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Author Topic: Evolution in action?  (Read 29254 times)
RTyp06
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Re: Evolution in action?
« Reply #15 on: January 12, 2007, 01:07:47 am »

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It would be if your survival depended on playing a piano, however without any selective preassure on this feature, it will keep comming and going.

Natural selection, according to Darwin, is supposed to scrutinize the slightest variation and fine tune even the smallest change. Thus we get say, the complex innerworkings of the human ear. But are there not many biological features we observe in nature that do not have any concievable selective pressure to select for them?

For example what selective pressure would select for a human brain over any animal brain? What selective pressure would make a spider grow silk organs? What selective pressue would make an orchid flower produce the exact chemical compound to sexually excite a male wasp (and mimic the colors of the female)? Why is so much bio energy poured into sex organs and complex sexual behaviors in the first place? Wouldn't asexual animals be much more efficient.

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I'm not sure if you're using these cases in an attempt to question the validity of evolution in a roundabout fashion, or if you are genuinely confused to as how evolution works and are merely looking for clarification. If you are doing the first, it is annoying and displays a lack of understanding regarding the subject you criticise. If you are doing the second, it is slightly worrying as you claim to have studied evolution carefully before discarding it, but I'll be happy to try and clarify any questions you have.

Luki, not to worry man, I'm just trying to spark some interesting conservation, nothing more. When I first saw the twin video I was curious if this meant anything in evolutionary terms and from an evolutionist point of view.

I have yet to see one of these so called "beneficial mutations", which , as I understand it in evolutionary theolo.. err philosophy, to be a crucial and important part of the evolutionary process. The closest I've gotten is bacterial resistance to antibiotics. But all be darned if those e-coli bacteria aren't still e-coli bacteria after the mutation.. And the resistant strain can't even compete with the original, non-resistant strain, when the antibiotic selection pressure is removed.

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As for the lady (ladies?) with two heads, I have a slightly different quesiton in mind. For
those of you who believe in souls, would Ashley & Brittney have one soul (as in
one soul per body) or two souls (two heads/minds/personalities)?

I'd say 2 souls. I believe the soul is or is inside the brain.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2007, 01:11:55 am by RTyp06 » Logged
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Re: Evolution in action?
« Reply #16 on: January 12, 2007, 04:55:56 pm »

Natural selection, according to Darwin, is supposed to scrutinize the slightest variation and fine tune even the smallest change. Thus we get say, the complex innerworkings of the human ear. But are there not many biological features we observe in nature that do not have any concievable selective pressure to select for them?

This is a misconception. Mutation provides variation. Selection knocks off those things which do not work. For things that are not critical to survival, a great deal of variation can occur. For things that are critical to survival, a rapid optimization takes place. This latter case is the case Darwin was speaking of.

For example what selective pressure would select for a human brain over any animal brain?
Oh, maybe the ability to plan? We didn't get where we are by being extremely stupid.

What selective pressure would make a spider grow silk organs? What selective pressue would make an orchid flower produce the exact chemical compound to sexually excite a male wasp (and mimic the colors of the female)? Why is so much bio energy poured into sex organs and complex sexual behaviors in the first place? Wouldn't asexual animals be much more efficient.

These comprise a mixture of you ignoring a well-known and fairly obvious reason for selection to favor something, with some cases where it is not entirely clear which mechanism came into play, but it is clear that there are mechanisms which could work. In neither case is there 'no conceivable reason'.

... I was curious if this meant anything in evolutionary terms and from an evolutionist point of view.

Yes. it means that mutations can be very big, yet not be fatal (if this actually is due to a mutation, that is). Big mutations will most often be bad things. However, a nearly arbitrarily large number of bad mutations are no problem for evolution, since they'll be pruned away. On the very rare occasion of a good large mutation, everything jumps ahead in a big way. On the much more common occasion of a good small mutation, everything jumps ahead in a little way.

I have yet to see one of these so called "beneficial mutations", which , as I understand it in evolutionary theolo.. err philosophy
Tongue

to be a crucial and important part of the evolutionary process.
Two points.
First, consider my toes. Two of them are webbed together. This was a fresh mutation, originating in my father. He passed it to me. This has had no disadvantages, and may have made me slightly faster at swimming. If this sort of mutation were to occur to a creature whose life depended on swimming, this mutation could be a life-saver. And that's an issue of body morphology, which, when such mutations are compounded upon each other, should clearly produce large changes... things that would be recognizably different.

