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A World Without Evolution: The Repercussions


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#61 Ron

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 01:26 PM



I agree with the overall comments, but would submit that evolution could be considered a “model” based upon hypotheses. This is because evolutionists attempt to postulate a “System” of evolution. Of course, when I use the term “evolution” in this context, I am specifically talking about MACRO-evolution.



A model would be a more adequate term, however it still isn't a theory. Since a theory is the culmination of many confirmed hypotheses without any that refute it.


I totally agree, and my point wasn't giving macro "theory" status; it was merely asserting that macro can indeed be considered a model.


Considering that macro-evolution (not variation) has no confirmed hypotheses then according to the scientific method it is still in the hypothesis stage, hence my statement.


Models don't require "confirmed hypotheses", just as a hypothesis needs no verification/validation (confirmation) to be a hypothesis. A scientific model is basically a suggested explanation (abstract) using a systematic description via a number of hypotheses in the explanation. A model can be built upon, as facts are found (validation) to eventually become a theory. But, at that point it ceases being a model. Also, we typically find the use of models when it is unfeasible, impractical or impossible to create the correct experimental conditions with which to directly measure outcomes (i.e. vast distances between stars, measuring the actual heat in the center of a star (etcetera… etcetera… Blah-Blah-Blah).

This is an oversimplification to be sure, and there are many other factors involved, but it retains its meaning in my description.

#62 NewPath

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 11:15 PM

That depends on what you call speciation. If speciation is reproductive isolation then yes, it can happen quite quickly.

To borrow from Jason777:


Ok so I prefer Jason777's definition of a species, however unfortunately evolutionists don't use that definition, and refer to some aspects of micro-evolution as "macro-evolution". This just confuses the whole macro/micro debate in their favour, because they then argue that according to their own definition of macro-evolution, evolution is proveable. Entire debates can therefore be focussed on what is basically semantics when really the core changes to a species as defined by Jason777 remain unproven.

#63 JayShel

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 03:43 AM

Ok so I prefer Jason777's definition of a species, however unfortunately evolutionists don't use that definition, and refer to some aspects of micro-evolution as "macro-evolution". This just confuses the whole macro/micro debate in their favour, because they then argue that according to their own definition of macro-evolution, evolution is proveable. Entire debates can therefore be focussed on what is basically semantics when really the core changes to a species as defined by Jason777 remain unproven.


Well actually that is what they want you to think. The burden of proof is still on them to show that novel advantageous alleles can arise through random mutation as they claim. Last time I checked, under their own definition of "speciation",a "species" of bird still turns into a new "species" of bird every time. We don't see them gaining new traits and functions that would eventually require them to be classified as a different kind, a non-bird. We simply observe variation in traits that already exist.

#64 Sporktastic

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 08:02 PM

Well actually that is what they want you to think. The burden of proof is still on them to show that novel advantageous alleles can arise through random mutation as they claim. Last time I checked, under their own definition of "speciation",a "species" of bird still turns into a new "species" of bird every time. We don't see them gaining new traits and functions that would eventually require them to be classified as a different kind, a non-bird. We simply observe variation in traits that already exist.

I'm a little confused here. It seems like you're talking about several things at once. First, I thought that the fact that "novel advantageous alleles can arise through random mutation" was pretty well established, even in creationist circles. That's basically the definition of micro-evolution, and it's been seen. One example:

Some monkeys have a mutation in a protein called TRIM5 that results in a piece of another, defunct protein being tacked onto TRIM5. The result is a hybrid protein called TRIM5-CypA, which can protect cells from infection with retroviruses such as HIV. Here, a single mutation has resulted in a new protein with a new and potentially vital function. New protein, new function, new information.

http://www.newscient...nformation.html
Second, you go on to say that speciation will at most turn one species of bird into a different species of bird. But the whole idea of evolution is that change happens gradually. Birds are a class, and there is so much diversityin aves that just about any small change to an existing bird would result in something that we could still call a bird. The only way for a bird to stop being a bird is for a whole bunch of changes to pile up over a very long time. I know this makes it annoyingly difficult to prove or disprove macro-evolution, but asking evolutionists to show one animal evolving into a not-taxonomically-similar animal just doesn't make sense.

