Darwinism. Theory of evolution. Am I missing something?

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Darwinism. Theory of evolution. Am I missing something?

Postby Whut on December 9th, 2010, 6:52 pm 

Hey, I have a very basic understanding of this, i know how better adapt species have a better chance to pass thier genes, and mutations can cause better adaptions. Fairly simple.

But something doesnt add up for me.

For instance:

Why are many humans born with perfect pitch for singing? How does that help survival?

Why have we got this ability to question ourselves and our surrounding? To choose good or bad? How does that help survival?

How do some humans have extraordinary abilitys like savants, that almost have calculaters in thier head that do the working out for them? Why can someone be able memorize Pi to like 20k + decimal points? How does that ability help survival?

Also, ive heard of a "missing link"? But any info i find about it is dodgey tinfoil hat stuff. What is the true scientific meaning of this "missing link" if one even exsists?

If someone with a good understanding of this thoery shed some light on these issues it would be greatly apreaciated.

Thanks.
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Re: Darwinism. Thoery of evolution. Am i missing something?

Postby Paralith on December 9th, 2010, 7:12 pm 

Hello Whut,

The short answer is that organisms on this planet have found very complicated ways of passing on their genes. With so many different species of organisms in the world, the competition is tough. If you want to make it, you've got to find some new combination of traits that gives you a leg up over all those other guys out there. And of course, they're also competing with you, and trying to accomplish the same thing.

You can think of it like a sport, where all the different teams are constantly trying to come up with new and inventive ways to get ahead of their rivals. Or even like computer companies, always trying to come up with faster, better, more powerful technologies. The results are some pretty complex products and strategies to try and take advantage of your environment and your competitors. Complex enough that understanding exactly how they fit into the big picture can sometimes be a challenge.

Now, there is a second issue in your post that's a common struggle for lots of people - even practicing biologists! The issue is figuring out what traits are adaptations, and what traits are "side effects" of adaptations.

Here's an example. Male mammals, including humans, have nipples. But they don't need them, they don't use them - how did they evolve? Are nipples an adaptation for males? The answer is no, probably not. However, female mammals definitely need nipples in order to feed their offspring. When embryos are growing in the womb, for a little while both male and female embryos are growing the same way. At one point there is a switch, telling males to go down the male path instead. But remember, males and females shared a common growth pattern for a while. So the fact that males have nipples is sort of a "side effect" of the fact that female mammals require nipples in order to successfully reproduce.

So, you have to ask yourself - did humans evolve perfect pitch for singing, or did we evolve verbal speech, and once we had all the "equipment" required for speech, it turns out that equipment also works well for singing? Did humans evolve to sometimes give birth to savants, or did humans evolve complex brains to help understand their environment and how best to survive, and sometimes disorders of those brains can have pretty amazing results?

Though I think that questioning our surroundings, and questioning the behavior of other people (are they good or evil? Will they help me or hurt me?), is very helpful to survival and reproduction. The better we understand the environment and each other, the better we can take advantage of those things for passing on our genes. You might then ask, why did humans go the path of having SUCH complex brains, while other animals clearly do ok with less? Remember, all life is competing, and there are lots of different ways that you can get ahead. Big brains are just one of those possible ways, and it's the path our ancestors happened to land on.
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Re: Darwinism. Theory of evolution. Am I missing something?

Postby Whut on December 9th, 2010, 7:26 pm 

Thanks for the reply Paralith, it has been really helpful clearing up them issues.

They could indeed be bi-products of evolution i had not really thought of it like that before.

As for the "missing link". Does it exsist? If so, what does it mean scientificly?

Thanks.
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Re: Darwinism. Theory of evolution. Am I missing something?

