1. SubscriberProper Knob
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    26 Mar '11 19:43
    I've started a new thread on this as the other one has been side tracked, mainly because of my delay in posting this reply.

    Right, so we're up to how mutations arise in an organism. The next concept to understand is that these mutations can give that particular organism a slightly better chance of survival, it would subsequently follow that that particular mutation will now be passed onto any offspring it has. I'll give you an example of what i mean below, but first i should explain that not all mutations are of benefit to an organism. Most are harmful, some do nothing and only some are of benefit useful.

    Now for an example of a mutation which could arise in an organism and how it could be 'selected' by nature. Take a hypothetical mammal living in a group. A female in this group has a litter of babies, one of the babies has had a 'coding error' during it's conception and has been born with longer hair than normal. At the same time, for whatever reason, the climate is drastically becoming cooler. The long haired baby now has a slighly better survial chance than the rest of it's siblings due to it's 'mutation'. As the generations go by, the long haired baby has a much greater chance of passing it's 'mutation' on to it's children because he would have a greater chance of surviving the colder climate due to his longer hair. In a few generations the group of mammals would now have longer hair as the longer haired ones of the group would be able to survive the cooling climate, the shorter haired ones would have died out taking their genes with them unable to survive the cold.

    If we take the same hypothethical situation, but this time we imagine the climate is getting hotter instead of colder then our long haired animals survival chances are reversed. His long hair in the hotter climate is going to be hinderance and he will likely die.

    Mutations are random but the way in which nature 'selects' these mutations is not random. Mutations are only passed on if they are of benefit to the animal/organism. Richard Dawkins summed it up best as -

    The non-random selection of random variants

    That's why when we look at all the animals on the planet they are adapted to the particular environment in which they live. For example, all animals which live in cold climates are equipped to live there. If an animal doesn't adapt to it's changing environment then it will die out, and that is why the fossil record is full of animals that are no longer with us. Survive or go extinct.

    But, that doesn't explain how one animal changes into another, that's just micro-evolution not macro-evolution i hear you saying, or Rob is anyhow. You're right, and i'll explain that tomorrow. Firstly does this make sense?
  2. Standard memberRJHinds
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    26 Mar '11 23:16
    Originally posted by Proper Knob
    I've started a new thread on this as the other one has been side tracked, mainly because of my delay in posting this reply.

    Right, so we're up to how mutations arise in an organism. The next concept to understand is that these mutations can give that particular organism a slightly better chance of survival, it would subsequently follow that that parti ...[text shortened]... re right, and i'll explain that tomorrow. Firstly does this make sense?
    Yes. No disagreement.
  3. Standard memberkaroly aczel
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    27 Mar '11 01:49
    Originally posted by Proper Knob
    I've started a new thread on this as the other one has been side tracked, mainly because of my delay in posting this reply.

    Right, so we're up to how mutations arise in an organism. The next concept to understand is that these mutations can give that particular organism a slightly better chance of survival, it would subsequently follow that that parti ...[text shortened]... re right, and i'll explain that tomorrow. Firstly does this make sense?
    Yep.
  4. Standard memberKellyJay
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    28 Mar '11 05:41
    Originally posted by Proper Knob
    I've started a new thread on this as the other one has been side tracked, mainly because of my delay in posting this reply.

    Right, so we're up to how mutations arise in an organism. The next concept to understand is that these mutations can give that particular organism a slightly better chance of survival, it would subsequently follow that that parti ...[text shortened]... re right, and i'll explain that tomorrow. Firstly does this make sense?
    I have an issue with your example as an example for evolution.
    If a mutation took place and altered the hair that is still a very small subset of
    any group of animals and that would have to be passed down in all the following
    generations. If we had a disease strike a population those with immunity would
    survive those without it would die off, and most if not all the following generations
    would have the immunity, but that is not due to evolution, just breeding. The hair
    example in my opinion would to small to matter if the temperature change
    happened fast enough to matter.
    Kelly
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    28 Mar '11 11:221 edit
    Originally posted by KellyJay
    I have an issue with your example as an example for evolution.
    If a mutation took place and altered the hair that is still a very small subset of
    any group of animals and that would have to be passed down in all the following
    generations. If we had a disease strike a population those with immunity would
    survive those without it would die off, and most i ...[text shortened]... inion would to small to matter if the temperature change
    happened fast enough to matter.
    Kelly
    Ok, I think we have a small sticking point here. This is Proper Knob's thread so I apologise for butting in.

