Archivo de la etiqueta: evolución

Genética del Bien y del Mal

Good is something that would increase our collective chance of survival as a species. Evil is just the opposite. Certain things look good and noble to us precisely the same way healthy babies look cute to us. Our genes survived because we are the kind of people who would find our collective survival a noble thing, and wanton destruction of lives a cruel or evil thing.

The genetic explanation of good and evil above, though reasonable, may be a little too simplistic. Many morbid things are considered great or noble. Mindless brutality in wars, por ejemplo, is thought of as a noble act of courage and sacrifice. Certain cruel social or cultural practices were once considered noble and are now considered abominable. Slavery, por ejemplo, is one such custom that changed its moral color. The practice of slavery was condoned in some parts of the world while slave liberation was frowned upon, in an exact reversal of the current moral attitude.

Can we understand these apparent paradoxes in terms of our DNA replication algorithm? What exactly is the scope of the DNA replication algorithm? Obviously, it cannot be that a DNA wants (or is programmed) to replicate all DNAs. We would not be able to eat or survive in that case. Even the maximsurvival of the fittestwould not make any sense. Neither can it be that a DNA wants exact clones of itself. Si eso fuera cierto, it would not take a father and a mother to make a baby.

There is some behavioral evidence to suggest that DNA replication is optimized at sub-species or even intra-species level. A male lion, when he takes over a pride, kills or eats the cubs so that the lionesses of the pride have to mate with him. This behavior, however cruel and evil by our own genetic logic, makes sense to the male lion’s DNA replication program. His DNA is not interested in replicating the species DNA; it wants to replicate a DNA as close to itself as possible. Other examples of sub-species level optimization are easily found. Gorillas are fiercely territorial and protective of their groups. Their violent behavior in promoting their own specific DNA is in stark contrast to our perception of them as gentle giants.

Such blatant genetic motivations are mirrored in human beings as well; ethnic cleansing and racism are clear examples. We are also at least as territorial about our countries and homes as our gorilla cousins, as evidenced by the national boundaries and Immigration and Naturalization Services and so on. Even our more subtle socio-economic behavior can be traced back to a genetic sub-species level struggle for survival of our DNA.

This sub-species genetic division leads to the apparent paradox of the mixing of noble and the evil. Patriotism is noble; treason is evil. Spying for our country is bravery, while spying for some other country is clearly treason. Killing in a war is noble, but murdering a neighbor is clearly evil. A war for liberation is probably noble; a war for oil is not. Looking after our family is noble, but ignoring our own and looking after somebody else’s family is not that good.

Even though the actions and effects of each pair of these noble and evil deeds are roughly equivalent, their moral connotations are different. This paradoxical difference can be explained genetically by the notion that the DNA replication algorithm distinguishes between sub-species.

Ref: Este post es un extracto de mi libro, El universo Unreal.

Fin de la Evolución

To a physicist, life is a neat example of electromagnetic interaction. To a biologist, sin embargo, life is a DNA replication algorithm. Let’s mull over the biology view for a few moments.

The genes in our body have only one motive–to get replicated. Our body is created in accordance with a blue print encoded in the genes to “run” this algorithm. How this algorithm gets mapped to our higher level goals and emotions is what life is all about to most people who are not physicists or biologists.

A simple mapping of this algorithm leads to the maxim in evolution “the survival of the fittest.” Any mutation that has the tiniest advantage in terms of survivability gets amplified over time. Del mismo modo, all disadvantaged genes get wiped out.

But evolution in humans (and through our influence, the whole echo-system) has taken a new turn. Survival of the fittest used to mean the survival of the strongest or the smartest. Por ejemplo, if I had a genetic condition that made me prone to some life-threatening disease (en otras palabras, if I was not very strong), my chances of passing on my genes would be a little smaller.

Sin embargo, because of the advances in medicine, the survival chances for such disadvantaged genes are normalized to roughly the same level as those of the rest of the species. Entonces de nuevo, because of the dependence of the quality of health care on money, the survival chances get distorted in favor of the rich. Así, is the mapping of the DNA algorithm now “the survival of the richest?”

Wealth is considered a product of intelligence. But intelligence (as defined by money-making ability) is not necessarily genetic. It may be, but we do not know that yet. So over several generations, it is not even the richest that survive, because time averages out the survival chances.

So what exactly is going to survive?

Ref: Este post es un extracto de mi libro, El universo Unreal.

Evolución–La lógica invertida

La evolución se describe generalmente como “la supervivencia del más apto,” o como especie en evolución para adaptarse al entorno. Para sobrevivir, evolucionando, para adaptar—estos son verbos de acción, lo que implica algún tipo de intención o plan general. Pero hay una curiosa inversión de la lógica, o inversión de la causalidad en la teoría de la evolución. Esto es casi lo contrario de la intención o plan.

Es más fácil de ilustrar esta lógica invertida utilizando ejemplos. Suponga que usted está en una isla tropical, disfrutando del buen tiempo y de la hermosa playa. Te dices a ti mismo, “Esto es perfecto. Esto es el paraíso!” Por supuesto, existe algún gen específico que contiene el proyecto original de su proceso cerebral que le lleva a sentir de esta manera. Es lógico pensar que puede tener mutaciones genéticas sido en algún momento, lo que hizo que algunas personas odian este tipo de paraíso. Es posible que hayan preferido Alaska en invierno. Evidentemente, tales genes tenían una oportunidad ligeramente inferior de la supervivencia porque los inviernos de Alaska no son tan saludables como paraísos tropicales. Durante millones de años, estos genes consiguieron casi exterminados.

Lo que esto significa es que el paraíso tropical no tiene una belleza intrínseca. Ni siquiera es que usted encuentra es hermoso. Belleza no reside necesariamente en los ojos del espectador. Es más como existen los ojos porque somos el tipo de gente que se encuentra este tipo de entornos hospitalarios hermosa.

Otro ejemplo de la inversión de la lógica en la evolución es la razón por la que encontramos bebés lindos lindos. Nuestros genes sobrevivieron, y estamos aquí porque somos el tipo de personas que se encontrarían los bebés sanos lindo. Esta inversión de la causalidad tiene implicaciones en todas las facetas de nuestra existencia, todo el camino hasta nuestra noción del libre albedrío.

Ref: Este post es un extracto de mi libro, El universo Unreal.