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A World Without Evolution: The Repercussions


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#81 Ron

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 04:10 AM

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?


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?

TeeJay



There are a quite a few that I can recomend TJ ...

If you want an outstanding book on pure logic:

Come, Let Us Reason (An Introduction to Logical Thinking)
Norman L. Geisler and Ronald M. Brooks

A good companion book to the above is -
Introduction to Phylosophy (A Christian Prospective)
Norman L. Geisler and Paul D. Feinberg

Below are some really good Christian Apologetics from a logicians perspective:

Reasonable Faith (Christian Truth and Apologetics) ~ William Lane Craig

Always Ready (Directions for Defending the Faith) ~ Greg L. Bahnsen

#82 Teejay

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 05:47 AM

[quote] name='Ron' timestamp='1334833818' post='83315']
There are a quite a few that I can recomend TJ ...

If you want an outstanding book on pure logic:

Come, Let Us Reason (An Introduction to Logical Thinking)
Norman L. Geisler and Ronald M. Brooks

A good companion book to the above is -
Introduction to Phylosophy (A Christian Prospective)
Norman L. Geisler and Paul D. Feinberg

Below are some really good Christian Apologetics from a logicians perspective:

Reasonable Faith (Christian Truth and Apologetics) ~ William Lane Craig

Always Ready (Directions for Defending the Faith) ~ Greg L. Bahnsen
[/quote]

Ron, thanks much. I love both Geisler and Bahnsen. As an aside, I recollect that Bahnsen wrote a paper on Physicalism. I remember seeing it but have not read it. It is said that Dr. Bahnsen never lost a debate with an atheist.

TeeJay

#83 Ron

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 06:56 AM

name='Ron' timestamp='1334833818' post='83315']
There are a quite a few that I can recomend TJ ...

If you want an outstanding book on pure logic:

Come, Let Us Reason (An Introduction to Logical Thinking)
Norman L. Geisler and Ronald M. Brooks

A good companion book to the above is -
Introduction to Phylosophy (A Christian Prospective)
Norman L. Geisler and Paul D. Feinberg

Below are some really good Christian Apologetics from a logicians perspective:

Reasonable Faith (Christian Truth and Apologetics) ~ William Lane Craig

Always Ready (Directions for Defending the Faith) ~ Greg L. Bahnsen


Ron, thanks much. I love both Geisler and Bahnsen. As an aside, I recollect that Bahnsen wrote a paper on Physicalism. I remember seeing it but have not read it. It is said that Dr. Bahnsen never lost a debate with an atheist.

TeeJay


Geisler is a prodigious writer of scholarly works of academic renown. I have an electronic library of his works, and it doesn’t even scratch the surface of his works.

Bahnsen, as a formal debater, was regarded as the “man atheists feared the most.” You can find his debates on you tube (but I added a transcript of his most famous debate linked below.

He also received two degrees simultaneously, (Master of Divinity and Master of Theology) which IS NOT an easy task, and wrote quite a lot himself (just nowhere near the volume of Geisler).

Some Bahnsen debates:
http://www.bellevuec..._Transcript.pdf

#84 Sporktastic

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 02:05 PM

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).

Yes, I agree that breeding programs can enhance a trait in a population to levels far beyond what any individuals had to begin with. But it doesn't make any sense to say that this is because of "natural variations" as opposed to mutations. Because, really, what is a "natural variation" with no mutation involved? It really is nothing more than mixing and matching whatever genes the parents already had. Like I said before, this can lead to some enhancement of traits beyond what either parent had, because each parent might contribute a different gene that affects the same phenotypic trait. But once all the genes that affect a certain trait have been "distilled" down to the strongest forms that are present in a population, there is no way for that trait to progress any further without mutation.

I can see how you might think intuitively that, for example, breeding two big-eared foxes should always have a chance to produce an even bigger-eared cub. Think about the genetics involved, though, and you'll see that there's no way biologically for that to happen if each parent already has all the big-ear genes that the population has to offer. Like you said, though, with selective breeding we are able to enhance traits far, far beyond what was present in the original population, sometimes even to the point of reducing fitness (like with toy dogs). I see this as evidence for the role of mutation, because only mutations can produce ever more exaggerated traits as generations pass.

