The Big Club Theory

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AuthorTopic: The Big Club Theory
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Evolution is an incontestible scientific fact established on voluminous evidence and rock-solid logic.

The specifics change frequently, but no scientist of biology worth listening to has serious doubts about the system itself.

And the doctine of 'intelligent design' is the most lazy and pathetic nonsense masquerading for science I have ever heard. 'Irreducable complexity' indeed - the various open riddles of the evolution of life should serve as impetuses to study and learning, not to hand-waving and declaration of divine intercession.
Posts: 794 | Registered: Tuesday, October 11 2005 07:00
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Really.

As someone asked before, I'd like to see a 'proof' of macroevolution that goes beyond natural selection. This fallacy goes all the way back to Darwin.
quote:
Chuck: Ooh! Pretty birds! Pretty birds with big beaks! Pretty birds with little beaks! Pretty birds with curved beaks! Pretty birds with straight beaks!

Chuck: Therefore, at some point, a bird with no beak gave birth to a bird with a beak.
I'd post more, but it's getting late where I am. More on this tomorrow; for now, take a close look at the Law of Faunal Succession and the Law of Superposition.

By WME:
quote:
And the doctine of 'intelligent design' is the most lazy and pathetic nonsense masquerading for science I have ever heard. 'Irreducable complexity' indeed - the various open riddles of the evolution of life should serve as impetuses to study and learning, not to hand-waving and declaration of divine intercession.
It's possible to study life from an ID or an evolutionary standpoint. I'm no biologist, but does it matter? Who cares how something originated; study the organism as is.

EDIT: Ugh. [quote] does not belong with [/url]. I hate late nights.

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Pretty bird! Pretty bird!
- Dumb and Dumber

[ Thursday, May 18, 2006 19:52: Message edited by: Dintiradan ]
Posts: 1509 | Registered: Tuesday, January 10 2006 08:00
Off With Their Heads
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quote:
Originally written by Major:

quote:
but we've seen macroevolution happen too.
I'd like you to show me that.

Step into my lab and we'll watch fruit flies evolve. In a few weeks, they will have speciated. The fact that you haven't read the studies doesn't mean that they don't exist.

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I have a rant that I'd like to do about evolution somewhere, and this seems like the most reasonable place for it, so here goes.

One of the objections that people make to evolution is that we don't have gobs and gobs of fossils of all the intermediate creatures between species (even though we do have a fair number). People hear about "gaps in the fossil record" and think that such gaps must mean that creatures just spontaneously morphed from one thing into another. This doesn't follow, for a very particular reason.

I study Classics, which means I read Latin and Greek. Back in classical times, sometimes people would go to a library and write down the books that they found there. Sometimes they'd write summaries of books. Sometimes they'd just quote snippets. We have references to literally hundreds of major works of the classical era, vast epic poems in addition to the Iliad and the Odyssey that tell the rest of the story of the Trojan War, vanished early Latin poems by Ennius, lost plays by Aeschylus and many others, none of which are to be found anywhere.

One of the booming fields in Classics right now is papyrology, the study of papyrus scrolls that turn up when people dig in the ground in classical lands. Every now and then we'll find a page or two of an unknown poem or a lost speech or something. However, there are some works that are definitely lost, that we'll never see again. Still, the fact that these works did not survive in the ground by no means proves that they did not exist — and, indeed, we know that they did, because we have records of their titles, quotes from them, occasional scraps of them, and so forth. We know for a fact that what we dig up is a bare fraction of what once was.

If this is true for classical literature, written a scant couple thousand years ago, it must be overwhelmingly more true for biological history, many of the important parts of which occurred millions upon millions of years ago.

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Another way in which classics can shed light on biology is in the very process of evolution. It seems counter-intuitive to some people that random events without any guiding hand can create a highly ordered and aesthetically beautiful system. However, we know that this happens with language, and we can literally read the process happening.