#65 NewPath

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 11:56 PM

Well actually that is what they want you to think. The burden of proof is still on them to show that novel advantageous alleles can arise through random mutation as they claim. Last time I checked, under their own definition of "speciation",a "species" of bird still turns into a new "species" of bird every time. We don't see them gaining new traits and functions that would eventually require them to be classified as a different kind, a non-bird. We simply observe variation in traits that already exist.


Well I personally believe its possible for new advantageous allele frequencies to be established merely through variation with no need of mutation, and to such an extent that the new species cannot breed with the original species. So even if the burden of proof is on them, I personally do not require proof because I believe that its common sense judging by the numerous similar species that exist today that cannot breed with eachother, when I'm pretty sure that Noah did not carry all these similar species on the ark. It seems pretty obvious that through variation new species are being created according to the evolutionist's definition of macro-evolution and species. Rather than continue with this semantic type debate, I believe its time to concede the point, acknowledge the possibility of macro-evolution according to their revised definition, and introduce a new term that is more related to beneficial insertions and amplifications in the DNA, which is required for the theory of evolution's application to the fossil record.

There would have to be continuous, numerous beneficial insertions and amplifications to explain an organism of 1 million base pairs becoming an organism of 30 BILLION base pairs, and the fact that these beneficial amplifications are not observed gives evolutionists no facts to base their theory on. The truth is the rate of destructive mutations is far greater than the rate of beneficial mutations and therefore the eventual extinction of all species seems to be the more logical projection. Devolving rather than evolving is what studies seem to be indicating, and is what the fossil record indicates as well, extinctions, less fitness across species over time.

#66 Remnant of The Abyss

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 08:18 AM

The only way for a bird to stop being a bird is for a whole bunch of changes to pile up over a very long time. I know this makes it annoyingly difficult to prove or disprove macro-evolution, but asking evolutionists to show one animal evolving into a not-taxonomically-similar animal just doesn't make sense.


On the subject of birds, many evolutionists believe that dinosaurs evolved into birds.

http://www.pbs.org/l...irds/evolution/

I'm curious if you, being a theistic evolutionist, believe this?

#67 Ron

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 09:47 AM



Well actually that is what they want you to think. The burden of proof is still on them to show that novel advantageous alleles can arise through random mutation as they claim. Last time I checked, under their own definition of "speciation",a "species" of bird still turns into a new "species" of bird every time. We don't see them gaining new traits and functions that would eventually require them to be classified as a different kind, a non-bird. We simply observe variation in traits that already exist.


I'm a little confused here. It seems like you're talking about several things at once. First, I thought that the fact that "novel advantageous alleles can arise through random mutation" was pretty well established, even in creationist circles.


No, but you can enlighten us. Please provide where your above assertions are factual.



That's basically the definition of micro-evolution, and it's been seen.


Actually, it is not; AND no it has not! But I would further caution you to re-read the forum rules concerning equivocating over the definition of macro-evolution AND the fact that it has never been observed.


One example:

Some monkeys have a mutation in a protein called TRIM5 that results in a piece of another, defunct protein being tacked onto TRIM5. The result is a hybrid protein called TRIM5-CypA, which can protect cells from infection with retroviruses such as HIV. Here, a single mutation has resulted in a new protein with a new and potentially vital function. New protein, new function, new information.



Of course, the above only provides evidence of micro-evolution (i.e. adaptation WITHIN a kind/species) if anything, because it didn’t cause the monkey to be anything other than a monkey. Therefore your attempt at an analogy is actually a non sequitur, as it does not follow from your premise of Macro-evolution.


But the whole idea of evolution is that change happens gradually.


This is what’s known as Argumentum ad Futuris (the evolutionist’s prayer for future evidence). And, as you stated, its an “idea” not a fact.

#68 Sporktastic

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 10:31 AM

Well I personally believe its possible for new advantageous allele frequencies to be established merely through variation with no need of mutation, and to such an extent that the new species cannot breed with the original species.

This is an interesting viewpoint. Where do you think the new advantageous alleles come from, if not from mutation? You say "variation", but I don't quite understand what you mean by that. Without mutation, each new generation will just have some mixture of the parent generation's alleles, so I don't see how you get new alleles.

