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Author Topic:   The Electric Eel - more evidence against evolution
fred2353
Junior Member (Idle past 2477 days)
Posts: 1
From: wynnum
Joined: 06-14-2012


Message 1 of 101 (665584)
06-14-2012 10:37 PM


look at the electric eel.

it electrocutes everything near it and doesn't die.

if it "evolved" to electrocute things, it would die from the shock.

it couldn't have "evolved" the ability to withstand electric shocks, because it wouldn't have needed to till it started electrocuting things.

it must have been created with both at the same time, or they all would have died.

Edited by Adminnemooseus, : Added "The Electric Eel -" to topic title.


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Adminnemooseus
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Posts: 3883
Joined: 09-26-2002


Message 2 of 101 (665586)
06-14-2012 10:55 PM


Thread Copied from Proposed New Topics Forum
Thread copied here from the The Electric Eel - more evidence against evolution thread in the Proposed New Topics forum.

Added by edit:

Evolution side - Be nice or you may be punished.

Edited by Adminnemooseus, : See above.


    
Minnemooseus
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Posts: 3725
From: Duluth, Minnesota, U.S. (West end of Lake Superior)
Joined: 11-11-2001
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Message 3 of 101 (665587)
06-14-2012 11:21 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by fred2353
06-14-2012 10:37 PM


First, there was the low powered eel
if it "evolved" to electrocute things, it would die from the shock.

it couldn't have "evolved" the ability to withstand electric shocks, because it wouldn't have needed to till it started electrocuting things.

Hopefully, we'll have a discussion of Electric Eel evolution, but it's probably not going to involve me.

My comment - What if it evolved its electric generation capability and its withstanding electric shock ability at the same time? Why would electric shock resistance have to be evolved later?

it must have been created with both at the same time, or they all would have died.

Or it evolved both at the same time.

Moose


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Coyote
Member (Idle past 278 days)
Posts: 6117
Joined: 01-12-2008


(3)
Message 4 of 101 (665590)
06-14-2012 11:49 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by fred2353
06-14-2012 10:37 PM


Electric organ discharges are common
Sorry to rain on your parade, but there are quite a few species which exhibit what are called "electric organ discharges."

From a recent article:

The electric organs specialized for generating either low or high voltage or high current pulses are modified from muscle cells or from branched nerve endings. Electric organ cells (electrocytes) maintain a standing emf between inside and outside by ion pumps, like ordinary cells. They can be discharged by brief signals from the synchronized electromotor nerve cells in the spinal cord, under brain control. Nerve endings by one of several arrangements first discharge one face of the electrocytes and then the other, while the faces are anatomically patterned to add their pulses either in series (electric eel) or in parallel (Torpedo).

Diversity is conspicuous in the temporal pattern of electric organ discharges (EOD). Some species are called “pulse fish” because the EODs iterate at a low and irregular repetition rate (intervals several to many times the duration of the single pulse). Others are “wave fish” because the intervals are brief and regular (equal to or little longer than discharge duration) – reaching regularities higher than any other known biological rhythms. Each discharge is commanded by a special brain nucleus that receives and integrates multiple inputs and is usually relayed through one or more synapses in the brain stem and again in the spinal cord, besides the last junction between efferent axon and electrocyte. The regularity of the EODs can be controlled by the brain and routinely shows a very small variation. It is not yet clear what situations or states of the brain are associated with higher or lower regularity or what selective advantage such extremely low variation confers. Presumably this advantage lies in the domain of detecting or assessing objects that distort the instantaneous electric field of the EOD – the signal analyzed by the electroreceptive system. Source

From this article, it appears that there is quite a range of electric organ discharges among different species.

