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Evolution; Disambiguation
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Larry Boy
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2005 2:18 pm    Post subject: Evolution; Disambiguation Reply with quote

mod\This is a split from the Intelligent Design thread/mod



A problem I would like to discuss is the supposed speed of evolution. I mean, species are supposed to have taken huge steps in just a matter of some million years, even though we very seldom see any change at all in any species, and so far no proof of actual macro-evolution (please let me know if you think you know of one).

Let's take human evolution as an example. Homo habilis is supposed to have lived 2.4 to 1.5 to million years ago. It is supposed to have looked like this.
In a million years, let's suppose there are 50 000 generations. Let's suppose that it took 100 000 generations (2 million years) for Homo Habilis to evolve into Homo Sapiens.

Now remember that the human (or monkey?) population is assumed to have been very scarce at this time, according to the theory. And then think about how many humans (or is it monkeys?) that are walking around the Earth today. I bet you would have more births in one year now than in the whole supposed history of the "pre-humans" (EDIT: ok, that might be slightly exaggerated, but I think you see the point). Isn't it strange then that we don't see more signs of evolution than we do in the human population of today?

Where did all "lucky mistakes" that supposedly transformed Homo Habilis into Homo Sapiens come from, if we can't see any changes today?

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Shaper
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2005 4:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Larry Boy wrote:
A problem I would like to discuss is the supposed speed of evolution. I mean, species are supposed to have taken huge steps in just a matter of some million years, even though we very seldom see any change at all in any species, and so far no proof of actual macro-evolution (please let me know if you think you know of one).


I'm up for a little discussion about this smile
In reality, the theory of evolution says that species to not just take a few huge steps in a million or so years, they take small ones all the time, very gradually changing what they are. The cumulitave changes are what we call macro-evolution.
Actually, we do see many changes in species all the time. Remember, evolution is simply the idea that species' genome's change over time, and this is very common. Every time a flu virus mutates, that's evolution. The peppered moth is a great example of evolution happening within the span over just years.

Quote:

Let's take human evolution as an example. Homo habilis is supposed to have lived 2.4 to 1.5 to million years ago. It is supposed to have looked like this.
In a million years, let's suppose there are 50 000 generations. Let's suppose that it took 100 000 generations (2 million years) for Homo Habilis to evolve into Homo Sapiens.

Now remember that the human (or monkey?) population is assumed to have been very scarce at this time, according to the theory. And then think about how many humans (or is it monkeys?) that are walking around the Earth today. I bet you would have more births in one year now than in the whole supposed history of the "pre-humans" (EDIT: ok, that might be slightly exaggerated, but I think you see the point). Isn't it strange then that we don't see more signs of evolution than we do in the human population of today?


Well, again, we do see signs of evolution in humans. Humans are generally taller now than they were in the renaissance....and think about all the different diverse people there are out there. If evolution is right, we all came from the great rift valley in Africa. We know this by studying our DNA. Now not all humans on the planet look like they came from Africa, do they? There are lots of people who have different skin colours or heair types, different hights, muscle builds, etc. The reason we're so diverse is micro evolution smile
Also there are many common ancestors that we can find between now and that past, common ancestors of us as well as other great apes, which to me points to macro evolution.

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Lebowsk1
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2005 5:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Josh: you're offering evidence for micro-evolution (or species variation) and nobody is denying that happens. We don't deny there are different kinds of humans, and that by mixing these kinds of humans you get other kinds of humans.

What's being challenged is the idea that africans represent some kind of 'link' with our evolutionary history. The whole three 5ths human thing.

The peppered moths a) only deal with the variation of population sizes of already existing organisms (this is not 'evolution' of anywhere near the macro-kind required) and b) is scientifically flawed due to the inadequacey of the research (see Jonathan Wells Icons of Evolution).

And as for bacteria, read up on their unique 'horizontal gene transfer' ability (where bacteria seem to act in a co-operative fashion). Also the adaptation of bacteria that isnt due to this is again down to modifications in the population size. So, for example, lets say there are two types of bacteria, x and y, and y is immune to Z, which kills x. The population in areas including Z will be mostly composed of y. But this, again, does not constitute macro-evolution: the bacteria are, most importantly, still bacteria and show no signs of being anything else.

I think Larry is absolutely right. Look at insects: there is no evidence, anywhere, that the insects we see in the world today evolved, because the very first insects we have on record are identical to modern day ones.

