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PostPosted: Sat Sep 28, 2013 6:55 am 
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i do not know much about evolution or about how genetics work but i like the idea that species can change and optimize for survival over multiple generations because conditions for survival change


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 28, 2013 3:56 pm 
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what's weird to me is that evolution goes against entropy. Also, don't know of any recent speciations, just variances within a range, though this is probably a function of my own ignorance.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 28, 2013 5:10 pm 
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 28, 2013 5:15 pm 
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YingLung wrote:
what's weird to me is that evolution goes against entropy. Also, don't know of any recent speciations, just variances within a range, though this is probably a function of my own ignorance.
Entropy never decreasing applies to an entire system as a whole, not to individual parts of it. You can reduce entropy locally just fine--your efforts merely result in an even greater increase in entropy elsewhere within the system, so despite reducing it locally you made it worse overall.

Besides which, the inevitability of entropy only applies to an isolated system. If you're adding energy into a system from without, then you can tell entropy to go right to hell, and the sun is adding energy to Earth all the time.

YingLung wrote:
Also, don't know of any recent speciations, just variances within a range, though this is probably a function of my own ignorance.
IIRC, it's been demonstrated with fruit flies that populations with the same origin kept in significantly different conditions can be rendered unable to breed with each other. That was a while ago that I heard that, though, so I don't know if it's been taken farther.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 28, 2013 5:30 pm 
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Even if Dawkins' later work turns you off, The Selfish Gene is a very good book. It's accessible to anyone who's willing to try to understand it -- you don't really need any scientific background -- and it explains evolution and a lot of the subtle effects that take place in a very interesting way. It's one of my favourite books and I highly recommend it to anyone who's interested in the topic.

When it was written (35 years ago) some of the ideas it it were new-ish, whereas now they're pretty widely accepted, which is interesting to consider when you're reading it.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 30, 2013 6:41 am 
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GrifterMage wrote:
YingLung wrote:
what's weird to me is that evolution goes against entropy. Also, don't know of any recent speciations, just variances within a range, though this is probably a function of my own ignorance.
Entropy never decreasing applies to an entire system as a whole, not to individual parts of it. You can reduce entropy locally just fine--your efforts merely result in an even greater increase in entropy elsewhere within the system, so despite reducing it locally you made it worse overall.


It depends on how that works. For instance each facet of evolution is an isolated system within itself that only marginally interacts with but does not intrude upon the other systems. Think of it like gears in a machine. Each gear interfaces with others, but is not changed by the interaction.

The Theory1 of Evolution can be broken down into multiple systems that don't alter each other but instead only interact. You have:

* Adaptation of the Species to its environment
* The production of new genes and traits to aid survival
* survival of the fittest
* When a species breaks into multiple different species that cannot interbreed

There are more and more details for those I listed but those are the major ones for non-scientists in lay mans terms.

Adaptation of the species to its environment is accomplished by losing traits that are a disadvantage to living in an environment. For instance say a lizard has two pigment genes or traits, one of them is blue and the other is yellow. Which makes them green. Now say this lizard species migrated to the desert and started living there. Now one day a group of them lose the trait to produce blue pigments in their skin and scales and the other group loses the yellow pigments. Which would survive better? You guessed it, the yellow ones would survive better because of the color of the desert more closely matches the color of the yellow scales and skin. Some try to argue that new traits get added but that has never been observed anywhere at any time (despite repeated claims to the contrary, they are always proven wrong when the gene or DNA is sequenced). Which brings us to the second one, which has been proven wrong on so many levels that its laughable that anyone still believes it, I guess there will always be Flat Earthers though.

The production of new genes and traits to aid survival has been proven false over and over and over from a statistical perspective, to how DNA replicates and checks itself, to how many times it would require positive mutations in order to produce a new protein, to how its never been observed in action despite almost 60 years of intensive research. I'll go over each of them.

