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Author Topic:   Natural Limitation to Evolutionary Processes (2/14/05)
Percy
Member
Posts: 20767
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.1


Message 226 of 299 (341751)
08-20-2006 2:46 PM
Reply to: Message 224 by Modulous
08-20-2006 1:02 PM


Re: genes and their alleles
Modulous writes:

Evolution is not just concerned with whether or not the gene is passed on but how often one gene is passed on relative to its allele(s)...etc...

Either this is phrased in a way I'm just not parsing correctly, or you're using a different definition of gene and allele than I am. The definition at Wikipedia says, "An allele is any one of a number of viable DNA codings of the same gene (sometimes the term refers to a non-gene sequence) occupying a given locus (position) on a chromosome," which is pretty much how I think of it. Maybe I'm just not getting your meaning?

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 224 by Modulous, posted 08-20-2006 1:02 PM Modulous has replied

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Modulous
Member (Idle past 1343 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 227 of 299 (341752)
08-20-2006 2:52 PM
Reply to: Message 226 by Percy
08-20-2006 2:46 PM


Re: genes and their alleles
I was using the term allele to refer to 'rival' genes to the gene we are examining the frequency change of. It's not necessarily strictly kosher terminology but its handy to get the point across. I picked it up from Dawkins who used the same differentiation to allow for simplified explanation of the complicated concepts involved in talking about allele frequency changes.

Hopefully it hasn't clouded what I meant significantly, but instead helped keep it as clear as space allows.


This message is a reply to:
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Faith 
Suspended Member (Idle past 683 days)
Posts: 35298
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001


Message 228 of 299 (341754)
08-20-2006 3:00 PM
Reply to: Message 224 by Modulous
08-20-2006 1:02 PM


Re: genes and their alleles
Some interesting technical points in that post, raising questions in my mind that along with some points raised by Crash might make a good thread alone -- one on which I could only observe or ask questions I suppose.

But for purposes of this discussion it may be unnecessarily technical. The point can maybe be stated more roughly. It is only that every time I claim the incidence of disease in the population has implications for the viability of the ToE, I am answered that evolution couldn't care less about such things, it only "cares" about reproducibility.

Edited by Faith, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 224 by Modulous, posted 08-20-2006 1:02 PM Modulous has replied

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Faith 
Suspended Member (Idle past 683 days)
Posts: 35298
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001


Message 229 of 299 (341761)
08-20-2006 4:11 PM
Reply to: Message 222 by Percy
08-20-2006 7:39 AM


Well, this is an answer totally from the ToE, purely a logical conclusion based on the assumption of evolution as the explanation for how everything got here. But there is no actual EVIDENCE that ANY of them were the result of mutation rather than designed in from the beginning.

This is actually just the science of population genetics. It was the work of the population geneticists that revealed the evidence and the mathematical basic for forming the modern synthesis between Darwinian evolution and genetics. Prior to that work there was no evidence that Darwinian evolution and genetics were even consistent and compatible, let alone mutually supportive.

I do not see what this has to do with the idea that it is MUTATIONS that are the great agent of beneficial change. Population genetics can be discussed without reference to mutations it seems to me, and was a few decades ago, mutation being treated as a much more occasional event than it appears to be now, when it is regarded just about as the entire fuel source of evolution. I suppose it was inevitable that it should develop in this direction though, to be more consistent with the ToE. In the "olden days" it seems to me it was taken for granted that the basic genetic stuff, the genome, was just "there" and there was no problem talking about how it was reorganized in various ways through the concepts of population genetics even then, change in the frequency of alleles in a population and all that being the formula for evolution in any case. Now it seems to be taken for granted that it all GOT there by mutation, though this is purely theoretical (I'll get to the few supposed exceptions).

There IS evidence, however, that defective genes are mutations because what they are replacing can be tracked.

I'm not sure what you mean when you conclude your paragraph with this. If this is an argument that mutations can only be harmful, then of course this isn't true, and this has been explained already, both generally by myself, and more specifically by Schraf with her wisdom tooth gene example.

