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Author Topic:   Is there really such a thing as a beneficial mutation?
Percy
Member
Posts: 20498
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 8.3


Message 196 of 223 (343508)
08-26-2006 4:43 AM
Reply to: Message 190 by Omnivorous
08-25-2006 11:09 PM


Re: Trade-offs
Omnivorous writes:

I don't think it is simple at all. I was arguing from first principles: we know that traits that were deleterious at their emergence, like sickle cell, ultimately proved to be advantageous.

Agreed, but one point I decided not to make in my post, erroneously believing that we probably already agreed on it, was that we have to decide what is an appropriate measure of robustness. Does it mean how well the organism is adapted to the present environment, in which case diversity is a disadvantage? Or does it mean how well the organism is prepared to meet unpredictable environmental changes, in which case diversity is an advantage? You anticipated this much further on in your post when you said, "Clearly, the reproductive fitness of its members in the current environment is one determinant."

I think your preferred measure of robustness is to just say robustness==diversity. But the reason I introduced the term robustness was because I specifically did not mean to include diversity. I'm not married to the term robustness and am perfectly content if you'd like to propose another term, but what I had in mind was measuring how well the organism was adapted to the present environment.

Is there some entropic principle in evolution such that an advantageous trait will deteriorate in the absence of its originating selective pressure?

I don't know if I'd call it entropic, but this is not only true on a simple rational level, we know it is true because we have observed it. Cave fish that have completely lost vision are an example.

If visual acuity was so adaptive, why was its lack--like, say, the relatively rare condition of congenital blindness--not largely purged from the genome long ago?

I think you mean hereditary, not congenital. But this is a counterargument? Why not ask why all severe hereditary diseases haven't been purged from the genome long ago?

Do you believe that the Third World has clearer eyes? I don't: I think they lack ophthalmologists, optometrists, and the means to purchase lenses.

While the Third World is poor and underdeveloped, and while there are certainly parts of the third world with primitive peoples, it isn't what I was thinking of when I used the term primitive. I don't recall exactly what I said, but I was referring to primitive peoples who live in direct contact with nature and who are relatively isolated from modern civilization and its conveniences. There are very few parts of the world like this today. But yes, I believe they have better vision. As I mentioned earlier, this was one of Darwin's observations about the native Patagonians, but I by no means consider his lone observation conclusive and await better evidence.

The myth of the Golden Age pervades many areas of modern thought: the clear-eyed hunter, the noble savage, the clean-limbed and mighty Grecian wrestler, the etc. But, in fact, our biggest and strongest seem to be bigger and stronger than theirs were.

I'm not a romantic, so it would be unusual for myths to drive my thinking, especially myths I don't buy into. Another factor in addition to vision that I believe separates primitive peoples from those in civilized regions is natural resistance to disease. This difference hasn't had long to develop since antibiotics and vaccines have been around for less than a century, and which way this goes is open to argument in both directions. Urban residents have throughout history been exposed to the dangers of epidemics and also simply to the risks of increased exposure due simply to population density, so it could be argued that they would have developed an increased resistance to disease. On the other hand, antibiotics and vaccines insulate people with access to modern medicine, which includes urban residents, from the selection pressures of many contagious diseases. It's probably impossible to say whether urban residents or primitive peoples have the best natural resistance to disease, but now that I think about it I bet that while there *are* differences, it could by disease type rather than a general advantage overall. In other words, for some types of diseases primitive peoples might have better natural resistance, while for others urbanites might have better resistance.

The main point is that I'm not proposing anything novel. I'm only stating the traditional evolutionary view that selection pressures operate on expressed characteristics, and that things like vision and resistance to disease are definitely expressed characteristics. Whether or not we agree on the details, we all accept that humans are subject to selection pressures.

My single, intense, insisted on point, is that we cannot know now which genetic constellation means reproductive fitness in the future...

Diversity isn't just a warm and fuzzy ideology; it's what intelligence makes possible, and it promotes our genome's survival.

Well, we probably agree more than we disagree. I probably can't go as far as saying that intelligence makes diversity possible, but I certainly agree that diversity is a central factor for a population's adaptation and long term survival.

