Jun 13, 2004

adaptation takes effort he said

sometimes you need to be carried Posted by Hello

Models of adaptive evolution often have the property that change is guided by, but not fully determined by fitness. In a given situation many different mutant phenotypes may have a fitness advantage over the residents, and are thus potential invaders, implying that the mutational process plays an important role in deciding which particular invasion will take place. By introducing an imaginary 'Darwinian demon' in charge of mutations, one can examine the maximal role that mutation could play in determining evolutionary change. Taking into account pleiotropic mutations and shifting fitness landscapes, it seems likely that a Darwinian demon could exert considerable influence and most likely would be able to produce any viable form of organism. This kind of perspective can be helpful in clarifying concepts of evolutionary stability.
More demons in the garden:
There is a paradox at the heart of the theory of evolution Natural selection favours above all the particular individual that leaves the most offspring – a super-organism that might be called the Darwinian Demon. If it existed, this theoretical ogre would populate the world with only its own kind and would extinguish all diversity--NAGPRA, science, and the demon-haunted world - Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act---
The Demon-Haunted World---Scientists drilling in Siberia went too far and ended up punching a hole through to Hell, where the screams of the damned drifted up to them.

There is a classic story about a scientist who kept a horseshoe over the door to his laboratory. One day one of his colleagues asked him, "You don't seriously believe that thing brings you good luck, do you?" "Of course not," responded the scientist. "But it seems to work whether you believe in it or not."
J:S: Dykes Illustration via glubibulga'

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