Second, it's hard to recognize good mutations in the wild because we do not generally genotype everyone/everything. The really bad fatal mutations stand out even in animals of unknown heritage because it's clear that that could not have been a trait of either parent. For good mutations, there is generally nothing to so recommend it. How do we know that trait wasn't around before?

And the resistant strain can't even compete with the original, non-resistant strain, when the antibiotic selection pressure is removed.

Optimized for one situation is not the same as optimized for ALL situations. This is in fact a major point of Darwin's.

Also, species lines are very blurry in many cases. It is a mistake to get too hung up on what we call a creature.

(edited to finish a sentence which had been left dangling)
« Last Edit: January 22, 2007, 11:03:17 pm by Death 999 » Logged
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Re: Evolution in action?
« Reply #17 on: January 13, 2007, 10:08:39 am »

Having six fully-functional fingers would be kinda nice. Having an extra pair of arms with six-fingered hands (fully functional, naturally) would be even nicer.

I'm wondering what eventual goal evolution/God (whichever you prefer) has in mind for the human animal. We're vastly more intelligent in so many ways than other creatures, just to start off with. We have so many more functions in our brains than others. But why?
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Re: Evolution in action?
« Reply #18 on: January 13, 2007, 12:48:51 pm »

I suppose it's because we evolved from an underdog species (not apes, they branched off.) which were (I can't find the name for it as I've misplaced the book I found the fact in, the "Book of General Ignorance") a species of " squirrels, which might have been prey animals, we might of had to evolve our brains to survive.

Of course, there's Cetacean intelligence too, they show most traits of Human wisdom, but don't have the tools to manipulate their environment :S.
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Re: Evolution in action?
« Reply #19 on: January 13, 2007, 11:19:22 pm »

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We're vastly more intelligent in so many ways than other creatures, just to start off with. We have so many more functions in our brains than others. But why?

Exactly. And what selection pressue evolves these complex brain functions? Certianly song and language isn't a life or death nesescity. Are emotions important to species survival? Many animals seem to be doing just fine without mathematics. etc.

Evolutionists often make much of the fact that much of ape DNA is somewhere around 95% the same as human DNA. But that difference gives us Mozart, Plato, Shakespear, Einstien etc. Apes also lack the fine motor control humans have with their fingertips.
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Re: Evolution in action?
« Reply #20 on: January 14, 2007, 09:06:16 am »

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We're vastly more intelligent in so many ways than other creatures, just to start off with. We have so many more functions in our brains than others. But why?

I don't think we're that much smarter, there are animals that can compete with human kids. We may have computers, cars and fancy things, but it has taken quite a long time for use to come up with that stuff. Our prowess comes from being able to save, transfer and accumulate information. Being able to trade services helps a lot too, because this allows the existence of individuals with peak skills that don't have to waste time on foraging/hunting or whatever.

I think we just got over a threshold. Barely! Also remember that there are still tribes that run around throwing spears. If I had my memory erased and then were dumped on some isle, I might come up with the concept of somehow attaching a pointy or heavy thing on a staff. This is a tad better than the apes and monkeys who merely use branches as weapons, but not vastly better. I wouldn't be all that different from other large animals.

I would guess that once we arrived at the threshold, groups which were able to communicate were greatly favoured by natural selection. With communication comes a lot of bi-products too.
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Re: Evolution in action?
« Reply #21 on: January 14, 2007, 09:24:19 am »

Exactly. And what selection pressue evolves these complex brain functions? Certianly song and language isn't a life or death nesescity.

Language allows us to communicate and coordinate our actions, warn eachother of danger, pass on knowledge... please, it doesn't take much thinking to come up reasons why it would improve your survival chances.

Yes music seems to be useless when it comes to survival, but it might be just a side effect of other brain functions evolving.

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Are emotions important to species survival?

Of course they are!
Fear, sadness, anger, hapiness, love... they make us evade things that are bad for us, do away with them, or draw us closer to things that are good for us.

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Many animals seem to be doing just fine without mathematics. etc.

Really? You think most animals have absolutely no concept of numbers?
Please think of  the implications that would have.

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Evolutionists often make much of the fact that much of ape DNA is somewhere around 95% the same as human DNA. But that difference gives us Mozart, Plato, Shakespear, Einstien etc. Apes also lack the fine motor control humans have with their fingertips.