And it has been answered. Many times.

Is it true or not that the observed errors in gene replication that are called mutations are associated either with a disease process or not associated with anything in particular, rather than with anything beneficial, except for these extremely few exceptions? You gave a completely hypothetical example of an increase in muscle strength due to an identifiable alteration in a gene -- I think that was it -- but this was totally hypothetical, not observed. I'd have to regard it as a beneficial mutation if such a thing ever occurred, but nothing that beneficial, at least in human genetics, has been demonstrated to occur at the genetic level.

All the beneficial factors appear to be pre-existing, built into the genome. At least, again, this is the creationist assumption and it is a perfectly reasonable assumption, there being nothing to show it wrong. This includes the greater visual acuity of the Patagonians you mentioned, for instance, which my version of creationism would explain as simply one genetic expression in the total human gene pool that got sorted out by migration of the people to Patagonia and spread through the population in subsequent generations. There is nothing to show that at any point a mutation for great visual acuity developed in a Patagonian that was selected because it was particularly beneficial in the Patagonian environment. That is all theory.

The wisdom tooth example cannot possibly be taken seriously as a beneficial mutation, or even a neutral mutation since it has a definite effect in eliminating wisdom teeth. It gets all philosophically confused to try to figure out how the absence of such teeth MIGHT conceivably confer a benefit. It seems to me that if it involves the destruction of a gene, that ought to be the defining factor, and I can't see such destruction as a positive in any sense whatever.

The fact that it happens to have no negative effect should simply be cause for gratitude or a sense of relief, but when more and more genes for the development of more and more teeth get broken, then its disease tendency might become more apparent. In other words, what can possibly be good about the loss of any physical capacity whatever? You can't judge this as a good thing only on present functional ability.

But then, being a creationist, I'm geared to seeing destruction and disease as the trend in life as a result of the Fall. While there is certainly room in this view for God's provision of all kinds of healing and compensating and rebuilding factors in the design of our genetic makeup, including the possible benefit of fewer teeth in a smaller jaw or whatever, it would be a mistake to regard any of this as a positive in the big picture.

The same with sickle cell. How anybody can possibly consider it a beneficial development that a mutation that kills people happens also to protect against a disease that kills people is beyond me.

And those two are the only human examples of a supposed beneficial mutation so far offered, as opposed to a very long list of known disease-causing mutations as well as the "neutral" kind that remove perfectly normal functions. Bacterial resistance to antibiotics shouldn't even be considered in this context, and that leaves TWO supposed beneficial mutations that aren't beneficial by any meaningful use of the term.

At the very least, I think this has to be regarded as a perfectly reasonable alternative explanation for such phenomena than that given by the ToE.

A beneficial mutation, it seems to me, would have to produce a new protein for that gene with a completely new positive function that involves the destruction of nothing whatever. Sorry if my visualization of this process leaves something to be desired. I hope it's in the ballpark. It seems to me that if evolution had a prayer of being true, a LOT of this sort of thing would be seen, but in fact it appears that what is actually seen is all negative or "neutral" with the supposed exception of these very few examples that really aren't exceptions.

Or if it is an argument that only harmful mutations can spread through a population, then this is false, too. Parents pass their genes on to offspring, including mutations harmful or not.

Yes, but the point is that it hasn't been shown that there is any other kind of mutation than those that are harmful to one degree or another, including the ones that cause no appreciable disease process or functional loss as discussed above.

Quite logical according to the theory, never demonstrated in fact. Not a single actual case of this has anyone brought forward.

Schraf offered the example of her wisdom tooth gene and the HIV gene, and the general example of mutations in bacterial populations where mutations can be studied closely because bacteria provide many generations in a single day.

I've answered all this before and I answered it again above, and I guess I'll answer some of it again now too. Considering that there is an incredibly long list of known human genetic diseases, the claim that these few supposed exceptions amount to evidence of beneficial mutations is pretty paltry. I have no problem with the idea that there could be some beneficial mutations, but as a matter of fact all anybody has come up with is these sorry examples.