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 190 by Omnivorous, posted 08-25-2006 11:09 PM Omnivorous has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 203 by Omnivorous, posted 08-26-2006 11:46 AM Percy has not yet responded

  
ReverendDG
Member (Idle past 3221 days)
Posts: 1119
From: Topeka,kansas
Joined: 06-06-2005


Message 197 of 223 (343512)
08-26-2006 5:00 AM
Reply to: Message 194 by Faith
08-26-2006 3:23 AM


Re: Trade-offs
You don't need to discount anything. And my having my own definition does not in any way erect a straw man of your definition. Your definition remains intact. I simply find it inadequate for dealing with the realities that interest me. It's fine for it to be recognized, and for the various mutations to be explored in its light, but when you impose it on me, require that I accept it, and treat my objections as simply a refusal to be scientific, you don't seem to recognize that all you are doing is absolutely pre-empting any possibility of having a different point of view about the very question we are discussing.

see and thats the problem, you never answer why its inadequate and you ignore the fact that this is a science forum and you can't make up things simply because you disagree with what people say.
Faith the second part sounds like you really don't understand what science IS. there HAS to be defined definitions or everything will be confusion and then anyone can define things as they want and there is no structure to anything in science at all!
this seems like you are declaring "I don't have to agree with you, you can't make me!" what is that? that is nonsense

the fact is you arn't willing to discuss science as science is practiced you want to redefine it to your whim. which means that anything that anyone else says answers the question, you claim it doesn't because thats not what you meant, its absurd

Why this demand for workable definitions? Sometimes we only have a ballpark idea of what we are getting at. That doesn't disqualify the effort at all. Sorry for the problem of ambiguity but that's the way reality often is. Aegist seems to get the ballpark idea. It's not that difficult.

i know you are trying, but without any structure on how to define things we want to define, what is there? it would as I said, be chaos

science would be worthless all science would be worthless!
defining has to be done so others can understand you, being within the "Ballpark" is worthless if there is no ballpark to begin with!

Edited by ReverendDG, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 194 by Faith, posted 08-26-2006 3:23 AM Faith has not yet responded

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 20498
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 8.3


Message 198 of 223 (343515)
08-26-2006 5:21 AM
Reply to: Message 181 by Faith
08-25-2006 8:37 PM


Re: Visual deterioration
Faith writes:

Is a gene for visual acuity identifiable? Are different alleles for same identifiable? Can the particular degrees and kinds of visual problems be located on the gene?

I was going to say that as far as I know, no such genes have been identified, but I did a quick Google first and found a number of hits. I'll just mention one from the University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center titled Photoreceptor cell fate determination, regulation of gene expression, and early-onset retinal diseases that describes how cones are related to several factors governing vision including acuity, and goes on to describe how they identified some of the genes related to cones.

I find it odd, from my creationist point of view, that an inferior condition such as deficient visual acuity and focal ability could be called "diversity." To my mind it can only be properly called genetic deterioration.

Keep in mind that both Omnivorous and I could identify no evidence for loss of visual acuity and focal ability in civilized versus primitive peoples. Our discussion mainly revolved around whether there were selection pressures on vision that is for the most part pretty good, or at least not too bad.

Your preference for the term "genetic deterioration" is unscientific because of its implicit good versus bad judgment. In an evolutionary context the preferred terminology would be adapted versus unadapted, or something along those lines, since whether a trait is advantageous or not is a function of the environment. The sickle cell gene is an example, since the mutation is disadvantageous except in a malarial environment.

I understand that according to the principles of the ToE it's properly called diversity, but my job here is to challenge the ToE and this is where I would begin to do that.

I think you can stop inserting excuses for your behavior at every turn. No one is saying you can't challenge evolutionary theory. The complaints about you concern your unwillingness to make the effort to understand evolutionary theory or to discuss or even consider discussing evidence presented to you. This is the appropriate time to comment on something you said at the end of your Message 188:

The arguments I'm up against are as good as mocking my arguments anyway.

Faith, if you really believe that it mocks your arguments just to argue against them then it would explain your consistently irritable demeanor, but I would encourage a less emotional approach that just focuses on an argument's substance.

