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Author Topic:   Key points of Evolution
Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 1154 days)
Posts: 2843
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008


Message 95 of 356 (464887)
04-30-2008 4:09 PM
Reply to: Message 93 by Wumpini
04-30-2008 3:03 PM


Re: Maybe this will clear things up
Hi, Wumpini.

You seem to have grasped the concept. However, I would still suggest that you be careful with this statement:

Wumpini writes:

There appears to be division in the scientific world related to the mechanism of evolution.

The only mechanism that has survived scientific study until this date is natural selection. I am a Christian, and I believe that there is a God and that somehow He is involved in our being here. But, as you will see from my arguments (sorry if any were insulting or impolite toward you), I argue strictly on the side of materialistic, naturalistic evolution in every thread at this forum. Likely, most of the 40% would do the same.

Also, it's been eleven years since that paper was done, and I'd be willing to bet that the figures have tipped considerably since then.

I just graduated from Brigham Young University. BYU, in case you didn't know, is owned and operated by the Mormon church, and we have religious education general requirements for graduation. The faculty have to be devout members of the church (with a few exceptions) and are interviewed based on their "testimony of the Church" more than their scientific prowess. Yet, there isn't a single creationist on the biology faculty here: in fact, I don't think any of the faculty even argue with human evolution by the same process: natural selection (they think "random" processes, such as natural selection, are a manifestation of God's creative processes). Yet, almost certainly, ninety percent of them would be among the 40% "theistics" from the article you provided.


I'm Thylacosmilus.

Darwin loves you.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 93 by Wumpini, posted 04-30-2008 3:03 PM Wumpini has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 99 by Wumpini, posted 04-30-2008 5:32 PM Blue Jay has responded

Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 1154 days)
Posts: 2843
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008


Message 110 of 356 (464967)
05-01-2008 12:04 PM
Reply to: Message 99 by Wumpini
04-30-2008 5:32 PM


Re: Mechanisms of evolution
Wumpini, to Dr A., writes:

I am trying to use the results of this study so that I can gain a better understanding of what scientists believe about the origin of life.

I believe you. Thanks for at least trying: it's more than we usually get.

Wumpini, to Bluejay, writes:

However, an article by Douglas Theobald on the talk origin website lists numeorus mechanisms for macroevolution including natural selection, genetic drift, sexual selection, neutral evolution, and theories of speciation.

Good call: I lumped them all into one when I shouldn't have. Actually, I don't know that I've heard the term "neutral evolution" before.

I can give a little run-down, if you'd like (if you wouldn't like, I did anyway ;) ):

1. Natural Selection = selection against phenotypes that can't survive well enough (e.g., white tigers are not as successful at hiding from prey as orange tigers, so they don't eat as well)

2. Sexual Selection = selection against phenotypes that can't reproduce well enough (e.g., peahens prefer peacocks with longer tails, so short-tailed peacocks are less successful at reproducing)

3. Genetic Drift = genotype ratios in 2 populations are different due to random sampling (e.g., two blue-eyed people happened to be the founders of a new population, so blue eyes are more common in their descendants than in other populations)

4. Theories of Speciation = probably just instances in which the first 3 lead to speciation; alternately, some abrupt changes that prevent the descendants of a population from interbreeding the same way their predecessors did (as with resculpturing of the gonads of an insect, or polyploidy in plants [doubling of the genome that cause infertility between the doubled and undoubled genomes])

I'd like to put in my two cents about Rahvin's equations, too:

Rahvin writes:

(the observed diversity of life on Earth) = (one or more initial life forms) + (evolution) + (time)

AND

(the observed diversity of life on Earth) = (one or more initial life forms) + (evolution) + (time) + ("god")

Essentially, materialistic evolutionists use the first equation. And, essentially, theistic evolutionists use the first equation. Intelligent designists, like Michael Behe, like the second equation.

What theistic evolutionists (generally, though perhaps not all of them) say that is different from what IDists say is that God's involvement in the process is already circumscribed inside the equation that doesn't add Him as an extra factor: i.e., the "laws of nature" that govern how evolution proceeds are the manifestation of God's hand in the process. With this logic, you don't have to put Him in separately. And, with this logic, you don't have to choose either science or religion: science doesn't interfere with your beliefs, and your beliefs don't ask you to reject verifiable evidence.


I'm Thylacosmilus.