About the HIV protection gene, I answered it before and I'll answer it again. This is like the Patagonian visual acuity example. There is no evidence that it is a result of mutation, that is merely assumed. Unlike gene destruction or change that causes various diseases that can be pinpointed in the DNA, nobody has shown that kind of evidence for any such positive. There is no reason not to assume that it is simply part of the normal human genetic package that happened to survive in a few people, while in the rest of the population mutations destroyed it. This is a perfectly reasonable explanation.

As for bacteria, although in the context of human genetics I'd rather ignore it, somebody successfully argued somewhere at EvC that the development of resistance to antibiotics HAD to be a mutation and not built in because of the nature of asexual genetics, but I don't remember the argument. Seems to me that there is still no problem assuming that some bacteria are different from others in the same population, just by nature, and that such differences can be selected for. Whether this is true or not, I think the principle applies just fine to the plague/HIV protective gene and the visual acuity gene of the Patagonians.

You seem to be just declaring that beneficial mutations either don't exist or aren't really beneficial.

Not just declaring, arguing it from the information given me here.

I earlier explained how beneficial mutations are inevitable and provided one hypothetical example of a process by which they can happen.

A hypothetical example of a beneficial mutation against multiple known observed factual examples of destructive mutations is useless.

And people who don't die from infections caused by wisdom tooth infections produce more offspring than those who do,

Ha ha, considering that Schraf has said she wants no children. Anyway, that's a totally hypothetical possible benefit that borders on teleology, which is a no-no. Evos certainly have a lot of imagination. The vulnerability to wisdom tooth infections and impaction and all that is probably all the result of previous destructive mutations anyway. This is all a downward trend. And the actual evidence in hand supports this idea, whereas all you have is wild hypotheticals to support the evolutionist scheme.

and people who don't die of HIV a few years after exposure produce more offspring than those who do. These are clearly beneficial mutations with an effect on reproduction.

But there is no evidence that the HIV protection gene was a mutation at all, as opposed to a built-in design factor, the lack of it being the result of mutation.

Beneficial mutations that just keep people from getting sick or give them slightly greater endurance or strength or intelligence or attractiveness or charm are harder to notice and even when noticed don't rate the same level of scrutiny.

It's plausible, but just barely, and since the whole edifice is hypothetical, simply not convincing. All such positives are far more easily explained in terms of pre-existing built-in conditions, rather than mutation, which, again, has only been OBSERVED in its relation to destructive processes.

Maybe somebody will catch one in the act sometime.

Some have been caught in the act, and you've been provided a couple examples.

Very poor ones, which I totally demolished above.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 222 by Percy, posted 08-20-2006 7:39 AM Percy has replied

Replies to this message:
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Modulous
Member (Idle past 1343 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 230 of 299 (341763)
08-20-2006 4:22 PM
Reply to: Message 228 by Faith
08-20-2006 3:00 PM


Re: genes and their alleles
Of course, one can get into sticky situations when applying anthropomorphic concepts to a natural process.

If we consider ToE as a mathematical model for predicting changing allele frequencies in populations it begins to make more sense. Genes replicate. The genes that replicate the most become more frequent than genes that replicate less. A gene's success at replication depends upon its environment, a gene's environment includes other genes in the gene pool.

If a gene statistically reduces its own chances at reproducing itself compared with other genes (its alleles), it will become less frequent. Therefore, I fail to see what the implications of the incidence of disease in a population have with regards to the viability ToE.

In a population that is not growing in size, there will be less and less genetic diseases as those without them simply out reproduce those with them. This will continue till the genetic disorder is selected out or it reaches an equilibrium. Even in cases where they don't out reproduce, they still can outlive those with the disease - meaning that they can not provide as much care for their children and grand children....which statistically reduces their fecundity anyway.

In light of this, I am struggling to understand how disease has these implications. I think everyone is struggling to understand it. So, if you could explain it in as straightforward terms as you are able to communicate to us so that we can explore it.