Electric organs are known in some species of skates (rajoid elasmobranchs) and electric rays (torpinoids), without clear indication whether there was only one or more than one independent “invention”. The EOD of skates is weak and probably mainly functions in communication between members of the same species, for example in reproductive behavior. The EOD of Torpedo is high in current but low in voltage and, whatever else it does, certainly contributes to catching prey fish by disorienting their swimming. Electric organs are known in a number of bony fish, including several species and maybe whole families of catfishes (Siluriformes) including one with a strong EOD (Malapterurus), the others being weak, presumably social communicating systems; probably all of the New World knife fishes (Gymnotiformes) which includes the classical, high voltage, low current electric eel (Electrophorus), all species of the African order of Mormyriformes (elephant nose and many others); one family of stargazers (Astroscopidae) with EODs of very moderate strength and quite unknown function. It seems likely that evolution has discovered how to make and make use of electric organs at least five times, independently and possibly more – an outstanding case of parallel evolution, possibly exceeded however by the number of plesiomorphic features independently invented for electroreception. Diversity on the motor side includes a variety of forms of innervation of the electrocytes in mormyrids, where these cells have stalks that in some species penetrate the flat disk-like electrocyte and receive motor nerve endings at a circumscribed part of the stalk. Studies of the mitochondrial DNA sequencing of many species permit conclusions about which form of innervation was primitive and which was derived and agree very well with phylogeny based on anatomical characters (Alves-Gomes and Hopkins, 1996).

From this one article alone, found during a brief google search, it appears that all of your points are refuted.

Unless you have more information than you posted in your initial post, the evidence that is easily found on the web suggests the opposite of what you are claiming: it suggests an evolution of electric organ discharges among a variety of species, along with the kind of diversity that would be expected from natural origins.


Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.

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Dr Adequate
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Posts: 16097
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Message 5 of 101 (665592)
06-14-2012 11:58 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by fred2353
06-14-2012 10:37 PM


Obviously the first thing we need to know in order to explain this is how an electric eel doesn't electrocute itself. You haven't researched this at all, have you? So, you tell me what the mechanism is, and I for my part will tell you how it evolved. Deal?
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dwise1
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Posts: 3496
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 5.0


(1)
Message 6 of 101 (665596)
06-15-2012 1:58 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by fred2353
06-14-2012 10:37 PM


fred, I've been following this so-called "creation/evolution controversy" (the only semblance of a controversy is purely of creationist manufacture) for a little more than thirty (30) years now. From your very first message posted here, I would assume that you have arrived much more recently, with it very likely that this is your first time to post to a forum with "evolutionists" on board. In my time, I've seen a lot of creationist claims and have tried to discuss them with the creationists presenting those claims. I very quickly learned that the surest way to anger a creationist was to take him seriously and try to discuss his own claim with him. The best reason I've been able to piece together (since they were not forthcoming with that information) is that they themselves had no idea what they were talking about; they were unable to discuss the claim because they were just repeating some "convincing-sounding" claim they had heard with no understanding of the science involved. I very much suspect that that is your own situation here.

Rest assured that on this forum you will be expected to be able to discuss and to support any claim you make.

As another part of your orientation here, there's an acronym used here that you need to learn: PRATT (Point Refuted A Thousand Times). If you continue to spend any time here, you will see it often. It describes mostly all creationist claims, since we've seen them for decades and they were all been soundly refuted decades ago, so thanks to the P.T.Barnum Principle ("a sucker born every minute") as each new generation of misinformed creationist comes bravely forward with the same old nonsense from decades ago, we find ourselves yet again, for the thousandth time (and more), having to repeat the same refutation that destroyed that claim decades ago. Some of us get sick and tired of having to repeat ourselves all the time. Please be understanding when we become impatient with you posting PRATTs.

Many PRATTs are based on creationists' really screwed-up ideas of how evolution is supposed to work. All creationists know are the nonsensical gross misrepresentations of evolution and other science that the creationist propagandists churn out and feed you like fois-gras ducks. What they have told you is wrong. Proceeding from those false misrepresentations of evolution, all that their claims and arguments against "evolution" actually demonstrate is that their false misrepresentations of evolution are wrong. Since they never ever actually address evolution itself, none of their claims and arguments have anything to say about evolution itself.

