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Is Evolution Unfalsifiable


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#141 Richard Townsend

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Posted 21 May 2009 - 05:00 AM

So in principle, "living fossils" are a problem.

...If only there were more of them, then evolutionists would have to... require even more. And if they were discovered, what then? Require more still.

Now if that's not the gameplan, just how many such things do we need to find? How can one scientifically establish a number that will conform to everyone's subjective opinions on how much is too much? You are, after all, the one maintaining this is a matter of science.

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No, I don't believe they are. Can you explain why we need more / would need more?

#142 CTD

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Posted 21 May 2009 - 06:02 AM

No, I don't believe they are. Can you explain why we need more / would need more?

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They're a problem because they disappear from the fossil record. What? They don't reappear? Well then, let one get caught in a catastrophe next week. Boom!

In any case, the notion that things don't exist because they don't leave fossils is known to be untrue.

It's on you to explain why we need more. You say this kind of thing falsifies evolution. Whoop there it is. But evolutionism is still going and going and going. If that's your idea of falsification, it's not science. It's not even a good parody.

#143 Bruce V.

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Posted 21 May 2009 - 09:12 AM

It's sourced from many books and websites, and a few papers. I will give you some references in a separate thread (in a couple of days - I am away for a while).

There is good evidence that mutation has created something new. Here's an overview paper about new genes.

http://www3.uta.edu/...turereviews.pdf.


Hi Richard,

An article like this take a long time to weed through. I noticed that the article hedges about much of the claims. For example,


A more straightforward conjecture is that adaptive evolution might have had a principal role throughout the creation and subsequent evolution of new genes — we call this the ‘immediate model’, because it requires no waiting time for the evolution of a new function. Several case studies and theoretical works (for example, see REFS 29,30) have shown that the evolution of recently created genes involves accelerated changes in both protein-coding sequences and gene structures from the onset, which supports the immediate model. An important role of positive Darwinian selection hasbeen detected in these processes and these studies have uncovered some interesting results. For example, the initial functions of new genes are rudimentary and further improvement under selection might be crucial. So, new gene functions that are created by altering a sequence that encodes one or a few amino acids might be special cases rather than the general situation. Also, the rapid changes in well-defined new genes with new functions could help to explain a past conjecture in molecular evolution studies: that rapid sequence evolution in many old genes might reflect a diverged function under selection31.


The list of changes is ostensibly impressive so you have to dig. One of the best examples they provided was the arctic fish.

Arctic AFGP 2.5 my Convergent evolution; antifreeze protein created from 52,53an unexpected source driven by the freezing environment Antarctic AFGP 5–14 my Convergent evolution; antifreeze protein created from 52,53 an unexpected source driven by the freezing environment


I wrote this about that mutation earlier in a malaria debate. link

In the arctic, salt water temperature goes below freezing point of the blood of this fish. Why doesn’t the fish’s blood freeze? Ice needs a crystal seed to start; once a seed is started the tiny crystals form rapidly. These fish have evolved, by gene duplication, an antifreeze which sticks to the seed crystals and prevents them from growing. These antifreeze proteins are similar to this fish’s digestive enzyme. Both portions had a certain 9 letter sequence, but in the antifreeze gene the 9-nucleotide region was repeated may times. When the digestive enzyme was copied, the process stuttered, creating multiple copies. Later these duplicate genes had a further deletion mutation which created a stable antifreeze protein(s) that gave this arctic fish a competitive advantage.

Looks good so far, but this example also underscores the limits of random mutation rather than its potential. It turns out that the antifreeze protein in Antarctic fish is not really a discrete structure comparable to, say, hemoglobin. Hemoglobin and almost all other proteins are coded by single genes that produce proteins of definite length. This mutation looks like genetic junk: There are multiple genes of different lengths, all of which produce amino acid chains that get chopped up into smaller fragments of differing lengths. In fact, the Antarctic protein appears not to have any definitive structure. Its amino acid chain is floppy and unfolded, unlike the very precisely folded shapes of most proteins. Nor do these proteins interact with other proteins and they are not building new molecular machinery or systems.