--Percy


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 Message 181 by Faith, posted 08-25-2006 8:37 PM Faith has not yet responded

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 20498
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 8.3


Message 199 of 223 (343521)
08-26-2006 6:39 AM
Reply to: Message 188 by Faith
08-25-2006 9:57 PM


Re: Trade-offs
Faith writes:

I don't yet understand mutations well enough. I grasp the basic variety and the various ways they come about but the idea that they produce anything beneficial is very much in question, despite the various examples given.

Studies of bacterial populations exposed to adverse environmental conditions (e.g., the presence of an antibiotic) indicate that beneficial mutations (e.g., those that provide protection against the antibiotic) are selected for and quickly spread through the population over a number of generations. The same process of mutation and selection applies to all life everywhere, regardless of lifespan and reproductive style. Studies of organisms with longer lifespans than bacteria are, of course, more difficult, but such studies have been done, beginning long ago with simple breeding programs that demonstrate heritability and selection (artificial in this case), and they confirm and reinforce the bacterial studies.

This doubt comes from my creationist assumptions, by which I can't call beneficial something that produces disease even if it also protects against another disease.

The definition of a beneficial mutation is one which permits the organism to produce more offspring. In a malarial environment, carriers of a single sickle cell allele are conferred an advantage because it provides some resistance to malaria. Since carriers of one sickle cell allele are less likely to die of malaria they produce more offspring than those who are not carriers. The downside is that individuals who inherit two copies of the sickle cell allele instead of just one come down with sickle cell anemia.

It's a definitional matter, and one problem in these discussions is that the evolutionists announce their definitions as if they were some kind of proof of something, or as if such a definition can't be challenged as to whether it fairly reflects reality.

You're more than welcome to challenge definitions, but so far your proposed replacements suck. Which is to be expected, because you don't understand what it is you're defining yet. You want to change evolutionary definitions before you even understand them.

This harping on the evolutionist definition of "beneficial" as anything that spreads in a population for whatever reason simply pre-empts the creationist definition.

Whoa, whoa, whoa, back up the bus here. There is no "the creationist definition" of beneficial, because creationists are all over the map in their views of evolution, especially when you include the IDists. There is no creationist consensus about the definition of beneficial, and a consensus will never emerge until creationists begin using evidence instead of revelation in their practice of science.

Then why not treat my point of view as simply an alternative point of view...

When you can introduce and discuss evidence for your point of view, then it can be considered scientifically. Do you have any evidence for your opinion of how beneficial should be defined?

By the same token you can't prove that an alternative view of mutations as nonbeneficial is false.

Just a few paragraphs above I mentioned the experiments proving this view false, and I and others have done this for you at varying levels of detail many times in the past. Please engage the information that has been provided if you believe it doesn't falsify your view. We can get as specific as you like about these experiments.

I have a completely other explanatory framework that *suspects* that beneficial mutations are probably nonexistent or flukes...

Nonexistent is one thing, fluke is completely another.

Beneficial mutations are definitely not nonexistent. Bacterial studies make this clear beyond any doubt whatsoever. We can explore the bacterial studies at any level of detail you feel comfortable with, but let's finally get to the bottom of this so that either we convince you that beneficial mutations exist, or you convince us they don't.

But it wouldn't be unfair to characterize beneficial mutations as flukes. Just as when you set out to solve a crossword puzzle, there are many ways to be wrong and very few ways to be right. This is why deleterious mutations are more common. One common approach to explaining beneficial mutations is to take a sentence like this one:

The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog.

Now change one random letter (including space) in this sentence. Using my handy dandy random number generator I can come up with thousands of single letter substitutions, here's the first few:

The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dov.
The quick brown fox jumpedgover the lazy dog.
The quickjbrown fox jumped over the lazy dog.
The qdick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog.
The quick brown fox jumpedjover the lazy dog.

But the odds of a letter change coming up with a sentence that makes sense are not zero, and one did pop up after a while:

The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dom.

Beneficial mutations are the same way. Just as a random letter change is unlikely to change a sentence into something meaningful, a random genetic change is unlikely to be beneficial. But the likelihood is greater than zero, and there are literally trillions and trillions of reproductive events every single day, and so beneficial mutations are inevitable. And because they are beneficial and confer a survival advantage upon the recipients, they spread through the population.

So if you can bring yourself to believe that beneficial mutations are flukes then we would not really be very far apart.