Postby Paralith on December 9th, 2010, 7:45 pm 

Hi again Whut,

I'm glad I could help. :)

A "missing link" doesn't have an exact scientific meaning. I'm sure you're aware that people who refuse to accept evolution often claim that there are still missing links, and that this is reason enough to doubt that humans evolved from primate ancestors. They are saying, we have animal A (such as humans) and animal B (such as Australopithecus afarensis, aka Lucy) - but where is animal C, in between them? Where is the missing link? The problem is that we definitely have a animal C that goes in the middle (such as Homo erectus) - but then you can turn around and ask, well! Where is animal D that's between A and C? And what about E in between C and B? And you could go on and on into absurdity, where you won't be satisfied until we have a fossil animal from every single generation that existed in between A and B, and that's simply not going to happen.

Considering how hard it is to find fossil animals, the human ancestor record is actually pretty impressive. Take a look here at this outline of important hominid fossils:

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/homs/specimen.html

And tell me if you still think we're missing some links. =)
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Re: Darwinism. Theory of evolution. Am I missing something?

Postby Ken Ramos on December 20th, 2010, 10:24 pm 

Some very thought provoking information here. For what it may be worth, I presently am reading “The Blind Watchmaker,” of which I feel is good source material in beginning to understand natural selection and in answering some of the questions that one may have on evolution.
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Re: Darwinism. Theory of evolution. Am I missing something?

Postby hobby on December 21st, 2010, 3:09 am 

This is a repeat of an earlier post but I was not satisfied with the answer.

Darwin's observation was that life adapts to it's environment.
His theory to explain it was natural selection.
It's a good theory to explain adaptation but I think it fails to explain "Origin" of the species.

Two organisms are of the same species if they are able to mate and have grandchildren that are not sterile.
A horse and donkey are not of the same species because a mule is sterile.

We are said to have evolved from the apes, but we are unable to mate with them. How did the apes chromosomes fuse to produce the one less in humans, slowly over time? If it happened suddenly, who would that new species mate with? Has science ever witnessed and new species coming from and old one?
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Re: Darwinism. Theory of evolution. Am I missing something?

Postby CanadysPeak on December 21st, 2010, 8:35 am 

hobby wrote:This is a repeat of an earlier post but I was not satisfied with the answer.

Darwin's observation was that life adapts to it's environment.
His theory to explain it was natural selection.
It's a good theory to explain adaptation but I think it fails to explain "Origin" of the species.

Two organisms are of the same species if they are able to mate and have grandchildren that are not sterile.
A horse and donkey are not of the same species because a mule is sterile.

We are said to have evolved from the apes, but we are unable to mate with them. How did the apes chromosomes fuse to produce the one less in humans, slowly over time? If it happened suddenly, who would that new species mate with? Has science ever witnessed and new species coming from and old one?


I don't have any argument with the observation that horses and donkeys are different species, but mules are NOT 100% sterile. It is rare for a mule to foal, but not impossible. I don't believe anyone has yet sorted out the chromosones.
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Re: Darwinism. Theory of evolution. Am I missing something?

Postby Paralith on December 21st, 2010, 11:19 am 

First of all, comments on the interbreeding of different species are sort of irrelevant to the issue of new species arising. If two groups of animals are considered different species, this does not necessarily mean that they are or are not physiologically capable of interbreeding. An inability to interbreed arises slowly through time as the two groups become more and more genetically different. Sometimes a genetic differences that prohibits successful interbreeding could arise quickly; sometimes it may not. What matters the most is that the two groups of animals do not interbreed, either because they are separated in space, or they avoid each other behaviorally, or some physiological barrier did indeed arise, etc. Because they do not interbreed, they begin to develop genetic differences that are unique to each of them, and start to evolve down separate paths.

And, as a process that takes a long time (at least, relative to human experience of time), we ourselves have yet to observe very radical changes in animals today. Yet, we can clearly observe all of the processes that are involved in speciation - mutation, changes in allele frequencies between populations, inbreeding separation between very closely related species who are physiologically capable of interbreeding when forced to in captivity, etc.

Despite these caveats, speciation has indeed been observed by humans in many cases. The following links from the Talk Origins archive both list examples and explain different species definitions.