Darwin loves you.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 99 by Wumpini, posted 04-30-2008 5:32 PM Wumpini has responded

Replies to this message:
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Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 1154 days)
Posts: 2843
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008


Message 135 of 356 (465074)
05-02-2008 5:40 PM
Reply to: Message 134 by Wumpini
05-02-2008 5:10 PM


Re: Propaganda and Evolution in Schools
Wumpini writes:

...scientists do not like anyone messing with their theories or the scientific method especially in the science classroom.

Well, if you want to be technical, the entire idea of science is to "mess with" current theories: we keep testing, validating, rejecting, etc. current theories in various ways, even after we're certain that they're right. We're not against new ideas: we're only against new ideas that aren't useful or supportable.

One other thing I've noticed (although you might think it's nit-picking) is that you refer to scientists and science teachers as the same. This isn't strictly accurate: highschool science teachers generally do not have post-graduate education or much experience in research. In fact, until recently, the requirements for teaching at the primary and secondary levels were rather low. In Tennessee, for instance, where I went to middle school and highschool, several of my teachers didn't even have a B.S. (fortunately my science teachers did). As a side note, I can second virtually everything that has been said about Arkansas schools, because Tennessee schools were #49 when I moved there in eighth grade. We Southerners stick together, you know. ;)

Wumpini writes:

A 1991 Gallup Poll of Americans showed - 47% believe in creation in the last 10,000 years, and only 9% believe in evolution without God.

More nit-picking, perhaps, but the numbers have changed since then. According to the 2007 Gallup Poll, atheistic evolutionists are up to 14%. In fact, 9% is the low point over the past decade.

Wumpini writes:

Does anyone have any suggestions as to how evolution could be taught in our public schools in a manner that does not offend almost half of the population that believes in literal creation, and over 90% of the population that believes in God?

I suggest a statement on the first day of class:

"You don't have to take this stuff as an affront to your religion."

And, I suggest that the rising generation of parents say the same thing to their children, instead of "you must believe in the literal word of the Bible, or you're a sinner and you'll go to Hell" (which is the line I was taught as a kid).

I would actually favor setting aside one day in science class where highschool teachers would compare the two theories (as long as the teacher is objective--which is almost never the case in Arkansas, Tennessee or Utah :( ).

Alternately, we could back off and let science handle things it's usual way: i.e. without political appeals, public rallies or fundraisers, or protests and court cases, but with evidence, logic and debate. That ought to settle it the old Navy way: "First guy to die, loses."


I'm Thylacosmilus.

Darwin loves you.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 134 by Wumpini, posted 05-02-2008 5:10 PM Wumpini has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
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Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 1154 days)
Posts: 2843
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008


Message 216 of 356 (465948)
05-11-2008 11:42 PM
Reply to: Message 194 by Wumpini
05-09-2008 7:43 AM


Re: Contrary Evidence
This is a long post, but I think it is important, so please bear with me.

I hope, as a "theistic evolutionist" (by the standards of Wumpini's favorite Gallup Poll), I will be able to clarify a few things that other non-theistic evolutionists have been "speculating" or "hypothesizing" about.

Wumpini, in #186, writes:

However, you are forgetting that 45% of scientists have looked at the overwhelming evidence, and come to the conclusion that God exists.

I can assure you that this statement only applies to a vast minority of the 45%. In fact, when I was first presented with the evidence for evolution (in college Biology 101), my faith was shaken to its very core. I spent an entire two years reading every scrap of information I could concerning the Mormon church and evolution (even resorting to :eek: anti-Mormon literature), making sure I had enough evidence to hold a belief that would really upset my mommy an daddy, and making sure that it was okay for a good little Mormon boy to believe in evolution. Gradually, I switched to merely hoping that my religion (which I "knew" to be true) had not been so foolish as to pit itself against science, which had the lion's share of the data behind it. In the end, I came to the conclusion that my religion has not actually denied the possibility of evolution (although most people in my religion believe it has, and get rather upset with me when I say otherwise).

Likewise, you would be hard-pressed to find any of the 40% theistic evolutionists who would say "I believe in God because the evidence is overwhelming." I am still always scared to death that my faith and convictions are the products of a grand scam, and that I will have thus wasted on a frivolous religion a lot of time and energy that I could have been spending doing things that sound fun, pleasurable and/or interesting in other ways. Yet, if there wasn't some modicum of uncertainty to my beliefs, how could this life truly be the "test of faith" that my religion teaches that it is?