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 188 by Faith, posted 08-25-2006 9:57 PM Faith has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 201 by Aegist, posted 08-26-2006 7:27 AM Percy has not yet responded

  
Aegist
Member (Idle past 2810 days)
Posts: 23
From: Sydney NSW Australia
Joined: 08-21-2006


Message 200 of 223 (343522)
08-26-2006 6:44 AM
Reply to: Message 188 by Faith
08-25-2006 9:57 PM


Re: Trade-offs
I have had a few hours to think about your perspective faith, and I hope you can understand that, because clearly your perspective is not how I see it, so I am trying my best to think outside the box.

As such, I think I can see exactly what your concern is. Humans are highly complicated system, incredibly well refined on the molecular level, the cellular level and the physical level. We are so well balanced so precisely aligned (within our bounds of variability) that it is hard to imagine any chance which won’t disrupt our equilibrium. Firstly, because of the nature of genetic mutation and phenotypic realization of that mutation, it is very difficult for anyone to find an actualized phenotypic change brought about by a single mutation. That made me think about mutations which affect the cellular or molecular level, since generally a mutation will have a 1 to 1 relationship on that level. That is, it is easy for a single mutation to have an effect on the expression of a protein, or the silencing of a complimentary gene or something like that. And as soon as I thought about that level of mutation, I realized that any mutation I could suppose happening in a human, would most likely have far reaching negative effects. This is due to the high level of refined processing that our cells undergo.

This is what I believe you are looking at, and clearly having trouble understanding how any change in DNA could possibly improve our body when it seems it is already ‘fine tuned’.

Correct?

Assuming I am on track, and assuming the CCR5 example and Sickle Cell example aren’t sufficient enough as examples, I will give up now trying to find examples, because while I believe they exist, it will be far harder to find them and conclusively show that they are both 1. Caused by mutation and 2. Obviously beneficial in any sense. Trying to do so would be very time consuming, and possibly impossible (for the problems touched upon above with regards to single mutation phenotypic changes and the refined nature of our molecular machinery).

So I wish to try a different angle, and hope that this will suffice for the sake of discussion.

Basically, I wish to argue that since mutation is simply an indiscriminant shuffling of a coding sequence, it must be accepted that “anything” is possible. The changing of code is un-moderated entirely, but the consequences of the change have very definite effects. More often than not, the mutation will have no effect on the ongoing replication of the genetic code that has been mutated. Sometimes the mutation will cause the replicative process to stop abruptly. While sometimes the mutations will have a detrimental effect on the success of replication of the organism. And then some mutations, obviously the far less frequent mutations, will in fact increase the likelihood of replication, or rate at which the gene is replicated from generation to generation.

Obviously the final assertion there is your main concern so I will attempt to justify it. Basically we can see that some species are more successful than others. We can also see that some organisms are more successful than other organisms within the same species. This is clearly observable, and also an assumed premise in your question. Now each of these organisms have a genetic code which determines exactly how their cells will develop in light of their environment, and therefore how likely their success in survival and then replication will be. We can compare the genome of these organisms and see that they are different. They each (between species or within species) have different genomic sequences. This is observable.

SO since we know that DNA determines the phenotypic consequence of an organism, and the phenotype of organisms determines their success, the more successful organisms clearly have more ‘beneficial’ differences in its genome vs the less successful organisms.

Accepting this, it is therefore an easy step to assume that any of the differences in the genome between the two compared organisms which constitute better/worse, could feasible be created in the worse off organism by a mutation.

I will leave it there to get some feedback on how I am going, and see what I need to re-think or clarify or whatever.

Shane

Edited by Admin, : affect => effect


----------------------------------
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www.sportsarbitrageguide.com

This message is a reply to:
 Message 188 by Faith, posted 08-25-2006 9:57 PM Faith has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 204 by Faith, posted 08-26-2006 11:47 AM Aegist has not yet responded

  
Aegist
Member (Idle past 2810 days)
Posts: 23
From: Sydney NSW Australia
Joined: 08-21-2006


Message 201 of 223 (343525)
08-26-2006 7:27 AM
Reply to: Message 199 by Percy
08-26-2006 6:39 AM


Re: Trade-offs
So if you can bring yourself to believe that beneficial mutations are flukes then we would not really be very far apart.