I wonder how long humans will have to be around with no sign of observing any macro-evolution before the theory is abandoned...

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Lebowsk1
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2005 6:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Incidentally Larry: did you intend for this to be a new topic? Did you come up with the title of this thread? Because I don't really feel it is very representative of the content of your post...

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Dreamer
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2005 6:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I bet you would have more births in one year now than in the whole supposed history of the "pre-humans" (EDIT: ok, that might be slightly exaggerated, but I think you see the point). Isn't it strange then that we don't see more signs of evolution than we do in the human population of today?


This is difficult to explain, so if you don't get what I mean then please say and I'll try again.

To use your example...

Say we have a group of 500 humans who reproduce for 2 million years (100,000 births in that time).

We then have a group of 100,000 people who reproduce for 100 years (also 100,000 births in that time).

If we take an average of 1 mutation every 10 births, then in each group 10,000 mutations will have happened.

In group one, this 10,000 mutations will be shared between 500 people, with a result of 200 mutations each.

However in group 2, the 10,000 mutations will be shared between 100,000 people, so only 1 in ten people will have a mutation.

So no matter the amount of births going on around you, it's the cumulative effect of the mutations from your ancesters that are what make evolution happen. It wouldn't make any difference if there were a trillion people on earth, it would take the same length of time to evolve.

You also have to realise that with modern medical science there is a lot higher survival rate, so the survival of the fittest doesn't really work anymore.

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Shaper
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2005 7:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lebowsk1 wrote:
Josh: you're offering evidence for micro-evolution (or species variation) and nobody is denying that happens. We don't deny there are different kinds of humans, and that by mixing these kinds of humans you get other kinds of humans.


Except that it was said that we do not observe evolution in humans...which is wrong, and which I pointed out wink

Quote:

What's being challenged is the idea that africans represent some kind of 'link' with our evolutionary history. The whole three 5ths human thing.


Well like I mentioned earlier, if we look at common ancestry through our genes we can trace every ethnic group back to southern africa. There's a book out there by Dean Hamer called 'The God Gene' which devotes an entire chapter to this. Not only can we trace common lineage back to Africa, we can also trace the ancestry of other groups of people, like the Jews, who's religious traditions actually helped them maintain a common ancestry over thousands of years up until now! 8D

Quote:

I think Larry is absolutely right. Look at insects: there is no evidence, anywhere, that the insects we see in the world today evolved, because the very first insects we have on record are identical to modern day ones.


Well I don't know where you heard that.....Insects and similar species like arachnids are agreed to have evolved from the sea, and are related to crustacians. Take the Horseshoe Crab; a creature which is more closly related to a spider than it is to a crab.

Quote:

I wonder how long humans will have to be around with no sign of observing any macro-evolution before the theory is abandoned...


Simple; it won't be abandoned. And why should it be?

Just refer to the idea of Occam's Razor; Given two equally predictive theories, choose the simpler. This is one of the key ideas in science.
So, given that, which is most probable?

Option 1) We observe micro evolution. We also observe similar species which gradually change over billions of years in the fossile record. There is no observable evidence of design or supernatural intervention, in fact, the changes we observe in different lifeform's genome's seem to happen naturally. We have also duplicated the environment in which basic organic chemicals form, and we know that prehistoric earth probably had many of the components for these chimicals to develop naturally. We also know that the chances of this happening are not impossible (see Borel's Law).

Option 2) An intelligence which we cannot see of falsify in any way created everything, and then left no actual proof of what it had done. Evolution obviously doesn't happen despite the enormous evidence for it....

So everyone tell me; which idea is the more probable one?

Also Dreamer is correct. Think about birth rates, they are exponential. Two people could have two children, which could have two children each, making four, then the next generation there is eight, then sixteen, and so on and so on. Of course it's
not exact, sometimes a person will have more or less offspring, but the idea is obviously mathmatically true.

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Larry Boy
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2005 3:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lebowsk1, no, I didn't know anything of this, but I got a pm from Josh explaining why he split it up.

"I have moved your post about evolution from the intelligent design thread and given it it's own thread called Evolution; Disambiguation.
I've done this because the Intelligent Design thread seems to always turn into evolution vs. creationism instead of truely discussing ID. This way we can talk about ID in the ID thread and discuss Evolution in a separate thread."


