From: Keith Henson (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Fri 24 Oct 2003 - 04:27:34 GMT
At 09:54 PM 23/10/03 -0600, you wrote:
>At 01:26 p.m. 18/10/2003 -0400, you wrote:
>>>The point that was interesting, was the argument for cultural evolution
>>>using non coded primitive replicators, whatever they may be.
>>"Non coded primitive replicators" reminds me of "arithmetic without
>>numbers" or perhaps "chemistry without elements."
>I don't believe the "coding" part is as essential for a replicator as
>numbers to arithmetic.
>In the paper by Gabora, she points to the view that primitive replication
>was carried out by polymers that only used existing substrates to directly
>make copies of themselves. In this sense the replicators only used
>building blocks already existing in the primordial soup, but had no
>influence on the composition of its surroundings, except perhaps by
>depleting those building blocks from the soup. One can easily imagine that
>certain polymers arose that were more efficient physicochemically and
>therefore became more frequent in the population, so that there was
>natural selection. This would be the non coding replication.
I don't think I can agree with you on this. How do you tell something has
replicated? You look at the original information (RNA/DNA or whatever
units) and compare its information (code) with the replicants. If "certain
polymers arose that were more efficient physicochemically and therefore
became more frequent in the population" that's your coding. I think what
you are describing is non transcribed or "open loop" rather than non coding.
>In the case of modern organisms, DNA doesn't just wait for building blocks
>to fall into place, but is actually a blueprint (code) for actively
>changing its surroundings into its replicating machine (organism) that
>actively collects and synthesizes the building blocks.
This is transcription "closing the loop." But not all modern DNA
replicates this way. There are viruses that replicate without making the
machinery to collect and copy DNA and even smaller chunks that don't code
for *anything,* not even virus coat protean.
I might not be up on the most recent thoughts on the subject, but the
consensus used to be that chemical life originated in RNA that could fold
up and serve as machines to aid copying (like protean does today) and also
serve as a template for making copies of itself. In your terms would this
be a self coding molecule?
>So we have two extremes of a subtly graded continuum, on the one hand,
>replicators that float in a soup of preexisting building blocks, and on
>the other replicators that are decoded into machines that create the
Don't forget that 97% of the human genome that is just junk along for the
ride and codes for nothing at all.
>The part that I found interesting is that when you try to make the analogy
>with memes, the question arises of which stage is memetic evolution at?
>Are memes tossed in a preexisting primordial soup (a meme-independent
>preexisting mind)? or do memes construct their own environment according
>to some rules (a meme-only constructed mind)? Or perhaps midway?
It is a bigger "transcription loop." Memes need brains/minds to have any
real world effects. At some point, probably prior to even the first rock
being chipped, early memes started contributing to the survival of the
human line. (Like memes do for chimpanzee survival today.) Then you had a
hyper loop of memes, genes and humans. Genes build humans with better meme
learning abilities, the memes improve human survival and replication of the
genes that built humans with better . . . .
>Of course this question has been raised before, but I thought (personally)
>that it was interesting to see that it followed from this analysis.
We can see culture elements (memes) arising and being passed down in
monkeys, chimps, whales and birds. We can see the record in stone of
several million years of human line memetic evolution. We can see deaf
kids develop a brand new fully expressive language if enough of them are
Human line minds already had the general ability of mammals to learn and
the social ape's extended ability in this direction when we split from the
chimps. A few million years of projectile hunting topped off with
chattering in and out of ice ages for the last 2-3 million selected genes
that make minds able to hold more bytes of culture than the information in
One question is why we were the only mammal to go so far?
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