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Author Topic:   Mutation
AdminNosy
Administrator
Posts: 4754
From: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Joined: 11-11-2003


Message 121 of 171 (103976)
04-29-2004 9:48 PM
Reply to: Message 120 by laserlover
04-29-2004 9:10 PM


Re: Topic
The topic is mutations. Would you care to show how your bare, unsupported assertion is on topic?

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Milagros
Inactive Member


Message 122 of 171 (103999)
04-29-2004 11:35 PM


Are we still on?
This can't be THAT confusing.

Let me try to be as clear as possible about where I am coming from. Even if you disagree at least try to understand where I'm coming from. If you still don't then I don't really know what else I can say.

1) We don't have any average estimates of how many "beneficial" mutations MUST HAVE occurred to result in all the varied life we see on earth today. Right? Do we? (Correct me if I'm wrong and/or provide information to the contrary.) I've been looking, so far zilch.

2) We don't have any evidence to show us an average of how many times we can expect to see a "beneficial" mutation. (Again, please correct me if I'm wrong and/or provide information to the contrary.) Of course without getting any information from question 1 we can't really answer question 2.

So what evidence concerning "beneficial" mutations DO we have?
What we DO have is information about "beneficial" mutations which I provided with links to talk origins that talk about them.

Based on the information that we DO have, I must conclude (deduce) that it is HIGHLY IMPROBABLE that these rare occurrences (That can still be lost, referred to as "beneficial" mutations) can result in all the varied life we see on earth today, even in 500 million years time.

Let's try this example:
A carpenter is telling you it only took him/her a week to build a log cabin in the desert.
Which story is easier to accept? The story of how a carpenter took only a week to build a log cabin in the forest? OR! The story of how a carpenter took only a week to build a log cabin in the desert? What makes the forest story easier to accept? MATH? No! In this instance we don't need any arithmetic to make any conclusions or deduce which story is more likely true. We can easily "observe" the evidence and "deduce" that the desert story seems highly unlikely. We would make that "deduction" based on the "FACT" that it is very rare to find trees in the desert. As opposed to the "FACT" that in the forest trees are in abundance. You guys following me?
So...Is it "possible" that the desert story could happen? Sure it is, because we don't have any real hard cold evidence to show that it isn't. However, How "probable" is it that the desert story really happened? Well, based on the "FACTS" already discussed, it would make it HIGHLY IMPROBABLE. So if I were to ask, do you think the cabin story in the desert is true, you might respond, "probably" not. I know I would based on "deductive" reasoning from "observed" facts. I've been mentioning "deductive" reasoning because it seems evident that some are questioning my "reasoning".

What is the SCIENTIFIC METHOD? Here (again) is a web site that talks about that:
http://mslc.rutgers.edu/MovingBodies/Lecture/Lec1-SciMeth.htm

Notice it talks about "OBSERVATION" and "INDUCTIVE" or "DEDUCTIVE" reasoning as part of that "SCIENTIFIC" method. This is what I am doing.
Based on what I observe or what talk origins has observed I "DEDUCE" that the "probability" of "beneficial" mutations to result in all the variety of life we see on earth today is HIGHLY IMPROBABLE. All I've done is take what we DO know and "Deduced" the "likelihood" of this causing or resulting in all the varied life on earth that we know of today.

Even Mr. Edward E. Max admits this much about mutations:
"I agree that there are no definitive examples where a macroevolutionary change (such as the development of cetaceans from terrestrial mammals) has been shown to result from a specific chain of mutations. And I agree with your further comment that "we have no way of observing a long series of mutations."
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/fitness/spetner.html
(I guess that just throws any chance for the math question I asked about out the window )

He goes on to "reason" in the same fashion as some here in this forum do, that this doesn't mean that "...a series of mutations did NOT occur." Perhaps it's because he WANTS to believe that "beneficial" mutations did result in all the varied species we see today, DESPITE the "facts" to the contrary. This is were you and I disagree. This is where I say that based on the facts I've mentioned already from talk origins and now this admission from Mr. Max gives me cause to "deduce" based on all these facts that the chances for "beneficial" mutations to result in all the varied species we see today is "Highly Improbable". That's it!

