Recursive Evolution for believers
- Intelligent Designer exists. It is superior to humans but not supernatural.
- Darwinian mechanisms do play role in evolutionary processes. Their role is limited, however.
- Biological evolution is an endless recursive process with dominant vector: growing global intelligence.
Modern evolution theories stand on two pillars: random mutations and natural selection. Factors in the environment may influence the rate of mutation but are not generally thought to influence the direction of mutation. Natural selection is the process that enhances survival and reproduction of organisms with a random uncontrolled mutation. It has become commonplace in all biology to rely upon these two assumptions. “Darwinism is not a theory of random chance. It is a theory of random mutation plus non-random cumulative natural selection. . . Natural selection . . . is a non-random force, pushing towards improvement” 1.
That is: random mutations being accumulated over time and pushed by the natural selection may cause major changes in genotype and phenotype of the living creatures. These changes result in an emergence of new species, genus, families, phyla.
This common belief is the subject of intense debate within and outside the biological community. The critique about random mutation’s capability to create new species has gained fresh prominence in the recent decades. Some researchers claim that multiple coordinated mutations are needed for the appearance of a new species. Single random mutation is rarely beneficial and has no reason to be passed onto the next generation. Others argue that natural selection is a “very weak force”.
The survivability as a dominant selective factor is not supported by historical evidence. The most resilient species on Earth are single-cell organisms. Some of them reside unchanged for billions of years. Global bacterial mass is calculated to be about 450 billion of tons of carbon surpassing total weight of humans by three orders of magnitude. Small crustaceans such as krill have a total mass twice as big as the total mass of all human population. These and other primitive creatures can survive in far more harsh conditions that we, human beings, cannot stand at all: temperature range, food diversity, etc.
In fact, a homo genus is arguably one of the least accommodated to live on this planet. None of the homo habilis, homo erectus, and later inhabitants passed the survivability test. Furthermore, they all extinct. Homo sapiens, the only survivor, also was on the brink of elimination at least three times in the course of the history. Twice we barely escaped the extinction having slipped through the bottlenecks of “mitochondrial Eve” 2 and “Y-chromosome Adam” 3. After evading these Scylla and Charybdis, powerful Toba super-eruption occurred about 74 thousand years ago. According to some theories, that event brought the human population to a mere 3,000-10,000 individuals. There is a growing body of literature casting a doubt on the very cornerstone of Darwinian theory: the natural selection by the survival of the fittest 4-8.
Should natural selection had been a principal cause of the evolution then fragile humans should gradually evolve into some fitter races. The natural evolution would change hairless bipedal feeble creatures into more robust primates, then to better fit mammals, and, eventually, to krill and single-celled bacteria. Some prominent scientists are not fond of and warn about “the obsession with natural selection” 9.
The irrefutable fact is that new species emerge and the evolution goes steadily in the different dominant direction. The development vector does not point to the highest survivability or productivity. As Richard Bird 8 put it: “Life increases in complexity in one specific sense; computational complexity.” Such statement is so obvious that it hardly can be argued against. If we take into account a historical evolvement of only one “computational complexity” parameter such as a relative brain weight with respect to the body weight of the animals the following chart (Fig. 1) may be produced.
Limited selection of species is represented here and just a single factor is considered. Notwithstanding these limitations, the chart suggests that computational complexity steadily increases in the process of evolution. Secondly, it shows accelerated growths of the most complicated and advanced living matter which is the biosphere’s brain mass.
Fig. 1 Relative brain weight in a course of evolution
How does that fit into Darwin’s dogma of survival of the fittest? In particular, humans’ brains were not of much help in a struggle for existence.
The call is now for more plausible cause determining evolution’s development vector.
Fig. 2. Life timeline
Another non-obvious observation may arise while keeping track on a time-scale of evolution history (Fig.2). The Earth was inhabited by prokaryotes from approximately 4 billion years ago. No obvious changes in morphology or cellular organization occurred in these organisms over the next few billion years. No new or enhanced brain power came about and none was, apparently, needed during such immense period. Eukaryotic cells emerged after almost two billion years of the Nature’s hesitation. They bear more digital genetic bits of information, which are thousand times greater than the lacking nucleus prokaryotic cells. That incremental step quenched a Nature’s thirst for the computational complexity for another 1.5 billion years. (There is a growing body of literature that recognizes that the cells function like miniature digital computers 4, 8, 10-13.)
