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Author Topic:   Evolution: Science or Religion?
Member (Idle past 380 days)
Posts: 6349
From: San Diego, CA, USA
Joined: 05-03-2003

Message 34 of 41 (46822)
07-22-2003 5:02 AM
Reply to: Message 26 by EndocytosisSynthesis
07-20-2003 4:29 PM

Does nobody remember my posts regarding experiments that you can do yourself for very little money that will show you evolution happening right in front of your eyes?

Take a single K-type E. coli bacterium. You can buy them from your local biological supply house (talk to the biology teachers at your local high school if you can't find them on your own.) K-type E. coli are susceptible to T4 phage. So if you take this single bacterium and let it reproduce in medium and then infect the medium with T4 phage and then pour it into a petri dish to form a lawn, what do you expect will happen?

That's right: Plaques start to form. The plaques are areas where the bacteria are dying because they are being infected with the T4 phage. In fact, we expect to see the entire lawn die because every single bacterium in the lawn is descended from a single ancestor that is susceptible to T4 phage.

But what do we actually see? Instead of the entire lawn dying, we see that there are colonies of bacteria in the midst of the plaques, merrily living on despite being surrounded by lethal phage.

How can this be? Simple: The bacteria evolved. They are now called K/4-type because they are resistant to T4 phage.

But wait...we're not done. Take one of those K/4-type bacteria and repeat the process: Put it in medium to reproduce and then infect the medium with T4 phage.

What do we expect to see? That's right...absolutely nothing. Since the bacteria are all descended from a single ancestor that was resistant to T4 phage, we should never see any plaques form.

But what do we actually see? Instead of nothing, we see plaques starting to form.

How can this be? Simple: The phage evolved. That's right, the phage evolved, not the bacteria. Think about it: If there were a reversion mutation from K/4 back to K-type, the phage would infect the K-type bacterium and kill it, but the surrounding K/4 bacteria would immediately fill in the space left by the dead K-type. The phage could never get the upper hand and thus, we should never see any plaques. Since we do see plaques forming, it cannot be the bacteria who evolved. It must be the phage. And, indeed, the phage is now T4h phage since it has evolved ways to get around K4-type defenses.

So there you go. Evolution right before your eyes. Not once but twice and all of this can be done in very little time for very little money. It is a common biology lab experiment in introductory college and even high school biology courses.

To say that evolution has never been observed is to distort reality. We see it all the time.

Now onto some specific comments:

Those circuit designs in jet airplanes would not have occured if an intelligent creator/designer didn't actually design the airplane and all of its components and the circuit boards and everything else first.

Excuse me? Do you realize what you just said? You are accusing the software industry of massive fraud.

You're saying that when the boss comes along and asks you to design a circuit board, rather than you designing the board and then turning your plans in, you waste another six months to a year programming the computer with your design in order to make it look like the computer did it. You're saying that software engineers are engaged in a massive conspiracy to pad their paychecks.

What is the point? If I know how to design something, why would I waste time to teach a computer how to tell me what I already know?

I'm reminded of an assignment I had in a computer science class I had. It was to design a program that will find a knight's tour of a chess board.

There are lots of ways of going around it. You seem to think that the only way to do this, and the way that most computer programmers involved in genetic algorithms do their job, is to do it the way I did: Find a knight's tour by hand and then program the computer to spit it out.

You see, the first thing I did was model a chessboard. I noticed that certain squares restrict a knight's move more than others. For example, a knight has only two possible moves when it is sitting in the corner of the board...and one of those moves isn't allowed because it's the square the knight just came from (since you cannot land on any square more than once in a knight's tour). So it dawned on me that certain types of moves might be more likely to wind up in a knight's tour than others and thus to make a more efficient algorithm, I should restrict the movement of other squares, too. With a little bit of experimenting on my own, I found a cyclic knight's tour (not only is every square visited and visited only once, the last square is one move away from landing back on the first square, completing the cycle) and just as I had to restrict the movement of a knight at the corners, every single square got reduced to two possible moves...the square you just came from and the square that you need to move to in order to complete the tour that I found.

I got an A on the project because the assignment did not state how you were supposed to get the system to find a tour...a pre-programmed sequence was fine so long as the system actually modeled a knight moving on a chessboard.

However, I missed the point. Well, I didn't really miss the point...I was just too lazy to do what would have been impressive and what other students in the class did: Have the computer find the tour.

