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How Does Evolution Stay On Task?


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#21 foxnsox

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 11:50 AM

I believe what Mike is trying to say is:

How can the creature evolving randomly evolve upon the exact trait that will further evolve it to be able to fly.

That's like picking an identical ticket out of a pile of 3 billion completely different tickets each time you stick your hand in the pile.

So strangely by defying the odds... it evolves upon the previous trait it just evolved upon.

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Hi Scott,

Not sure if that is the point he was trying to make, but I think the point you are raising is this -

"Arms do not become wings in a single generation, if dinosaurs did become birds, then how did arms slowly change over many generations to finally become fully functioning wings'

i.e. how do apparently fully developed features appear.

Well, I think there are a number of points to this.

There are two main aspects at work - random mutation, and natural selection. Every time a new animal is born, there is a small chance that they will have a small mutation making them slightly different - perhaps their hind legs are more developed, their arms are shorter, their eyes are slightly closer etc. This mutation has a chance to A. make them better able to survive in their environment, B. make them less able to survive in their environment or C. make no difference to their ability to survive in their environment.

If it is A, then over time it is likely that that trait will become dominant in their species.
If it is B. then it is likely individuals with this trait will die out and it will cease to exist.
If it is C. then it may die out, or it may hang around.

The question seems to suggest that 'arms are useful, wings that give flight are useful, so what are the chances of enough random mutations of type C hanging around long enough until they become wings' - but that is not taking into consideration that there are many useful steps in between arms and wings - there are animals that glide using flaps of skin for example.

For more information, goggling the evolution of the eye is very interesting, and it shows how different beings sense light, from very basic photo sensitive cells to eyes such as you and eye are using right now. It does not take a lot of imagination to place these into 'steps'.

#22 foxnsox

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 12:01 PM

A thorough refutation of your points doesn’t make me disingenuous. It just makes your points insolvent.

Plus, it's always better to use an applicable analogy.

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But ron, you did not refute my point, thoroughly or otherwise.

The question was (paraphrasing) if evolution exists, how can one species become another'

My response was 'On the premise that evolution exists, this is how it could occur'

Your reply was 'evolution does not exist' and as such did not deal with any of the points I was making.

My analogy was entirely applicable for the purposes I was using it for - if you reread it you will notice that the key aspect was the improbability of a specific set of circumstances occurring - you seem to regard that because the tool I used for this analogy was man made as important, however I have responded to that.

#23 Tkubok

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 12:04 PM

So, evolution doesn’t have a hand in guiding, but it does have a hand in rewarding? I’m not sure that the latter makes any more sense than the former.

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I think it does. The former, is more like a coach/trainer, and the latter, is the Judge.

#24 ikester7579

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 12:13 PM

I am not biologist, nor do a feel a question asking for no less than a biological thesis is quiet fair! However, there are plenty of examples out there - for examples  we see various forms, or 'stages' of organs that sense light, which can help build a picture of how an eye could have slowly developed from sinple photosensitive cells.


I'll make it easy for you. Here are the systems:

Posted Image

Which ones came in what order. You believe evolution is a true absolute fact with mountains of empirical evidence. This should be a no brainer.

True, it can be confusing - I think those it is mainly due to linguistically short cuts - We say a sign 'tells us to do something' however the sign is doing nothing, it is simply there and all actions is taken by the reader. Evolution is a process and please excuse anything I say that may appear to suggest otherwise, it is simply trying to term a somewhat complex concept into manageable terms (for myself as much as anyone else!). 


What is implied should be as close to the truth as possible. Making excuses for misuse of words is a cop out.

Basically I am saying that over a long enough period of time, the application of the process can cause in a diverse and wonderful range of results.


Given enough time all things are possible?

I apologies if I sound overly authoritarian, I'm certainly not, though I think you are somewhat side tracking this - this was in response the the question 'how does evolution stay on track' and I am trying to point out that there is no track to stay on, what is here is here not because it is supposed to be here, but simply because it is what has worked.


Then you are implying that evolution is an absolute which also makes it a law, correct?

Question: Since you say evolution is what has worked. Out of 100s of claimed processes can you name just 5 that would meet the criteria of being empirical?

Empirical:
1) Something testable and repeatable in a lab.
2) Something observable.
3) Something that can be experienced by the individual.

Can you name just 5 processes of of the 100s claimed that would meet that criteria?

The answer your question, yes, many people make a living out of studying evidence from the past, often distant path, and have collected a huge example of evidence to show the slow adaptation of one species to another (however, I was not there and have not lived long enough to witness it myself!).


Just name 5 processes out of the 100s claimed that meet the criteria of being empirical.

Fossils don't meet that criteria because:
1) You cannot observe the process that put them there.
2) You cannot test the interpretation of the fossils dug up.
3) The only things you can be halfway certain of is:
a) The layer it was found in.
B) The type of animal it was in most cases.
c) And the age if you also bar cross contamination from the layer to the fossil.

