Should've given this thread a new name yonks ago

On Tue, Sep 10, 2013 at 11:42:32AM +0200, Telmo Menezes wrote:
> On Tue, Sep 10, 2013 at 1:52 AM, Russell Standish <li...@hpcoders.com.au> 
> wrote:
> > I suspect the idea is wrong, because it fails to explain the
> > exponential growth of diversity, seemingly observed by
> > Palaeontologists such as Michael Benton:
> >
> > @Article{Benton01,
> >   author =       {Michael J. Benton},
> >   title =        {Biodiversity on Land and in the Sea},
> >   journal =      {Geological Journal},
> >   year =         2001,
> >   volume =       36,
> >   pages =        {211--230}
> > }
> 
> Ok, but I guess that depends on how we measure diversity, which is not
> a trivial matter. From a quick look at this paper, it seems to focus
> on the number of biological orders/families/genus. 

IIRC, it is argued that the fossil data is too poor to do this at the
species level, and at the phylum level, it consists of a step function
at the Cambrian explosion.

> Suppose we were
> able to estimate the Kolmogorov complexity of the entire ecosystem, do
> you figure it would also grow exponentially?
> 

Yes, most likely. In artificial ecosystems, where we have some
possibility of measuring K complexity, the value is strongly
correlated with diversity. However, we don't have a good artificial
evolutionary system exhibiting exponential diversity growth to be sure.

> >> > What is not true is that human beings are more "adapted" than bacteria. 
> >> > That
> >> > is not true. Because there is no objective and absolute measure of
> >> > adaptation. It ever depends on the concrete environment, and varies a 
> >> > lot.
> >>
> >> Humm... I think ecologists are able to estimate the likelihood of a
> >> species going extinct. I'd argue that this could be taken as a measure
> >> of adaption.
> >>
> >
> > That measure is called persistence, and no, it is not really related to
> > adaption. For an adaption measure, one good possibility is Mark
> > Bedau's "cumulative evolutionary activity"
> >
> > @InProceedings{Bedau-etal98,
> >   author =       {Mark A. Bedau and Emile Snyder and Norman H. Packard},
> >   title =        {A Classification of Long-Term Evolutionary Dynamics},
> >   crossref =     {ALifeVI},
> >   pages={228--237}
> > }
> 
> I read this paper some years ago, it's a very nice one.
> I would say that cumulative evolutionary activity is a metric that
> applies to the entire evolutionary system as a whole. The article
> makes it depressingly clear the Holland's Echo does not match the
> unbounded evolution dynamics found in the fossil record. But maybe I'm
> missing something.
> 

I'm not entirely sure why Echo is being held up as the great white
hope :). But, IMHO, it is more significant that Tierra, likewise, does
not exhibit open-ended evolution. And even with Geb (Alistair
Channon's system), I have expressed my doubts about what is being claimed.

> In the previous discussion I was arguing that persistence could be
> intuitively taken as a fitness measure of some specific population or
> species, and I still feel that's the case. If you want to estimate the
> biological fitness of an individual, you could determine an analogous
> probability of the individual producing x viable offsprings before
> dying.
> 
> I think.


Yes - that is commonly done for fitness. In fact, usually it is the
number of grandchildren that is used. But fitness is not a measure
of adaption, as I understand the term to mean. Bedau's idea of
comparing that figure against a neutrally shuffled model (ie the
amount of fitness over above what you'd expect from chance) seems more
like what adaption should represent.

> 
> Telmo.
> 
> >
> > --
> >
> > ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
> > Prof Russell Standish                  Phone 0425 253119 (mobile)
> > Principal, High Performance Coders
> > Visiting Professor of Mathematics      hpco...@hpcoders.com.au
> > University of New South Wales          http://www.hpcoders.com.au
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University of New South Wales          http://www.hpcoders.com.au
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