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Author Topic:   A test for claimed knowledge of how macroevolution occurs
Percy
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Posts: 19851
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.7


Message 20 of 785 (854678)
06-11-2019 3:28 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Dredge
06-11-2019 2:51 AM


Dredge writes:

I often hear evolutionists claim they "know how macroevolution occurs". If their claim is valid, then they should have no trouble explaining how, for example, the evolutionary ancestors of whales - ie, a rodent-like creature - could (hypothetically) be bred by humans to produce a whale (given unlimited time).

As others have mentioned, breeding doesn't involve mutations. Sure, occasionally a breeder gets a mutation, they're random, they can happen at any time. In fact, every reproductive event involves mutations, it's just that most of them have no effect. Mutations that cause a change are very rare in breeding.

But you said "given unlimited time," so Stile suggested an experimental program (it would have to last for billions and billions of years) that could be repeated over and over and over again until a rodent evolved into a whale. But this program would never be successful because of several problems. First, whales didn't evolve from rodents but from a now extinct ungulate (a hoofed animal), i.e., it no longer exists. Second, even if this ungulate did exist, because mutations are random repeating the experiment is unlikely to produce whales, just as Stile suggested, except it's even more unlikely than that. I think the universe would end first. Third, even if this original ungulate did exist, we couldn't keep it unchanged from one run of the experiment to the next because it would evolve too. The only way to actually run the experiment is to begin with an infinite number of ungulates and run an infinite number of these experiments simultaneously. And Fourth, we don't know the details of the changing environments that occurred in sequence, including the now extinct plants and creatures that populated them. Even if we did, they don't exist anymore. That is, we don't know what the selection pressures were, and even if we did we couldn't reproduce them.

Thousands of years of animal breeding have demonstrated that there are real limits to how radically animals can be changed from their "original" form.

Since breeding leaves mutation out of the equation you are absolutely right that there are limits to the degree of changes breeding can effect.

For instance, wolves were bred to produce many different breeds of dogs, but harmful mutations limit how far this process can be taken. How can these genetic limitations be overcome to breed a whale from a sort-of-rodent?

Through mutation.

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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Percy
Member
Posts: 19851
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.7


Message 24 of 785 (854687)
06-11-2019 5:47 PM
Reply to: Message 21 by Taq
06-11-2019 4:24 PM


Taq writes:

For instance, wolves were bred to produce many different breeds of dogs, but harmful mutations limit how far this process can be taken.

You have never supported this assertion.

Just the assertion alone indicates a simple but essential point is not understood, that deleterious mutations happen to individuals who don't get to pass their genes on to any progeny.

--Percy


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Percy
Member
Posts: 19851
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.7


(1)
Message 53 of 785 (854766)
06-12-2019 2:40 PM
Reply to: Message 33 by Dredge
06-12-2019 2:43 AM


Dredge writes:

The only difference between breeding and macroevolution is the former is determined by artificial selection and the latter is determined by natural selection.

As people keep telling you (so one more time probably won't do any good), breeding is artificial selection, while macroevolution is natural selection plus mutation over the course of enough generations to make successful interbreeding with the original population (if it still exists) an uncommon event.

That is, breeding cannot create a new species because any new breeds would still be the same species. The underlying genetics haven't changed. Even if physical changes make natural intercourse impossible (e.g., a chihuahua and a Great Dane), sperm and egg would still be compatible. The sperm could still fertilize the egg in a test tube.

But evolution *can* create new species because mutations can change the underlying genetics to the point of little to no interfertility, meaning that even test tube babies would be unlikely or impossible.

--Percy

Edited by Percy, : Grammar.


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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Percy
Member
Posts: 19851
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.7


Message 68 of 785 (854789)
06-12-2019 6:56 PM
Reply to: Message 40 by Dredge
06-12-2019 4:57 AM


You in Message 34:

...breeding a whale...

You in Message 36:

...breeding these alleged ancestral "rodents" towards whale-ness...

You in Message 40:

...breed these "rodents" to move them along the path to whale-ness...

You keep repeating the same mistake. Breeding is not the artificial version of evolution. You'd have to combine breeding with genetic engineering to have an accurate analogy of the artificial to the natural. That is:

(Artificial selection + genetic engineering) == (natural selection + mutation)

Breeding by itself, which can't change the genetics, could never produce a whale from a now extinct ungulate (not a rodent - can you name any rodent with hooves?).

