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Author Topic:   An ongoing report on S366:Evolution
Dr Jack
Member (Idle past 185 days)
Posts: 3507
From: Leicester, England
Joined: 07-14-2003


Message 1 of 29 (541593)
01-04-2010 5:02 PM


I've just started studying S366: Evolution as part of my Life Sciences degree with the Open University.

Would an ongoing report of what I'm studying on the course be of interest to the board? As a case study in what real Evolutionary biology (even if only at undergraduate level) covers?

Edited by Admin, : Modify title.


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Coyote
Member (Idle past 186 days)
Posts: 6117
Joined: 01-12-2008


Message 2 of 29 (541597)
01-04-2010 5:26 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Dr Jack
01-04-2010 5:02 PM


I would be interested.


Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.
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Straggler
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Posts: 10284
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 3 of 29 (541600)
01-04-2010 5:37 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Dr Jack
01-04-2010 5:02 PM


Yeah
Yeah. Definitely.
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RAZD
Member
Posts: 19759
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 6.4


Message 4 of 29 (541611)
01-04-2010 6:17 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Dr Jack
01-04-2010 5:02 PM


Hi Mr Jack

quote:
The course is based on the book Evolution by Douglas J. Futuyma (Sinauer, 2005), which is provided. A full colour Companion Text guides the student through the course books.

Sounds like solid source material.

Will they be posting any lecture material, things that could include definitions of evolution, natural selection, speciation, and the ToE in their terms?

Definitely of interest.


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
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Dr Jack
Member (Idle past 185 days)
Posts: 3507
From: Leicester, England
Joined: 07-14-2003


Message 5 of 29 (541688)
01-05-2010 11:22 AM
Reply to: Message 4 by RAZD
01-04-2010 6:17 PM


The Open University has their OpenLearn section which has lecture materials on a variety of subjects, but it doesn't include much from the evolution course, all I could find was Evolution: artificial selection and domestication which doesn't seem to directly relate to anything in my course materials.

Obviously I have access to rather more material; equally obviously I can't freely post it here.

Edited by Mr Jack, : No reason given.


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Admin
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Message 6 of 29 (541695)
01-05-2010 12:55 PM


Thread Copied from Suggestions and Questions Forum
Thread copied here from the "An ongoing report on S366:Evolution" - of interest? thread in the Suggestions and Questions forum.
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Dr Jack
Member (Idle past 185 days)
Posts: 3507
From: Leicester, England
Joined: 07-14-2003


Message 7 of 29 (541698)
01-05-2010 1:24 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by Admin
01-05-2010 12:55 PM


Re: Thread Copied from Suggestions and Questions Forum
Thread Copied from Suggestions and Questions Forum
Thread copied here from the "An ongoing report on S366:Evolution" - of interest? thread in the Suggestions and Questions forum.
Thread copied here from the "An ongoing report on S366:Evolution" - of interest? thread in the Suggestions and Questions forum.

Ah, okay. I was going to create a seperate thread for the actual thing, as it were. This works just as well. Could you perhaps also rename the thread to simply An ongoing report on S366:Evolution?


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Dr Jack
Member (Idle past 185 days)
Posts: 3507
From: Leicester, England
Joined: 07-14-2003


Message 8 of 29 (541702)
01-05-2010 4:48 PM


Section A: Evolutionary Biology
BTW, since the course uses Futuyma's Evolution (1st edition, not 2nd) as it's core text. You could, in principle, pretty much follow along.

(Futuyama pages 1-14, and box 3A on p48-49)

Unsurprisingly, the first section of the course is a pretty gentle introduction, giving a historical perspective on the development of evolutionary theory for the most part. Here, we learn of Lamarck, and the essential differences between Darwin and Lamarck, and the near concurrent discoveries of evolution by Wallace and Darwin.

Darwin's theory is described as being composed of five distinct parts:
evolution as such (i.e. species change over time), common descent, gradualism, populational change and natural selection.

Futuyma then moves on to discuss what happened afterwards, with the general rejection of natural selection as the mechanism of evolution until the 1930s and 1940s when the modern synthesis emerged, and gives a detailed description of the views of the modern synthesis. And brushes through post-synthesis development, particularly molecular genetics, evo-devo and Kimura's neutral theory. It then moves on to discuss the philosophical implications of evolution, and the nature of evolution as fact and theory.

Surprisingly to me, both the companion text and Futuyma launch into scathing attacks on creationism itself, dismissing it as wrong headed pseudoscience, whilst stressing that science has nothing to say on the existence of God per se.

The companion text then guides a leap ahead of Futuyma to a summary of the evidence for evolution, given as eight points: the hierarchical organization of life, homology, embryological similarities, vestigial characters, convergence, suboptimal design, geographic distribution and intermediate forms.

Finally, the section closes with a short video giving a broad overview of evolution, concentrating on homology (discussed in hippos and dolphins) and convergent evolution (illustrated by dolphins and penguins), and looking ahead to some of what will later be discussed in the course.

