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Thread: Evolution

  1. #1 Evolution 
    墨子 DaBOB's Avatar
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    Ok, let's talk evolution.

    Obviously entities are capable of adaptation; it has been documented at a genetic level and observed by, likely, everyone on this planet; but, how can something as complicated as a human, for example, possibly evolve in the way we are taught that evolution works? (<-- that's a big sentence)

    Note - I use the word taught because it is possible that my understanding of evolution is limited to my teachings (meaning I probably don't know everything).

    As far as I know every system/organ in our bodies relies on one or more other systems/organs. How can individual gene mutations cause such imense complexity?


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    How about billions of years, billions of prototypes, billions of failures trillions of mutations[of dna molecules], because you [indeed all of us] cannot imagine these numbers you cannot imagine thier effects. The process that work in us are the same ones that work in all living things.

    THe question I ponder is what parts do 'only the fittest survive' vs adaptation, vs mutation play in what ratio's.


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    Quote Originally Posted by prasit
    dabob wrote
    On the topic of creationism vs. evolution they both seem equally illogical to me. Is it possible that evolution is creationism? Meaning in our (life's) attempt to evolve we create new things. Nothing should be rejected and, to me, it is illogical to think that the answer is logical or that there is in fact an answer.
    I think you do not understand evolution theory well enough. The theory is based on solid logic, while creationism is based on solid faith. New life forms were not created by evolution, they were created by random mutation. A lot of them were eliminated by better-fit neighbours. When you say we create new things by the attempt to evolve, it mechanism looks like Lamarck theory, which is already disproved.
    This is the problem. We are not in any way random. The likelyness of an organism such as humans to exist is like 1 in a billion or probably more. A single mutation in DNA would cause such an insignificant difference that even if there are millions of mutations over billions of years we still would not see organisms such as ourselves.

    It's is impossible to even imagine such complexity arising from randomness. It is 100% illogical.

    What about hormones? Without many of the hormones we wouldn't be able to function. How did all the other systems of the body work when there were no hormones? Or why would the hormones be a genetic advantage if the other systems do not yet exist. If the system can't function without the hormone and the hormone would have no effect without the system how would natural selection favor the evolution of either? It makes no sense unless they both evolved at once which would lead to the whole organism being created at once whish would be creationism which (personally) also makes little sense. I could think of houndreds of examples if I had the time.
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    The argument you are using is a relatively common one...

    What you fail to realize, however, is that the entire body didn't just snap together in a few generations and also that it is possible for organs to change independently (mutations need not affect the entire organism).

    Individual parts change when a mutation happens because specialized cells only "read" certain parts of DNA. When organs slowly reform, this causes the entire organism to change its genetic code...you know the rest. If one organ changes so that it works better, it may not be perfectly in sync with another organ, but if the gain outweighs the cost the mutation may stick. After a while, however, other organ systems will be modified to accommodate this change.

    From my understanding of hormones, they are essentially chemical signals. All cells have chemical signals. It is a small (though dramatic) step from "pass this signal to the next cell" to "pass this signal into the bloodstream." Any signal is an advantage. The heart beats based on a chemical signal which doesn't do anything for the rest of the body. Cell signaling is not only advantageous, but vital to a multicellular organism. Without knowing what the other cells are doing, a multicellular organism could not exist. Other life would favor simple organisms whose cells work together over simple organisms whose cells are essentially independent (think: bacteria colony).

    Chemical signals are not only necessary for complex organisms to exist, but also very simple multicellular organisms, biofilms (basically bacterial colonies which talk), and even the single lone cell.

    Organ systems work together not because they were all simultaneously created, but because they are forced to accommodate each other and, in some cases, split from a common ancestral organ into a new structure which could one day evolve into its own organ (from what I understand, not only entire organisms evolve in sudden dramatic leaps, but also single types of tissue or single organs vary from individual to individual).

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    dabob wrote:
    This is the problem. We are not in any way random. The likelyness of an organism such as humans to exist is like 1 in a billion or probably more. A single mutation in DNA would cause such an insignificant difference that even if there are millions of mutations over billions of years we still would not see organisms such as ourselves.

