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Author Topic:   Can we accelerate evolution?
Ken Fabos
Member (Idle past 1714 days)
Posts: 51
From: Australia
Joined: 05-09-2010


Message 46 of 77 (580889)
09-12-2010 4:22 AM
Reply to: Message 45 by barbara
09-11-2010 1:03 PM


Re: genetic manipulation isn't evolution...
Whether genetic manipulation is evolution depends on your definition; from Chris Colby's online Introduction to Evolution the definition is pretty basic - "Evolution is a change in the gene pool of a population over time."

The means of such change is not limited to natural selection - "The mechanisms of evolution are mutation, natural selection, genetic drift, recombination and gene flow."

From the definitions he provides it looks like genetic engineering probably might be classed as either mutation or gene flow that comes from outside the species. He gives a natural example of genes being passed between species of fruit fly via a mite. But I suspect deliberate manipulation probably deserves it's own classification. I'd be surprised if, by that fundamental definition as changes to the gene pool in a population, that it can't be considered a form of evolution.


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 Message 45 by barbara, posted 09-11-2010 1:03 PM barbara has responded

Replies to this message:
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barbara
Member (Idle past 2331 days)
Posts: 167
Joined: 07-19-2010


Message 47 of 77 (580908)
09-12-2010 11:22 AM
Reply to: Message 46 by Ken Fabos
09-12-2010 4:22 AM


Re: genetic manipulation isn't evolution...
The principle behind evolution is that it is undirected. The religious/evolutionist debate is argued because religion believes it is directed while evolutionists believe it is the complete opposite.

Genetic engineering performed by scientists is directing its outcome. The effects of it may or may not directly effect other life forms including us. If it does effect them, it is still directed because scientists initiated the process through genetic engineering.

Do you believe that pollution created by humans is evolution? The peppered moth that turned from white to black is labeled as evolution. This situation was a response to its polluted environment by humans.

We can fool ourselves into thinking that the moth evolved by natural selection but was this natural? No!

It is directed (human caused) evolution by unnatural selection. On the other hand, all evolutionary changes result from a changing environment. The difference is humans evolved with a conscious and the awareness to understand the consequences of their actions. Prior to us, no other life form could be held accountable for their actions. Which is why evolution could remain firm in the belief that life is undirected.

If and when genetic engineering becomes successful in manipulating lifeforms it will become directed and you can no longer call it evolution in its current definition.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 46 by Ken Fabos, posted 09-12-2010 4:22 AM Ken Fabos has responded

Replies to this message:
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 Message 52 by Ken Fabos, posted 09-13-2010 4:02 AM barbara has responded

    
AZPaul3
Member
Posts: 3428
From: Phoenix
Joined: 11-06-2006


Message 48 of 77 (580915)
09-12-2010 12:13 PM
Reply to: Message 47 by barbara
09-12-2010 11:22 AM


Re: genetic manipulation isn't evolution...
We can fool ourselves into thinking that the moth evolved by natural selection but was this natural? No!

Say what?!

The moth population changed in response to the environment via natural selection. The fact that the pollution was man made not withstanding. The light colored moths that could no longer hide on the tree trunks were more often eaten by the birds. The darker moths were less often eaten. The reproductive differential broke to the dark moths' favor and in a few generations the dark moths were the majority of the population.

This is evolution. Whether the environmental change was artificial or not, the result was a change in allele frequency in the population by natural selection.

In the issue of gene manipulation, the "selection" process takes place before the organism is conceived and is tailored a priori to fit the environment. Natural selection is precluded. This is not evolution.

Edited by AZPaul3, : No reason given.


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greyseal
Member (Idle past 1391 days)
Posts: 464
Joined: 08-11-2009


Message 49 of 77 (580916)
09-12-2010 12:14 PM
Reply to: Message 47 by barbara
09-12-2010 11:22 AM


Re: genetic manipulation isn't evolution...
Do you believe that pollution created by humans is evolution? The peppered moth that turned from white to black is labeled as evolution. This situation was a response to its polluted environment by humans.