I cannot, like Mr. Max, just say, well despite all that, "beneficial" mutations MUST have occurred enough times. You guys can, I can't!


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crashfrog
Member (Idle past 399 days)
Posts: 19762
From: Silver Spring, MD
Joined: 03-20-2003


Message 123 of 171 (104015)
04-30-2004 12:24 AM
Reply to: Message 122 by Milagros
04-29-2004 11:35 PM


We don't have any average estimates of how many "beneficial" mutations MUST HAVE occurred to result in all the varied life we see on earth today.

I can't even imagine how you would begin to come up with a figure, because the history of life on Earth is a bush, not a ladder. Evolution doesn't optimize or take straight paths; it meanders as a result of environmental conditions.

Tell you what. You tell me how many different environmental pressures have ever existed on Earth where living things lived, and I'll tell you how many beneficial mutations were required. Ok?

We don't have any evidence to show us an average of how many times we can expect to see a "beneficial" mutation.

No, we do have that. That was the purpose of my math, remember? I showed you how many benefical mutations you could expect to see in my hypothetical population over such-and-such a time frame.

So what evidence concerning "beneficial" mutations DO we have?

That they occur, and at a siginficant rate - in fact a more than sufficient rate to account for adaptation of populations, given environmental change of sufficient gradualism.

I must conclude (deduce) that it is HIGHLY IMPROBABLE that these rare occurrences (That can still be lost, referred to as "beneficial" mutations) can result in all the varied life we see on earth today, even in 500 million years time.

How improbable? Let's have a number.

If you can't give a number, then we have to conclude that you're not deducing the probability, but rather, guessing at it. Why should we give your guesses any credence?

In this instance we don't need any arithmetic to make any conclusions or deduce which story is more likely true.

You're still comparing the number of carpenters who make cabins in the desert to the number of carpenters who make cabins total. Comparing numbers is math. Try again.

You guys following me?

No. You say that you have a magical ability to assess probability without doing math, but then you give examples where you're doing it with math. It's pretty confusing.

This is what I am doing.

You're not deducing. You're guessing. Until you can assign a number to your probability, it's not a deduction, it's a guess.

This is where I say that based on the facts I've mentioned already from talk origins and now this admission from Mr. Max gives me cause to "deduce" based on all these facts that the chances for "beneficial" mutations to result in all the varied species we see today is "Highly Improbable". That's it!

Again, "repetition makes improbabilities certainties." Why do you always ignore that when I say that to you? Do I need to tell you again or something? Let me know when it sinks in, ok?

It's unlikely that a single mutation, in a single organism, in a single gene, will fix in a population. But when you have many mutations, in many genes, in many organisms, it becomes a certainty. That is math.


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Milagros
Inactive Member


Message 124 of 171 (104111)
04-30-2004 9:44 AM


Fine, show me the "Math" that makes it a "certainty". Or show me the “number” that makes it “probable”. Until YOU do, all YOU are doing is...GUESSING! You may disagree at my conclusions but you provide no model to work from to support yours when it comes to calculating how many “beneficial” mutations must have occurred to result in all of the varied life we see on earth today. (And those that are extinct I might “add”) You base your conclusion on, well since there are SOooooo many species and Sooo many genes within each species then it MUST have occurred. If you cannot provide a model to base your conclusions on then all you are left with is “deductive” or “inductive” reasoning.

Submit your hypothetical to Nature and see what they think. If they agree on it then we have something we can work with. Until then, guess away.


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Milagros
Inactive Member


Message 125 of 171 (104114)
04-30-2004 9:50 AM


Oh yea, see if this sinks in "repetition makes Probabilities certainties". Let's see that "repetitious" math. eh.

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Loudmouth
Inactive Member


Message 126 of 171 (104218)
04-30-2004 2:24 PM
Reply to: Message 122 by Milagros
04-29-2004 11:35 PM


Re: Are we still on?
Milagros,

Here is the problems I see with your argument of "not enough beneficial mutations".