Then another revolutionary development took place about 600 million years ago, when multicellular organisms began to appear. At that time an occasion dubbed the Cambrian explosion originated. Before that global event, most of the organisms were simple, composed of individual cells, sometimes merged into colonies. Over the next 70-80 million years the life rapidly diversified and brought almost all of the phyla that exist until today.
During this period, as some scientists infer, the first brain structure emerged in worms. The evolution process was accelerating more rapidly. Amphibians first came to life around 360 million years ago, followed by first mammals, early amniotes and birds around 150 million years ago. Hominidae came into existence 10 million years ago and modern humans 200,000 years ago. Global computational complexity was growing at a much faster pace than ever before.
Notwithstanding rapidly increasing intricacy of the fresh living organisms, the time between more and more complex species occurrences substantially shrunk. The difference of levels separating computational complexity of primitive animals from that of high primates is immensely greater that separates prokaryotic from eukaryotic bacteria. (Some scientists even hold that more advanced cells evolved due to a mere symbiosis of the simpler ones 14). In any case, the level of intricacy which separated nuclear-free and the nucleate cell is many orders of magnitude lower than the barrier between primitive mammals and Hominidae. Surprisingly, the time between the emergence of the latter from the former is significantly smaller than that has passed between prokaryotes and eukaryotes occurrence.
That casts an additional doubt on the first Darwinian pillar: random mutations. No plausible mechanism of multiple accelerated and coordinated mutations in higher organisms has been proposed. Why has evolution accelerated at accelerated pace when organisms are becoming more and more advanced?
Despite being visible on the surface an agreement between the biologists on the inviolability of the Darwinian theories, some scientists bring up an increasing concern that some of the major statements of evolution theory are overestimated and/or dogmatically held. Even one of the most prominent and prolific Russian proponents of the Darwinism Dr. Alexander Markov (sometimes called “the Russian Dawkins”) claimed in his recent book that “today classical Darwinism and classical synthetic theory of evolution more resemble museum exhibits than living and working theories. Many think that the biology development is on hold giving the absence of an adequate theoretical base, comprehensive new theory” 15. The data supporting the need for Darwinian theory revision gets stronger every day 6, 16, 17. Nonetheless, obviously haunted by the reincarnation of Intelligent Design (ID), evolutionary biologists wish to show a united front to those “hostile” to science 17.
There are numerous issues where ID proponents have a point 52-55. The need for the Intelligent Designer is next to obvious. However, ID, besides being at the verge of the realm of materialistic science, also have difficulties in explaining some major issues. First, if the Mighty Designer exists, then how He himself had evolved into a being? Second, if such omnipotent Creator built the life on the Earth why this life is so cruel and miserable? Third: why after all He would create the life while being Almighty and Self-sufficient? What would be His motivation of such paltry living creatures’ creation? Fourth: why did it take Him billions of years to produce the evolution while even human race makes progress in biology with an astonishingly faster pace?
That leads us to the logical conclusion: The Intelligent Designer does exist but His power is not infinite. More than that: His power is not constant, it changes over time. Prominent English mathematician and philosopher Alfred North Whitehead suggested that God is really changed by what happens in the world. Whitehead wrote: “It is as true to say that God creates the World, as that the World creates God …”
The enticement of purposeful design is so powerful and compelling one that some biologists cannot resist the temptation of using teleological terms to describe speciation 17. Others prefer to brush out the very hint of any intelligence in the evolution process as ”a hallucination”: “the living results of Natural Selection overwhelmingly impress us with the appearance of design as if by a master watchmaker, impress us with the illusion of design and planning” 18.
Our quest is, however, for the search of the naturally plausible cause of bio-evolution.