All of the Romance languages (of which the major ones are Spanish, French, Italian, and Romanian) descend from Latin. We can tell that they descend from Latin because it is obvious from the grammatical features and the vocabulary. (For example, the sentence "I love you" is the same in Latin and in Spanish: te amo.) Moreover, we can see the process happening: people have been writing their native language in Spain ever since the Roman era, and we can trace the progression from Latin to Old Spanish to Modern Spanish through the texts that are found from the past two thousand years.

Latin had a very ordered grammar. Spanish has a very ordered grammar, but it is different, and the difference stems from the random chance of how people spoke and more often mis-spoke, and how those errors were passed on. In this case, we can literally see how random chance (following certain basic rules) changes one highly ordered system to another highly ordered system. We can watch linguistic evolution happen.

Moreover, we can find laws for linguistic evolution by watching it happen (as it continues to do) all over the world. There are rules for sounds that interchange more often than others, and there are rules for ways in which grammars shift: an inflectional language (like Russian) doesn't simply become an isolating language (like Mandarin Chinese) overnight.

We know that random chance can create ordered systems in language, so why not in biology, too? We know that these random shifts follow certain patterns in language, so why not in biology, too?

These are just some ways in which I think that other fields can make biological science more intuitive.

[ Wednesday, May 17, 2006 20:37: Message edited by: Kelandon ]

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Arancaytar: Every time you ask people to compare TM and Kel, you endanger the poor, fluffy kittens.
Smoo: Get ready to face the walls!
Ephesos: In conclusion, yarr.

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Posts: 7968 | Registered: Saturday, February 28 2004 08:00
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quote:
Originally written by Major:

but we've seen macroevolution happen too.

I'd like you to show me that.
As Kel says, it's documented. I don't have links to any documentation, but it happens relatively frequently with flowers that have nondisjunctions that result in polyploidy, and it's happened to many invasive species with specific niches.

quote:
The only defense left is that we've only seen evolution from bird to another bird or insect to another insect, not from insect to bird.

Have you ever been taught the basics of genes?
Yes, I have. Genes evolve. We've seen it happen. The question isn't whether they do or not, it's whether they can do it enough to produce very different species without being stopped by steps that die off.

quote:
No, it hasn't been proven. I'll try to give a example of how they teach you it has been proven: Look at all the different types of dogs do you see how they change? there's the wolf the fox regular dogs and... This is evolution. And science has proven that they can change. Part 2: evolution takes billions of years to change animals such as dogs to cats and other creatures this is evolution.
Since science has proven evolution creationism is wrong.
Alorael, your post cotained the most twisted truths, messed up facts, and showed more signs of somebody being brainwashed than I have ever seen on this forum so far. (Sorry for having to put it so bluntly.)

Read what I write, not what you think I write.

Science says it has been proven thusly:

1. Genes undergo mutation.

2. Evolution by selection, be it artificial or natural, occurs.

3. Selection acts on genes because they are heritable. If genes mutate, selection can act on mutated alleles to either remove them from the gene pool (common for most harmful mutation) or encourage their spread (in the case of the rare beneficial mutation).

4. If enough mutations accrue in one population and not another, the two populations may become separate species. (Morphologically two distinct species may seem more similar than two members of the same species.)

All this is proven and has been observed. The remaining question is how to get not from dog to dog but from lizard (or plankton) to dog.

Irreducible complexity says that it can't be done. There are steps in the chain that could never happen. The problem is that it can't be proved, because negatives generally can't be. Moreover, biologists have shown that most of these steps can occur in one way or another.

Major, tell me where my twisted truths and messed up facts are. How am I brainwashed and what are your credentials for telling me so?

Dintiridan, Darwin admitted he didn't know how speciation occurred. He didn't have any understanding of genetics. We do, though, and we've seen that natural selection happens. What makes it a fallacy? I'm not sure what you're getting at with geology.

—Alorael, who thinks it's important to understand evolution, including macroevolution, because it is still happening. Knowing where everything came from is potentially useful. Knowing how fast-evolving pathogens evolve is critical.
Posts: 14579 | Registered: Saturday, December 1 2001 08:00
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The "debates" about evolution always go in circles, because the real disagreement between creationists and the rest of the world never comes up in these discussions.