Devolving rather than evolving is what studies seem to be indicating, and is what the fossil record indicates as well, extinctions, less fitness across species over time.

I'm not an expert in genetics, so I don't know what ongoing studies indicate about mutation rates. But I am surprised that you say the fossil record indicates "less fitness across species over time." Just at a glance, it seems like many modern animals are very finely adapted to their environments compared to the extinct ones in the lowest fossil layers. For example, modern sharks seem much more finely adapted to the role of marine apex predator than the Cambrian orthocones.

On the subject of birds, many evolutionists believe that dinosaurs evolved into birds.

http://www.pbs.org/l...irds/evolution/

I'm curious if you, being a theistic evolutionist, believe this?

Yes, I do. There is always some uncertainty in research that is concerned with the past, so I don't have complete certainty in any particular model of how a given group of creatures evolved. But I think the dinosaurs->birds transition is one of the better-evidenced ones, along with reptiles->mammals and land mammals->whales.

#69 Sporktastic

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 10:55 AM

Ron: For clarity, I'm going to respond to your post a little out of order.

Of course, the above only provides evidence of micro-evolution (i.e. adaptation WITHIN a kind/species) if anything, because it didn’t cause the monkey to be anything other than a monkey. Therefore your attempt at an analogy is actually a non sequitur, as it does not follow from your premise of Macro-evolution.

I don't understand. In my post, I specifically talked about "micro-evolution". I never mentioned macro-evolution, let alone set it up as a premise. It sounds like you agree that the monkey example does provide evidence of micro-evolution, which is exactly what I wanted it to do.

No, but you can enlighten us. Please provide where your above assertions are factual.

That was the idea of the monkey example. It was one instance in which mutation created a new and advantageous allele, which is exactly what JayShel seemed to imply never happens. I can go back to the website I linked and find a few more, if you want.

Actually, it is not; AND no it has not! But I would further caution you to re-read the forum rules concerning equivocating over the definition of macro-evolution AND the fact that it has never been observed.

I'm well aware of this forum's "zero-tolerance" policy on equivocation, which is why I never mentioned macro-evolution in my post. What I said is that micro-evolution has been observed, as in the monkey example. This is based on a definition of micro-evolution as the generation and proliferation of adaptively advantageous alleles in a population. Is this a fair definition? If not, I'm not trying to equivocate on this point, and I would appreciate a better definition so that I can be more precise in later posts.

This is what’s known as Argumentum ad Futuris (the evolutionist’s prayer for future evidence). And, as you stated, its an “idea” not a fact.

I certainly didn't mean to imply that the "idea that change happens gradually" is evidence for evolution. All I want to show is that JayShel is not being reasonable when he requests that evolutionists show him a mutation that causes a bird to stop being a bird. Evolutionists would not expect such a sudden change to occur either.

#70 NewPath

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 12:54 PM

This is an interesting viewpoint. Where do you think the new advantageous alleles come from, if not from mutation? You say "variation", but I don't quite understand what you mean by that. Without mutation, each new generation will just have some mixture of the parent generation's alleles, so I don't see how you get new alleles.

I'm still learning about genetics so if I get the explanation incorrect hopefully a biologist or someone can correct me. Alleles are detectable variations in a gene or genes. ie a child will be different to his parents because you don't inherit identical genes, instead you get a seemingly random combination of your parent's genes. When an animal finds itself in a new environment there is a tendency for the healthiest to breed with the healthiest, so whatever characteristic is most needed in an animal, nature will start to reflect that characteristic in that species over time. ie if a leopard finds itself in an environment where game and trees are scarce, there is a chance that the fastest non-climbing leopards will do better than the slower tree dependent types. You could end up with a cheetah-like leopard doing well, smaller, faster, not storing food in trees. Separate the cheetah types from the leopard types for 500 years and they may not be able to breed with eachother, and this does not require mutation, just natural variation of children from parents, and natural selection of the healthiest often breeding with the healthiest. You end up with a different allele frequency (a new average in the genetic pattern) without any mutations or growths in the length of the genome. All the new isolated "cheetah types" have adapted to the barren environment and will show similarly detectable genetic alleles to their own kind, and yet different genetic alleles to their distant cousins who are still in their original environments, and so a new "allele frequency" is detected in the new population through variation and natural selection without the need for mutation.