Different authors put forward a concept of self-evolution 4, 10-12, 19-21. Late Israeli scientist Ben-Jacob, in particular, wrote: “The power of the Darwinian picture lies not only in its achievements but also in the dismay evoked by what seems to be the only alternative – Vitalism. But is Vitalism the only alternative? Or could there be another picture, neither Darwinian nor Vitalistic? My basic assumption is that the observed creativity in nature is not an illusion but part of an objective reality, and as such should be included in our scientific description of reality. However, if we understand science as the ability to predict the future state and behavior of a system based on the present knowledge about the system, then a creative process contradicts the tenets of scientific description. After all, creation means emergence of something new and unpredictable, something not directly derivable from the present. My proposed solution to the above paradox leads to a new evolutionary picture, where progress is not a result of successful accumulation of mistakes in replication of the genetic code, but is rather the outcome of designed creative processes. Clearly, an organism cannot do it within its current framework. The new picture of creative cooperative evolution is based on the cybernetic capacity of the genome and the emergence of creativity as the solution cooperative complex systems apply to an existential paradox.” 10.
This initial hypothesis was followed by J.Horgan 6, I.Ruchlenko 22 and a number of others. It should be noted that Ben-Jacob’s “cybernetic capacity of the genome” may be sufficient for some limited tasks like making spores out of bacteria. Real speciation, i.e., creating new species that are genetically and morphologically undoubtedly different from their predecessors, would require a different level of cybernetic power. As R. Bird suggests: “The cell functions like a miniature digital computer. If these processes are carried out in each cell then the whole body is capable of acting as a massive parallel computer. An important consequence of this mode of evolution is that, since speciation takes place in a single step from one generation to the next, there is no intermediate stage between species in the chain of evolution and hence no “missing link” between an existing species and a new one which evolves from it” 8. The suggestion that a body can produce more advanced living body, contradicts, as Ben-Jacob suggests, “a lemma extended from Gödel‘s theorem that sets limitations on self-improvements. Simply put, it would state that a system cannot self-design another system which is more advanced than itself.” 10.
Biosphere as a Single organism
Does Gödel’s theorem signify that a supernatural power is needed for the creation of a new species? Or maybe we should search for more sophisticated living body than a single albeit complex organism. I suggest that such a body is the Biosphere itself. The idea of a Single (and only) Living Organism inhabiting our planet is not nearly new. Some of the advocates of such an idea express flamboyant views and theories 23, whilst some of the thinkers, including Isaac Newton, that share this view, gained prominent recognition among scientific community 25. Such a view was to the certain degree supported by V.Vernadsky, who coined the term “Noosphere”, and K.Timiryazev, two biggest figures in Russian geochemistry and biology. Such insights derive from different fields but fit together with surprising coherence 26.
The reference to the Biosphere as being an intelligent entity is a very strong statement with
far-reaching implications. The picture of a creative living Nature as a natural being is very appealing. It may explain a lot of conundrums in evolution. Yet nagging conceptual difficulties are present. One of them is the life origin.
Origin of Life
Progress about the origins of life has been considerable although the nut is still hard to crack.
It is a widely held view that RNAs have been the precursors to all life on Earth 31. One of the most serious problems with this concept was a possibility of RNA origin and self-producing. This issue was to the certain extent addressed by M.Eigen 19 and S.Kaufman 20. The most obvious findings that emerges from these researches is that complex, information enriched, self-replicating molecules might originate naturally in the pre-biotic world. Another serious issue was a discrepancy between the need for bringing together two apparently incompatible requirements: separation of the biochemical reactions from the environment (by a membrane), and exchange between the environment and the cell. A solution to this problem was provided by A.Chetverin 28 who discovered molecular colonies (also called polonies), which form when RNAs or DNAs are replicated in a solid medium having pores of a nanometer size. Molecular colonies (nanocolonies) are the clusters of nanomolecules that form around RNA or DNA templates when those are replicated in a porous solid medium, such as agarose or polyacrylamide. Chetverin concluded that those molecular colonies might have served as a pre-cellular form in the RNA World.
Truly remarkable is that pre-cellular RNA colonies possess the same properties as their compartmentalized counterparts. Pre-cellular RNAs may replicate and change their structure. They recombine and exchange parts between the molecules as well as between colonies. The most striking RNAs property is their ability to pass the genetic information to the descendants by replicating RNA out of fragments. (This event is also supported by work of R.C. Duke et al, who worked with cells 29). With growing colony’s size, the information, it contains, also increases. The information volume outruns the colony growth rate.