So the question shouldn’t be that mutation and natural selection are changing genes.  Rather the question should be are they improving them or making them better but building new molecular machinery or systems. Or was there an increase in information.

#144 de_skudd

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Posted 21 May 2009 - 09:21 AM

I'm afraid not. The genetic evidence for evolution is incredibly strong.

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So, we have genetic evidence that shows a geneome evolving into something other than a geneome? That's amazing!

#145 Bruce V.

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Posted 21 May 2009 - 09:34 AM

It's sourced from many books and websites, and a few papers. I will give you some references in a separate thread (in a couple of days - I am away for a while).

There is good evidence that mutation has created something new. Here's an overview paper about new genes.

Here's a paper about the origin of the 'nylon' digesting enzyme in bacteria that I'm sure you've heard about. This occurred by duplication of an existing gene and then a 'frameshift' mutation that generated a novel protein.

http://www.pnas.org/...65-b3cf2c4d70cf


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Hi Richard,

Nylon digestion looks like an improvement and a great proof of evolution. But there is more to the story. Link

Finally, Mr Cerutti is out of date about this new nylon digesting ability allegedly from a frame shift. New evidence shows that the ability was due to plasmids [e.g. K. Kato, et al., ‘A plasmid encoding enzymes for nylon oligomer degradation: Nucleotide sequence analysis of pOAD2’, Microbiology (Reading) 141(10):2585–2590, 1995.] In fact, more than one species of bacteria have the ability, residing on plasmids. This suggests that the information probably already existed, and was just passed between different types of bacteria.

All that would be needed to enable an enzyme to digest nylon is a mutation causing loss of specificity in a proteolytic (protein-degrading) enzyme. This may seem surprising—how would a loss of information create a new ability? Answer: enzymes are usually tuned very precisely to only one type of molecule (the substrate). Loss of information would reduce the effectiveness of its primary function, but would enable it to degrade other substrates, too. Since both nylon and proteins are broken down by breaking amide linkages, a change in a proteolytic enzyme could also allow it to work on nylon. If this process were continued, the result would be a general enzyme with a weakly catalytic effect on the hydrolysis of too many chemicals to be useful where much selectivity is required. To put it into perspective, acids and alkalis also catalyze many hydrolysis reactions, but they also lack specificity. Indeed, an inhibitor of a protein degrading enzyme also inhibits the action of the nylon degrading enzyme.


So have we found an example of mutation and natural selection has increased information. Lets see if Richard Dawkins has the answer.

#146 CTD

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Posted 21 May 2009 - 03:09 PM

CTD, Mendelian genetics is key to the modern synthesis because it does NOT contradict evolution but supports it.

The use of the work synthesis in that context has nothing to do with Hegelian dialectics. It just has the standard dictionary meaning - ie a joining together

Mendel's science was banned in the USSR because it supported inheritance of  character differences between individuals, which contradicted communist beliefs about the primacy of the environment in causing differences between individuals. The exact opposite of what you claim.

Mutation is a creative engine and there is good evidence of this.

Your statement about history being invented / manipulated in this area is completely untrue. What are your sources for this claim?

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Those for whom these events are news may, if they wish to investigate, follow my links and make a start.

If you'd care to discuss your antihistory (or anyone else's) about these things, just give the word and I'll start another thread. I didn't come here with the objective of derailment. Starting a new thread will be easy, since I've discussed this before on another forum. Copying & pasting what I said before won't waste much of my time at all. I also have a few links at my disposal for dealing with the falsehoods one typically encounters.

By the way, history is irrelevant to debates about the truth of evolution vs creationism. What matters is evidence as currently understood.

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History is irrelevant to discussing an overt attempt to invent history out of thin air? I disagree. History is relevant to almost everything. If you dispute this, here's the thread:

http://www.evolution...?showtopic=1984

There's no need to get in a hurry and rush things. I would prefer to wait for accurate posts than deal with the other kind.

