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Author Topic:   Is there really such a thing as a beneficial mutation?
mjfloresta
Member (Idle past 5233 days)
Posts: 277
From: N.Y.
Joined: 06-08-2006


Message 26 of 223 (343001)
08-24-2006 2:03 PM
Reply to: Message 24 by Jazzns
08-24-2006 1:07 PM


Re: Beneficial mutation
Evolution works by adapting what already exists. The basic body plan of the vertebrae has not changed much since fish. There is a very good reason why you don't find vertebrae with 8 legs, compound eyes, or other exotic features. Even though it would have been advantageous to evolve these things, since there was nothing to evolve them from it didn't happen.

This last sentence is exactly the reason why mutations (or any other method of introducing genetic variation) are insufficient to account for a progression from less complex to more complex life in terms of new information, new body plans, new organs, etc...

Consider the many drosophilia experiments; Over 3000 mutations have occured as the result of radioactive exposure. These mutations have resulted in eyes, wings, and other body parts appearing in atypical locations on the fruit fly (eyes on the legs, extra wings). All of these body parts have been undeniably fruit-flyish (that is, the eyes are fruit fly eyes, the legs fruit fly legs, etc). None of these 3000 mutations have resulted in a more successful fruit fly.

That is not to say that beneficial mutations do not exist; they may (although the term beneficial is very subjective and hard to quantify scientifically) indeed they do if we consider a beneficial mutation to be that which results in leaving more offspring, such as antibiotic-resistant bacteria, wingless beetles, etc...

The point is that beneficial mutations (or any method which introduces genetic variation) plus natural selection is observed to vary a populations traits producing descendants that vary from each other and even from their ancestor. All observed variation however, is variation of the same body plan - not variation of the body plan.

To date, there is no proven mechanism of variation of a body plan - including mutation. Whether through mutations, recombination, polyploidy, chromosome translocations, or any other, all observed variation involves reshuffling, eliminating, or duplicating, (and possibly restoration in the case of gene-reactivation) of the existing genetic material. Never has there been observed the introduction of the genetic material required for novel body plans and organs which have previously been present in that organism.


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mjfloresta
Member (Idle past 5233 days)
Posts: 277
From: N.Y.
Joined: 06-08-2006


Message 29 of 223 (343014)
08-24-2006 3:10 PM
Reply to: Message 27 by ReverendDG
08-24-2006 2:22 PM


Re: Beneficial mutation
as WK has said you wouldn't expect this in short spans of time according to ToE, you would see small changes and alterations that would lead up to larger ones thousands of years from now - you will never see this those changes are long range changes.
plus what advantage would having 6 legs over 4 be for most veribrete in this envirment? there isn't one, so it won't change yet
this sounds like you need to check out some books on evolution

No, what this sounds like is that the evidence is being extrapolating far beyond its warrant;

Forget using the ToE as your pradigm for interpreting the evidence. That's not science. Let's observe the data and see what we know, shall we?

What we see is that there is variation among the individuals of a population. We have confirmed by observation that this variation occurs 1. within species, 2. between species. 3. possibly between genera. Beyond this, no greater level of diversification has been observed - inferred from fossils and other morphological and taxonomical data according to a ToE perspective yes, but we're dealing strictly with the genetic data...

Disregarding all the hype and exaggerated claims, how great has this observed variation actually been? The ToE extrapolates macro-evolution from micro...Yes I know that many ToEers reject such terms but they are used by many evo-scientists and I am using them with specific meanings;

Micro evolution - the observed variation (due to mechanisms like mutations, polyploidy, genetic drift, recombination) of genetic information of a specific population among the individual members of that population.

Before I go on to define Macro-evolution, I must address what kind of variation has been observed due to these mechanisms.

All of these variations are aesthetic (such as eye color) or functional (such as beak size) within the organizational limits of the organisms (eg. a finch's beak may increase or decrease in size, but it remains a finch's beak, nonetheless)

Macro-evolution, then is the introduction of a new body plan or specific organ, not previously present in the organism. This requires levels of information not previously held by the organism. Presumably, these new levels of information would use mutation? as their mechanism...

Artificial selection confirms the tremendous micro-variety present in a population's genetics; Thus, we breed dogs with long hair, short hair, curly hair, no hair...tremendous variation;

Macro-evolution (as I defined it above) has not been observed. Nor have breeding experiments left the door open that it is even possible. It's one thing to say that due to immense time requirements we will never see such diversification. It's another thing to fly in the face of observed experimentation which rather strongly suggests that such diversification can not happen...especially in the absence of a mechanism that would allow it to occur. Accumulation of mutations does not hold water because mutations are in and of themselves are insufficient to account for such alteration of body plans, organs, etc...

To summarize; I see a dichotomy between so-called micro and macro evolution.

