Demonstrating evolution with a line

Interesting way of explaining the evolution of species. From BBC's 'Bang Goes the Theory' show.

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Picture of imagic42 achievements

+25 1. imagic commented 13 years ago

great how such a duffucult subject is explained so simply !
Picture of cranky40 achievements

+21 2. cranky commented 13 years ago

This reminds me of the game chinese whispers that we used to play as kids. The first kid whispers something to the next kid's ear and the next does it again down the line. Finally the outcome was so much different than the original word that made us laugh so hard!
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+2 3. NotFirst commented 13 years ago

Looks like the line got..more degraded. Not more complicated. But hey, just observing. .
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+5 4. arcerhawk commented 13 years ago

Blasphemy !!! O:)
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+4 5. Cloe commented 13 years ago

#4 i hope you are trolling there!!!
Picture of Xionbox45 achievements

+6 6. Xionbox (moderator) commented 13 years ago

#3 Yes and no. "Degraded" is subjective. Being more "degraded" corresponds to more complicated. If the line is perfectly straight, it can be represented by a unique vector: two abstract points connected by a single line.
At the end of this experiment, there are much more lines, hence, you need much more vectors to go from the top of the screen to the bottom. Therefore, this is an evolution into a more complicated line.
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+2 7. loadrunner commented 13 years ago

It would be possible, drawing a curly line, and end up with a straight line at the end. but that's de-evolution. or isn't it?
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+2 8. cranky commented 13 years ago

#7 What comes to mind: Laws of thermodynamics, chaos theory, fractals. Because in this example we have the human factor I'd say it could be remotely possible!
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0 9. ihateregistering commented 13 years ago

#7 Maybe that's like nowadays flightless bird-type creatures. (and if they had actually flown before)
But then again, the line wouldn't be the same..
I'd say theoretically possible..but in reality the conditions would have to be exactly the same and you still end up with so much randomness..
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+4 10. huldu commented 13 years ago

Tsk... everyone knows that God created man in his own image. It's in the bible and that is what is being taught in schools and by parents. Lovely isn't it. /sarcasm off.
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-8 11. OwenRay commented 13 years ago

If the lines eventuale formed a beautiful van Gogh, now that would proof something.
imho this only discredits evolution.
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+4 12. Urihep commented 13 years ago

The big question is: Who draw the first line?
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+2 13. senseishin commented 13 years ago


the idea is that if we allowed this experiment to go on for thousands (perhaps millions) of people, you would indeed, eventually get a beautiful van gogh or picasso... I've heard another interesting thought experiment.... if you have a thousand chimps randomly typing on a thousand typewriters... would they eventually reproduce shakespeare's hamlet?

probability suggests that, however diminutive the chances may be, they will eventually reproduce the entire play line by line.

In other words, OwenRay, 100 people is hardly a large enough sample is it? He kept mentioning millions of generations, not hundreds. That said, 100 people gets the idea across of how mutations and evolution occurs. Can't be so cynical or literal...


interesting insight: thought-provoking at least... but the problem with the question which has also beleaguered philosophy is why we assume "who"

Perhaps the line was just always there just like the universe was always here before we were here... as Renee Descartes suggests with his famous "i think; therefore i am"... the "line" didn't exist until we called (thought) it a line, although it always existed. with our puny realization of self-existence and thought, we grant that the universe exists because we notice it... though it has always existed.

Put even more simply: does something exist because we say it exists or ask if it exists? Or has it always been, and we only failed to realize it existed until now?

The line metaphorically is atoms, molecules, simple and complex compounds... give enough time and they DO organize themselves into even more complex structures. Analogously, DNA, given time, "organizes" itself into even more complex sequences that can eventually express new genes.
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+1 14. Xionbox (moderator) commented 13 years ago

#13 Very interesting answer.

About the second part of your answer, having an observer is also a question which arises in quantum mechanics. There's a problem often referred to as the "quantum mind-body" problem: .
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+1 15. LQoQK commented 13 years ago

we were chimpanzees :O

good thing there was an error in the copying process or is it
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+1 16. Usdevildoggmc commented 13 years ago

Last time i commented on his video on here he was wearing the ugliest pink outfit I have ever seen... I see evolution has worked for him :D

(If u dont remember its the video where he boils n egg on newspaper.)
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+1 17. senseishin commented 13 years ago

#14 thanks for that link.... very interesting. =)
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+2 18. medicino commented 13 years ago

#11 I think that the existence of people like you, is the only probable proof against evolution. >:) >:)
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0 19. thundersnow commented 11 years ago

#13 and #14, thank you for discussing this intelligently and sensibly. Enjoyed reading your viewpoints. :)