    It's is impossible to even imagine such complexity arising from randomness. It is 100% illogical.
    I believed your objections have been clarified in many websites and articles. I have read Dawkins 'the Selfish Gene' and 'the blind watchmaker' and think they explain the theory quite well.
    When you say one in a billion or more, you really cannot imagine how unlikely it is. Life has also billions years time to evolve. It does not work like: putting all molecules together randomly, and if it does not constitute a man, try again. There are many, many intermediate forms to go through. The earlier forms are simpler. They survived, reproduced, mutate. Some mutations were better in surviving than their ancestors's forms, so they prospered and the original forms gradually dwindled. This goes on, producing more complex, better-fit life forms. Until some of them exist as human at present day.

    One website frequent quoted is TalkOrigins http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-...ons.html#proof
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    Rationally comprehending numbers that are in the billions and trillions is very hard to do. This is one of the common reasons for people to be unable to comprehend the evolution of the humbling complexity of life as it is today. I struggle with this a lot.
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    Well actually it's not too difficult when you ponder it for a while. The problem is that people are LAZY.
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  9. #8 Re: Evolution 
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaBOB
    Ok, let's talk evolution.
    ... how can something as complicated as a human, for example, possibly evolve in the way we are taught that evolution works? (<-- that's a big sentence)
    Frankly, I suspect it can not.

    I have not been in school for a while, but I was taught that evolution was the result of the 'survival of the fittest' of 'random mutations' in individuals. A few single cell organisms develop cilia and psuedopods, and, boom, the next thing you know we have humans. The unlikeliness of it all was explained away with the incomprehensible numbers of mutations and generations involved in evolution.

    What we were not taught in highschool and freshman biology is, this theory of evolution reflects economic theories of the time [Malthusian?], and requires very large populations of each species.

    There is another aspect to evolution; certain morphologies are favored by physical and mathematical laws. A good college course in developmental physiology will help you understand this. You could also read Brian Goodwin.

    Do not be afraid to doubt what you are taught, but use doubt as an impetus to more research and greater understanding.
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    j wrote
    A few single cell organisms develop cilia and psuedopods, and, boom, the next thing you know we have humans. The unlikeliness of it all was explained away with the incomprehensible numbers of mutations and generations involved in evolution.
    If evolution theory said it took a boom to transform pseudopods into a human then it could not have stood scrutinies from scientists around the world for so long. I know that you understand evolution concept better than this, but you may mislead dabob to get the wrong idea.

    There is another aspect to evolution; certain morphologies are favored by physical and mathematical laws. A good college course in developmental physiology will help you understand this. You could also read Brian Goodwin.
    Of course, evolution cannot produce life forms that defy physical laws. There is no contradiction here.
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    I did not say "evolution theory said it took a boom to transform pseudopods into a human", I said that is roughly what highschool students have been taught. Obviously I am not far wrong, or DaBOB would not be posting.

    I doubt that I will mislead the DaBOB with my irreverence; s/he posted in Biology, not Religion, so s/he is seeking a clarification of the process of evolution, not a defense.

    I most certainly did NOT say there was a contradiction between the simplified version of Darwin's theory that most are taught in high school and refinements and advancements that have been made in the last century or so.

    Darwinian theory of evolution is incomplete. DARWIN recognized this. An undergraduate course in developmental biology teaches that there is more to the morphology of complex organisms than the immediate effect of specific genes.

    We are scientists here; we are supposed to question and doubt, as DaBOB does. If we didn't, we'd all be learning about the four humours.
    We are also supposed to help each other come to a finer understanding of complex processes.


    I correct myself: a century and a half.

    Quote Originally Posted by prasit
    j wrote
    A few single cell organisms develop cilia and psuedopods, and, boom, the next thing you know we have humans. The unlikeliness of it all was explained away with the incomprehensible numbers of mutations and generations involved in evolution.
    If evolution theory said it took a boom to transform pseudopods into a human then it could not have stood scrutinies from scientists around the world for so long. I know that you understand evolution concept better than this, but you may mislead dabob to get the wrong idea.

    There is another aspect to evolution; certain morphologies are favored by physical and mathematical laws. A good college course in developmental physiology will help you understand this. You could also read Brian Goodwin.
    Of course, evolution cannot produce life forms that defy physical laws. There is no contradiction here.
    Why do they want us to believe Conspiracy Theories?
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    Just FYI, I am finishing my first year of college biology courses in a few days, and I am still not convinced. I was briefly in the beginning but, after thinking about it more it just doesn't make any sense.
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    Give it a few years; there is more than is taught in introductory courses.