Novel genetic disorders aren't going to be a major problem since they will still be statistically against the odds to propagate throughout the population. They can still do it, but it's unlikely. When they do propagate, they will do so at a much slower rate than healthy genes propagate so the healthier genes continue to have dominance. Genetic diseases are not threatening to overwealm populations unless those populations are very small or such.

So here is the conclusion. There maybe a surprisingly large number of genetic diseases out there, and some of them may be novel genetic mutations. However, they are tiny compared with the number of healthy genomes that are routinely generated - and the healthy genomes are being entirely ignored in this discussion. The frequency of healthy genes in a population is generally increasing compared with the frequency of unhealthy genes.

As such, there maybe plenty of new diseases coming about and they have effect on the fecundity of the organism that has them. One could come up with a mathematical model to show at what rate of new and inherited genetic diseases in a population would cause a population a problem.

It seems at the moment you have not done such a model, but instead have simply claimed it presents a problem. I think this is very premature. Indeed - the maths has been done. There is more information about Mutational load, indeed there is plenty of work in this area, you just need to know where to look.

Your criticism is not something that evolutionists have ignored. The genetic/mutational load has been the subject of scrutiny of a much higher degree than you might realize. The ball remains in the court of a mathematically minded creationist to use the models to show that mutational load is a problem for evolution.

edit: some creationists have used Haldane's work to try and do this very thing incidentally, but I'd be more impressed if they didn't use papers from 1957. This paper goes into further detail, but it's highly technical.

Edited by Modulous, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 228 by Faith, posted 08-20-2006 3:00 PM Faith has taken no action

crashfrog
Member (Idle past 706 days)
Posts: 19762
From: Silver Spring, MD
Joined: 03-20-2003


Message 231 of 299 (341766)
08-20-2006 4:38 PM
Reply to: Message 229 by Faith
08-20-2006 4:11 PM


You gave a completely hypothetical example of an increase in muscle strength due to an identifiable alteration in a gene -- I think that was it -- but this was totally hypothetical, not observed.

Actually, it has been. You can read about a baby that was either born with, or inherited, the mutation in this article in the NYT.


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
 Message 232 by Wounded King, posted 08-20-2006 5:18 PM crashfrog has replied

Wounded King
Member (Idle past 3333 days)
Posts: 4149
From: Edinburgh, Scotland
Joined: 04-09-2003


Message 232 of 299 (341771)
08-20-2006 5:18 PM
Reply to: Message 231 by crashfrog
08-20-2006 4:38 PM


Similarly mutations in related genes have produced more muscular phenotypes in mice and cows (McPherron et al., 1997).

Of course Faith might argue that the father, who was not identified, harboured a defective copy of the myostatin gene, so we stll have no de novo mutation observed. Or she might pull off the old bait and switch and point out that the fact that the mutation disables what we consider the normal function of myostatin fits in exactly with her genetic degredation model of evolution.

Of course all this is completely beside the point as Faith's conception of beneficial, and possibly even detrimental, is completely unrelated to evolution.

There is essentially no effective way to gauge the beneficial properties of any de novo identified human mutation without tracking it through a population over several generations and even then it would be a monumental task to control it in any meaningful way.

TTFN,

WK


This message is a reply to:
 Message 231 by crashfrog, posted 08-20-2006 4:38 PM crashfrog has replied

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crashfrog
Member (Idle past 706 days)
Posts: 19762
From: Silver Spring, MD
Joined: 03-20-2003


Message 233 of 299 (341783)
08-20-2006 6:37 PM
Reply to: Message 232 by Wounded King
08-20-2006 5:18 PM


Or she might pull off the old bait and switch and point out that the fact that the mutation disables what we consider the normal function of myostatin fits in exactly with her genetic degredation model of evolution.

If comic-book-style superstrength is genetic degredation, then, in the words of Tevye, may God smite me with it!

But that's basically the shell-game for creationists, isn't it? They define any difference from "normal" as "degredation", and then can assert by definition that any mutation cannot be beneficial.

If you don't operate from a definition of "beneficial" that relates to increasing allele frequencies, then you simply have no objective basis to define "beneficial." No matter what the change, there's some trade-off that you can latch onto.