#147 drddrd

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Posted 22 May 2009 - 10:16 AM

"Species do not transform one into the other. They show stability from generation to generation, and my experiments demonstrate that fact. Isn’t anyone listening?" Gregor Mendel (1822-1884), Father of Genetics.

Or if you believe in an old earth,you should already know about the nautilus that shows up without any ancestors and stays the same for 420-500 million years.

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This is NOT a quote from Gregor Mendel.

It appears in an article by L.A. Callender, called "Gregor Mendel: An Opponent of Descent with Modification." (History of Science, Vol. 26, p.41-75) Callender made it up: it's something he thinks Mendel MIGHT have said, if he had the chance...

Callender has his own agenda. He claims that Mendel opposed Darwin, and followed Linnaeus in believing in 'special creation'; but he presents no actual evidence to prove this, and his whole case in the article is shaky.

#148 de_skudd

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Posted 22 May 2009 - 01:06 PM

This is NOT a quote from Gregor Mendel.

It appears in an article by L.A. Callender, called "Gregor Mendel: An Opponent of Descent with Modification." (History of Science, Vol. 26, p.41-75) Callender made it up: it's something he thinks Mendel MIGHT have said, if he had the chance...

Callender has his own agenda. He claims that Mendel opposed Darwin, and followed Linnaeus in believing in 'special creation'; but he presents no actual evidence to prove this, and his whole case in the article is shaky.

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Do you have a link, I'd like to look into it...

Thanks

Dee

#149 drddrd

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Posted 22 May 2009 - 02:53 PM

Do you have a link, I'd like to look into it...

Thanks

Dee

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Hi - you can find L. A. Callender's article on Mendel here:

http://articles.adsa...HisSc..26...41C

David

#150 Bruce V.

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Posted 23 May 2009 - 07:14 AM

Putting evolutionary theory into practice

Evolution is a beautiful theory. It explains everything from why some birds lose the ability to fly, to the bizarre meandering path of the vagus nerve in our bodies.

There is no question that evolution makes sense of the extraordinary diversity of life on Earth, but can it actually be put to practical use?

The answer is: it can and it should. The rise of antibiotic-resistant superbugs - estimated to kill 19,000 people a year in the US alone, and cost the country $80 billion annually - is an example of what happens when we don't apply evolutionary theory.

So why is so little attention paid to understanding the evolutionary consequences of our actions?

Part of the problem is that only in the past couple of decades has it become clear just how fast evolution can produce change. Another reason is that there is no such discipline as "applied evolution". Because it straddles such a broad range of fields, from cancer to conservation, researchers who are "applying evolution" have a hard time finding out what their colleagues are up to.

That, however, is about to change. A new journal called Evolutionary Applications has just been launched. The first issue is dedicated to making the point that applying evolution is crucial - and it makes a convincing case.

Or take at the biggest alteration we are making to the planet: increasing carbon dioxide levels faster than has ever happened naturally.

One important question is how higher carbon dioxide will change the productivity of phytoplankton in the oceans, which will partly determine how much CO2 the oceans will soak up. Studies in which existing phytoplankton are exposed to higher CO2 suggest their productivity will increase.

But a paper in the new journal suggests that this kind of experiment could be misleading.

Phytoplankton that have evolved in a high CO2 environment could behave quite differently to those exposed to it for the first time, point out Graham Bell of McGill University in Montreal, Canada, and Sinead Collins of the University of Edinburgh, UK.

For instance, most types of phytoplankton have mechanisms for concentrating CO2 in their cells. But Collins and Bell have found that these mechanisms degenerate in marine algae kept in high CO2 conditions for 1000 generations.

While they stress that more research is needed, their surprising conclusion is that evolution in a high CO2 world could result in populations of phytoplankton that are less productive than existing ones. And that means we might not be able to rely on them to soak up ever more carbon for us in the future.
Flu future

Another article looks at how the severity of the disease caused by a pathogen or parasite changes as it invades a new population. For instance, H5N1 bird flu currently kills about half the people it infects. It is widely assumed that if the virus does start spreading among humans it will become far less dangerous.