    It's just like the explanation of why water boils at a higher temperature when you add salt; it doesn't make ANY sense until you learn about energy of solvation.

    Science is often taught as a set of known, proven, and completely understood facts; that is wrong.

    Science is a series of theories, based on observed and measured phenomena, that are continually being refined and revised.
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  14. #13  
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    Quote Originally Posted by j
    Give it a few years; there is more than is taught in introductory courses.

    It's just like the explanation of why water boils at a higher temperature when you add salt; it doesn't make ANY sense until you learn about energy of solvation.

    Science is often taught as a set of known, proven, and completely understood facts; that is wrong.

    Science is a series of theories, based on observed and measured phenomena, that are continually being refined and revised.
    That is one thing I absolutely hate about it. They teach it like it is proven then when they give you study questions they go "oh, well there is no 'real' answer" and then you get a question on a test and you're just like "wth do they want me to say???". I could act like a hard core evolutionary scientist or I could understand the laws of physics and quantum physics and know that the likelyhood of our existance is 1:infinte. Randomness interacting with randomness may be able to create some sort of sense of order but it sure can't create life. It just so happened that some molecules formed then there was RNA then it was magically engolfed in a phospholipid bilayer and decided to replicate just for the hell of it. Now we have multicellular organsims using DNA that are so complex it is absolutely impossible to comprehend how we could have gotten this way. It's all just so bogus and makes no sense. I can understand what they are teaching but I can't understand how they can teach it. It's like story telling. The mythology of science. Ya sure it's fun but do they actually expect me to just bow down and believe this stuff whole heartedly. Now I know that most of them don't and my teachers often respect the ways of science and the impossibility to know anything with absolute certainty but it still bugs me.

    Genetic mutations are often so minute that I can't see how any environmental pressures could cause a being such as ourselves to possibly form.

    I'm gonna stop here before I explode with absolute confusion.
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    a star fish can lose an arm and it regrows. you cut off all five and they can develop into five starfish. the thought reason is a starfish brain is not centralized but in all the structure.

    in theory you could remove a head (or brain) from its host and some how keep it artificially living. the head would have all the functioning conscious and subconscious thoughts and all other parts could be artificially produced or somehow replaced. this is not true with the brain in any theory. it may be the brain or the equivalent in any life form is responsible for evolution and only this needs stimulation or cause to generate change. that is all the individual parts change from one source and that source is where evolution has come from.

    as to the origins of life, it amazes me that everything should have to come from one original. using any form of that first live you prefer, its likely it occurred more than once and in no telling how many places. also the process of mutations to other forms could happen at a very fast rate.
    billions of generations of micro life happen in reasonable short times. for instance we know virus alters itself quite easily to survive drugs we produce.
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  16. #15  
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    Again, I agree with a lot of what you say, DaBOB, especially about exams. If they want you to describe the current theory of evolution, they should ask you to; if they ask you describe the development of life on earth you should get full marks for an erudite and well reasoned argument attributing it to the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

    The problem is not with current scientific theories.

    One problem is that science education, at least in my country, sucks. Theories are described with only the lightest dusting of supporting facts, and pertinent questions are treated as annoying delays by instructors too apathetic or ignorant to answer them.

    The other problem, DaBob, is you. [This is not an insult.]
    People are not going to spoonfeed you knowledge, even at the probably exhorbitant prices you are paying them. Nor should they; their role is too give you enough information to get you curious, and some good tips on how to satisfy it. But you obviously know that, since you are here.

    [They should also give clear instructions on to pass the exams. ]

    Quote Originally Posted by DaBOB
    I'm gonna stop here before I explode with absolute confusion.
    You are going through the educational equivalent of the Terrible Twos. That is a good thing.

