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Author Topic:   Natural Limitation to Evolutionary Processes (2/14/05)
crashfrog
Member (Idle past 1551 days)
Posts: 19762
From: Silver Spring, MD
Joined: 03-20-2003


Message 241 of 299 (341934)
08-21-2006 12:28 PM
Reply to: Message 240 by Faith
08-21-2006 12:08 PM


Re: Working against evolution? I'm afraid not.
Of course, since I don't believe in the ToE, I assume on the contrary that all the basic substance and the useful adaptations of life were built into the genetic material at the creation of the living thing.
Well, it seems to me that there would be a big detectable difference between your view, where beneficial qualities were present from the beginning and are lost as time goes by; and the consensus evolutionary view that beneficial qualities spontaneously appear in individuals who then mate and spread those qualities through their successive generations.
Speaking outside of human populations for a moment, because human civilization muddles the issue (and our long generational times makes these comparisons more difficult), and assuming that you agree with my extremely generalized statement of your position, which would you argue is the predominant mode of most populations? Do we observe beneficial qualities lost from most individuals over time with a net reduction in the "goodness" or "health" (or whathave you, let's avoid the term "fitness" which already has an evolutionary definition); or do we observe, as generations of a population go on, that individuals appear with beneficial qualities than then go on to dominate the population?
I think the evidence, from things like bacterial studies or other efforts in population genetics - or even casual examples, like animal breeding - indicates the latter. It seems to be predominantly the case, in things like animal breeding, that the reward comes from a breeder taking advantage of an exceptional individual - say, with a long and attractive muzzle that his ancestors lacked, rather than from the breeder struggling to maintain ancestral perfection against a tide of genetic degredation.
The harmful mutations on the other hand, or most of them perhaps, and maybe I have this wrong but this is my impression, can be identified AS mutations by looking at the genetic material itself. That is, many genetic diseases can be located on the DNA and studied there in terms of whether the gene is "broken" or not, produces a protein or not, or produces a wrong protein.
Yes. But we can see any mutation this way. For instance, the super-strong infant I linked you to earlier possesses two mutations that each knock out the gene that produces a muscle-limiting factor called "myostatin." Lacking the ability to produce this protein, the infant's musculature was able to develop unhindered, with considerable result.
But, hey. Maybe we're all the mutants, with a genetic degeneracy that leaves us all 98-pound weaklings, and this infant is simply the "wild type." (That's a term that we use to refer to the nominal, unmutated version of a gene or phenotype.) Maybe he's just a reversion to a previous state of increased human perfection. But agreeing, as I know that you do, that natural selection weeds out genetic weakness, I think that you would have great difficulty explaining how weakness would come to overtake strength over 6000 years of human civilization. (From an evolutionary/anthropological perspective, I have a few speculations of my own about the evolutionary role of a muscle-limiting protein factor.)

This message is a reply to:
 Message 240 by Faith, posted 08-21-2006 12:08 PM Faith has not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 242 by Wounded King, posted 08-21-2006 12:44 PM crashfrog has not replied

Wounded King
Member (Idle past 117 days)
Posts: 4149
From: Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
Joined: 04-09-2003


Message 242 of 299 (341940)
08-21-2006 12:44 PM
Reply to: Message 241 by crashfrog
08-21-2006 12:28 PM


Re: Working against evolution? I'm afraid not.
I think the evidence, from things like bacterial studies or other efforts in population genetics - or even casual examples, like animal breeding - indicates the latter
I'm not sure if you meant domestic animal breeding here, but if so it seems like an odd example to use since the traits selected for domestication are often not beneficial for the animal in any context except that of fitness in the evolutionary terms you hoped to avoid since that trait causes the breeder to force an unnaturally high rate of reproduction for individuals with that trait regardless of its effects on their health or goodness for anything other than the breeders idealised 'fit'. It also seems a bad example given the high rates of occurence of traits detrimental to the animals health in many cases of such intensive breeding programs.
TTFN,
WK

This message is a reply to:
 Message 241 by crashfrog, posted 08-21-2006 12:28 PM crashfrog has not replied

nator
Member (Idle past 2254 days)
Posts: 12961
From: Ann Arbor
Joined: 12-09-2001


Message 243 of 299 (341941)
08-21-2006 12:46 PM
Reply to: Message 240 by Faith
08-21-2006 12:08 PM