In dismissing the importance of mutations, I think you might be overestimating the size of each mutation. When you talk about a "wait for mutation type of manner", it makes me think you're envisioning something like this: Normal foxes give birth to a cub with freakishly large ears... selective breeding spreads the massive-ears gene throughout the population... rinse and repeat. This is hardly ever the case. Instead, any one mutation might increase ear size just a little bit. Only by piling up over time do mutations create large changes. In this respect, mutations are a lot like the natural variations you keep talking about. The difference is that s*xual recombination can only distill whatever traits are already floating around in the population, but mutations can actually make "new" traits if they are selected for.

#85 NewPath

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 10:58 PM

Yes, I agree that breeding programs can enhance a trait in a population to levels far beyond what any individuals had to begin with. But it doesn't make any sense to say that this is because of "natural variations" as opposed to mutations. Because, really, what is a "natural variation" with no mutation involved? It really is nothing more than mixing and matching whatever genes the parents already had. Like I said before, this can lead to some enhancement of traits beyond what either parent had, because each parent might contribute a different gene that affects the same phenotypic trait. But once all the genes that affect a certain trait have been "distilled" down to the strongest forms that are present in a population, there is no way for that trait to progress any further without mutation.

I can see how you might think intuitively that, for example, breeding two big-eared foxes should always have a chance to produce an even bigger-eared cub. Think about the genetics involved, though, and you'll see that there's no way biologically for that to happen if each parent already has all the big-ear genes that the population has to offer. Like you said, though, with selective breeding we are able to enhance traits far, far beyond what was present in the original population, sometimes even to the point of reducing fitness (like with toy dogs). I see this as evidence for the role of mutation, because only mutations can produce ever more exaggerated traits as generations pass.

In dismissing the importance of mutations, I think you might be overestimating the size of each mutation. When you talk about a "wait for mutation type of manner", it makes me think you're envisioning something like this: Normal foxes give birth to a cub with freakishly large ears... selective breeding spreads the massive-ears gene throughout the population... rinse and repeat. This is hardly ever the case. Instead, any one mutation might increase ear size just a little bit. Only by piling up over time do mutations create large changes. In this respect, mutations are a lot like the natural variations you keep talking about. The difference is that s*xual recombination can only distill whatever traits are already floating around in the population, but mutations can actually make "new" traits if they are selected for.


I think I have to concede your one point about the offspring being limited by the genetic variation found in the original population, based on the nature of the combined gene. So we have 3 billion base pairs in Adam and 3 billion base pairs in Eve, and without mutation we are restricted to these. However I have no idea of the maths of the variety of combinations we can have from 6 billion base pairs. 2x2x2x2x2x2x2x2x2x2 (carry on with another 2999 999 990 twos and we have the answer of the number of combinations) the variety is practically infinite, which makes macro-evolution possible through micro-evolution.

Here's one for maths boffs to check my maths, if there was variety in only the first 100 base pairs (from Adam and Eve) and the rest were all from Adam, already the possiblities are this big:
1 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000

#86 gilbo12345

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 05:53 AM

1. Yes, I agree that breeding programs can enhance a trait in a population to levels far beyond what any individuals had to begin with. But it doesn't make any sense to say that this is because of "natural variations" as opposed to mutations. Because, really, what is a "natural variation" with no mutation involved? It really is nothing more than mixing and matching whatever genes the parents already had. Like I said before, this can lead to some enhancement of traits beyond what either parent had, because each parent might contribute a different gene that affects the same phenotypic trait. But once all the genes that affect a certain trait have been "distilled" down to the strongest forms that are present in a population, there is no way for that trait to progress any further without mutation.

2. I can see how you might think intuitively that, for example, breeding two big-eared foxes should always have a chance to produce an even bigger-eared cub. Think about the genetics involved, though, and you'll see that there's no way biologically for that to happen if each parent already has all the big-ear genes that the population has to offer. Like you said, though, with selective breeding we are able to enhance traits far, far beyond what was present in the original population, sometimes even to the point of reducing fitness (like with toy dogs). I see this as evidence for the role of mutation, because only mutations can produce ever more exaggerated traits as generations pass.


