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Author Topic:   Is there really such a thing as a beneficial mutation?
crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 16 of 223 (342967)
08-24-2006 11:55 AM
Reply to: Message 10 by Frog
08-24-2006 10:00 AM


Information isn't really on-topic in this thread
What is, is how a net gain of genetic information come about?

By mutation. If you change the old information, by definition, the information you have now is new.

Moreover, gene duplication can occur as well. If before you had 1 copy of a gene, and now you have two, by definition you have a net gain of information, because you have an additional amount of information - 1 gene's worth - that you didn't have before the mutation.

That is, the ‘wing-making’ information is lost or scrambled in some way.

Typically information is not lost or scrambled in this way. Typically, mutations such as these occur in the promoter sequence of the gene, which results in it's inactivation. The information is still there; it's merely ignored by the organism.

Are there ‘good’ mutations?

Sure. For instance - immunity to arteriosclerosis, which has arisen by mutation in a small population in Italy. Or a recent mutation that results in comic-book-like superdevelopment of muscles, even in infants.

CCR5 connotes a near-immunity to HIV, and again, this is the result of a mutation.


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Faith
Member
Posts: 31256
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001
Member Rating: 1.1


Message 17 of 223 (342969)
08-24-2006 12:00 PM
Reply to: Message 15 by Wounded King
08-24-2006 11:51 AM


This seems to suggest that any beneficial mutation must also have a downside, there is no reason this need be the case. In fact this seems to be rather jumping the gun and making what should be what you are trying to show into one of your initial assumptions.

Really, no, I simply have not seen any convincing evidence yet.

The process of mutation can produce both beneficial and detrimental mutations, and which is which may depend on the environmental context.

Again, this is definitional, and again it is very hard to see how such a principle could produce what is actually observed of living things. I understand that such a process is very difficult to prove or provide evidence for, but it is so far only a definition, or working hypothesis if you prefer -- and the evidence for its ability to drive evolution is really just not there for whatever reason.

The concept of 'destructive properties' is not a biological one and seems wrapped up in this creationist view of organisms as having some sort of platonically ideal complement of genes from which any change can only be downhill.

Don't get too hung up on my terminology; I'm always reaching for terms to convey what I have in mind, there's nothing hard and fast about them. I consider the creationist view to be a working hypothesis. We all have those, nothing wrong with that.


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Archer Opteryx
Member (Idle past 1734 days)
Posts: 1811
From: East Asia
Joined: 08-16-2006


Message 18 of 223 (342970)
08-24-2006 12:02 PM
Reply to: Message 14 by Faith
08-24-2006 11:34 AM


Beneficial mutation
Your 'questioning' is an argument from incredulity.

Your counterproposal is aesthetic (elegance), not scientific (research).

I do get that mutations do happen that have a beneficial function

Progress.


Archer
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Faith
Member
Posts: 31256
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001
Member Rating: 1.1


Message 19 of 223 (342971)
08-24-2006 12:06 PM
Reply to: Message 18 by Archer Opteryx
08-24-2006 12:02 PM


Re: Beneficial mutation
Your 'questioning' is an argument from incredulity.

Questioning is what one does about a theory that isn't making sense. Dismissing it as an argument from incredulity is just a convenient way of ignoring that it is in fact a reasonable objection to the principle.

Your counterproposal is aesthetic (elegance), not scientific (research).

That is not a counterproposal, it is an observation that brings the definition of evolution into doubt. "Elegance" as in "elegance of function" or "the elegant mathematical precision of the way the DNA chemistry works" is not so easily dismissed as *mere* aesthetics. It describes something that exists, that had to come about by evolution if evolution is true, but appears to be something evolution couldn't have brought about even by accident.

I do get that mutations do happen that have a beneficial function

Progress.

I'm simply getting around to protesting that I get it, it's not a new thing that I get it. I got it from the beginning, but every time I raise a question about its efficacy I'm accused of not getting it. I get it already.

Edited by Faith, : No reason given.


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crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 20 of 223 (342972)
08-24-2006 12:06 PM
Reply to: Message 14 by Faith
08-24-2006 11:34 AM


most of which functions without the compromises and trade-offs accepted as beneficial mutations.

What, really? You can see color in nearly complete darkness? (You could if your retinas were right-side out instead of backwards.) You can eat saturated fats all your life and not have a heart attack? (You could, if you weren't able to digest fruits and vegetables at the same time.)

You have gills? Wings? Hooves? A spleen that can store extra blood to supply during periods of intense physical activity?

