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aknerd
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aknerd
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Evolution!

People LOVE to "debate" evolution. But that's silly, and doesn't really solve anything. If you are in a debate about whether or not evolution is a valid theory, you are either debating someone who has little to no idea what what evolution is, or ARE the person who has little to no idea what evolution is. That doesn't sound like very much fun, so let's not do that, okay?

Instead, this thread will be about topics in evolution, because it is much more entertaining to talk about specific cases and ideas than one big overarching theory. The topics will be chosen by whoever has the best topic, with all "lesser" topics being ignored and forgotten.

Now, I'll start us off with what actually made me want to start this thread: randomness. I was reading Mage's post at the bottom of this thread, and immediately thought about genetic drift.

Here is a classic example of genetic drift in a fruit fly population:

Basically, genetic drift states that random sampling has a lot to do with the evolution of small populations. Think about it: say you have a population of four individuals, two males and two females. One female homozygous allele for blue fur, the others all have a homozygous allele for red fur. Mating between blue and red fur produces a heterzygous purple fur creature. We would therefore expect the next generation to have some purple and red individuals, and the one after that to have all three colors represented. Basic Mendelian stuff.

Now, it gets interesting. Lightening strikes the blue female. She's dead, and will never reproduce. Now, all individuals in this population will be forevermore purely red. Note that this is regardless of the fitness of these genes. Blue fur might have been much more beneficial (perhaps these creatures lived in blue grass, and it provided camouflage), due entirely to random events (as opposed to evolutionary pressures) it is RED fur that becomes fixed in the population.

Going back to and contradicting Mage's comment from before, due to genetic drift, having the same selective factors won't guarantee a particular evolutionary outcome, due to simple random events.

So.... Discuss?

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Moegreche
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Just a few more points, I guess. I can't seem to walk away from a bad argument

Big bang attempts to explain this ... The big bang theory sais that a tremendous explosion began the universe.


The author clearly doesn't understand the big bang theory. But that's not even the point. Some heavy elements likely formed during the big bang, but carbon comes from stars. The process is so elegant and beautiful that I feel like the author is missing out on an amazing part of the universe.

Based on the sun's rate of nuclear fusion, the Russian scientists found the sun to be 10,000-30,000 years old.


I'm not aware of this study, but it's obviously wrong. The Earth itself wouldn't have formed until well after our Sun. Creationists do have a tendency of cherry picking or misapplying studies to get the results they want. But the author is trying to hinge his/her argument on a terrible study (if, in fact, it exists).

3)Population Statistics


I'm having trouble following this point. Even if I could, I have next to no knowledge about population growth so weighing in here would be imprudent. I am curious how these numbers are derived, however. We couldn't, for example, take our current population growth and extrapolate it backwards. And without actual birth and death rates for that time, it's wholly unclear how a population growth rate could even be guessed at.

4)McFall & Taylor Trail Footprints


This was a site that was heavily studied in the 60s and 70s by so-called creationist scientists. Because of their recognised bias, I don't consider these groups to be genuine scientists (and I'm certainly not alone in this). But this site - and sites like these - have been debunked for a variety of reasons.

5)Lysosome

and
7)The Digestive System


Both of these are examples of what is called irreducible complexity. I'd be happy to go into detail about how these sorts of arguments don't work. For now, though, I will say that I do have expertise in this area and I can assure you that they just don't work.
Moegreche
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Sorry, triple post but I just found this in the comments from the author:

Again, population statistics is a science, not conjecture. 1% growth, every 82 years 1/3 dies, and if you being with 2 modern humans from 41,000 years ago


So s/he is using modern population growth and assuming that the population has grown at a constant rate since the first humans. This is an obviously false assumption.
HahiHa
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Sorry for addressing the points in reverse order, it was just easier this way. Anyway, I'd like to show some of the weak points of the argumentation you quoted, but I also want to mention two things. First, who is the author of all of this? Second, stop with the swearing and bashing evolution. It discredits you and is simply offensive.

The Probability of Cell Development

This argument is simply moot. First the probability named is likely made up. More importantly, evolution is not about complex structures forming out of nothing. At first there were simple structures (to understand how such structures could have formed, please relate to the theory of abiogenesis (the video linked is really good)); over time, those structures got better, they evolved. It's not a random, unique improbable event, it's a long, highly probable process of adaptation.

7)The Digestive System

This point, like the next, does not understand the real nature of evolution. It assumes that digestive acids were always as strong as they are today, but that's silly. The digestive system evolved as a whole, the protective layer was always sufficiently adapted to the strength of the acid. Does the term coevolution ring a bell?

5)Lysosome

Again this shows a lack of understanding of the evolutive process. Basically the single parts were simpler at the beginning, and coevolved to the modern complex system; assuming the single elements were floating around and randomly assembled is kind of silly, and so far I've only seen creationist say things like that.