I don't believe in God because I can see it or otherwise prove it scientifically: I believe because I have faith (and my scientific little head spins nauseatingly everytime I say that). Besides, as you have probably heard many times, "goddunit" does not answer the "how" question in any reasonable way: it only answers "who" (and, for some people, "why").

Earlier in this thread, you and Granny (and some others) had a discussion about a children's textbook, which everybody seemed to conclude was lacking in scientific rigor, but which taught important, basic principles to children. Have you ever considered the possibility that the Bible is the equivalent of a children's textbook?

Could you imagine Adam, who could not possibly have known much about anything, trying to understand while God explains to him about His methods and reasons for creating nasty predators, for getting hard pits inside cherries, for making things so tiny that Adam can't see them, and things that lurk in the deep, dark ocean, where Adam will never be able to go? Is it any wonder God didn't bother to tell us when in Creation week He made bacteria? Is it any wonder He didn't bother explaining to the writer of Leviticus that bats and locusts are not birds?

Wumpini, in #189 writes:

They are scientists, and probably educated people, therefore they would seem to need evidence to be convinced of anything.

You would think this would be the case, right? Well, if you examine the evidence, it turns out that this perfectly reasonable assumption is actually very wrong. I personally only continue to follow my religion because I want to believe there is something grander in store for me in the next life (and that there is such a next life at all). And, when you get right down to it, my devotion to God for this reason is no less than anybody else’s devotion for any other reason.

Wounded King, in #191 writes:

That’s a pretty huge assumption, for my own part I would assume most of that 40% probably believed in god before they became scientists, so they would already be convinced of his existence.

Wounded King is probably over 90% correct in this. At least here at BYU, all the professors were Mormons before they were evolutionists. I have been a Mormon all my life (I even served a mission -- to Taiwan), but I have only been an evolutionist for a few years. I “hold on” to my religion for the reasons mentioned above, but I do not, in any way, advocate teaching them in science classes, because they do not belong there. In fact, they would not even change the answers to the questions, if they were taught: what is the difference between saying “evolution happens” and “evolution happens by the will of God”? As I have said before, I would strongly advocate this option being offered to those Christians who can’t allow anything to be called “truth” that doesn’t include the word “god.”

Rahvin, in #199 writes:

But more specifically, ask the many Christian scientists on this very board whether they have objective evidence in support of their religious beliefs. Invariably, the answer will be "no." They may have any number of reasons for believing anyway, but those reasons are not related to objective evidence. If they had objective evidence in support of a deity, they would not only have presented it, but scientific research to determine the properties of this deity and its role in the Universe would have begun.

Rahvin: “Bluejay, to you have objective evidence in support of your religious beliefs?”

Bluejay: “No. I believe in God based on my own subjective, 'spiritual' experiences, even though I have no clue what 'spiritual' actually means, and even though I can offer no reason for why my own subjective experiences trump those of Buddhists/Taoists in Taiwan, and even though holding onto my (what other people would likely call) superstitions makes no scientific sense to me whatsoever."

Somebody: "Would you recommend teaching your spiritual convictions in a science class?"

Bluejay: "No. I just told you that I have no explanation for why they should be treated special, except that I, personally, like them very much. Now, I would love to teach them in a religious discussion, or tell my students that they can have their beliefs even if evolution is real."

Edited by Bluejay, : A few clarifications.


I'm Thylacosmilus.

Darwin loves you.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 194 by Wumpini, posted 05-09-2008 7:43 AM Wumpini has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 220 by Wumpini, posted 05-12-2008 4:50 AM Blue Jay has responded

Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 1154 days)
Posts: 2843
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008


Message 221 of 356 (466019)
05-12-2008 1:05 PM
Reply to: Message 220 by Wumpini
05-12-2008 4:50 AM


Wumpini writes:

They concluded that God exists, not as a result of the overwhelming evidence, but in spite of the overwhelming evidence for evolution.

Well, that's just it: the evidence you speak of doesn't have anything to do with God at all. The overwhelming evidence for evolution is only about evolution: it is not overwhelming evidence for the non-existence of God (although some believe it to make His existence less likely--a standpoint for which I can offer no true contest).

So, it isn't really in spite of any evidence that we believe in God. Because God has never actually told us exactly what He is like and what evidence His creative processes, miracles and other divine acts leave behind, we have no way of actually saying that He doesn't exist. So, there is no evidence to say that He doesn't exist. And, where there is a lack of evidence, speculation tends to abound and consensus is almost never seen. That's why some of us say God exists, and some of us say He doesn't.