3. In dismissing the importance of mutations, I think you might be overestimating the size of each mutation. When you talk about a "wait for mutation type of manner", it makes me think you're envisioning something like this: Normal foxes give birth to a cub with freakishly large ears... selective breeding spreads the massive-ears gene throughout the population... rinse and repeat.


4. This is hardly ever the case.

5. Instead, any one mutation might increase ear size just a little bit. Only by piling up over time do mutations create large changes. In this respect, mutations are a lot like the natural variations you keep talking about. The difference is that s*xual recombination can only distill whatever traits are already floating around in the population, but mutations can actually make "new" traits if they are selected for.


1. All you have stated here is that if evolution is assumed to be true then it requires mutation..

2. I hope you realise that there are differences in the amount of variation... In your example the offspring may well have larger ears than its parents solely due to the variation and amount of expression of that gene. It is the same the other way, there may be some offspring born with smaller ears also. Descriptive values such as large, small etc do not hold a specified amount which cannot be exceeded.

Nope totally wrong it has nothing to do with mutation, its merely selective breeding.

3. Actually that is how many evolutionists envisage evolution, you yourself do as well since in order to get fixation of the first bout of mutations your method implies it needs to go through this process... Therefore I believe you may need to research a bit more, since fixation of a trait is very much a crucial factor to consider

4. I've just shown how it is always the case....

5. You do realise you've made some huge assumptions...

- that there is a build up of the same mutation which leads to an increased exageration of a feature
- that ALL these mutations are benign
- that the amount of mutations the organism is required to endure to get the % amount of these very specific mutations are also benign
- that all these accumulative mutations occur in the egg or sperm of the organism, rather than an external mutation which cannot be passed on.
- that these mutations reach fixation within a population
- that these successive mutations also occur within the same population
- that genetic drift doesn't snub out these mutations, (if there is no fitness benefit then there is over 99% chance they will be snubbed out, due to the unique and singular nature of the mutation in the population)
- that these mutation occurs in the first place

Now that is alot of assumptions for something claimed to be "true" and scientific.... Hmmm

#87 NewPath

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 11:06 AM

2. I hope you realise that there are differences in the amount of variation... In your example the offspring may well have larger ears than its parents solely due to the variation and amount of expression of that gene. It is the same the other way, there may be some offspring born with smaller ears also. Descriptive values such as large, small etc do not hold a specified amount which cannot be exceeded.


We were discussing this sort of topic in another thread, and I have just realised today that the extent of diversity (outside of mutation) is limited to the genes found in the original genomes as was originally explained to me in that thread. However as I just stated to Sporktastic this does create nearly an infinite variety of possible genetic combinations which does allow for extreme diversity given enough time for a balanced set of advantageous alleles to set into the diversifying population. ie its not just the big ear gene, maybe Jane inherits a big head gene from her mother and big ear gene from her father, and a big organ gene from her mother and extra earlobe fat cells from her father. Shes slightly overweight and so she's got 4 genes that contribute towards her big ears when her parents only each had two. Combined with a different more modern diet and vitamins, she is larger than her parents and therefore has incredibly large ears, nothing even like her father's big ears. Silly example, but just an idea how the genetic limitations of being confined to the existing genetic pool can still allow for continuous adaptive combinations that can keep enhancing a feature through nearly infinite combinations of genes creating a new look , new behaviour organism. This would be especially prevalent in those animals that had 7 and not 2 representatives on the ark. There would be some limitations because of being confined to only those original two possibilities for each base pair however the number of variations/combinations of genes that can effect or enhance a feature are nearly infinite.

Add to this environmental factors that also have a changing effect, ie plants grown in a highly oxygenated high pressure chamber can reach amazing sizes, we could have organisms of the same core genetic make-up changed by their environment and also genetically adapted to their environment which are nearly unrecognisable from modern ones.