Rewind a couple of tens of thousands of years.
From an evolutionary point of view, we were exactly the same as we are now, but other then that we're barely distinguishable from other animals.
It wasn't  a giant evolutionary leap that gave us those artists, philosophers, and scientists, it was millenia of passing on knowledge.
As far as evolution goes, the change was most likely small and gradual increase in analitical thinking. You'll notice that our evolutionary cousins, or other animals like dolphins, exhibit this ability as well, but to a lesser extent.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2007, 11:50:52 am by Ivan Ivanov » Logged

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Re: Evolution in action?
« Reply #22 on: January 14, 2007, 11:45:02 am »

As for the lady (ladies?) with two heads, I have a slightly different quesiton in mind. For
those of you who believe in souls, would Ashley & Brittney have one soul (as in
one soul per body) or two souls (two heads/minds/personalities)?

Interesting question. I'd say two souls, one per mind. Of course, that raises the question of schizophrenic persons. If their secondary personalities are evolved enough, do they also have souls?

Quote from: RTyp06
Luki, not to worry man, I'm just trying to spark some interesting conservation, nothing more. When I first saw the twin video I was curious if this meant anything in evolutionary terms and from an evolutionist point of view.

So in other words, despite the fact that you during the last two long threads on evolution pointed out several times that you've intensely studied both evolution and ID, you are still fumbling with some fairly basic evolutionary concepts. This seems a tad depressing.

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I have yet to see one of these so called "designed functions", which , as I understand it in creationi.. err ID philosophy, to be a crucial and important part of the evolutionary process.

This is another thing I don't quite get. I understand that ID is important to you and that you find it interesting and probable. I can tell that from the way you will derail any thread where it is even causally mentioned in an offhand manner (The Jack Chick thread, Geomans thread over at SCDB). You don't like people making fun of it, we get it. But yet, at the same time as a small comment on how ID is unscientific will set you off in defensive mode and compel you to set things straight, it is completely acceptable for you to call evolution a theology or dogma. It seems like a tad of a double standard. This however is beyond the scope of the current argument.

Quote from: RTyp06
And what selection pressue evolves these complex brain functions? Certianly song and language isn't a life or death nesescity. Are emotions important to species survival?

Quote from: Death_999
For things that are not critical to survival, a great deal of variation can occur. For things that are critical to survival, a rapid optimization takes place. This latter case is the case Darwin was speaking of.

This is one of the things that has been mentioned again and again and again and again, but you still seem to not quite grasp it. Evolution does not mean that everything is completely optimized, streamlined to the finest degree, tuned to perfection. No one is making that claim but you. Variation due to mutation can flourish unfettered, as long as said mutation doesn't actively harm the mutatees ability to compete in critical functions.

Deaths toe is an awesome and simple example which I intend to use for this from now on until eternity, thanks for that. It is also a demonstration  of how a trait can have different effects at different times. For example, in a simplified version we have:

  • Death_999, present day. Webbed toe means nothing. It's passed on locally within his family, and neither hinders nor helps him.
  • Death_999, the beach monkey who enjoys seafood. Better ability to swim means more mates, trait is passed on much more quickly through the population as anyone who has it has an innate advantage.
  • Death_999 the newborn in medieval Europe. Webbed toes indicate a close connection with Satan. Baby is drowned in exorcising effort. Mutation is obviously not good for survival and doesn't get passed on.

Also worth to think on. Assume this two armed woman does carry the mutation in here genes. Assume it is a dominant trait, and that when she gives childbirth, the child looks just like her. Assume that these two-headed people turn out to be pretty damn good at  surviving after the oil crash of 2016 rips our world asunder. Two heads allows them to keep a vigilant lookout for enemies while gathering food or whatnot. Because this is an advantage, there will slowly be more and more twoheaded people in the sad cold world post apocalypse. In 3032, after the rejuvenation of mankind, RTyp3000 posts

Quote from: RTyp2003
Evolutionists often make much of the fact that much of one-headed human DNA is somewhere around 95% the same as human DNA. But that difference gives us Shantok, Morat, Lomfar, Tur-Nak etc.One-headed humans also lack the fine motor control humans have with their fingertips, and of course the ability to look in more than one direction.

I think we just got over a threshold. Barely! Also remember that there are still tribes that run around throwing spears. If I had my memory erased and then were dumped on some isle, I might come up with the concept of somehow attaching a pointy or heavy thing on a staff. This is a tad better than the apes and monkeys who merely use branches as weapons, but not vastly better. I wouldn't be all that different from other large animals.