So in this manner organisms can evolve rapidly within their genome length, to suit their new environments, but this has nothing to do with the theory of evolution as an explanation for the so-called geologic column. Whereby its claimed that organisms of 1 million genetic base pairs can show continuous beneficial mutational increases in the length of the genome to reach 3 billion base pairs of genetic usefulness. That is evolutionary theory completely unrelated to observational reality.

I'm not an expert in genetics, so I don't know what ongoing studies indicate about mutation rates. But I am surprised that you say the fossil record indicates "less fitness across species over time." Just at a glance, it seems like many modern animals are very finely adapted to their environments compared to the extinct ones in the lowest fossil layers. For example, modern sharks seem much more finely adapted to the role of marine apex predator than the Cambrian orthocones.

I was merely referring to 1) the number of extinctions compared to the number of so-called new species (less fitness means extinctions) and 2) the number of observed destructive mutations compared to the number of observed constructive mutations.

I do agree with you that most species are highly adapted to their current environments, I believe God made this quick adaptation possible simply through the mechanism of variation ( my child will be different to me).

#71 Ron

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 01:29 PM

Ron: For clarity, I'm going to respond to your post a little out of order.
I don't understand. In my post, I specifically talked about "micro-evolution". I never mentioned macro-evolution, let alone set it up as a premise. It sounds like you agree that the monkey example does provide evidence of micro-evolution, which is exactly what I wanted it to do.


My bad Spork... I was in a conversation with someone else, and that overlapped into this one. I apologize for the misunderstanding on my part.

#72 Sporktastic

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 02:01 PM

My bad Spork... I was in a conversation with someone else, and that overlapped into this one. I apologize for the misunderstanding on my part.

Not a problem :). The terms "micro" and "macro" look way too similar.

I'm still learning about genetics so if I get the explanation incorrect hopefully a biologist or someone can correct me. Alleles are detectable variations in a gene or genes. ie a child will be different to his parents because you don't inherit identical genes, instead you get a seemingly random combination of your parent's genes.

Sounds right to me. An allele is more specifically a single gene or group of genes that code for one "trait" in which variations are detectable. The genes that code for hair color are one example of an allele. The thing to keep in mind when comparing a child's alleles to its parents' is that the child will not have any new alleles. He or she will have, as you said, some random combination of the parents' alleles. Mixing and matching alleles can definitely help fix an already present, beneficial allele in a population. But I don't think it can ever produce a new trait, not even a minor one. On the other hand, a lucky mutation can produce a completely new trait, like the HIV resistance in monkeys I cited before.

When an animal finds itself in a new environment there is a tendency for the healthiest to breed with the healthiest, so whatever characteristic is most needed in an animal, nature will start to reflect that characteristic in that species over time. ie if a leopard finds itself in an environment where game and trees are scarce, there is a chance that the fastest non-climbing leopards will do better than the slower tree dependent types. You could end up with a cheetah-like leopard doing well, smaller, faster, not storing food in trees. Separate the cheetah types from the leopard types for 500 years and they may not be able to breed with eachother, and this does not require mutation, just natural variation of children from parents, and natural selection of the healthiest often breeding with the healthiest. You end up with a different allele frequency (a new average in the genetic pattern) without any mutations or growths in the length of the genome. All the new isolated "cheetah types" have adapted to the barren environment and will show similarly detectable genetic alleles to their own kind, and yet different genetic alleles to their distant cousins who are still in their original environments, and so a new "allele frequency" is detected in the new population through variation and natural selection without the need for mutation.

That makes sense, but how did all of these alleles come to be in the population in the first place? Did God create the original leopards with all sorts of alleles "hiding" in their genome, waiting to be selected for when the time came to adapt? And if so, why weren't the original leopards extremely unfit for their environments, since they had so much extra genetic "baggage" in store for future adaptations? If nothing else, expressing an unnecessary trait wastes energy, which is especially dangerous for an apex predator like the leopard for whom meals are hard to get and unpredictable in timing.