In the case of the moth, the mutation was all natural - the changed environment wasn't, but the fact that a natural mutation suddenly found a niche because of a changed environment (whatever changed the environment) is not the same as having some very intelligent hominids come along and splice in a fish gene or two because it makes the offspring glow in the dark.

One happened naturally - the impetus you can argue wasn't, but the change itself was.

The other not only didn't happen naturally, but never would happen naturally.

You're walking a fine line between the two with animal husbandry and horticulture, but whilst the outcome may similar, the methods are entirely different.

I believe - and yes, it's my opinion here - that direct genetic manipulation isn't evolution, at least not as we know it. indirect genetic mutation is a grey area - the mutations are natural but there is non-random selection by an intelligent interloper. I'm not sure whether to call that sort of genetic engineering "evolution" or not. I'm tempted to say it isn't - by my stance on direct genetic manipulation, it shouldn't be and I should at the very least be consistent.


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 Message 47 by barbara, posted 09-12-2010 11:22 AM barbara has responded

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barbara
Member (Idle past 2331 days)
Posts: 167
Joined: 07-19-2010


Message 50 of 77 (580948)
09-12-2010 3:30 PM
Reply to: Message 49 by greyseal
09-12-2010 12:14 PM


Re: genetic manipulation isn't evolution...
What I am concerned about is by labeling the moth as evolution even though it fits the criteria, it was still a reaction to pollution. Evolution in its definition is a non directed process and no entity of life is responsible for its actions or the reactions it produces in other entities of life.

Until now, can humans really afford to use this as an excuse to avoid taking responsibility in the environmental damage that is obviously affecting the rate of evolution in many species. call it what you what but we are directly responsible for our actions (because we evolved that way) and we are directly creating chemical reactions that is radiating throughout the planet affecting all species of life.
Genetic manipulation requires strict ethical guidelines in that science accepts full financial responsibility and can reverse the affects it will create from it. Seriously, This whole genetic manipulation is dangerous to all life. You might think you know a lot about the intricate details of life but until science resolves the issues of origin, the whole story of life's history may be false.


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greyseal
Member (Idle past 1391 days)
Posts: 464
Joined: 08-11-2009


Message 51 of 77 (580953)
09-12-2010 4:11 PM
Reply to: Message 50 by barbara
09-12-2010 3:30 PM


Re: genetic manipulation isn't evolution...
What I am concerned about is by labeling the moth as evolution even though it fits the criteria, it was still a reaction to pollution. Evolution in its definition is a non directed process and no entity of life is responsible for its actions or the reactions it produces in other entities of life.

All evolution is a reaction to something, that much I can state with surety. Let's take this another way - say a meteor hits the planet and blasts up dust which coats the environment where the moths live with dust. Result - the moths' habitat is now "polluted" and darker-coloured moths are favoured by this new situation.

The selection pressure comes from the environment and the result is the same. I find it hard-put to say in this hypothetical case that one is evolution but the other isn't because the mechanism (the hypothetically dirty environment) is the lever both times.

On the other hand, it's clear that genetic splicing of genes which never were in the moth's lineage is an entirely different kettle of fish.

Until now, can humans really afford to use this as an excuse to avoid taking responsibility in the environmental damage that is obviously affecting the rate of evolution in many species.

life impacts the environment *shrug* you can't avoid it. Even the much-lauded american indians did major damage to their local ecosystem, which hippy-dippy tree-huggers don't often realise. There is no way that life can exist without changing things. A few billion years ago, life itself caused the biggest most lethal ecological disaster which has ever threatened this planet, and it was lethal to almost all life on earth at the time.

The level of oxygen in the atmosphere grew high enough that this highly toxic, poisonous gas wiped out nearly all life on the face of the planet! What a scourge! The planet has never been the same since, and the levels of that toxic, highly-reactive gas have never fallen. What a disaster!

call it what you what but we are directly responsible for our actions (because we evolved that way) and we are directly creating chemical reactions that is radiating throughout the planet affecting all species of life.

This planet will outlast us, by billions of years. Nothing you or anyone else could ever do could, at this point, change that.