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 40 by Dredge, posted 06-12-2019 4:57 AM Dredge has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 157 by Dredge, posted 06-14-2019 2:28 AM Percy has acknowledged this reply

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 19851
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.7


Message 69 of 785 (854790)
06-12-2019 7:11 PM
Reply to: Message 42 by RAZD
06-12-2019 5:46 AM


RAZD writes:

No point in continuing with you on this thread and letting you repeat all your refuted nonsense.

I haven't finished reading to the end of the thread yet, but so far Dredge isn't engaging with any of the information provided to him. I'd like to see him explain how people are wrong in their criticisms of his views, but instead he's just ignoring them, making discussion impossible.

--Percy


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Replies to this message:
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Percy
Member
Posts: 19851
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.7


(4)
Message 95 of 785 (854824)
06-13-2019 7:55 AM
Reply to: Message 79 by Dredge
06-12-2019 11:50 PM


After all the corrections it is perplexing that you persist in these errors:

Dredge writes:

Btw, do you know how to breed ancient “rodents” so that a whale will eventually evolve?

First, whales are thought to have evolved from a now extinct ungulate, not a rodent. Putting quotation marks around rodent does not turn it into an ungulate. Both rodents and ungulates are mammals, but that's about all they have in common. In particular ungulates are hoofed, rodents are not.

Second, breeding by itself could never turn an ungulate into a whale because breeding doesn't include mutations.

Third, because mutations are random, resetting the world back back to the time of the ungulate whale predecessor and then letting time run forward again would produce a different set of random mutations that experience selection pressures differently, not just in the ungulate whale predecessor but in all life. You would be very unlikely to get whales or wolves or squirrels or elephants or people. No matter how many times you reset to the initial conditions and repeat the experiment, you're very unlikely to get whales or anything like the world of life we see today. You would get other creatures filling the same ecological niches.

I have a fragile eggshell mind and my IQ is only 9.

No one believes that. Seriously, what would you say is the reason you're ignoring the many explanations of the mistakes you're making?

--Percy


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 Message 79 by Dredge, posted 06-12-2019 11:50 PM Dredge has not yet responded

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 19851
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.7


(1)
Message 96 of 785 (854826)
06-13-2019 10:05 AM
Reply to: Message 81 by Dredge
06-13-2019 12:26 AM


Dredge writes:

Percy writes:

whales didn't evolve from rodents but from a now extinct ungulate (a hoofed animal), i.e., it no longer exists


Whatever. You’re splitting hairs - some articles describe the evolutionary ancestors of whales as a “rodent-like creature”.

It's not splitting hairs, and no science article or paper would call an ancient ungulate a "rodent-like creature." Today the earliest whale ancestor is thought to be Pakicetus, an ancient ungulate with small hooves on the end of its toes. In the interest of accuracy you should describe the ancient whale ancestor as a now extinct ungulate or as Pakicetus.

If you don't know how to breed whales from their ancestral “rodents”, you don't know how whales evolved nor how macroevolution occurs.

Breeding, because it lacks mutations, could never produce a genetically new species.

Can you even explain how the first step in such a breeding program?

This is an incomplete sentence. Could you repeat the question?

How are you going to breed these landlubber “rodents” such that a large enough population of them live permanently in the ocean?

If breeding is the only option, it couldn't be done. If genetic engineering is included then theoretically it could be done, but we don't know what huge portions of any genome even do, so on a practical level it would still be impossible, at least with today's level of genetic knowledge.

You don’t need to know what the ancient environment was like and you don't need selection pressures - in the proposed breeding program the necessary features are selected artificially, not naturally. If you don't know which "rodent" features to select, then you don't know how whales evolved.

Whales have characteristics that Pakicetus did not. You cannot select characteristics that don't exist. It isn't possible to get a whale from Pakicetus through breeding.

But more important is the earlier point that mutations are random. If in your hypothetical experiment the breeding program lasts for millions of years then mutations will occur naturally, but mutations are random and will not be the same ones that led to whales.

Since breeding leaves mutation out of the equation you are absolutely right that there are limits to the degree of changes breeding can effect.

I don't understand this. Breeding leaves mutations out of the equation? Aren’t mutations responsible for the natural variations in dogs, for example, which breeders have exploited to produce hundreds of different breeds? Dog breeders also induce unnatural mutations via inbreeding, which are also selected.