I believe in God for the same reasons you do, but I don't see that my belief is scientific, or even knowledge, for that matter. And, after reviewing everything that my religion declares to be definitive, orthodox Church doctrine, I have concluded that Mormonism does not preclude evolution. If you come to a different conclusion about your particular sect or religion, you may be forced to make a different choice from mine.

Wumpini writes:

I would think that would be a more friendly way to teach evolution in the classroom than some of the suggestions I have heard.

This does back to what Archer Opterix said in Message #6. You shouldn't be surprised if people get bitter about having to cater their topics of expertise to people who don't understand a lick of it and still act like their opinion on the subject matters. In fact, you should expect it. People who know all about the Bible from every possible angle have every right to get upset when little old, uneducated Bluejay comes in saying stupid things like "the four separate witnesses in the Four Gospels are good evidence for the veracity of the biblical story of Jesus" (I'm referring to this topic).

Don't you ever get tired of having to start at the very beginning of your story every time someone new walks into the room? Don't you ever wish you could say "This is just how it is, will you just trust me," then get on with your story? Well, that's how a lot of scientists feel right now: we're trying to do research on step 84, but, every time we do, somebody has to come up and make us explain step 6 again, which slows down our work on step 84 and probably means we'll never get to see step 100 in our lifetime. Whereas, if IDists didn't keep bringing up the same stupid questions that have been Refuted A Thousand Times, and demanding that such things be given consideration in science classes, we could have reached step 157 by now. Maybe we'd have found out how to raise the thylacine from extinction, or how to cure cancer permanently, if IDists would just shut up and let us teach science the way we've already proved it to be.

Sorry for that little diatribe: maybe i got a bit carried away. I hope you realize that it wasn't aimed at you specifically, but at certain other groups of individuals in our society.

Wumpini writes:

Would you recommend that our public schools require classes on comparative religions?

I don't want to make a definitive statement on this either way, because I haven't thought about it enough yet. I would definitely recommend that comparative religions classes be offered at schools. Whether or not I would recommend them to be mandatory is a question for which I will, for the time being, withhold judgment.

P.S. What's a wumpini, anyway?


I'm Thylacosmilus.

Darwin loves you.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 220 by Wumpini, posted 05-12-2008 4:50 AM Wumpini has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 222 by Wumpini, posted 05-12-2008 2:49 PM Blue Jay has responded

Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 1154 days)
Posts: 2843
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008


Message 228 of 356 (466195)
05-13-2008 1:41 PM
Reply to: Message 222 by Wumpini
05-12-2008 2:49 PM


Re: Wumpini is a name
Hi, Wumpini.

Wumpini writes:

However, I would surely want us to be careful that we are not teaching something as proven which has not reached such an elevated status. This is especially true if it could affect an individual's faith.

I've had a hard time with this idea for a long time. I'm not so sure I agree that it's important to not affect people's faith.

First, because reality actually seems rather unconcerned with being nice. Cold, hard facts are called "cold, hard facts" for a reason. Whether or not little Billy likes it, two plus two equals four, and he'll always get a check mark on his paper if he puts "seven" instead, even if it hurts his feelings when he does.

Second, because what good is faith that isn't tested? Isn't that generally the whole idea behind faith? I don't think protecting people from things that will challenge their faith is good for them in the slightest. This, however, is the concept that aggravates me most about faith: I cannot fathom why God would care so much about faith--why not just show us some evidence and be done with it? But, it is this "faith" issue that has prevented the Christian religion from dying since the beginning. And faith that has not gone through the fire is just a foolish, unquestioning, blind and ignorant belief, anyway, and I can't come up with a single reason with people that stupid should merit any sort of reward from God.

So, I say we lump everything we can on the Christians: that'll certainly weed out the riffraff and strengthen the faith of the most faithful. My understanding is that this is God's way anyway: trial by fire.

Wumpini writes:

I can assure you that what you said was not stupid.

It actually turned out to be just that: stupid. I had read a whole lot on Bible history, but it was all in books written by Mormons for Mormons, and it kind of glazed over some issues. But, Mormons do like to point out all the times it has been translated, retranslated, copied, lost, burned, compiled, etc. It's easy for me to shrug and say, "oh well, the Bible seems to have messed up in some places," because that's generally what Mormons believe, anyway.