The real issue here isn't "what dinosaur specie this bone belonged to" or "is that change an example of micro or macro evolution". The real issue is "is Bible supposed to be taken literally?" If the answer is "yes", all further evidence becomes irrelevant.

So creationism v. evolution is a theological, and not a scientific question and it can't be answered by talking about dinosaur bones. While you can impact a person's theology by showing a disconnect between their beliefs and real world, there are easier ways to do it and clearer arguments to make than complicated articles on carbon dating.

EDIT: To clarify, there is a big difference between "Bible is the literal word of God" and "Bible should be taken literally". God can use metaphors too. So the disagreement here isn't between atheists and religious people, but between different interpretations of the Bible. That's why I think theological arguments could be more effective here than scientific ones.

[ Thursday, May 18, 2006 10:07: Message edited by: Zeviz ]

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Be careful with a word, as you would with a sword,
For it too has the power to kill.
However well placed word, unlike a well placed sword,
Can also have the power to heal.
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quote:
Originally written by Zeviz:

EDIT: To clarify, there is a big difference between "Bible is the literal word of God" and "Bible should be taken literally". God can use metaphors too. So the disagreement here isn't between atheists and religious people, but between different interpretations of the Bible. That's why I think theological arguments could be more effective here than scientific ones.
For example, in the same place that people get the idea of ID, it says that god made the world in seven days. Note, however that "days" couldn't exist until the fourth "day" since that was the day that the celestial bodies were created.

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Barf. Jesus hates ID.

Of course, enough common idiots with an axe to grind against religion have suddenly decided to wave the banner of science that I only kind of blame the people that came up with it. Both sides of the culture wars are idiotic.

(Especially since a disproof of evolution doesn't even logically follow from ID. Evolution by natural selection is just a very intelligently designed mechanism of creation.) :P
Posts: 293 | Registered: Saturday, May 29 2004 07:00
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I have yet to see a legitimate argument against this. :D

Major, are you supporting hard creationism? Not ID? The "world was made 6000 years ago" theory? It seems like you are, but I'm bad at reading other people, especially over the internet.

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But I don't want to ride the elevator.
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quote:
Originally written by Little Billy Sue:

I have yet to see a legitimate argument against this.
around seven eighths of that page are taken up by links and/or ads. Therefore, by all known religious standards he and/or she (directly proportional to the number of links and/or ads) cannot exist. :P

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Since everyone else has jumped in, I'll just argue about the one part which concerns me.
quote:
Originally written by Major:

quote:
What if I were to rephrase the offending statement as, "Come on you people should be able to distort a distorted theory wherein the stronger force the weaker to use their language."? There's absolutely no religion in there
Oh, yes there is it's called "Chance".

You only typed one sentence and I've already found the meaning hard to understand. Are you saying that belief in "chance" as opposed to God is religious? Okay, I can handle that. But the problem is that "chance" has nothing to do with my quoted post. It is not luck or chance that a stronger person can defeat a weaker one. So unless you're seeing things or can show me something in my post that I missed, I'll have to conclude that the idea I tried to communicate in my post was lost on you despite my best intentions.

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quote:
Originally written by Kelandon
Well, I'm at least pretty

Posts: 1115 | Registered: Sunday, May 15 2005 07:00
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quote:
Originally written by URL=hotmail.com:
Hot Male[/URL]
Since everyone else has jumped in, I'll just argue about the one part which concerns me.
quote:
Originally written by Major:

quote:
What if I were to rephrase the offending statement as, "Come on you people should be able to distort a distorted theory wherein the stronger force the weaker to use their language."? There's absolutely no religion in there
Oh, yes there is it's called "Chance".

You only typed one sentence and I've already found the meaning hard to understand.

Pot, kettle, and so forth.

[ Thursday, May 18, 2006 16:52: Message edited by: PoD person ]
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I concede that point.