You misunderstand me, I am more trying to explain about 'viewpoint' than odds. If we throw a deck of cards across a room, we know they are going to end up somewhere, on some order. The same with evolution, the way life is at the minute is not because it is supposed to be such a way, it is simply because that is the way it is. rewind it all and start again, and just as a second throw of cards will result in something different, so life would be much different than it is now.

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Now you are just dodging reality.

#25 ikester7579

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 12:15 PM

I think it does. The former, is more like a coach/trainer, and the latter, is the Judge.

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Guidance = intelligence.

#26 ikester7579

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 12:18 PM

Since another evolutionist already posted a reply, maybe mine will cover his a bit, i dont know. In any case, here is my response.

Evolution throws everything out as a trial-and-error process. Its the most simplistic, easiest, yet most time-consuming method there is. I wouldnt exactly call it "Focused", because it throws out multiple paths and sees which works. Its why 97% of all species that have ever existed on this planet, is dead. There is a lot of drift, and much of that drifting, actually, 97% of that drifting ended up a dead end.

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Given enough time all things are possible? Evolution cop out.

#27 foxnsox

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 12:34 PM

I'll make it easy for you. Here are the systems:

Which ones came in what order. You believe evolution is a true absolute fact with mountains of empirical evidence. This should be a no brainer.


As I said, I am no biologist, and I don't recall stating my beliefs, nor do I think they should be important to the discussion. Are you genuinely interested in how the human being evolved to be what it is today, or are you creating 'test' questions to poke holes at?

What is implied should be as close to the truth as possible. Making excuses for misuse of words is a cop out.


I would say purposefully misinterpreting someones meaning because of a few choice words, and then dismissing their explanation as a cop out is overly aggressive and confrontational. Most people understand using a kind of grammatical short hand for the purposes of brevity - I gave you an example of how this occurs in the real world - I am not going to be chided over using straight forward language which most people capable of using a computer should understand and be able to accept, and I am quiet happy to further explain if misunderstandings (as happens in all communication) occurs. It seems childish to obstinately refuse to accept such common means of discussion.


Given enough time all things are possible?


Not quite what I was saying, more given enough time this is what we have.

Then you are implying that evolution is an absolute which also makes it a law, correct?


Personally I will always shy away from saying absolute, it is so absolute! doubt everything, accept nothing, but to me personally evolution fits with what I know about the world very well, I respect many of the people who teach and study it, and trust them - when I ask questions about it I get clear straight talking answers. Conversely, ID is at odds with what I have experiences in the world, I know few I can honestly say I see as trustworthy y individuals, and most if not all discussions and articles I see have an overly defensive/aggressive nature more interested in disparaging evolution than they are in explaining their own position.


Question: Since you say evolution is what has worked. Out of 100s of claimed processes can you name just 5 that would meet the criteria of being empirical?

Empirical:
1) Something testable and repeatable in a lab.
2) Something observable.
3) Something that can be experienced by the individual.


You've taken this way out of context - I am saying the life form we have today are here because they have survived - evolution is the process in which they changed to be what they are.

Now you are just dodging reality.


No, I don't feel I am, however without further input from yourself on how you disagree/misunderstand what I am saying, then I stand by what I say.

#28 Mike Summers

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 01:14 PM

I believe what Mike is trying to say is:

How can the creature evolving randomly evolve upon the exact trait that will further evolve it to be able to fly.

That's like picking an identical ticket out of a pile of 3 billion completely different tickets each time you stick your hand in the pile.

So strangely by defying the odds... it evolves upon the previous trait it just evolved upon.


Thanks Scott, you gave a perfect restatment of what I tried to say.

The thing is I can observe creativity. I am observing it right now by writing these words and posting them. You can do the same thing.Therefore, we are creative beings like Ikester, Ron, Scott, Tkubok and 6.7 billion others. Isn't it obvious that some creative human created the idea of evo and some of us are trying to sell it to others?

When it comes to evolution, we can't observe one example of it (or at least so say evo scientists)! Many of the other posters have so eloquently pointed this out. We are supposed to look at what exists and say it evolved. Living things are caused by the "process" of gradual evolution,

When did a bird become a bird as we observe it now? It is all bird today-- with no evidence of any transitional features.

I can point to things that were created by intelligent beings and then I am suppose to draw the conclusion that an intelligent being could not have created anything. We are trying to out create each other. I realize I can't win an "out create game" with you or anyone else. You can always "create" a plausible answer to anything I say. But, at least I can let you know you are playing that game. I would find it pleasant if you could admit that much.

Evo science says anything is possible. Then it says that a God could not exist and have created things. I would say that is internally illogical.

The question of the OP has not been answered. Where is the beef?