    If we had a disease strike a population those with immunity would
    survive those without it would die off, and most if not all the following generations
    would have the immunity, but that is not due to evolution, just breeding.


    In what way is that not evolution? Success in breeding is the selection mechanism of the evolutionary process: those with traits that improve their chance of breeding (eg resistance to a desease) are more likely to breed in the presence of that deseae than those without such traits. This is exactly what evolution is!

    However, I think there is a danger here of getting sidetracked.

    The hair example in my opinion would to small to matter if the temperature change
    happened fast enough to matter.


    It might be a tiny advantage, it really depends on how much the hair has changed and how fast the temperature varies. But even a small advantage would help that organism's chances. It may be lost in the noise in most cases but there will still be occasions where it benefits. Even a tiny advantage can still make the difference between surviving a cold winter and not. And a single mutation might double the hair length. Do you still have a problem if our hero has hair twice as long as his siblings and there is a particularly harsh winter?

    Yes there might be times when the mutation was not big enough to help and other times when the temperature was not low enough to need any adaptation. But can you not also see that there could be times when the weather was bad enough that the short-haired siblings suffered and long haired one coped?

    --- Penguin.
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    28 Mar '11 12:013 edits
    Originally posted by KellyJay
    ... but that is not due to evolution, just breeding.
    Would you care to clarify what you mean by 'evolution' and 'breeding' in your post.
    I generally understand 'evolution' to mean 'the change of a life form, species, or population over time / generations'. So by my understanding it is evolution - so is selective breeding as carried out by man.
    But you say 'due' to evolution, so maybe you are referring to the Theory of Evolution or the effects/processes that the theory describes. It might help if we gave the Theory a longer more descriptive name: The Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection. In your example there is clearly both evolution (an overall change in the species) and it is clearly caused by natural selection (an environmental pressure).
    The only major remaining aspect of the theory is that of common descent, but I do not see how this would be relevant here.
  7. Standard membershavixmir
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    28 Mar '11 12:33
    The average male in the Netherlands is 30cm taller than he was in the 60's.

    Or to use another example: the syndrome of Down.
    This is a form of DNA change well documented.

    Or to use another example: The common flu.
    It mutates and becomes resistant to medication every year.

    Or to use another example: A butterfly.
    A caterpillar crawls into a cocoon and flys out of it within 30 days (or so).

    There are massive (macro) changes happening every day. Some are species inherent, some are due to a changing environment and some are just flukes.
    Some result in permanent change, others are one off's.

    If a tadpole can change into a frog within a couple of weeks, why wouldn't a human become brainier and less hairy over a couple of hundred thousand years?
    Why wouldn't a dinosaur (if they ever existed...) grow feathers and shrink over a 100 million years or so?

    Why on Earth would things remain static? If you come back from holiday in the Bahamas; wearing nothing but your G-string, and when you arrive back in Mongolia, surely it would be madness not to adapt your clothing to your surroundings?
  8. Joined
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    28 Mar '11 13:47
    Originally posted by shavixmir
    The average male in the Netherlands is 30cm taller than he was in the 60's.

    Or to use another example: the syndrome of Down.
    This is a form of DNA change well documented.

    Or to use another example: The common flu.
    It mutates and becomes resistant to medication every year.

    Or to use another example: A butterfly.
    A caterpillar crawls into a coco ...[text shortened]... ack in Mongolia, surely it would be madness not to adapt your clothing to your surroundings?
    If I ever wear a G-string then I'll know I've evolved. 😉
  9. Joined
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    28 Mar '11 14:00
    Originally posted by Proper Knob
    I've started a new thread on this as the other one has been side tracked, mainly because of my delay in posting this reply.

    Right, so we're up to how mutations arise in an organism. The next concept to understand is that these mutations can give that particular organism a slightly better chance of survival, it would subsequently follow that that parti ...[text shortened]... re right, and i'll explain that tomorrow. Firstly does this make sense?
    The theory of evolution is a mutation of rational thought, and the mutation keeps mutating.