This is a very good point. Our ability to store information is what gives us such power. If five of us, even with the knowledge we have now, were stripped and placed on an island, we wouldn't be able to just construct an utopia. If we were mindwiped at that, we'd be feral. Look at children who have grown up without much human contact. They're hardly superior to animals in any form or shape, even though their brain is bigger.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2007, 11:51:37 am by Lukipela » Logged

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Re: Evolution in action?
« Reply #23 on: January 14, 2007, 05:46:29 pm »


Language allows us to communicate and coordinate our actions, warn eachother of danger, pass on knowledge... please, it doesn't take much thinking to come up reasons why it would improve your survival chances.

Yes music seems to be useless when it comes to survival, but it might be just a side effect of other brain functions evolving.

Excellent points. However I'm not disputing reasons it would inprove our survival, I'm asking what selection pressures would push us into developing language through evolution. Language is a complicated process envolving our lungs, vocal chords, memory capacity etc.. And sure our unique brains give us great works of art and science but it also gives us great destructive powers. Hitler, Pol Pot, Napolean etc. It is perhaps our big brains that may ultimately be our undoing.

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Are emotions important to species survival?
Quote
Of course they are!
Fear, sadness, anger, hapiness, love... they make us evade things that are bad for us, do away with them, or draw us closer to things that are good for us.

How does anger aid us? And imagine if we didn't have the ability to control our anger? Just the difficulties of rasing a child might be a monumental task without wisdom and anger control.. Love and lust are very different, Our species could easily carry on without love as long as we desire the opposite sex. And what of lust? If it is just an animal, chemical attraction, then whay are we not incestual creatures having sex with parents and siblings? This by itself is amazing if you think about it. Of The higher order of animals, incest avoidance is the norm, and genetically important.

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Many animals seem to be doing just fine without mathematics. etc.

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Really? You think most animals have absolutely no concept of numbers?
Please think of  the implications that would have.

No I don't. At least nowhere near our mathematical capacity. And even if they did, how would this aid in survival? Without mathematics we probably couldn't build much beyond a grass hut. And is building beyond a grass hut esential to our survival? I think not.


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Rewind a couple of tens of thousands of years.
From an evolutionary point of view, we were exactly the same as we are now, but other then that we're barely distinguishable from other animals.
It wasn't  a giant evolutionary leap that gave us those artists, philosophers, and scientists, it was millenia of passing on knowledge.
As far as evolution goes, the change was most likely small and gradual increase in analitical thinking. You'll notice that our evolutionary cousins, or other animals like dolphins, exhibit this ability as well, but to a lesser extent.

Elephants, Dolphins, Apes are impressive creatures howerever I don't see us as being "slightly" better cognitively. In evolutionary terms we are lightyears ahead of these animals.

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Arne said:"I might come up with the concept of somehow attaching a pointy or heavy thing on a staff. This is a tad better than the apes and monkeys who merely use branches as weapons, but not vastly better."

I disagree. Our ability to build even the crudest tools is far beyond the capability of any animal. Animals can use simple objects as a tool, ie. ape uses stick in ant hole, beaver builds a lodge from trees. But we have the ability to conceptulize and see an end product in our mind from a variety of raw materials. Our problem solving skills go far beyond just utilizing a single raw material.

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Luki said: "So in other words, despite the fact that you during the last two long threads on evolution pointed out several times that you've intensely studied both evolution and ID, you are still fumbling with some fairly basic evolutionary concepts. This seems a tad depressing."

I never said I knew everything about evolution and I'm not "fumbling" with anything. I'm curious about mutations such as conjoined twins, extra digits, even the brain of savants and what they may or may not mean in evolutionary terms. Please explain how this is fumbling with basic concepts.

If evolution cannot give us a useable extra digit on our hands and feet due to neutral changes, how am I supposed to accept that evolution can give us the fine tuned organs and bones, placed in a complex and contrived manner that are involved in hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting, blood clotting, respitory functions, nervous systems, digestion etc?

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This is another thing I don't quite get. I understand that ID is important to you and that you find it interesting and probable. I can tell that from the way you will derail any thread where it is even causally mentioned in an offhand manner (The Jack Chick thread, Geomans thread over at SCDB). You don't like people making fun of it, we get it.

You can make fun of whatever you like. I don't believe I have ever derailed anybody? Yes I did interject my thoughts on the matter at hand in previous threads, but isn't that what a disscussion board is all about? It is true that I regard much of evolutionary theory as being in the same vein as a religious belief simply because of the grandious claims made by evolutionists and the lack (or at least the very flimsy) evidence. Thus, believing a land mammal entered the sea and evolved into a whale becomes a matter of faith rather than any true scientific observation imo. That doesn't mean I reject evolution entirely. Common ancestory and natural selection are a reality. But as the driving froce behind macroscopic changes, I simply have doubts.