Statistical perspective:
"Proteins are complex coils of several hundred amino acids. Take a typical protein to be a chain of 200 amino acids. The observed range is from less than 100 amino acids per protein to greater than 1000. There are 20 commonly occurring amino acids that join in varying combinations to produce the proteins of life. This means that the number of possible combinations of the amino acids in our model protein of 200 amino acids is 20 to the power of 200 (i.e. 20 multiplied by itself 200 times), or in the more usual 10-based system of numbers, approximately 10 to the power of 260 (i.e. the number one, followed by 260 zeros!). Nature has the option of choosing among the 10 to power of 260 possible proteins, the 3 million proteins of which all viable life is composed. In other words, for each one correct choice, there are 10 to power of 254 wrong choices!

Can this have happened by random mutations of the genome? Not if our understanding of statistics is correct. It would be as if nature reached into a grab bag containing a billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion non-viable proteins – and pulled out the one that worked.

And then repeated this trick a million times."2

Now remember this is just to produce a single usable protein, not an organism. Its been theorized that it would take around 5 times the life span of the universe for a single celled organism to evolve in this manner.

Now lest we get accosted by those that say our math here is not what happened and that things gradually happened over millions of years we will look at the chance of DNA changing.

When a cell replicates DNA it does a number of checks to make sure the DNA replicated properly including:

* A proofreading system that catches almost all errors
* A mismatch repair system to back up the proofreading system
* Photoreactivation (light repair)
* Removal of methyl or ethyl groups by O6 - methylguanine methyltransferase
* Base excision repair
* Nucleotide excision repair
* Double-strand DNA break repair
* Recombination repair
* Error-prone bypass

In other words the chance of a mutation of any kind appearing in any given DNA replication is 10-10 which means 10 divided by itself 10 times which means 0.000000001. Now that's just one mutation occurring in one DNA replication after being checked by the cell. What does it take to convert one protein into another? Well a protein has around 100 to 1000 bases to form. Lets go with the easiest one 100. Now it can have a 25 percent difference between the next nearest protein, meaning 25 DNA changes need to occur for it to happen. Now using the lizard with blue and yellow pigment genes above it would take (10-10)25 for it to evolve one protein into the next nearest protein. Go ahead, count the zeros I'll wait. That's all while not creating negative effects that will cause the creature to die off in the first place. Its also not counting in things like protein folding which further lowers the chance of it happening or all the other factors like protein networks of interactions with other parts of the cell which could cause it to simply die. Then all of this has to take place in the reproductive cells in order to be passed on which further narrows it down making it a much much higher chance of not happening.

Survival of the fittest This one is true. Creatures have a greater chance of survival if they are fit to their environment. Its provable and observable. Which is why the whole theory of evolution comes off as a con job. They try to package a few provable theories into one big ball with unprovable or provably wrong theories hoping you will swallow it whole.

Species that can't interbreed See below.

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Besides which, the inevitability of entropy only applies to an isolated system. If you're adding energy into a system from without, then you can tell entropy to go right to hell, and the sun is adding energy to Earth all the time.


Nope sorry, no energy is added to the process of DNA replication. Its a complete closed entropy system. Light is added to the earth. Plants convert that light into sugars with the help of other chemicals and processes and that produces the parts that is used in the DNA replication system, but no actual energy is transferred. Its like a factory that makes computers. The factory makes the computers but doesn't supply the power to turn them on.

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YingLung wrote:
Also, don't know of any recent speciations, just variances within a range, though this is probably a function of my own ignorance.
IIRC, it's been demonstrated with fruit flies that populations with the same origin kept in significantly different conditions can be rendered unable to breed with each other. That was a while ago that I heard that, though, so I don't know if it's been taken farther.


This is a process where the reproductive DNA gets degraded between groups to the point that they don't match up enough to breed. I could go into way more detail, but I won't unless someone asks me to. Warning: its very technical and unless you are a geneticist or a really smart person that has delved into it, it will probably sound like gibberish...