Observed Instances of Speciation

Some More Observed Instances of Speciation

I will try and verify this with one of my genetics professors, but I believe that the fusing of the two chromosomes in the human lineage actually isn't that big of an issue for interbreeding. Even though two of the chromosomes are fused in some individuals, they still contain all the same information as two separate chromosomes, and thus can still align correctly with two separate chromosomes in a cell that results from the interbreeding of an individual with the fused chromosome and an individual with the separate chromosomes. There may be some problems with some of the gametes from such an individual being unbalanced, but this would probably only mean that some percentage of conceived zygotes die early. As it is, 60% of all conceptions in modern humans naturally miscarry within the first few weeks of gestation. These numbers might not be quite so high in apes or human ancestors, but they were probably still substantial. Thus the difficulties caused by interbreeding in this situation might be negligible at worst.
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Re: Darwinism. Theory of evolution. Am I missing something?

Postby hobby on December 21st, 2010, 12:42 pm 

I included my folk definition of speciation to demonstrate my point. Most of the cited examples are of hybrids that normally are sterile but were able to reproduce (CanadysPeaks point that some mules can reproduce)
The first example he gave I quote:

From Observed Instances of Speciation
"5.1.1.1 Evening Primrose (Oenothera gigas)

While studying the genetics of the evening primrose, Oenothera lamarckiana, de Vries (1905) found an unusual variant among his plants. O. lamarckiana has a chromosome number of 2N = 14. The variant had a chromosome number of 2N = 28. He found that he was unable to breed this variant with O. lamarckiana. He named this new species O. gigas."

seems to qualify as a new species by my folk definition. My question is; do we have this plant today? He was unable to breed with the parent variety, was this new species able to reproduce?
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Re: Darwinism. Theory of evolution. Am I missing something?

Postby Paralith on December 21st, 2010, 1:18 pm 

From what I can tell, yes. It would certainly be able to reproduce with other 2N=28 individuals, so all you would have to do is continue breeding that variant. Even if it's one individual to begin with, most plants can self pollinate, especially with human assistance, so more seeds could easily be made.

You can find closely related plant species in nature that appear only to differ by chromosome ploidy, as in this example. In all other respects they appear almost identical, which strongly suggests a recent natural speciation event. It seems like that polyploidy is a relatively common mode of speciation for plants, largely because it causes instant breeding separation.
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Re: Darwinism. Theory of evolution. Am I missing something?

Postby hobby on December 22nd, 2010, 3:33 am 

Paralith
I have to admit that I did not understand the chromosomes notation in the quote. Yes plants can self pollinate, but I using this as an example of the supposed ape to human transition, which can not self pollinate.
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Re: Darwinism. Theory of evolution. Am I missing something?

Postby Paralith on December 22nd, 2010, 11:18 am 

The general idea is that not all chromosomal changes are necessarily a complete barrier to interbreeding. As I already mentioned, I'll try to get more information on the ape situation specifically, but I feel that this particular case is not that problematic.
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Re: Darwinism. Theory of evolution. Am I missing something?

Postby Forest_Dump on December 22nd, 2010, 2:43 pm 

I would agree that the question of how some specific genetic changes such as the difference in number of chromosomes worked out amongst individuals must make for an interesting puzzle among genetic biologists but like Paralith noted, it is not necessarily a major problem, just perhaps an unsolved one so far (assuming there isn't a definitive solution so far). However, the bottom line is that we are faced with two options. Option number 1 is that all of our fossil and other scientific evidence is misleading and that a large number of species, etc., appeared out of the blue presumably due to some supernatural or alien action. However, since this option has no independent evidence in support of it and runs contrary to both what we have learned about the evolutionary past from multiple independent sources and from our past history of being able to come up with solid solutions to scientific problems, I think option 2 is preferable. Simply, at some point individuals with genetic differences, including different numbers of chromosomes, were able to mate successfully and we just haven't fully pinpointed the mechanics yet. But people are undoubtedly working on that (I assume since all such problems tend to attract someone to work on them). Personally I see it as a potentially interesting question but not a major one. But then again, you never know where the solution, once found, might lead.
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Re: Darwinism. Theory of evolution. Am I missing something?