1. Common ancestory between species is well supported by genetic research and by morphological changes. Whether or not evolution was the mechanism that caused speciation is less of a certainty than the fact of common ancestory.

2. The mutation rates measured within organisms is in line with the DNA differences seen between organisms. That is, the rate at which mutations occur in an organism matches up with the span of time since common ancestory. On the previous page (mssg #110 I think) I posted an abstract that evidenced the mutation rate in fruit flies with the changes seen in the fossil record and with extant fruit fly species. The final conlusion is that the mutation rate is sufficient to result in the DNA differences we see between species.

3. Beneficial mutations have been observed, so their affects are not in question. However, you have asserted that the beneficial mutation rate is unknown yet you claim they are rare. You then go even farther and say that they are too rare to result in the diversity between species. These two claims, rare and too improbable, follow the claim that the beneficial rate is not known. This seems to be a logical flaw in your argument. To make your claim, you must show how many beneficial mutations there have been and in what time span, and then compare this to the observed mutation rate.


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crashfrog
Member (Idle past 399 days)
Posts: 19762
From: Silver Spring, MD
Joined: 03-20-2003


Message 127 of 171 (104227)
04-30-2004 2:46 PM
Reply to: Message 124 by Milagros
04-30-2004 9:44 AM


Fine, show me the "Math" that makes it a "certainty".

I did, remember? The subsequent discussion has been getting you to accept math as a reasonable tool of discourse, which qute frankly, was a little "Alice in Wonderland." What's the next argument that you won't accept? One containing words?

You may disagree at my conclusions but you provide no model to work from to support yours when it comes to calculating how many “beneficial” mutations must have occurred to result in all of the varied life we see on earth today.

I don't have to know. I just have to know that beneficial mutations aren't so rare that they never happen. They aren't.

Remember how there were over 3 billion fixed mutations in my hypothetical population? That's a pretty lowball estimation. Things like population size affect the rate at which mutations are fixed, meaning small populations can fix mutations very rapidly (this is basically what they call punctuated equilibrium.) So depending on the interactions with the environment over that period of time there could be as many as a thousand times what I estimated.

You base your conclusion on, well since there are SOooooo many species and Sooo many genes within each species then it MUST have occurred.

Much like, if I heard about a man flipping an unbiased coin 6 billion times, we could readily assume that the likelyhood was pretty high that at least a few of those flips had been "heads."


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crashfrog
Member (Idle past 399 days)
Posts: 19762
From: Silver Spring, MD
Joined: 03-20-2003


Message 128 of 171 (104232)
04-30-2004 2:57 PM
Reply to: Message 125 by Milagros
04-30-2004 9:50 AM


Let's see that "repetitious" math.

Ok, sure.

Let's pretend you had a 100-sided die. (these do exist, they're almost totally spherical and look a little like golf balls. They do roll true, however.)

What are the odds that you'll roll, oh, say, 66? 1/100 (.01). Simple math. Not very likely, right?

Ok, what are the odds that you'll roll at least one 66 after 100 rolls? Well, better to ask what the odds are that you won't:

.99^100 = about .336, or maybe something like 1/3. So that's a 2/3's chance that you will have rolled a 66 sometime in those 100 rolls. In 1000 rolls? .99^1000 = .0000431 that you haven't, or .9999 chance that you have rolled a 66 by this time.

See? Repetition makes improbabilities certainties. You may not win the lottery the first time you play, or the tenth. But if you play the lottery once a second for a thousand years, you're practically guaranteed to win at some point.

The odds that one organism will have one mutation in one gene that will fix in one population is very, very low. But there's millions of genes, millions of populations, and countless trillions of trillions of individual organisms that have ever existed. That makes the odds just a little better, don't you see? It's simple math.


This message is a reply to:
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jar
Member
Posts: 33343
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 3.0


Message 129 of 171 (104288)
04-30-2004 4:26 PM
Reply to: Message 128 by crashfrog
04-30-2004 2:57 PM


I think the lottery itself is a good example.