Also, As I have said many times before, I'm not against the prospect of evolution, just the claimed mechanisim for driving it. And, please, I do not wish to discuss ID. Let's focus on evolution here.

BTW, I appreciate everyone's perspective and input..

« Last Edit: January 14, 2007, 06:17:22 pm by RTyp06 » Logged
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Re: Evolution in action?
« Reply #24 on: January 14, 2007, 06:13:32 pm »

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Deaths toe is an awesome and simple example which I intend to use for this from now on until eternity, thanks for that. It is also a demonstration  of how a trait can have different effects at different times. For example, in a simplified version we have:


Death_999, present day. Webbed toe means nothing. It's passed on locally within his family, and neither hinders nor helps him.
Death_999, the beach monkey who enjoys seafood. Better ability to swim means more mates, trait is passed on much more quickly through the population as anyone who has it has an innate advantage.
Death_999 the newborn in medieval Europe. Webbed toes indicate a close connection with Satan. Baby is drowned in exorcising effort. Mutation is obviously not good for survival and doesn't get passed on.

One other thing.. This may be an "awesome and simple example ".. that is until you try to reconcile the details. It's easy to speak in general terms, but what would it take to evolve a webbed foot? First you have to have the new genetic information.. Where did that come from? Is a webbed foot a simple one or two point mutation to DNA? Doubtful.

Ok so now we have a webbed foot. This new genetic information has to happen in a meaningful place where it can be passed to offspring. So the mutaion has to happen in the sex cells, egg or sperm, decreasing the odds greatly. Just those two things alone is a daunting and highly unlikely event. Now the webbed foot has to offer a distinct advantage to become incorporated into the human genome. Now you have 3 unlikely events.

Then add on that the webbed foot can't be too small (useless) or too big (a hinderance). A 300 lbs. webbed foot would probably be a hinderance and detremental to the individual.
That's 4 unlikely events.

This is for just one new human feature. Then you have to figure that every biological feature a human has evolved in this manner?

To me this rules out accidental or random mutation. At least to some degree.
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Re: Evolution in action?
« Reply #25 on: January 14, 2007, 06:44:32 pm »

Just to be clear, I'm going to be using "evolved" in a lot of sentences here. That does not imply that I believe that this is the one holy truth or any such things, just that it is the most probable theory.

Excellent points. However I'm not disputing reasons it would inprove our survival, I'm asking what selection pressures would push us into developing language through evolution. Language is a complicated process envolving our lungs, vocal chords, memory capacity etc..

I think you're looking at it in a slightly skewed fashion. I mean, it seems your starting with the assumption that language just popped into being one day, like our two-headed friend. All those things you list as prerequisite for language are also prerequisites for earlier thing. You need good lungs in order to be able to hunt, swim, run and all manner of physical activities. Most animals can make noise of one sort or another. Chance mutations that increase your vocal range could be very beneficial just for mimicry, let alone mating calls and such. A good memory allows you to remember where you buried your acorns in the fall. So basically we didn't evolve all these things for the specific ability of language, we evolved them because they were useful for other survival in other ways. Then those who managed to string together a language became superior to those who couldn't.

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And sure our unique brains give us great works of art and science but it also gives us great destructive powers. Hitler, Pol Pot, Napolean etc. It is perhaps our big brains that may ultimately be our undoing.

On a long-term evolutionary scale, yes. In 1 million years it may well turn out that humanities intelligence was both our power and undoing. But that's evolution for you. It adapts what fits the situation best, it doesn't guarantee it'l always be the best. Just ask the dinosaurs Smiley

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How does anger aid us?

Not being very adept at these things, isn't anger a way of kickstarting adrenaline production? It might prove a very large advantage when fighting for females if you can draw on a surprise reserve of strength.

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And imagine if we didn't have the ability to control our anger? Just the difficulties of rasing a child might be a monumental task with wisdom and anger control..

Then we don't get to mate and/or our offspring doesn't survive very well. The problem corrects itself. there are people like that out there already.

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Love and lust are very different, Our species could easily carry on without love as long as we desire the opposite sex.

It might not be as advantageous for the offspring if their parents didn't care about them. There are creatures that take these path as well, and survive just fine. Love might be something that gives us an extra edge.

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And what of lust? If it is just an animal, chemical attraction, then whay are we not incestual creatures having sex with parents and siblings? This by itself is amazing if you think about it. Of The higher order of animals, incest avoidance is the norm, and genetically important.