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Percy
Member
Posts: 20767
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.1


Message 234 of 299 (341794)
08-20-2006 8:33 PM
Reply to: Message 229 by Faith
08-20-2006 4:11 PM


Hi Faith,

Before we continue, could we reach an agreement about something important? This is from your previous message to me, but you included it in your opening except:

Faith in Message 185 writes:

But there is no actual EVIDENCE that ANY of them were the result of mutation...

It's really difficult to move the discussion forward if after presentations of evidence you come back with "There's no evidence" or "That's not evidence." If you disagree that what was described was really evidence, or if you don't see how the evidence supports the contention, or if you disagree with the interpretation of the evidence, or if you'd like to offer another interpretation of the evidence, then I think that'd be great.

Faith writes:

I do not see what this has to do with the idea that it is MUTATIONS that are the great agent of beneficial change.

I didn't say there were. You were looking for examples of beneficial mutations, so of course I was talking in the context of mutations. It is much more often the case the beneficial changes are the result of bringing together complementary alleles.

But if we go beneath the gene level to the allele level and look at how each individual allele formed, except in those rare cases where the modern gene is very little changed from an ancient common ancestor, such as hox genes, we see that each gene is very different from that of the ancient common ancestor. In many cases the gene didn't exist in the ancient common ancestor, and so the entire gene had to have been constructed out of whole cloth from mutations. The specific sequence of mutations can sometimes be ferreted out by comparisons with sequences from related species that shared common ancestors at points in time in the past. Most of the genes in modern genomes that we take for granted today as "normal" and therefore beneficial to the organism did not always exist. Only mutations can create new genes. Mutations range from simple nucleotide substitutions all the way up to chromosome duplication.

Population genetics can be discussed without reference to mutations it seems to me,...

True, but we *were* talking about mutations, although now I'm not so sure that you were aware of that. You were expressing doubt about the possibility of beneficial mutations spreading through a population.

...and was a few decades ago, mutation being treated as a much more occasional event than it appears to be now, when it is regarded just about as the entire fuel source of evolution.

Uh, no.

I don't know if they've established any relative occurrence rates between changes driven by new mutations versus allele frequency changes and recombinations, but they are both significant factors. That we were talking about mutations, i.e., copying mistakes rather than allele remixing during reproduction, does not diminish the importance of allele remixing.

In the "olden days" it seems to me it was taken for granted that the basic genetic stuff, the genome, was just "there" and there was no problem talking about how it was reorganized in various ways through the concepts of population genetics even then, change in the frequency of alleles in a population and all that being the formula for evolution in any case. Now it seems to be taken for granted that it all GOT there by mutation, though this is purely theoretical (I'll get to the few supposed exceptions).

Faith, I just despair sometimes of you ever learning what evolution really says. Particularly difficult is that you sometimes think you know things that you don't. Your history of evolutionary theory is wrong. If you want to criticize how evolutionary theory has changed over time then at least learn about it first so you can criticize it for things that have actually happened. I'm not going to bother correcting the above, I've spent too much time on this message already and I'm still on your first paragraph, only 20 more to go.

Is it true or not that the observed errors in gene replication that are called mutations are associated either with a disease process or not associated with anything in particular, rather than with anything beneficial, except for these extremely few exceptions?

This is false.

You gave a completely hypothetical example of an increase in muscle strength due to an identifiable alteration in a gene -- I think that was it -- but this was totally hypothetical, not observed. I'd have to regard it as a beneficial mutation if such a thing ever occurred, but nothing that beneficial, at least in human genetics, has been demonstrated to occur at the genetic level.

You complained about this already, and I already explained I wasn't trying to produce an actual example. I was trying to provide an illustration of the principle by using something easily understood, like muscle. If you don't like the explanation of the reason for the illustration then please pick on that next time, but please stop making me repeat the explanation.

All the beneficial factors appear to be pre-existing, built into the genome. At least, again, this is the creationist assumption and it is a perfectly reasonable assumption, there being nothing to show it wrong.

