Does evolutionary theory provide any useful scientific benefit?


(George Brooks) #327

@benkirk

Frankly, I don’t even know what you are arguing about anymore.

I’m coming to the conclusion that you are not trying to bridge the gap between us … but simply want to convince your audience that you are wayyyy smarter than I am.

Let me help you with that. You are WAYYYY smarter than I am – and a lot more argumentative.


(Benjamin Kirk) #328

[quote=“gbrooks9, post:327, topic:548”]
Frankly, I don’t even know what you are arguing about anymore.[/quote]
Then why not answer my questions and stop trying to put silly words in my mouth?

[quote]I’m coming to the conclusion that you are not trying to bridge the gap between us … but simply want to convince your audience that you are wayyyy smarter than I am.
[/quote]No, George. I’m trying very hard. Your avoidance of my questions, coupled with your attempts to misrepresent my position, suggest that you are the one not trying very hard.

Let’s go to your favorite, and look at two obvious features of whales:

  1. Is inherited phocomelia generally recessive or dominant? How many loci (genes) have been implicated in it?
  2. Is inherited alopecia generally recessive or dominant? How many loci (genes) have been implicated in it?

(Benjamin Kirk) #329

Hello George,

Here’s another way to think about it.

If you are correct and new mutations are so much more important than existing polymorphism in a population, why are cheetahs highly likely to become extinct? Can’t we just breed a lot of them and breathe a collective sigh of relief? Isn’t it no problem because small populations evolve more quickly than large ones? Wait–why is that, anyway? :wink:

Why do conservationists spend so much time and effort to breed endangered animals from different regions in captivity or quasi-captivity? Can’t they just mutate, then evolve their way out of the jam?


(George Brooks) #330

@Benkirk,

Now, see? You don’t seem to be sincerely interested in developing a consensus… Your reference to alopecia appears to be relevant only if whales evolved from mammals who sported a full head of hair … rather than the idea that whales, like hippos, are generally less hairy than many other kinds of mammals. I’m more familiar with alopecia as an auto-immune system problem which produces SPOTS or PATCHES of baldness… not generally less hair all around.

Perhaps what is more relevant is not hairiness… but the absence of sweat glands… but even pigs and rhino’s don’t have sweat glands.

As for phocomelia, why would this have anything to do with whales? Their flippers are not deformities… they are adaptaions.


(George Brooks) #331

@benkirk,

I have no idea where you are going with this line of thinking …

If I’ve already established my preference for discussing the kind of evolution that requires millions of years… why would you think I would defend the idea that cheetah’s can “mutate their way” out of extinction?


(Benjamin Kirk) #332

[quote=“gbrooks9, post:330, topic:548”]
Now, see? You don’t seem to be sincerely interested in developing a consensus…[/quote]
Hello George,

I am very interested in developing a consensus around facts and reality.

The term is a general one that includes hair not on the head.

Why all the evasion? Why not ANSWER THE QUESTIONS? That’s what someone sincerely interested in consensus would do instead of dodging and making up new terms.

I think you know full well that I was excluding that by specifying INHERITED alopecia. Is it generally dominant or recessive? This is the huge, huge point that you are missing about biology and population genetics. Why not learn something instead of dodging?

That’s relevant too, but how about answering my question for inherited alopecia? Dominant or recessive?

Do you not understand what these two terms mean? If you are sincerely interested in developing a consensus, you will answer.

[quote]As for phocomelia, why would this have anything to do with whales? Their flippers are not deformities… they are adaptaions.
[/quote]You can’t define this away. In the larger picture, they are heritable variants, and deformity vs. adaptation is a function of the environment, not human labeling.


(Benjamin Kirk) #333

[quote=“gbrooks9, post:331, topic:548”]
I have no idea where you are going with this line of thinking … [/quote]

Then why not enter a real discussion and answer the questions?

You know where I’m going, George: I’m pointing out that your claim:

…is false. I am asking you pointed questions to try to see where your gross misunderstanding is. You’re not answering any of them, which suggests…?

And I’ve indulged your preference by asking you to apply your claim to mouse vs. human, ~100 million years. But still you don’t answer a single question. Why, George?

[quote] …why would you think I would defend the idea that cheetah’s can “mutate their way” out of extinction?
[/quote]Because you’re claiming that evolution is driven more by new mutations than by changes in allele frequencies of alleles that already exist in a population, of course. Cheetahs are one of many examples that demonstrate that the converse is true.

Secondly, there’s no real mechanistic difference between micro and macro.

So:

  1. If you are correct and new mutations are so much more important than existing polymorphism in a population, why are cheetahs highly likely to become extinct? Can’t we just breed a lot of them and breathe a collective sigh of relief, if you are correct?

  2. Why do conservationists spend so much time and effort to breed endangered animals from different regions in captivity or quasi-captivity? Do they not understand population genetics?

