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Author Topic:   Has natural selection really been tested and verified?
Bolder-dash
Member (Idle past 1522 days)
Posts: 983
From: China
Joined: 11-14-2009


Message 1 of 302 (536271)
11-21-2009 7:40 AM


I read recently where an editor of Discovery Magazine stated that Darwin provided a testable mechanism for evolutionary change, and as such it has stood up to the rigors of such testing.

I am not so sure that this is true. Can people point to tests that have verified that natural selection causes evolutionary change? What tests have they conducted? Do these tests accurately mimic the real world?

I would like to stipulate that talking about bacteria (in any form) does not qualify as any type of test, because ultimately we must be taking sexual reproduction, where choices are being made into account-so bacteria is out.

Ok, so what are these tests which prove (or even provide solid evidence for) natural selection is the driver of evolutionary change?

Edited by Bolder-dash, : No reason given.


Replies to this message:
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Admin
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Posts: 12557
From: EvC Forum
Joined: 06-14-2002


Message 2 of 302 (536277)
11-21-2009 7:56 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Bolder-dash
11-21-2009 7:40 AM


Hi Bolder-dash and welcome to EvC!

Your proposal is fine except where you propose your own guidelines. EvC Forum already has a set of Forum Guidelines that are enforced by moderators, and discussion participants are not permitted to add their own. Your preference for focusing on the natural selection of sexual species is fine because that is simply delimiting the topic, but participants do not make the decisions about what constitutes valid discussion. That would be the moderator's realm.

Please edit your opening post to make this minor adjustment, then post a short note to this thread letting me know you're done and I'll take another look.


--Percy
EvC Forum Director

This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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Bolder-dash
Member (Idle past 1522 days)
Posts: 983
From: China
Joined: 11-14-2009


Message 3 of 302 (536279)
11-21-2009 8:34 AM
Reply to: Message 2 by Admin
11-21-2009 7:56 AM


Ok, I have made the changes as requested, but as this forum appears to be moderated exclusively by people on the pro-Darwinian evolution side of the debate, I hope that my previous wording for fairness of discussion is kept in mind.
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AdminNosy
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Message 4 of 302 (536283)
11-21-2009 10:33 AM


Thread Copied from Proposed New Topics Forum
Thread copied here from the Has natural selection really been tested and verified? thread in the Proposed New Topics forum.
RAZD
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Posts: 19544
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Member Rating: 3.3


(2)
Message 5 of 302 (536285)
11-21-2009 11:58 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Bolder-dash
11-21-2009 7:40 AM


Yes.
Hi Bolder-dash, and welcome to the fray.

Has natural selection really been tested and verified?

Yes, in fact it has been tested and verified so many times that it has been validated to a very high degree.

There are so many observations and studies of natural selection causing a shift in the frequency of genetic traits from one generation to the next, that it is difficult not to find cases where it occurs.


Are actual field studies observing the effects on natural selection in undisturbed nature, so we are not even limited to lab studies.

Also see "Natural Selection Examples" - google results

I am not so sure that this is true. Can people point to tests that have verified that natural selection causes evolutionary change? What tests have they conducted? Do these tests accurately mimic the real world?

First you need to define what you mean by "evolutionary change" - so we can see if your meaning is similar to what is used in the science of biology in general and evolution in particular.

In science "evolutionary change" means that the frequency distribution of hereditary traits is different from one generation to the next. I expect you are thinking of something more dramatic than variations on a theme changes.

Second, you need to distinguish between the observable phenomenon of natural selection as a process of life, and the theory of Natural Selection as part of an explanation for the diversity of life as we know it.

I would like to stipulate that talking about bacteria (in any form) does not qualify as any type of test, because ultimately we must be taking sexual reproduction, where choices are being made into account-so bacteria is out.

Curiously, natural selection involves survival and reproduction, such that those individuals which are more successful at surviving and reproducing will pass on more genes to the next generation than those that are less successful. It doesn't matter if reproduction is sexual or asexual.

Ok, so what are these tests which prove (or even provide solid evidence for) ...

In science - all science - nothing is proven. The best we have are highly validated theories with mountains of evidence supporting the theory and no contradictory or anomalous evidence. The best we can say is that this means that the theory is a good approximation of the truth.

Gravity fits this level of validation.
Natural selection fits this level of validation.

Thus the solid evidence available provides a sound basis for concluding that the theory is a good approximation of the truth.

... provide solid evidence for) natural selection is the driver of evolutionary change?

Natural selection is only part of the process of evolution, the change in hereditary traits in populations from generation to generation - other major contributors are mutation and genetic drift. Mutation provides new variations to the mix of hereditary traits that are then susceptible to the action of natural selection, and genetic drift is where stochastic effects (natural disasters etc) change the population that is then left for evolution by mutation and natural selection.

So, what you mean by "evolutionary change"? What do you expect to see?

Enjoy.

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This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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Blzebub 
Suspended Member (Idle past 3133 days)
Posts: 129
Joined: 10-10-2009


(2)
Message 6 of 302 (536288)
11-21-2009 12:45 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Bolder-dash
11-21-2009 7:40 AM


Can people point to tests that have verified that natural selection causes evolutionary change? What tests have they conducted? Do these tests accurately mimic the real world?

Here's a fascinating, and rather timely, example of natural selection in homo sapiens (not a type of bacterium!):

http://www.mrc.ac.uk/Newspublications/News/MRC006502

quote:

Lead author Professor John Collinge, Director of the MRC Prion Unit said:

“It’s absolutely fascinating to see Darwinian principles at work here. This community of people has developed their own biologically unique response to a truly terrible epidemic. The fact that this genetic evolution has happened in a matter of decades is remarkable. Kuru comes from the same disease family as CJD so the discovery of this powerful resistance factor opens up new areas for research taking us closer to understanding, treating and hopefully preventing a range of prion diseases.”