That is the fundamental problem with your electric eel claim: it is based on a mistaken idea of how evolution is supposed to work. You are expecting evolution to produce a fully functional complex system in pretty much a single step. A key underlying assumption in that expectation is that until that system is fully formed it is completely useless. Of course that couldn't happen, but then you aren't actually talking about how it would have actually evolved. While I haven't seen this particular claim before, it clearly belongs to a class of PRATTs that includes the bombadier beetle and the human eye. In the case of the eye, the mistaken idea is that until it is fully formed it can serve no function -- "What good is half an eye?" -- , whereas in reality we find every stage of the development of the eye in nature where each stage, each "fraction of an eye", is functional and beneficial to the animal possessing it. In the case of the bombadier beetle, two chemicals and a catalyst combine in a chamber in the beetle's abdomin which then are expelled in what's described as an explosion as a noxious and caustic ball of gas in a predator's face. The creationist argument is both that until it could have gotten every part of that mechanism right each generation of beetle would have blown itself up and that those chemicals serve no other purpose. In reality, both chemicals do occur in other insects and are used for different purposes, plus there are several other insects that also use them as a defense against predators and who develop cavities in which to accumulate those chemicals, such that the additional step to what the bombadier beetle has is a relatively small one. For a more complete discussion of the bombadier beetle, refer to the article, The Bombardier Beetle Myth Exploded by Christopher Gregory Weber, Creation Evolution Journal Vol.2 No.1, Winter 1981, pp 1-5.

You see, the way that evolution works is incrementally taking something that already exists and modifying it to either perform the same function more efficiently or effectively, or to perform a different function. A complex system does not just suddenly appear, but rather it started out as a minor modification that continued to change from generation to generation, always performing some function even if not the same function that it ends up performing.

In the case of the electric eel, do those electric organs also exist in other animals and what purpose do they serve in those other animals? What kind of protection do those other animals have? As it turns out, there are many "electric fish" capable of generating electric fields; 348 species are listed at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_fish. While strongly electric fish (eg, electric eels, electric rays, and electric catfish) are able to stun prey, weakly electric fish cannot, but instead have a variety of uses for electricity such as navigation, object detection (electrolocation) and communication with other electric fish (electrocommunication). Of interest is that all gymnotiformes (AKA "South American knifefish", which includes the electric eel) are electric fish though only the electric eel is strongly electric. Except for adult apteronotids, the nature of their electric organs are the same with the electric eel's organs being much larger, taking up 80% of the eel's body with thousands of stacked electroplaques that act like battery cells -- the electric eel is also the largest gymnotiforme. So it's not that the electric eel is qualitatively different from the other gymnotiformes, but rather that it's quantitatively different (ie, it and its electric organs are larger, which gives it many more electrocytes, enough to generate higher voltages and greater amperage.

if it "evolved" to electrocute things ...

It did not. Rather, it started out as yet another gynmotiforme with their inherent electrical characteristics, which it used for the same purposes as other gynmotiformes and electric eels also still do. It was only as it and its organs grew large enough to crank out enough juice that it could then use electricity for defense, which it still does. As that use led to even larger electric organs, it could then take advantage of its defense mechanism in hunting and disabling its prey. That's how evolution works and electric eels do not present any mystery in that regard. As for how it protects itself from its own electricity, we'll have to see what the ichthyologists who've studied it have to say. Whatever mechanism that turns out to be, it obviously could have evolved at the same time as the increasing size and output of the electric organs. For that matter, you should be able to describe that mechanism to us.

fred, obviously you feel motivated to fight evolution. I would encourage you to do so correctly. Instead of fighting against strawman caricatures of evolution, you need to fight against evolution itself. I once used a boxing analogy where you, the creationist, don't go anywhere near your real opponent, evolution, in the ring but instead you just shadow-box off to the side and keep bragging about how you keep knocking evolution out when in reality you've never gone anywhere near your opponent; you need to stop shadow-boxing and you need to actually get into the ring! {end of analogy} You need to stop using PRATTs and to actually address evolution itself. That means that you need to learn what evolution really is. That is the only way you can ever even begin to hope to win against your chosen foe, evolution. The way you're going now, all you'll ever accomplish is to more thoroughly discredit yourself, creationism, and Christianity, as well as to endanger your own faith and the faith of others.

