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Author Topic:   Do fossils disprove evolution?
cpthiltz
Junior Member (Idle past 4044 days)
Posts: 4
From: Scotland
Joined: 08-24-2009


Message 1 of 121 (521121)
08-26-2009 4:46 AM


Why is there hardly any evidence in the fossil record of the millions & millions of complex organism with failed mutations?

Evolution brings order out of chaos, the chaos must leave behind some "mess" surely? - this "mess" being millions of recorded failed mutations within the fossil record.

Can the lack of evidence prove evolution is not a driving force in life as we see today?

An analogy of this is leaving a group of monkeys in a room with a typewriter to produce a perfect copy of Shakespeare's Hamlet through random keystrokes. You return years later and find a copy of Hamlet, but in a mess of loads of meaningless paper.

Why does the fossil record show little/no evidence of the millions of failed mutation which must have occurred for every successful one?

My thoughts here are on the back of reading the following article;
http://joshgreenberger.com/cmanage/article_evofacad.php


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Adminnemooseus
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Message 2 of 121 (521123)
08-26-2009 5:08 AM


Thread Copied from Proposed New Topics Forum
Thread copied here from the Do fossils disprove evolution? thread in the Proposed New Topics forum.

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Adminnemooseus
Director
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Message 3 of 121 (521127)
08-26-2009 5:34 AM


Everyone - Be nice now!
Let's not turn this topic into a snipe-fest.

Please, messages of quality and substance, or don't post.

Adminnemooseus


  
Wounded King
Member (Idle past 2839 days)
Posts: 4149
From: Edinburgh, Scotland
Joined: 04-09-2003


Message 4 of 121 (521130)
08-26-2009 6:05 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by cpthiltz
08-26-2009 4:46 AM


There are several objections to this argument. One is that since it is estimated that something like 99.9% of all species that have ever existed have gone extinct that your failures are mostly right there in the fossil record. It is just that they aren't things like mastodons with an equivalent to anntenapedia but things which through a failure to adapt, in many cases to a radically and violently altered environment, died out en masse. These obviously won't look like grossly morphologically abnormal mutants.

You, or perhaps more accurately Josh Greenberger, are clearly thinking more along the lines of mutations like antennapedia or others causing gross morphological mutations we naturally consider deleterious. One important concept to bear in mind here is that fossilisation is really a very rare event and the long term survival of such severe mutations is also often very rare, not to mention the rate of such mutations being relatively small. So despite only having a small subset of all of a species that was ever extant in the fossil record you expect to see a small subset (surviving mutants) from an even smaller proportion of them (individuals with gross morphological abnormalities).

A lot of seriously detrimental mutation are what are called 'embryonic lethals' in other words the embryo never develops into a full viable organism, the window for such embryos to fossilise is minute and our ability to distinguish a viable from a non-viable embryo highly doubtful.

In fact this might be true even for full grown adults. When we look at vertebrate fossils we can determine a progression in the developing fin/limb where the number of digits reduces in many lineages. We also see polydactyly mutations occurring in many vertebrate lineages. Is it possible that some polydactylous mutants might be misidentified as ancestral forms which all had more digits? I don't know, it would be highly dependent on the specific morphological taxonomies being used.

This is natural selection in action. To compare it to the monkey typewriter scenario it is as if every few years or so someone puts the meaningful pages in a fireproof box and sets fire to all the rest. The action of selection is what means we don't end up with a room/world full of nonsense pages/hideous mutants. The mutants die before getting a chance to fossilise.

TTFN,

WK


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Dr Jack
Member (Idle past 849 days)
Posts: 3507
From: Leicester, England
Joined: 07-14-2003


Message 5 of 121 (521131)
08-26-2009 6:09 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by cpthiltz
08-26-2009 4:46 AM


Look around you
Look around you, look at your friends, and your family; look at your pets, and the dogs you see walking in the street; look at the insects crawling in the bushes outside, and the birds flying in the air.

How many of them are deformed? Not many, right? Maybe even none.

Yet, you carry in the region of five mutations, as do both your parents, all your children (if you have any) and all your friends. So does that tree you can see outside the window, the cat curled up in the sun, and the bird on the wing.

