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Thread: Hominids Re-evolving

  1. #1 Hominids Re-evolving 
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    I had an interesting debate with my Maths teacher after asking him if he believed in evolution, at which point he said yes, but strongly believes that we humans, or hominids have evolved multiple times from different amoeba. It was only a quick discussion, but certainly left a few things swimming in my head. Especially after reading Bill Bryson - History of Nearly Everything, this whole thing about inevitability of humans being constantly re-evolving in the same way throws against a large part of what the book teaches.

    He knew what he was talking about, and although I'm quite unconvinced with the whole idea, he's a lot older than me and I couldn't match him with my "slightly better than the average" knowledge of evolution.

    The one challenge I managed was to ask him where all the fossils were and he just said they were "crushed up" when the ice melted.

    Our discussion was frustratingly short and at the end I just said "well I'm sorry, but I just don't believe it, I'm taking my side with mainstream science" (I'm more inclined to side with the great majority of the worlds brightest people), or something along those lines, what I find a little depressing is that he basically (but not exactly) said "look, I'm a lot older and wiser and my daughter has a masters in [something not unrelated to biology], so I think I know what I'm talking about". I felt kind of betrayed by such underhand tactics, if I'm going to believe what he says, I'm not going to believe it just because he says he has more of a right to have that opinion.

    So when I got home I had a couple of tries with Google but found no results to this idea, I'd like to find out more about this theory, is there a name for the theory?

    The one thing I really wish I could have asked was "what evidence do you have?" because it sounded to me like all evidence has conveniently been wiped out at every major ice age in earths history. I definitely feel a distinct lack of actual evidence to what he was telling me.

    Well thanks for any help, Iím interested in his theory, but doubt Iíll actually take to it


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  3. #2  
    Time Lord
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    Never heard of it. I mean, what I imagine it is. Therein perhaps is the problem: maybe we're jumping to assume he means something far-fetched, when he's just relating a much duller concept... poorly.


    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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  4. #3 Re: Hominids Re-evolving 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mattylaws
    I had an interesting debate with my Maths teacher after asking him if he believed in evolution, at which point he said yes, but strongly believes that we humans, or hominids have evolved multiple times from different amoeba.
    ......................................

    I'd like to find out more about this theory, is there a name for the theory?
    There is a name for this. It is called insanity. It took a billion years or more for man to evolve from an amoeba like ancestor. This did not happen multiple times. You were completely right to be sceptical and to should be complimented for not laughing in his face and suggesting he get an education.

    That said, the idea is so ridiculous that I wonder if you might have misunderstood him. There are two currently popular theories to account for the evolution of homo sapiens. The one which had the most support is the Out of Africa theory, in which modern humans evolved in Africa then gradually spread to the rest of the world.

    The second theory is the the Multiregional one, in which modern man evolves from his predecessor independently in a a variety of regions around the world. Might you have misunderstood him about amoeba when he was actually refering to the multi-regional model?
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  5. #4  
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    He is very articulate and I'm fairly sure I didn't misunderstood him.

    I knew the theory was just fundamentally wrong, but couldn't argue my corner. Next time we have a discussion surrounding the topic I want to know more about the flaws in his "theory".

    He mentioned that there are no animals back then that are like that of today, this is something I've heard before and the obvious answer to that one is that we've evolved from that point! Of course many creatures of the Cambrian period aren't the same because we've been changing for millions of years since then.

    One thing I said was that the climate would have been drastically different so creatures like today wouldn't adapt so well, is that correct?

    Also I think it goes against Darwins theorys in the amount of time needed to evolve?

    Not to mention the fossil evidence clearly conforms to common knowledge; that we all evolved from the same lineage.

    Also I see the chances abiogenesis happenning twice, the same evolution happenning twice just infentesimal.

    I think what he might have been saying was that we could have evolved before the Hadean period? *shrugs* doesn't make sense to me at all, I don't think he can cover up the flaws with ice ages, which is where his whole theory surrounds around.

    Any one else think of something so wrong about this theory?

    He was so convinced and he's not stupid, (he used to teach quantum physics)
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  6. #5  
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    So rule out miscommunication. I sense this is a fixed belief that grows more monsterous with exercise. Direct arguments may not work. Find the source:



    Maybe he has a motive. I would ask if any genetic or cultural legacy of earlier humans survive today. If he so much as mentions modern races in reply, you may bite your lip... or not.

    Maybe he's caught in fanaticism. I mean banal everyday fanaticism, where a person rather desperately bolsters a position when evidence contradicts.

    Maybe he has a fundamentally weird way of thinking, that for some reason causes him to grasp this idea as intuitively right. And by the same token he just can't get the logic or self-evidence of your understanding. Not to jab at quantum physicists. Oops.



    His authoritative daughter may be a factor, if she doesn't challenge her dad though she knows he's wrong. Her father might have a 6' tall invisible rabbit for imaginary friend - what can she do?
    Quote Originally Posted by James Stewart in [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harvey_%28film%29
    Harvey[/url]]Years ago my mother used to say to me, she'd say, "In this world, Elwood, you must be" -- she
    always called me Elwood -- "In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant."
    Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. You may quote me.
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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  7. #6  
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    Ask him why all of the currently known life seems to have come from a common ancestor. Surely if there many independent abiogenesis origins, we ought to have found some genetically novel life- life using non-canonical bases or a radically different translation coding matrix. For such independant abiogenesis events to have progressed to human-like levels of complexity, even if now extinct, we should see remaining extant multicellular organisms showing some of those unusual traits.

    Also ask him what is the probability of evolution of any specified genome. The probability that life as complex as us would emerge from simple origins independently more than once is many orders of magnitude more favourable than the probability of the same specific sequence re-evolving. The probability of the latter being as close to zero as makes no practical difference. So human-like species, maybe. Actual humans, no way. Pseudohominids, but never the independent emergence of true hominids. As a mathematician, I'd expect him to have some concept of how unlikely that would be.
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  8. #7  
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    "Maybe he has a fundamentally weird way of thinking, that for some reason causes him to grasp this idea as intuitively right. And by the same token he just can't get the logic or self-evidence of your understanding."

    I have a sense you're close to the mark on that one.

    Thanks for your two questions TheBiologista, that's the sort of questions I had at the tip of my tongue but I just don't have the knowledge to word them correctly. Especially the probability one, because when he worked in industry he used statistics.
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  9. #8  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
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    A solid line of evidence that counters his weird theory is that modern life forms tend to share many genes. Humans share about 25% of the same genes that you find in a tomato!

    If different strains of life originated from different organisms, would we share so many of the same genes? Not likely!
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