No, mutations are not responsible for the variety of dogs. Breeding relies on selecting for qualities that already exist in the animal.

Breeders are definitely not producing generation after generation of animal waiting for a mutation that yields the quality they want, perhaps a spotted coat or pointy ears. While mutations are part of every reproductive event, the vast majority have no effect, and those that do do not usually result in viable offspring. They either abort very early, even before pregnancy is detected, or die in the womb or die young. Beneficial mutations are rare. Beneficial mutations that are exactly what the breeder wants would be nearly impossibly rare. Dogs are still wolves.

You're going to have to correct your misunderstanding of breeding before the discussion can make meaningful progress.

--Percy


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 Message 81 by Dredge, posted 06-13-2019 12:26 AM Dredge has not yet responded

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 19851
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.7


Message 103 of 785 (854834)
06-13-2019 12:22 PM
Reply to: Message 82 by Dredge
06-13-2019 12:41 AM


Dredge writes:

Taq writes:

Dredge writes:

For instance, wolves were bred to produce many different breeds of dogs, but harmful mutations limit how far this process can be taken.


You have never supported this assertion.

It's common knowledge:

quote:
"Health and welfare problems in pedigree dogs can arise as a result of the deliberate selection for exaggerated physical features or as a result of inherited disease. While some of the following problems can occur in any breed, cross breed or mixed breed dogs, purebred pedigree dogs are at greater risk and appear to be over-represented clinically. This is mainly due to traditional breeding practices.
Difficulty breathing
Difficulty giving birth
Difficulty walking
Serious eye problems
Serious skin problems"

https://www.rspca.org.au/...ve-common-problems-pedigree-dogs

Such problems are not due to mutation. They're due to the selection process. For example, some of the characteristics selected for in the German Shepherd were linked genetically to hip dysplasia. There is no hip dysplasia mutation. The alleles for hip dysplasia were already present in the wolf genome, but selection and inbreeding has made them more prevalent in the German Shepherd.

So the story goes - which contradicts thousand of years of empirical evidence gathered by animal and plant breeders.

Before we can have a productive discussion you're going to have to understand that mutation plays a nearly zero role in breeding.

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 82 by Dredge, posted 06-13-2019 12:41 AM Dredge has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 105 by caffeine, posted 06-13-2019 1:32 PM Percy has responded
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Percy
Member
Posts: 19851
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.7


Message 106 of 785 (854839)
06-13-2019 2:26 PM
Reply to: Message 83 by Dredge
06-13-2019 12:47 AM


Dredge writes:

Taq writes:

In other words, we would need to take millions of years to replay the evolutionary history.


Not necessarily.
"In just 26 generations, we managed to create relationships between the shape and size of (fruit) fly wings that were more extreme than those resulting from more than 50 million years of evolution." - Geir H. Bolstad, researcher at the Norwegian for Nature Research. (sciencedaily.com, "58,000 fruit flies shed light on 100-year old evolutionary question", 2015)

Why are you posting this again without responding to Edge's rebuttal in Message 45? You again ignored the following two paragraphs:

quote:
However, when researchers stopped their artificial breeding efforts and let nature take its course, the relationship between shape and size returned to normal in just 15 generations.

In other words, many generations of artificial selection were reversed relatively quickly when natural selection itself was left to decide which characteristics were the best for the flies. To understand why this is so requires a more detailed explanation.


For those who need the more detailed explanation the article can be found at 58,046 fruit flies shed light on 100-year old evolutionary question.

Note that the word "mutation" does not appear even once in the article. Though the article doesn't say, at the genetic level the wing changes could only have been caused by changes in allele distribution/frequency.