Edited by Adminnemooseus, : Hide and note.

Edited by dwise1, : reworked and un-hidden


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Tangle
Member
Posts: 6919
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 4.3


(1)
Message 7 of 101 (665607)
06-15-2012 7:07 AM
Reply to: Message 5 by Dr Adequate
06-14-2012 11:58 PM


Dr A writes:

the first thing we need to know in order to explain this is how an electric eel doesn't electrocute itself.

Seems that may be difficult.

It's still unclear how the eels manage to survive their own shocks. Two electric eels have been known to electrocute the same prey animal without shocking each other and some of the strongest bursts of electricity are released during mating, yet the eels remain unharmed. However, the same eels could fight to the death using identical shocks to those during the mating ritual.

How the fish are seemingly able to tolerate large currents at certain times and not at others is a mystery which still eludes research scientists. The answer may lie partly in a thick layer of fat which behaves as an electrical insulator, protecting the eels from their own shocks and, to some extent, the shocks of others.

http://www.null-hypothesis.co.uk/...tric_eel_shock_stun_prey

Obviously, God must look after these little blighters individually and decide on a case by case basis when to be shocked or not.


Life, don't talk to me about life - Marvin the Paranoid Android

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Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16097
Joined: 07-20-2006


(3)
Message 8 of 101 (665613)
06-15-2012 8:12 AM
Reply to: Message 7 by Tangle
06-15-2012 7:07 AM


OK, so no-one knows what the mechanism is, but the creationists wants us to explain how it evolved.

What a wonderful creationist argument. "There's this ... thing ... which I can't describe ... and which no-one knows anything about ... how do you explain that?"


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nwr
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Posts: 5585
From: Geneva, Illinois
Joined: 08-08-2005


(4)
Message 9 of 101 (665650)
06-15-2012 12:14 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by fred2353
06-14-2012 10:37 PM


fred2353 writes:
it electrocutes everything near it and doesn't die.

if it "evolved" to electrocute things, it would die from the shock.


This is a very puzzling thing for you to have said.

It seems to me that it should be entirely within the ability of an intelligent designer, to come up with a creature that electrocutes itself whenever it goes after prey. However, it is completely impossible for evolution to come up with such a creature.

If anything, the electric eel is more consistent with evolution than it is with ID.


Jesus was a liberal hippie

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pandion
Member (Idle past 1173 days)
Posts: 166
From: Houston
Joined: 04-06-2009


Message 10 of 101 (667335)
07-06-2012 1:17 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by fred2353
06-14-2012 10:37 PM


look at the electric eel.

OK. Lets.

it electrocutes everything near it and doesn't die.

That's just ignorant. It doesn't electrocute "everything near it." How much effort did you invest in research before you made such an ignorant remark?

if it "evolved" to electrocute things, it would die from the shock.

But it doesn't shock itself.

it couldn't have "evolved" the ability to withstand electric shocks, because it wouldn't have needed to till it started electrocuting things.

But it doesn't have to withstand electric shocks. The eel gives the shocks.

it must have been created with both at the same time, or they all would have died.

Just plain ignorant. An example of twisting reality to support the fantasy of religion.
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Haldir
Junior Member (Idle past 2045 days)
Posts: 5
Joined: 08-07-2013


Message 11 of 101 (704291)
08-08-2013 8:06 AM


This topic is over a year old, but it looks like the OP was a drive-by with no follow-up, so I'd like to take his place, since I've been researching this topic and coming across old forum posts like this without any real discussion.

I too have come across the source mentioned by Coyote, but it leaves me with more questions than answers:

We do not know the crucial features that evolved to alter the “adequate” stimulus from a mechanical event to an electrical one, but the change in sensitivity was many orders of magnitude and, in each class of electroreceptor, was tuned to a best frequency that could be many octaves apart.

The lack of explanation, I think, makes this even more difficult to believe:

It seems likely that evolution has independently discovered how to make and make use of electric organs at least five times, and possibly more – an outstanding case of parallel evolution.