I hope that my post expressed much the same sentiment and hopefully justified how this is possible.


----------------------------------
http://shanegreenup.blogspot.com
www.sportsarbitrageguide.com

This message is a reply to:
 Message 199 by Percy, posted 08-26-2006 6:39 AM Percy has not yet responded

  
nator
Member (Idle past 1280 days)
Posts: 12961
From: Ann Arbor
Joined: 12-09-2001


Message 202 of 223 (343531)
08-26-2006 8:27 AM
Reply to: Message 194 by Faith
08-26-2006 3:23 AM


Re: Trade-offs
quote:
Why this demand for workable definitions?

Because if we don't work from a definition of "beneficial" before we attempt to give you examples, you can dismiss all of them as not meeting your idea of what "beneficial" means.

quote:
It's fine for it to be recognized, and for the various mutations to be explored in its light, but when you impose it on me, require that I accept it, and treat my objections as simply a refusal to be scientific, you don't seem to recognize that all you are doing is absolutely pre-empting any possibility of having a different point of view about the very question we are discussing.

You can absolutely have a different point of view.

But this is a science thread.

All points of view need to be scientific here.

All claims and rebuttals need to have evidence-based backing.

All your terms need to be defined before you claim that they do not meet your definition.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 194 by Faith, posted 08-26-2006 3:23 AM Faith has not yet responded

  
Omnivorous
Member (Idle past 720 days)
Posts: 3811
From: Adirondackia
Joined: 07-21-2005


Message 203 of 223 (343570)
08-26-2006 11:46 AM
Reply to: Message 196 by Percy
08-26-2006 4:43 AM


Re: Trade-offs
Percy writes:

Does it mean how well the organism is adapted to the present environment, in which case diversity is a disadvantage? Or does it mean how well the organism is prepared to meet unpredictable environmental changes, in which case diversity is an advantage? You anticipated this much further on in your post when you said, "Clearly, the reproductive fitness of its members in the current environment is one determinant."

I think your preferred measure of robustness is to just say robustness==diversity.

No, I recognize that robustness is more complex than that--sorry if I seemed to suggest otherwise.

But the reason I introduced the term robustness was because I specifically did not mean to include diversity. I'm not married to the term robustness and am perfectly content if you'd like to propose another term, but what I had in mind was measuring how well the organism was adapted to the present environment.

Yet that is quite difficult to measure in a static way.

One characteristic of the present environment is mutability. All other things being equal, the more diverse genome seems more robust.

I think you mean hereditary, not congenital. But this is a counterargument? Why not ask why all severe hereditary diseases haven't been purged from the genome long ago?

Mea culpa--it was the wrong word and a lame argument. I know better. It was late, and the beer was cold. Say no more.

While the Third World is poor and underdeveloped, and while there are certainly parts of the third world with primitive peoples, it isn't what I was thinking of when I used the term primitive. I don't recall exactly what I said, but I was referring to primitive peoples who live in direct contact with nature and who are relatively isolated from modern civilization and its conveniences. There are very few parts of the world like this today. But yes, I believe they have better vision. As I mentioned earlier, this was one of Darwin's observations about the native Patagonians, but I by no means consider his lone observation conclusive and await better evidence.

Fair enough, though I remain skeptical that differential selective pressures among hunter-gatherers, farmers, and technological peoples were enough to drive a reduction in visual acuity.

I'm don't recall Darwin's observations on the Patagonians, but I do know that one must learn to see well in a new environment, a learning that includes drawing more information from the same sensory input. Although I am quite short-sighted, I once had to drive without corrective lenses for several weeks.

The first day or two were frightening, but I soon adapted, and learned to extract the data I needed from less acutely defined surroundings.

It also seems reasonable that persons with more acute vision gravitate to roles that require it, say, warrior chiefs and fighter pilots. Not every job or tribal role requires exceptional visual acuity. Our evolution as a social animal will make it especially difficult to tease out the role of selective pressures in evolving or retaining maximal visual acuity vs. just good enough to find a productive niche in the group.

I'm not a romantic, so it would be unusual for myths to drive my thinking, especially myths I don't buy into.