The technical paper upon which ScienceDaily based the article can be found here: Complex constraints on allometry revealed by artificial selection on the wing of Drosophila melanogaster. It explains that the changes were caused by changes in allele frequency:

quote:
A potentially confounding source of response to selection is the creation of linkage disequilibrium between alleles that affect wing size and alleles that affect L2 length. Such linkage disequilibrium could have generated a change in the allometric slope without changes in allele frequency. For example, an association between alleles that increase wing size with alleles that increase L2 length would increase the allometric slope between wing size and L2 length. To minimize linkage disequilibrium, we used disassortative mating when selecting on the static allometric slope. Female flies in the cluster above mean wing size were mated with male flies from below and vice versa (see Materials and Methods), so that recombination would be maximally effective in breaking up linkage disequilibrium. However, this does not completely prevent association between alleles, and we need to consider if the reversal of the response could have been due to breakup of linkage disequilibrium. Assuming an average recombination fraction of r = 0.365 between random loci in D. melanogaster (37), we estimated that the maximum fraction of the response that could be due to linkage disequilibrium averaged only 19.9 ± 22.6% and 14.3 ± 24.0% in males and females, respectively.

--Percy

Edited by Percy, : Minor correction.


This message is a reply to:
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Percy
Member
Posts: 19851
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.7


Message 108 of 785 (854844)
06-13-2019 3:02 PM
Reply to: Message 84 by Dredge
06-13-2019 12:59 AM


Dredge writes:

Tanypteryx writes:

This is incorrect. It is not a mutation here and a mutation there. If we use humans as an example, there are on average 100 mutations in every individual in a population. If we take the population of reproducers as 1 billion people, they have a combined 100 BILLION NEW MUTATIONS in just their generation of our population. If you take the whole human population there are 750 BILLION NEW MUTATIONS right now.


Yet humans remain humans … and dogs remain dogs, water rats remain water rats, E. coli remain E. coli ... funny that.

I'm taking a different message from what you're saying than did DWise1 and Tanyperyx. I think you're saying that despite the huge flow of new mutations into the human population, humans do not evolve into a new species. This is both true and false. Let me explain.

It is true in that no human will ever give birth to a different species. Humans will always beget humans. This is because, on average, there are only about 100 mutations in each new baby, and they almost always have no measurable effect, if any. Genetically each new baby will be virtually identical to its parents, i.e., still human.

But across a population as large as humans with 360,000 births globally every day, around 36 million new mutations are introduced daily into the human population. Over the course of generations mutations will only gradually spread, being more common nearest their point of origin. This is because even in a global economy most people still marry people who live nearby, so most new mutations will spread only slowly over the generations from their point of origin, from one village to the next. As mutations spread and combine with other mutations gradually the human genome will evolve. There don't even have to be any selection pressures for this to happen - genetic drift by itself would be sufficient.

And that's why what you say about humans always remaining humans is also false. Over enough generations the human genome will change to the point where we are no longer the same species. Even if in that distant future we still call ourselves human, were we able to travel back in time to the present interbreeding would not be possible.

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 84 by Dredge, posted 06-13-2019 12:59 AM Dredge has not yet responded

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 19851
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.7


Message 109 of 785 (854846)
06-13-2019 3:26 PM
Reply to: Message 85 by Dredge
06-13-2019 1:06 AM


Dredge writes:

If you have to rely on genetic engineering to evolve your rodents, you are admitting you don’t know how to breed them in order to eventually produce a whale - in which case you don’t know how whale evolution happened nor how macroevolution occurs.

Actually we're saying the same thing that's already been said a number of times. We're not admitting that we don't know how to breed a whale from a Pakicetus so much as saying that that would be pretty much impossible without genetic engineering. Here's why.

Imagine we're actually carrying out your thought experiment where we begin with a Pakicetus population and through artificial selection breed it to replicate the evolution to modern whales. Assume we know the Pakicetus genome. The experiment reaches the point where it is time for a certain specific mutation to occur in the Pakicetus population in order for it to make the next step toward whale-ness. How are we to insert that mutation into the Pakicetus population if not through genetic engineering?

As a practical matter and as explained earlier, even artificial selection and genetic engineering together would not allow us to transform a Pakicetus population into a whale population. We don't have enough knowledge about what everything in any genome does yet. For example, if we wanted to move the nose incrementally toward the top of the head we might not have any idea what specific genetic changes would be necessary.

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 85 by Dredge, posted 06-13-2019 1:06 AM Dredge has not yet responded

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 19851
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.7


Message 110 of 785 (854847)
06-13-2019 3:42 PM
Reply to: Message 88 by Dredge
06-13-2019 1:35 AM


Dredge writes:

Dog breeders use inbreeding to induce unnatural mutations,...

Inbreeding reduces genetic diversity but does not produce mutations, other than those that normally occur as part of any reproduction.