There seems to be an incredible amount of genetic diversifying displayed at the species and perhaps genera levels..Most of this diversifying is aesthetic or functional (in the sense that it is acted upon by selection (artificial or natural or other)). But functional differences do not imply a change of structure - merely a modification of an existing one. These functional and aesthetic diversifications have incredible phenotypic results - arising in the incredible diversity we see in the various families - felidae consists of over 40 species of cat..However members of the same family are genetically and physiologicall extremely similar to each other.

So I repeat: to date, there is neither observation nor genetic evidence that new body plans and organs can be arrived at; What is both observed and confirmed by genetics is that variation of existing body plans can be achieved whether through mutations, genetic drift, recombination, polyploidy, or any other means... Furthermore, extensive breeding experiments have shown that there is even a limit to how much variation a specific body plan can undergo.


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mjfloresta
Member (Idle past 5233 days)
Posts: 277
From: N.Y.
Joined: 06-08-2006


Message 31 of 223 (343020)
08-24-2006 3:38 PM
Reply to: Message 30 by Jazzns
08-24-2006 3:29 PM


Re: Beneficial mutation
First of all that is just plainly false by direct observation. I didn't say that novelty cannot arise, just that it is harder and that it is not going to be as subjectivly drastic.

If it's false by direct observation then what novelty have you or anyone observed to have arisen?

Organisms alive today are carrying around billions of years of evolutionary baggage. They/we are constrained by that. This is not necessarily true of the most primitive organisms. This is also inherently seen in the fact that some of the most adaptable organisms on the planet today are also the most primitive.

Adaptable? how so? Do they develop fins, eyes, etc.?
They don't of course; not merely because there is insufficient time for us to observe such change..but because there is no known method to provide for such change...


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mjfloresta
Member (Idle past 5233 days)
Posts: 277
From: N.Y.
Joined: 06-08-2006


Message 34 of 223 (343036)
08-24-2006 4:29 PM
Reply to: Message 32 by Jazzns
08-24-2006 3:59 PM


Re: Beneficial mutation
There are plenty of known mutations that tweak the body plan of an organism. Adding/removing digits, teeth, and vertebrae come to mind.

These are examples of duplicating and or losing existing information - no new information is added

Every time a creationist seems to be talking reasonably about the ToE they always seem to end up bringing up this hopeful monster strawman of it. You are also false to assert that there is no known method to provide the change given enough time. We have watched unicellular organisms evolve colonialism. That in and of itself it the most drastic change you could ever want to witness as evidence for evolution.

But in the end, your reply completely avoided the thesis of my original post. In the context of searching for the "drastic" beneficial mutation, you have to account for the evolutionary history of the organism. Pigs are simply not going to grow wings out of their back and fly.

I wasn't raising the fins, eyes, argument to erect a strawman but rather to point out that the simple organisms you are talking about do not in fact develop a different more beneficial body plan whether through antibody-resistance or what have you...

So you believe that current evolutionary change is subject to the restraints of the evolutionary history of the organism? If so , you are concluding (a priori) that the mechanism of change has been altered/deactivated. Beyond that, you are assuming that there is a common mechanism of change between organsisms today and the supposed unicellular to colony" transition - which by the way is indicative of nothing more than symbiotic activity, not increased complexity...

I still assert that no mechanism has been found to account for the production of novel body plans or organs...


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mjfloresta
Member (Idle past 5233 days)
Posts: 277
From: N.Y.
Joined: 06-08-2006


Message 36 of 223 (343042)
08-24-2006 4:37 PM
Reply to: Message 33 by Wounded King
08-24-2006 4:27 PM


Re: Beneficial mutation
If you think that is not the case then please provide some references for these drosophila experiments which were meant to result in 'a more successful fruit fly'.

As ToE is so quick to point out - evolution is an unguided proccess; It goes where it goes - there's no conscious effort guiding it...

Regardless of intentions of the experimenters, you would reasonably assume that if mutations are indeed the mechanism responsible for introducing new body plans and organs, the drosophilia experiments would confirm that expectation - since you are essentially speeding up the otherwise unobservable proccess by mass accumulating mutations...

This is not what you see however; While existing body parts are altered/relocated on the body, no new information resulting in new body plans or organs are discovered/made.


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mjfloresta
Member (Idle past 5233 days)
Posts: 277
From: N.Y.
Joined: 06-08-2006


Message 38 of 223 (343048)
08-24-2006 4:51 PM
Reply to: Message 37 by Wounded King
08-24-2006 4:43 PM


Re: Beneficial mutation
It fascinates me how whenever someone doesn't want to respond to a post they can't answer they simply ignore it or try to devalue you it with snobbery..

So how 'bout you indulge me in explaining the actual processes of mutation. Then we'll eliminate as many false conceptions as we have to to establish common understanding..