[ Thursday, May 18, 2006 19:12: Message edited by: Mexican Revolt 06 ]

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quote:
Originally written by Kelandon
Well, I'm at least pretty

Posts: 1115 | Registered: Sunday, May 15 2005 07:00
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Hmmm. I was going to post on the two geological laws in this post: hence, the lead-up. However, today I thought up several counter-arguments to my argument. Besides, tonight's another late night, and the topic hasn't touched there yet.

I think what we need is a better definition, or perhaps several sub-definitions, of macro-evolution. Sure, everyone agrees that micro-evolution is a proven fact. And, as demonstrated with fruit flies, macro-evolution does exist, depending on how flexible your definition of macro-evolution is. Really, any half-witted ID-er can tell you that mutations occur. With mutant-prone organisms like fruit flies, wait long enough and you will find mutants that survive into adulthood. Wait long enough and you may find a distinct sub-breed of flies (who knows; perhaps eight legs are better than six).

The problem comes with the much-toted but often ill-applied problem of complexity. A group of fruit flies may be able to come up with better leg joint arrangements, but they'd be hard pressed to come up with a completely new organ from scratch. They might be able to come up with one or more parts of the organ, but it is incredibly unlikely that they'll come up with the entire organ at once. Even if a design for a semi-useful half-completed organ is stumbled across, it still will be useless without changes to nutrient flow (blood vessels, or other applicable), physical structure (bones, or others), and nerve endings in complex organisms.

The explanation most evolutionists hold to is that complex organs evolved through miniscule changes. The problem with most examples I've come across is that they don't take into account the underlying tautalogy in micro-evolution: survival of the fittest. In real life, our flies aren't being bred in a lab; they're struggling to survive. Even the slightest detriment to an organism will cause its type to die out over the thousands of years that evolution proposes as its timeframe (an aside: note that SOTF implies that the weak die off, not that stronger organisms are created. Sure, better combinations of alleles might be found, and the population improves as an average, but SOTF doesn't equate to macro-evolution. Just something that's bugged me in my recent discussions). At some point in each of the examples I've read, an organism must make several changes to make the latest version of the organ viable. Don't get them all right, and the poor fly has useless tissue it has to maintain. Even worse, this new strain will eventually die out, forcing new generations to start from scratch.

One of two scenarios must take place: either the organ must spring into being, or a rapid succesion of mutations must take place in the correct order, ignoring SOTF. In my opinion, this takes as much of a leap of faith as ID does.

By PoD person:
quote:
Barf. Jesus hates ID.
I'm tempted to agree, but for different reasons. In my ideal classroom, most of the time would be spent on genetics and natural selection. One class block would be dedicated to the theory of evolution. It would end with a disclaimer: by the way, some people disagree with this. Evolution normally doesn't get covered in detail until high school, when (hopefully) the students are able to research and defend their own views.

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Thanks to an ambiguious abbreviation, I will always associate Finite State Machines with the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
Posts: 1509 | Registered: Tuesday, January 10 2006 08:00
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quote:
Originally written by URL=hotmail.com:
Hot Male[/URL]
Since everyone else has jumped in, I'll just argue about the one part which concerns me.
quote:
Originally written by Major:

quote:
What if I were to rephrase the offending statement as, "Come on you people should be able to distort a distorted theory wherein the stronger force the weaker to use their language."? There's absolutely no religion in there
Oh, yes there is it's called "Chance".

You only typed one sentence and I've already found the meaning hard to understand. Are you saying that belief in "chance" as opposed to God is religious? Okay, I can handle that. But the problem is that "chance" has nothing to do with my quoted post. It is not luck or chance that a stronger person can defeat a weaker one. So unless you're seeing things or can show me something in my post that I missed, I'll have to conclude that the idea I tried to communicate in my post was lost on you despite my best intentions.

I think what was meant is that "The Chance Religion" suits the weak side more, not the strong.
Edit: By the way, what's wrong with the religious side of "chance". At least whom are we begging for a chance in life in our prayers?

