Genetic Information

Discussion in 'Biology & Genetics' started by Hermann, Jun 2, 2001.

  1. HOWARDSTERN HOWARDSTERN has logged out.... Registered Senior Member

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    WHERE WAS I???????????

    I believe that "instinct" in all living organisms is a trial and error, generation by generation result as stated in Darwin's Natural Selection theory. Obviously it must be.

    Let's look at an example form of life: A Chimpanzee for instance.

    As many of you are already aware of, the chimpanzee has the ability to use rudimentary tools, much in the same way as humans do. from sticks, clubs, rocks,............hell I even saw a very old Chimp from many years ago, who had been raised by someone who worked in a Bar (tavern/pub). The old chimp had learned to tend the bar and serve drinks!

    The old chimp may or may not have been a natural genious among the whole chimp species. However if a long term laboratory experiment were to be carried out in which scientists were to test many thousands of chimps for high intellectual capabilities and breed the most intelligent chimps together while killing off those chimps that were simply to stupid to meet the minimum intellectual requirements, then the obvious resultant offspring of the experiment would absolutely produce a variety of Chimpanzee that would be far more intelligent than it's Jungle Cousins!

    <i>In the previous mentioned experiment, genetic scientists would take on the role of "Mother Nature". </i>Those chimps that are <u>most fit</u> to survive the harsh conditions of their laboratory environment (be smart or be killed by the scientists), will inevitably be around the next day to choose mates, that are also very intelligent.

    <b>IT IS NOT A TRAGEDY, IT IS JUST A SIMPLE FACT OF LIFE.</B> Whether it is <i>blood thirsty scientists, or gradually changing earth environmental conditions that kill off those living organisms (chimps in this example), the fact remains that those that survive another day and breed will have offspring that will carry it's successful parents' traits. This is how we humans came into existence. </i>

    In my self confident opinion, I expect that our closest primate relative, the chimpanzee, developed other varieties of chimps long ago, that must have become separated from the main group that we know of today. I imagine that an off shoot variety of chimp long ago became nomadic and travelled over vast areas of the earth, while the main group of chimps from the "Old Country" stayed contently in the jungle.

    This "off shoot" variety of nomadic chimp must have had good environmental conditions in which to flourish and thrive over vast, temperate zones of the earth during this time period. From this nomadic branch of APE, there were most probably more branches (varieties) of ape. However, I believe that the earth's regional environmental conditions changed and became more harsh, especially in the northern and southern regions of the earth's hemisphere. It is in these farther latitudes that I believe that our nomadic chimp ancestors had been living for some great amount of time.

    These theoretical environmental changes may have been a rapid cool down of the earth that may have caused certain lucky varieties of the nomadic chimps to seek the ocean and become an aquatic Ape. Or perhaps environmental conditions became too good, at which point there may have been a large upsurge of land predators! This might also cause the nomadic apes to seek refuge in the oceans (or perhaps swamps (Swamp Ape)) and thereby lose their heavy coat of body and facial hair from lack of necessity (Use it or Lose it). Whatever the case, it has been reasonably established that our primate ancestors returned to the ocean (or swamps/marshes), if only for a while. As these environmental changes gradually (theoreticallY) took place, the chimps of the old country presumably changed little, if at all.

    I am guessing that some short time later (hell......100 years, to as much as 10,000 years (or even a great deal more)), environmental conditions became temperate and conducive to life in the farther latitudes once again. In Evolutionary time, I think that the warm up, or the extinction of land predators came pretty damned quickly!