#88 Sporktastic

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 02:03 PM

1. All you have stated here is that if evolution is assumed to be true then it requires mutation..

2. I hope you realise that there are differences in the amount of variation... In your example the offspring may well have larger ears than its parents solely due to the variation and amount of expression of that gene. It is the same the other way, there may be some offspring born with smaller ears also. Descriptive values such as large, small etc do not hold a specified amount which cannot be exceeded.

Nope totally wrong it has nothing to do with mutation, its merely selective breeding.

3. Actually that is how many evolutionists envisage evolution, you yourself do as well since in order to get fixation of the first bout of mutations your method implies it needs to go through this process... Therefore I believe you may need to research a bit more, since fixation of a trait is very much a crucial factor to consider

4. I've just shown how it is always the case....

5. You do realise you've made some huge assumptions...

- that there is a build up of the same mutation which leads to an increased exageration of a feature
- that ALL these mutations are benign
- that the amount of mutations the organism is required to endure to get the % amount of these very specific mutations are also benign
- that all these accumulative mutations occur in the egg or sperm of the organism, rather than an external mutation which cannot be passed on.
- that these mutations reach fixation within a population
- that these successive mutations also occur within the same population
- that genetic drift doesn't snub out these mutations, (if there is no fitness benefit then there is over 99% chance they will be snubbed out, due to the unique and singular nature of the mutation in the population)
- that these mutation occurs in the first place

Now that is alot of assumptions for something claimed to be "true" and scientific.... Hmmm

I really like your method of numbering the post you are responding to instead of breaking it up into multiple quotes. I might start using it :).

1. Yes, but what I am trying to show is that even micro-evolution requires mutation. In this post, I am going to focus on the example of dogs. Most creationists I have talked to agree that domestic dogs are a "kind", and that all the current breeds of dogs came from a common ancestor through adaptation and/or selective breeding. I aim to show that this could not have happened without mutation.

2. What is meant by "variation and amount of expression of [a] gene?" I mean, biologically, in detail, what process are you talking about? When two animals mate, the offspring get some combination of the parents' genes. Period. Please correct me if I'm misrepresenting you, but it sounds like you are saying: "When two animals mate, the offspring get some combination of the parents' genes plus a little variation in expression because that's just what happens when animals reproduce." If that is what you are saying, it is simply, biologically wrong. If not, I apologize for making a straw man, and look forward to a clarification. Either way, "descriptive values such as large, small etc" do have limits under variation without mutation. When all the genes that enhance a given trait are present in one individual, there is biologically no way to enhance that trait any farther.

3 and 4. I may have been unclear. You are right that "mutation-->fixation-->repeat" is the usual cycle by which populations evolve. I was objecting to the similar but different cycle of "huge mutation-->fixation-->wait a long time-->repeat". In pretty much all micro-evolution that has been observed, the biggest changes have come from a string of small mutations rather than a single big one. I just wanted to remind NewPath that mutation can lead to gradual, continuous change like he was describing.

5. All of the things you call "assumptions" are things that must be true if mutation plays a big role in micro-evolution. But I do not rely on any of them to show that mutation plays such a big role. In a nutshell, my reasoning is simply: "Micro-evolution leads to variations that are far too big to be explained only by mixing and matching pre-existing genes. Therefore, mutation must also play an important role." Actually, since the facts you listed must be true for mutation to play an important role, they are conclusions of my argument rather than assumptions.

We were discussing this sort of topic in another thread, and I have just realised today that the extent of diversity (outside of mutation) is limited to the genes found in the original genomes as was originally explained to me in that thread. However as I just stated to Sporktastic this does create nearly an infinite variety of possible genetic combinations which does allow for extreme diversity given enough time for a balanced set of advantageous alleles to set into the diversifying population. ie its not just the big ear gene, maybe Jane inherits a big head gene from her mother and big ear gene from her father, and a big organ gene from her mother and extra earlobe fat cells from her father. Shes slightly overweight and so she's got 4 genes that contribute towards her big ears when her parents only each had two. Combined with a different more modern diet and vitamins, she is larger than her parents and therefore has incredibly large ears, nothing even like her father's big ears. Silly example, but just an idea how the genetic limitations of being confined to the existing genetic pool can still allow for continuous adaptive combinations that can keep enhancing a feature through nearly infinite combinations of genes creating a new look , new behaviour organism. This would be especially prevalent in those animals that had 7 and not 2 representatives on the ark. There would be some limitations because of being confined to only those original two possibilities for each base pair however the number of variations/combinations of genes that can effect or enhance a feature are nearly infinite.