  3. If you are correct, shouldn’t we be mutagenizing the cheetahs instead?


(Benjamin Kirk) #334

Hello George,

I don’t see “badger-like” as an improvement. I don’t think whales evolved from a population of anything “badger-like.”


(Benjamin Kirk) #335

[quote=“johnZ, post:322, topic:548”]
I’m not sure why the paucity of the truncated definition is so difficult to comprehend.[/quote]
Hello John,

I think the difficulty in comprehension is yours.

Really what? I have no idea how that applies to the definition of evolution.

[quote]So we have a change in allele frequency in a population. Not even any new alleles over time, just a change in frequency.
[/quote]Well, there’s your misunderstanding!

How, in your mind, does “change in allele frequency in population over time” exclude new alleles?

Here’s a question: if there’s a mutation creating a new recessive allele and its frequency in the population doesn’t change, has any evolution occurred?


(George Brooks) #336

I have ZERO interest in discussing the two inherited conditions you name. They are not relevant to my interests in the BioLogos mission… let alone to the evolution of whales.

Pick something that the literature says IS relevant to whale revolution and I will discuss it.


(George Brooks) #337

Wasn’t my use of the term “badger” in connection to an Evolutionary Denier who wanted to talk about an early mammal that got to the approximate size of a badger?

I already refuted the denier’s topic as off-point. And now you are criticizing me for using a term I used only to be part of my refutation of his point. The word “badger” was used because this early mammal seems to have been a fierce carnivore … and so badger-like would be a reference to the mammal being fierce and a carnivore … not because it LOOKED like a badger.

See how all tangled this is becoming - - mostly from YOUR energies it would seem…


(Benjamin Kirk) #338

Both are HIGHLY relevant to your lack of understanding of how existing variation is maintained.

There are a lot of other questions, George.


(Christy Hemphill) #339

@benkirk

Which @gbrooks9 already said he is not interested in discussing with you because often your main aim seems to be to show people up and criticize their “gross misuderstanding” of science in light of your genius. It’s not really as entertaining or stimulating as you seem to think it should be. Now speaking of badgers, stop badgering people to answer questions they have no interest in answering.


#340

It’s true that he could lighten up a bit, but I think we should be grateful that somebody with his knowledge is here and willing to share. As I recall, Darrell Falk (himself a scientist) was very grateful.


(George Brooks) #341

@Beaglelady,

Yes, indeed… it is good to have such experts around. If Ben is interested, I am interested in mathematical estimates of how many changes in genomes exist between the mammals that share a common ancestor at various time intervals:

40 million years ago
30 million years ago
20 million years ago
10 million years ago
5 million years ago
3 million years ago
1 million years ago

@benkirk… if the top or bottom part of this range is too far on the spectrum to generate useful data, we can just ignore them for now.


(Benjamin Kirk) #342

[quote=“Christy, post:339, topic:548”]
Which @gbrooks9 already said he is not interested in discussing with you[/quote]
Hello Christy,

It seems that George clearly is interested in discussing with me, as he continues to respond. He’s just not interested in addressing questions.

That’s completely unfair, as I’ve never claimed any genius. I, like Steve, understand that evolution acts on populations, not individuals; does not involve one modern form evolving into another; and is driven primarily by already-existing genetic variation in a population, not new mutations. George gets the first one, but not the last two.

If George is correct that new mutations are the driving force, it follows that we’re going about protecting endangered species in a completely wrong way–we should be breeding them for numbers with no concern for inbreeding, allowing new mutations to drive evolutionary plasticity.

In the real world, we go to great lengths to outbreed, because it increases the already-existing genetic variation (polymorphism) in a population. Mutation is far too infrequent to provide the needed variation.

This seems relevant to the mission of BioLogos because evolution denialists (including Eddie) falsely and relentlessly portray mutation as the driving force to emphasize randomness uber alles.


(Benjamin Kirk) #343

Wouldn’t the most important time interval be zero?


(George Brooks) #344

Okay, @benkirk, I’ll bite … which 2 species have a common ancestor of Zero Million years ago? Aren’t you supposed to be demonstrating how wise you are ?

On a more serious note:

"In humans, the average mutation rate is about one mutation per 2 billion base pairs per year. (The spiraling double strands of DNA are made of pairs of molecules known as bases.) Each person inherits, on average, about 70 new mutations from his or her parents.

To see if chimpanzees have similar patterns of mutation, scientists analyzed nine related western chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes verus) spanning three generations. The researchers found the overall chimpanzee mutation rate was mostly the same as the human one.

“Our results indicate that human and chimp ancestors’ genomes would diverge by about 0.1 percent every million years, so when we see divergence of 1.2 percent, we infer that it must have been about 12 million years — 13 million years is our actual estimate,” McVean told Live Science."


#345

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


(Christy Hemphill) #346

Yeah, now that I read it over, I can see how it might sound harsher than it sounded in my head when I wrote it. Sorry.