    Maybe it was an asteroid. But how and when,........ and how many times? An asteroid may have first caused a large extinction which caused our nomadic chimp ancestors to evolve into a water ape, since some following decendants may have been more able (by gradual mutation each generation) to eat & breed & have offspring if they stayed near the oceans or swamps, while their nomadic parents were wiped out because they were surviving off the land only. If environmental conditions changed fairly quickly, the only likely Survivors of the nomadic ape branch would have been those who were reasonably well adapted to survive in the much more stable oceans, swamps, or perhaps near ocean shorelines. I believe that sometime in this period, the development of webbing in between the fingers and toes of our ancestors occured. An asteroid caused extinction and following winter might explain this and <u>might</u> also explain a quick return to temperate conditions that could cause the the aquatic apes' decendants to return quickly to the lands of the Earth. I say that the aquatic apes' decendants returned quickly to the land because if there hadn't been a quick return to the land, then the aquatic apes' decendants would have likely adapted so very much to the water that their decendants, and thus we humans would likely bear far less resemblence to our Congo cousins today! During all this time, CONGO THE GORILLO (gorilla's/chimps in africa) may have managed to survive by the large vegetation canopy and therefore changed little.

    Environmental hardship has likely caused the modern man to come into being. Most recently, I believe that the Ice Age, or perhaps several ice ages have led to mankind developing great mental capacity over all of the other animals on this earth. It seems likely to me that fast changing environmental conditions in the northern and southern hemispheres may have left decendants of the aquatic ape to die off once again, save those that had began to think in abstracts. Perhaps these surviving decendants first began to cover themselves with animal hides..... Most of their close relatives of the time may not have had the ability to figure out that a bare ape will freeze to death while a smart ape will keep warm under the blankets with his woman and have offspring that will also have enough sense to use animal hides, tools, shelter.

    As this smarter variety of ape continued to breed with other smart apes over several generations, those apes who couldn't figure out these rudimentary things simply died off, or were bred out of noticeble existance........perhaps gradually. I believe that possibly one tribe of these smart apes may have become exceptional beyond all other tribes. As a result, I believe that the physical braun of all the other tribes simply could not evolve quickly enough to compete with the decendants of the smart apes.

    <I>Much more temperate and survivable conditions may have come and gone many times after this. It would be of great benefit to any student of evolution to also have knowledge of geology, paleontogy, archeology, ect.. I say this because I am a firm believer that the changing environmental conditions of the Earth, from the very beginning, has precisely caused, and is precisely responsible for ALL of the various forms of life today! Even more than that, I believe that the effect, not only of our sun, but of all the other solar sytems, galaxies, ect.... must be formulated into the theory of the evolution of life on this planet! To me, all of the fields of science are to be understood as one science and to be a specialist in one particular field will inhibit one's ability to develop a reasonable grasp of the big picture in scientific understanding.</i>

    <b>SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST</B>. Whatever environmental conditions led to the development of the highly advanced human brain, it ought to become clear to most of my fellow curious friends, that it is the evolution of the modern human brain that has made the survival of the human race possible. Therefore creative, abstract thought capabilities must have developed by the processes of succeeding genetic mutations that were passed down from each successfully surviving generation to the next surviving generation - and so on.

    <b>Food for thought for the student of evolution.</b><I> Each person's brain is a constantly evolving device that allows our physical bodies to adapt to a variety of constantly changing environmental conditions. </i> This is an undeniable fact. Where a Tiger may continue to do well as long as the environment does not change too quickly for his decendants to physically adapt to, he (they) cannot adapt to a sudden, catastrophic change in his environment, while humans can adapt with thought, tools, ..... to find a way to survive. It is a fact that the very thought processes in the human brain do "evolve" as we think! I believe that the very same rules of evolution that have made us (survival of the fittest (or of the fittest thoughts in the subconcious)) are also the primary rules of our thought processes as we think! I say this because I know that evolution works better and more efficiently than any other type of problem solving approach/computer language than is known. The main problem with a tiger's evolution is that it works too slowly. However, the very same method of evolution works well for us because of the evolution of thought that takes place in our brains very quickly and allows us to adapt to changing environmental conditions in seconds as opposed to decades and centuries of evolution required for the tiger ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !


    What I am saying folks, is that as I may decide to learn how to become ......a Warp Drive Engineer, my brain may become capable of adapting within a relatively short period of time, whereas if the tiger had to quickly physically evolve over many generations to be able to travel among the stars, it would die out first.