Now, what steps do we need for a non-electric eel to evolve into an electric one. Based on the above and other links I have followed, it seems we have something like this:

1. A change in sensitivity of many orders of magnitude.

2. A change in the organization of the muscles so that the voltage increases by lining them up

3. Tuning the electroreceptors to a "best frequency"

4. The ability of all the muscles to fire at the same time

5. (Possibly) The loss of the muscles' ability to contract (Articles mention this as happening, and the electric function replacing them, but I'm not sure yet if this function would have to be lost for the electric function to work, or if it could have just happened later to no disadvantage)

6. (Possibly) An increase in fat around the head / vital organs to protect it from shocking itself (This seems to depend on whether or not this is what actually keeps it from shocking itself. Alternately, #6 could be whatever the actual method is of preventing shock, unless it is really something that was present all along.)

Now, if I have my list right (and I certainly may not), the question then is whether or not these things needed to arise simultaneously, or if they could have been advantageous individually. If they are advantageous individually, might we expect to see some of these changes individually existent in other creatures, or did natural selection just happen to always put all of them together each of the 5+ times it started down this path? (or do all the cases of "parallel evolution" of "mechanical" to "electric" organs not need all these same steps?)


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jar
Member
Posts: 30996
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 4.2


Message 12 of 101 (704293)
08-08-2013 9:17 AM
Reply to: Message 11 by Haldir
08-08-2013 8:06 AM


another rather typical misconception
Now, if I have my list right (and I certainly may not), the question then is whether or not these things needed to arise simultaneously, or if they could have been advantageous individually.

There is no requirement in the Theory of Evolution that any change be advantageous. Changes can be advantageous, neutral or disadvantageous but all three types of change can be passed on as long as the change is not so disadvantageous that it keeps the critter from living long enough to reproduce.

Evolution is NOT worse ---> better. Evolution is simply change of time.


Anyone so limited that they can only spell a word one way is severely handicapped!

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Genomicus
Member (Idle past 114 days)
Posts: 852
Joined: 02-15-2012


Message 13 of 101 (704295)
08-08-2013 9:43 AM
Reply to: Message 12 by jar
08-08-2013 9:17 AM


Re: another rather typical misconception
There is no requirement in the Theory of Evolution that any change be advantageous. Changes can be advantageous, neutral or disadvantageous but all three types of change can be passed on as long as the change is not so disadvantageous that it keeps the critter from living long enough to reproduce.

Yea, but if the only evolutionary pathway to get from trait A to trait B is one that consists solely of neutral mutations, that trait is evolving solely by chance, since natural selection isn't in the equation. This makes the evolution of that trait less likely.


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jar
Member
Posts: 30996
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 4.2


Message 14 of 101 (704297)
08-08-2013 9:51 AM
Reply to: Message 13 by Genomicus
08-08-2013 9:43 AM


Re: another rather typical misconception
How does it make anything more or less likely and what part does more or less likely have to do with evolution anyway?

There was a list presented. There was a question of whether all the steps would be advantageous.

Advantageous is only relevant when it comes to filtering.


Anyone so limited that they can only spell a word one way is severely handicapped!

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Genomicus
Member (Idle past 114 days)
Posts: 852
Joined: 02-15-2012


Message 15 of 101 (704299)
08-08-2013 10:24 AM
Reply to: Message 14 by jar
08-08-2013 9:51 AM


Re: another rather typical misconception
How does it make anything more or less likely...

With natural selection out of the equation for the evolution of this trait (the hypothetical trait A to trait B evolution), only random events will generate that trait (e.g., random mutation + genetic drift). The beauty of the random mutation + natural selection combination is that chance is not the only driving force: natural selection makes the evolution of traits much more likely. If only chance is able to account for the evolution of the trait, then the evolution of that trait is not as likely: there are more pathways of neutral mutations that do not yield a beneficial trait then there are pathways of neutral mutations that do yield a beneficial trait.

...and what part does more or less likely have to do with evolution anyway?

Well, if the evolution of a given trait is too unlikely, then you'll have to look for another explanation for the origin of that trait.

Advantageous is only relevant when it comes to filtering.

Uh, selective advantages are relevant when it comes to evolution in general.


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