What we can do is make life on this planet impossible for us and those we love, and those things we need and love - that is the only crime and it will be our only punishment. If we kill ourselves by fouling the nest that will be it. Just silence for the forseeable future. The great experiment of mind may be over for good.

The universe won't care, the planet won't care. We won't either because we'll be dead. I'd rather like to avoid that, and it's a fascinating topic but it's not relevant to this thread.

Genetic manipulation requires strict ethical guidelines in that science accepts full financial responsibility and can reverse the affects it will create from it. Seriously, This whole genetic manipulation is dangerous to all life. You might think you know a lot about the intricate details of life but until science resolves the issues of origin, the whole story of life's history may be false.

reversing things - you can't ever put the genie back in the bottle. The last time we had such a genie was about 60 years ago, a weapon so fierce that it made direct confrontation impossible. Genetic manipulation though is old hat - we've been doing it for millenia and i seriously doubt we could ever stop.

And origins? No, the search for the origin of life has nothing to do with whether we should be allowed to "force" evolution or even replace it.

I fear this is getting off topic, I may not reply - please start a new thread if you wish to continue, or email me.

Edited by greyseal, : misplaced paste


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Ken Fabos
Member (Idle past 1714 days)
Posts: 51
From: Australia
Joined: 05-09-2010


Message 52 of 77 (581033)
09-13-2010 4:02 AM
Reply to: Message 47 by barbara
09-12-2010 11:22 AM


Re: genetic manipulation isn't evolution...
Barbara, from what I understand not all evolutionary changes are a consequence of changes to environment; mutations happen when genes don't replicate precisely and that has been happening since the start. If that mutation proves useful, even within an unchanged environment, it could lead to greater success of those who carry it. It's not even necessary for change to be beneficial to be passed on; a clever proto human could probably tolerate a lot more maladaption than other species - it could even have been the driving force behind some of the behavioural changes such as the use of clothing, tools and shelter.
Certainly changing environment changes the balance between variations within a population as seen with the moth example; it can provide the tipping point that sees some variants within a population succeed whilst others fail. But it's not a prerequisite to evolution.
I should add that I think it's irrelevant whether we consider genetic manipulation to be a form of evolution or something else - it has the potential to result in accelerated change to the human genome.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 47 by barbara, posted 09-12-2010 11:22 AM barbara has responded

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barbara
Member (Idle past 2331 days)
Posts: 167
Joined: 07-19-2010


Message 53 of 77 (582536)
09-21-2010 9:21 PM
Reply to: Message 52 by Ken Fabos
09-13-2010 4:02 AM


Re: genetic manipulation isn't evolution...
On the positive side of acceleration of evolution, is it possible that species can be inspired from other species to evolve by whatever driving force that allows change?

There is so many species that form partnerships with other species in a mutual relationship based on what special quality each had that made it work well for both of them.

I have 3 cats and one of those cats was abandoned by her mother at a day old so I raised her. Her behavior is not like the other 2 cats. She acts like a dog in that she loves people (especially men) and will meow her head off to them and demand their attention. She uses her paws to pick up pens or anything else she finds. When the other cats are eating from the bowl of food and she wants it she will take her paw and slide the bowl over to her.

She doesn't want to act like a cat and she is more interested in what I am doing. She makes a point to slump over the back of my chair and moan like she is bored and wants me to play with her.

Everyone that meets her loves you but think the way she acts is not typical cat behavior. I wanted to breed her to see if she would past any knowledge on to her kittens. Unfortunately, she didn't want to mate with another cat but a human male. She made it quite obvious that was her intention. Took her to the vet to get her spayed and when I picked her up there was a note attached to her carrier that read "this is one pissed off cat."

Evolution apparently wasn't ready for a cat human yet.