    <B>Can the manipulation of genes literally cause a newborn human being to have an IQ of 250+...????? Hell yes! No question about it! Just because people haven't been born speaking languge and doing math only means that past environmental conditions haven't required the natural selection process to produce a human race that is born smart! In fact that kind of goes against the grain of the development of the human brain!!!! The main strength of the mamalian human brain is it's flexibility and adaptability. Therefore I strongly believe that if genetic scientists ever succeed in programming knowledge into an unborn being, this knowledge will be placed in the very same areas of the genes as does exist the codes for INSTINCT ! ! !</b>



    This evolution law is not limited to life only. It applies to all understanding. It is the process by which we interpret the universe. The scientist who cannot grasp this will always follow in the path of those who pioneer.



    ..............

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    SCREW THIS ! ! ! !....

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    I'M TIRED!!! TALK AT YA'LL LATER!!!!!!!!!


    HS/HS...........
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2001
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  3. Hermann Registered Senior Member

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    kmguru,

    I am not belonging to the Amish clan and also not to any religious organization. My aim is just to search for a "believable belief" which is most satisfying and not in conflict with scientific facts. My reason for entering this forum, was to learn about facts, which have to be considered.

    Scientists working in spectacular fields like this are regarded as gurus by many people and therefore especially these have the duty to differentiate carefully between facts and speculations. I have nothing against wild speculations, because they give the motivation for corresponding research, but they have to be declared as such. Just this differentiation I was missing in your posts.

    Can you confirm, that up to now there is no evidence that knowledge, e.g. in science, can be encoded in genes? This question has nothing to do with a high IQ or with high abilities for learning. The question is just, whether a child with such genes could grow up in an environment without specific teaching and suddenly it will be able to explain e.g. Einstein's theories.


    Howardstern,

    You gave a very good explanation how evolution works and I can agree with this totally. Just when you say "Therefore I strongly believe that if genetic scientists ever succeed in programming knowledge into an unborn being, this knowledge will be placed in the very same areas of the genes as does exist the codes for INSTINCT ! ! ! " I would have some reservations.
    But you declared this as your "belief" and made the condition "if scientists ever succeed …". Therefore I hope you can confirm, that there is up to now no evidence, that this will be possible. I have no objections against speculations in such directions, although according to my momentary world-view (belief), this will be not possible.
     
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  5. kmguru Staff Member

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    Hermann

    This forum is a little more advanced than a lot of other forums including MSN. Here we expect the members to know the facts. If you want to know how certain theory works, you can refer to books, published journals etc. Sometimes junior members come here looking for mentoring. It is our privilege to point them in the right direction.

    Some facts are not in publication. There is no peer review process in applied technology. For example, I am an enterprise architect in information management. What I design is way-out beyond what you will study in graduate program in the universities, or genetic research facilities or database vendors. That is because, we are consultants. Companies who use our services, usually keep that information a secret because of competitiveness.

    When I joined the workforce after my graduate studies, I thought I knew everything. There is a whole world out there that is beyond books and movies....anyway, your point is well taken.

    My area of expertise is in Knowledge Management and Complexity Management. I will not speculate anything if I can not do it myself. When I say this would happen in 10 years, that means I know some companies that are doing the research today towards that goal. Other speculations are based on forecasting the technology curve that I am expert in.

    So when I posted that data can be added to human genome, I can do it in 5 years (morelikely 10). As they say, it is no rocket science - and I have done that too. I am much more closer to bioinformatics having consulted to two leading companies than what you will read in publications. So all I can say is...trust me...

    I do not like to beat my own drums but here I have no choice because I hate to search the internet to find other peoples drums (links and such) every time I post.

    So, Hermann, I hope you understand the basis of my post and no flame is intended. So that we can continue on your other thoughts I read at your website as soon as Dave sets up an Eastern Philosophy section.
     
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  7. Hermann Registered Senior Member

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    Alternative Thinking

    kmguru,

    Thanks for your explanations, which cleared our misunderstandings.

    Let me offer you now an alternative way of thinking:

    The "evolution" of cars is quite similar to the genetic evolution, you have just to replace "survival" by "market".
    In future we will have cars fitted with lots of sensors, actuators and memories, which will make accidents impossible. When entering the car you have just to mention the name e.g. "Peter" and the car will drive you there, while you have to do nothing. The car will not know, that you want to go to Peter in that moment, unless this was planned in advance. But the car will certainly not know what you will tell Peter.