I think he's right, the discussions tend to get a little mixed up in the ID thread. As for the title, I guess it wasn't exactly what I was thinking about when I wrote the post (well obviously I wasn't thinking about it as separate from the ID discussion in the first place) but I guess it works as an opposite to the ID thread, which often tends to be more about defining ID than actually discussing evolution.

Dreamer, I see your point but that's not really what I was talking about. Of course we won't see any drastic evolution in the human population of today, for several reasons. It would take an awful time before the changes reached the whole population, for one. What I was talking about was individual cases of positive random mutations. I think we should have seen more of those considering the supposed timeframe of evolution. We should also have been able to trace these changes in the offspring of these "super-humans".

But the fact is, that the human population remains very intact, and has for at least a couple of thousand years (Josh, people becoming taller is because of changes in their diet; look at the Japanese, they've grown like 30 centimeters taller since after WW2).

Considering how scarce the population of pre-humans is supposed to have been, and how many births there are today, isn't it strange that we don't see at least some cases of individual evolution in the population of today?

Josh, I don't see why your mathematic ideas would change anything. Remember that the death rates were a lot higher back in those days. It's easy to see how much nature can regulate the population of a species. Just look at how explosive the growth of our population has been since man invented (modern) medicine.

If people actually were born the way you describe it back in those days, the Earth would have been overpopulated already at the time of the first pre-humans (or since the dawn of life, since this would apply to every species). If the population is allowed to grow unhindered, it doesn't take very long time before it gets big. But nature regulates the amount of births.

To make a specific example, let's use your model of two people having two children, which would have two children each, making four, then in the next generation there would be eight, then sixteen, and so on and so on. Well, of the first two people being born, maybe only one manages to give birth him-/herself. This means: 2 people born - 1 survives and meets another - 2 people born - 1 survives and meets another - 2 people born - 1 survives and meets another... An endless circle.

Of course, this is probably very far from how it really would look, and there would probably be more than 2 births per couple. But anyway, the point is, that the growth of the population must have been more "I-formed" than the "V-formed" growth that you propose. If we accept the premise that evolution actually did happen in the first place, that is...

And Josh, I don't agree that macro-evolution equals a lot of micro-evolution. Some people like to believe dogs are a good example of evolution. In fact, they are a very good example of micro-evolution and by extension devolution. All breeds of dogs are more or less wolves with limited gene pools - "unperfected" wolves.

So, what I'm saying here is basically that we're most likely talking about devolution when we're talking about micro-evolution.

Also, relating to the insect stuff, how do you explain that a species of fish that was supposed to have been extinct for some hundred of million of years has been caught alive in modern times? How are apes supposed to transform into humans in a couple of million years if this fish hasn't evolved in any way at all even though it has had hundred of million years to do so? People use to answer that "well, I guess it was perfectly adapted to its surroundings so it didn't really need to evolve". Are they serious? Is that how they believe evolution works?

If they really do, they have to acknowledge the fact that the world is "perfectly adapted to itself" in every moment. The problem they need to answer is why it gets more perfect all the time (which it has to if evolution is true). And in the light of all this, it doesn't really make sense to say that some species just stop to evolve because they're "perfect". Bacteria are "perfect", for Gods sake!

Please answer me why this fish doesn't evolve at all, at the same time as monkeys supposedly transform into humans in some million years. (Sorry I don't remember the name of the fish right now, but if you want, I'll look it up. Most of you probably already know about it, though. Well, at least you should wink )

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StEvE21
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2005 3:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Are you talking about some type of sturgeon?

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Lebowsk1
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2005 7:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No, he's talking about the Coelacanth. It is a living fossil: http://www.dinofish.com/

And Josh: please, please check your facts before replying. David Attenborough actually got the fossils first hand in the series on camera and explained that the very, very earliest dragonfly and butterfly species were exactly the same as our modern day ones (only difference being size). Consider that mosquito in the amber again. They are identical, wings appeared perfectly formed in the fossil record.

So in this case there is no evidence for evolution... so why the assumption?

Anyway I'd just like to say I agree with Larry. Great posts.

EDIT: oh and you may wish to be a bit more careful when using occam's razor. Seems like you cut yourself shaving in your last post: I happen to believe a designer is a far more simple explanation.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2005 5:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So what drives Natural Selections choices again?

Oh yeah, nobody knows.