[ Thursday, May 18, 2006 21:17: Message edited by: Meeshka ]

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9 masks sing in a choir:
Gnome Dwarf Slith
Giant Troll Troglo
Human Nephil Vahnatai
"If the mask under mask to SE of mask to the left of mask and to the right of me is the mask below the mask to the right of mask to the right of mask below me is the same, then who am I?"

radix: +2 nicothodes: +1 salmon:+1
Posts: 203 | Registered: Tuesday, March 14 2006 08:00
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Dintiradan: It is evolutionarily difficult to produce new organs. That why they don't just spontaneously appear all the time. We've been working with more or less the same basic circulatory system for the past several hundred million years (heart, lungs, bloodstream), refining it ever-so-slightly as needed.

Consider hearts. A really long time ago, hearts weren't nearly as complex as they are now. They weren't, for example, four-chambered: there wasn't a complete wall between the blood with oxygen and the blood without (which is still lacking in lizards today). However, the wall evolved because each step along the way was advantageous: having a half-developed wall prevented a bunch of the blood from sloshing back and forth, even though it didn't prevent all of it. The larger the wall, the more protection the oxygenated blood had. Eventually, the wall got completed, and mammals today have four-chambered hearts.

Complex organs don't just spontaneously pop into existence, and scientists don't say that they do. Every step along the way provides an advantage. And if, every now and then, several (read: two, three, six, not a hundred) genetic mutations are needed all at once, well, the odds of that are exponentially smaller, but still not zero.

You might as well say (to refer back to my linguistic analogy) that, somewhere along the line, Spanish speakers had to start speaking Spanish instead of Latin. Well, no, the change happened in bits and pieces: first one part of Spanish developed, and then another part, and then another part, and some parts are still changing today.

[ Thursday, May 18, 2006 21:57: Message edited by: Kelandon ]

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Arancaytar: Every time you ask people to compare TM and Kel, you endanger the poor, fluffy kittens.
Smoo: Get ready to face the walls!
Ephesos: In conclusion, yarr.

Kelandon's Pink and Pretty Page!!: the authorized location for all things by me
The Archive of all released BoE scenarios ever
Posts: 7968 | Registered: Saturday, February 28 2004 08:00
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quote:
Originally written by Dintiradan:

In real life, our flies aren't being bred in a lab; they're struggling to survive. Even the slightest detriment to an organism will cause its type to die out over the thousands of years that evolution proposes as its timeframe.
What you say seems true from a naive analysis, but in practice isn't really the case. Remember, "fitness" isn't something inherent to an organism; it's a function of the interaction between an organism and its environment. Since environments (and therefore available ecological niches) change over time, so does the optimal genetic makeup of the organisms within them.

If it were in fact the case that tiny imperfections always or usually caused organisms to die out, we wouldn't expect to observe a large amount of genetic variation within natural populations. Given that we do observe such variation, we may reasonably conclude that most natural populations exist in a nonequilibrium state with some degree of maladaptation to their environment, because environment often changes too fast for genetics to catch up. An organism with a particular genetic mutation may be less adapted to one part of its ecological niche but more adapted to another.

[ Thursday, May 18, 2006 23:20: Message edited by: Thuryl ]

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To phrase Thuryl's point in an economic way: most species do not live in a world of 'perfect competition', where each individual animal is just able to survive. Rather, there tends to be (a bit) of abundance (of food, shelter, etc.) implying that not only the strongest animals survive, but also the somewhat weaker. This would be survival of the fitter, not just the fittest.

This implies that a first genetic change that makes an animal slightly less efficient (in terms of speed, weight, food processing, etc.) does not immediately leads to death. This facilitates evolutionary alterations that need multiple steps before being beneficial to a species.

To Kelandon: a difference between linguistic and biological evolution is the relative importance of network effects in linguistic evolution. If a subgroup of the population makes some changes to its language, the other members may not understand the `new' part of the language. If I decide that from now on I will call a chair `stoel', then that only works if you understand what I mean by `stoel'. This may be less important in biological evolution.
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First, (Dintiradan hit this point) macro evolution is the adding of genes. This is what I disagree with.
Second, micro evolution is the changing of genes. I agree with this.
Third, mutations just take away genes. This, I agree with too.
quote:
Major, are you supporting hard creationism? Not ID? The "world was made 6000 years ago" theory?
Yes, but, not 6,000 years ago more like 8,000-15,000 years ago.
ID didn't go over well because most of the general public already either believes in a god or they don't want to believe in a god.