    With all your expertise you can make our bodies and brains to very comfortable tools for the individual souls (as drivers). Therefore I think, it is impossible to generate genes with intellectual knowledge and abilities assuming you would not regard something like a navigator as an intellectual feature. Let's see what will happen during the next 20 years.

    Best regards
    Hermann
    (URL: http://home.t-online.de/home/hraith/english.htm)
     
  8. kmguru Staff Member

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    11,757
    Again Hermann, you are back in to my domain of expertise. I do not know what they do in your neck of the woods, however, I can design a car (the AI part) that will guess that you are going to see Peter and that you will be talking about certain primary topic or go fishing - the same deduction, your wife, kids, roommate would know. In otherwords the car will act as a trusted friend with the same or even better deductive power than your closest friend.

    Presently I am putting finishing touches on my architecture of an avatar that will do just that. Now as far as manipulating human genome to store data at the DNA level, - the architecture is within my capability. What is not is the formula for a specific protein synthesis and bio-structure that can be zipped to the DNA so that when you unzip it, it develops to that structure. Because I do not work in building bio-structures, it will take me a couple of years of intense study to pick up the technology and move forward. But it can be done.

    Bottom Line: Both of the technology is within my capabilities. One is going on as I write. Ordinarily, the data to add to DNA would not be necessary and expensive while living on the planet. But if we want to send people on a 830 year journey to colonize other planets (see a thread in this forum), we may have to do this.
     
  9. Hermann Registered Senior Member

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    159
    kmguru,

    Can you design a car (AI part) with self-awareness or consciousness?
     
  10. kmguru Staff Member

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    11,757
    YES. Once the AI part is done, you can easily install in a car with all the sensors attached. The problem is not in the software, it is the hardware that limits me today. It is like if you went back in time to 1955 and are told to build a laptop.

    Other technologies are coming nicely for my project. The link for one of them is:

    http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/01_30/b3742031.htm

    In case the link does not connect, the topic is "Digital Object Identifier" (DIO)

    I just talked to a friend who is a retired professor who has worked on a software that is superfast. They spent $20 million to develop it from our defense contract. That is another item in my toolbox.

    I had my own doubts 5 years ago, but not anymore.
     
  11. Hermann Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    159
    kmguru,

    What is self-awareness or consciousness? We feel it, but we cannot describe it. Nobody of us can be sure that other people feel it like we do, because all corresponding signs we get from other people and the results of all corresponding psychological tests can be easily computer simulated. But if self-awareness or consciousness cannot be described or observed, it cannot be a "Digital Object" (string of bits) and therefore also not an object for DOI.
     
  12. kmguru Staff Member

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    11,757
    Moving side topic

    Hermann,

    The answer to your question becomes a new thread in a separate topic. I moved it to General Philosophy. Meet me there.
    Thanks
     
  13. HOWARDSTERN HOWARDSTERN has logged out.... Registered Senior Member

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    <b>Yep Hermann, I goofed when I wrote that knowledge would be programmed into the centers for instinct.</b> The centers of the mammalian brain are of the most primal areas and I do not believe that those centers are capable of supporting large amounts of retrievable data (knowledge), in the current breeds of man.

    To me, instinct and emotion are one in the same. I believe that almost all animals possess very similiar development in basic layout of these parts of the brain. These areas of the brain basically act upon the knowledge portions of the brain to satisfy primal needs and desires which are deemed necessary according to the animal's (human's) particular evolutional lineage. Most instinctual behavior is hard wired in the brain by the genetic evolution of a human, however I believe that future generations could be genetically modified to have a much increased capacity in these instinct centers.