It's so retarded that we give and notice Nature's obvious intellectual properties yet deny that any Intellect could be behind it all.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2005 6:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Larry Boy wrote:
What I was talking about was individual cases of positive random mutations. I think we should have seen more of those considering the supposed timeframe of evolution. We should also have been able to trace these changes in the offspring of these "super-humans".


Humans came from Africa. I think even ID believers still agree with that (tell me if I'm wrong). They then spread out over the world.

When archeologists dig people up out of the ground, they can usually tell what ancestry they had (whether European, Asian, e.t.c.) because of the differences in the DNA of those people. Lots of those differences are caused by mutations. Many of them are positive.

People in Scandenavia generally have bigger noses than people elsewhere (the so called Viking nose). This is because it is cold in Scandenavia, and the air needs more time to heat up. Not knowing the structure of their noses I can't say whether this is macro or micro evolution, but it is a case of positive random mutations. In their climate, they are the best adapted people to live there, and you can trace their discendants. My Dad, for one, has a Viking nose (which thankfully I didn't inherit). smile

There are many other examples, such as Eskimos being shorter and squatter, with an extra layer of fat. Considering that everyone started in the same place, and that some of these adaptions would be very bad to have in Africa, we can tell the changes have happened since they left. Hence, positive random mutations.

Ego Tripping wrote:

So what drives Natural Selections choices again?


The fact that animals better able to survive, survive more. From this it has evolved that females of a particular species find the more successful males of that species more attractive than the less successful. So better adapted animals are more likely to survive to have a mate to pass on their genes, and more likely to find a mate to pass on their genes.

Quote:
It's so retarded that we give and notice Nature's obvious intellectual properties yet deny that any Intellect could be behind it all.


But those who say there is an intellect, look at the intellect and say there is no intellect behind that. Is that retarded too?

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2005 8:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Larry Boy wrote:

Considering how scarce the population of pre-humans is supposed to have been, and how many births there are today, isn't it strange that we don't see at least some cases of individual evolution in the population of today?


Well like I said, evolution in the broadest sense is the gene in a specie's genepool, and we do see this.

Quote:

Josh, I don't see why your mathematic ideas would change anything. Remember that the death rates were a lot higher back in those days. It's easy to see how much nature can regulate the population of a species. Just look at how explosive the growth of our population has been since man invented (modern) medicine.


Well they aren't exactly my mathematics
The explosive growth of the population in the recent past is not just due to modern medicine. Mathmatically, we were going to reach the number we're at anyway. Our population grows exponentially.

Quote:

If people actually were born the way you describe it back in those days, the Earth would have been overpopulated already at the time of the first pre-humans (or since the dawn of life, since this would apply to every species). If the population is allowed to grow unhindered, it doesn't take very long time before it gets big. But nature regulates the amount of births.


Like I said, it was a simple example. It doesn't change the fact that human reproduction is exponential.

Quote:

To make a specific example, let's use your model of two people having two children, which would have two children each, making four, then in the next generation there would be eight, then sixteen, and so on and so on. Well, of the first two people being born, maybe only one manages to give birth him-/herself. This means: 2 people born - 1 survives and meets another - 2 people born - 1 survives and meets another - 2 people born - 1 survives and meets another... An endless circle.


'd be surpirsed if either of our mathmatical models applied to every single prehistoric human, but I think it's safe to say the population did grow wink

Quote:

And Josh, I don't agree that macro-evolution equals a lot of micro-evolution. Some people like to believe dogs are a good example of evolution. In fact, they are a very good example of micro-evolution and by extension devolution. All breeds of dogs are more or less wolves with limited gene pools - "unperfected" wolves.


Well devolution is a sticky subject now. If evolution means change, how can we have devolution? Whats that supposed to be, 'un-change'? Evolution doesn't mean we're all progressing towards a better state, it means our genes change over time.
Devolution is just one of those words that are weird;p

Quote:

Also, relating to the insect stuff, how do you explain that a species of fish that was supposed to have been extinct for some hundred of million of years has been caught alive in modern times?


Well I would conclude that the fish was not extinct wink

Quote:

How are apes supposed to transform into humans in a couple of million years if this fish hasn't evolved in any way at all even though it has had hundred of million years to do so? People use to answer that "well, I guess it was perfectly adapted to its surroundings so it didn't really need to evolve". Are they serious? Is that how they believe evolution works?