#73 NewPath

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 02:37 PM

That makes sense, but how did all of these alleles come to be in the population in the first place? Did God create the original leopards with all sorts of alleles "hiding" in their genome, waiting to be selected for when the time came to adapt? And if so, why weren't the original leopards extremely unfit for their environments, since they had so much extra genetic "baggage" in store for future adaptations? If nothing else, expressing an unnecessary trait wastes energy, which is especially dangerous for an apex predator like the leopard for whom meals are hard to get and unpredictable in timing.

God created the leopard with the ability to produce offspring slightly different to itself. Instead of each gene being identical, the siblings show variations from eachother. Instead of each sibling looking identical to eachother by all being a perfect average of the two parents' features, some have larger ears than the average of the two parents, some have smaller ears, and some do have the average of the two parents. The same with speed, endurance, nose size, smell, sight etc etc. So God created organisms with the ability to vary from their parents, combined with natural selection, this creates organisms with the ability to adapt to environments. No mutation is necessary for this. I believe this is commonly observable. However this CANNOT cause a simple organism of 1 million base pairs to grow into an organism of 3 billion base pairs, the two processes are completely unrelated, the one is observable and maintains the same genome length, the other is not observable, is merely a hypothesis and involves continuous beneficial DNA lengthening mutations.

Sounds right to me. An allele is more specifically a single gene or group of genes that code for one "trait" in which variations are detectable. The genes that code for hair color are one example of an allele. The thing to keep in mind when comparing a child's alleles to its parents' is that the child will not have any new alleles. He or she will have, as you said, some random combination of the parents' alleles. Mixing and matching alleles can definitely help fix an already present, beneficial allele in a population. But I don't think it can ever produce a new trait, not even a minor one. On the other hand, a lucky mutation can produce a completely new trait, like the HIV resistance in monkeys I cited before.


What you say here does not sound correct to me, you seem to contradict yourself. The child may have a random combination of the parent's genes, but the differences involve new alleles in my eyes. When a whole population is shown to have a certain new set of alleles compared to the original population, this is a changed allele frequency, and can have some quite different characteristics to the old population even though retaining the same genome structure. I could be wrong, but this is how I see it. If I could choose the terminology, I would call it micro-evolution even though you can get quite dramatic changes to organisms via this process. Its when the genome length increases that I would prefer to call it macro-evolution and believe its extremely hypothetical on the scale evolutionists claim.

#74 Teejay

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 04:43 PM

[quote] name='Ron' timestamp='1331042338' post='81243']
A World Without Evolution is like a Day Without Sunshine! What, then, would the atheists have to base their faith on?
[/quote]

Ron, I can answer that. Anything but the one true God. There's a passage in the Bible where God tells Israel: "You take a limb off of a tree and carve a god that will not topple. Then you bow down and worship this wooden god. And with the other end of the limb you build a fire and cook something to eat [paraphrased]. This was done by Israel who saw countless miracles.

What rational man would believe Joseph Smith? Yet, Mormonism is one of the fastest growing religions in the world.

Islam is the worship of a pagan moon god named Allah. Tell this truth to a Muslim and he will kill you.

And there are Americans who still believe that OJ is innocent. Go figure!

I think Paul put it best in Romans 1:18-22.

Ron, you seem to know how to use logic. Can you recommend a good starter book on logic?

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#75 Sporktastic

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 06:25 PM

God created the leopard with the ability to produce offspring slightly different to itself. Instead of each gene being identical, the siblings show variations from eachother. Instead of each sibling looking identical to eachother by all being a perfect average of the two parents' features, some have larger ears than the average of the two parents, some have smaller ears, and some do have the average of the two parents. The same with speed, endurance, nose size, smell, sight etc etc. So God created organisms with the ability to vary from their parents, combined with natural selection, this creates organisms with the ability to adapt to environments. No mutation is necessary for this. I believe this is commonly observable. However this CANNOT cause a simple organism of 1 million base pairs to grow into an organism of 3 billion base pairs, the two processes are completely unrelated, the one is observable and maintains the same genome length, the other is not observable, is merely a hypothesis and involves continuous beneficial DNA lengthening mutations.

