Category Archives: Special Relativity

Working Hard on Special Biological Relativity

I’ve been working hard on Special Biological Relativity and it is taking up most of my blogging energy.  However, I do have some fun results:

Define Biological Energy as the ability to do work, the ability to change the environment.  Then Fitness can be related to Energy because the higher the fitness the greater the ability to change the environment.

E ∝ f

If we consider an organism that lives in a place with infinite resources – a Garden of Eden – and also replicates at the speed of the chemical reaction of replication – there is no maturation process, it immediately starts to replicated as soon as it is created – then it’s life is identical to it’s replication process.  Define d to be the speed of the chemical process of replication.  Then the ability of this organism to change the environment is given by it’s fitness, the rate it replicates at and it’s life:

E = fd2

Or something.

Posted in biology, evolution, fitness, philosophy, science, Special Relativity. Tagged with , , , , , .

Special Relativistic Fitness, Preliminary Thought Experiment

Imagine two different tribes of biologists.  The first tribe is comprised of very fast people.  They survived for thousands of years by studying biology and being faster than their competitors.  The second tribe is comprised of very strong people.  They survived for thousands of years by studying biology and being stronger than their competitors.  After all this time, the first tribe is filled with very fast biologists and the second tribe is filled with very strong biologists.

Now imagine that two biologists, one from each tribe, are evaluating the fitness of two organisms.  One of the organisms is fast, the other is of average speed.  Other than the difference in speed, they are identical.  The strong biologist recognizes that one is faster than the other, but does not find this to be significant and assigns the two organisms equal fitness.  The fast biologist recognizes that one is faster and assigns it a slightly higher fitness because of its speed advantage.

Is the difference in fitness evaluations a matter of scientific opinion?  If it were an opinion that the fast organism was fitter, this would be a scientific opinion based upon environmental and competitive factors.  Given different competition and environment, the evaluation would have come out differently.  However, the fast biologist and her entire tribe have survived by being faster than their competition.  Her evaluation is not only scientifically based but also partly based upon her evolutionary heritage and Weltanschung that is finely attuned to how speed is beneficial.  It is these factors, unique to people of this tribe, that give more weight to speed as evolutionarily significant and makes it more than just a case of scientific disagreement.

Is the fast biologist unfairly biased? If we consider the perspective of the strong biologist, we can see that the strong biologist has no greater claim to her appraisal of an organism’s fitness: strength is just as arbitrary a trait as speed and this thought experiment could have equally been set up with two organisms that only differed in strength.  Hence the fast biologist could equally claim the strong biologist is unfairly biased toward strength and away from speed.  Generalizing, we can say that no one perspective, be it speed, strength, sight, etc., or any combination of traits, is privileged.  Hence their is no unfair bias because every scientific perspective based upon evolutionary heritage and an associated Weltanschung is as legitimate as any other.

Lastly, consider that every biologist will recognize the same amount of phenotypic difference between two organisms;  difference in phenotype does not permit variation in interpretation.  Therefore any difference in fitness evaluation is not due to a perceived physical difference by the biologists in the organisms studied.

Therefore this thought experiment implies that our determinations of fitness are not independent of the evolutionary history of the biologist(s) making those determinations.   Insofar as we cannot escape our own biology and how it shapes our views, it will determine the fitness value we assign to organisms, if only to a small extent.

Consequences:

In one sense everything on Earth has been evolving for the exact same amount of time, since the dawn of life, and hence no organism alive is any more evolved than any other.

However, from the perspective of the fast biologists, the fast organism is more evolved.  Insofar as the fast biologists believe that life is evolving towards moving faster, the organism that moves faster has adapted before the other organisms.  So, in the special circumstance of a population perceiving evolution to move regularly towards a trait, an organism with that trait can be considered more evolved.

—– the analogs —–
evolutionary significant events are specific adaptations :: physically significant events are light flashes
regular evolutionary change is a population with trait selection :: regular motion is a non-accelerating inertial frame
difference in phenotype does not permit variation in interpretation, regardless of observer :: failure of addition of velocities of light, regardless of observer.
upper limit to adaptation- by definition, no jumps :: speed of light in vacuum defined as c

Posted in biology, evolution, fitness, philosophy, Special Relativity. Tagged with , , , , , .

… Yeeeeaaaaaaahhhhhhh

via BackRe(Action)

Posted in fun, General Relativity, measurement, physics, Relativity, science, Special Relativity. Tagged with .

Where Does Probability Come From? (and randomness to boot)

I just returned from a cruise to Alaska. It is a wonderful, beautiful place. I zip-lined in a rain forest canopy, hiked above a glacier, kayaked coastal Canada and was pulled by sled-dogs. Anywho, as on many cruises, there was a casino, which is an excellent excuse for me to discuss probability.

What is probability and where does it come from? Definitions are easy enough to find. Google returns:

a measure of how likely it is that some event will occur; a number expressing the ratio of favorable cases to the whole number of cases possible …

So it’s a measure of likelihood. What’s likelihood? Google returns:

The probability of a specified outcome.