This is actually one of those instincts that are fascinating. I once watched a documentary that claimed that people are in general more attracted to those with a different accent, precisely because of the biological desire to avoid cross insemination. Animals might have similar instincts based on smell or some other minute appearance. From an evolutionary standpoint I suppose you could say that those who didn't have any inhibitions about mating with close kin were weeded out when their offspring died from genetic problems. The hows and whys are still a good question though, that we really can't answer.

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No I don't. At least nowhere near our mathematical capacity.

Nowhere near our mathematical capability is still very different from "doing fine without it".

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And even if they did, how would this aid in survival?

Assuming you mean "even if they have some ma thematic capability", not "even if they were close to our ma thematic capability", there are plenty of things they could conceivably do with basic mathematics. Keep track of how many children they have for example, in case one falls out of the nest.

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Without mathematics we probably couldn't build much beyond a grass hut. And is building beyond a grass hut esential to our survival? I think not.

Depends on where you live. this is where environmental pressure comes in. Around the equator I'm sure you'd do fine, but up here in Finland you'd freeze pretty quick.

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Elephants, Dolphins, Apes are impressive creatures howerever I don't see us as being "slightly" better cognitively. In evolutionary terms we are lightyears ahead of these animals.

Really? I understand that dolphins and monkey can often be compared intelligence wise to small children. And a human reared to adulthood in a jungle somewhere isn't that much ahead of them. Yes, there is a difference. But how large is it really?

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I disagree. Our ability to build even the crudest tools is far beyond the capability of any animal. Animals can use simple objects as a tool, ie. ape uses stick in ant hole, beaver builds a lodge from trees. But we have the ability to conceptulize and see an end product in our mind from a variety of raw materials. Our problem solving skills go far beyond just utilizing a single raw material.

I think that Arne meant that without the knowledge in his brain that comes directly from being part of civilisation, he might be able to conceptualise far less than he does now. Sure, if you and I were dropped on an island, we'd be pushing over trees and building canoes in no time. I'm sure we'd be able to carve out a nice little island paradise before being forced to flee from the gigantic monkeys. But if we arrived there with amnesia, no memory of the world or any object created by man? I suppose it's all a mental exercise, but I wonder if we'd be able to accomplish much without standing on the shoulders of giants.

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I never said I knew everything about evolution and I'm not "fumbling" with anything. I'm curious about mutations such as conjoined twins, extra digits, even the brain of savants and what they may or may not mean in evolutionary terms. Please explain how this is fumbling with basic concepts.

Then perhaps my memory fails me. I could have sworn that, during the last thread on this topic, you stated several times that you had read a lot about both evolution and ID before making the decision that ID seems more reliable.  Assuming that my memory is in fact correct, qurestions such as:

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Natural selection, according to Darwin, is supposed to scrutinize the slightest variation and fine tune even the smallest change. Thus we get say, the complex innerworkings of the human ear. But are there not many biological features we observe in nature that do not have any concievable selective pressure to select for them?

Which Death_999 answered very well and

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And the resistant strain can't even compete with the original, non-resistant strain, when the antibiotic selection pressure is removed.

equally well answered are fairly basic points. Evolution does not streamline things that aren't essential in some way, and it does not mean that once evolved, you will always stay on the top of the food chain no matter what.

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If evolution cannot give us a useable extra digit on our hands and feet due to neutral changes, how am I supposed to accept that evolution can give us the fine tuned organs and bones, placed in a complex and contrived manner that are involved in hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting, blood clotting, respitory functions, nervous systems, digestion etc?

Your acting as if the key point of evolution is the addition of fancy bling-bling. There are people who have neutral mutations (such as Detahs feet) that work well or semi well. If an extra digit suddenly became a key factor in success (say packs of roving aliens eat people, but not if they have six fingers),  those few born with such a mutation would start becoming much more common. But there is nothing to gain in a extra digit.

You also seem to assume that these changes need to be instantaneous. If someone has a mutation that adds a crappy semi functioning sixth digit, that doesn't mean there can't be well functioning ones. Myabe his grandsons grandsons will have another small mutation, and come out with a much better functioning sixth digit. Or maybe he'll simply lose the extra digit. It all depends on what is beneficial and what just is.

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You can make fun of whatever you like. I don't believe I have ever derailed anybody? Yes I did interject my thoughts on the matter at hand in previous threads, but isn't that what a disscussion board is all about?