I guess the term "allele" is flexible, and your choice of terminology sounds fine to me. Instead of alleles, let's talk about individual genes. Each gene, or at least each coding gene, will code for some protein. Some genes will be universally beneficial to an animal. Going with the leopard example, a gene that codes for an enzyme in saliva that makes digestion more efficient would be a fitness advantage in any environment. Other genes will offer tradeoffs, like one that might weaken the intercellular bonds in muscles to increase flexibility at the expense of endurance. In any environment, beneficial genes or combinations of genes will be selected for and become more common, while harmful/wasteful genes will be selected against and gradually disappear. Since one phenotype is often governed by many genes, it is possible for a newborn organism to have traits that are different from its parents'. A leopard might get high endurance from its father and long legs from its mother, and between the two these genes might allow it to run faster than either parent.

But it's important to realize that both of these genes, and indeed any genes that the child can have, must already be present in the parent population. This means that in order for some advantageous trait to proliferate in response to a new environment, all of the genes that make up that trait must be present and "waiting" in the original population before the environmental change ever takes place. Many of these extra genes would be a fitness disadvantage before it came time to adapt, whether because they make undesirable tradeoffs or just because coding for useless proteins is a waste of nutrients. Saying that new animals can "vary from their parents" isn't a solution, because this variation is limited to different combinations of whatever genes the parents already have. On the other hand, beneficial mutations provide a ready solution to the problem, because they allow adaptive genes to come into existence after they become useful.

As for 1 million base pairs becoming 3 billion, that's a whole other can of worms. It's an interesting question, but right now I'm trying to focus on showing that micro-evolution does not work without mutation.

#76 JayShel

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 09:02 PM

I'm a little confused here. It seems like you're talking about several things at once. I'm a little confused here. It seems like you're talking about several things at once. First, I thought that the fact that "novel advantageous alleles can arise through random mutation" was pretty well established, even in creationist circles. That's basically the definition of micro-evolution, and it's been seen. One example:

Some monkeys have a mutation in a protein called TRIM5 that results in a piece of another, defunct protein being tacked onto TRIM5. The result is a hybrid protein called TRIM5-CypA, which can protect cells from infection with retroviruses such as HIV. Here, a single mutation has resulted in a new protein with a new and potentially vital function. New protein, new function, new information.

http://www.newscient...nformation.html


Actually you are correct. Technically, all novel mutations would create novel alleles, beneficial or not (usually not or neutral). Mutations that are beneficial like this, would be a novel advantageous allele by definition. My original claim of no novel advantageous alleles is incorrect, it is simply not a new gene but a variation of an existing gene.

Second, you go on to say that speciation will at most turn one species of bird into a different species of bird. But the whole idea of evolution is that change happens gradually. Birds are a class, and there is so much diversityin aves that just about any small change to an existing bird would result in something that we could still call a bird. The only way for a bird to stop being a bird is for a whole bunch of changes to pile up over a very long time. I know this makes it annoyingly difficult to prove or disprove macro-evolution, but asking evolutionists to show one animal evolving into a not-taxonomically-similar animal just doesn't make sense.


What would make sense is new physical features arising given the predictions of evolution, but what we observe is a limitation to just how far an organism can change. The boundaries of bird species have not been challenged with any number of features that exist in other species that could "potentially" arise given the "unlimited creative power of mutations + time". Birds are highly diverse, and you are correct that no one new trait would cause an organism to not be classified as a bird, but there should be some surprises there, some features that challenge the status quo of birds.

#77 JayShel

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 09:18 PM

As for 1 million base pairs becoming 3 billion, that's a whole other can of worms. It's an interesting question, but right now I'm trying to focus on showing that micro-evolution does not work without mutation.


Recently I have come across literature discussing variation-inducing genetic elements (VIGE), which are basically algorithms within the genome that allow for semi-rapid adaptation:

1) Genetic elements known as endogenous retroviruses (ERVs)
2) Genetic elements known as long terminal repeats (LTR) retrotransposons
3) Non-LTR retrotransposons (LINEs)
4) Short interspersed elements (SINEs)
5) Repetitive triplet sequences (RTS)
6) Transposons (in plants)
7) IS elements (in bacteria)

http://wikibin.org/a...ic-element.html


The output of (morpho) genetic algorithms present in the baranome can readily be modulated by variation-inducing genetic elements (VIGEs).
http://creation.com/vige-introduction


See also: http://creation.com/vige-function

...variation-inducing genetic elements (VIGEs) [...] make sure the new variation is heritable. [...] they induce variation in the genetic algorithms and may underlie rapid adaptive radiation from uncommitted pluripotent genomes.