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"I knocked him out, but I managed to hit the reply button before he fell down."-The person behind him.
Posts: 153 | Registered: Monday, April 24 2006 07:00
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quote:
Originally written by Josty:

To phrase Thuryl's point in an economic way: most species do not live in a world of 'perfect competition', where each individual animal is just able to survive. Rather, there tends to be (a bit) of abundance (of food, shelter, etc.) implying that not only the strongest animals survive, but also the somewhat weaker. This would be survival of the fitter, not just the fittest.

This implies that a first genetic change that makes an animal slightly less efficient (in terms of speed, weight, food processing, etc.) does not immediately leads to death. This facilitates evolutionary alterations that need multiple steps before being beneficial to a species.

More to the point, an individual that has one marginally harmful genetic mutation isn't necessarily less fit overall than an average member of its species. Apart from that, though, most mutations which are conserved through evolution aren't harmful, at least in the ecological niche which the organism possessing them inhabits.

quote:
To Kelandon: a difference between linguistic and biological evolution is the relative importance of network effects in linguistic evolution. If a subgroup of the population makes some changes to its language, the other members may not understand the `new' part of the language. If I decide that from now on I will call a chair `stoel', then that only works if you understand what I mean by `stoel'. This may be less important in biological evolution.
I suppose if you were in a mood for drawing analogies you could say that mating behaviour requires that sort of effect -- if other members of your species don't recognise your mating ritual due to a mutation that changes your mating behaviours, you're not going to have very much reproductive success. (Changes in mating behaviour therefore tend to be closely associated with speciation events.)

quote:
Originally posted by Major:
First, (Dintiradan hit this point) macro evolution is the adding of genes. This is what I disagree with.
Second, micro evolution is the changing of genes. I agree with this.
Third, mutations just take away genes. This, I agree with too.

Mutations don't just alter or delete genes; they can also duplicate genes. And once a gene has been duplicated, the duplicated copy is free to evolve and maybe eventually serve some purpose entirely different from the original gene without harming the organism, since the original copy is still able to serve the gene's original function. Gene duplication is an incredibly important process in evolution.

Here's something you may find surprising: a human has hardly any genes that a dog, an insect or even a plant doesn't also have. That's such an important point that I think it deserves its own paragraph.

The exact DNA sequence of an organism's genes, and the number of copies of each of them, are different across species, but the basic gene families are all the same. It's estimated that only about 1000 entirely new genes have evolved over the entire course of a few billion years of biological evolution, and most of those evolved in bacteria -- every other gene has arisen from duplication and other mutations of a previously existing gene.

In other words, you can get from fruit fly to human without adding a single gene, just by duplicating, deleting or otherwise modifying genes that already exist.

[ Friday, May 19, 2006 06:48: Message edited by: Thuryl ]

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quote:
Originally written by Josty:

To Kelandon: a difference between linguistic and biological evolution is the relative importance of network effects in linguistic evolution. If a subgroup of the population makes some changes to its language, the other members may not understand the `new' part of the language. If I decide that from now on I will call a chair `stoel', then that only works if you understand what I mean by `stoel'. This may be less important in biological evolution.
Network effects are important in biological evolution, too. If you separate two populations on two islands for a while, they will evolve (either linguistically or genetically) until they can't converse/interbreed anymore, for exactly that reason (that at least one island will come up with new words/genes and not share them with the other island).

Likewise, if two populations occupy the same space but just don't spend much time talking/interbreeding, the same thing happens (although I suspect that this is less common).

Sharing words/genes is a big part of linguistic/biological evolution.

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Arancaytar: Every time you ask people to compare TM and Kel, you endanger the poor, fluffy kittens.
Smoo: Get ready to face the walls!
Ephesos: In conclusion, yarr.