The most significant indication that it is wrong is the way in which reproductive errors propagate through genomes of populations, population genetics again. It happens now, and analysis of the genes of organisms related at various levels indicates that it was happening in the past. Yes, certainly, God could have just created them the way there were 6000 years ago and then let the process run on from there, but in that case he placed misleading evidence in genomes indicating that the same process was going on for a lot longer than 6000 years.

This includes the greater visual acuity of the Patagonians you mentioned, for instance, which my version of creationism would explain as simply one genetic expression in the total human gene pool that got sorted out by migration of the people to Patagonia and spread through the population in subsequent generations. There is nothing to show that at any point a mutation for great visual acuity developed in a Patagonian that was selected because it was particularly beneficial in the Patagonian environment. That is all theory.

You've misremembered what this was an example of. The Patagonian example was in support of your contention that the human genome is accumulating more and more genetic defects. I agreed with you. I'm tired of repeating myself, if you don't believe me and want the full context then you do the link-clicking and scrolling and searching.

The wisdom tooth example cannot possibly be taken seriously as a beneficial mutation, or even a neutral mutation since it has a definite effect in eliminating wisdom teeth. It gets all philosophically confused to try to figure out how the absence of such teeth MIGHT conceivably confer a benefit. It seems to me that if it involves the destruction of a gene, that ought to be the defining factor, and I can't see such destruction as a positive in any sense whatever.

I'll bet even you have no idea what you were trying to say in this paragraph. If you don't believe the wisdom tooth example was actually a beneficial mutation, then please address the specifics of my explanation about why it was beneficial. Again, you can do the link-clicking and scrolling and searching yourself. Normally I don't mind repeating explanations, but I'm beginning to believe you're ignoring arguments as a tactic to exhaust the people discussing with you.

The same with sickle cell. How anybody can possibly consider it a beneficial development that a mutation that kills people happens also to protect against a disease that kills people is beyond me.

Please be more specific. This is just an argument from incredulity. What part of the explanation for sickle cell anemia do you have a problem with?

And those two are the only human examples of a supposed beneficial mutation so far offered, as opposed to a very long list of known disease-causing mutations as well as the "neutral" kind that remove perfectly normal functions. Bacterial resistance to antibiotics shouldn't even be considered in this context, and that leaves TWO supposed beneficial mutations that aren't beneficial by any meaningful use of the term.

This is the identical argument that you made before and that I answered before. Please tell me what problems you had with my answers. Please stop repeating your original arguments as if they had never been addressed.

At the very least, I think this has to be regarded as a perfectly reasonable alternative explanation for such phenomena than that given by the ToE.

You mean as science? Or as faith? If as science then you couldn't be more wrong. There is no scientific evidence for the creationist viewpoint that God did it.

Yes, but the point is that it hasn't been shown that there is any other kind of mutation than those that are harmful to one degree or another, including the ones that cause no appreciable disease process or functional loss as discussed above.

At best we're in the middle of still discussing beneficial mutations. This is just another "There's no evidence" claim that you periodically issue after evidence has been presented. Evidence has been presented, but you can't seem to get beyond repeating your original objections. Please address the arguments that have been made to you.

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 229 by Faith, posted 08-20-2006 4:11 PM Faith has replied

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Parasomnium
Member
Posts: 2199
Joined: 07-15-2003


Message 235 of 299 (341850)
08-21-2006 4:11 AM
Reply to: Message 200 by Faith
08-19-2006 10:27 PM


Re: Working against evolution? I'm afraid not.
Faith writes:

There are NO examples ANYONE has produced yet of a TRULY beneficial mutation, one that produces health and vigor.

You want truly beneficial mutations? How about the mutations that:

  • caused a cell to become sensitive to light;
  • caused a patch of light sensitive cells to become slightly concave;
  • caused a primate's thumb to become slightly more opposable;
  • caused an insect to become slightly better camouflaged;
  • caused an insect-eater to become slightly better at detecting camouflaged insects;
  • caused the plumage of a bird to become slightly more attractive to a potential mate;
  • caused a flower to become slightly more attractive to certain pollinators;
  • caused the leaves of a plant to become slightly less palatable to herbivores.