Postby hobby on December 24th, 2010, 9:47 pm 

(Long reply)
May I give my version of the scientific method? We observe phenomena and try to understand the dynamics that produce that phenomena. To test if a theory is correct we do an experiment to see if we can produce the phenomena we are trying to explain. Phenomena is experiential, the experiment is active or dynamic.

Does Newton's theory of gravitation explain Darwin's theory of natural selection or visa versa? Each dynamic is associated to it's own phenomena. What phenomena is generated by the natural selection dynamic? We have to look at what Darwin was observing. Wasn't he observing how living organisms adapt to their environment? Was he observing the generation of new species? It's only by observing the generation of new species that we can understand the dynamics of it and do experiments to test the theory. There is a problem of defining new species. So far the literature you produced suggests the is done by hybrids which do not fit the "folk" definition. Does hybridization explain how chromosomes could be fussed and still have the ability to mate with the parent population?

We Christians believe it is possible to generate new species, God did it somehow. We do not think it was done by random chance. If you throw copper, silicon and plastic into a cement mixer and roll it around for a few million years you will not produce a laptop computer. There is a way to do it, but it is a deliberate event. May be some day we will be able to do it ourselves. With this knowledge comes responsibility and moral questions. There will be decisions to be made and consequences for those decisions.
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Re: Darwinism. Theory of evolution. Am I missing something?

Postby Paralith on December 25th, 2010, 12:05 am 

Your understanding of the scientific method is good, but it is basic. It is in fact more expansive than that, and more generally applicable to things that are difficult to directly observe, test, or manipulate.

When observing a pattern in the natural world, we generate a hypothesis to attempt to explain that pattern. We test this hypothesis through the predictions it makes. Predictions are things that must also be true if the hypothesis is true. Let's take the example of how bats navigate so accurately in the darkness. The hypothesis is that they use sonar to navigate. A prediction of this hypothesis is that bats with their ears plugged up will not be able to navigate in the dark. Another prediction is that bats with their eyes covered will be able to navigate just fine. And experiments like these were actually done, back when we weren't so sure about the sonar.

Now, if our hypothesis is that all animals descended from a common ancestor, for many animals you can't really test that with an experiment. But, if the hypothesis is true, then it must also be true, for example, that we will never find the fossil of a modern-looking rabbit in pre-cambrian sediment deposits. And we never have. If the hypothesis is true, then animals should share some traits but differ in others. And that's what we've found. Especially, DNA as the heritable material is a trait that all organisms share. And so on. The hypothesis would be disproven if its necessary predictions, its necessary consequences, are found to be false. Now, some predictions we may never be able to test experimentally or by direct observation, but that doesn't mean there are none we have to work with. And when it comes to evolution and speciation, in their current formulation, all of their predictions that we have been able to observe or test have been true. As I mentioned earlier, all of the mechanisms that we hypothesize are integral to the processes of evolution and speciation, and are therefore necessary predictions of those hypotheses, are also directly observable.

Also, I have to add that you must not have read all of the literature I gave you very deeply. For which I can't entirely blame you, since it is long, but it is simply false that our only species definition is based on ability to hybridize. I already discussed how two different species, which could be clearly different species by a variety of definitions, may still be able to physiologically interbreed if forced to do so. Testing ability to hybridize is just a common method used, especially with plants, since instant prevention of inbreeding is an "easy" way to generate separate species.

A good scientist will always admit that new evidence could come to light that might disprove one of the predictions of evolution and speciation. But after decades of research and testing by scores of scientists, the probability that something like this will happen seems rather dim. But the possibility does remain.