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The Archive of all released BoE scenarios ever
Posts: 7968 | Registered: Saturday, February 28 2004 08:00
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So this has nothing to do with Evolution, but..
An example of this (post above) would be Central (or Latin) America. We all speak Spanish, yes. However, we all use different words and ways of speaking. Puertoricans and Dominicans are physically the two countries that resemble each other the most (within Latin America), yet you can distinguish between them by the way they speak and the words they use. I have literally spoken with a couple Puertoricans and Mexicans and been "wtf"?. Now picture the Spanish from Spain and the one from Latin America... It is really really different. Now I can only imagine what will happen in a couple of hundreds of years, especially with the geographical difference.

Btw, nice work comparing the two, honey.

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Posts: 562 | Registered: Friday, December 14 2001 08:00
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quote:
First, (Dintiradan hit this point) macro evolution is the adding of genes. This is what I disagree with.
Second, micro evolution is the changing of genes. I agree with this.
Third, mutations just take away genes. This, I agree with too.
No need to reinvent the wheel here, so I'm just going to post what the experts say on what I feel are the two key points:

I) Mutations are harmful

quote:
Most mutations are neutral. Nachman and Crowell estimate around 3 deleterious mutations out of 175 per generation in humans (2000). Of those that have significant effect, most are harmful, but a significant fraction are beneficial. The harmful mutations do not survive long, and the beneficial mutations survive much longer, so when you consider only surviving mutations, most are beneficial.

Beneficial mutations are commonly observed. They are common enough to be problems in the cases of antibiotic resistance in disease-causing organisms and pesticide resistance in agricultural pests (e.g., Newcomb et al. 1997; these are not merely selection of pre-existing variation.) They can be repeatedly observed in laboratory populations (Wichman et al. 1999). Other examples include the following:
Mutations have given bacteria the ability to degrade nylon (Prijambada et al. 1995).
Plant breeders have used mutation breeding to induce mutations and select the beneficial ones (FAO/IAEA 1977).
Certain mutations in humans confer resistance to AIDS (Dean et al. 1996; Sullivan et al. 2001) or to heart disease (Long 1994; Weisgraber et al. 1983).
A mutation in humans makes bones strong (Boyden et al. 2002).
Transposons are common, especially in plants, and help to provide beneficial diversity (Moffat 2000).
In vitro mutation and selection can be used to evolve substantially improved function of RNA molecules, such as a ribozyme (Wright and Joyce 1997).

Whether a mutation is beneficial or not depends on environment. A mutation that helps the organism in one circumstance could harm it in another. When the environment changes, variations that once were counteradaptive suddenly become favored. Since environments are constantly changing, variation helps populations survive, even if some of those variations do not do as well as others. When beneficial mutations occur in a changed environment, they generally sweep through the population rapidly (Elena et al. 1996).

High mutation rates are advantageous in some environments. Hypermutable strains of Pseudomonas aeruginosa are found more commonly in the lungs of cystic fibrosis patients, where antibiotics and other stresses increase selection pressure and variability, than in patients without cystic fibrosis (Oliver et al. 2000).

Note that the existence of any beneficial mutations is a falsification of the young-earth creationism model (Morris 1985, 13).
II) Mutations cannot add information (i.e. can only take away "genes")

quote:

It is hard to understand how anyone could make this claim, since anything mutations can do, mutations can undo. Some mutations add information to a genome; some subtract it. Creationists get by with this claim only by leaving the term "information" undefined, impossibly vague, or constantly shifting. By any reasonable definition, increases in information have been observed to evolve. We have observed the evolution of

increased genetic variety in a population (Lenski 1995; Lenski et al. 1991)
increased genetic material (Alves et al. 2001; Brown et al. 1998; Hughes and Friedman 2003; Lynch and Conery 2000; Ohta 2003)
novel genetic material (Knox et al. 1996; Park et al. 1996)
novel genetically-regulated abilities (Prijambada et al. 1995)

If these do not qualify as information, then nothing about information is relevant to evolution in the first place.