    Reality is mutilated.
  10. Standard memberRJHinds
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    28 Mar '11 14:30
    Originally posted by josephw
    If I ever wear a G-string then I'll know I've evolved. 😉
    You are a funny guy.
  11. Joined
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    28 Mar '11 18:10
    Originally posted by josephw
    The theory of evolution is a mutation of rational thought, and the mutation keeps mutating.

    Reality is mutilated.
    ?
  12. Standard memberRJHinds
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    29 Mar '11 08:14
    Originally posted by shavixmir
    The average male in the Netherlands is 30cm taller than he was in the 60's.

    Or to use another example: the syndrome of Down.
    This is a form of DNA change well documented.

    Or to use another example: The common flu.
    It mutates and becomes resistant to medication every year.

    Or to use another example: A butterfly.
    A caterpillar crawls into a coco ...[text shortened]... ack in Mongolia, surely it would be madness not to adapt your clothing to your surroundings?
    Here is a link that gives a brief summary of the evidence
    against evolution: http://www.changinglivesonline.org/evolution.html
  13. Standard membershavixmir
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    29 Mar '11 08:40
    Originally posted by RJHinds
    Here is a link that gives a brief summary of the evidence
    against evolution: http://www.changinglivesonline.org/evolution.html
    Dear oh dear.

    1a. The universe did not come from nothing. Nothing does not exist. There always was something. The universe as we know it came from something else.

    1b. Doesn't the second law of thermal dynamics, then, mean that God had to have been created as well?

    2. Is God a living thing? No, then he can't have created living things (as the proof given suggests that living things CANNOT come forth from non-living things). Yes? Then God can't exist, because he would have to have come forth from a non-living thing...

    3. I, personally, reckon that religious people are the missing link between Homo Erectus and me.

    4. And now, I have no more time to respond. However, any argument you seem to cough up against evolution automatically excludes the possibility of God existing.

    Weird uh?
  14. Standard membershavixmir
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    29 Mar '11 08:45
    Originally posted by shavixmir
    Dear oh dear.

    1a. The universe did not come from nothing. Nothing does not exist. There always was something. The universe as we know it came from something else.

    1b. Doesn't the second law of thermal dynamics, then, mean that God had to have been created as well?

    2. Is God a living thing? No, then he can't have created living things (as the proof ...[text shortened]... gh up against evolution automatically excludes the possibility of God existing.

    Weird uh?
    5. Time for one more (albeit a cut and paste job):

    How does evolution claim the eye evolved?

    Early primitive organisms were aware of their surroundings, just like primitive organisms today, in very simple ways. Firstly they would be able to sense physical contact, and they would be able to sense chemical inbalances in the water surrounding them. Clearly an advantage would be gained by any creature that could develop some sort of accurate sensory apparatus with which it could analyse its surroundings.

    From the first primitive organisms whose central nervous systems managed to tune slightly more into the reception of light from certain slightly more sensitive cells, these cells would them become more sensitive because they gave the animal possessing them a slight advantage over his peers - he had a slightly heightened sense of danger. These primitive cells would then evolve into clusters of cells, and so on up to the eyes we see today. We are not proposing that the eye suddenly appeared out of nowhere - we are claiming that it evolved gradually over time from something much more primitive.

    Is this plausible?

    Many very tiny organisms today possess eyes. They are not an exclusive property of mammals. For example, most insects possess eyes, some of which are extremely tiny. The function of such eyes is significantly more primitive than those of a human being, but they are still eyes. Study of the various types of life on Earth tell us that the eye has evolved totally separately several dozen times, suggesting that the process can't really be all that complex or unlikely.

    Evolution tells us that large changes can occur over extremely long periods of time, but in tiny steps. The change from a primate's eye to that of a human isn't a very big step. The change from the eyes of common farmyard animals aren't really all that different either. What about rodents? Well they see too, though obviously with a lower resolution and sensitivity than humans. Is it such a big claim to say that an eye the size of a rat's can evolve into one the size of a chimpanzee's? Evolution shows us a way by which that could happen. It might only be a very tiny change at a time.

    The diameter of the human eye is approximately 2.4cm (1 inch). According to this page, the eyeball of a human being grows considerably over the course of a human's life. We don't see that as being remarkable at all. We could investigate the change in size required to grow a rat's eye up to the size of a human's eye over a hundred million years, which is a typical evolutionary timespan. A rat has an eyeball around 4mm in diameter. This is a factor of 6 increase in size.