Evolution by natural selection is not random chance. What is random is the generation of genetic variation, through mutation. But some mutations are maintained in populations of animals and some are not. Part of this process is also random. But the important part of it, the part that is natural selection, is not random at all. It is determined by the qualities of the environment, and what traits cause animals to accomplish reproductive success in that environment.

In other words, we are not dumping elements into a cement roller and just letting it roll. The elements are dumped in, rolled around, and a candidate combination is popped out. If it doesn't fit our needs, it is rejected, and that particular combination is never allowed again. We let the roller go some more, pop out another candidate, and evaluate it again. Give it a couple hundred million years and you may surprised at what you will get.

.....

At this point, this thread is starting to move into territory that is generally not accepted in SCF. Hobby, because you have been extremely civil and non-combative, I have let it go this far. But I cannot let it go much further. Here is the relevant section of the forum guidelines.

SCF Forum Guidlines wrote:e) The scientists in SCF consider the theory of evolution to be the best model for explaining the biological diversity and genetic homology witnessed in all living things, and accept descent from common ancestry as fact, until proven otherwise (no, there are no clues, let alone evidence to say otherwise). That being said, all faith-based arguments challenging the theory of evolution should go into the "Religion" sub forum in the PCF section and NOT the Biology sub forum.

Failure to follow these guidelines will earn you a ban from SCF, and possibly from the whole site. The ban can be instant and without warning, depending on the extent (and intent) of the violation.
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Re: Darwinism. Theory of evolution. Am I missing something?

Postby BioWizard on December 25th, 2010, 12:27 am 

Regarding major chromosomal changes between chimps and humans, two of the chimp's corresponding chromosomes are fused together in humans into a single chromosome. But even with a change of this magnitude, chromosomes from a mixed genome (hybrid) might still be able align and segregate properly during mitosis, thus giving rise to a viable offspring (each of the two chimp chromosomes would align with the half of the human chromosome that corresponds to them, provided sufficient DNA sequence similarity still exists). So you see, the initial "artificial" divide that originally arises between separating species (can be caused by a lot of things other than mere reproductive failure - think tigers and lions for example) takes a very long time before it becomes a technical-genetic barrier.

EDIT: I just noticed that Paralith has already said all of this. There you have it, independent confirmation...
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Re: Darwinism. Theory of evolution. Am I missing something?

Postby hobby on December 25th, 2010, 9:50 pm 

Paralith:
I think my infraction was mentioning what Christians believe. I will abide by the rules of the forum, I appreciate having the religion category available for these type of comments.

BioWizard wrote:might still be able align and segregate properly during mitosis

Sounds like you are saying it's possible. Can you think of any way to test if this possibility is true? I'm thinking like plants or fruit flies with fussed chromosomes that are able to produce off-springs with non fussed.
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Re: Darwinism. Theory of evolution. Am I missing something?

Postby BioWizard on December 25th, 2010, 11:39 pm 

hobby wrote:
BioWizard wrote:might still be able align and segregate properly during mitosis

Sounds like you are saying it's possible. Can you think of any way to test if this possibility is true? I'm thinking like plants or fruit flies with fussed chromosomes that are able to produce off-springs with non fussed.


The offspring would have a hybride genome. That is, instead of having a pair of the two unfused chromosomes or a pair of the fused chromosomes, they would have one of each unfused chromosome and one of the fused chromosome.

So it would be something like this:
Attachments
genotypes.png
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Re: Darwinism. Theory of evolution. Am I missing something?

Postby hobby on December 26th, 2010, 6:57 pm 

BioWizard wrote:The offspring would have a hybride genome.

Is the current human genome fussed or mixed?
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Re: Darwinism. Theory of evolution. Am I missing something?

Postby BioWizard on December 26th, 2010, 7:50 pm 

hobby wrote:Is the current human genome fussed or mixed?


The current human genome would be like the one of the parent to the right side (in the above figure). That's why the chimp diploid genome contains 48 chromosomes (24 haploid) and the human genome contains 46 chromosomes (23 haploid).