That is, if you model the chessboard and teach the computer how a knight moves, then you can have the computer do the experimenting in order to find the tour. Just give it a memory to know what squares it has landed on and when it comes to a dead end where it cannot move anymore but still hasn't completed the tour, have it back up and try a different route. Eventually, it will find a tour all on its own.

This is how genetic algorithms work. You don't tell the computer the answer you want. That's ridiculous. I found the tour, so why would I possibly go to all the trouble of teaching a computer to spit back out the answer I already had? The point is not to have the computer tell me what I already know. Rather, it's to get the computer to tell me what I don't know. What we want is a computer that can be told: "Here is the board and here is how the piece moves. Find a path that lands on every square exactly once and then tell me if it is cyclic or not," and have the computer figure it out for us.

So yes, a human being had to program the computer, but so what? The computer is used not because we know the answer. It is used because the computer can do the experimentation more efficiently and inexpensively than we can. Building a large piece of machinery takes up a lot of money and materials. If you can simulate the materials with a computer model, you can save yourself a lot of time and money. If I need to test something in a wind tunnel, I have to build the object, schedule time in the wind tunnel, and clean up after myself...and if disaster strikes and the object disintegrates in the tunnel, I've got a lot of work involved.

If I can model the object and the wind tunnel in the computer, I can save myself a lot of time and money by having the computer do the tests. It isn't like I know what is going to happen. I haven't programmed the answer into the computer. I've simply programmed physics into the computer.

It can't just appear out of nothing.

And yet, that's exactly what happens.

Now that you know that your assumption is incorrect, how are you going to modify your argument?

It's not that simple.

Yes, it is.

Now that you know that your assumption is incorrect, how are you going to modify your argument?

New species are generating everyday?


Go to PubMed and do a search for "sp. nov." and you'll see a list of new species being submitted to the journals.

I don't think so

Irrelevant. It doesn't matter what you believe. It only matters what you can prove. As Stephen Crane wrote:

A man said to the universe, "Sir, I exist."

"However," replied the universe, "the fact has not created in me a sense of obligation."

and just because by random chance a circuit rewired itself by random chance doesn't mean that apes evolved into humans

In and of itself, no. After all, the reason that you can get a computer to design new circuit board designs is because the computer has traits that mutate over time and then are subjected to a selection gradient. If we're going to show that humans and apes evolved from a common ancestor, we're going to have to show that human morphology is controled by something that mutates over time and is subjected to selection gradients.

And sure enough, we find that: DNA. It mutates. We can count them. Every human has, on average, 3-6 mutations compared to his parents. And selection gradients are seen everywhere. If you don't survive to reproduction, for example, your genes do not get passed on to the next generation.

And you will notice that I said, "humans and apes evolved from a common ancestor." You have stated a common error in creationist circles: That humans evolved from apes. They did not. Instead, humans and apes evolved from a common ancestor.

I am not my cousin. My cousin is not me. I am not descended from my cousin. My cousin is not descended from me. Instead, my cousin and I are descended from a common ancestor: Our grandparents.

As we all know, Evolution hasn't been proven 100%

You still are being very sloppy in your terms. You haven't defined what you mean by evolution or "proven 100%." As I just demonstrated above, we can see evolution happening right in front of our eyes. There is no doubt that evolution happens just as there is no doubt that when I drop a ball from my hand, it falls to the ground.

There is no doubt that humans and apes share a common ancestor, either. It is obvious from our genetics. For example, if you look at the human chromosome 2 and compare it to chromosomes 2p and 2q of chimpanzees, orangutans, and gorillas, you see that the human chromosome is a fusion of chromosomes 2p and 2q of the other apes.

You see, at the ends of chromosomes are things called "telomeres." They are sections of genetic code that signal the end of the chromosome. The human chromosome 2 has a telomere right in the middle of the sequence. Plus, if you look at the genetic markers, you will find that the human chromosome 2 looks precisely like what it would be if you took the other apes chromosomes 2p and 2q and fused them together.

For pictures of the chromosomal markers, see here:

Comparison of the Human and Great Ape Chromosomes as Evidence for Common Ancestry

It is becoming quite clear that you do not understand what evolution actually is but are rather reacting to a cartoon version fed to you by someone who also didn't understand what evolution actually is.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 26 by EndocytosisSynthesis, posted 07-20-2003 4:29 PM EndocytosisSynthesis has not yet responded

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