seriously tries to commit suicide but survives, clearly survival wasn't their goal, but it's what happened anyways.)

    And again, this is the problem with anthropomorphizing. You're attributing goals, ambitions, and wants to things that mostly don't actually have them. A bacteria simply doesn't have the brain power to have a "goal" or "ambition" as most people mean those terms, so it's misleading to apply them to such lifeforms.

    Living, reproducing, etc. is simply the result of chemical processes brought about by the creature's DNA. It doesn't "desire" to survive and reproduce, it simply exists because the DNA of its ancestors managed to do that.

    If it helps, think of the DNA like randomly produced software code. If you made a bunch of random software, and some of the software survived and reproduced while other software didn't, the software that just happened to be able to survive and reproduce would become more common, while the software that didn't wouldn't become more common. The end result would be more copies of the self-replicating software. Would you say that the software "wanted" to survive and reproduce? Or was the CPU simply running the code it was given, which just happened to produce that result? The error of attributing human-like traits to software might make you think it is the former, however a less biased viewpoint would make you realize that it's actually simply the latter.

    This is why you shouldn't anthropomorphize; it can lead your thinking astray.

    Yes, lots of stuff. That's how we can tell that all life likely has a single common ancestor.

    Take for example the hox genes. This set of genes dates back to the beginnings of multicellular life over 570 million years ago, and is found in all animals, plants, and fungi. (source)

    Another example would be the glutamine synthetase (GS) genes, which are found in (almost?) all life. These genes are estimated to be at least 3.2 billion years old (source). That's pretty old considering all life is estimated to have begun around 3.8 billion years ago. Genes like this one, which are vital to life, are far more likely to be conserved, thus change little or not at all over time.

    So yes, genes from billions of years ago have actually survived to today.

    Some have, some haven't. You're painting all genes with a single brush, when they aren't all the same.
     
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  17. apophenia

    apophenia Well-Known Member

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    Note - this post is not a yes or a no to HiEv. It is a personal observation inspired by the post.


    "Survival is simply what they evolved to do." is a very interesting sentence to deconstruct.

    This, to many people, implies intention. This is what I have observed from reading posts on RF.

    This 'intention' is often stated as if it is DNA's purpose.

    Evolution is often described ( in general public discussion ) as the 'selection of successful mutations which enhance survival'.

    But survival is not 'intended', in the theories of abiogenesis and evolution. It is the unavoidable outcome of physics, chemistry and the conditions of the molecular soup.

    - abiogenesis and evolution can adequately explain replication and modification by natural selection.
    - none of this requires any 'intention' to survive
    - therefore : the 'intention' to survive is, within this theoretical framework, an evolved psychological property,an 'emergent property', not a cause, not a mystical quality of DNA, and ipso facto - not the 'purpose of nature'.

    Within the framework of abiogenesis/evolution - agreed. With the qualification added above.
     
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  18. Jaiket

    Jaiket Well-Known Member

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    DNA 'survives' in some senses but it isn't clear from your post which sense you mean. I would use the word survival literally when speaking of an individual life. If I were speaking of the survival of a culture, species, ideology, the word survival would be figurative. DNA falls into the second camp I would think.
     
  19. Sapiens

    Sapiens Polymathematician

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    No more and no less so than a family name survives though multiple generations.
    Nothing "wants" to survive, except on a individual level, and much/most/sometimes all of that is instinctual.
    Survival is not what is important, passing one's gametes on and having one's offspring out reproduce their conspecifics ... that's what counts.
     
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  20. FunctionalAtheist

    FunctionalAtheist Hammer of Reason

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    Interesting questions. I am 50 years old. I am not the same person I was 50 years ago. I have progressed. Materially, it is unlikely that more than 1/10 of 1% of the original matter that was part of me at birth is still part of me. Would you say I have not survived this 50 years?

    Survival means different things for an individual, a lineage, a species, or a line. But the essence of survival is noting more than 'not dead yet!'

    I have survived because I have not yet died. My lineage survives because not all my heirs have yet died. The human race survives because we are not all dead. When it comes to evolutionary time periods it is very similar; those lines that have not been extinguished survive. This may all be stating the obvious, but that's what it is.

    Survival has meaning only when contrasted with that which has not survived. Survival is endurance, carrying on. It is being here now...and still here later, when others have ceased to exist.

    The mountain that survives is the one that wasn't reduced to a valley. The valley that survives is the one that wasn't reduced to a flood plain. The flood plain that survives is the one that wasn't turned into a beach. The beach that survives is the one that wasn't washed away.

    Apparent progress has to do with inevitable changes and the survival of some of the changes, but not all. I have progressed 50 years. But much of the progress has faded away, or failed to survive. Culture progresses, but many of the changes have been short lived. Change is not linear, it is radial. A species gives rise to many variants, most fail to survive more than a few generations. Most die off, while one survives. If you line up the survives over time, there is apparent progress. Same as the mountain to the beach scenario.

    I don't see any 'trying to progress' in any of this, until we reach the sentient being.
     
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