...

Not a lot of meat here, really, but it's an introduction so I wasn't expecting that much. A clear description of the modern synthesis is probably the only part I wasn't particularly familiar with beforehand.


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RAZD
Member
Posts: 19759
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 6.4


Message 9 of 29 (541718)
01-05-2010 8:00 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by Dr Jack
01-05-2010 4:48 PM


Re: Section A: Evolutionary Biology
Thanks, Mr. Jack,

... convergent evolution (illustrated by dolphins and penguins), ...

ooo, I'm adding that one to my list - between sugar gliders\flying squirrels and killer whale\white sharks ...

... gives a detailed description of the views of the modern synthesis. And brushes through post-synthesis development, particularly molecular genetics, evo-devo and Kimura's neutral theory. ...

Does he provide any new way of looking at the definition of evolution with all these elements? or does he still keep a simple "change in the frequency distribution of alleles ..." approach?

Thanks.

Edited by RAZD, : .


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


• • • Join the effort to solve medical problems, AIDS/HIV, Cancer and more with Team EvC! (click) • • •

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Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16086
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 10.0


Message 10 of 29 (541723)
01-05-2010 8:55 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by RAZD
01-04-2010 6:17 PM


Will they be posting any lecture material, things that could include definitions of evolution, natural selection, speciation, and the ToE in their terms?

Since the course book is written by Futuyma, I'm guessing that there will be no surprises.


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RAZD
Member
Posts: 19759
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 6.4


Message 11 of 29 (541734)
01-06-2010 12:00 AM
Reply to: Message 10 by Dr Adequate
01-05-2010 8:55 PM


updates possible
Hi Dr A,

Yes, the 2005 edition. It is possible that there are new nuances new to the evo or evo-devo world (the next synthesis? phenotype effects?) that could be provided in the course material. I would expect this from a quality course, rather than be tied to "dogma" in the textbook.

Enjoy.


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


• • • Join the effort to solve medical problems, AIDS/HIV, Cancer and more with Team EvC! (click) • • •

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Dr Jack
Member (Idle past 185 days)
Posts: 3507
From: Leicester, England
Joined: 07-14-2003


Message 12 of 29 (541744)
01-06-2010 4:27 AM
Reply to: Message 9 by RAZD
01-05-2010 8:00 PM


Re: Section A: Evolutionary Biology
Does he provide any new way of looking at the definition of evolution with all these elements? or does he still keep a simple "change in the frequency distribution of alleles ..." approach?

"[C]hange in the frequency distribution of alleles ..." is not mentioned explicitly, although the first of the "theories" ascribed to Darwin does mirror that. I've always been of the view it's a downright terrible definition of evolution so I'm not disappointed by that. As for changes with regard to the more modern elements - not in the introduction, although I suspect there's more on that later. Here there's just a few paragraphs summarising the existence of the various recent ideas (although, interestingly, punc eq doesn't even merit a mention).


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Kaichos Man
Member (Idle past 2568 days)
Posts: 250
From: Tasmania, Australia
Joined: 10-03-2009


Message 13 of 29 (541934)
01-06-2010 9:38 PM
Reply to: Message 12 by Dr Jack
01-06-2010 4:27 AM


Re: Section A: Evolutionary Biology
(although, interestingly, punc eq doesn't even merit a mention).

Punc eq is such an opportunistic painted harlot of a theory that you generally have to bang on and on about the lack of transitionals in the fossil record to force it out of the cupboard.

BTW, Happy New Year, everyone.

Edited by Kaichos Man, : botched it


"Often a cold shudder has run through me, and I have asked myself whether I may have not devoted myself to a fantasy." Charles Darwin
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Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16086
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 10.0


Message 14 of 29 (541962)
01-07-2010 3:12 AM
Reply to: Message 13 by Kaichos Man
01-06-2010 9:38 PM


Re: Section A: Evolutionary Biology
Punc eq is such an opportunistic painted harlot of a theory that you generally have to bang on and on about the lack of transitionals in the fossil record to force it out of the cupboard.

That was a very strange sentence. I am mildly curious as to what falsehood it was intended to convey, but I suspect that it would be off topic.


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Dr Jack
Member (Idle past 185 days)
Posts: 3507
From: Leicester, England
Joined: 07-14-2003


Message 15 of 29 (541964)
01-07-2010 4:37 AM
Reply to: Message 13 by Kaichos Man
01-06-2010 9:38 PM


Re: Section A: Evolutionary Biology
Punc eq is such an opportunistic painted harlot of a theory that you generally have to bang on and on about the lack of transitionals in the fossil record to force it out of the cupboard.

The course looks at punc eq in about a month's time, I'm interested to see what it says, especially as I've long since acquired the view that Gould and Eldridge are basically wrong.

BTW, Happy New Year, everyone.

Happy New Year, Kaichos Man.


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