Anyway, after I came back to EvC the next day and found about four replies telling me that my concept was wrong, I looked it up. A quick Google search was all I needed to see that the idea about the 4 Gospels being independent witnesses was no longer being seriously considered by literary and historical experts. So, being a non-expert in biblical history, I stepped back and let the people who knew what they were talking about... know what they were talking about. If they're wrong, they're the ones that are going to figure that out, not me. All I could add to it is my own opinion.

That's the way it should work in all academic fields: if you don't know anything, don't try to challenge the people who do, unless it's only for the sake of your own understanding. Of all the creationists on this website, I think you've done the best job of this (granted, you seem to not have definitively placed yourself as a creationist, though).

Wumpini writes:

Remember that you should not discard something you believe to be true only because those who appear to be intellectuals argue against it.

This is another interesting thing about science: "beliefs" are not supposed to be a part of it. When you start having beliefs, you lose objectivity, and you end up fighting against whatever new ideas come along just because they're changing everything. However, it's tough for many of the older generation of scientists to see the ideas that they had used to revolutionize their respective fields in their way go obsolete as new data comes up. Those pre-genomics and pre-proteomics guys must really feel like their entire life's work has been almost completely discredited. So, if such people fight against new ideas, they either destroy the new idea, or make it stronger by their failure to disprove it.

I'm just starting my doctoral program now. But, someday in the distant future, when I'm old and have been doing science for thirty or forty years, I'll probably get to see some young, new scientists completely replace my formerly revolutionary scientific work with something even better. And, I may even try to fight against it, but I hope I'll have the intelligence to recognize and embrace the next big thing that comes around the pike. After all, that's what makes science such a beautiful thing--it grows with us. To shelter anybody from this is just completely wrong.

But, back on topic, it wasn't the appearance of intellect that made me back down from that argument: it was the appearance of evidence, which the other people on that thread provided for me, and for which I found supporting documentation through my own literature search. I would love to believe that there are four separate eyewitness accounts of Jesus's ministry, but I don't have any evidence that this is so, so I will shrug and say nothing except "I believe in Jesus."

After all, if I'm really being honest with myself, that's the best I can really say, anyway. I think more Christians should be really honest with themselves, and let the experts know what they're talking about.


I'm Thylacosmilus.

Darwin loves you.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 222 by Wumpini, posted 05-12-2008 2:49 PM Wumpini has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 232 by Wumpini, posted 05-13-2008 6:15 PM Blue Jay has not yet responded
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Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 1154 days)
Posts: 2843
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008


Message 237 of 356 (466239)
05-13-2008 8:36 PM
Reply to: Message 236 by Wumpini
05-13-2008 8:03 PM


Re: What am I missing in this comparison?
Wumpini writes:

The electron is unseen, but the effect can be repeatedly tested in the present.

The evolutionary event in the past is unobserved, and the event cannot be repeated so that testing can be done at any time.

It's simple: we can't observe the event, but we can see the effect. For example, the fossil record shows a trend of increasing complexity since the Cambrian desposits, and this complexity seems to be cumulative and not chaotic. We don't actually see evolution happening, but we see the results of evolution happening, which results are the variation between animals, time periods and geographical regions.


I'm Thylacosmilus.

Darwin loves you.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 236 by Wumpini, posted 05-13-2008 8:03 PM Wumpini has not yet responded

Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 1154 days)
Posts: 2843
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008


Message 276 of 356 (467087)
05-19-2008 2:18 PM
Reply to: Message 273 by Wumpini
05-19-2008 1:27 PM


Re: Lateral Gene Transfer
Hi, Wumpini!

Wumpini writes:

Is it possible that the bird came from some sort of chemical soup?

Are you asking if each lineage of animals could have evolved from a separate lineage of soup-born germs? That's what it sounds like. Are you suggesting that these "soup germs" (that's what I'll call them) could have been trading genes for a long time, and then, once enough genes accumulated, they began rapidly turning into multicellular animals? You're essentially positing a separate evolutionary history for each type of animal.

This is extremely unparsimonious (that means it requires a much more convoluted and pattern-less model to explain it than evolution does). Birds appear in the fossil record in accord with animals that are already very similar to them--dinosaurs, which are an offshoot of what we refer to as reptiles, which are, in turn, connected to amphibians, which are positively shown to have evolved from fish, which... Well, it goes on from there, so I'll stop.

Wumpini writes:

If I understand correctly, then it is accepted scientifically that genes can transfer laterally between living matter.