    The point that I was trying to make was that instincts are rudimentary genetically coded thought patterns that cause a variety of actions of a living being. there are many examples of this to be found in man and in all other animals. These instinctual thought patterns are modified in every new generation of human that is born. The combination of parental genes causes this. Since it is possible to have genetically hard wired thought patterns in these parts of the brain, it seems likely that even more complex data could be genetically programmed into this area. <i>Unfortunately, the massive amount of genetically coded knowledge data would probably have catastrophic consequences on the being's emotional state of mind. </I>

    <b>The memory centers of the brain would be the better choice,</b> however these areas are presently devoted to retaining <i>learned</i> knowledge. Perhaps when the primal instinct areas of the brain are fully understood, it may then become possible for genetic designers to modify a part of the memory center to accept genetically encoded data (knowledge) in similar was that instinct is.

    As I stated in my previous post, the main reason that we don't have the sum knowledge of our parents is that it hasn't been necessary for the survival of our ancestors. Evolution is very stingy about giving us gifts that aren't absolutely necessary to our survival. <i>In fact it must be more advantageous for people to <u>learn</u> new things in order to adapt to constantly changing conditions, as opposed to being born with the sum knowledge of our ancestors' experiences.</i> In the long term, genetically encoded information would probably become a disadvantage to human survival as our decendants would abilities to learn new things would probably atrophy.

    <b>I believe that the most promising possibility of endowing people with large amounts of knowledge would be to program knowledge into the human brain after birth.</b> No genetic experiments would be required and updated information could always be added at a later time. The main requirement for this would be the complete understanding of the brain's internal language and how information is stored in the memory centers. Once this requirement is met, I believe that it would be quite easy to program knowledge into the brain.

    <i>There was a movie out many years ago called <b>Brainstorm</b>. In this movie, researchers had learned how to program knowledge and the experiences of others into the brain of anyone else. The premise behind the movie was very good. </i>

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    <b>Artificial intelligence. Can computers become self aware? </b> I suppose this depends on one's view of what constitutes self-awareness. A race of aliens might look at humans as not having self-awareness or conciousness. From what I have seen in computer advancements since the eary 1970's, I would have to say that some day soon you may find yourself having a debate on a science forum like this with an artificial intelligence and not even know it!

    I believe that a large part of this self-awareness that we perceive is based again in the emotional centers of our brains. Our emotions are a primal evolved area that gives us the drive to live and learn new things. Without these primal drives, humans would not have survived. We are curious about the world around us because the most curious humans often learned new ways to survive harsh environmental conditions of the past and bred with other humans who also possessed these types of traits. I believe that this is what gives most people the illusion of self-awareness. Perhaps artificial intelligence might also be programmed with base emotions, though certainly not all of our emotions. I would not like to see a generation of hateful, greedy, self-serving computers anytime soon!

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  14. Hermann Registered Senior Member

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    kmguru,

    OK, I will meet you in the philosophical sections, although in my opinion this question belongs to this forum.


    Howard,

    I was shocked when you called self-awareness an "illusion", but after a while I could see this as a logical consequence of a materialistic working base.

    Computers and humans can say "I am", but humans can also feel it, which is self-awareness! If you call this an illusion, than this phenomena is gone like many others, which are not wanted in sciences. This is again an example how a prefixed world-view is guiding science, which seems to be quite dangerous.

    In my opinion self-awareness is feeling the own soul and is therefore a subjective proof for dualism. Such approach as guidance for science would not have an influence in physics, but would be increasingly important in fields starting from bioscience via medicine to psychology and psychiatry. With such approach the self-awareness would be an important subject for research, where tools like hypnosis have to be used as well. But hypnosis and similar techniques do not belong to the basic tools in sciences yet, because they cannot be handled fully reproducible. Of course, my opinion is very rare among scientists today and therefore it will not be considered in sciences.

    For the next 20 years I do not expect a self-aware computer, but I hope that some general doubts about the materialistic working base in sciences will arise.

    Best regards
    Hermann
    (URL: http://home.t-online.de/home/hraith/english.htm)
     
  15. Hermann Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    159
    What - if -when ?

    Please assume the following - although it is very contrary to your opinion:

    1. Our brain is a huge hardware computer developed by evolution just for the purpose of survival.

    2. This computer has no possibilities for loading or developing new software.

    3. There is a spiritual world with individual souls having intellectual capabilities, who want to take part on the material life.