4)McFall & Taylor Trail Footprints

This little gem is debunked and explained here:
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/paluxy/tsite.html

3)Population Statistics

This seems arbitrary at best. Do those calculations take into account, that our ancestors did not live in well-developed industrial societies, and that generation times were not the same? If anything, the bible is even less credible as it states the first humans lived a few centuries old.

2)The Age of the Sun (Russian Sun Study and Earth's Magnetic Field)

First I'm going to ask you to link us to this wonderful Russian paper, or at the very least cite it.

Then, I'm not an astrologist. But this might be of relevance:
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-solar.html#_Toc430357876.

There's also the wikipedia article, where you'll find plenty of references.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun#Theoretical_problems

1)The Structure of Protons in the Nucleus

I'm not a physicist, so I'm not sure I'll be able to address this. Do you actually understand where the problem is, here, or did you just copy it?

Anyway, concerning the Big Bang: first, it is not an explosion in this sense, more of an expansion; second, who says it started out of nothing? And lastly, last I knew, the model of the big bang could satisfy most physicist concerning how the different atoms appeared.
Freakenstein
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Oooh look what I found: plagiarism!

[url]http://www.biology-online.org/biology-forum/about22923.html[/url]
[url]http://churchsalt.com/2010/04/08/post-modern-bloodhounds/[/url]

TheMastaPlaya's post is deleted.

There is no harm in posting links to support your arguments, but try doing the responsible thing and:

think for yourself

Instead of copy/pasting material from someone who is not a scientist trying to refute scientific principles arguing as if he is one.

Salvidian
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1)The Structure of Protons in the Nucleus


First of all, I don't see what atoms have to do with evolution. As far as my understanding goes, evolution is primarily a biological phenomenon (despite scientific hierarchical overlapping). Secondly, the big bang has nothing to do with evolution... They're entirely separate theories...

2)The Age of the Sun (Russian Sun Study and Earth's Magnetic Field)


Age of the earth.
Age of the sun.

If unnamed Russian scientists claim to have information countering empirical evidence, they're dead wrong. It wouldn't hurt to post a link or something showing where the numbers came from.

3)Population Statistics


1. Population is effected by lots of factors.
2. Try millions of years, not thousands.

That's what I wanted to add.
09philj
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This was in the theism and atheism thread and posted by themastaplaya:

DNA doesn't hold the genetic information to create anything other than another one of that kind of animal.


It's called mutation. Sometimes an organism's DNA changes randomly. Sometimes a little, sometimes a lot. This means it's offspring are different too.

For the benefit of the people who still get mixed up about evolution, I will explain it now in simple steps.

1. In a species, there is variation between members of the species. This can be proved by noticing that everyone is different.
2. Some members of a species have a mutation that may make them more likely to survive and breed.
3. Over time, all members of the species in an area will gain the mutation.
4. When these three steps are repeated over and over for millions of years, characteristics will become more or less predominant depending on how well they aid survival and breeding chances. This means that the original species is now very different. Events such as climate change that mean that reduce survival chances for all except the best adapted accelerate evolution.
09philj
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Sorry for double post, but just had thought: If those steps are wrong (and they could be), for clarity please repost the whole thing with changes. This should reduce confusion.

Freakenstein
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no one has yet seen the so called missing link that would give evolution some credit.


Every fresh new generation of a species is a Transition, if you want to be less specific. We say "missing link" because we're looking for "significant" changes in genetic makeup, but the true definition of "transition species" deals with the change in genetic makeup on a generation-by-generation basis.

In short, yes, we have found "missing links". We will still have missing links until we provide every hundred thousand generations of populations from one phylogenetic line to the next.

Remember Mastaplaya: Evolution is a Theory. This means Evolution has a substantial amount of evidence to support it. This is what the definition of a scientific Theory is.
pangtongshu
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In regards to the "Transitional species" idea, I would like to point out how immensely difficult it is to pinpoint and exact moment when a true "transition" has taken place.

http://i.imgur.com/xWpvw.jpg

This metaphor helps give an idea of what I mean.
(from Reddit)

FishPreferred
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FYI: Evolution is an extreme exaggeration of adaptation,


No; evolution is the necessary product of adaptation. Your following point does nothing to corroborate this. Therefore it is an unsubstantiated claim. Therefore, calling its refutation "[...] childish and quarrelsome" is itself both childish and quarrelsome. Therefore, you sir are a hypocrite.

something that can only, however, occur within a certain group of like species (ex. whales can only adapt in other but similar kinds of whales. Whales cannot adapt into geese)


This is because geese already exist as a distinct class of species. Full convergent evolution from one to the other would require at least another 2 billion years under ideal conditions, so don't pull the old "so how come two X don't give birth to Y" argument (where X and Y are vastly distinct organisms).

Alright then. The whole idea that animals/people can evolve into entirely different animals ignores that a given animal's DNA doesn't hold the genetic information to create anything other than another one of that kind of animal.


(09philj already went over this, but maybe a recap will help. Id est, I'm not willing to go through it and cut out the redundant points here.)