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1The Theory of Evolution is not a theory at all. Its a mishmash of other theories and hypothesis some of which have been proven wrong mixed together, kind of like they used to mix harsh medicines with sugary syrup to get children to eat it.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 30, 2013 6:46 am 
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Jeremy wrote:
Even if Dawkins' later work turns you off, The Selfish Gene is a very good book. It's accessible to anyone who's willing to try to understand it -- you don't really need any scientific background -- and it explains evolution and a lot of the subtle effects that take place in a very interesting way. It's one of my favourite books and I highly recommend it to anyone who's interested in the topic.

When it was written (35 years ago) some of the ideas it it were new-ish, whereas now they're pretty widely accepted, which is interesting to consider when you're reading it.


That books been torn to shreds way to many times for its assumptions and falsities. You can find one such shredding here.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 30, 2013 11:12 am 
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What are the top-level restrictions to how a species can change given the assumption that only the subtraction of traits is possible? When I think of a lizard changing colours from green to yellow I don't think of it in terms of the lizard losing a trait, but rather a trait changing, but I imagine the underlying mechanics follow a constant theme given your understanding. If that constant theme holds true, in what ways is it possible or impossible for a species to change?


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 30, 2013 11:43 am 
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I don't think you can so quickly throw out "the production of new genes" portion of the theory. There are more than just basic mutations that can create variances and differences between genes: http://www.nature.com/scitable/topicpage/origins-of-new-genes-and-pseudogenes-835. Just because one method of new gene production doesn't work does not mean that it's impossible for genes to work at all - just that this single method is ineffective. Quickly looking through google, I found this published article; http://www.sciencemag.org/content/338/6105/384.abstract. It's about how the duplications that are mentioned in the earlier link can arise rather quickly and start taking on new functions, and how this leads to new genes with new functions. Now this might be proven false, but the point I'm trying to get across is that we know that changes happen, but we just don't know yet exactly how they happen. Just like cataclysmic meteors - we can see the consequences of massive meteors hitting the Earth, and can make pretty good guesses on the effects of one hitting us right now, even though we've never been around to actually see or document it happening.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 30, 2013 11:53 am 
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Lilan wrote:
What are the top-level restrictions to how a species can change given the assumption that only the subtraction of traits is possible? When I think of a lizard changing colours from green to yellow I don't think of it in terms of the lizard losing a trait, but rather a trait changing, but I imagine the underlying mechanics follow a constant theme given your understanding. If that constant theme holds true, in what ways is it possible or impossible for a species to change?


Unknown. In theory, by simply subtracting genes or reactivating/deactivating prexisting ones, you should be able to generate a surprisingly large amount of a creature's genetic lineage. For example, both Humans and Fish share a gene that creates a certain kind of bone. In Humans this leads to the bones in the ear, but in fish those same bones help with the function of gills. It's the same basic information, but modified enough so that the same basic information can do two very different things. Another example is how most animals have similar eggs and sperm. They become very different, but they all start as a single cell. The process on how to create these cells is encoded into all of our genes. If you break things up enough, you'll find the same patterns everywhere - it's just how you put them back together that determines the vast majority of differences.

Fun note, I don't think it's been identified yet how new organs are created! The classic "what use is an eye when it can't see?" argument applies, but there's obviously some kind of explanation.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 30, 2013 12:02 pm 
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Lokiare wrote:
Jeremy wrote:
Even if Dawkins' later work turns you off, The Selfish Gene is a very good book. It's accessible to anyone who's willing to try to understand it -- you don't really need any scientific background -- and it explains evolution and a lot of the subtle effects that take place in a very interesting way. It's one of my favourite books and I highly recommend it to anyone who's interested in the topic.

When it was written (35 years ago) some of the ideas it it were new-ish, whereas now they're pretty widely accepted, which is interesting to consider when you're reading it.


That books been torn to shreds way to many times for its assumptions and falsities. You can find one such shredding here.


I don't find this shredding very compelling.

It also uses a lot of language that you seem to take issue with in your earlier post about what evolution is. I'd be interested to see some of your sources for the above data (and conclusions, assuming those aren't your own as well.)