    4. Evolution produced a proper interface for them, because this gave a great advantage for survival.

    5. Now the brain serves all sensors and actuators in the body and follows instincts, but the soul does the intellectual part with flexible thinking. E.g. during playing chess the soul is doing all strategic evaluations, because the development of a hardware chess program was certainly not needed for survival.

    Assuming the above assumptions are true, would we have noticed this in genetic or in brain research? Which consequences would have this for further research?
     
  16. kmguru Staff Member

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    11,757
    Hermann:

    I just did a posting at Witnessing Suicide - Legal Question - in the Ethics, Morality, & Justice forum of sciforums.com.



    This will answer a part of your question. You are mixing Soul and Brain. We do not have the technology or the understanding under scientific basis about the Soul. Let us stick to the brain part. Now, if you want to debate about the Soul, come to Eastern Philosophy section.

    Someday, somebody will develop a Grand Unified Theory on Soul and Life (I hope that is me! - it will take me 30 years). Until then it is a waste of time to mix it up because Science has not progressed to that level of understanding.

    So, let us stick to Science in the science department..
     
  17. Chagur .Seeker. Registered Senior Member

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    2,235
    Questioning ...

    Hermann,
    Could it not be for the purpose of procreation, for which survival would be an operational necessity?
    Wouldn't learning a new task, or even improving on an old task, amount to developing new 'software'?
     
  18. kmguru Staff Member

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    11,757
    Very well said, Chagur.
     
  19. kmguru Staff Member

    Messages:
    11,757
    Hermann:

    Talking about brains, here are some analogies that will help you understand.

    Brian is a multipart system similar to all the computers in a business. Some part maintain the body like your operations department. Some parts find mates and procreate like your sales department - to increase revenue and grow. The business strategy department learns and helps to grow the company and so on.

    Brain is like the computer (not "a" computer). We are born with a highly sophisticated operating system. You must have noticed how the Microsoft OS keeps adding stuff to the OS. Nature adds some new tools every generation. But they are incremental and slow. The windows software still has DOS, an old vestige (out in XP and NT). Similary out of millions in DNA, only 100,000 base pairs are what makes us human. Someday, when we understand how to clean out the garbage in our DNA, we can do so and our body will be more efficient.

    Imagine you can recall every memory if you really want to (some you may not want to so you setup locks in your mind). Can spell every word in the dictionary without a spell checker, calculate a long string of number (there are people today that can do it - we have the ability), learn to play tennis like a pro by just watching and playing it just one game.

    If you get a cut, you can look at it and consciously command the body repair mechanism to heal it in a matter of minutes. Imagine if you lost your tooth due to cavity, you can grow a new tooth ( I am working on a microchip that can do that) or even better, let your saliva produce high amounts of Lysozyme, Glucose Oxidase etc to kill those cavity bacterias.

    Rest later....
     
  20. Hermann Registered Senior Member

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    my last question here

    kmguru,

    I will leave you here with your science on materialistic working base. But can you confirm, that if (!) the 5 assumptions in my last post were true, you would not have noticed this during your research?
     
  21. kmguru Staff Member

    Messages:
    11,757
    Herrmann:

    Some wise person said: Never Assume anything. Otherwise you will make an ASS out of U and ME....

    Leave the science to the scientists.....it is less of a headache....
     
  22. Pro. Max Arturo Good God, I'm not Howard! Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    44
    This is a wonderful discussion.

    This is a wonderful discussion. I must say that I feel rather lucky to have found such a group of intelligent, well mannered, and profoundly deep thinking individuals.

    Such discussions have caused me to become a member in good standing @ Exo-science.

    Although I do intend to actively participate in this subject soon, I must say that I am quite happy to read the well thought responses that have been posted to date.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2001
  23. wet1 Wanderer Registered Senior Member

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    8,616
    Welcome to the forums Pro. Max Arturo.

    You have indeed echoed what seems to be countless others who have come and stayed. Each seems to find that which interests and provokes them. It is indeed the wonder of the place.
     

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