Re: Working against evolution? I'm afraid not.
quote:
The harmful mutations on the other hand, or most of them perhaps, and maybe I have this wrong but this is my impression, can be identified AS mutations by looking at the genetic material itself.
That is, many genetic diseases can be located on the DNA and studied there in terms of whether the gene is "broken" or not, produces a protein or not, or produces a wrong protein.
This is true for beneficial mutations as well.
For example, remember the immunity to HIV mutation we've mentioned?
Well, it is in the gene known as CCR5.
On top of that, the mutation is one of those that you say can only be detrimental, because it "broke" the normal functioning of immune cells by preventing the development of a receptor site on the cell.
source
Genetic resistance to AIDS works in different ways and appears in different ethnic groups. The most powerful form of resistance, caused by a genetic defect, is limited to people with European or Central Asian heritage. An estimated 1 percent of people descended from Northern Europeans are virtually immune to AIDS infection, with Swedes the most likely to be protected.
All those with the highest level of HIV immunity share a pair of mutated genes -- one in each chromosome -- that prevent their immune cells from developing a "receptor" that lets the AIDS virus break in. If the so-called CCR5 receptor -- which scientists say is akin to a lock -- isn't there, the virus can't break into the cell and take it over.
To be protected, people must inherit the genes from both parents; those who inherit a mutated gene from just one parent will end up with greater resistance against HIV than other people, but they won't be immune. An estimated 10 percent to 15 percent of those descended from Northern Europeans have the lesser protection.
Using formulas that estimate how long genetic mutations have been around, researchers have discovered that the mutation dates to the Middle Ages. (Similar research in mitochondrial DNA -- passed along by women -- has suggested that Europeans are all descended from seven Ice Age matriarchs.)
Why would the mutation stick around so long instead of giving up the ghost? Researchers initially thought the mutation provided protection against the bubonic plague that caused the Black Death in Europe. Those with the mutation would have lived longer and had more children while many of their neighbors died off. The fact that the genetic mutation also provided protection against HIV centuries later would just be a coincidence.
The plague scenario has been largely discarded in favor of another deadly scourge. "A disease like smallpox that has been continuous since that time ... is more likely," said Yale University professor of epidemiology Alison Galvani, who co-wrote a study about the possible smallpox link in 2003.
According to Galvani, while the plague came and went, smallpox stuck around well into the 20th century, providing even more incentive for a protective gene to live on: It would keep people alive generation after generation, instead of just during one brief epidemic.
Edited by schrafinator, : No reason given.

"Science is like a blabbermouth who ruins a movie by telling you how it ends! Well I say there are some things we don't want to know! Important things!"
- Ned Flanders
"Question with boldness even the existence of God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear." - Thomas Jefferson

This message is a reply to:
 Message 240 by Faith, posted 08-21-2006 12:08 PM Faith has not replied

Faith 
Suspended Member (Idle past 1528 days)
Posts: 35298
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001


Message 244 of 299 (341944)
08-21-2006 12:53 PM
Reply to: Message 234 by Percy
08-20-2006 8:33 PM


