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Author Topic:   Natural Limitation to Evolutionary Processes (2/14/05)
Archer Opteryx
Member (Idle past 3707 days)
Posts: 1811
From: East Asia
Joined: 08-16-2006

Message 143 of 299 (340436)
08-16-2006 6:10 AM
Reply to: Message 5 by Faith
02-14-2005 5:37 PM

Re: Considering rapid rate of mutation
You asked:
First, are you accepting the rest of what I said, that is, that except for mutation and immigration all the "evolutionary processes" produce decreased variability, or less ability to change, which would seem highly incompatible with the theory of evolution?
'Except for mutation and immigration', I might. But that's the catch.
'Except for the fact that the sun comes up every day, Mr Copernicus, isn't it night all the time--and doesn't a never-ending night cause a problems for the theory that the earth revolves?'
Well, uh, yeah.
But most of us would say Copernicus can rest easy.
You have two big fallacies, as I see it, to iron out.
The first you know: the fallacy of ignoring facts that falsify, or at least materially complicate, the conclusion you want to demonstrate. 'Except for mutation'...'except for the sun coming up'... You see. Mutation is a fact. Any argument concerning biological change over time has to deal with that fact. (Socially speaking, you also have an obligation not to shunt aside a subject your heading says you intend to consider.)
The second fallacy is your woolly use of the word 'variability.' You use it to mean two different things: anatomical variety in a single population and as a synonym for 'ability to change,' by which you mean potential for genetic mutation across generations. Using the same word for two different ideas can give the illusion of a connection. But until you establish one, no logical argument exists.
The good news is that you can overcome both problems in the same post. All you have to do is address--directly--the subject of mutation.
Mutation has been observed. It has also been observed that small mutations can add up to substantial changes over time. On that basis scientists see no reason to doubt that, given enough time, mutations can add up to create changes sufficient to explain all the biodiversity we see.
You seem to believe there is good reason for scientists to doubt this. If so, state the reason. If you believe a boundary exists on the extent to which genes mutate, state where the boundary is. Propose a test.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 5 by Faith, posted 02-14-2005 5:37 PM Faith has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 145 by Faith, posted 08-18-2006 12:51 PM Archer Opteryx has not replied
 Message 147 by Faith, posted 08-18-2006 1:17 PM Archer Opteryx has not replied

Archer Opteryx
Member (Idle past 3707 days)
Posts: 1811
From: East Asia
Joined: 08-16-2006

Message 172 of 299 (341417)
08-19-2006 3:03 PM
Reply to: Message 169 by Faith
08-19-2006 2:26 PM

Re: Natural Limitation to Evolutionary Processes
Faith asks:
What makes your wisdom teeth mutation "beneficial" in any sense of the word?
No lower wisdom teeth to extract or get impacted? Are you kidding?
I'll take that mutuation any day.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 169 by Faith, posted 08-19-2006 2:26 PM Faith has not replied

Archer Opteryx
Member (Idle past 3707 days)
Posts: 1811
From: East Asia
Joined: 08-16-2006

Message 253 of 299 (342004)
08-21-2006 3:02 PM
Reply to: Message 179 by nator
08-19-2006 6:20 PM

Re: beneficial mutations
schrafinator writes about the no-wisdom teeth mutation:
Well, mostly I think it is a neutral mutation, because wisdom teeth do not emerge until very late in puberty, long after reproduction would have taken place among human populations 100,000 years ago.
No, it could also be viewed as a beneficial mutation if you change the environmental conditions.
Fast forward to a time in human civilization before modern dentistry.
Now imagine impacted wisdom teeth. Very painful, and they often become infected. My mutation removes all chance of impaction, and if I was able to keep reproducing, better teeth for me means better nutrition for my offspring.
Also--for an adult individual in a pre-dentistry stage of human civilization--more offspring. The reduced risk of infection confers a reproduction advantage. Healthy adults would do it more often than adults with painful jaw infections would, and on the whole they would also have longer lives in which to do it.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 179 by nator, posted 08-19-2006 6:20 PM nator has not replied

Archer Opteryx
Member (Idle past 3707 days)
Posts: 1811
From: East Asia
Joined: 08-16-2006

Message 256 of 299 (342064)
08-21-2006 4:41 PM
Reply to: Message 246 by Faith
08-21-2006 1:16 PM

Re: Working against evolution? I'm afraid not.
Faith writes:
Yes, the ToE does seem to breed low expectations, as in calling a disease (Sickle Cell) a benefit because it happens to ward off another disease. Black humor.
Malaria mosquitos are responsible for over two million human deaths a year. There is nothing 'humorous' about improved resistance to this disease.
It says a great deal about the scourge of malaria in the world that a genetic tradeoff bringing sickle-cell anemia would still confer a survivability advantage for millions of people. The scientists conducting the study were at least able to acknowledge the desperation of that situation. Your flippant response, by contrast, comes across as smug, uncomprehending, and... well, anti-Christian.
In response to this I may seem to be contradicting my own argument that everything is winding down if I point out the extravagant complexities of what exists, the fine tuning, the elegant design, the beauty of living things. Whatever brought all this about wasn't merely "just good enough" or "mediocre." I may misremember C.S. Lewis on this point, but I like my mismemory because it seems true: Nature appears to be something immensely good gone wrong. Fantastic variety and adaptability in living things marred by disease and death.
This argument is aesthetic, not scientific.
Aesthetics have their importance, as C S Lewis understood. He knew how mental images worked and he knew how to use words to sculpt and shape them. As well he should: his expertise was in the humanities--literature, to be exact.
But art is not science. Your aesthetic statement, as science, is a non-starter.
Aslan is not a tame lion.
He is a fictional character in a children's fantasy novel.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 246 by Faith, posted 08-21-2006 1:16 PM Faith has not replied

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