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Replies to this message:
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dwise1
Member
Posts: 2956
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 4.2


Message 54 of 77 (582554)
09-22-2010 3:11 AM
Reply to: Message 53 by barbara
09-21-2010 9:21 PM


Re: genetic manipulation isn't evolution...
Mind you, I'm drawing on my biology class from around 1968. Look up the term imprinting. At a particular age, most mammals imprint on their parents. Not only does that mean that they recognize who their parents are, but it also means that that is how they identify themselves. If a member of a different species is present when imprinting occurs, then that individual will identify themselves as being a member of that other species. Malimprinting has in the past (and present, I'm sure) been used to make pets far more affectionate toward their masters (in some cases, some of which reached back to Rome, even to make sex toys of those pets).

To be honest, I grew up a purely dog-person, though like my late son I am drawn to almost any animal (once at my sister's, she was completely amazed when I approached a feral cat that she had been taking care of and it allowed me to approach it). I don't know cats, but I will try to communicate with a cat on what I think are its terms (as I will with a dog). Which means that I will willingly take on more scratches to my arm than a person normally would.

With my friend who has a cat, I once shared a humorous file that delineated the differences between cats and dogs. For example, dogs have masters, whereas cats have staff.

OK, dogs tend to imprint on their masters. More specifically, dogs have a pack mentality in which their loyalty needs to go to the most dominant dog, which needs to be the dominant human in its ersatz pack. Cats do not share the dog mentality. Understanding that I am not a cat person, I see cats as being more solitary hunters -- exactly how they merge in with humans is unknown to me. I mean, dogs are pack hunters, so it is simple to substitute in the most powerful person in the family as the pack alpha -- that even works well with wolves. But felines are normally solitary hunters, with the exception of lions, but I have no idea what bearing that has on domesticated cats.

All that said, I think that your cat has been malimprinted. Ever hear of Koko? She's a gorilla who was taught sign language. Her real name is Hanabi-ko, "fire flower girl", since her acquisition or projected birth date is 04 July, a date associated with fireworks (AKA, "fire flowers"). She's a gorilla who was raised with signing.; she was the darling of National Geographic. She was given photographs of various entities, both human and none. The photo of her father, which she recognized as such, she put in the "animal" file. Her own photo (as I recall) went into the human file. In the case of another zoo animal, female, who was supposed to mate with another of her kind but refused to, when her male handler tried to comfort her, she presented herself to him sexually.

Evolution apparently wasn't ready for a cat human yet.

Evolutionarily, this is a non-topic.

Psychologically, that is one screwed-up cat. It's already been imprinted, so I don't think there's much of anything you can do about it. Except to love that cat for what it is.


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barbara
Member (Idle past 2331 days)
Posts: 167
Joined: 07-19-2010


Message 55 of 77 (582645)
09-22-2010 1:27 PM
Reply to: Message 54 by dwise1
09-22-2010 3:11 AM


Re: genetic manipulation isn't evolution...
Of course I love you but she is unique and I could go on with other examples in behavior that makes her different but i won''t bore you with it anymore. Thanks for the response.
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Alfred Maddenstein
Member (Idle past 1496 days)
Posts: 565
Joined: 04-01-2011


Message 56 of 77 (615384)
05-12-2011 3:12 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by ProtoTypical
08-31-2010 5:11 PM


Dogmafood writes:

As we gain the ability to manipulate genes, will we be able to effectively hyper accelerate the evolutionary process? Are we becoming the stewards of our own genome? Are we up to it?


That is a wrong question. The theory does not describe any directional process leading from point A to some definite point B. So there could not be any rates of motion applied in its description at all. There is nothing to accelerate towards anything as the process has no goal to reach in any motion at all, if the theory is correct.

Evolution is very bad and misleading term. Those who pretend to defend the theory against...well..creationists..or whoever..are themselves labouring under a flattering delusion about what it all means. The confusion started from Spencer's popularization of the thing and it never ended. Even Nietzsche was clearly labouring under the same delusion when fighting Spencer and al while assuming he had to say anything about Darwin.


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rueh
Member (Idle past 1190 days)
Posts: 382
From: universal city tx
Joined: 03-03-2008


Message 57 of 77 (615385)
05-12-2011 3:52 PM
Reply to: Message 56 by Alfred Maddenstein
05-12-2011 3:12 PM


Alfred Maddenstein writes:

The theory does not describe any directional process leading from point A to some definite point B. So there could not be any rates of motion applied in its description at all. There is nothing to accelerate towards anything as the process has no goal to reach in any motion at all, if the theory is correct.

