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Terzis / SLU)

Philosophy of Biology Finals Study Guide

(2) How does Carroll apply his developmental perspective to the explosion
of biodiversity found in the Cambrian period.

This would apply to the big bang of the evolution (Cambrian period). There are
the end of the Cambrian period to know, and the Cambrian period itself. The
fossil evidence that is particularly helpful in reconstructing the Cambrian period is
in Australia, the sorts of creatures we focused on were arthropods, which are
segmented and joined to the appendages – and late in the Cambrian period,
change of life begin to expand.

Also Carroll’s views were seen as an alternative explanation seen in Lewis,

because Lewis had a very straight forward account but a false account about
biodiversity based on new genes. The whole concept: new structures are
emerging, like a claw, or a poisonous claw by having those structures appear in
different zones, and their peering in different zones they’d be peering into diff
location on the map. Whats controlling them typically are genetic switches. This
means mutation in genetic switch would cause mutation

Phenotypically, if you have a change in the zone, the idea is whats driving the
change in the zone, which is a change or mutation in the genetic switch.
It’s the genetic switches of hox genes that control coordinates of hox zones
where changes arise of hox genes switchs OR a mutation change in the switch in
a DNA sequence, which can result into a new species of arthropods for example.
In this sense, explains how changes occur without having new genes.

How biodiversity is explained: not new genes, but change in genetic switches
that control various zones. Why the Cambrian period? It’s a fact that the
Cambrian period is an explosive period. There is an explosion in this particular
period because the Cambrian period is the period of explosions of biodiversity;
the conditions were ripe during tail end of pre-Cambrian period. A point that he
makes to address this question: if the invention of tool kit genes per say was not
the trigger of the Cambrian explosion, it’s becoming increasingly appreciated that
the Cambrian explosion. Drama driven in Cambrian period is ecology on a global
scale, there are ecological changes that helped create the explosion and that the
idea of mutations in genetic switches is the mechanism that underlies the
explosion of biodiversity. One certain specie is wiped out in its eco niche, there’s
an explosive kind of effect where species would move into that area – another
one is once the dino’s became extinct, other mammals could use vacant space
and niches were already a/v because of their extinctions. Given that there is an
explosion of biodiversity, whats going on in the new level to explain this is: not
new genes, but a change in the position of the genes that are in turn controlled
by mutated genetic switches. Mutations in genetic switches cause the shift in the

(3) Discuss the complex relationship b/t information and redundancy

Redundancy = information content of message is what exits when you subtract

all redundancy. That redundancy is the enemy of the code breaker, and can be
that redundancy contriubuted at variety of levels:

--multiple level of redundancy, level of syntax (bc if you know fragment of

order, you can discern on the basis of the order),
--level of spelling, symatanx; there are rules for determining meaning.

redundancy becomes ally of code breaker and nemesis of code maker. The
code maker wants to scrub away or eliminate the redundancy so that the
message can’t be decoded by their enemy. The nucleus of meaning that’s there
when all redundancy is moves. Information helps us reduce uncertainty in
regards of question, so if you ask a question after question you can try to remove
uncertainty; therefore, it’s the idea of removing uncertainty in response to a
certain kind of question. When you get rid of all of redundancy in string of letters
you are left with measurable in terms of bits of information, and then redundancy
connects with diff rules at various levels. Redundancy is extra clue in message
even when message is garbled – this is another reason why redundancy has
important role to play; redundancy is a good thing bc more you have redundancy
the more your information has resources to be tapped over and over again so
that distortion can be prevented from being coded at the other ended. This is
why redundancy is a good thing. The code maker wants to make enough
redundancy in there so that code can be translated at the other end, but if you
put too much redundancy, the codemaker breaks the msg / code.

(4) Discuss: “The more random – the less predictable – a stream of symbol
is, the less redundant it is, and the more information it tends to carry per
symbol.” This is seemingly a paradoxical statement. How can something
that is inherently random carry a message, isn’t randomness the opposite
of purposeful information?

The less redundant it is, and the more info it tends to carry per symbol. This is
seemingly a paradoxical statement. The more random the message, the great
the info content per symbolic unit so the message that would have greatest
message content per symbol is one that is utterly random. And greater the
redundancy the less info content per symbol. Randomness is opposite of
something that is purposeful.

Therefore, this information means that this message is not a symbol source, but
stream of symbols. The more redundancy there is, the easier it is to construct
the whole from the part. In the case of a random pattern, the more random the
part of a string is, the more difficult it is to construct, and then the more info per
symbol unit is carried in that message.

(5) What according to Include in response how organisms are able to

preserve their internal order in a way whose in a way that is consistent with
an increase in the disorder of the universe as a whole (in old book – almost

Schrodinger is a physicist writing at a time when thought that DNA was coding for
proteins, despite these limitations he had very deep insights – in order to answer
the question of what a living system is; the fundamental insight he delivers in the
living system, and what a system requires to keep it alive: it keeps itself from a
distance of chemical equilibrium bc if there its close to chemical equilibrium, then
there is no energy. Organisms keep themselves alive by keeping themselves
alive by keeping selves at a distance from equilibrium.

The second law of thermo dynamics says that in all energy transformations
everything becomes more disorderly – organisms maintain order and increase
negative entropy because they are remarkable in sustaining information they are
dynamic systems that use energy and material to keep themselves at a distance
from equlibrium and thus keep themselves alive and sustain their structures
including genetic info and can still maintain general order. This is all also true of
its own information storage, it has the ability to create and sustain its genetic info
with very little distortion creeping in.

(6) Discuss the view, largely inspired by Dawkins (although presented by

Seife), that reproduction is not determined by the individual but by the
individual’s information.

It is the dynamic agent in reproduction, and it’s the information in the

individual/organism that has a goal of replicating itself. For example, T-cells in
mice, and ant qualities where only the queen is fertile. Midochondrial DNA was
an extracellullar bacteria that made its way into the cell where energy
transformation is which in this case was beneficial.