You are free to do whatever you want of course. I'm simply pointing out the disrepancy between your (admittedly small) barbs at evolution and your vehement demand that ID be recognised by any and all. Surely the golden rule should be guiding you?

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It is true that I regard much of evolutionary theory as being in the same vein as a religious belief simply because of the grandious claims made by evolutionists and the lack (or at least the very flimsy) evidence. Thus, believing a land mammal entered the sea and evolved into a whale becomes a matter of faith rather than any true scientific observation imo. That doesn't mean I reject evolution entirely. Common ancestory and natural selection are a reality. But as the driving froce behind macroscopic changes, I simply have doubts.

I'm unsure on what grounds you can discredit their evidence as flimsy when you are currently asking about some very basic tenets of their discipline. That would be like me dismissing string theory as flimsy and silly and then continuing by asking "So.. these strings. They tie together?".

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Also, As I have said many times before, I'm not against the prospect of evolution, just the claimed mechanisim for driving it.

Then by all means, let us delve deeper into the subject! Perhaps the mechanisms you object to are not exactly the same as the mechanisms that exist, and a discussion will bring  fruitful results.

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And, please, I do not wish to discuss ID. Let's focus on evolution here.

But I thought that's what a discussion board was for? Interjecting ones thoughts onto matters at hand? Wink
« Last Edit: January 14, 2007, 06:46:11 pm by Lukipela » Logged

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Re: Evolution in action?
« Reply #26 on: January 14, 2007, 06:58:13 pm »

One other thing.. This may be an "awesome and simple example ".. that is until you try to reconcile the details. It's easy to speak in general terms, but what would it take to evolve a webbed foot? First you have to have the new genetic information.. Where did that come from? Is a webbed foot a simple one or two point mutation to DNA? Doubtful.

No, it is probably a throwback from early genetic memory of what we used to look like. That in itself implies that we once used to have webbed feet, and thus probably looked different from now. Your alternatives here are either

1. It is a simple mutation in a gene or two, so small neutral mutations are possible.
2. A small mutation has caused old genetic code to be reinitialized. If we actually carry around code for webbed feet, we have  probably had them at some point. This implies that we've evolved from a creature with webbed feet.

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Ok so now we have a webbed foot. This new genetic information has to happen in a meaningful place where it can be passed to offspring. So the mutaion has to happen in the sex cells, egg or sperm, decreasing the odds greatly.

In the sperm probably, if both him and his father has it. Lucky we produce a lot of those little bugger eh? The odds of the "right" one hitting the mark is low of course, but consider how many instances of impregnation happens, and we can overcome that hurdle. It still wont be common, but it will happen.

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Just those two things alone is a daunting and highly unlikely event. Now the webbed foot has to offer a distinct advantage to become incorporated into the human genome. Now you have 3 unlikely events.

No, it doesn't. Again, look at Death. The foot offers NO advantage, but he still has it, as does his father. this is the part you seem to be overlooking still. It doesn't have to bring and advantage, as long as it doesn't bring a DISadvantage.

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Then add on that the webbed foot can't be too small (useless) or too big (a hinderance). A 300 lbs. webbed foot would probably be a hinderance and detremental to the individual.
That would again be the same, it mustn't be a disadvantage.

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That's 4 unlikely events.

I count, mutation in sex cell (1) and no disadvantage (2). Taking into account how many lifeforms we have on the planet, even with the odds badly against it such mutations will happen.

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This is for just one new human feature. Then you have to figure that every biological feature a human has evolved in this manner?

Well, not really. A lot of our features are the same as those of our semi-close ancestors. Eyes, ears, fingers, tongue, and so on. There isn't really that much unique in a human, other than the brain.

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To me this rules out accidental or random mutation. At least to some degree.

So the fact that Death has a webbed toe rules out the possibility that millions of accumulated mutations during billions of years of varying selective pressure could alter his physical appearance and internal organs enough to make him something other than human? I would have thougth it would go the toher way.
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Re: Evolution in action?
« Reply #27 on: January 14, 2007, 08:05:22 pm »

This is another thing I don't quite get. I understand that ID is important to you and that you find it interesting and probable. I can tell that from the way you will derail any thread where it is even causally mentioned in an offhand manner (The Jack Chick thread, Geomans thread over at SCDB). You don't like people making fun of it, we get it. But yet, at the same time as a small comment on how ID is unscientific will set you off in defensive mode and compel you to set things straight, it is completely acceptable for you to call evolution a theology or dogma. It seems like a tad of a double standard. This however is beyond the scope of the current argument.