A hybrid genome would have 47 chromosomes (23 from one parent and 24 from the other).
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Re: Darwinism. Theory of evolution. Am I missing something?

Postby hobby on December 27th, 2010, 2:06 am 

What happened to the Offspring (mixed) in your diagram?
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Re: Darwinism. Theory of evolution. Am I missing something?

Postby Whut on December 27th, 2010, 2:12 am 

Thanks all for replys, ive got a much clearer picture of the scientific view now.

Ive came across this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9gU9z6z9HIM
(Lloyd Pye -Everything you know is wrong - talk/lecture)

To my uneducated view, some points seem valid enough to not overlook, im wondering what holes you guys will poke through this?

And, if you do get past the bigfoot bit, to the end, as people intrested/spent life learning this stuff should do. Im very intrested in what you all make of this as a whole. (alot of scientists into this stuff have been programmed in cirtain ways, eg: to lol at bigfoot so fast they dont care anymore, etc, so please reserve that till all is watched.)

Thanks again.
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Re: Darwinism. Theory of evolution. Am I missing something?

Postby BioWizard on December 27th, 2010, 10:30 am 

hobby wrote:What happened to the Offspring (mixed) in your diagram?


Nothing. Click on it.
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Re: Darwinism. Theory of evolution. Am I missing something?

Postby hobby on December 28th, 2010, 4:17 am 

BioWizard wrote:Nothing. Click on it.

I'm sorry, your diagram is still there, what I meant was, the current human genome is fussed, but we come from the offspring which is mixed. That means some where down the line mixed becomes fussed, presumably mating with separate.
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Re: Darwinism. Theory of evolution. Am I missing something?

Postby Paralith on December 28th, 2010, 12:35 pm 

hobby, the problem is, in general, entertaining discussions that challenge the validity of evolution as the means by which organisms on this planet came to their current state. I don't mean to discourage you or anyone else to ask questions if you're genuinely confused on an issue and want to learn more, I just wanted to make the rules clear, just in case. Like I said, you've been extremely civil in this discussion, and I greatly appreciate that.

Back to the chromosomes question. The offspring in Bio's diagram would certainly be capable of having offspring with another hybrid like themselves or with either parent type. As I mentioned before, there might be some problems with the hybrids making some unbalanced gametes, but I don't think that difficulty would be too large. But your main question is, how did every human today come to have two fused chromosomes? It was probably by the random processes of genetic drift. Most brand new random mutations (and large alterations to chromosomes can be thought of as a type of mutation) are quickly lost from the population, especially if they only emerged in one individual (which is usual). But occasionally, and at a fairly regular rate, a new mutation can rise to fixation in the population. Now, this is much more likely to happen if the population in question is quite small, and there were probably many times over the last 3 to 4 million years at which our lineage shrunk to a fairly small size for a portion of time. These events are called bottlenecks or founder events, and we know that many of these events happened to modern humans, and probably many happened to our long line of ancestors. If the fused chromosome mutation arose at one of these times, it could have risen to fixation with relative ease in the small group. Then, when that small group grew into a larger group, all of their descendants also had the fused chromosomes.


Whut - I did not watch the video, but I've heard of Lloyd Pye and his ideas. Frankly, it's not an issue of scientists being "programmed" to ignore anything. It's an issue of the evidence, and there is none that will stand up to strong scientific scrutiny in support of his hypotheses. I don't dismiss Bigfoot just because some teacher I had told me to; I dismiss Bigfoot because, after the long years of dense human habitation of all the areas Bigfoot is supposed to be living in, no one has come up with any really strong evidence. If there is indeed a population of such large bodied apes living in North America, I simply find it extremely unlikely that there would be no evidence of it but a few footprints, one questionable video, and a handful of anecdotes. And if this is sufficient enough "evidence" for Pye, then I have no interest in what other "evidence" he proposes to offer.
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Re: Darwinism. Theory of evolution. Am I missing something?