No point in continuing the agony
Hi Faith,
Before we continue, could we reach an agreement about something important? This is from your previous message to me, but you included it in your opening except:
Faith in Message 185 writes:
But there is no actual EVIDENCE that ANY of them were the result of mutation...
It's really difficult to move the discussion forward if after presentations of evidence you come back with "There's no evidence" or "That's not evidence." If you disagree that what was described was really evidence, or if you don't see how the evidence supports the contention, or if you disagree with the interpretation of the evidence, or if you'd like to offer another interpretation of the evidence, then I think that'd be great.
I've done this Percy, over and over again, and I don't understand your repeating YOUR refrain. I've clearly disagreed that the evidence presented for the three supposed beneficial mutations is evidence for beneficial mutations, and I've clearly explained why it isn't -- they are obviously not beneficial, but destructive mutations. Except for the bacterial resistance to antibiotics. That's the only one. I've also offered the "other interpretation" you claim I have not offered, that they are simply further examples of the deterioration of life a creationist expects to see.
If you continue to have your same objection that I have not answered the claims to evidence, please let's end the discussion because there is nowhere for it to go and I refuse to take the rap for that.
Faith writes:
I do not see what this has to do with the idea that it is MUTATIONS that are the great agent of beneficial change.
I didn't say there were. You were looking for examples of beneficial mutations, so of course I was talking in the context of mutations. It is much more often the case the beneficial changes are the result of bringing together complementary alleles.
Then these are not novel, but the usual pattern of inheritance, by which differences that are already potential simply come to the fore on the genetic roulette wheel as it were, the way one gets eye color. Mendelian principles. Fine, this is what I would expect is the case rather than mutation. And such benefits may in fact be naturally selected.
But if we go beneath the gene level to the allele level and look at how each individual allele formed, except in those rare cases where the modern gene is very little changed from an ancient common ancestor, such as hox genes, we see that each gene is very different from that of the ancient common ancestor. In many cases the gene didn't exist in the ancient common ancestor, and so the entire gene had to have been constructed out of whole cloth from mutations.
How do you "see" this? You have the DNA of ancient ancestors handy? You "see" this for all genes? I don't know what you are saying.
The specific sequence of mutations can sometimes be ferreted out by comparisons with sequences from related species that shared common ancestors at points in time in the past. Most of the genes in modern genomes that we take for granted today as "normal" and therefore beneficial to the organism did not always exist.
How do you know this?
Only mutations can create new genes.
Yes, if they are truly created new, this would have to be the case. How do you know they are created new rather than simply built in alternative possibilities? It is simply the ToE that DICTATES that this is what is going on, that new genes are being created. There is, again, sorry to repeat myself, NO EVIDENCE for this, it's all theoretical.
Mutations range from simple nucleotide substitutions all the way up to chromosome duplication.
OK.
Population genetics can be discussed without reference to mutations it seems to me,...
True, but we *were* talking about mutations, although now I'm not so sure that you were aware of that. You were expressing doubt about the possibility of beneficial mutations spreading through a population.
I wouldn't express doubt about that. Where are you getting that? Anything truly beneficial is likely to spread. I've been doubting that there even IS such a thing as a beneficial MUTATION, or at least anywhere near enough of them to counter the negative mutations.
...and was a few decades ago, mutation being treated as a much more occasional event than it appears to be now, when it is regarded just about as the entire fuel source of evolution.
Uh, no.
I don't know if they've established any relative occurrence rates between changes driven by new mutations versus allele frequency changes and recombinations, but they are both significant factors. That we were talking about mutations, i.e., copying mistakes rather than allele remixing during reproduction, does not diminish the importance of allele remixing.
Fine. Good. How do you tell the difference? So far I haven't seen one example of a beneficial HUMAN mutation, nothing that can't be explained by allele mixing. Crash has a link to one he claims is but I haven't got to that yet. Maybe it is an example. In which we would now have ONE, just ONE, solid example of a beneficial mutation in human beings, as against a LONG list of genetic diseases all presumably brought about by mutations.
In the "olden days" it seems to me it was taken for granted that the basic genetic stuff, the genome, was just "there" and there was no problem talking about how it was reorganized in various ways through the concepts of population genetics even then, change in the frequency of alleles in a population and all that being the formula for evolution in any case. Now it seems to be taken for granted that it all GOT there by mutation, though this is purely theoretical (I'll get to the few supposed exceptions).
Faith, I just despair sometimes of you ever learning what evolution really says. Particularly difficult is that you sometimes think you know things that you don't. Your history of evolutionary theory is wrong. If you want to criticize how evolutionary theory has changed over time then at least learn about it first so you can criticize it for things that have actually happened. I'm not going to bother correcting the above, I've spent too much time on this message already and I'm still on your first paragraph, only 20 more to go.
Percy, just don't talk to me. That will solve all your problems. If you can't explain something to me in terms that really deal with my views, give up. Just stop criticizing me for what I'm saying if you can't give a clear answer to it.
Is it true or not that the observed errors in gene replication that are called mutations are associated either with a disease process or not associated with anything in particular, rather than with anything beneficial, except for these extremely few exceptions?
This is false.
OBSERVED errors. OBSERVED. Stuff you can point to in the DNA. Haven't seen this yet. All anybody has offered is a bunch of ASSUMED beneficial mutations, like Parasomnium's list, and your hypotheticals. And two known mutations that can hardly be called beneficial, the sickle cell and the missing wisdom teeth.
You gave a completely hypothetical example of an increase in muscle strength due to an identifiable alteration in a gene -- I think that was it -- but this was totally hypothetical, not observed. I'd have to regard it as a beneficial mutation if such a thing ever occurred, but nothing that beneficial, at least in human genetics, has been demonstrated to occur at the genetic level.