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mjfloresta
Member (Idle past 5233 days)
Posts: 277
From: N.Y.
Joined: 06-08-2006


Message 40 of 223 (343054)
08-24-2006 5:04 PM
Reply to: Message 39 by Jazzns
08-24-2006 4:56 PM


Re: Beneficial mutation
Please explain to me how mutations plus selection have been observed to result in new body plans or organs...

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mjfloresta
Member (Idle past 5233 days)
Posts: 277
From: N.Y.
Joined: 06-08-2006


Message 41 of 223 (343055)
08-24-2006 5:07 PM
Reply to: Message 40 by mjfloresta
08-24-2006 5:04 PM


Re: Beneficial mutation
In the context I meant greater complexity to refer to the complexity required to achieve a new body plan

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mjfloresta
Member (Idle past 5233 days)
Posts: 277
From: N.Y.
Joined: 06-08-2006


Message 47 of 223 (343066)
08-24-2006 5:34 PM
Reply to: Message 42 by Wounded King
08-24-2006 5:15 PM


Re: Beneficial mutation
The quantity of information is not what's important - Many "lesser" organisms contain far more base-pairs in their code than humans do. What's important is the "type" of information present in the code. The human eye and drosophilia eye (I'm not implying a direct evolutionary link between the two, btw) are developed from very different genetic plans. The appearance of the genetic code necessary for the human eye, and therefore the phenotypic appearance of the human eye, would be an increase in information necessary for macro-evolution.

Gain of information of this sort has not been observed, nor does genetics confirm that it is even possible; (note that while the discovery of the master eye gene is intriguing, it merely activates the eye formation processes throughout the animal kingdon - the actual genetic pathways involved in eye formation from one species to the next is extremely divergent)


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mjfloresta
Member (Idle past 5233 days)
Posts: 277
From: N.Y.
Joined: 06-08-2006


Message 50 of 223 (343070)
08-24-2006 5:41 PM
Reply to: Message 45 by Parasomnium
08-24-2006 5:26 PM


Re: Beneficial mutation
You have absolutely no idea who you are talking to, do you? Wounded King is a scientist, a biologist. He knows his stuff. He also knows how to do scientific research. He has probably forgotten more about evolution than you'll ever know.

It probably fascinates him how an obvious layman such as yourself can be so ignorant as to presume to lecture a post-doc biologist about... biology. You are an amazing specimen, MJ.

I didn't really want to go there, but ok. Since you're bringing up credentials...I studied biochemistry and am currently attending medical school - so I think I know something about science, biology, genetics, and yes evolution. Perhaps you're familiar with Douglas Futuyma? I studied in his class. So yeah, I know something about evolution. What else do I have to say?


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mjfloresta
Member (Idle past 5233 days)
Posts: 277
From: N.Y.
Joined: 06-08-2006


Message 55 of 223 (343079)
08-24-2006 5:54 PM
Reply to: Message 51 by Jazzns
08-24-2006 5:44 PM


Re: Beneficial mutation environment
I think it's difficult to establish this Metric without going into deeply into the genetics..

If I define the increase in information or complexity as being that information which is neccessary to produce a different organ or body plan, then I concede there may be some ambiguity, in the absence of comparing the actual genetic makeup of the organs that some organism is supposed to acquire.

But, any ambiguity aside, is there any evidence of an organism acquiring a new organ derived from genetic information it did not previously posess?


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mjfloresta
Member (Idle past 5233 days)
Posts: 277
From: N.Y.
Joined: 06-08-2006


Message 60 of 223 (343090)
08-24-2006 6:17 PM
Reply to: Message 57 by Jazzns
08-24-2006 6:07 PM


Re: Beneficial mutation environment
But, any ambiguity aside, is there any evidence of an organism acquiring a new organ derived from genetic information it did not previously posess?

I hope you notice that this is a VASTLY different question than the one of a different body plan.

It's not a different question at all; I'm merely taking one step back so we can deal with first things first. A new body plan would be composed of new organs; starting with the generation of new organs then, seems like the place to start.

As to the Hemoglobin C, I don't deny the existence of beneficial mutations (nor am I convinced that any truly exist) but that is irrelevant because a beneficial mutation does not imply a changed body plan or organ..


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mjfloresta
Member (Idle past 5233 days)
Posts: 277
From: N.Y.
Joined: 06-08-2006


Message 62 of 223 (343093)
08-24-2006 6:23 PM
Reply to: Message 59 by Jazzns
08-24-2006 6:16 PM


Re: Beneficial mutation environment
It's not that I can't do it; It's that we don't have the space for me to post the entire genetic sequence of (for example) the 1"several thousand genes" involved in drosophila eye development versus the several thousand genes involved in human eye development...

1: Science, Halder et al., v.267, pp 1788-1792, 3/24/95.

I said it was ambiguous not because there's no defintion, but rather because what comprises one body plan versus another is individualized to each body plan as detailed by tremendously complex genetic codes...


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