I could go on and on. And I can assure you that the list is comparable in length with the list of truly harmful mutations. If mutations are random, then it is to be expected that there are about as many beneficial mutations as there are harmful ones. To keep things simple you can say that natural selection makes sure that the beneficial ones are kept and the harmful ones are weeded out. (In reality, a lot of beneficial mutations are lost as well, because of accidents, disasters, et cetera.) This is not an intentional process, it's just what must happen, logically. The diversity we see around us in living nature and in the fossil record is in fact a log of a massive amount of beneficial mutations that have happened throughout the history of life on earth.


"Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science." - Charles Darwin.

Did you know that most of the time your computer is doing nothing? What if you could make it do something really useful? Like helping scientists understand diseases? Your computer could even be instrumental in finding a cure for HIV/AIDS. Wouldn't that be something? If you agree, then join World Community Grid now and download a simple, free tool that lets you and your computer do your share in helping humanity. After all, you are part of it, so why not take part in it?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 200 by Faith, posted 08-19-2006 10:27 PM Faith has replied

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Wounded King
Member (Idle past 3333 days)
Posts: 4149
From: Edinburgh, Scotland
Joined: 04-09-2003


Message 236 of 299 (341852)
08-21-2006 4:39 AM
Reply to: Message 235 by Parasomnium
08-21-2006 4:11 AM


Re: Working against evolution? I'm afraid not.
If mutations are random, then it is to be expected that there are about as many beneficial mutations as there are harmful ones.

I'm not sure there is any reason to expect this to be true. You would have to know that beneficial or detrimental mutations were equiprobable and I really can't see any way, other than perhaps pure guesswork, for you to have made this calculation and come to this conclusion.

TTFN,

WK


This message is a reply to:
 Message 235 by Parasomnium, posted 08-21-2006 4:11 AM Parasomnium has replied

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Parasomnium
Member
Posts: 2199
Joined: 07-15-2003


Message 237 of 299 (341856)
08-21-2006 5:15 AM
Reply to: Message 236 by Wounded King
08-21-2006 4:39 AM


Re: Working against evolution? I'm afraid not.
You would have to know that beneficial or detrimental mutations were equiprobable and I really can't see any way, other than perhaps pure guesswork, for you to have made this calculation and come to this conclusion.

You're right, I stand corrected. I did not make any such calculation, and it was indeed guesswork. I have no idea what the distribution really is. But that does not detract from the logical conclusion that the diversity in nature is the result of the selection of an enormous row of beneficial mutations*.

Faith's complaint is that there are so many harmful mutations and that no one ever provides examples of beneficial ones. All I wanted to point out is that the list of beneficial mutations is right there, for everyone to see, in the "log of nature", so to speak.

But thank you for pointing out my error. It should serve both as an example of how the scientific process works (not that I want to pretend that my ramblings have any scientific value whatsoever, but I mean peer review and all that) and as a reminder to myself to do some more research before posting.

___

*) While proofreading the above before posting, I realize I should add that the "log of nature" is as much the result of the weeding out of truly harmful mutations in favour of perhaps not really beneficial mutations, but rather mediocre, just-good-enough mutations. In that respect Faith may be right, and there may not be so many beneficial mutations. But good enough is what it is: good enough.


"Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science." - Charles Darwin.