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slevesque
Member (Idle past 2533 days)
Posts: 1456
Joined: 05-14-2009


Message 7 of 302 (536295)
11-21-2009 2:21 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Bolder-dash
11-21-2009 7:40 AM


A better question would be, if natural selection's little brother sexual selection has been tested. I would find that more interesting (because I think we all agree natural selection is a real thing and that it has been tested)
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Blzebub 
Suspended Member (Idle past 3133 days)
Posts: 129
Joined: 10-10-2009


Message 8 of 302 (536296)
11-21-2009 2:28 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by slevesque
11-21-2009 2:21 PM


A better question would be, if natural selection's little brother sexual selection has been tested.

What do you mean by "tested"? There are innumerable examples of sexual selection in nature. As usual, a little light googling will turn them up for you .

Edited by Blzebub, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
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slevesque
Member (Idle past 2533 days)
Posts: 1456
Joined: 05-14-2009


Message 9 of 302 (536301)
11-21-2009 2:51 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by Blzebub
11-21-2009 2:28 PM


Takahashi, M., and others, Peahens do not prefer peacocks with more elaborate trains, Animal Behaviour 75(4):1209–1219, 2008

I found this, does it count ? (I mean, of sexual selection can't explain the very thing Darwin thought of it for ...)


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Coyote
Member
Posts: 6117
Joined: 01-12-2008


Message 10 of 302 (536306)
11-21-2009 3:55 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by slevesque
11-21-2009 2:51 PM


Minor corrections
Takahashi, M., and others, Peahens do not prefer peacocks with more elaborate trains, Animal Behaviour 75(4):1209–1219, 2008

First, you have the title of that article wrong. The correct title is:

Do peahens not prefer peacocks with more elaborate trains?

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=...

You may consider this picky, but if you are going to try to do science you must learn to be very precise.

Second, this study may not be as clear cut as creationists would like. Here is a response:

http://pandasthumb.org/archives/2008/10/choosey-peahens.html

Highlight:

...as I noted in a guest entry on Denis Ford’s “This Week in Evolution”. Essentially, the paper has two major problems (my article deals with some other minor ones as well):
  1. The authors used a different methodology to determine male reproductive success than the other studies, which makes comparing them very difficult. While the British and French studies measured male reproductive success by observed successful copulations, the Japanese one estimated the number of successful copulations, based on female pre-copulatory behavior.
  2. The genetic variance in tail morphology in all of the studies was very low (Takahashi et al.’s study had the lowest), which only magnifies the differences in methodology. Small differences in number of successful copulations have greater weight because the very low variation makes determining any kind of selection very difficult.

The main thrust of my article is that the differences in methodology for determining male reproductive success were magnified by the very low variance in the trait, invalidating comparison between the studies. It should be noted that Marion Petrie and Adriane Loyau, primary authors of two of the three major studies confirming peahen’s preference for more elaborate male trains, are in the process of publishing a reply to Takahashi et al’s paper.

Did you perhaps get that title from a creationist website? If so, it should serve as a reminder that you should always check a few non-creationist sources to see if the creationist websites are lying to you.


Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.
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Granny Magda
Member (Idle past 81 days)
Posts: 2372
From: UK
Joined: 11-12-2007


(1)
Message 11 of 302 (536308)
11-21-2009 4:15 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by Coyote
11-21-2009 3:55 PM


Re: Minor corrections
Did you perhaps get that title from a creationist website?

Like this one for example?

http://creation.com/peacock-tail-tale-failure

A very shallow and self-serving article it has to be said. As usual, creationists who pour scorn upon science generally are quite happy to accept any paper that seems to confirm their biases, without the least bit of critical analysis.

Mutate and Survive


"A curious aspect of the theory of evolution is that everybody thinks he understands it." - Jacques Monod
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Blzebub 
Suspended Member (Idle past 3133 days)
Posts: 129
Joined: 10-10-2009


Message 12 of 302 (536309)
11-21-2009 4:31 PM
Reply to: Message 11 by Granny Magda
11-21-2009 4:15 PM


Re: Minor corrections
quote:
The researchers judged tail quality in two ways.....

The researchers were not peahens. A retardation dot com special.


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 Message 11 by Granny Magda, posted 11-21-2009 4:15 PM Granny Magda has acknowledged this reply

slevesque
Member (Idle past 2533 days)
Posts: 1456
Joined: 05-14-2009


Message 13 of 302 (536311)
11-21-2009 4:46 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by Coyote
11-21-2009 3:55 PM


Re: Minor corrections
The title is correct. It's just because there were two articles with similar titles and you got the wrong one. Here is the correct link:

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=...

The one you linked was a research done by Loyau, and this one by Takahashi. And yes, I did get the title from a creation.com article, and I do think you pressed the ''lie!'' button rather quickly


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Blzebub 
Suspended Member (Idle past 3133 days)
Posts: 129
Joined: 10-10-2009


Message 14 of 302 (536313)
11-21-2009 5:17 PM
Reply to: Message 13 by slevesque
11-21-2009 4:46 PM


Re: Minor corrections
Durrrrrrr!

You creationists are funny. Are there no depths you will not plumb in your pathetic quest to prove the bible is true? Have you guys ever heard of "cognitive dissonance"?


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Blzebub 
Suspended Member (Idle past 3133 days)
Posts: 129
Joined: 10-10-2009


Message 15 of 302 (536315)
11-21-2009 5:19 PM


P.S.

The OP question has been answered. If you must talk about sexual selection, I would suggest a new thread. I wouldn't advise it, though.....


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