The analogy may be more clearly defined by simple digital computer memory storage that is built on switches (transistors). Number of researchers rightfully point out that complex molecules like RNAs or proteins have no chance to develop by random amino acid selection. While this is undeniable truth one should realize that the computers, including super-computers, are all consist of elementary bits that may take only two positions: “yes” or “no”. That is implemented by a transistor having one of two states: “on” or “off”. In the “off” state the transistor does not conduct an electrical current and its drain terminal holds a high voltage level. In the “on” state the transistor is open, current flows through it and the drain is at a low voltage level. The elementary switch’s binary information capacity is limited to 1 bit. With a growing number of switches, the information volume is based on powers of 2. Thus 8 transistors may store not 16 (2×8) but 256 = 28 different values representing 1 byte.
More is different
There is a universal natural law of transformation of quantitative into qualitative changes 50, 51. Single switch cannot perform any calculations. Big number of the switches makes a computer. Super-computer may surpass human beings in many intelligent tasks. One can assume that the truly enormous number of simple self-replicating pre-biotic molecules makes life. The roughly estimated total memory capacity of all data-centers on the Earth to-date is about 1024 bytes (1 yottabyte). This immense number is pale in comparison to the digital information stored in living organisms. Very crude estimation of all prokaryotes population in the pre-eukaryotic world (about 2 billion years ago) gave an impressive amount of 1030 cells. Each prokaryotic cell contains several thousand base nucleotide pairs. Each part of the pair may consist of one of four basic amino-acids: thymine, adenine, cytosine, or guanine. Unlike of transistor switch, the nucleotide is more advanced since it may possess one of four states using four amino-acids. Therefore, one codon, consisting of three neighboring nucleotides, may represent 64 = 43 positions while three transistors have only 8 = 23. One can assess that total digital memory stored in the pre-historical world Biosphere exceeds the capacity of all data-centers built to the date by an order of billions.
Biological information stored in both pre-biotic and biotic molecules is a subject of constant change, alteration, and natural selection 19-20, 28.
As such it is analogous to the digital computer of enormous capacity. The idea that large group of elementary living entities may possess computer-like properties was expressed by a number of researchers 4, 10-12, 30. Ben-Jacob suggested that genomic web is, in fact, a “super-mind” relative to the individual genome”, it is capable of thinking collectively and even be involved in speciation. As an example of the latter Ben-Jacob described a sporulation as a “vertical genomic leap”. The question arises: if a single bacteria colony consisting of billions of bacteria is capable of limited speciation like sporulation, would much more numerous living elementary entities be capable to a speciation of a higher level. Would gigantic, enormous colony, like the Biosphere as a whole, be capable of producing new species if necessary?
Let’s take a computer analogy again. Suppose you need to build a machine that plays perfect tic-tac-toe game and never loses. To do so, such a computer needs to memorize all possible positions of noughts and crosses that may ever occur. The number of the positions is rather modest and is equal to 39, i.e., less than 20 thousand. In order to store such information, one need only 15 transistors (bits). One more transistor would be needed to manipulate with the main 15 bits, making total 16 bits computer.
To play chess game, 16 bits is not nearly enough. Some estimate that a total number of the positions on a chess board is about 1364, and a number of unique games of chess equal to 10120. However, the computer PDP-8 built in 1960th was capable of playing a chess game. It contained just 519 bits (transistors). Deep Blue II that defeated Garry Kasparov in 1997 has 720 million bits. For each task, certain minimum computational complexity would be required. Let’s call the minimum computational complexity, that is needed for a certain task, a “critical mass”. The objective of new species creation needs much greater “critical mass” than playing any human invented game. If the computer has fewer than the minimum number of bits, it is not capable of playing chess no matter how much time it takes to make a single move. The critical mass for tic-tac-toe is 16 bits, for a chess game – around 500 bits. 1030 cells contain a number of “bits” that exceeds total capacity of the computers on the Earth by the order of billions and trillions. Would that enormous number ever reach “the critical mass” required for producing new living organism? This is an open question but it would be safe to presume a positive answer considering an enormous length of time during which new organisms had been emerging on the planet. Playing the “life creation game” does not require time control. No chess clock is on the table and “the game” may continue thousands, millions, and billions of years until it is won.
If Ben-Jacob’s colony produced new species which are spores, why not assume that a much bigger “colony” named the Biosphere is capable to “invent” something more complex? We know that each living cell possesses quite an impressive intelligence 13, 30, 31. Cell colony’s intelligence as any other group of living creatures grows with a number of cells (creatures) exponentially 32, 33. Each level of quantity generally requires a new degree of hierarchical organization and at a certain level, it obtains new quality. If we assume that the Biosphere as a whole is a gigantic super-computer with enormous intelligence, then a task of living organism generation is within a reasonable reach.