You don't have a pelvis wider than your basic stance? If you're a woman, you do. There's a reason why the majority of knee injuries and knee surgeries are performed on women - they don't have straight legs. Their hips splay out, which puts lateral stresses on their knees.

You don't suffer from back trouble, as a result of having an upright posture with a spine designed to act as a horizontal suspension bridge? In the vertical position, the spine is about as sturdy as a stack of quarters - because that's just how it's built.

The human body is nothing but a set of trade-offs. It's designed for an environment. It's maladaptive for other environments.

I get that mutations do happen that have a beneficial function although they also have destructive properties.

What's the destructive property of CCR5? Or the destructive property of lactose tolerance in humans?


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Faith
Member
Posts: 31256
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001
Member Rating: 1.1


Message 21 of 223 (342978)
08-24-2006 12:21 PM
Reply to: Message 20 by crashfrog
08-24-2006 12:06 PM


Well, those are some good answers there. I'll have to think about them.
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crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 22 of 223 (342980)
08-24-2006 12:27 PM
Reply to: Message 21 by Faith
08-24-2006 12:21 PM


Didn't mean to take an abrupt tone, by the way. I'm at work and so I have to be brief. :)
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Wounded King
Member (Idle past 2231 days)
Posts: 4149
From: Edinburgh, Scotland
Joined: 04-09-2003


Message 23 of 223 (342982)
08-24-2006 12:31 PM
Reply to: Message 17 by Faith
08-24-2006 12:00 PM


and the evidence for its ability to drive evolution is really just not there for whatever reason.

All this really seems to mean is that no one has experimentally observed a monkey evolving into a man, this is essentially the same old ludicrous cat gives birth to dog requirement. All of the bacterial studies you decide to ignore show exactly that mutation is the source of the variation upon which natural selection acts and is therefore required for evolution.

If you do 'get' the idea of mutation and evolution then you would not expect to see experimentally observed examples of the evolution of the sorts of complex traits which take great spans of time to evolve. What we might expect to see with the resources we have available we do see.

If we did see such complex traits suddenly developing from nowhere in a population then I would consider that fairly convincing evidence for some form of intelligent design.

TTFN,

WK

Edited by Wounded King, : No reason given.


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Jazzns
Member (Idle past 2047 days)
Posts: 2657
From: A Better America
Joined: 07-23-2004


Message 24 of 223 (342990)
08-24-2006 1:07 PM
Reply to: Message 19 by Faith
08-24-2006 12:06 PM


Re: Beneficial mutation
It describes something that exists, that had to come about by evolution if evolution is true, but appears to be something evolution couldn't have brought about even by accident.

It may be helpful to point out that, given the sequence of evolution, the most drastic novelty was all obtained very early on. It is not as though some advanced creature without eyes then gained eyes via successive mutation. The first eyes were just one primitive trait of a primitive creature that happened to radiate out to all the variety of things decended from it.

Evolution works by adapting what already exists. The basic body plan of the vertebrae has not changed much since fish. There is a very good reason why you don't find vertebrae with 8 legs, compound eyes, or other exotic features. Even though it would have been advantageous to evolve these things, since there was nothing to evolve them from it didn't happen.

Essentially, I am just trying to point out that most of the "big change" beneficial mutations you may be looking for as proof that they can exist took place a long time ago. This is not to say that the other examples of mutations are not valid, it is just simply that creationists seem to want to see something on the order of the eye coming to existance because it is percieved as more notable than how "beneficial" it is to go from fins to legs.

Also, on the subject of loss of information or deterioration, an example that is oft forgotten is the Hemoglobin C mutation in humans. It affords the immunity to malaria similar to sicle cell without the sicle cell disease. Humans being able to make a new type of blood that confers resistance to disease is a significant addition of information and also most certainly is beneficial. It is also an example of something that was not "built-in" to the "genetic potential" of humans. It is a brand new allele.


Of course, biblical creationists are committed to belief in God's written Word, the Bible, which forbids bearing false witness; --AIG (lest they forget)
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Faith
Member
Posts: 31256
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001
Member Rating: 1.1


Message 25 of 223 (342994)
08-24-2006 1:27 PM
Reply to: Message 23 by Wounded King
08-24-2006 12:31 PM


If you do 'get' the idea of mutation and evolution then you would not expect to see experimentally observed examples of the evolution of the sorts of complex traits which take great spans of time to evolve. What we might expect to see with the resources we have available we do see.

Yes, I understand that it's a practical problem, and I don't expect it, I'm simply spelling out what I see as some implications of the basic principle.