You complained about this already, and I already explained I wasn't trying to produce an actual example. I was trying to provide an illustration of the principle by using something easily understood, like muscle. If you don't like the explanation of the reason for the illustration then please pick on that next time, but please stop making me repeat the explanation.
I understand the PRINCIPLE. There are no ACTUAL EXAMPLES of the principle actually happening.
All the beneficial factors appear to be pre-existing, built into the genome. At least, again, this is the creationist assumption and it is a perfectly reasonable assumption, there being nothing to show it wrong.
The most significant indication that it is wrong is the way in which reproductive errors propagate through genomes of populations, population genetics again. It happens now, and analysis of the genes of organisms related at various levels indicates that it was happening in the past. Yes, certainly, God could have just created them the way there were 6000 years ago and then let the process run on from there, but in that case he placed misleading evidence in genomes indicating that the same process was going on for a lot longer than 6000 years.
I have no idea what you are saying, what you think I'm saying, what you think you are answering or anything. Obviously the miscommunication is so extreme that there is no point in continuing this.
This includes the greater visual acuity of the Patagonians you mentioned, for instance, which my version of creationism would explain as simply one genetic expression in the total human gene pool that got sorted out by migration of the people to Patagonia and spread through the population in subsequent generations. There is nothing to show that at any point a mutation for great visual acuity developed in a Patagonian that was selected because it was particularly beneficial in the Patagonian environment. That is all theory.
You've misremembered what this was an example of. The Patagonian example was in support of your contention that the human genome is accumulating more and more genetic defects. I agreed with you.
I don't think I grasped this at the time if you were actually agreeing with me. I'd be interested in checking that out except that by now I have lost interest in this whole frustrating exchange.
I'm tired of repeating myself, if you don't believe me and want the full context then you do the link-clicking and scrolling and searching.
I'm tired of repeating myself too, probably a lot tireder than you are. I have lost interest in this discussion. Obviously it is going nowhere.
The wisdom tooth example cannot possibly be taken seriously as a beneficial mutation, or even a neutral mutation since it has a definite effect in eliminating wisdom teeth. It gets all philosophically confused to try to figure out how the absence of such teeth MIGHT conceivably confer a benefit. It seems to me that if it involves the destruction of a gene, that ought to be the defining factor, and I can't see such destruction as a positive in any sense whatever.
I'll bet even you have no idea what you were trying to say in this paragraph. If you don't believe the wisdom tooth example was actually a beneficial mutation, then please address the specifics of my explanation about why it was beneficial. Again, you can do the link-clicking and scrolling and searching yourself. Normally I don't mind repeating explanations, but I'm beginning to believe you're ignoring arguments as a tactic to exhaust the people discussing with you.
No, I am repeating myself because you are acting like you don't get it. I'm tired of having to repeat myself too, VERY Tired. Your answers don't answer anything. "The specifics of your explanation" were hypothetical. Many explanations for why it MIGHT BE beneficial, all wildly hypothetical, have been given. I am SPECIFICALLY rejecting wild hypotheticals. So I'm saying simply that the LOSS of something just doesn't suggest anything beneficial at all, even if because of other losses and defects in a very roundabout way it ends up at least not a bad thing.
The same with sickle cell. How anybody can possibly consider it a beneficial development that a mutation that kills people happens also to protect against a disease that kills people is beyond me.
Please be more specific. This is just an argument from incredulity. What part of the explanation for sickle cell anemia do you have a problem with?
The part that tries to claim that something that causes pain and suffering and often kills people is a benefit.
No, I am not incredulous about anything here. I understand the principle. I can't regard it as a benefit. To call it a benefit requires something like a black sense of humor, low expectations -- but I think that's what the ToE does to one.
And those two are the only human examples of a supposed beneficial mutation so far offered, as opposed to a very long list of known disease-causing mutations as well as the "neutral" kind that remove perfectly normal functions. Bacterial resistance to antibiotics shouldn't even be considered in this context, and that leaves TWO supposed beneficial mutations that aren't beneficial by any meaningful use of the term.
This is the identical argument that you made before and that I answered before. Please tell me what problems you had with my answers. Please stop repeating your original arguments as if they had never been addressed.
Yes, I'm driven to repeat myself. I've answered everything you said. I have exactly the same experience of feeling you are ignoring my explanations. Obviously we are at an impasse and I don't want to continue at this point.
At the very least, I think this has to be regarded as a perfectly reasonable alternative explanation for such phenomena than that given by the ToE.
You mean as science? Or as faith? If as science then you couldn't be more wrong. There is no scientific evidence for the creationist viewpoint that God did it.
As science. God did what? I'm talking about built-in genetic material. We don't have to discuss origins at this point. I am proposing this as an alternative explanation. yes without evidence, as an exact parallel with the evo explanation that also has no evidence. It is just as reasonable an explanation for the known phenomena.
Yes, but the point is that it hasn't been shown that there is any other kind of mutation than those that are harmful to one degree or another, including the ones that cause no appreciable disease process or functional loss as discussed above.
At best we're in the middle of still discussing beneficial mutations. This is just another "There's no evidence" claim that you periodically issue after evidence has been presented. Evidence has been presented, but you can't seem to get beyond repeating your original objections. Please address the arguments that have been made to you.
I've answered the arguments quite thoroughly over and over again. It isn't evidence. The supposed benefits aren't benefits, and the rest of the evidence isn't evidence, it's all hypotheticals that have no evidence for them but merely follow from the ToE. That's an answer, Percy, that's an answer. I am tired of repeating it.
END OF DISCUSSION, OK? No point in dragging this mess on.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 234 by Percy, posted 08-20-2006 8:33 PM Percy has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 249 by nator, posted 08-21-2006 1:24 PM Faith has not replied
 Message 252 by Percy, posted 08-21-2006 2:26 PM Faith has not replied
 Message 254 by Modulous, posted 08-21-2006 3:02 PM Faith has replied