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 30, 2013 3:17 pm 
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I actually had to deal with a creationist a few weeks ago. I wanted to kill them.

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"Piss off, I'm drinking! Piss off, or die!
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 30, 2013 3:21 pm 
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The Butt wrote:
I actually had to deal with a creationist a few weeks ago. I wanted to kill them.

that's mean


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 30, 2013 3:23 pm 
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Mean but justified. For the good of mankind.

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Gehennah, true kings of poseur-slaying wrote:
Suddenly she stood there close to me, a woman too grotesque to even be
I felt quite dim but I was still aware, that I was too drunk to see or care
I said "Baby, metal is what I need; not some bloody ***** to feed"
She looked at me with stupid eyes, then I gave her my advice

"Piss off, I'm drinking! Piss off, or die!
Piss off, I'm drinking! Piss off, or die!"


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 30, 2013 3:24 pm 
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The Butt wrote:
Mean but justified. For the good of mankind.

that is a dumb opinion


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 30, 2013 3:30 pm 
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You're a dumb opinion

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Gehennah, true kings of poseur-slaying wrote:
Suddenly she stood there close to me, a woman too grotesque to even be
I felt quite dim but I was still aware, that I was too drunk to see or care
I said "Baby, metal is what I need; not some bloody ***** to feed"
She looked at me with stupid eyes, then I gave her my advice

"Piss off, I'm drinking! Piss off, or die!
Piss off, I'm drinking! Piss off, or die!"


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 30, 2013 3:35 pm 
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The Butt wrote:
I actually had to deal with a creationist a few weeks ago. I wanted to kill them.
No, that's not cool man. We have medication and therapy for mental illnesses like that. Euthanasia should only be a last resort.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 30, 2013 3:38 pm 
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Oh come on guys there are better ways to show displeasure of something other than "grrr i wanna murder people' its not just weird and derailing but its just bad posting.
miss_bun wrote:
I don't find this shredding very compelling.

It also uses a lot of language that you seem to take issue with in your earlier post about what evolution is. I'd be interested to see some of your sources for the above data (and conclusions, assuming those aren't your own as well.)

The article reads like an editorial and does not substantiate almost any of its claims and dismisses Darwins proposals outright as if they are obvious ("I’ll start with “Darwinian purpose”. There is no such thing. Natural selection has no purpose" he may be right but i thought natural selection had a pretty clear end goal just by, you know, what it is: establishment and proliferation of the mightiest species in its environment) compared to a scientific debunking and the website itself seems to be based on some interesting views of academic collaboration and rigor.

Lokiare, do you have other sources, like peer reviewed journals?

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 30, 2013 5:00 pm 
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Van wrote:
"I’ll start with “Darwinian purpose”. There is no such thing. Natural selection has no purpose"


Yeah, this is the part that got me as well. The critic is attacking the choice of words as if that disproves the rest of the sentence. I think it is clear that while natural selection does not have a purpose in that it was not either created with a purpose by anyone nor does it have a will of its own with which to follow a purpose, it most certainly does serve a purpose, namely to allow those lifeforms best suited to their environment to proliferate. Just because Dawkins uses colorful language that isn't necessarily part of official scientific lingo doesn't mean his meaning is unclear, and picking apart his argument based on the use of the term "Darwinian purpose" seems nitpicky and intellectually dishonest to me.

Also, lets not bring personal attacks into it, Butt. I think there's plenty of ammo against creationism without resorting to that. While not flaming per se, that is definitely inflammatory language. Imagine someone said that about people who did something you liked, or believed something you believed.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 30, 2013 9:05 pm 
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Huh. I'm also interested in seeing Lokiare's sources. It certainly sounds like you know a lot about the subject - more than myself - but I need a lot more before I can buy what you're selling. Which, by the way, what exactly is your alternative?

Creationists: Relatively harmless in my opinion. Religion has a track record of very harmful behavior. You don't exactly see creationists sending letter bombs to science labs, do you?

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