However, I think this is going to take the thread in a wrong direction in which we just exchange opinions that can't be supported, so I'll try to get back to the strictly scientific points.


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mjfloresta
Member (Idle past 4129 days)
Posts: 277
From: N.Y.
Joined: 06-08-2006


Message 26 of 223 (343001)
08-24-2006 2:03 PM
Reply to: Message 24 by Jazzns
08-24-2006 1:07 PM


Re: Beneficial mutation
Evolution works by adapting what already exists. The basic body plan of the vertebrae has not changed much since fish. There is a very good reason why you don't find vertebrae with 8 legs, compound eyes, or other exotic features. Even though it would have been advantageous to evolve these things, since there was nothing to evolve them from it didn't happen.

This last sentence is exactly the reason why mutations (or any other method of introducing genetic variation) are insufficient to account for a progression from less complex to more complex life in terms of new information, new body plans, new organs, etc...

Consider the many drosophilia experiments; Over 3000 mutations have occured as the result of radioactive exposure. These mutations have resulted in eyes, wings, and other body parts appearing in atypical locations on the fruit fly (eyes on the legs, extra wings). All of these body parts have been undeniably fruit-flyish (that is, the eyes are fruit fly eyes, the legs fruit fly legs, etc). None of these 3000 mutations have resulted in a more successful fruit fly.

That is not to say that beneficial mutations do not exist; they may (although the term beneficial is very subjective and hard to quantify scientifically) indeed they do if we consider a beneficial mutation to be that which results in leaving more offspring, such as antibiotic-resistant bacteria, wingless beetles, etc...

The point is that beneficial mutations (or any method which introduces genetic variation) plus natural selection is observed to vary a populations traits producing descendants that vary from each other and even from their ancestor. All observed variation however, is variation of the same body plan - not variation of the body plan.

To date, there is no proven mechanism of variation of a body plan - including mutation. Whether through mutations, recombination, polyploidy, chromosome translocations, or any other, all observed variation involves reshuffling, eliminating, or duplicating, (and possibly restoration in the case of gene-reactivation) of the existing genetic material. Never has there been observed the introduction of the genetic material required for novel body plans and organs which have previously been present in that organism.


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ReverendDG
Member (Idle past 2246 days)
Posts: 1119
From: Topeka,kansas
Joined: 06-06-2005


Message 27 of 223 (343005)
08-24-2006 2:22 PM
Reply to: Message 26 by mjfloresta
08-24-2006 2:03 PM


Re: Beneficial mutation
To date, there is no proven mechanism of variation of a body plan - including mutation. Whether through mutations, recombination, polyploidy, chromosome translocations, or any other, all observed variation involves reshuffling, eliminating, or duplicating, (and possibly restoration in the case of gene-reactivation) of the existing genetic material. Never has there been observed the introduction of the genetic material required for novel body plans and organs which have previously been present in that organism.

as WK has said you wouldn't expect this in short spans of time according to ToE, you would see small changes and alterations that would lead up to larger ones thousands of years from now - you will never see this those changes are long range changes.
plus what advantage would having 6 legs over 4 be for most veribrete in this envirment? there isn't one, so it won't change yet

this sounds like you need to check out some books on evolution


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ReverendDG
Member (Idle past 2246 days)
Posts: 1119
From: Topeka,kansas
Joined: 06-06-2005


Message 28 of 223 (343007)
08-24-2006 2:25 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by Wounded King
08-24-2006 7:29 AM


hmm you maybe right, but the thing i read was they found the gene that straightens the link between birds and dinosaurs, it triggered the development of scales instead of feathers in chickens
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mjfloresta
Member (Idle past 4129 days)
Posts: 277
From: N.Y.
Joined: 06-08-2006


Message 29 of 223 (343014)
08-24-2006 3:10 PM
Reply to: Message 27 by ReverendDG
08-24-2006 2:22 PM


Re: Beneficial mutation
as WK has said you wouldn't expect this in short spans of time according to ToE, you would see small changes and alterations that would lead up to larger ones thousands of years from now - you will never see this those changes are long range changes.
plus what advantage would having 6 legs over 4 be for most veribrete in this envirment? there isn't one, so it won't change yet
this sounds like you need to check out some books on evolution

No, what this sounds like is that the evidence is being extrapolating far beyond its warrant;

Forget using the ToE as your pradigm for interpreting the evidence. That's not science. Let's observe the data and see what we know, shall we?