jar
Member
Posts: 34059
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 4.9


Message 245 of 299 (341946)
08-21-2006 1:06 PM
Reply to: Message 240 by Faith
08-21-2006 12:08 PM


Re: Working against evolution? I'm afraid not.
Of course, since I don't believe in the ToE, I assume on the contrary that all the basic substance and the useful adaptations of life were built into the genetic material at the creation of the living thing.
And the supporting evidence for that is found where?

Aslan is not a Tame Lion

This message is a reply to:
 Message 240 by Faith, posted 08-21-2006 12:08 PM Faith has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 248 by Faith, posted 08-21-2006 1:19 PM jar has replied

Faith 
Suspended Member (Idle past 1528 days)
Posts: 35298
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001


Message 246 of 299 (341951)
08-21-2006 1:16 PM
Reply to: Message 237 by Parasomnium
08-21-2006 5:15 AM


Re: Working against evolution? I'm afraid not.
If mutations are random, then it is to be expected that there are about as many beneficial mutations as there are harmful ones. To keep things simple you can say that natural selection makes sure that the beneficial ones are kept and the harmful ones are weeded out.
Wounded answered you that this is not known, and you responded:
WK writes:
You would have to know that beneficial or detrimental mutations were equiprobable and I really can't see any way, other than perhaps pure guesswork, for you to have made this calculation and come to this conclusion.
You're right, I stand corrected. I did not make any such calculation, and it was indeed guesswork. I have no idea what the distribution really is. But that does not detract from the logical conclusion that the diversity in nature is the result of the selection of an enormous row of beneficial mutations*.
Yes, BASED ON THE TOE. If everything that exists is the result of mutations over the billennia, then of course since a great diversity of elaborately constituted things are living and functioning rather admirably in many ways, there must have been an enormous row of beneficial mutations. MUST HAVE BEEN. If the ToE is true.
Faith's complaint is that there are so many harmful mutations and that no one ever provides examples of beneficial ones. All I wanted to point out is that the list of beneficial mutations is right there, for everyone to see, in the "log of nature", so to speak.
Percy had already pointed this out, by giving a hypothetical example of how a beneficial mutation might arise and be spread in a population. Same idea as yours, based on the assumption that what is seen to exist had to have come about by mutation. All hypothetical, following from the ToE.
Your footnote is interesting to think about.
*) While proofreading the above before posting, I realize I should add that the "log of nature" is as much the result of the weeding out of truly harmful mutations in favour of perhaps not really beneficial mutations, but rather mediocre, just-good-enough mutations. In that respect Faith may be right, and there may not be so many beneficial mutations. But good enough is what it is: good enough.
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. 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.
But the bottom line on this particular subject, again, to repeat myself AGAIN, is whether or not a beneficial mutation can actually be identified in reality, seen in the DNA, as opposed to being assumed to happen, at whatever rate. Again, Crash has given a link to a candidate for this, which I hope to get to soon.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 237 by Parasomnium, posted 08-21-2006 5:15 AM Parasomnium has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 256 by Archer Opteryx, posted 08-21-2006 4:41 PM Faith has not replied
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Equinox
Member (Idle past 5226 days)
Posts: 329
From: Michigan
Joined: 08-18-2006