The odds of YOU winning the lottery are pretty low. However the odds of someone, anyone, winning the lottery are high enough to keep folk buying the tickets.


Aslan is not a Tame Lion

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Ooook!
Member (Idle past 4747 days)
Posts: 340
From: London, UK
Joined: 09-29-2003


Message 130 of 171 (104537)
05-01-2004 11:58 AM
Reply to: Message 122 by Milagros
04-29-2004 11:35 PM


Milagros,

Quite a lot of your argument seems to be a case of wanting to have your cake and eat it. You want your position to be taken seriously as one taken by rational consideration and with the use of scientific method, and yet you refuse to submit any type of kind of data to back yourself up. When talking about probability from a scientific perspective you have to present real figures, there's no way of escaping doing the maths I’m afraid.

You say:

I must conclude (deduce) that it is HIGHLY IMPROBABLE that these rare occurrences (That can still be lost, referred to as "beneficial" mutations) can result in all the varied life we see on earth today

And yet:

I wasn't offering any math to support my position

Try using that kind of reasoning in a letter to Nature and see how fast it gets laughed out of the editor’s inbox!

At the very least could you provide observational evidence for this statement:

I conclude (based on that data) that these mutations resulting in all of what we see on earth today is highly "improbable.

What data? Let’s see your reasoning, complete with the facts that you claim to have observed. Don’t just partially quote from talkorigins, give us the bare FACTS that you keep on shouting about. So far the scientific facts you have provided to justify how improbable evolution is amount to this ‘1 in 1000’ beneficial mutation figure and a rather irrelevant use of the Hardy-Weinburg equation. Surely you have more than that if you are so sure, or is simply that you cannot bring yourself to believe it out of personal incredulity?

Secondly, you keep on challenging people to provide accurate facts and figures to prove statistically that evolution is possible. As I pointed out before, this is not only a bit cheeky (due to your inability to provide the same kind of information) but is getting the wrong end of the stick. No evolutionist has provided a set of equations that prove that evolution happened because the amount of usable mathematical information is very small, so any result would be meaningless. The only people who claim that they can apply probability to evolution to any success are creationists, and they fail for exactly the same reason – we don’t know enough cast iron figures.

The best we can do is provide a series of educated guesses (like Crashfrog did in the shower), and show that it is distinctly possible. How about taking a trip to the bathroom yourself and thinkin up some estimates along the same lines and present us with what you come up with?


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crashfrog
Member (Idle past 399 days)
Posts: 19762
From: Silver Spring, MD
Joined: 03-20-2003


Message 131 of 171 (104567)
05-01-2004 2:42 PM
Reply to: Message 130 by Ooook!
05-01-2004 11:58 AM


(like Crashfrog did in the shower)

That's not all I did in the shower.


This message is a reply to:
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Milagros
Inactive Member


Message 132 of 171 (104691)
05-02-2004 4:02 AM


Wow, so much to choose from.

But before I submit my reply let me generously provide another web page with a definition. It's purty kewl, you don't even need a physical dictionary with computers anymore.

It talks about the word "Probable" from where "Probability" comes from. This may aid in understanding.
http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary?book=Dictionary&va=probable

Here it is:

Main Entry: 1prob·a·ble
Pronunciation: 'prä-b&-b&l, 'prä(b)-b&l
Function: adjective
Etymology: Middle English, provable, from Middle French, from Latin probabilis commendable, probable, from probare to test, approve, prove -- more at PROVE
1 : supported by evidence strong enough to establish presumption but not proof
2 : establishing a probability
3 : likely to be or become true or real

Please note how I've included ALL of the definitions, that way it doesn't "appear" like I'm trying to "hide" something. Or pick, choose or bend a definition in my favor. I got a strange post expressing something about me "ignoring" one of the definitions even though I clearly provided it. Perhaps this person was not aware that sometimes words have "several different" meanings? So the "meaning" of "probable" or "probability" that "I" was expressing fits more with definition 1 and 3. Actually all them do but 1 and 3 make it more clear what my usage of the word is. Also notice carefully how Mathematics isn't part of the definition. NOTE: That's NOT to say that mathematics can't be included. It just means that when it comes to things "probable" or "probability" it isn't JUST referring to math "exclusively". Sometimes not at all.