Lateral gene transfer is common among bacteria. I'm not entirely certain whether insertion of DNA by viruses into a host is considered the same phenomenon, but it's similar, at least. I haven't ever heard of multicellular animals exchanging DNA via lateral gene transfer, but, I can say with some confidence that it would be a very ineffective type of evolutionary mechanism: you could only target the DNA within a single cell at once, and the change would not likely be spread to other cells in the organism.

However, since you're positing "soup germs" as the vehicles, I couldn't say for certain. I don't think it's common enough a process to account for the great similarities between bird and dinosaur DNA, nor do I think a "soup germ" that holds all the DNA that is common between birds and dinosaurs would remain as a germ long enough to continue to use lateral gene transfer as an effective method of "evolution."

Wumpini writes:

It appears to have been proven that an organism can survive and possibly prosper with the merger of genes from different sources. I think this may be called chimerism in humans. I think it has even been proposed that all of us are chimeras of one sort or another.

Well, the term "chimera" isn't used for genetic-level mixing: it's used for cellular-level mixing. Basically, two groups of genetically-distinct cells grow in connection with each other, and blend into what appears to be a single organism, without ever exchanging DNA.

Wumpini writes:

Is this an alternative theory to a bird arising through the normal reproductive processes of non-birds?

I think this shows a bit of confusion on your part. Birds arose through the normal reproductive processes of birds. It's very hard to pinpoint a magical line between a parent population (dinosaurs/archosaurs) and the new population (birds) that has evolved from it, so saying that the first bird hatched from an egg laid by a dinosaur is a bit of a stretch. In fact, there really isn't a line to pinpoint, at all. Birds did not cease to be dinosaurs in order to become birds: they were born from the same clade they belong to today (i.e. they're still dinosaurs), and anything that evolves from birds in the future will still be a bird, regardless of how it changes and regardless of what future scientists decide to call it.

My baby looks a little bit like me, and a little bit like his mother. However, he is neither me, nor my wife: he has changed. Changes happen in every generation, and, if those changes accrue over time, the results will look noticeably different from the starting point. But, my baby is still a human, even though he's not really like any human alive today, and all of his offspring to the billionth generation will still be human, regardless of how different they will undoubtedly look from their ancestors that far in the future. Consider that only several million generations ago, our ancestors were fish. That makes us fish, even though we don't look like fish anymore.

Once population A starts down a different evolutionary pathway from population B, there's no turning back (barring interbreeding). Thus are born two clades: birds and Tyrannosaurus, which are not as different from one another was we once thought.

Dinosaurs beget dinosaurs, birds beget birds, etc. That's one of the key points of evolution.

Edited by Bluejay, : Airheaded word usage


I'm Thylacosmilus.

Darwin loves you.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 273 by Wumpini, posted 05-19-2008 1:27 PM Wumpini has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 278 by Wumpini, posted 05-19-2008 3:01 PM Blue Jay has responded

Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 1154 days)
Posts: 2843
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008


Message 283 of 356 (467105)
05-19-2008 4:01 PM
Reply to: Message 278 by Wumpini
05-19-2008 3:01 PM


Re: A Bit of Confusion
Wumpini writes:

I guess I have a lot of concepts in my mind that I know very little about, and that is why I was asking.

This is good: you've taken one step more than most people would.

Wumpini writes:

I was only considering whether it is possible for a multi-cell organism to be formed in a similar manner.

So, perhaps I misunderstood you. You wanted a bird to start out as a single-celled organism, which could exchange DNA freely with other single-celled organisms, then develop into a multi-celled bird. Is this correct?

I was interpreting this as having each multi-celled organism arise independently from out of the soup of germs. To me, it sounded like intelligent design without a designer. ;)

Please tell me where I'm not following you.

---

It would be most unlikely for a multi-celled animal with complex, well-interacting body systems to congeal out of "primordial ooze" or out of an ooze of single-celled things. The best explanation is one of continual tinkering over many, many successive generations to gradually build up to the complexity that we see today.

Wumpini writes:

I was thinking that multi-cell organisms started out as single cells with the instructions to produce different kinds of cells.

And, you're right: we all start as a single cell (an embryo) that results from the merging of two gamete cells (sperm and egg). But, this isn't evolution: it's ontogeny (development or growth).

Ontogeny is the occurrence of physiological and anatomical changes as an organism "grows up," which doesn't involve any genetic changes. Evolution is essentially the occurrence of genetic changes between generations. So, you cannot evolve, but your species can.