There's two reasons for this: the first is that the majority of mutations do not produce deformity, the second is that mutations that do produce deformity are usually fatal long before a creature reaches viability.


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mark24
Member (Idle past 3939 days)
Posts: 3857
From: UK
Joined: 12-01-2001


Message 6 of 121 (521133)
08-26-2009 6:17 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by cpthiltz
08-26-2009 4:46 AM


cpthiltz,

Why is there hardly any evidence in the fossil record of the millions & millions of complex organism with failed mutations?

You say "hardly", that means you know of some, so please provide a complex organism with a failed mutation.

Evolution brings order out of chaos, the chaos must leave behind some "mess" surely? - this "mess" being millions of recorded failed mutations within the fossil record.

How would you identify an organism that had a genetic problem causing proteins to function at less that efficent levels or not at all? How would you identify a fossil that was unnattractive to the opposite sex?

Can the lack of evidence prove evolution is not a driving force in life as we see today?

No, because natural selection is ultimately about relatively passing on more genes to the next generation than an organisms contemporaries in any given population. The vast majority of negative mutations that have a phenotypic effect will do so at the molecular level & will either ensure the organism doesn't get born at all & will have no chance of entering the fossil record anyway. Or will have a "condition". How would you identify a ciliac in the fossil record? A sickle cell anaemiac? Cystic fibosis? Porphyria? Having extra chromosomes, eg. Kleinfelters, Triple X? Phenylketoneuria? Tay-Sachs? Turners syndrome? Padi-Willi Syndrome? The list of possible mutations that negatively affect an organisms chances of surviving until breeding age, or making it pug ugly to the opposite sex are limitless, & none of those mutations will end up in the fossil record.

The whole argument is a red herring.

The problem is that your good self & the articles authors don't understand evolution. You seem to think that "failed" mutations cause gross physical defects & yet allow something to reach adult size then die & enter the physical record. Ain't how it happens.

Mark

Edited by mark24, : spelling


There are 10 kinds of people in this world; those that understand binary, & those that don't

This message is a reply to:
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RAZD
Member (Idle past 149 days)
Posts: 20714
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004


Message 7 of 121 (521148)
08-26-2009 8:03 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by cpthiltz
08-26-2009 4:46 AM


Remedial Evolution 101
Hi cpthiltz, and welcome to the fray.

In Message 1 you state:

... I have a basic knowledge on evolution, ...

And then you post this:

Why is there hardly any evidence in the fossil record of the millions & millions of complex organism with failed mutations?

Evolution brings order out of chaos, the chaos must leave behind some "mess" surely? - this "mess" being millions of recorded failed mutations within the fossil record.

Which betrays a vast ignorance of the basics of evolution and what the fossil record shows. If you did have a basic understanding, then you would realize that what you have posted is rubbish thinking.

Why does the fossil record show little/no evidence of the millions of failed mutation which must have occurred for every successful one?

To explore why you think it should, lets start with the basics:

(1) what is evolution, the basic process, in biology?
(2) how does evolution occur?
(3) what happens to cause speciation?

That should be a good starting point: three easy questions for anyone who understands the basics of evolution.

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.


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This message is a reply to:
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Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 1442 days)
Posts: 2843
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008


Message 8 of 121 (521171)
08-26-2009 10:47 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by cpthiltz
08-26-2009 4:46 AM


Hi, Cpthiltz.

I wanted to add briefly to what Wounded King said about fossilization.

I work with spiders, so I spend a lot of time on my hands and knees. Everyday, within the confines of a single crop field, millions of insects and other small animals die.

But, as I search the ground, I only occasionally come across insect or worm carcasses. Most are consumed completely and torn to shreds by scavengers, such as ants. Usually, all that I ever see are disarticulated parts (a beetle's head, a dragonfly's wing, the shed exoskeleton of a springtail, etc.).

If I see so little remnants of the deceased the day after it happens, why should I expect there to be a plentiful supply from a hundred million years ago?


-Bluejay (a.k.a. Mantis, Thylacosmilus)

Darwin loves you.


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Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 1442 days)
Posts: 2843
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008


Message 9 of 121 (521173)
08-26-2009 10:49 AM
Reply to: Message 6 by mark24
08-26-2009 6:17 AM


Hi, Mark.

mark24 writes:

...please provide a complex organism with a failed mutation.