Such a super-computer idea carries obvious doubts that in mind of some researchers would prevent it to be a true thinking machine. First, it lacks a programmer who would develop and run a software. Second, it is not clear how molecules that are located at a distance from each other would communicate (transistors are electrically or optically connected to each other). Third and the most puzzling one is a common goal or common criteria forcing this bio-computer to work and invent new species at all. (The Darwinian evolution, in view of majority of the researchers, has no foresight).
Who is a Programmer?
It is a common credence that the computer needs a software. This is the true claim for the digital computers. There is another kind of computing systems, however, so-called analog computers. An analog computer uses the continuously changeable aspects of natural physical phenomena such as electrical, mechanical, gravitational or hydraulic quantities to model the problem being solved. Both digital and analog computers may resolve the same task albeit by using different procedures. Let’s consider 3D surface with several maxima and minima.
Fig. 3. Extremums on 3D surface
Both kinds of the computers can find and memorize local and global minimum coordinates. The digital computer needs a software implementing an appropriate method of nonlinear programming. The analog computer may find the same minimum by simply flowing a water or rolling a ball on the surface in question. There are also hybrid computers that exhibit features of analog and digital machines.
Once the minimum (or the best solution) coordinates are found by analog action they may be stored in the computer’s digital memory. That resolves the first puzzle of a bio-computer usability for a complex task solving. No software is needed for an analog or hybrid computer. It may initially run by itself by analog action and store the optimum result in digital memory.
Biological World Communication
For the second doubt, which is a communication between the cells and molecules, the answer is also in realm of natural science. Different parts such as cells and organisms of our hypothetical Computer may use a number of efficient and well-known ways for mutual communication. There is no need to refer to enigmatic “biofields” which existence was never proved experimentally. The communication may be conducted by available means that are listed below. For the sake of brevity, I just list them here:
- Direct physical interactions, cell-to-cell and organism-to-organism 34
- Chemical (pheromones) 35
- Electrostatics (ions transfers) 36
- Electrostatic field 37
- Electromagnetic (wave generations, light, UV light) 38
- Magnetic field 39
- Microwave transmission 40
- Coded 40-41
- By universal patterns 41
- By relay, i.e., transferring signal from one body to another using intermediate body 42
- Transferring information by viruses and bacteria 25, 44, 46
- Using phased antenna array principle 47
- By signal amplification including multi-stage cascades 48
- By using a resonance 49
- By the means of quantum communication 45.
The above spectrum of available communication means enables the Biosphere’s organisms for both close range and distant information transmission. Signals transferring are protected from distortion by certain codes’ patterns that are presumably universal for all organisms of different evolution level 41.
Finally, the third puzzling issue mentioned above should be resolved. Darwin suggested that the main factor forcing the living creatures to transform into new species is a natural selection or a survival of the fittest. While this claim is plausible within the species, the transition from one species to another requires three factors: 1) simultaneous coordinated change in genetic code, 2) stimulus for a speciation and 3) adequate intelligent force (critical mass) for coordinated changes implementation. If natural selection is indeed a “weak force”, what may cause stable species to lunge into the complex and risky transition into a different one with an unpredictable outcome? If our presumption of the intelligent Biosphere existence is a sooth, how may it work? Given an enormous complexity of a such super-computer the mere task of understanding its logic seems unsurmountable. Let’s try to explain it using closest analogy to the Biosphere. What is the next intelligent community on the Earth? This is our society and one may search for a hint of the Biosphere’s operation by examining humans modus operandi.
According to Genesis 1:27 “God created mankind in his own image” (NIV). Our alleged Intelligent Designer had to do the same. Humankind should be a good model of the Global Mind structure and operations.
Through human race history, there is a feature that singles our civilization out of other living matters. That is our zeal for a memory storage. Keeping various records of past event and experience is traced back by several millenniums. The amount of information, as well as existence of adequate means for information safe and efficient depository, is one of the main distinctions of the humankind. Starting with petroglyphs at the dawn of civilization we came to the massive libraries and digital storing data-centers. The total volume of globally stored information steadily grows due to the fact that each year new information is added to the past information body. The global volume of digitally stored information is measured in bytes. In 1986 total capacity of all data centers was estimated as 2.6*1018 bytes. In 1993 – 15.8*1018 bytes, in 2004 – 54.5*1018 bytes and in 2007 – 295*1018 bytes.