Please answer me why this fish doesn't evolve at all, at the same time as monkeys supposedly transform into humans in some million years. (Sorry I don't remember the name of the fish right now, but if you want, I'll look it up. Most of you probably already know about it, though. Well, at least you should wink )



I know what fish you're talking about but I don't really know enough about the case to make a comment now. But I'd be surprised if it hadn't evolved at all. Maybe I'm wrong, I'll have to read more about it smile

Lebowsk1 wrote:

And Josh: please, please check your facts before replying. David Attenborough actually got the fossils first hand in the series on camera and explained that the very, very earliest dragonfly and butterfly species were exactly the same as our modern day ones (only difference being size). Consider that mosquito in the amber again. They are identical, wings appeared perfectly formed in the fossil record.

So in this case there is no evidence for evolution... so why the assumption?

Anyway I'd just like to say I agree with Larry. Great posts.


No evidence for evolution?? Does the difference in size strike you as something that did not happen because of evolution?? overspannen
Not to mention the differences we probably don't know about because they were lost due to fossilization; colour, internal structure, etc.
Also please don't tell me to check the facts. I would not be here discussing this if I couldn't back up my own arguments.
Your dragonfly example is a great example of how insects have changed and evolved while they were still insects, but this doesn't change what I said. Insects (all arthropods in fact) evolved from the sea. Insects, arachnids, as well as crustaceans like crabs, lobsters, shrimp and plankton, even ancient species like trilobites all share a common ancestry.
This article sums it up well.

Concerning Occams Razor; it's fine that you feel that way, everyone has their own opinion after all, but based on that, do you really think scientists are going to abandon evolution so suddenly? (Remember, Occam's Razor is a key scientific idea.)

Ego Tripping wrote:

So what drives Natural Selections choices again?

Oh yeah, nobody knows.

It's so retarded that we give and notice Nature's obvious intellectual properties yet deny that any Intellect could be behind it all.


Nothing 'drives' it. It's a naturalistic process. If something posseses a trait which will give it a disadvantage to survive, i will probably not survive. If it doesn't survive it can't pass this trait on. The same thing goes for beneficial traits.
If I may ask you a question, what is the big mystery here?

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Lebowsk1
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 30, 2005 8:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Josh: I think in the creation and (especially) titling of this thread you have abused your mod status.

Larry's first post is not aiming to clear up confused ideas people have abot evolution, he is challenging the theory's validity.

And the fact that you are still questioning why there is any debate to be had highlights the fact that you still don't grasp the basic differences between species variation (or 'micro-evolution') and all-encompasing 'macro' evolution.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 30, 2005 9:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dreamer, that's funny because I'm Scandinavian myself (Swedish). Have never heard of the Wiking Nose before, though ^^

Anyway, I think we need to draw a line somewhere between "big nose" and "evolution". What I was asking for was concrete evidence for beneficial mutations in the human population of today. What I mean by this is actual cases of human births with positive random mutations, that we can observe today. I'm not talking about mutations that are supposed to have happened sometime in the past. Anyway, so far when mutations have occured in humans, have we ever observed anything but deformation?

What you are talking about is not proof of anything at all.
Think about how far you can take a species by means of a little selective breeding. Dogs have taken like a million of different shapes, and that without the need of one single random mutation at all. And you're talking of big noses as if that were some kind of evidence for evolution!?

Josh: Yeah, you're completely right, but you made it sound like there was some kind of explosion in the growth of the population back then, when the fact is that the current theories hold that it was very very scarce. And you didn't take into count the fact that the death rates would have held back the growth.

And anyway, you still haven't answered my initial question; why don't we see any beneficial random mutations in the human population of today? Every piece of "evidence" you give is some kind of hypotethical circular reasoning that presumes that evolution is true (people look different so they must have evolved, somehow). It isn't even relevant to my question, which is about positive random mutations that we can observe now. I'm not talking about supposed mutations in the past.

And I have already explained that it's silly to use big noses, different skin colours or whatever as an argument for evolution, when dogs can take much more different shapes without the need of evolving at all (selective breeding doesn't involve trying to wish for random mutations to take you where you want with your animals or something, you simply breed individuals with similar traits).

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 30, 2005 9:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lebowsk1 wrote:
Larry's first post is not aiming to clear up confused ideas people have abot evolution


Perhaps it is, I mean, there still seems to be a lot to clear up when it comes to, say, micro- and macro-evolution, like you said before. wink

But maybe I'm misinterpretating the meaning of "disambiguation", I'll have to admit I'm not really sure I know what it means in the first place geenidee

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