Message 247 of 299 (341952)
08-21-2006 1:16 PM


Hi Everyone! Hi Faith!
I’m back, though of course with limited time as always.
Some of the material in my last post was ignored (around post 150 on page 10 ), I think because it happened to land on the bottom of a page, and was quickly buried behind tons of unpleasant posts on the previous thread. It contained two important concepts, in addition to answering some of your questions. One concept is that “beneficial” is a fuzzy and meaningless term. Here is the part on that:
quote:
The labels “good” vs. “bad” mutations, as I mentioned, are misleading. The vast majority of mutations (over 90%) are neutral - they don’t do anything at all. For instance, say your instruction book contained pages of random gibberish - randomly changing a word of that doesn’t change the instructions. OK, now, let’s think about the mutations that do change something. Most changes could be either “good” or “bad”, depending on the environment. Take a second to step back and look in a mirror. Consider changing any aspect of your body. Darker skin? Is that “harmful”? Well, it is if you are a female living in northern areas, and you need to get enough sunlight to provide vitamin D when pregnant. Or instead do you live in Africa, where it is a good mutation, since you need protection from too much sunlight, which can cause skin cancer? Larger nostrils? Do you live in a windy desert, where larger nostrils will allow more sand into your lungs? Or instead do you live in a forest, where being able to pull in more air when running from a predator will help you? We could look at examples like this all day - the point is that mutations aren’t usually inherently “good” or “bad” - that depends on the environment, which will either cause them to help the bearer have more kids, (hence, “selected for”) or not (“selected against”).
In fact, “harmful” mutations are very often selected for by humans. Look at the pathetic bulldog. We have selected the mutations that slowly made his snout all smashed in, resulting in hampered breathing. Have you ever been near a sleeping pug? It sounds worse than Darth Vader! Whether a mutation is “good” (selected for) is a function of the environment as much as it is a function of the mutation.
Another important concept from then was exactly how mutations increase the genetic information, by literally making whole new genes. Here is that part:
quote:
You mentioned wondering about the details of mutations. Here are some basic types of mutations and how they work:
Duplication of a stretch of DNA. This is like accidentally copying part of a book twice. Example - when making a copy of a book that has chapters 1, 2, 3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11, 12, you end up with a book that has chapters 1, 2, 3,4,5,6,7,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11, 12
Deletion of a base pair. AATCTGTC becomes ATCTGTC
Addition of base pair AATCTGTC becomes ACATCTGTC
Transposition (like a mirror) AATCTGTC becomes CTGTCTAA
All of these can have no effect, an effect which is selected for, or an affect which is selected against.
To add information, first, take a functional gene, and make an extra copy using the duplication mutation. That won’t hurt the organism, since the second copy is simply redundant. Then use any of the other mutation methods so as to make the second copy do something new. The organism still has the original copy doing whatever it is supposed to do, but now has the added ability of whatever the new gene does (such as digesting nylon, as in a species of bacteria).
The process can also add entire chromosomes .
OK, now lets list some mutations that could be what you are looking for:
* Tails in human babies. Since creationists generally deny that humans evolved from lower primates, these tails would be “new”. As such, that mutation has certainly added something new. There have been a number of babies born with fully functional tails, including the ability to use the tail to signal emotional state (think of how a pooch does this already).
*Other atavisms, such as mutations which make hind legs in whales. Since creationists generally don’t believe whales evolved from land-lubbers, being able to clamber onto land is a new and beneficial feature.
*The “beautiful buttocks” mutation in sheep. I’ll look up the information on this one. I think this happened in the 80’s - a mutation in a sheep caused more muscular legs & buttocks. If this had been a wild sheep living near a mountain, a better ability to climb the mountain is clearly a benefit. As it was, this was a domestic sheep, and the farmer was overjoyed to be able to get more meat from this sheep, and the mutation was recognized a great thing. The farmer bred the sheep so as to preserve and sell this mutation. I wanted to do web searches on this, but I’m on my lunch break at work, and doing searches on (“beautiful buttocks” & sheep) would undoubtedly trigger some porn alarm!!
*Antibiotic resistance - I don’t understand how this isn’t a beneficial mutation that adds information.
*Sickle-cell: I understand not liking this one since it has a downside as well, but it still stands
*The wisdom teeth one mentioned earlier
*The ability to digest nylon in one strain of bacteria. This is also clearly a very beneficial mutation, and more, it has been studied to show which gene mutated and how it did so. I don’t understand how this isn’t a beneficial mutation that adds information.
*The ability of the monkyflower to metabolize copper compounds
OK, so that’s around a half dozen, even if one doesn’t like one or two of them.
Let’s look at the numbers again. The vast majority of mutations are expected to be neutral. This is because the vast majority of our DNA does nothing. It is like have a million volume encyclopedia, where only a few thousand volumes have real information, while the rest have gibberish or repeated sections, like if a volume had this:
quote:
and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and
For hundred of pages. We also have a lot of copies of working genes, but the copies are non-functional due to mutations. These are called “pseudo genes”, and there is a great article on them in this month’s Scientific American. So mutations in any of that non functioning DNA doesn’t help or harm anyone- and, as Crash nicely pointed out, some mutations will change the DNA of a functioning gene but not the protein it makes due to the redundancy of the genetic code.
We’ve discussed how there are lots of harmful mutations. Yep - we should expect that, since a change to a working gene that we need is likely to be a change that isn’t as good. And as I mentioned before, the number of mutations selected against (the harmful mutations) is completely irrelevant, since those mutations all disappeared with their unfortunate owners.
If half of the mutations that have an effect are selected for, then the ration you want is 1:1, and you end up with only the "selected for" mutations. If there is only 1 helpful, "selected for" mutation in 5, then you ratio is 1:5, and you still have exactly the same number of mutations at the end of the day, since the ones that weren’t selected for are gone anyway. That's why the number of non-selected for mutations is irrelevant. See why the number of harmful mutations is unimportant?
Accumulating millions of good mutations is quite easy, since the bad ones are selected against and removed anyway, and we’ve had literally billions of years to accumulate the good ones that remain. Since we’ve seen at least the half dozen good ones mentioned above in just the past few decades, then just doing the math adds up to quite a few in a billion years - and that’s ignoring the fact that the half dozen I’ve listed is undoubtedly a tiny fraction of the ones that have occurred, since we don’t watch all births of all animals for any change - how could we?
Take care everyone-
Equinox
Edited by Equinox, : Added crash sentence (forgot it the first time).