A mechanism that is likely to be particularly common for adding information is gene duplication, in which a long stretch of DNA is copied, followed by point mutations that change one or both of the copies. Genetic sequencing has revealed several instances in which this is likely the origin of some proteins. For example:
Two enzymes in the histidine biosynthesis pathway that are barrel-shaped, structural and sequence evidence suggests, were formed via gene duplication and fusion of two half-barrel ancestors (Lang et al. 2000).
RNASE1, a gene for a pancreatic enzyme, was duplicated, and in langur monkeys one of the copies mutated into RNASE1B, which works better in the more acidic small intestine of the langur. (Zhang et al. 2002)
Yeast was put in a medium with very little sugar. After 450 generations, hexose transport genes had duplicated several times, and some of the duplicated versions had mutated further. (Brown et al. 1998)
The biological literature is full of additional examples. A PubMed search (at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi) on "gene duplication" gives more than 3000 references.

According to Shannon-Weaver information theory, random noise maximizes information. This is not just playing word games. The random variation that mutations add to populations is the variation on which selection acts. Mutation alone will not cause adaptive evolution, but by eliminating nonadaptive variation, natural selection communicates information about the environment to the organism so that the organism becomes better adapted to it. Natural selection is the process by which information about the environment is transferred to an organism's genome and thus to the organism (Adami et al. 2000).

The process of mutation and selection is observed to increase information and complexity in simulations (Adami et al. 2000; Schneider 2000).
Care to refute the above evidence or do you have a different argument?

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Your flower power is no match for my glower power!
Posts: 3726 | Registered: Tuesday, September 18 2001 07:00
Infiltrator
Member # 3040
Profile #47
quote:
Originally written by Kelandon:

Complex organs don't just spontaneously pop into existence, and scientists don't say that they do. Every step along the way provides an advantage. And if, every now and then, several (read: two, three, six, not a hundred) genetic mutations are needed all at once, well, the odds of that are exponentially smaller, but still not zero.
To offer a different mechanism to try and explain Dintiridan's concern, let me present an example I read somewhere in some book (the best kind).

Consider organs (or body parts, maybe more generally) that have a qualitative function, rather than a quantitative one. So instead of a heart that divides this much oxygenated blood from non-oxygenated blood, consider a wing: either it works, or it doesn't. How could a wing evolve? A half-formed wing is pretty useless for flying.

Well, the wing might have evolved for something else entirely. What if a rat or squirrel started developing flaps of skin which were very useful for catching flies? The bigger the flaps of skin, the more flies caught. So bigger flaps of skin imply better fly-catching ability. Eventually, the flaps of skin might get big enough to also enable the creature to fly, and this might be such a big evolutionary advantage that the fly-catching ability would not be the primary function of wings anymore.

So an organ might evolve for one purpose, and then shift to another spontaneously, leaving us to wonder how it must have developed in the first place.

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5.0.1.0.0.0.0.1.0...
Posts: 508 | Registered: Thursday, May 29 2003 07:00
Infiltrator
Member # 6652
Profile #48
quote:
Originally written by Major:

Yes, but, not 6,000 years ago more like 8,000-15,000 years ago.
You mean you don't believe any of the evidence that the earth is older than that? They found rocks that were billions of years old. It's not arguable. It's cold, hard fact.

And please don't give me any of that "to test our faith" stuff. Such poor reasoning causes my eyes to burn out of their sockets.

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But I don't want to ride the elevator.
Posts: 420 | Registered: Sunday, January 8 2006 08:00
Nuke and Pave
Member # 24
Profile Homepage #49
quote:
Originally written by Major:

...
quote:
Major, are you supporting hard creationism? Not ID? The "world was made 6000 years ago" theory?
Yes, but, not 6,000 years ago more like 8,000-15,000 years ago.
...

Where did this number range come from?

Counting the lifetimes of the generations from Adam to the modern times gives you about 6000 years. So how do you come up with the 8,000-15,000 number?

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Be careful with a word, as you would with a sword,
For it too has the power to kill.
However well placed word, unlike a well placed sword,
Can also have the power to heal.
Posts: 2649 | Registered: Wednesday, October 3 2001 07:00

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