This is a cool one. It's hard to be sure that it was a mutation, rather than some non-genetic developmental issue, but still...


-Bluejay (a.k.a. Mantis, Thylacosmilus)

Darwin loves you.


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mark24
Member (Idle past 3939 days)
Posts: 3857
From: UK
Joined: 12-01-2001


Message 10 of 121 (521177)
08-26-2009 11:06 AM
Reply to: Message 9 by Blue Jay
08-26-2009 10:49 AM


Blujay,

For some reason 2 headed snakes isn't that uncommon, my ol' man used to breed corn snakes & got a couple like that, but it's a developmental issue, bit like siamese twins in humans.

Nice find, though.

Mark


There are 10 kinds of people in this world; those that understand binary, & those that don't

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Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16112
Joined: 07-20-2006


Message 11 of 121 (521280)
08-26-2009 6:07 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by cpthiltz
08-26-2009 4:46 AM


An analogy of this is leaving a group of monkeys in a room with a typewriter to produce a perfect copy of Shakespeare's Hamlet through random keystrokes. You return years later and find a copy of Hamlet, but in a mess of loads of meaningless paper.

This is not an analogy of the theory of evolution. Read a biology textbook.

Why does the fossil record show little/no evidence of the millions of failed mutation which must have occurred for every successful one?

Look, do a quick reality check. Consider the species that you know best --- humans. You know that humans are subject to harmful genetic mutations, right? So, what proportion of the humans that you have seen have had harmful mutations the effects of which would be visible in the fossil record?

Right. So we should expect the fossil record to be like that.

The evolutionary prediction is that the fossil record should reflect reality. It does.


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AnswersInGenitals
Member
Posts: 588
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 7.7


Message 12 of 121 (521295)
08-26-2009 8:47 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by cpthiltz
08-26-2009 4:46 AM


As luck would have it...
Let's look at what really happens in nature:

We'll start with a salmon stream where salmon have just spawned (and died) and have laid and fertilized 1 million eggs. So we start with one million salmon eggs on the bed of the stream. Not all these eggs will hatch. Many will be eaten; many will be crushed by tumbling rocks or washed up on a beach; and many will be non-viable. Probably less than 10%, 100 thousand, will actually hatch and start to grow and make their way down stream to the sea. Most of these won't make it. They will be eaten, injured in swirling stream waters, or will starve if they can't find enough food. At most, 10 thousand will make it to the sea.

There, they will spend three to five years growing to maturity, at which time they will seek out the stream they were born in. Most of the 10 thousand won't make it to maturity and back to their stream. Many will be eaten, injured, or starve. At most, 1000 will make it back to the stream mouth and start their arduous journey up to the spawning grounds. Again, most will not make it. At most perhaps only 100 will make it to the spawning grounds, about fifty males and about 50 females. These females will each lay over 20 thousand eggs that will be fertilized by the millions of sperm that the males eject.

We are now at full cycle with one million fertilized eggs on the bottom of the stream waiting to hatch.

What this example shows is that the first rule of life is Survival of the Luckiest. Only those lucky enough to be in the right place and the right time to find food and not be found as food, to not be excessively dashed about by rapids and waves, and to have avoided the slings and arrows (jaws and claws) of outrageous misfortune make it back to spawn. But luck is not heritable. The offspring of the survivors will not have better luck because their parents happened to have good luck. So there is no cumulative improvement in Luck over the generations.

But their is a second, much weaker effect that will help a few of the fish survive - beneficial mutations that make them a little bit faster or less visible to predators, or more efficient digestion, or produce more viable sperm or eggs. This second effect is so much weaker than Luck that it is not noticeable in individual generations. But, it has the advantage, like compound interest, of accumulating over the generations and natural selection will gradually nudge the species toward greater population fitness. So, the vast majority of critters that die (and are fossilized) will actually be quite typical of their generation and 'monster' mutant fossils will be very rare.

By the way, are you aware that you are a mutant? In fact, every cell in your body (and you have about a 100 trillion of them) is a mutant. No two cells in your body have the exact same genome or the same genome as the egg from which you originated. The error rate for base pair duplication when cells divide is (very roughly) about one error in every 400 million base pairs. This sounds very impressive, but when multiplied by the six billion base pairs in your genome, gives one to two dozen mutations for each cell division.