Replies to this message:
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Faith 
Suspended Member (Idle past 1528 days)
Posts: 35298
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001


Message 248 of 299 (341953)
08-21-2006 1:19 PM
Reply to: Message 245 by jar
08-21-2006 1:06 PM


Re: Working against evolution? I'm afraid not.
In the Bible. An assumption is an a priori for which no evidence is required, and I offered mine as my counter to the assumption given by the evos, which also has no evidence for it, merely hypothetical guesses.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 245 by jar, posted 08-21-2006 1:06 PM jar has replied

Replies to this message:
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nator
Member (Idle past 2254 days)
Posts: 12961
From: Ann Arbor
Joined: 12-09-2001


Message 249 of 299 (341956)
08-21-2006 1:24 PM
Reply to: Message 244 by Faith
08-21-2006 12:53 PM


Re: No point in continuing the agony
quote:
OBSERVED errors. OBSERVED. Stuff you can point to in the DNA. Haven't seen this yet.
Gene CCR5.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 244 by Faith, posted 08-21-2006 12:53 PM Faith has not replied

nator
Member (Idle past 2254 days)
Posts: 12961
From: Ann Arbor
Joined: 12-09-2001


Message 250 of 299 (341958)
08-21-2006 1:27 PM
Reply to: Message 248 by Faith
08-21-2006 1:19 PM


Re: Working against evolution? I'm afraid not.
quote:
In the Bible. An assumption is an a priori for which no evidence is required, and I offered mine as my counter to the assumption given by the evos, which also has no evidence for it, merely hypothetical guesses.
..and this is exactly why you moved this thread into a forum that doesn't require you to back up your scientific assertions with scientific evidence.
Isn't it?

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jar
Member
Posts: 34059
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 4.9


Message 251 of 299 (341960)
08-21-2006 1:32 PM
Reply to: Message 248 by Faith
08-21-2006 1:19 PM


Re: Working against evolution? I'm afraid not.
Faith writes:
Of course, since I don't believe in the ToE, I assume on the contrary that all the basic substance and the useful adaptations of life were built into the genetic material at the creation of the living thing.
And I asked where the evidence for that was found.
Faith responded:
In the Bible. An assumption is an a priori for which no evidence is required, and I offered mine as my counter to the assumption given by the evos, which also has no evidence for it, merely hypothetical guesses.
Which brings up several questions.
Where in the Bible does it speak of Genetic material?
Where have those supporting Evolution and the TOE given an a priori assumption?

Aslan is not a Tame Lion

This message is a reply to:
 Message 248 by Faith, posted 08-21-2006 1:19 PM Faith has not replied

Percy
Member
Posts: 22614
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 4.5


Message 252 of 299 (341983)
08-21-2006 2:26 PM
Reply to: Message 244 by Faith
08-21-2006 12:53 PM


Re: No point in continuing the agony
Faith writes:
There is, again, sorry to repeat myself, NO EVIDENCE for this, it's all theoretical.
I give up.
--Percy

This message is a reply to:
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Archer Opteryx
Member (Idle past 3682 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.

Archer

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Modulous
Member
Posts: 7801
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 254 of 299 (342005)
08-21-2006 3:02 PM
Reply to: Message 244 by Faith
08-21-2006 12:53 PM