    A little mathematics shows us that this change of a factor of 6 over 100 million years, assuming geometric growth, corresponds to an increase of 0.0018% in every thousand years. That's not really a remarkable change, is it? If we assume linear growth then we need to increase the diameter of the eye by 0.0002mm (200 nanometres) every thousand years. That's an increase about 500 times thinner than the width of a human hair!

    So we can easily evolve from a rodent's eye to a human's eye in a mere 100 million years, probably significantly less. Remember that we have much longer than this to carry out our entire evolutionary sequence - perhaps twenty or thirty times longer. Is it that much to claim that the eye can develop from a primitive single receptor cell through a slightly more complicated row or receptor cells, through a cluster of cells, right up to a tiny spherical adornment and to the kind of eyes you see in tiny marine animals, all the way up to that of a tiny land animal such as an insect, and through to rodents and humans? I don't think so.

    Remember - all we have to do is to prove that there is a series of small, gradual changes that could lead from a primitive, light-sensitive cell right the way up to the modern eye. We are not claiming that the eye sprang into being fully-formed!

    Evolutionary timescales

    Evolutionary timescales are really surprising, mainly because they are so counterintuitive. You'd be amazed how long a billion years really is! Human beings are used to thinking about things from human perspectives. A human lives about 70-80 years on average, so we consider 100 years to be a long time. In our everyday life, an hour is a long time. Any task which is likely to take an hour to complete we might see as being lengthy. Those who disagree should try doing the washing up at my house after one of my house mate's parties!

    Many people use human arguments to try to disprove evolution, but they are really not disproofs at all. In fact, they contain no logic or reasoning. All they are is supposition. Supposition without factual backing is utterly worthless. In order for an argument to be considered in the scientific world it must be associated with logic and evidence. You can't simply claim things and appeal to reason - you must provide evidence.

    A billion years is a truly enormous time span. There are currently six billion people alive on the Earth. Each one has, on average, 80,000 hairs on their head. You could count all their hairs at a rate of 1 per second in a mere 15 million years. In a billion years you would have the time to go off and rest for a minute between each hair, or alternatively count the hairs on every single human being 66 times! Just imagine what amazingly complicated changes could occur in such a long time.

    Experiments

    Richard Dawkins says the following;


    "Thus the creationist's favourite question "What is the use of half an eye?"
    Actually, this is a lightweight question, a doddle to answer. Half an eye is
    just 1 per cent better than 49 per cent of an eye, which is already better
    than 48 per cent, and the difference is significant."

    In 1994, Dan-Eric Nilsson and Susanne Pelger presented the results of the experiments that they had been running on the evolution of the eye. They wrote computer simulations in order to analyse the rate at which such a complicated optical organ could evolve from a simple initial condition. The abstract of their paper contains the following description;

    "Theoretical considerations of eye design allow us to find routes along which
    the optical structures of eyes may have evolved. If selection constantly
    favours an increase in the amount of detectable spatial information, a
    light-sensitive patch will gradually turn into a focused lens eye through
    continuous small improvements of design. An upper limit for the number of
    generations required for the complete transformation can be calculated with
    a minimum of assumptions. Even with a consistently pessimistic approach the
    time required becomes amazingly short: only a few hundred thousand years."

    Nilsson & Pelger used a few simplifying assumptions in order to carry out this modelling technique. Whenever they were required to make any important assumptions in terms of figures, timescales, rates etc. they always chose the most pessimistic value. That is, the value which would cause the estimated timescale for evolution to be the longest. Even through this technique they discovered that the timescale was of the order of 400,000 years, assuming generations of one year each, i.e. for fish.
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    29 Mar '11 14:231 edit
    Can we get back to the topic? We are in danger of getting side-tracked again.

    RJHinds and Karoly have both accepted everything Proper Knob has stated so far. Kelly's sticking point seems to be that he does not accept that a mutation giving longer/shorter fur can change the likelyhood of an organism surviving a colder/warmer climate.

    I am not sure that the name we give to this process is actually relevant. Does Kelly have a problem with agreeing that the process itself (whether you call it evolution, breeding or just Fionna) makes sense?

    If you can't, then maybe we just chalk this up as the line that Kelly will not cross and we continue with RJHinds and Karoly to find where their lines are.

    --- Penguin.
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