One more point. After reading your posts there seems to be a convenient bent or thread. Convenient for me. I was initially just going to respond to all of them in 1 posting but separated it later to help lessen any potential confusion. How sweet of me, I know.


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Milagros
Inactive Member


Message 133 of 171 (104692)
05-02-2004 4:03 AM


For Crashfrog

Ok, let's take your example further, Crash. Let's pretend that the die you have is a 1 Million sided die, that'll probably make the die the size of a basketball, at least. (oops I said "probably". Strike that since we don't really know what size a die with 1 million sides would be.) What are the odds that you role a 66? 1/1000000 right? Not very good. BUT...what if you roll it, ah what the heck, 1 million times. Your arm will probably get tired. (Crap I did it again, I said "probably". Strike that too, since I can't really know if your arm will get tired after rolling a die a million times and, I must confess, I wouldn't know how to do the math to make that conclusion.) But at least your odds of rolling a 66 have increased.

Ok, now let's apply this little pretend game to "beneficial" mutations. Well, since talkorigins mentions that it's hard to even detect "beneficial" mutations we'll make all the numbers on each side of the million sided die blurry, or scratched up, that way it makes it "hard to detect". So NOW we have a 1 Million sided die that you will role for 1 million times to see how many times you role a 66. I like this pretend game because it fits so very nicely with the point I've been trying to make.

Let's look at the comparisons, check it out.

What is the "information" we DO KNOW.

1) We have a die with 1 million sides.

2) We always know what to look for, even though it's all scratched up and blurry we know it's a 66 we need to find.

3) We've limited our roll's to just 1 million.

Based on this KNOWN information we can then calculate the probability of rolling a 66 on a 1 million sided die 1 million times. Right?

Now Let's look at "beneficial" mutations, respectively.

1) We DON'T know HOW MANY "beneficial" mutations, average, must occur to result in a new species.

2) We CAN'T always DETECT a "beneficial" mutation

3) We CAN'T tell HOW LONG it takes for "beneficial" mutations to develop into a new species.

Based on this UNKNOWN information we CANNOT then calculate the probability in any MATHEMATICAL way to know!

In other words, you have no MODEL to work from. Since we DON'T have a model to work from we are then left with the SCIENTIFIC METHOD of "Observation" and "deductive" and "inductive" reasoning. Which I've applied to conclude that such an occurrence is Highly Improbable. See, NO Math. However if YOU insist there must be, then YOU must provide the math, NOT ME. Why not me? Because that was never my position.


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Milagros
Inactive Member


Message 134 of 171 (104693)
05-02-2004 4:04 AM


Loudmouth
"3. Beneficial mutations have been observed, so their affects are not in question. However, you have asserted that the beneficial mutation rate is unknown yet you claim they are rare."

I think you are confusing something there Loudmouth.

A)Fact: "beneficial" mutation rates are unknown.
B)Fact: What IS known is that they are "rare" occurrences.

Me
Are you telling me that the "rate" of occurrence is "rare"?

Loudmouth
"You then go even farther and say that they are too rare to result in the diversity between species. These two claims, rare and too improbable, follow the claim that the beneficial rate is not known."

Me
Well IS it known?

"This seems to be a logical flaw in your argument. To make your claim, you must show how many beneficial mutations there have been and in what time span, and then compare this to the observed mutation rate."

LOL, sorry Loudmouth, I'm not laughing at you. It's just that this is the question "I've" been posing, somewhat. That for YOU,"To make your claim, you must show how many beneficial mutations there have been and in what time span, and then compare this to the observed mutation rate." I would change the last part of the question to ", and thereby CALCULATE what the mutation rate is." This is "MY" question to those who accept the event that these rare occurrences that can still be lost are a reasonable reality that they "conclude" can result in all the varied life we see on earth today. (And life in the past I might "add".)