beneficial
OBSERVED errors. OBSERVED. Stuff you can point to in the DNA. Haven't seen this yet. All anybody has offered is a bunch of ASSUMED beneficial mutations, like Parasomnium's list, and your hypotheticals. And two known mutations that can hardly be called beneficial, the sickle cell and the missing wisdom teeth.
Beneficial mutations, some examples:
quote:
a third frequent mutation in this gene, the Ser447-Stop, is reported by some investigators to underlie higher HDL cholesterol levels and would represent a beneficial genetic variant in lipoprotein metabolism
...
Additionally, correctly spliced mRNA lacking the Arg661 --> Stop mutation of the maternal allele could be detected. These results demonstrate that a mutation in splice donor site of intron C can result in several variant mRNA transcripts and even permit partial correct splicing of FXIII mRNA. Further, even the minute amount of correctly processed mRNA is sufficient for producing protein capable of gamma-gamma dimerization of fibrin. This is a rare example of an inherited functional human disorder in which a mutation affecting splicing still permits some correct splicing to occur and this has a beneficial effect to the phenotype of the patients.
Here's the rub - the standards that are used to determine a mutation that is harmful are the same as the standards to determine if it is beneficial. I have a feeling you will deny any beneficial mutation provided to you because you would state that we need to prove that it was not something already in the population to begin with.
If that is the case, it sounds like you are developing an unfalsifiable hypothesis, which of course is not science. It is fine as a position to take but it is not a fine position when it comes to criticizing the science itself. The same can be said of the negative mutations. Can you prove that they weren't in the original design spec for humans and that we have weeded them out and become stronger/more fit?
These mutations are only slightly beneficial, but single beneficial mutations are inevitably going to be this way because of the concept of the genespace. Taking small steps through genespace is more likely to hit on a non-lethal mutation. Non-lethal mutations are 100% more likely to be beneficial than lethal mutations - as such big changes are more likely to be lethal and obvious and beneficial changes are more likely to be comparitvely small.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 244 by Faith, posted 08-21-2006 12:53 PM Faith has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 255 by Faith, posted 08-21-2006 4:38 PM Modulous has replied

Faith 
Suspended Member (Idle past 1528 days)
Posts: 35298
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001


Message 255 of 299 (342061)
08-21-2006 4:38 PM
Reply to: Message 254 by Modulous
08-21-2006 3:02 PM


Re: beneficial
Here's the rub - the standards that are used to determine a mutation that is harmful are the same as the standards to determine if it is beneficial. I have a feeling you will deny any beneficial mutation provided to you because you would state that we need to prove that it was not something already in the population to begin with.
Well, it's not quite that black and white. I'm aware of the long list of genetic diseases, and the oddness of being given only two strange contenders for beneficial mutations on the other side, this wisdom tooth thing and this sickle cell thing, both of which I have trouble categorizing as anything but negative no matter what secondary benefits they may also confer. So it's not as if I'm operating only from my presupposition. Then there's also the discussion of beneficial mutations in purly hypothetical terms, plus the fact that even on the genetic level the word "mutation" is used to describe the occasional appearance of anything whatever. Such as in Crash's example of the muscular baby. They ASSUME the mutation part of the story. Otherwise it reads as the usual Mendelian situation, about how the genes pair up to produce the condition or not produce it. The actual fact of a mutation I guess just can't be shown at this point, it CAN only be assumed.
All this is coming back down to the question of what a mutation really is, and I don't have the knowledge to follow far on this topic. When one talks of a "frequent" mutation as in your quote,
a third frequent mutation in this gene, the Ser447-Stop,
it raises this same question in my mind whether it was already in the population to begin with. This all has to do with genetic mechanisms like replication of genes about which I have only the most rudimentary understanding. In other words, in a certain sense mutation is ALWAYS happening to genes, with every sexual combination, but in this case mutation is the normal way genes are shuffled, rather than the introduction of something novel. They make proteins, different combinations of the four bases make different proteins. There are quite a lot of different combinations possible. When something novel actually happens, it appears to be a malfunction rather than genetic business as usual. That is the impression I get from almost all the discussion that goes on about this but I can't follow too far into the genetic specifics.
Evolutionists must ALWAYS start from the assumption that the basic stuff of life was brought into being by complex genetic processes happening frequently all along the way, so that mutations are just assumed to be the original cause of any trait whatever -- and Mendelian genetics simply operates to shuffle these traits once mutation has brought them into being, or something roughly like that. Percy said I'm wrong about this, but what else can you all be thinking?
On the other hand, I ALWAYS start with the creationist view that the basic stuff of life is just There, a given, and that changes are either built-in genetic variations along Mendelian lines, such as shufflings of dominant-recessive genes and no doubt many others I don't know much about, OR they are these mistakes called mutations, which alter some "normal" pattern of protein-making functions of genes, and it's hard for me to think of these as anything but a bad thing. Some of them seem to be simply normal potentials that are already in the population left over from the original gene pool, rather than mutations, but I don't know what criterion could be applied to tell the difference.
But once the conversation has gotten to the level of asking what a mutation really is, I think it has to end because I can't follow if it gets too technical and the fact that we operate from completely different basic assumptions just adds to the difficulty.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 254 by Modulous, posted 08-21-2006 3:02 PM Modulous has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 257 by Wounded King, posted 08-21-2006 4:52 PM Faith has not replied
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 Message 259 by Equinox, posted 08-21-2006 5:25 PM Faith has not replied
 Message 264 by Percy, posted 08-21-2006 8:26 PM Faith has replied
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