Awesome. So ‘probability as likelihood’ is non-explanatory. What about this ‘ratio of favorable cases to the whole number of cases possible’? I’m pretty wary about the word favorable. Let’s modify this definition to read:

a number expressing the ratio of certain cases to the whole number of cases possible.

Nor do I like ‘a number expressing…’ This refers to a particular probability, not probability at large, so let’s go back to using ‘measure’:

a measure of certain cases to the whole number of cases possible.

We need to be a bit more explicit about what we are measuring:

a measure of the frequency of certain cases to the whole number of cases possible.

OK. I think this isn’t that bad. When we flip a fair coin the probability is the frequency of landing on heads compared to the total cases possible, heads + tails, so 1 out of 2. Pretty good.

But notice the addition of the word fair. Where did it come from, what’s it doing there? Something is said to be fair if that thing shows no favoritism to any person or process. In terms of things that act randomly, this means that the thing acts in a consistently random way. Being consistently random means it is always random, not sometimes random and other times not random. This means that fairness has to do with the distribution of the instances of the cases we are studying. What governs this distribution?

In the case of of a coin, the shape of the coin and the conditions under which it is measured make all the difference in the distribution of heads and tails. The two sides, heads and tails, must be distinguishable, but the coin must be flipped in a way such that no one can know which side will land facing up. The shape of the coin, even with uniform mass distribution, cannot preclude this previous condition. Therefore the source of probability is the interdependence of physical conditions (shape and motion of the coin) and an epistemic notion (independence of knowledge of which side will land up). When the physical conditions and our knowledge of the conditions are dependent upon each other then the situation becomes probabilistic because the conditions preclude our knowing the exact outcome of the situation.

It is now time to recall that people cheat at gambling all the time. A trio of people in March 2004 used a computer and lasers to successfully predict the decaying orbit of a ball spinning on a roulette wheel (and walked out with £1.3 million). This indicates that after a certain point it is possible to predict the outcome of a coin flipping or a roulette ball spinning, so the dependence mentioned above is eventually broken. However this is only possible once the coin is flipping or the roulette ball is rolling, not before the person releases the roulette ball or flips the coin.

With the suggestion that it is the person that determines the outcome we can expand the physical-epistemic dependence to an physical-epistemic-performative one. If I know that I, nor anyone else, can predict the outcome until after I perform a task, then the knowledge of the outcome is dependent upon how I perform that task.

This makes sense because magicians and scam artists train themselves to be able to perform tasks like shuffling and dealing cards in ways that most of us think is random but are not. The rest of us believe that there is a dependence between the physical setup and the outcome that precludes knowing the results, but this is merely an illusion that is exploited.

What about instances in which special training or equipment is unavailable; can we guarantee everyone’s ability to measure the thing in question to be equal? We can: light. Anyone who can see at all sees light that is indistinguishable from the light everyone else sees: it has no haecceity.

This lack of distinguishability, lack of haecceity (thisness), is not merely a property of the photon but a physical characteristic of humans. We have no biology that can distinguish one photon from another of equivalent wavelength. To distinguish something we have to use a smaller feature of the thing to tell it apart from its compatriots. Since we cannot see anything smaller, this is impossible. Nor is there a technology that we could use to augment our abilities: for us to have a technology that would see something smaller than a photon would require us to know that the technology interacted at a deeper level with reality than photons do. But we cannot know that because we are physically limited to using the photon as our minimal measurement device. The act of sight is foundational: we cannot see anything smaller than a photon nor can anything smaller exist in our world.

The way we perceive photons will always be inherently distributed because of this too. We cannot uniquely identify a single photon, and hence we can’t come back and measure the properties of a photon we have previously studied. Therefore the best we will be able to accomplish when studying photons is to measure a group of photons and use a distribution of their properties, making photons inherently probabilistic. Since the act of seeing light is a biological feature of humans, we all have equal epistemological footing in this instance. This means that the epistemic dependence mentioned above can be ignored because it adds nothing to the current discussion. Therefore we can eliminate the epistemic notion from our above dependence, reducing it to a physical-performative interdependence.

Since it is a historical/ evolutionary accident that the photon is the smallest object we can perceive, the photon really is not fundamental to this discussion. Therefore, the interdependence of the physical properties of the smallest things we can perceive and our inherent inability to tell them apart is a source of probability in nature.

This is a source of natural randomness as well: once we know the probability of some property that we cannot measure directly, the lack of haecceity means that we will not be able to predict when we will measure an individual with said property. Therefore the order in which we measure the property will inherently be random. [Assume the contradiction: the order in which we measure the property is not random, but follows some pattern. Then there exists some underlying structure that governs the appearance of the property. However, since we are already at the limit of what can be measured, no such thing can exist. Hence the order in which we measure the property is random.]