On the contrary, there is a plethora of vestigial DNA common to all animals (people included). Furthermore, this is not a matter of one species suddenly and miraculously morphing into another with its own fully developed and distinct traits. This is a matter of accumulating small changes in DNA. These changes are very common. More common, to put things in perspective, than all cases of cancer, all cold sores, and all freckles and moles combined. When it occurs in sex cells, it can result in offspring with a minutely different genetic code. Minute differences build up slowly. This is why many blind cave-dwelling creatures have vestigial eyes, by the way.

Also, no one has yet seen the so called missing link that would give evolution some credit. A few pig bones found in Africa do not provide evidence of a missing link.


Actually, they have. Bear with me; "missing links" have been cropping up for centuries. The trouble? Someone always demands more. Whenever a new "link" is discovered, some creationist triumphantly points skyward and declares two more "missing links" (the one before and the one after) which must be proven to exist. This is what's known as moving the goalposts.

Haha! I knew you'd do this when I found some good facts on this subject.


The problem here is that what you regard as "good facts" are neither factual nor, by most standards, good. Just finding that some guy uses pseudo-scientific terms to establish conviction is not enough.

All evolutionists that don't want to listen do this- ignore the facts and look for junk to nit pick.


This is my favourite kind of irony. Can you not see that this is exactly what your pal Tomn is doing?

The application of population growth rate has been estimated at 2%, yet it has been shown to be 1%. Every 82 years, one-third of the population is wiped out by disease, war, etc. If these rules are applied, over the course of 41,000 years, according to the observed science of population statistics, there would be 2x10^89 humans in existence today.


The estimated current rate of population growth is between 1% and 2%. This is so far from the actual rate between paleolithic and mediaeval periods that I can't even find an analogy for it. What about wars? What about the historical plagues? What about infant mortality? What about the total absence of dating sites?

It looks like all of these "facts" have been successfully refuted, and the ball is once again in your court.
MageGrayWolf
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I see many have already addressed the link. Given that I will address your first post.

Alright then. The whole idea that animals/people can evolve into entirely different animals ignores that a given animal's DNA doesn't hold the genetic information to create anything other than another one of that kind of animal.


We do have many examples of new genetic information developing in species. One of my favorite examples is with the Italian wall lizard who through such a development gained a new digestive system.

The word "kind" is often very misleading and often used by creationists as a means to move the goal post. There was a point where "kind" was pretty much synonymous with the classification of species. Of course as we kept finding new species evolve before our very eyes, the goal post for what was being looked for was moved to be more akin to that of the classification of family, something we haven't directly observed occur as we have with speciation.
However we can indirectly observe such an evolution through the fossil record and by observations in our own genetics. We can construct a phylogenetic tree of life just by looking at the genome of our self and other animals. We do this by looking for certain markers such as changes as the result of retroviruses. For example if we find the same exact change in the same exact spot in a human and a chimp, we know from that there was a common ancestor to both of us. We can then track that change back to when that occurred and we can do this with all living animals.
We can construct an almost identical phylogenetic tree of life from that of the example above by looking at the fossil record and where those fossils were found (which we shouldn't be able to do if evolution were not true.)

Now I don't know if you accept variation in a species, or if you accept that speciation can occur (a new species within the same "kind&quot but if you do accept that. What's preventing the process from going further to the point were that new species appears so different that it can no longer be recognized by it's traits as being what it once was?

"Also, no one has yet seen the so called missing link that would give evolution some credit. A few pig bones found in Africa do not provide evidence of a missing link."

We have many rather complete branches tot he tree of life, including that of humans. We have far more than a few pig bones found in Africa to support evolution.
As for the pig bones I find this statement rather interesting as it seems you are trying to play up on on Nebraska man, which despite what creationists like to claim didn't actually fool the scientific community and the artist rendering that is often held up as evidence of being fooled was done by a news paper, not the scientists. This example plays no role in or current understanding of evolution today.

9th Foundational Falsehood of Creationism
10th Foundational Falsehood of Creationism
MageGrayWolf
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In regards to the "Transitional species" idea, I would like to point out how immensely difficult it is to pinpoint and exact moment when a true "transition" has taken place.


I think it should also be noted that a transitional species is determined morphologically rather than genetically. So it's not dependent that a species be a direct ancestor to be a transitional.
HahiHa
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To specify even closer what to expect from a transitional species, it might be worth to note that each and every species in time was well adapted to its environment; maladaptive chimaeras between two species (like a croc-bird) are usually a figment of creationist imagery and have no place in evolutionary theory.

MageGrayWolf
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@themastaplaya

I would like to ask if you could define evolution for me in your own words? I ask as I want to get an idea of what you think you're arguing against exactly.

09philj
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Creationist logic in another context for illustration and/or cheap laughs: Nobody has been back in time to see the Easter island heads being put up, therefore the easter island heads were definitely deployed from space by aliens.

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