:) Well, it would be uncivil to argue otherwise but I will note that one thing myths do is inform our conceptions without requiring a purchase.

As to disease resistance: that seems, if anything, more difficult to sort out in a comparative way than visual acuity. Agricultural peoples living in close proximity to their livestock, as Jared Diamond has argued, are exposed to pathogens which can cross species lines (like the poxes, e.g., camel and cow), and so those folks eventually evolve resistance.

We know what happens when those resistance-enjoying people encounter others without that resistance--e.g., smallpox decimating the native Americas. Yet the pathogens also evolve in complex ways--not just to overcome our immune systems or to resist antibiotics, but also to supplant more virulent strains by not killing us outright. Ebola, for example, has never moved very far from an outbreak point because it is so quickly and thoroughly lethal. Ironically, it could become more dangerous by evolving less virulence.

Well, we probably agree more than we disagree.

Yes.

I probably can't go as far as saying that intelligence makes diversity possible, but I certainly agree that diversity is a central factor for a population's adaptation and long term survival.

I should clarify that of course I don't believe intelligence is the sole source of diversity, but I do believe it has greatly increased our genetic diversity, and that the complex interplay between intelligence and genetic diversity was in turn a factor in the evolution of intelligence.

Edited by Omnivorous, : fixed quote


This message is a reply to:
 Message 196 by Percy, posted 08-26-2006 4:43 AM Percy has not yet responded

  
Faith 
Suspended Member (Idle past 555 days)
Posts: 35298
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001


Message 204 of 223 (343571)
08-26-2006 11:47 AM
Reply to: Message 200 by Aegist
08-26-2006 6:44 AM


Re: Trade-offs
I really appreciate your attempt to get into my frame of reference, and at a quick read I think you are doing rather well at it, but I will have to think about it more.

But I also think I should not contribute to this thread any more because what always happens is that my main concerns are labelled unscientific and this is a science forum, so I think I will probably try to come up with a mirror thread on these topics for the Theological Creationism and ID forum and if you are still up to it maybe this can be further pursued there.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 200 by Aegist, posted 08-26-2006 6:44 AM Aegist has not yet responded

  
Faith 
Suspended Member (Idle past 555 days)
Posts: 35298
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001


Message 205 of 223 (343574)
08-26-2006 11:56 AM


Regrouping
The original plan that prompted the writing of the OP was to have a thread that simply explored particulars of mutation, with a focus on what beneficial means, in which my role would be mostly to ask questions while avoiding giving my own perspective. I don't know how I got so off track as to write the OP I did, since it doesn't reflect that original idea, but I did and now I'm embroiled as usual in defending my views, and simply discussing the particulars of mutation just isn't going to happen here for me.

Wounded King started another thread at the same time, because I'd asked him to, for the same purpose, to explore mutations, and unfortunately I didn't see his thread and went ahead and wrote my own. However, his thread, Mutation and its role in evolution: A Beginner's Guide, rather than succeeding as a beginner's guide, for me in any case, is so far over my head that it too is not useful for the original purpose of elucidating the mechanisms of mutation. It also isn't particularly focused on the question of what a beneficial mutation is, which is really the main concern.

Maybe I will find a way to reorient myself to either or both of these threads, or maybe eventually a new thread can be put up that does succeed at the original objective, but for now I don't see much value in my continuing to fight the usual battle in the face of all the objections, so I will probably try to organize a new thread for the Theological Creationism and ID forum.

Edited by Faith, : No reason given.


Replies to this message:
 Message 207 by Brad McFall, posted 08-26-2006 1:01 PM Faith has responded
 Message 208 by nwr, posted 08-26-2006 1:08 PM Faith has responded

  
Omnivorous
Member (Idle past 720 days)
Posts: 3811
From: Adirondackia
Joined: 07-21-2005


Message 206 of 223 (343583)
08-26-2006 12:26 PM
Reply to: Message 181 by Faith
08-25-2006 8:37 PM


Re: Visual deterioration
Faith writes:

I find it odd, from my creationist point of view, that an inferior condition such as deficient visual acuity and focal ability could be called "diversity." To my mind it can only be properly called genetic deterioration.