THIS is why I asked that if you ARE going to accept this then let's see the math that will support YOUR position in doing so. Otherwise your conclusion doesn't carry any more weight than my conclusion since I see it as an "Improbability" while YOU don't, based on the same evidence.


  
Milagros
Inactive Member


Message 135 of 171 (104694)
05-02-2004 4:06 AM


OoooK
"Quite a lot of your argument seems to be a case of wanting to have your cake and eat it. You want your position to be taken seriously as one taken by rational consideration and with the use of scientific method, and yet you refuse to submit any type of kind of data to back yourself up."

Me
Really, weren't those web pages enough for you? I "probably" shouldn't use the word "data" when refering to the known "evidence". Sorry, that may confuse some. I used data and evidence to mean basicaly the same thing.

Ooook
"When talking about probability from a scientific perspective you have to present real figures, there's no way of escaping doing the maths I’m afraid."

Me
Why is that? Doesn't the scientific perspective include "observation" and "deductive" and "inductive" reasoning as well?

Oook
"You say:

I must conclude (deduce) that it is HIGHLY IMPROBABLE that these rare occurrences (That can still be lost, referred to as "beneficial" mutations) can result in all the varied life we see on earth today

And yet:

I wasn't offering any math to support my position

Try using that kind of reasoning in a letter to Nature and see how fast it gets laughed out of the editor’s inbox!"

Me
Amazing. I think I now know what the problem is here.

Maybe some have forgotten or perhaps have never learned that: You cannot always formulate a model when you don't have all the relative data to do so. Keep that in mind.
Such is the case for the "MAJORITY" of scientific endeavors. Indeed this is the case we have for "beneficial" mutations. I have cited several web pages that are confirming this. We DO NOT have all the relative data to formulate a model by which you can make a "statistical" conclusion with. And "SINCE" we CAN'T, then all we are left with is "Observation" and "Deductive" or "Inductive" reasoning. And based on that reasoning we can say that such and such is either "probable" or "improbable". Again the term "probability" does not ALWAYS mean Math. In this case it CAN'T since, again, there is NO MODEL to formulate a statistical probability. HOWEVER, If YOU insist that "despite" what IS known about "beneficial" mutations that it CAN result in all the varied species we see on earth today. THEN "I", "ME" would like to see the "calculations" that help support "YOUR" position. OTHERWISE, it's simply a matter of you and I observing the "SAME" evidence I provided and merely making "opposite" conclusions. I expressed my view on the matter but others insist that I must show why or how I came to those conclusions. I therefore provided my "reasoning's" and NOW what is asked is that I provide some "mathematics" to how I arrived at this "probability". Again, I used NO MATH to arrive at that probability because, again, I nor YOU CAN. See, this is what happens when you insist that "probability" refers ONLY to mathematics. When, as the definition I provided shows it is NOT.

The "data" or "evidence" I provided can be found on the web pages I included in my postings. What exactly are you insinuating when you mention me "partially" quoting talkorigins. I provided the web pages where I got those "partially" quoted articles, that way you can confirm for yourself that they are correctly quoted. See how nice I am?

Ooook
"No evolutionist has provided a set of equations that prove that evolution happened because the amount of usable mathematical information is very small, so any result would be meaningless. The only people who claim that they can apply probability to evolution to any success are creationists, and they fail for exactly the same reason – we don’t know enough cast iron figures."

Me
I'm not applying any probability to evolution. I am applying "observation" and "deductive" reasoning to conclude that the event is highly improbable. And why do you think I am NOT applying any probability to evolution, well because "No evolutionist has provided a set of equations that prove that evolution happened because the amount of usable mathematical information is very small, so any result would be meaningless." You said it yourself. Therefore if "the amount of usable MATHEMATICAL information is very small..." or "you don't have all the relative data", what are we then left with? Yes, bingo, "observation" and "deductive" or "inductive" reasoning, which so happen to be SCIENTIFIC METHODS. See how nicely that all fits into place?


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