What we see is that there is variation among the individuals of a population. We have confirmed by observation that this variation occurs 1. within species, 2. between species. 3. possibly between genera. Beyond this, no greater level of diversification has been observed - inferred from fossils and other morphological and taxonomical data according to a ToE perspective yes, but we're dealing strictly with the genetic data...

Disregarding all the hype and exaggerated claims, how great has this observed variation actually been? The ToE extrapolates macro-evolution from micro...Yes I know that many ToEers reject such terms but they are used by many evo-scientists and I am using them with specific meanings;

Micro evolution - the observed variation (due to mechanisms like mutations, polyploidy, genetic drift, recombination) of genetic information of a specific population among the individual members of that population.

Before I go on to define Macro-evolution, I must address what kind of variation has been observed due to these mechanisms.

All of these variations are aesthetic (such as eye color) or functional (such as beak size) within the organizational limits of the organisms (eg. a finch's beak may increase or decrease in size, but it remains a finch's beak, nonetheless)

Macro-evolution, then is the introduction of a new body plan or specific organ, not previously present in the organism. This requires levels of information not previously held by the organism. Presumably, these new levels of information would use mutation? as their mechanism...

Artificial selection confirms the tremendous micro-variety present in a population's genetics; Thus, we breed dogs with long hair, short hair, curly hair, no hair...tremendous variation;

Macro-evolution (as I defined it above) has not been observed. Nor have breeding experiments left the door open that it is even possible. It's one thing to say that due to immense time requirements we will never see such diversification. It's another thing to fly in the face of observed experimentation which rather strongly suggests that such diversification can not happen...especially in the absence of a mechanism that would allow it to occur. Accumulation of mutations does not hold water because mutations are in and of themselves are insufficient to account for such alteration of body plans, organs, etc...

To summarize; I see a dichotomy between so-called micro and macro evolution.

There seems to be an incredible amount of genetic diversifying displayed at the species and perhaps genera levels..Most of this diversifying is aesthetic or functional (in the sense that it is acted upon by selection (artificial or natural or other)). But functional differences do not imply a change of structure - merely a modification of an existing one. These functional and aesthetic diversifications have incredible phenotypic results - arising in the incredible diversity we see in the various families - felidae consists of over 40 species of cat..However members of the same family are genetically and physiologicall extremely similar to each other.

So I repeat: to date, there is neither observation nor genetic evidence that new body plans and organs can be arrived at; What is both observed and confirmed by genetics is that variation of existing body plans can be achieved whether through mutations, genetic drift, recombination, polyploidy, or any other means... Furthermore, extensive breeding experiments have shown that there is even a limit to how much variation a specific body plan can undergo.


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Jazzns
Member (Idle past 2047 days)
Posts: 2657
From: A Better America
Joined: 07-23-2004


Message 30 of 223 (343017)
08-24-2006 3:29 PM
Reply to: Message 26 by mjfloresta
08-24-2006 2:03 PM


Re: Beneficial mutation
The point is that beneficial mutations (or any method which introduces genetic variation) plus natural selection is observed to vary a populations traits producing descendants that vary from each other and even from their ancestor. All observed variation however, is variation of the same body plan - not variation of the body plan.

First of all that is just plainly false by direct observation. I didn't say that novelty cannot arise, just that it is harder and that it is not going to be as subjectivly drastic.

Even if what you said is true, which it is not, you still have some pretty drastic changes based on a common body plan. Creationists dispute fish-to-man, reptile-to-bird, both of which are pretty drastic yet follow the same body plan.

To date, there is no proven mechanism of variation of a body plan - including mutation. Whether through mutations, recombination, polyploidy, chromosome translocations, or any other, all observed variation involves reshuffling, eliminating, or duplicating, (and possibly restoration in the case of gene-reactivation) of the existing genetic material. Never has there been observed the introduction of the genetic material required for novel body plans and organs which have previously been present in that organism.

The reason being is just simply that in the beginning, primitive life had no body plans. It was a blank slate. The first breakthrough was being colonial multi-cellular. Then you get specialization which ONLY THEN you start to see some semblance of complexity from which to build on regarding the traits under discussion. The first complex organisms ARE constrained to the limitations imposed on the cell and construction method of colonialism.

Organisms alive today are carrying around billions of years of evolutionary baggage. They/we are constrained by that. This is not necessarily true of the most primitive organisms. This is also inherently seen in the fact that some of the most adaptable organisms on the planet today are also the most primitive.


Of course, biblical creationists are committed to belief in God's written Word, the Bible, which forbids bearing false witness; --AIG (lest they forget)
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