However, the models created by James Bull of the University of Texas, Austin, and Dieter Ebert of the University of Basel, Switzerland, add to the evidence that such assumptions are flawed. Viruses such as H5N1 could have devastating effects before they evolve to become less virulent, they conclude.
Power of knowledge

Evolutionary Applications contains many more examples of the importance of applied evolution (content is free during 2008). All doctors, for instance, should read the summary of why understanding and applying evolution matters in medicine, written by Randolph Nesse at the University of Michigan.

Nesse says that progress is being hampered by the fact that many medics still think of the body as a machine designed by an engineer, when in fact it is a "bundle of compromises ... designed to maximise reproduction, not health".

There is no question about the importance of applied evolution. The trouble is, if biologists themselves are only just waking up to how relevant and crucial evolution can be, what hope is there of educating the leaders and policy makers who need to understand and act upon this research? Not much, I fear.


The author quoted journal editor Rudolph Nesse: “many medics still think of the body as a machine designed by an engineer, when in fact it is a “bundle of compromises ... designed to maximise reproduction, not health”.

This is why evolution is dangerous. It gives exactly the wrong answer. Rather than look at body as an integrated unit that is designed by a designer it looks at the body as a bundle of compromises. Is it any wonder why doctors are skeptical of evolution.

Of course most doctors are skeptical of Darwinism," said Dr. Robert Cihak, MD, a senior fellow and board member of the Discovery Institute, and medical columnist for JewishWorldReview.com. . “An eye surgeon knows the astonishing intricacies of human vision intimately, so the vague, just-so stories about eye evolution don't fool him. And the eye is just one of countless organs and interdependent systems in the body that defy Darwinian explanation.”



#151 Bruce V.

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Posted 23 May 2009 - 07:26 AM

Biology's Next Breakthroughs

In the 1980s, Leroy Hood was something of a maverick. At a time when most biologists wanted nothing to do with the tools and methods of engineering, Hood developed a series of tools that have revolutionized biological science. As a professor at Caltech, he developed four fundamental, automated tools that have helped make possible the comprehensive study of the human genome: a DNA sequencer, a DNA synthesizer, a protein synthesizer, and a protein sequencer. But the Caltech administration wasn't interested in commercializing these technologies, so Hood cofounded a company that became Applied Biosystems. (He has also helped found several additional biotech companies, including Amgen.)

In 2000, after a stint at the University of Washington, he started up the Seattle-based Institute for Systems Biology, where he is president. Traditional biology tends to study one gene or protein or process at a time. Systems biology takes a cue from engineering and treats organisms as complex systems. Systems biologists, often using computer models, try to understand how genes, proteins, cells, and tissues interact to create complex organisms. By mapping out, rather than reducing, biological complexity, systems biologists hope to reach a new understanding of the fundamental processes of life, from embryonic development to normal metabolism to the emergence of diseases like cancer.

The approach has expanded biologists' understanding of simple organisms like E. coli. But dramatic success has been slow in coming. So far, systems biology's successes have been at the level of single cells, not tissues or whole animals. At the Institute for Systems Biology's International Symposium this April, Hood talked to Technology Review about how systems biology will eventually change human medicine and even materials science.

Technology Review: What are the challenges in applying systems biology to human disease?

Leroy Hood: What we've seen with systems biology in the last eight years or so is that it's very powerful in approaching single-celled organisms, be they bacteria or yeast. Their genomes are much smaller, and our ability to manipulate bacteria and yeast genetically, environmentally, and so forth is much, much greater. As a consequence, we've learned an enormous amount about these single-celled organisms, and in fact we've developed very powerful tools for unraveling networks that begin mechanistically to explain how they respond to their environments.

One of the grand challenges in systems biology is to move from simple, single-celled model organisms up to higher organisms--flies and worms, eventually to mice, and ultimately to humans. Those transitions are enormously complex, both because of the greater number of genes and the greater number of combinatorial possibilities.