Postby Forest_Dump on December 28th, 2010, 1:14 pm 

Paralith wrote:If there is indeed a population of such large bodied apes living in North America, I simply find it extremely unlikely that there would be no evidence of it but a few footprints, one questionable video, and a handful of anecdotes.


While I haven't been following this all that closely, if the questionable film is the famous old Patterson film, the evidence is even less now. From what I recall, way back when the Patterson film was taken, someone also collected some fur said to have been caught on a branch and kept as further proof. A few years ago this fur was submitted for DNA testing and found to be bison (which do not live where the film was shot). So it appears the Patterson film was someone wearing a costume made from bison.
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Re: Darwinism. Theory of evolution. Am I missing something?

Postby edy420 on December 31st, 2010, 6:21 am 

The sports competition analogy is hard to believe.

If species were competing, then there would be a winner, one species to conquer them all.
Although, admittedly it looks like we are winning that competition, the rest of the species on this planet are not competing.
IMO, they are harmonising, and we are an anomaly.

A frog with an advanced tongue eating the not so evolved fly, is not a frog with more advanced and competitive abilities.
Its just nature harmonising.
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Re: Darwinism. Theory of evolution. Am I missing something?

Postby BioWizard on January 3rd, 2011, 10:41 pm 

edy420 wrote:The sports competition analogy is hard to believe.

If species were competing, then there would be a winner, one species to conquer them all.
Although, admittedly it looks like we are winning that competition, the rest of the species on this planet are not competing.
IMO, they are harmonising, and we are an anomaly.

A frog with an advanced tongue eating the not so evolved fly, is not a frog with more advanced and competitive abilities.
Its just nature harmonising.


Why is it hard to believe? Species wipe each other out all the time. You have to consider the extent of competition going on between two species. A deep sea fish competes relatively little with a bird specie living inland. On the other hand, the competition would probably be one of life or death (literally) between those birds and another species that is utilizing the same environmental resources (for example another specie of bird that eats the same foods, nests in the same trees, etc). The more the overlap, the more vicious the competition, and you can bet your life that there will be a winner and a loser, given enough time.
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Re: Darwinism. Theory of evolution. Am I missing something?

Postby Paralith on January 7th, 2011, 7:14 pm 

edy,

An analogy is just an analogy. One can help you explain and describe a certain concept, but they're not usually exact in every degree. Though, as Bio already stated, it is certainly true that in nature, sometimes one or a few animals wipe out all their competitors. Cases of invasive species are good examples of that, and are the reason why many countries have very strict rules about the transport of wildlife in and out of their borders. Granted, many cases of invasive species today are caused by human activity, but they can happen, and no doubt have happened, naturally. The drying up of rivers, the rising of land bridges, and other types of natural events can allow animals into areas where they never were before, where the native organisms have no defenses against them.

Most wildlife communities that exist today have coexisted for a decent chunk of time, allowing them to co-evolve against each other and achieve what appears to be some kind of harmonious balance. I don't know about harmony, but natural systems do often reach equilibrium states, where the conditions are steady and relatively unchanging for a period of time.

In any event, the primary difference between human sports teams and evolving organisms is the availability of variation, and speed. A human can adopt any strategy they can dream up, and implement it right away. But the genes and/or alleles available for natural selection to work on depend on the random mutations that only arise with the next generation. So organisms are limited in what they can become, based on what genetic variation happens to arise, and when it arises.
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Re: Darwinism. Theory of evolution. Am I missing something?

Postby kidjan on January 7th, 2011, 8:44 pm 

Whut wrote:How do some humans have extraordinary abilitys like savants, that almost have calculaters in thier head that do the working out for them? Why can someone be able memorize Pi to like 20k + decimal points? How does that ability help survival?


Keep in mind that survival is a prerequisite for another important component of evolution: reproduction. Really, the metric for evolutionary "success" is going to successfully reproduction. Given that many of these savants are often hopelessly unlikely to "score," I'd say they're more of an evolutionary dead-end.

Also, their trait would have to be heritable, and it's not clear that's the case.
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