The last I checked out evolution, I found that it doesn't take up space, it doesn't weigh anything, we can't smell or feel it and it does not exist as a concious entity. That's why I sometimes call it evo science's imaginary friend. :) Neither is it a process (processes are gemerally repeatable or predictable). Nor is it a law like gravity or themodynamics.

I observe living things choosing to eat & reproduce. A living bird decides to eat a worm and that's supposed to be "natural selection" making a decision for survival of the bird. Life makes all the choices and imaginary natural selection and/ or evolution get all the credit. That's blatant discrimination!

I observe that all animals and even plants live for a time but die (not survive) The only exception is some jellyfish that live quite long. But, even they are not immortal. Generally, all things die. Would that mean that nothing really survives? Oh, but, I can answer my own question. Most things survive to reproduce. Right? Trouble is I want to see some half formed limbs transitioning into wings.

In one of my posts which wasn't very popular, I talked about evolution multi-tasking coordinating all the things needed to evolve from a dinosaur to a bird--such as putting Dino on a diet, updating the cardiovascular system, redesigning limbs into wings, scales into feathers, evolving joints that can withstand the constant flappun required to fly long distances and even changing diet and speed of respiration and metabolism. That is a lot of things that have to be coordinated correctly or dino won't fly.

And then it had to try and survive as a dinosaur until it officially became a bird. That's why I jokingly said that transitional creatures were perhaps schizophrenic-- meaning they hear voices telling them to be something other than what they are. "I want to trmmain a dinosaur. No I am a bird1 No, I want to be a cat!" :lol:

#29 foxnsox

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 01:31 PM

Thanks  Scott, you  gave a perfect restatment of what I tried to say.

The thing is I can observe creativity. I am observing it right now by writing these words and posting them. You can do the same thing.Therefore, we are creative beings like Ikester, Ron, Scott, Tkubok  and 6.7 billion others. Isn't it obvious that some creative human created the idea of evo and some of us are trying to sell it to others?


Not sure I follow - Humans are creative ergo evolution is made up?

When it comes  to evolution, we can't observe one example of it (or at least so say evo scientists)! Many of the other posters have so eloquently pointed this out. We are supposed to  look at what exists and say it evolved. Living things are caused by the "process" of gradual evolution,

When did a bird become a bird as we observe it now?  It is all bird today-- with no evidence of any transitional features.


A bird is a 'bird' because we observed an animal, noted its traits, decided it was different enough from other animals and gave it a name. The bird does not care that it is a bird, the world does not care that it is a bird, it is only humans that care because we like to understand things, and categorization is a useful means to understand. Yes, it is difficult for us to step outside our immediate perceptions and try to understand things in a larger scope, however the scientific methods give us a means to do so without tainting with individual biases.

I can point to things that were created by  intelligent beings and then I am suppose to draw the conclusion that an  intelligent being could not have created anything. We are trying to out create each other. I realize I can't win an "out create game" with you or anyone else. You can always "create" a plausible answer to anything I say. But, at least I can let you know you are playing that game.


I'm not sure why you think you are supposed to draw the conclusion that 'an intelligent being could not have created anything'? I'm not sure I have ever read anyone claiming this. Intelligent beings create new and wonderful things every day, there is no controversy in this statement at all.

In a sensible discussion however, it is not about 'creating' answers - it is about putting forth plausible explanations, or providing evidence. Science is about ensuring that simply 'created' explanations are put to the test and shown to be false.

Evo science says anything is possible.  Then it says that a God could not exist and have created things. I would say that is  internally illogical.


No it doesn't, evolution explains how life adapts and changes to survive in it's environment.

The question of the OP has not been answered. Where is the beef?

The last I checked out evolution, I found that  it doesn't take up space, it doesn't weigh anything, we can't smell or feel it and it does not exist as a concious entity. That's why I sometimes call it evo science's imaginary friend.  :lol: Neither is it a process (processes are gemerally repeatable or predictable). Nor is it a law like gravity or themodynamics.


It is a process.

I observe that all animals and even plants live for a time but die (not survive) The only exception is some jellyfish that live quite long. But, even they are not immortal. Generally, all things die. Would that mean that nothing really survives? Oh, but, I can answer my own question. Most things survive to reproduce. Right? Trouble is I want to see some half formed limbs transitioning into wings. 


Unfortunately we are only have at best around a century on the world, not enough time to watch the majesty of our world fully unfold, however simply because you can not witness it directly, is that really your reason to dismiss it?

#30 MamaElephant

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 01:35 PM

Evolution is not a thing with a mind or a plan, it is a process. As mentioned above, there is no goal, no purpose, it is simply how things work. A bear is not a bear because it is supposed to be a bear, it is a culmination of variations which have succeeded in reproducing, and it is able to propagate itself successfully.

