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Author Topic: Is it maladaptive, in evolutionary terms, to pay too much heed to the past?  (Read 2914 times)

Offline lukaradulovic

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evolution says that everything adapts. i agree. but, if you imagine us as a single man walking in one direction (that direction representing time), we are only able to perceive what we left behind(the past), not what's in front of us (the future). So the man (we) walking there is basically walking backwards. I think that shows that people who don't treat the past with all it's due respect is actually better adapted for life (more evolved) than a person who values the past much. Based on that it is logical fact that it is better to look where you are going then not doing that. You could get hurt, and we as a species, are hurting at the moment.
« Last Edit: 13/01/2012 23:36:00 by chris »


 

Offline CliffordK

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Re: evolutionary flaw
« Reply #1 on: 13/01/2012 06:03:19 »
Hmmm...
Interesting.

Evolution has a few parts. 
Perhaps you could think of random mutations as trying new things in the future.
And...  That Nature can be very unforgiving of past mistakes. 
Of course, there is nothing other than statistics to prevent evolution from trying the same mutation more than once.

People, of course, turn nature updside-down.  So, for example, if a species is adapted to having 2 offspring a year.  Over hunting can cause that to be far below replacement value.
 

Offline Mazurka

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Re: evolutionary flaw
« Reply #2 on: 13/01/2012 12:38:46 »
Darwinian evolution is blind, so cannot see forward or backwards. (although there are a couple of interesting examples of species such as bats returning to the ground to forrage on islands where there are no/ few predators / compettition.) 

Changes (through random mutation etc.) can be of "benefit" "disbenefit" or "neutral".  Beneficial changes are more likely to make the individual "fitter" and more likely to succeed in passing the changes on to future generations.  Equally, a change that is not beneficial or neutral  can still be passed on, but is less likely to be and over time, the beneficial changes in a population will tend to be reinforced (by increasing the chances of survival) whereas the "negative" changes will tend to die out.

(This of course is a massive over simplification)


 

Offline lukaradulovic

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Re: evolutionary flaw
« Reply #3 on: 13/01/2012 16:49:49 »
Darwinian evolution is blind, so cannot see forward or backwards. (although there are a couple of interesting examples of species such as bats returning to the ground to forrage on islands where there are no/ few predators / compettition.) 

Changes (through random mutation etc.) can be of "benefit" "disbenefit" or "neutral".  Beneficial changes are more likely to make the individual "fitter" and more likely to succeed in passing the changes on to future generations.  Equally, a change that is not beneficial or neutral  can still be passed on, but is less likely to be and over time, the beneficial changes in a population will tend to be reinforced (by increasing the chances of survival) whereas the "negative" changes will tend to die out.

(This of course is a massive over simplification)

ok, but i understand the principals you explained here. So, as far as i understood you, you (and i) agree that we should try to focus on the future more than the past, to initialize this kind of evolutionary process in ourselves on purpose, resulting in an eventual turning around of "the backwards walking man"? Right? Sorry, English is my second language, there might be some mistakes. Tnx for giving this thought some of your time.  :)
 

Offline lukaradulovic

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Re: evolutionary flaw
« Reply #4 on: 13/01/2012 17:03:22 »
Hmmm...
Interesting.

Evolution has a few parts. 
Perhaps you could think of random mutations as trying new things in the future.
And...  That Nature can be very unforgiving of past mistakes. 
Of course, there is nothing other than statistics to prevent evolution from trying the same mutation more than once.

People, of course, turn nature updside-down.  So, for example, if a species is adapted to having 2 offspring a year.  Over hunting can cause that to be far below replacement value.

agreed. the only thing i was saying is that we give the past far more credit than it deserves, especially when you add the factor of lies and distortion, both of which we nurture. we definitely need to focus on the future more.
 

Offline cheryl j

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Re: evolutionary flaw
« Reply #5 on: 13/01/2012 20:15:30 »
The only way you can see trends, though, is by looking at the past and present, and waiting to see what happens next. If you have an abnormal lab result, for example, a doctor will often ask you to have it repeated, to see if the numbers are on their way up or on their way down. You can't always understand what is going on from a single value.
 

Offline Nizzle

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Since you are mixing up two completely different things (biological evolution and human behavior) I will do the same in my argument below:

I disagree that mankind is walking backwards in the direction of time.
This may have been correct in the past, but certainly is not correct any longer.

Nowadays we can look in the blurry future. For example: we make predictions (looking in the blurry future) → we build experiments (our glasses) → we get results (sharper vision of the future that may confirm or debunk our predictions)

And then there's this special branch of science where we start meddling with our biological evolution. Once we can genetically engineer humans to become smarter, there might be a revolution coming.

As an analogy to the Artificial Intelligence research, where the Holy Grail is a Seed AI (an AI capable of improving itself, and then this improved version can improve itself again, and so on and so on), this might happen with human evolution once we fully master genetic engineering.

These branches of research are being practiced now, so that's why I don't agree with your opening statement that we're only looking backwards.

But still, sometimes we do have to look back, just to avoid making the same mistakes as our predecessors...
 

Online Bored chemist

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Yes, by definition of "too much" and "maladaptive" it is "maladaptive" to do "too much" of anything.
 

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