    BTW, about evolution:
    How else could humans have come into being but by natural if as yet not fully understood natural processes?
    Why do they want us to believe Conspiracy Theories?
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    I was reading some of the stuff amd you guys didn't mention the enviroment(I didn't read all the posts so I don't know if you guys really mentioned it lol). Organisms evolved because of the enviroment. The body adapts to the enviroment that surrrounds us. I was just giving out an idea
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    Quote Originally Posted by Time Master
    I was reading some of the stuff amd you guys didn't mention the enviroment(I didn't read all the posts so I don't know if you guys really mentioned it lol). Organisms evolved because of the enviroment. The body adapts to the enviroment that surrrounds us. I was just giving out an idea
    from the time the earth began to cool and form, the atmosphere has been in constant but slow change. original life, micro organisms require little help from atmosphere and survived thru all or most of the changes. each time any larger life formed it had to conform to conditions. available food,
    temperatures, even other predator life just a few.

    the environment is a combination of atmospheric conditions, temperatures and weather conditions. we (people) have no doubt been around in rudimentary forms for about 3 million years (that we know of) and no doubt these conditions have changed many times. its difficult to speak to internal or organ changes during this period other than brain size which is determined by skull shapes. no doubt other organs changed as the brain did so. to answer your question and in my opinion; the environment has changed much faster then our adaptation to it, but the conditions for human tolerations of conditions and the limits of change have been ok,
    for some survival. our problems have been more in line with, food chain,
    virus and germ adaptations and intellect in general. not so much the environment.
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  19. #18  
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    Quote Originally Posted by j
    BTW, about evolution:
    How else could humans have come into being but by natural if as yet not fully understood natural processes?
    Well I ahve a theory of my own but that probably belongs in the philisophical discussion. Basically the idea would be that there is some other force behind evolution. Something is missing in it. Our world is not as it seems. Evolution seems so materialistic. Things are so much more complicated than we could possibly imagine. Millions of millions of interactions of quantum stuff. When I think phisiologically about 'thinking' it makes a little sense (interactions of neurons and so on) but if I go any deeper the whole concept of life in general just seems so improbably and almost impossible. We are so complicated. Humans don't make any sense. The abilities we have. People think they have freedom of choice but to me what really makes us human is the ability to say no to the choices we want. To have absolute control over our minds. It is something I am sad to say most people these days don't take advantage of. But this is another subjuct. What I am getting at though is just an even deeper level of complexity.

    An example I really love is the martial arts weapon: 9-section chain whip. When the practitioner is skilled with it they know where the tip is at all times yet they have no neural connection to it. It's as though the mind adapts to an extention of the arms, in a sense becoming one with the weapon. How can we do these things and why would evolution ever favor such an odd ability?

    So many mutations would have such little effects.

    I like the idea about the microorgansims. How they have much greater chance for mutation with their short life spans. And I am sure we do too... I mean guys make, what, some 3 million sperm a day. God knows how many mutations are in there. Skin constantly growing... everything.. but still, when I think about it enough, I end up in the same place: It just doesn't make sense that the current theory of evolution is the explanation.

    Tell me if I'm getting anoying or maybe just boring. I have the strange feeling that I am just repeating myself over and over again. :P
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  20. #19  
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaBOB
    Tell me if I'm getting anoying or maybe just boring. I have the strange feeling that I am just repeating myself over and over again. :P
    Not annoying, no.
    Not boring, certainly. Quite interesting in a way.

    What you are mainly getting, it seems to me, is wrong.

    I suggest you are doubting a theory without first having a full understanding of that theory. I could be mistaken. Rather than speak in generalities perhaps specify a single specifc thing that you know evolution does not account for, not that you think evolution does not account for.
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    DaBOB;

    the male sperm you refer to is a good analogy, but in reverse. of all those millions or billions of sperm produced only a very few accomplish the job.
    the female produces i think about 2-300 eggs in a lifetime and also very few accept one sperm. it may be evolution is somehow generated from some process with in that process- at least in mammals. there are some theory suggesting fertility is decreasing for various reasons and these reasons do sometimes suggest environmental reasons.

    now down to lower forms and one i have some knowledge of. tropical fish females can lay 50 to 200 eggs per event. the males then fertilizes by covering the eggs. the end results are always large to total acceptance. that is few eggs don't produce fry. you can imagine the difference in potential changes or evolution from the events of man an fish. go on down to mosquito's and other larva forms and the numbers increase dramatically to a queen ant, which can produce many millions of units.

    this could also be that mankind, relatively new is inefficient and long existing life forms have evolved an efficiency level. i also do not like linking environment and evolution. it may be a factor even a major one but certainly not the only.
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