One of the things I've been trying to get at is that an apparently defective genetic endowment may become beneficial when the environment changes. Malaria and sickle cell are, of course, the classic examples.

But the more interesting point, to me, is that because we are a social animal with intelligence and culture, the environment becomes much more complex. This greater complexity permits a wider range of individuals to survive.

Consider the archetypes of the blind sage and the lame artisan.

It is simplistic to merely consider them defective, and it is not just political correctness to point out that difference is a more accurate term. Because we are social, there are roles available which are not closed to those with such differences; the development of alternative sets of skills--the inward-looking, reflective "gaze" of the blind and the greater reliance on manual strength and dexterity of the lame--can produce individuals uniquely suited to particular roles.

The blind certainly listen in a different way, and the lame must work with what is at hand. The brain wires itself in response to stimuli, and cultures have almost universally found merit in the differences.

I don't want to annoy Percy with more myth ;) but the myth of, say, Hephaestus, lame smithy to the gods, suggests both these phenomena and our deep cultural recognition of them. Our individual ability to adapt to constrained parameters, and our social inclination to find a niche for the differently abled, work together to maximize even a "defective" person's opportunities for survival and reproductive success. Because of this, the result is greater genetic diversity.

In a social structure, the individual must be fit enough to find a useful niche, not perfectly suited to every possible task. Because our intelligence, social nature, and transmissible culture maximize the number of adapted individuals, the powerful trait of intelligence has freer rein. I'm not suggesting that blindness or lameness are linked to higher intelligence or other cognitive talents, but rather that when they both occur in the same individual, the intelligence or talent is not lost to that particular society or to future generations.


This message is a reply to:
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Brad McFall
Member (Idle past 4143 days)
Posts: 3428
From: Ithaca,NY, USA
Joined: 12-20-2001


Message 207 of 223 (343592)
08-26-2006 1:01 PM
Reply to: Message 205 by Faith
08-26-2006 11:56 AM


Re:closed group
"that Darwin was right in stating that those rare beneficial varitations, which from time to time happen to arise - the now so-called mutations- are.." de Vries-1909- quoted by Gould&cited by me @direct link on EVC at www.evcforum.net/cgi-bin/dm.cgi?action=msg&f=5&t=707&m=7#7 -->www.evcforum.net/cgi-bin/dm.cgi?action=msg&f=5&t=707&m=7#7">http://www.evcforum.net/cgi-bin/dm.cgi?action=msg&f=5&t=707&m=7#7

was posted before you opened this thread.

I understand some of your frustration for Darwin could be wrong if it is not "right" that the example I gave was not a chimera nor a "delusion" of my own thought. But the defense of the mutation as the correct benefit (in whatever sense this may be recieved) does then (from the time of this quote) depend on the difference in BIOLOGY between Darwin and DeVries which WAS the time of my Grandfather. In order to communicate with evos I have to remain mentally in the information gained from my Grandfather to me during the 70s and this forces me to sustain a highly scientific direction in the perspective I present, lest I loose whatever standing I probably do not even have here that I would hope did come across.

So for instance one would have to guess about the notion of a piece or a part variable that might be thought as single. If the evolutionary biologist is not a determinist and insists that whatever the solitary nature here is, that it is an event, probablistically speaking, there is room to disagree in the most expansive terms with (any) notion if constricting other areas of humanistic terms, such as ethics and a broad anthropology etc, but to do so DOES seem to constrict concurrently the freedom to speak of physics as sci fi enthusiasts often overload enginearing discussions and TV programs with.

What would be instructive is if someone can trace the creationist emphasis on "beneficial mutations" to this use of de Vries. Gould's positioning of de Vries' work in general does not seem to preclude this research from prima facie being presented on EVC it seems to me.

Perhaps I shall find some time to do some preliminary searching of available (to me)literature. Evos probably just don't find this to be their "duty" (see also Kant below). This is how it would be that the probablism of ID must differ from EVOTHEORY but I do not find anyone trying to approximate this, as of yet,here on EVC or elsewhere. They simply fail to conserve what is actually save-able.

All I need to observe is that when I present the science or possible science, rarely is this followed up. I felt that Jazzns went too far. Luckly I had just signed off and NWR noticed before he continued. There seems to be the non-consensus of a maxim to will ones' action universally as law that is at fault here. This is hard to seperate clearly from artifical selection (from which some of the ideas of whatever single variation could mean does mean).