TR: How are you making this transition to higher organisms?

LH: A powerful approach is to apply these techniques to individual [human] cells. One important reason for doing single-cell analysis is to be able to use some of the very powerful tools we've developed in single-celled organisms. But when you do single-cell analysis, you lose out on the context, the interaction with other cells [that happens in tissues]. One of the fascinating and unanswered questions is, are you going to be throwing the baby out with the bathwater?


This guy has it right. Treating the body as if were engineered is the next frontier for medicine.

Traditional biology tends to study one gene or protein or process at a time.  Systems biology takes a cue from engineering and treats organisms as complex systems.  Systems biologists, often using computer models, try to understand how genes, proteins, cells, and tissues interact to create complex organisms.  By mapping out, rather than reducing, biological complexity, systems biologists hope to reach a new understanding of the fundamental processes of life, from embryonic development to normal metabolism to the emergence of diseases like cancer.


Dr. Hood does make reference to evolution but his approach is to look at the final product and reverse engineer systems. IMO evolution is useless and probably counter productive. It forces to look at our body from the bottom up (proteins to systems) rather than the top down: reverse engineering a designed system. The latter will lead to results the former frustration.

#152 Bruce V.

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Posted 23 May 2009 - 07:35 AM

Applied evolution is what brought us eugenics: Survival of the fittest, that man is just an another animal and the selfish gene. The goal is personal superiority over the completion. IMO we should run the other way when we here the term applied evolution.

#153 CTD

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Posted 23 May 2009 - 07:37 AM

Putting evolutionary theory into practice

The author quoted journal editor Rudolph Nesse: “many medics still think of the body as a machine designed by an engineer, when in fact it is a “bundle of compromises ... designed to maximise reproduction, not health”. 

This is why evolution is dangerous.  It gives exactly the wrong answer.  Rather than look at body as an integrated unit that is designed by a designer it looks at the body as a bundle of compromises. Is it any wonder why doctors are skeptical of evolution.

Of course most doctors are skeptical of Darwinism," said Dr. Robert Cihak, MD, a senior fellow and board member of the Discovery Institute, and medical columnist for JewishWorldReview.com. . “An eye surgeon knows the astonishing intricacies of human vision intimately, so the vague, just-so stories about eye evolution don't fool him. And the eye is just one of countless organs and interdependent systems in the body that defy Darwinian explanation.”

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Good work. That piece is simply propaganda, and pretty obvious about it. Life is designed to adapt; this isn't news. It wasn't news in Darwin's day, and it isn't news now. Many, but not all, of he mechanisms involved in adaptation have been discovered, so it makes far less sense now, and requires a good deal more effort to be deceived into thinking adaptation somehow "proves evolution".

#154 Bruce V.

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Posted 23 May 2009 - 11:01 AM

Good work. That piece is simply propaganda, and pretty obvious about it. Life is designed to adapt; this isn't news. It wasn't news in Darwin's day, and it isn't news now. Many, but not all, of he mechanisms involved in adaptation have been discovered, so it makes far less sense now, and requires a good deal more effort to be deceived into thinking adaptation somehow "proves evolution".

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I would like the challenge the author of that paper. Evolution does not make predictions. Rather, evolution takes credit for things once they are discovered.

#155 Ron

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Posted 23 May 2009 - 03:09 PM

I would like the challenge the author of that paper. Evolution does not make predictions.  Rather, evolution takes credit for things once they are discovered.

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I predict you will say that!

Now I just need an emoticon that shows my hand waiving and tossing sparkly and glittery fairy dust around this thread :huh:


Seriously though, I predict that we will find more fossils that evolutionists will arbitrarily claim are transitional. Let's say like a pig's tooth, or a partial cranium. Whole tribes of ape-like humans will be rendered in artistic conceptions on canvas and manikins. Whole stories will be fabricated to narrate the lifestyle of these nomadic wanderers.

That's what I predict!




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