This whole thread is a double standard.  RType06 was blatantly flamebaiting and the response he's received has been more than fair.  I can't believe RType has the gall to post a mockery of evolution (or a strawman version of it) after his arguments on evolution/ID have already been trounced over and over and over and over again back on the comic booklets thread.

RType...bring up the subject when you have something new.  Otherwise, just shut the hell up.
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Re: Evolution in action?
« Reply #28 on: January 15, 2007, 12:45:41 am »


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I never said I knew everything about evolution and I'm not "fumbling" with anything. I'm curious about mutations such as conjoined twins, extra digits, even the brain of savants and what they may or may not mean in evolutionary terms. Please explain how this is fumbling with basic concepts.

Assuming that my memory is in fact correct, qurestions such as:

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Natural selection, according to Darwin, is supposed to scrutinize the slightest variation and fine tune even the smallest change. Thus we get say, the complex innerworkings of the human ear. But are there not many biological features we observe in nature that do not have any concievable selective pressure to select for them?

Which Death_999 answered very well..


He may have "answered it well" but I think he is mistaken, here is why:

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Death 999 said:This is a misconception. Mutation provides variation. Selection knocks off those things which do not work. For things that are not critical to survival, a great deal of variation can occur. For things that are critical to survival, a rapid optimization takes place. This latter case is the case Darwin was speaking of.

From the origin of Species by Charles Darwin:

"It may be said that natural selection is daily and hourly scrutinising, throughout the world, every variation, even the slightest; rejecting that which is bad, preserving and adding up all that is good; silently and insensibly working, whenever and wherever opportunity offers, at the improvement of each organic being in relation to its organic and inorganic conditions of life. We see nothing of these slow changes in progress, until the hand of time has marked the long lapses of ages, and then so imperfect is our view into long past geological ages, that we only see that the forms of life are now different from what they formerly were. "

Also:

"To sum up, I believe that species come to be tolerably well-defined objects, and do not at any one period present an inextricable chaos of varying and intermediate links: firstly, because new varieties are very slowly formed, for variation is a very slow process, and natural selection can do nothing until favourable variations chance to occur, and until a place in the natural polity of the country can be better filled by some modification of some one or more of its inhabitants. And such new places will depend on slow changes of climate, or on the occasional immigration of new inhabitants, and, probably, in a still more important degree, on some of the old inhabitants becoming slowly modified, with the new forms thus produced and the old ones acting and reacting on each other."

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/origin.html

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Your acting as if the key point of evolution is the addition of fancy bling-bling. There are people who have neutral mutations (such as Detahs feet) that work well or semi well. If an extra digit suddenly became a key factor in success (say packs of roving aliens eat people, but not if they have six fingers),  those few born with such a mutation would start becoming much more common. But there is nothing to gain in a extra digit.


You also seem to assume that these changes need to be instantaneous. If someone has a mutation that adds a crappy semi functioning sixth digit, that doesn't mean there can't be well functioning ones. Myabe his grandsons grandsons will have another small mutation, and come out with a much better functioning sixth digit. Or maybe he'll simply lose the extra digit. It all depends on what is beneficial and what just is.

I'm not assuming that the changes need to be instantaneous, just that new information MUST be ADDED somwhere along the evolutionary process. Wether it's adding it to our nematode ancestor's  genome or generated more recently..To me there needs to be a bit more than random changes, additions and repeats of existing genetic codes for novel new information to be formed. And this novel new information is essential to evolution, otherwise we would not evolve beyond a single celled organism imo.

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You are free to do whatever you want of course. I'm simply pointing out the disrepancy between your (admittedly small) barbs at evolution and your vehement demand that ID be recognised by any and all. Surely the golden rule should be guiding you?

"your vehement demand that ID be recognised by any and all."

C'mon, Aren't we being a bit dramatic here? Wink
« Last Edit: January 15, 2007, 12:56:41 am by RTyp06 » Logged
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Re: Evolution in action?
« Reply #29 on: January 15, 2007, 08:53:59 am »

To me there needs to be a bit more than random changes, additions and repeats of existing genetic codes for novel new information to be formed.
I think you don't really grasp the timescales and the amount of mutations involved...
I don't claim to grasp 'em myself, but moth are immense. Smiley

Keywords in your post are: IMO, to me
Keyword in my post: I think

P.S
Darwin's theory is a product of his time, and thus seems somewhat restricted from our perspective. Shouldn't take it too literally, many ideas still have a point there.
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