RE: Evolutionary rate

From: Alexanian, Moorad (alexanian@uncw.edu)
Date: Fri May 09 2003 - 12:36:20 EDT

  • Next message: Iain Strachan: "Re: Evolutionary rate"

    In the 60's, Geoffrey Chew was an advocate of the bootstrap theory of
    particle physics, which attempted to unify quantum mechanics and
    relativity theory. Chew was an adamant opponent of quantum field
    theory, which is the only relativistic quantum theory we had at the time
    and in the past thirty years has been preeminent in high energy physics.
    I remember hearing a lecture from Chew in Berkeley on the rho-meson and
    he indicated some features that were necessary to explain the
    experimental data. After the lecture, I had just done my PhD thesis and
    was not bold enough to ask a question in the lecture, I approached Chew
    and said that I had obtained that result in my thesis. He asked me how I
    did it and when I said that I had used quantum field theory, he ended
    the conversation. The following is a short summary of the Bootstrap
    Theory:

    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    Bootstrap (or Nuclear Democracy) Theory

    http://bohm.anu.edu.au/units/public/phys1007/s3303815/bootstrap.htm

    The Bootstrap (or Nuclear Democracy) theory was the most widely accepted
    theory of elementary particles during the 1960s. It provides an
    alternative to the Standard Model. According to this theory, reality
    consists of elementary particles that are made up of all other
    elementary particles in a self consistent way. The Bootstrap theory
    arose from problems with the use of Feynman diagrams in field theories
    of the strong interaction. These diagrams are essentially graphs of with
    position and time as axis. One reaction to this failure was to reject
    Feynman diagrams and instead direct emphasis towards the transition
    probabilities themselves. The entire set of the probabilities between
    all conceivable initial and final states was known as the
    Scattering-Matrix (S-Matrix). Chew, from the University of California,
    expounded the anti-field theory 'bootstrap' philosophy. No one could
    solve the infinite set of coupled non-linear differential equations that
    arose from the analytic structure of the S-Matrix. Chew proposed a
    unique solution, through the requirement of self consistency. This
    solution stated that the S-Matrix determined everything about hadrons.
    This theory was difficult to evaluate because the infinite set of
    equations could not be solved. If this one self consistent theory was
    true, it would imply that all particles are made of all others and would
    end the reductionist program. It is inconsistent with the current
    Standard Model, and therefore is an alternative (and currently
    unpopular) theory.
    For further information, consult "Constructing Quarks: A Sociological
    History of Particle Physics" by Andrew Pickering, available in Hancock
    QC793.5.Q252P54.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------

    In a letter I published in Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith
    Index: Vol. 54:4, December 2002---"Physical and Nonphysical Aspects of
    Nature" (54, no. 1 [March 2002]: 2-21), 54:4, 287, D 2002-----I quoted
    the following poem "Flower in the Crannied Wall" by Alfred Lord Tennyson
    who wrote:

    Flower in the crannied wall,
    I pluck you out of the crannies,
    I hold you here, root and all, in my hand,
    Little flower -- but if I could understand
    What you are, root and all, and all in all,
    I should know what God and man is.

    It seems to me that evolutionary theory attempts to be all-encompassing
    in that it explains local evolution in terms of global, environmental
    behaviors. The latter would correspond to a simultaneous description of
    the whole of the universe and so it would be some sort of bootstrap
    theory. I also believe along the lines of the Bootstrap Theory except
    that the scientific element has to be extended to the whole of reality
    and that would bring the nonphysical aspects of nature, viz., human
    consciousness and rationality.

    Moorad

    -----Original Message-----
    From: Josh Bembenek [mailto:jbembe@hotmail.com]
    Sent: Friday, May 09, 2003 10:31 AM
    To: jarmstro@qwest.net; asa@calvin.edu
    Subject: Re: 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
    results."

    -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).

    Josh

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