Register | Sign In


Understanding through Discussion


EvC Forum active members: 50 (9179 total)
2 online now:
Newest Member: Jorge Parker
Post Volume: Total: 918,208 Year: 5,465/9,624 Month: 490/323 Week: 130/204 Day: 4/26 Hour: 0/0


Thread  Details

Email This Thread
Newer Topic | Older Topic
  
Author Topic:   Is there really such a thing as a beneficial mutation?
Parasomnium
Member
Posts: 2225
Joined: 07-15-2003


Message 6 of 223 (342902)
08-24-2006 3:54 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Faith
08-23-2006 9:07 PM


A mistake is only a mistake in context.
Great opening post, Faith!
You end with:
I hope it is possible to make a thread out of this stuff.
and ReverendDG replies with:
maybe, not sure
He's wrong of course. This thing has all the marks of a great thread, one way or another. Here's my little contribution:
Faith is trundling along behind a yellow lorry, driving home after a long day's debate about mutations. While thinking about all that has been said, she inadvertently takes a wrong turn. A bit further along, she realizes her mistake and turns the car, muttering at herself for being so absent-minded. A short while later, when she's on the right track again, traffic slows because of an accident ahead. Slowly moving past the site of the accident, she sees that the yellow lorry, the one she had been driving behind originally, has had to brake very hard for some reason. The car directly behind the lorry hasn't been able to brake soon enough and has run into it.
With a shock Faith realizes that if she hadn't made her mistake, she might have been the one to run into that yellow lorry, instead of the other car. Where she first rebuked herself, she now thanks her luck - or more probably God - for the mistake she made. After all, it possibly saved her life.
Then she realizes another thing, namely that the mistake that saved her life is a metaphor for a beneficial mutation. At the moment she made her mistake, it was just that: a mistake. The context in which the mistake became a good thing did not exist yet. It's the same with mutations in DNA: at the moment they happen, they're just mistakes in the copying process. Whether they turn out to be beneficial mutations or not, depends for a large part on the context in which they manifest themselves. In one set of circumstances, a mutation may have consequences that are very different from the consequences of the same mutation in another set of circumstances. For example, your fur colour mutating from grey to white may be a good thing if your environment is a snowy landscape, but somewhere else you may stand out too much to be able to hide from predators.
Another important thing to realize is that whether you call a mutation a mistake or not, depends also on the level at which you are looking at it. At the level of the copying process, a mutation is definitely a mistake. But at the level of the molecular physico-chemistry, it's just the laws of nature that are being followed.
I know, it's wishful thinking: "Faith thinks this, Faith realizes that, ..."
Anyway, I hope it helps.

"Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science." - Charles Darwin.
Did you know that most of the time your computer is doing nothing? What if you could make it do something really useful? Like helping scientists understand diseases? Your computer could even be instrumental in finding a cure for HIV/AIDS. Wouldn't that be something? If you agree, then join World Community Grid now and download a simple, free tool that lets you and your computer do your share in helping humanity. After all, you are part of it, so why not take part in it?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Faith, posted 08-23-2006 9:07 PM Faith has not replied

  
Parasomnium
Member
Posts: 2225
Joined: 07-15-2003


Message 45 of 223 (343064)
08-24-2006 5:26 PM
Reply to: Message 38 by mjfloresta
08-24-2006 4:51 PM


Re: Beneficial mutation
mjfloresta, addressing Wounded King, writes:
It fascinates me how whenever someone doesn't want to respond to a post they can't answer they simply ignore it or try to devalue you it with snobbery..
So how 'bout you indulge me in explaining the actual processes of mutation. Then we'll eliminate as many false conceptions as we have to to establish common understanding.
You have absolutely no idea who you are talking to, do you? Wounded King is a scientist, a biologist. He knows his stuff. He also knows how to do scientific research. He has probably forgotten more about evolution than you'll ever know.
It probably fascinates him how an obvious layman such as yourself can be so ignorant as to presume to lecture a post-doc biologist about... biology. You are an amazing specimen, MJ.

"Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science." - Charles Darwin.
Did you know that most of the time your computer is doing nothing? What if you could make it do something really useful? Like helping scientists understand diseases? Your computer could even be instrumental in finding a cure for HIV/AIDS. Wouldn't that be something? If you agree, then join World Community Grid now and download a simple, free tool that lets you and your computer do your share in helping humanity. After all, you are part of it, so why not take part in it?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 38 by mjfloresta, posted 08-24-2006 4:51 PM mjfloresta has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 50 by mjfloresta, posted 08-24-2006 5:41 PM Parasomnium has replied

  
Parasomnium
Member
Posts: 2225
Joined: 07-15-2003


Message 53 of 223 (343076)
08-24-2006 5:46 PM
Reply to: Message 50 by mjfloresta
08-24-2006 5:41 PM


Re: Beneficial mutation
mjfloresta writes:
What else do I have to say?
You might want to explain why your posts don't show your knowledge of evolution. You may have been in Futuyama's class, but were you paying attention?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 50 by mjfloresta, posted 08-24-2006 5:41 PM mjfloresta has not replied

  
Newer Topic | Older Topic
Jump to:


Copyright 2001-2023 by EvC Forum, All Rights Reserved

™ Version 4.2
Innovative software from Qwixotic © 2024