Likewise, ontogeny cannot make "primordial soup" into a complex system of interacting pieces (like a bird), because the DNA for forming those interacting pieces has to be in place before ontogeny can take over. And, the pieces are brought into place by evolution.

So, when you ask if a bird can be formed out of primordial ooze or the like, we say, "Yes. By evolution of many thousands of generations, but not by ontogeny within a single generation."


I'm Thylacosmilus.

Darwin loves you.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 278 by Wumpini, posted 05-19-2008 3:01 PM Wumpini has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 285 by Wumpini, posted 05-19-2008 4:57 PM Blue Jay has responded

Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 1154 days)
Posts: 2843
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008


Message 288 of 356 (467130)
05-19-2008 5:58 PM
Reply to: Message 285 by Wumpini
05-19-2008 4:57 PM


Re: I hope this clears things up
Wumpini writes:

From the comments I would think abiogenesis is possible, single-cell to multi-cellular is possible, dinosaur to bird is possible through reproduction, but complex life from single-cell is approaching impossible in the eyes of science.

Yeah, that's the basic idea. Consider what would happen if seventy-four novel traits appeared in a single offspring? Considering all the possibile permutations of these trats, what are the chances that they would all happen to work well together? Would behavioral traits also line up nicely with anatomical traits? And how would its mother know how to care for it? But, if just one change occurs in each generation (say, an extra toe, or a bigger webbing between the fingers), the organism and/or its parents could adapt to the new trait fairly easily.

It's like the old analogy of putting the frog in boiling water versus putting it in cool water and gradually raising the temperature.

Wumpini writes:

Someone said in another post that what matters is how honestly your religion deals with the facts of science. Well there is no conflict between my religion and the truth, because my religion is the truth. There is no religious organization who defines truth for me. So, there can be no conflict between science and my religion if science is truly attempting to understand the truth. I know what I believe to be true. I am only trying to find out what science believes to be true and why.

I can respect this. However, I hope you will be willing to change your religious viewpoints to fit the truth, instead of the other way around.

In the meantime, keep asking honest questions: that's how learning happens for everybody. :)


I'm Thylacosmilus.

Darwin loves you.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 285 by Wumpini, posted 05-19-2008 4:57 PM Wumpini has not yet responded

Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 1154 days)
Posts: 2843
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008


Message 300 of 356 (500703)
03-01-2009 10:24 PM
Reply to: Message 299 by alaninnont
03-01-2009 10:03 PM


Hi, Alaninnont. Welcome to EvC!

alaninnont writes:

One is that you are confusing evolution with natural selection. Natural selection, the selecting out or selecting for certain traits is observable. This is like a dog breeding program. It is not evolution. Evolution is an increase in complexity and organization through incremental change leading from one species to another. The evidence for this is substantially weaker.

I very strongly disagree with you in two ways:

The quote to which you are responding very clearly mentions both mutation (in pink) and natural selection (in green), here:

previous poster writes:

The evolution has been observed, both in the changes in traits from generation to generation, and in the separation of subpopulations where gene mixing ceases, and in the different results in different ecologies.

...so you are incorrect in your assessment of his summation of evolution.

Secondly, evolution need not reach the level of species in order to be considered evolution.

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-Bluejay/Mantis/Thylacosmilus

Darwin loves you.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 299 by alaninnont, posted 03-01-2009 10:03 PM alaninnont has not yet responded

Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 1154 days)
Posts: 2843
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008


Message 311 of 356 (501032)
03-03-2009 7:42 PM
Reply to: Message 310 by alaninnont
03-03-2009 7:26 PM


Hi, Alaninnont.

alaninnont writes:

Coyote writes:

Due to the way the English language names things, evolution is both a fact and a theory.

So if hypothetically evolution is proven wrong as is possible, does that mean it was never a fact or that facts are not actually facts and can change?

No, that's not what Coyote is saying.

There are two things that are called "evolution" in the English language: (1) the genetic changes that occur between populations and the relative fitness advantages that result; and (2) the scientific theory that explains how this process occurs.

Think of a documentary: there's a wasp laying its eggs, and then there's David Attenborough telling you that the wasp is laying its eggs. One is a fact, and one is an aid in learning about the fact.


-Bluejay/Mantis/Thylacosmilus

Darwin loves you.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 310 by alaninnont, posted 03-03-2009 7:26 PM alaninnont has not yet responded

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