Fig. 4. Information volume stored at data-centers
Generally, a function above may be described by the following formulae:
F(n) = F(n-1) + F(n-2)
Such a formula is defined as a recursive one. (The most prominent recursive function is a Fibonacci algorithm.) This curve astoundingly resembles the chart in Fig. 1 depicting relative brain weight of the living creatures in a course of biological evolution. The analogy of human society as a smaller scale model for the Biosphere gives us a key to the latter historical development. The main evolution’s driver for speciation is not a survival of the fittest. It is an inescapable necessity of world biological intelligence increase and memory storage growth.
Now our Hypothesis arrived at completion. The following postulates may summarize it:
- Biological evolution as a natural life development is a reality.
- The evolution is a coordinated and controlled process, not mere a consequence of random mutations and/or survival of the fittest (to the limited extent these Darwinian forces are at work).
- The evolution main development vector is a growing computational complexity of the Biosphere and living organisms’ intelligence.
- The intelligent matter which conducts and controls a speciation and global evolution is a gigantic bio-computer combining all living organisms on Earth. The information stored, flowing and controlled by the Biosphere may be called a Global Mind (GM).
- The GM is a virtual information matter (like a software) based on living matter and running all living cells and organelles. The GM speciation actions (vertical evolution leaps) are initiated by random mutations, as is stipulated by Darwinian Evolution Theories.
- Darwinian natural selection as a survival of the fittest is the definite factor in horizontal evolutionary changes, i.e., within same species. The course of vertical evolutionary leaps (speciation) is pushed by the recursive growth of the Biosphere memory volume and organisms’ increasing complexity. Greater memory volume requires a greater number and more intellectually advanced organisms for storing and handling it. More intricate organisms require the greater computational complexity of GM in order to keep control over the Biosphere. This is an endless recursive endeavor with accelerated evolutionary dynamic.
- New species emerge when two conditions are met: a) global memory storage volume comes to its limit and b) global intelligence capacity (computational complexity) reaches critical mass capable of producing more advanced creatures.
The Hypothesis presented here does not contradict the naturalistic concept of life creation and evolution. It is not meant for Darwinian concepts’ denial. It simply shows a different degree of the natural processes. The proposed concept may not be proven yet. I do not have a good evidence for the most claims and must rely on intuition.
However, as Karl Popper suggested a good theory is the one that has greater explanatory power. The Hypothesis logically resolves many puzzling problems with current state evolution theories, including ID. Some of them are listed below:
- Speciation, as a result of GM purposeful design.
- Evolution development vector, as a need for better global intelligence and greater memory volume.
- Punctuated equilibrium, happening when two conditions above a) and b) are met.
- Cambrian explosion, as a most pronounced case of punctuated equilibrium.
- Mass extinctions, happening when more intelligent species should replace outdated creatures.
- Why lab mutation long-term experiments do not result in new speciation? In these experiments “the critical mass” was not reached.
According to the Hypothesis the living world around us was created and is governed by the Global Mind, which is the intelligent agent of the Biosphere. This enigmatic Supreme Being is the Intelligent Designer. That is very close to what Jesus revealed to us: “God is spirit” (John, 4:24).
Science and Religion
The below are the analogies between artificial intelligence created by humankind, and natural intelligence of the global Biosphere:
Computing world without WWW Atheistic world. Creatures without Supreme Power
WWW cloud structure Monotheistic world
all computer connected to Central Cloud all creatures are connected to God, not to each other.
Supernode (peer-to-peer) structure Global Mind
all entities are connected to each other thus forming Common Intelligence and Supreme Power.
It should be noted that Global Mind hypothesis does not contradict neither materialistic concept, nor religious beliefs. Quite opposite, main pillars of the world religions, most notably that of Christianity, including a love to Supreme Being and love to our neighbors and enemies, are logically and rationally supported by the single Biosphere world. How it could be different is we all are the parts of the One?
Same time all scientific facts and discoveries found their right place in the Global Mind picture.
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