--Percy


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 Message 88 by Dredge, posted 06-13-2019 1:35 AM Dredge has not yet responded

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 19851
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.7


(1)
Message 120 of 785 (854857)
06-13-2019 4:43 PM
Reply to: Message 90 by Dredge
06-13-2019 1:54 AM


In answering your post DWise1 says you don't understand evolution, and this is self-evident, but it might help to note that you don't have to accept evolution to understand it.

There's nothing wrong with creationists understanding evolution. Fred Williams who runs Evolution Fairy Tale understands evolution, so his arguments against evolution are based upon what it really says.

But your arguments make no sense. You think you're arguing against evolution but you're not. What you're actually arguing against is your own personal misunderstanding of evolution, which doesn't exist as a scientific theory.

You did say one thing that is actually true:

...yet breeders ALWAYS eventually encounter genetic limits to how much the original organism can be changed.

If the genome remains unchanged in any significant way then that unchanging genome represents the limits of what breeding can accomplish. But if the genome can change in significant ways, which becomes likely when timescales become much longer than the time since man first began domestication of plants and animals, then there is no limit to evolutionary change.

Trillions of mutations that always lead to genetic dead-ends ... funny that.

Mutations add genetic diversity, which is the opposite of a dead end. You can't have it both ways. It makes no sense that breeders who do not deal in mutations hit dead ends (your "genetic limits"), while evolution involving trillions of mutations also hits dead ends.

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 90 by Dredge, posted 06-13-2019 1:54 AM Dredge has not yet responded

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 19851
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.7


Message 133 of 785 (854871)
06-13-2019 5:21 PM
Reply to: Message 105 by caffeine
06-13-2019 1:32 PM


I guess I don't see traditional breeding and mutation breeding as the same thing. The examples you mentioned of mutations in dogs and cattle have come up in previous discussions, and I wasn't forgetting them when I said that mutations play almost no role in breeding. Your sense that mutations have been responsible for more breeding results than we give credit for seems a quite a stretch to me, though I would of course concede in the face of evidence. But that populations of domestic breeds revert so quickly to wild forms once out in the wild (see, for example, When domesticated animals return to the wild) argues strongly, at least to me, against mutations playing any meaningful role in breeding.

The lack of mutations at any meaningful frequency in traditional breeding on human timescales is the driving force behind efforts at mutation breeding where the mutation rate is artificially accelerated.

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 105 by caffeine, posted 06-13-2019 1:32 PM caffeine has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 166 by caffeine, posted 06-14-2019 4:11 PM Percy has responded

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 19851
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.7


Message 185 of 785 (855023)
06-15-2019 7:49 AM
Reply to: Message 166 by caffeine
06-14-2019 4:11 PM


I think we might agree on the facts but disagree about the way I described them. What you describe does to me seem to be mutation playing a nearly zero role in breeding, which is what I said that you originally disagreed with. If 99.99% of breeders (I'm guestimating, of course) never experience a useful mutation in their breeding stock during their entire breeding career, then that seems pretty close to zero. Useful mutations do occur every once in a long while, but that's what nearly zero is. (I use the word "useful" instead of "beneficial" to distinguish between traits useful to the breeder versus traits beneficial to the organism.)

The important point I was making for Dredge is that mutation plays almost no role in breeding. Of course the occasional breeder lucks out into a useful mutation, but that's a very rare occurrence. There's nothing going on in breeding that causes useful mutations to appear any more frequently than beneficial mutations in the wild. Its an uncommon occurrence.

Even more rare is for a breeder who is breeding for a particular trait to have his breeding stock experience a mutation relevant to that trait, that is, a mutation that produces a change in the direction of the trait the breeder desires. That's probably never happened in the history of breeding.

And probably most of the useful mutations in domestic animal populations didn't even occur in animals that were part of a breeding program. They occurred in farmers' or ranchers' cows or pigs or horses or chickens and spread from there, not from any breeder. And possibly some of the mutations you mention are the kind that pop up with regularity, the way down syndrome mutations pop up in humans with regularity.

But another important point for Dredge to take away from this is that breeding stocks do experience mutations, probably at pretty much the same rate as equivalent species in the wild. But most mutations have no apparent effect. They occur in a non-coding region or they result in the same protein or other things like that.

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 166 by caffeine, posted 06-14-2019 4:11 PM caffeine has not yet responded

  
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