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This message is a reply to:
 Message 205 by Faith, posted 08-26-2006 11:56 AM Faith has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 209 by Faith, posted 08-26-2006 1:16 PM Brad McFall has responded

  
nwr
Member
Posts: 5880
From: Geneva, Illinois
Joined: 08-08-2005
Member Rating: 8.7


Message 208 of 223 (343594)
08-26-2006 1:08 PM
Reply to: Message 205 by Faith
08-26-2006 11:56 AM


Re: Regrouping
I have avoided posting in this thread till now. But I will give a contrary view, though it won't help your YEC position.

I think the term "beneficial mutation" is confusing, and should be avoided. Evolution can be explained without needing that term. I'll give some reasons for this.


  1. Most evolutionists are neo-Darwinists. The neo-Darwinian account claims to avoid intentions. Yet the term "beneficial" is an intentional term. It seems to me that a neo-Darwinian should avoid the term "beneficial", and simply say that some mutations survive better into the next generation than do others.

  2. Personally, I hold neo-Darwinism in some disdain. Perhaps that is partly because of the attempt of neo-Darwinism to deny intentionality. It is difficult to discuss biology without using intentional language. That's why we see biologists talking of "beneficial mutations". Dawkins' title "The Selfish Gene" uses intentional language. Biologists even coined the word "teleonomy" so as to allow the use of teleological language while denying teleology.

    However, even though I see the need for intentional language when discussing biology, I don't find the term "beneficial mutation" to be useful. That term suggests that there is an absolute benefit to a mutation. But in most cases, the benefit is relative. The mutation may offer benefits in a particular environmental niche, but be disadvantageous elsewhere. A mutation that gives bacteria resistance to penicillin is of benefit only in an environment where penicillin is in use, but it is deleterious elsewhere and selected against. The mutation that results in sickle cell is of benefit in a malaria ridden environment, but is deleterious elsewhere. Thus "beneficial mutation" is misleading, because it fails to mention the importance of relational aspects.

  3. The idea that evolution proceeds by accumulating beneficial mutations is just silly. The driving force of evolution is change, including environmental change. If the environment to which an organism is adapted should disappear, then either the organism must change to exploiting a slightly different environment or it will go extinct. Mutations are enablers. A mutation may confer on an organism, the potential of being able to exploit a slighly different environment. A gene pool accumulates mutations, providing variation. That accumulation allows the possibility of change. But it is when change becomes necessity (adapt or go extinct), that the organisms will begin to make important use of some of the enabling possibilities that they have accumulated from past mutations.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 205 by Faith, posted 08-26-2006 11:56 AM Faith has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 210 by Brad McFall, posted 08-26-2006 1:16 PM nwr has acknowledged this reply
 Message 212 by Faith, posted 08-26-2006 1:24 PM nwr has acknowledged this reply
 Message 214 by Wounded King, posted 08-27-2006 4:48 AM nwr has responded

  
Faith 
Suspended Member (Idle past 555 days)
Posts: 35298
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001


Message 209 of 223 (343595)
08-26-2006 1:16 PM
Reply to: Message 207 by Brad McFall
08-26-2006 1:01 PM


Re: Re:closed group
Drat, Brad, I wish I could follow your posts better, because sometimes there appears to be the glimmer of a flash of illumination that is badly needed on this subject, and I appreciate your historical perspective on it in particular, all the various quotes you provide from such as Huxley and Kant and so on, but wow, your language is so confusing I just can't follow you.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 207 by Brad McFall, posted 08-26-2006 1:01 PM Brad McFall has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 211 by Brad McFall, posted 08-26-2006 1:18 PM Faith has not yet responded

  
Brad McFall
Member (Idle past 4143 days)
Posts: 3428
From: Ithaca,NY, USA
Joined: 12-20-2001


Message 210 of 223 (343596)
08-26-2006 1:16 PM
Reply to: Message 208 by nwr
08-26-2006 1:08 PM


Re: Regrouping
This seems reasonable.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 208 by nwr, posted 08-26-2006 1:08 PM nwr has acknowledged this reply

  
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