Does evolutionary theory provide any useful scientific benefit?


(Chris Falter) #307

Hi Ben,

When I have understood from reading tertiary literature is that duplication may be followed by modifications. One gene (call it the original) would accumulate very few changes due to selection pressure (it must sustain important functionality), but the other (call it the copy) would not have that same selection pressure. Thus the copy could accumulate significant mutations, and support new functionality.

Have I understood that evolutionary mechanism correctly? And does it apply in the case of the cetaceans?

I apologize in advance if I have not used terminology correctly or understood the finer points. I’m trying hard…


(Benjamin Kirk) #308

Hello George,

For me, it’s the combo of your criticizing Steve’s language while making a hash of terms yourself.

[quote=“gbrooks9, post:306, topic:548”]
But if we have a new physical trait… we are almost CERTAIN that we have a change in alleles.
[/quote]How so? Can’t environmental factors change phenotypes with no change in genotype?

What does “change in alleles” mean, anyway?


(Benjamin Kirk) #309

[quote=“Chris_Falter, post:307, topic:548”]
When I have understood from reading tertiary literature is that duplication may be followed by modifications.[/quote]
Absolutely!

It COULD support new functions. It also could accumulate insignificant mutations (drift) but have no change in function beyond the change in copy number.

Partially, but you were missing the non-Darwinian possibility.

From what I’ve seen, we don’t know yet. The striking thing is the extent of duplications.

[quote]I apologize in advance if I have not used terminology correctly or understood the finer points. I’m trying hard…
[/quote]No apologies necessary. You’re definitely trying harder than George is! :wink:


(George Brooks) #310

@benkirk

You ask two questions:

My answer to the first is YES, Environmental factors CAN change phenotypes with no change in genotypes. But as I said before, this is not the primary process for developing whales from a land mammal.

Your second question "what does ‘change in alleles’ mean, anyway?

I suppose I should have used this phrase: " changes in allele frequencies in populations over time ". But frankly, I don’t like the more complete phrasing much either. Again, my objection is that this language seems to dance around the idea of MUTATIONS.

If an allele is “one of a number of alternative forms of the same gene or same genetic locus…” then we can see
that we don’t get a “whale from a badger” just by re-arranging alleles.

That’s why I prefer the phrase “Evolution is any change in a gene pool.” < < This can be a change in percentages … or the addition or loss of genetic information.


(Benjamin Kirk) #311

How can you see that?

Try some simple math, George. How long will selection take to eliminate a recessive LETHAL allele in a population of 10000 mammals?


(George Brooks) #312

@benkirk,

Please explain to me how there is latent recessive “whaleness” in the chromosomal material of a badger? (Or use whatever pre-whale land-based mammal you like.) - - and that you can make a whale without any new genetic molecules… all we need to do is re-shuffle the existing DNA…

This should be absolutely FASCINATING…


(Benjamin Kirk) #313

[quote=“gbrooks9, post:310, topic:548”]
My answer to the first is YES, Environmental factors CAN change phenotypes with no change in genotypes.[/quote]
Then you’ve falsified your claim:

What does “developing” mean in this context?

[quote]Your second question "what does ‘change in alleles’ mean, anyway?

I suppose I should have used this phrase: " changes in allele frequencies in populations over time ".[/quote]

I don’t see that those mean the same thing.

[quote]But frankly, I don’t like the more complete phrasing much either. Again, my objection is that this language seems to dance around the idea of MUTATIONS.
[/quote]The focus on mutations dances around the idea that there’s plenty of heritable variation already present for natural selection to act upon.


(George Brooks) #314

@benkirk

The phrase “we are almost certain” was used to mean “in most cases”… not that it is the ONLY outcome.

Most of disputes about speciation are not about juggling existing genomes … but about the cumulative effect of NEW genomes… i.e. MUTATION.

I am perfectly happy with your sentence: “The focus on mutations dances around the idea that there’s plenty of heritable variation already present for natural selection to act upon.”

But you can’t make a whale from a badger from ONLY heritable variation.


(Benjamin Kirk) #315

Hello George,

I understand what you wrote. But is it true in most cases?[quote=“gbrooks9, post:314, topic:548”]
Most of disputes about speciation are not about juggling existing genomes … but about the cumulative effect of NEW genomes… i.e. MUTATION.[/quote]

I think you’re completely wrong there. Your language (juggling existing genomes vs. NEW genomes) makes no sense.

Great. Let’s build on that, because it contradicts your bizarre claim about “NEW genomes.” If 3 mutations occur every time a human cell divides, does every cell in your body have a NEW genome?

[quote]But you can’t make a whale from a badger from ONLY heritable variation.
[/quote]It’s sad that you resort to using a creationist construct implicitly affirming TWO falsehoods (single animals evolving into each other, both of which exist today).

Do you really not see that evolution only happens to populations?


(Benjamin Kirk) #316

[quote=“gbrooks9, post:312, topic:548”]
Please explain to me how there is latent recessive “whaleness” in the chromosomal material of a badger? (Or use whatever pre-whale land-based mammal you like.)[/quote]
Hello George,
Why on earth would you resort to a creationist straw man?

Why wouldn’t you answer my question about basic population genetics?

What are “genetic molecules,” and how do you define “new” ones? Why do you resort to so many neologisms instead of using words with agreed-upon meanings?

[quote]. all we need to do is re-shuffle the existing DNA…
[/quote]Are you now thinking that entirely new chunks of DNA are being created?


(George Brooks) #317

@benkirk

I think what is TRUE is that Evolutionists and Evangelicals aren’t engaged in a life-or-death struggle over the issue of change by re-arranging genomes.