Did you know that most of the time your computer is doing nothing? What if you could make it do something really useful? Like helping scientists understand diseases? Your computer could even be instrumental in finding a cure for HIV/AIDS. Wouldn't that be something? If you agree, then join World Community Grid now and download a simple, free tool that lets you and your computer do your share in helping humanity. After all, you are part of it, so why not take part in it?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 236 by Wounded King, posted 08-21-2006 4:39 AM Wounded King has taken no action

Replies to this message:
 Message 246 by Faith, posted 08-21-2006 1:16 PM Parasomnium has replied

nator
Member (Idle past 1408 days)
Posts: 12961
From: Ann Arbor
Joined: 12-09-2001


Message 238 of 299 (341867)
08-21-2006 8:05 AM
Reply to: Message 229 by Faith
08-20-2006 4:11 PM


wisdom teeth wisdom
quote:
The wisdom tooth example cannot possibly be taken seriously as a beneficial mutation, or even a neutral mutation since it has a definite effect in eliminating wisdom teeth. It gets all philosophically confused to try to figure out how the absence of such teeth MIGHT conceivably confer a benefit.

I don't need my wisdom teeth for survival, nor for reproduction.

Indeed, many, many people don't have room in their jaws for wisdom teeth (why is this so often the case, do you think? And don't say "the Fall". That's a cop out.) and it causes all sorts of pain and impaction and infection. Many, many people have to have these four teeth completely removed because they cause so much trouble. Without modern dentistry, those people would be SOL, wouldn't they?

I never had to worry about any of that because the teeth just don't exist, thanks to my mutation.

quote:
It seems to me that if it involves the destruction of a gene, that ought to be the defining factor, and I can't see such destruction as a positive in any sense whatever.

You seem to be saying that any destruction of a gene must be considered detrimental.

Well, what if a mutation caused the destruction of a disease-causing gene?

Would you consider that to be detrimental and negative?

And I also think you are harboring another misconception about what happens in this particular mutation.

You keep using the word "destruction", but you should more accurately be using the word "change".

This mutation is is a change in the nuceotide sequence. No genes have been lost (although that can happen, just as additions can also happen). I just have a different nucleotide sequence in that particular gene than someone who has all of their wisdom teeth.

Edited by schrafinator, : No reason given.


"Science is like a blabbermouth who ruins a movie by telling you how it ends! Well I say there are some things we don't want to know! Important things!"
- Ned Flanders

"Question with boldness even the existence of God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear." - Thomas Jefferson


This message is a reply to:
 Message 229 by Faith, posted 08-20-2006 4:11 PM Faith has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 266 by Faith, posted 08-21-2006 9:41 PM nator has replied

nator
Member (Idle past 1408 days)
Posts: 12961
From: Ann Arbor
Joined: 12-09-2001


Message 239 of 299 (341870)
08-21-2006 8:12 AM
Reply to: Message 234 by Percy
08-20-2006 8:33 PM


quote:
Normally I don't mind repeating explanations, but I'm beginning to believe you're ignoring arguments as a tactic to exhaust the people discussing with you.

...which is what I've already pointed out just before this thread was moved over here.

I'm glad you think so too, Percy.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 234 by Percy, posted 08-20-2006 8:33 PM Percy has taken no action

Faith 
Suspended Member (Idle past 683 days)
Posts: 35298
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001


Message 240 of 299 (341922)
08-21-2006 12:08 PM
Reply to: Message 235 by Parasomnium
08-21-2006 4:11 AM


Re: Working against evolution? I'm afraid not.
On your list of supposed beneficial mutations, you are speaking purely hypothetically, purely from evolutionary theory. There is no actual factual physical evidence that any of that was brought about by mutations, it's simply assumed because it's what the ToE assumes. Of course, since I don't believe in the ToE, I assume on the contrary that all the basic substance and the useful adaptations of life were built into the genetic material at the creation of the living thing.

The harmful mutations on the other hand, or most of them perhaps, and maybe I have this wrong but this is my impression, can be identified AS mutations by looking at the genetic material itself. That is, many genetic diseases can be located on the DNA and studied there in terms of whether the gene is "broken" or not, produces a protein or not, or produces a wrong protein.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 235 by Parasomnium, posted 08-21-2006 4:11 AM Parasomnium has taken no action

Replies to this message:
 Message 241 by crashfrog, posted 08-21-2006 12:28 PM Faith has taken no action
 Message 243 by nator, posted 08-21-2006 12:46 PM Faith has taken no action
 Message 245 by jar, posted 08-21-2006 1:06 PM Faith has replied

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