Add to this environmental factors that also have a changing effect, ie plants grown in a highly oxygenated high pressure chamber can reach amazing sizes, we could have organisms of the same core genetic make-up changed by their environment and also genetically adapted to their environment which are nearly unrecognisable from modern ones.

I am glad you brought up the ark, because it makes my point easier to illustrate. According to Leviticus 11:27, dogs are an unclean animal, so there were only two of them on the ark. How could two dogs have all the genes necessary to make all the breeds that exist today? I admit that mixing and matching genes can create a surprising amount of diversity, but english mastiffs can weigh over 20 times as much as chihuahuas. Do you really think that the two ark dogs were carrying around enough conflicting genes to generate body masses that differed by a factor of 20 depending on how they were arranged? Also consider dog breeds that were created more recently, like the Australian cattle dog. In these cases, a breed that has already evolved from the common dog-ancestor responds to new selective pressures and starts evolving in a different direction. Under your model, not only did the ark dogs need to have enough genetic diversity to make all the modern breeds, they needed to have so much diversity that even after evolving into a particular breed they would still have enough diversity to evolve more when the need arose. That is just too much diversity to pack into only two individuals.

As a side note, you mentioned that plants can change radically in size depending on the conditions, which is interesting. But these changes are developmental, not genetic. They do not get passed on from generation to generation. If you bred a normally short plant in a hyperbaric chamber for 100 generations, it might get very tall, but as soon as you planted one of its seedlings outside it would go right back to being short. By contrast, two dogs of different breeds will grow up to be very different even if they are raised in identical environments, so we know that many of the most important differences are genetic.

#89 JayShel

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 03:15 PM

1. Yes, but what I am trying to show is that even micro-evolution requires mutation. [...] I aim to show that this could not have happened without mutation.


Yet mutation is not always random copy mistakes, contrary to popular belief. In some cases it is affected by the genome itself, by algorithms that shuffle and change the genome in specific, predetermined ways.

Most inheritable variation we observe within the human population may be due to VIGEs (variety inducing genetic elements)—Elements that affect morphogenetic and other programs of baranomes. It should be noted that a huge part of the genomic sequences are ‘redundant’ adaptors, spacers, duplicators, etc., which can be removed from the genome without major affects on reproductive success (fitness). In bacteria, VIGEs have been coined IS elements; in plants they are known as transposons; and in animals, they are called ERVs, LINEs, SINEs, and microsatellites. What these elements are particularly good at is inducing genomic variation. It is the copy number of VIGEs and their position in the genome that determine gene expression and the phenotype of the organism. Therefore, these transposable and repetitive elements should be renamed after their function: variation-inducing genetic elements. VIGEs explain the variations Darwin referred to as ‘due to chance’.
I will address the details of a few specific classes of VIGEs and argue why modern genomes are literally riddled with VIGEs in a future article. With the realization that RNA viruses have emerged from VIGEs the RNA paradox is solved. For many mainstream scientists this solution will be bothersome because VIGEs were frontloaded elements of the baranomes of created kinds and that implies a young age for their common ancestor and that all life is of recent origin.
http://creation.com/vige-introduction


The should not be misconstrued as a mechanism for macro-evolution, which requires massive amounts of copy errors that make successful leaps in reproductive success and survivability in order to fixate and change the genome extensively. Living fossils prove that organisms can remain in a state of stasis for "millions of years", which effectively proves that macro-evolutionary change is not inevitable as suggested by evolutionists:

Consider the Coelacanth, not seen in the fossil record for 65 million years, assumed to be extinct, and it has been found alive with no major physical change.
Posted Image

Fossil Limulus from Solnhofen limestone—Upper Jurassic (supposedly about 140 million years old).