While re-arranging genomes may be the numerical PREPONDERANCE of what happens in the average population … such changes are not what drives speciation …

I would propose that speciation in general … and creating a whale out of a land mammal SPECIFICALLY … can only happen after millions of years of MUTATIONS … in addition to re-arranging alleles.


(Benjamin Kirk) #318

Hello George,

I think you’re very mistaken. I suggest you look at this:

http://cinteny.cchmc.org/doc/wholegenome.php

And tell me how much of the difference between you and a mouse–probably thousands of speciation events away from a common ancestor and representing different ORDERS–is rearrangement vs. “new genetic molecules.”

P.S. This is a much greater evolutionary distance (~100 My) than the distance between hippos and whales (~60 My).


#319

This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.


(George Brooks) #320

@Benkirk,

I think you should be proud of yourself… you have provoked @Eddie enough to defend my less-than-perfect descriptions against your virtually senseless criticisms. I am in total awe… (of both you and Eddie, for different reasons).

I will have to admit that my choice of the phrase “genetic molecules” was unwise - - because it allows some readers (aka you, Ben) to think I just mean the raw materials of genes. In fact, I was trying to specify the molecule chains that make up specific genomes. So this convinces me that I should stick to the term “genome”… at least for now.

While all the DNA complexities on earth are fully expressed by a surprisingly small number of amino acids it still seems quite clear to me that the “active genomes which make a mammal a whale” NEVER existed in land mammals before a chain of MUTATIONS created these genomes in whales.

The only way we can conceivably ever think that “whale genomes” are hidden away in a land-based mammalian population is if, millions of years from now (and maybe not even then), a branch of whales somehow returned to the Earth’s continents and re-adapt to living on the land. But it is hard to say how much of the unique whale genomes may get “consumed” in the process.

It makes sense that bird DNA may have a considerable load of Dinosaur genomes buried in their chromosomes… because birds EMERGED out of the dinosaur matrix.

Equally so, it makes very little sense to think that bird DNA is ALSO “pre-loaded” with a hidden set of genomes that would make a kangaroo if only they were switched “ON”… because during the rise of dinosaurs there was NO SUCH THING as a Kangaroo.

To construct the argument so as to enlist a genetic theory of “kangaroo DNA in bird DNA” is to abuse the term genome … and to ignore the common sense meaning of the phrase “kangaroo DNA” to mean “those parts of kangaroo DNA that make a mammal a kangaroo”.

.


(George Brooks) #321

Falsehood: single or “individual animals evolving into other animals” …

Could anyone REALLY argue for this? It’s an EXTRAORDINARILY MAGICAL idea … in a mysterious Universe which realy does not seem to have THIS much magic.


#322

I’m not sure why the paucity of the truncated definition is so difficult to comprehend. If I say that an elephant is an elephant leg… I mean, really. So we have a change in allele frequency in a population. Not even any new alleles over time, just a change in frequency. And the purists want to say… “look, there is evolution!!” Instead of dogs with a whole bunch of colors, now they are all white!! wow!! evolution! Evolution! Look! Evolution!" You can argue this all you want. You can say that everyone else is wrong, it is indeed evolution! but it is like saying that white people are the human race, or that we define animals as dogs, or that we define cars as wheels, or define travel as acceleration. It is an unscientific definition, or, it is deceptive in the sense that even if there is no evolution, no common descent, no long ages, no speciation, no transitions, no selection, no mutations, then this definition still applies. Which makes the whole concept of the definition rather meaningless. Instead of being scientifically clear and comprehensive, it is useless, and I would also say it is manipulative and deceptive, arguing from the part to the whole in a very non-scientific manner.


(Benjamin Kirk) #323

[quote=“Eddie, post:319, topic:548”]
benkirk wrote:

“It’s sad that you resort to using a creationist construct implicitly affirming TWO falsehoods (single animals evolving into each other, both of which exist today).”

This is pure pedantry, seizing unfairly on George’s naked words. Everyone here understands the shorthand form of expression George is using.[/quote]
JohnZ doesn’t:

Are you saying that JohnZ is not one of “everyone here”?

Repeating a false claim doesn’t make it true.

[quote=“johnZ, post:280, topic:548”]
The statement that individual organisms do not evolve is absurd…
[/quote] [quote]Real scientists only correct others on language when an actual scientific error is being made, not when an expression is used which, read in context, is adequate to the purpose.
[/quote]I find it fascinating that you didn’t address the second falsehood George is propagating, which is that evolution involves one modern species “evolving into” another in a ladder, not a bush, metaphor.

Could that be because your hero Denton based his first book on that falsehood? Or because Doug Axe based an awful Bio-Complexity paper on the falsehood applied to proteins? Or do you not understand that it is false?


(Benjamin Kirk) #324

Indeed. So why are you paying it lip service here? JohnZ portrays evolution this way to make it easier to attack. It’s a central creationist tactic, George.

Now, what about your apparent failure to understand that whales and badgers have a common ancestor, not that one evolved into the other?


(George Brooks) #325

@benkirk

When I used the term “badger” … I should have said “badger-like”. I certainly don’t think whales evolved from the modern badger.

I brought up the issue of “so-called evolution” of a single being evolving from one kind to another to invest a little time making a DISTINCTION of “real” from “non-real”.


(Benjamin Kirk) #326

You’re constructing an argument and falsely attributing it to me. I, on the other hand, am directly addressing yours.

And “kangaroo DNA” does not mean “those parts of kangaroo DNA that make a mammal a kangaroo,” it means “a kangaroo’s DNA.” This reflects your fundamental misunderstanding of both evolution and genetics.

Think, George. Why am I dragging you away from whales toward the even LARGER distance between humans and mice? Could it be that in that comparison, there is abundant EVIDENCE that falsifies your misunderstanding of the relative importance of reshuffling existing genes vs. “new genetic molecules” or whatever you want to call them today?