Most of your cells differ from the original egg in hundreds to thousands of base pairs. And yet you have you no problem surviving and reproducing. Almost all such mutations are neutral and have no effect on the organism. To say that most or almost all mutations are deleterious is simply false. Almost all mutations (in the 99.9% range) are irrelevant to the individual and to the population. This provides the broad landscape for the rare beneficial mutations to accumulate and eventually dominate in the population over many, many generations


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bluescat48
Member (Idle past 2934 days)
Posts: 2347
From: United States
Joined: 10-06-2007


Message 13 of 121 (521317)
08-27-2009 12:34 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by cpthiltz
08-26-2009 4:46 AM


Why does the fossil record show little/no evidence of the millions of failed mutation which must have occurred for every successful one?

For one thing most of these mutations have little to do with morphology.
If you found 2 human skeletons, one normal and one with sickle cell anemia, one could not tell which was which from the bones. The same with fossils of normal or those with mutations, unless the mutation was of a morphological item ie: a tailless creature of which this species should have a tail.


There is no better love between 2 people than mutual respect for each other WT Young, 2002

Who gave anyone the authority to call me an authority on anything. WT Young, 1969

Since Evolution is only ~90% correct it should be thrown out and replaced by Creation which has even a lower % of correctness. W T Young, 2008


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greyseal
Member (Idle past 2606 days)
Posts: 464
Joined: 08-11-2009


Message 14 of 121 (521360)
08-27-2009 7:49 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by cpthiltz
08-26-2009 4:46 AM


oh dear...another straw man
Oh dear...mister (or miss) cpthiltz, please just go to the library and read up on paleontology, geology and perhaps even beg, borrow, steal or buy "the origin of species" and you'll see (hopefully) why that article you linked is simply wrong from top to bottom.

cpthiltz writes:

Why is there hardly any evidence in the fossil record of the millions & millions of complex organism with failed mutations?

because mutations don't happen like that. There are no crocoducks. The next generation isn't the next evolutionary branch of the species. Real life does not produce pokemon, nor does it produce teenage mutant ninja turtles.

Can the lack of evidence prove evolution is not a driving force in life as we see today?

There is no lack of evidence!

Look, if you can tell me why you believe you know anything about your great-great grandparents (assuming you have pictures of them, assuming they didn't live to actually see you) then you'll understand more about the fossil record. We don't have the skeleton of every single species, let alone every single member of every single species, that has ever existed. We have pieces...but a LOT of pieces.

An analogy of this is leaving a group of monkeys in a room with a typewriter to produce a perfect copy of Shakespeare's Hamlet through random keystrokes.

no, just no. The analogy is wrong, wrong, wrong. I lack the leet linking skills of others, but go read the "evolving new information" thread for a far better analogy - suffice to say it's wrong because the lamarckian method you expect is a strawman oft trotted out by people who should know better and fed wholesale to those who do not.

Changes, mutations, are small, small, small.

What we DO see in the fossil records are examples of changes in one species over time, and species with traits of other species (archaeopteryx, tiktaalik, ...there are more). The fossil record is amazingly complex, amazingly complete and very, very much backs up evolution. Please study reliable sources of information about the subject written by people who understand it. Start with Darwin's book for information on natural selection.

My thoughts here are on the back of reading the following article;
http://joshgreenberger.com/cmanage/article_evofacad.php

yes, and I'm sorry to say the author is either pig-ignorant or deliberately confusing the issue with inaccurate examples of randomness, chance, mutation, evolution, paleontology and everything else his digital pen has touched. It is, in three words, full of fail.

Cheers,

Greyseal.


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Wounded King
Member (Idle past 2839 days)
Posts: 4149
From: Edinburgh, Scotland
Joined: 04-09-2003


Message 15 of 121 (521374)
08-27-2009 8:56 AM


Dogpile
I know that we all like to have our say, rugged individualists that we are, but 10 or so rebuttals is probably enough for cpthiltz to be dealing with if and when they come back to this thread.

TTFN,

WK


  
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