Consider a bowl a various colored sweets - everyone in the room likes the red, blue and yellow sweets, but no-one likes the green ones. Over time the only sweets remaining will be the green ones. There was no plan to have a bowl of green sweets, that is simply what occurred given the environment it was in. Should that environment change (a person who likes green ones enters the room, and the person who likes red leaves) and assuming that the sweet bowl is continually refilled, it will then change to a bowl of red sweets.

Given the considerable amount of time and opportunities that evolution has to work over, and the various environment conditions, this is why we have such a diverse example of life forms - all suited to they particular environment they are in. Mutations which do not work die out (as the yellow sweets 'die out' in an environment where people like yellow sweets).

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Great explanation of Natural Selection!

#31 MamaElephant

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 01:57 PM

  You appear to be disingenuously taking my reply out of context. The OP made a question 'on the assumption that evolution was taken as a given' i.e. if evolution is true, then how is it that ... and my reply was in that vein - I was explaining how _assuming that evolution is taken_ life can be in the form we see it today. I find such starting assumptions essential to progress complex and multifaceted discussing, for example I may ask 'Assuming an intelligent designer exists, how do you explain ... ' - this allows one an other to set aside some areas of disagreement for a time to further understand each others position. If you are going to weigh in to every post demanding complete evidence for every position you are going to make it very difficult for a reasonable discussion to progress.

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Yes. I agree.

In the future I suppose posts should have a preemptive statement of starting assumptions for clarity of understanding and less time wasting.

Oh, and here is my opinion on the definition of evolution. Process-no. Evolution is a hypothesis. There are fossils that seem to point to evolution, but there is so much more to a creature than what shows up in the majority of fossils! There are so many creatures that have no transitional fossils. Pointing to the very, very few transitional fossils and assuming that all life must have transitionals is not scientific.

#32 Mike Summers

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 02:00 PM

Not sure I follow - Humans are creative ergo evolution is made up?"


Precisely, Darwin wrote (created) Origin of the species." Evo is an idea not realised. It is not a process because it can not be repeated and get the same results. To be scientific it has to be observable, repeatable and falsifiable. At least that's what I read about scientific stuff.

#33 Mike Summers

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 02:04 PM

Great explanation of Natural Selection!






Yes, and I think I know who "created" this explanation--a human called foxnsox which means "it" didn't evolve.
:lol:

#34 Ron

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 02:35 PM

I think it does. The former, is more like a coach/trainer, and the latter, is the Judge.

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So evolution is sentient, and can coach/train? Amazing!!

From where does this sentience draw it's intellect and direction?

#35 Ron

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 02:39 PM

But ron, you did not refute my point, thoroughly or otherwise.

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Did you not say:

Dinosaurs became birds not because there was a choice, but because the changes that brought it towards birds worked, and all the other changes did not work (and therefore they died off).

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Or was that simply an assumption on your part, and you don't believe it is a fact?

#36 Tkubok

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 03:02 PM

Guidance = intelligence.

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Depends. Gravity may guide a comet, but i dont think gravity is intelligent. Besides, the former, is apparently rejected by the original poster.

#37 Tkubok

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 03:09 PM

So evolution is sentient, and can coach/train? Amazing!!

From where does this sentience draw it's intellect and direction?

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I believe menes777 rejected the claim that Evolution can guide.

#38 Tkubok

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 03:15 PM

Given enough time all things are possible? Evolution cop out.

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When did i say that ALL things are possible?

#39 Mike Summers

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 03:25 PM

Depends. Gravity may guide a comet, but i dont think gravity is intelligent. Besides, the former, is apparently rejected by the original poster.


"Guide" is to associated to humans which means you would be using the word to get the subtle meanings it evokes--mainly human like qualities. That's cheatig.
But then no one is claiming that gravity evolved anything either. The point of calling gravity a law is that gravity is always preditable. Gravity does not "select."


Evo's "human" traits come and go at the whim of the evo scientists or its true believers. "Evo did this or evo did that etc." Evo is acreated idea of a human. That is its origin. Evo was created by a human and then expounded upon by Darwin etc.

#40 Tkubok

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 04:48 PM

Depends. Gravity may guide a comet, but i dont think gravity is intelligent. Besides, the former, is apparently rejected by the original poster.


"Guide" is to associated to humans which means you would be using the word to get the subtle meanings it evokes--mainly human like qualities. That's cheatig.
But then no one is claiming that gravity evolved anything either. The point of calling gravity a law is that gravity is always preditable. Gravity does not "select."
Evo's "human" traits come and go at the whim of the evo scientists or its true believers. "Evo did this or evo did that etc." Evo is acreated idea of a human. That is its origin. Evo was created by a human and then expounded upon by Darwin etc.

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Thats kinda why i said "Depends". Depending on what you mean by "Guide", there are things that are not intelligent, that guide stuff. But since were talking about Evolution, and unintentional guidance, i think my example is apt.




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