Re: Evolutionary rate

From: Josh Bembenek (
Date: Fri May 09 2003 - 10:30:53 EDT

  • Next message: Jim Armstrong: "Re: Wonder! Evolutionary rate"

    Jim said:

    "The argument concerning the evolution of things of "irrreducible
    complexity" seems to embody the notion of a rather linear evolution process.
    But the remarkable "processors" of nature are HIGHLY parallel and, taken
    with the environments in which they occur, are extremely (unimaginably) rich
    and redundant with respect to materials, processes, and instantiations of
    things of a given kind and slight variations thereof (e.g., a given
    protein). Equally important is the fact that they are also rich with respect
    to the huge numbers of potential interactions among them and their products.
    The result is essentially EXTREME parallel processing with arguably
    exponential outcome possibilities."

    -Can you elaborate on this? This seems to be pure imagination. One can
    just as easily imagine that all combinatorial interactions of gene products
    generates important barriers to system function as one can imagine that all
    the combinatorial interactions are favorable and produce further
    functionality. There may be a billion fold increase of interactions that
    are completely destructive with respect to function compared with those that
    increase function in biology. How can a computer performing functional
    algorithms answer this? Biology is highly specified and exquisitely
    regulated, I don't see this rich potential, at least any evidence of it.
    What are you basing this on? Also, in terms of parallel processing, I don't
    exactly follow your thoughts here. Are you saying that nature has sampled
    all possible combinatorial mutations of all proteins and discovered those
    that are functional? I don't fully understand the relationship between
    parallel computer processing and rm&ns. For example, the only samples that
    ever matter are gametes that are passed on. Perhaps I simply cannot get my
    mind around the relevance of these computer models, help me out.

    "It would be rather surprising if "processors" and environments such as
    these did NOT produce improvements of existing entities and functions, new
    entities and functions, and notably new ensemble functions. With respect to
    the latter, the second URL reference contained the following observation: "
    The crystalline proteins that make up the lens of the eye, for example, are
    related to those that serve enzymatic functions unrelated to vision. So, the
    theory goes, evolution borrowed an existing protein and used it for a new
    function ...that's a lot easier than inventing something entirely new." I
    think that nicely summarizes the point of the experimental simulation

    -And herein lies the biological problem. Catalyzing reactions and carrying
    out biological activities is nothing like completing a computing function.
    Whose to tell us the number of possible biological functions for any given
    protein? The examples of protein function co-option are few compared to
    specific protein families performing specific functions. There's no
    justification in saying that sequences can be awarded incremental favorable
    selection values, especially prior to them adopting a particular function
    (no function equals no selection).


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