With natural selection that is true. I think Dogmafood was referring to artificial selection though. Where we can dictate the desired outcome.


'Qui non intelligit, aut taceat, aut discat'
The mind is like a parachute. It only works when it is open.-FZ
The industrial revolution, flipped a bitch on evolution.-NOFX
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Alfred Maddenstein
Member (Idle past 1496 days)
Posts: 565
Joined: 04-01-2011


Message 58 of 77 (615386)
05-12-2011 4:28 PM
Reply to: Message 57 by rueh
05-12-2011 3:52 PM


rueh writes:

Alfred Maddenstein writes:

The theory does not describe any directional process leading from point A to some definite point B. So there could not be any rates of motion applied in its description at all. There is nothing to accelerate towards anything as the process has no goal to reach in any motion at all, if the theory is correct.

With natural selection that is true. I think Dogmafood was referring to artificial selection though. Where we can dictate the desired outcome.


That, of course, can and has been done in all cases of breeding. Yet no acceleration takes place as the artificial selection introduces the very directional motion first which without it is totally absent. The natural selection is not in any hurry in any direction whatsoever so cannot be possibly sped up.
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Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 15950
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 4.6


Message 59 of 77 (615419)
05-12-2011 9:37 PM
Reply to: Message 56 by Alfred Maddenstein
05-12-2011 3:12 PM


That is a wrong question. The theory does not describe any directional process leading from point A to some definite point B. So there could not be any rates of motion applied in its description at all. There is nothing to accelerate towards anything as the process has no goal to reach in any motion at all, if the theory is correct.

Just because something has no goal doesn't mean that it has no direction or speed, nor that it can't be subject to acceleration. A feather on the breeze has no goal, but it can still go faster or slower in this or that direction. The same is true of the evolution of a lineage.

Evolution is very bad and misleading term.

Not to those of us who know what it means. I daresay it would mislead someone who doesn't know what it means, but the same could be said of any other word.

Those who pretend to defend the theory against...well..creationists..or whoever..are themselves labouring under a flattering delusion about what it all means.

I see that mind-reading is amongst the talents that you do not possess.


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Alfred Maddenstein
Member (Idle past 1496 days)
Posts: 565
Joined: 04-01-2011


Message 60 of 77 (615430)
05-12-2011 11:18 PM
Reply to: Message 59 by Dr Adequate
05-12-2011 9:37 PM


Dr Adequate writes:

That is a wrong question. The theory does not describe any directional process leading from point A to some definite point B. So there could not be any rates of motion applied in its description at all. There is nothing to accelerate towards anything as the process has no goal to reach in any motion at all, if the theory is correct.

Just because something has no goal doesn't mean that it has no direction or speed, nor that it can't be subject to acceleration. A feather on the breeze has no goal, but it can still go faster or slower in this or that direction. The same is true of the evolution of a lineage.

Evolution is very bad and misleading term.

Not to those of us who know what it means. I daresay it would mislead someone who doesn't know what it means, but the same could be said of any other word.

Those who pretend to defend the theory against...well..creationists..or whoever..are themselves labouring under a flattering delusion about what it all means.

I see that mind-reading is amongst the talents that you do not possess.


Ok then, give me an example of such direction. Say a feather was floating south for a minute, a gust of wind blew it north, then the wind changed and carried it south-east. What was the direction the wind was speeding it up in? It seems unless you know where you want the feather to go, you can hardly talk about whether the feather was slowed down or sped up in any particular direction at any turn of the wind.
The word's definition is directional change. You think it's a good term for that? I don't know. Especially in the singular. When there are so many directions. Change and transformation of species might be better. Even in the title it says origins and not evolution. He used it sometimes but not overwhelmingly like it is used now.
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 Message 59 by Dr Adequate, posted 05-12-2011 9:37 PM Dr Adequate has responded

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