#78 Sporktastic

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 09:24 PM

The boundaries of bird species have not been challenged with any number of features that exist in other species that could "potentially" arise given the "unlimited creative power of mutations + time". Birds are highly diverse, and you are correct that no one new trait would cause an organism to not be classified as a bird, but there should be some surprises there, some features that challenge the status quo of birds.

I guess I can't think of any new bird traits that are going in a "non-bird" direction, whatever that would mean. This is why I prefer genetic and fossil evidence for demonstrating anything macro.

#79 JayShel

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 09:56 PM

I guess I can't think of any new bird traits that are going in a "non-bird" direction, whatever that would mean. This is why I prefer genetic and fossil evidence for demonstrating anything macro.


Birds that cannot fly could potentially have mutations act on feathers to change them into something new, since they are not necessary. Birds could also potentially develop teeth (again?) or maybe evolve back into dinosaurs. It is difficult to think of advantageous traits that would make birds non-birds, but it is not impossible since it has been done when extrapolated into the past, and if evolution is true, we should see more boundary-pushing traits occurring (or potentially recurring when assuming that dinosaurs evolved into birds).

My main objection here is we should see all kinds of weird physical traits, advantageous or not, sprouting up constantly. I mean, why not see antler nubs on one bird, or a bird with forwards facing knees? That is based on the understanding that "anything is possible by mutation". Some of these traits should fixate too! Am I expecting too much?

#80 NewPath

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 02:43 AM

I guess the term "allele" is flexible, and your choice of terminology sounds fine to me. Instead of alleles, let's talk about individual genes. Each gene, or at least each coding gene, will code for some protein. Some genes will be universally beneficial to an animal. Going with the leopard example, a gene that codes for an enzyme in saliva that makes digestion more efficient would be a fitness advantage in any environment. Other genes will offer tradeoffs, like one that might weaken the intercellular bonds in muscles to increase flexibility at the expense of endurance. In any environment, beneficial genes or combinations of genes will be selected for and become more common, while harmful/wasteful genes will be selected against and gradually disappear. Since one phenotype is often governed by many genes, it is possible for a newborn organism to have traits that are different from its parents'. A leopard might get high endurance from its father and long legs from its mother, and between the two these genes might allow it to run faster than either parent.

But it's important to realize that both of these genes, and indeed any genes that the child can have, must already be present in the parent population. This means that in order for some advantageous trait to proliferate in response to a new environment, all of the genes that make up that trait must be present and "waiting" in the original population before the environmental change ever takes place. Many of these extra genes would be a fitness disadvantage before it came time to adapt, whether because they make undesirable tradeoffs or just because coding for useless proteins is a waste of nutrients. Saying that new animals can "vary from their parents" isn't a solution, because this variation is limited to different combinations of whatever genes the parents already have. On the other hand, beneficial mutations provide a ready solution to the problem, because they allow adaptive genes to come into existence after they become useful.


I quickly looked up genetic variation in asexual organisms, expecting to contradict you by finding variations in their genes. I was expecting always a slight drift away from the parent, that would keep the same allele frequency across the population only in a steady environment. I was surprised to find that in fact asexual organisms are gentically identical to the parent and therefore there is no genetic drift at all, which does fit in with your argument. Even so , I still disagree with you because practical genetic breeding programs have been able to enhance features to greater levels than either of the parents and this is easily established with virtually any breeding program. You may claim mutations, I see it as natural variations in the child that can have a 50% chance of an enhanced feature and 50% chance of a lessening of a feature. If you keep breeding the enhanced offspring, you will keep enhancing the feature, this is what happens and not in a random "wait for a mutation" type of manner. All you need to do is start with a large population, and keep breeding the 10% most extreme of a feature together. After a few generations the offspring always are enhanced for that feature beyond anything seen in the genetic range of the original population. This enhanced feature will occur every time you intentially breed it, with the only limitation being that the balance of the organism can no longer cope with the extreme feature, nature requires slower changes so that the animal can adapt in a more wholeseome manner, with a whole balance of features that can support the new environmental requirement (ie speed in a cheetah).




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