————–

If I were Wittgenstein I might have said:

Consider a situation in which someone asks, “How much light could you see?” Perhaps a detective is asking a hostage about where he was held. But then the answer is, “I didn’t look.” —— And this would make no sense.

hmmmm…. I did really mean to get back to gambling.

Posted in biology, epistemology, evolution, fitness, independence friendly logic, logic, measurement, mind, philosophy, physics, Relativity, science, Special Relativity, technology. Tagged with , , , , .

Relativity in Biology notes from 2005

It’s always interesting to see the start of ideas. Although I don’t have anything from the Spring of ’04 when I recall realizing biorelativity for the first time, I have found a file with a ‘last modified’ date of June12, ’05, the contents of which are below:

Quantum Biology

biology: the study of the physical attributes of life.

the rate of mutation is constant, much as the speed of light

organisms mutate. light shines. hence organisms bend/curve life-time as objects bend/curve space-time. greater the mass, the more the curve… the greater the inertia (momentum), the greater the curve. so what is meant by inertia in biology (or in physics)? what does mutation light, as photons light objects? [mutation is the smallest unit of life. photons smallest things with momentum.] we use mutation to view changes of a species. so if a species remains the same, its genetic(?) inertia/ momentum is remaining constant. that with the greatest inertia/ momentum creates the most gravity. that with the greatest inertia/ momentum creates biological gravitation towards itself…

space as vacuum for objects, DNA as vacuum for mutations. objects bend space; mutations do what to DNA? organisms bend life. as objects move to the speed of light their mass (apparently) goes to infinity. as organisms move to the rate of mutation (sex), their DNA (apparently) goes to infinity. as objects slow to absolute 0, their mass (apparently) disappears; as organisms cease mutation (death) the DNA (apparently) disappears. [space is a non-material object, same as concepts, numbers, words etc]

so when there is some massive change to the organism.. say when bats developed sonar, every other mutation became pulled closer around that as to become a part of it. nose, ears, face… eyes are just satellites now

we can then use the fossil history to see what was a major mutative innovation of the day- when preexisting mutations became reoriented around a new mutation (as we can see objects by the change they cause in the motion of other objects, and know their relative size)

location * momentum </= const
species * mutation </= const

——————-

Biological General, Special and plain Relativity in both physics and biology are all confused and mixed together and I was nowhere near my current understanding of biological mass (which didn’t happen till sometime in September of this year and perhaps I’ll go through how I came to that a bit later). It looks like I used DNA for biological mass.

Still, there is a lot of good stuff here.

Posted in biology, evolution, fitness, General Relativity, measurement, philosophy, physics, Relativity, science, Special Relativity. Tagged with , , , , , .

NEWS: General Relativity in Evolutionary Biology Final Version and NYC Area Philosophy Mailing List started!!!!!

I’ve posted my final version of General Relativity in Evolutionary Biology to the articles section (and to GroundReport) and I’ve also started a mailing list/rss for philosophy events in NYC. So lots to check out.

Posted in biology, evolution, fitness, General Relativity, internet, philosophy, physics, Relativity, science, Special Relativity. Tagged with , , , , , , , .

General Relativity in Evolutionary Biology DRAFT

EDIT, July 2015:

See the full draft at the phil-sci archive: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/11557/

Also check out my other Research.

Below are old notes:

—-

I’ve discussed relativity in evolutionary biology with regards to uniform change but, as with the Special Theory of Relativity in physics, we want a theory that covers all change.

This means that insofar as relativity applies to biology under uniform motion, i.e. when a species is reproducing in a regular fashion, we want a theory of relativity that applies to biology even when a species is undergoing non-uniform motion, i.e. when the species reproductive cycle has undergone a serious change.

It is a fundamental equivalence of evolutionary biology that the struggle for survival and natural selection yield the exact same results.  This relationship has yet to be interpreted.  If we consider a person in love, financially secure and who wants nothing more than to raise children for foreseeable rest of his life.  That person may view this situation as the culmination of his struggle to survive and replicate.  That person may equally view the situation to be nature selecting him as suitable to continue life.

For what apparently are good reasons action at a distance is not allowed.  Struggle for survival does not occur at a distance; ‘struggle’ seems to inherently imply some local interaction.  Natural selection, however, is much more amorphous in nature: how exactly does nature select?  I suggest that we think of natural selection as a biofield that acts upon organisms.

Inertial ‘fitness’ and Gravitational ‘fitness’

The fitness of a thing creates a (teeny) natural selection field.  The fitness of a species creates a (small) natural selection field.  The fitness of an ecosystem creates a (large) natural selection field.

Posted in biology, fitness, General Relativity, philosophy, physics, Relativity, science, Special Relativity. Tagged with , , , , , .

I just figured out general relativity for evolutionary biology

so stay posted, it’s coming soon…

Posted in biology, General Relativity, philosophy, physics, Relativity, Special Relativity. Tagged with , , , , .