Posted Image

Recently found alive, with no apparent physical differences:

Posted Image


Furthermore, the mechanism said to drive evolution, gene duplication, is not the candidate for macro-evolution that it is suspected to be:

In regard to gene number, humans have about 25,000 genes, while rice has 50,000. In terms of genome size, the largest known genome does not occur in man, but rather in a bacterium! Epulopiscium fishelsoni carries 25 times as much DNA as a human cell, and one of its genes has been duplicated 85,000 times yet it is still a bacterium. In terms of chromosome number, the descending rank order of diploid numbers for a selection of animals is as follows: Cambarus clarkii (a crayfish) 200, dog 78, chicken 78, human 46, Xenopus laevis (South African clawed frog) 36, Drosophila melanogaster (fruit fly) 8, Myrmecia pilosula (an ant) 2. These results do not fit the predictions of the gene duplication theory.
[...]
Another statistical challenge has been noted by evolutionist genetics professor Steve Jones who concluded that an inverse relationship exists between the amount of DNA on one hand, and, on the other, both lethargic lifestyles and the speed at which organisms can evolve: the more DNA, the slower it is able to evolve. It takes a great deal of energy and resources to duplicate DNA, and the less of it an organism has, the faster it can reproduce (and the more efficient it is). Jones notes that ‘all weeds have small genomes, while more established plants are packed with DNA and can take a month to make a single egg cell.
[...]
The existing experimental evidence does not support gene duplication as a source of new genes for at least populations of fewer than one billion. According to Hughes, ‘Everything we’ve looked at [fails to] support the hypothesis. Darwinists promote gene duplication as an important means of evolution, not because of the evidence, but because they see no other viable mechanism to produce the required large number of new functional genes to turn a microbe into a microbiologist. In other words, evolution by gene-duplication is yet another example of just-so story-telling.
http://creation.com/...e-for-evolution



#90 gilbo12345

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 03:29 PM

I really like your method of numbering the post you are responding to instead of breaking it up into multiple quotes. I might start using it :).

1. Yes, but what I am trying to show is that even micro-evolution requires mutation. In this post, I am going to focus on the example of dogs. Most creationists I have talked to agree that domestic dogs are a "kind", and that all the current breeds of dogs came from a common ancestor through adaptation and/or selective breeding. I aim to show that this could not have happened without mutation.

2. What is meant by "variation and amount of expression of [a] gene?" I mean, biologically, in detail, what process are you talking about? When two animals mate, the offspring get some combination of the parents' genes. Period. Please correct me if I'm misrepresenting you, but it sounds like you are saying: "When two animals mate, the offspring get some combination of the parents' genes plus a little variation in expression because that's just what happens when animals reproduce." If that is what you are saying, it is simply, biologically wrong. If not, I apologize for making a straw man, and look forward to a clarification. Either way, "descriptive values such as large, small etc" do have limits under variation without mutation. When all the genes that enhance a given trait are present in one individual, there is biologically no way to enhance that trait any farther.

3 and 4. I may have been unclear. You are right that "mutation-->fixation-->repeat" is the usual cycle by which populations evolve. I was objecting to the similar but different cycle of "huge mutation-->fixation-->wait a long time-->repeat". In pretty much all micro-evolution that has been observed, the biggest changes have come from a string of small mutations rather than a single big one. I just wanted to remind NewPath that mutation can lead to gradual, continuous change like he was describing.

5. All of the things you call "assumptions" are things that must be true if mutation plays a big role in micro-evolution. But I do not rely on any of them to show that mutation plays such a big role. In a nutshell, my reasoning is simply: "Micro-evolution leads to variations that are far too big to be explained only by mixing and matching pre-existing genes. Therefore, mutation must also play an important role."

6. Actually, since the facts you listed must be true for mutation to play an important role, they are conclusions of my argument rather than assumptions.




No problem, others have said its silly so I guess whatever floats your boat. I think it makes it clearer for me to see what I am responding to :)


1. Of course there are variants, no-one here doubts this. What we do doubt is whether he extent of the mutations can lead to entirely novel traits, such as hip bones for fish etc.

2. You do realise that coding genes express protein products... The level of product produced, and which of the products formed are the genetic expression of the gene.

3. So you've created a strawman... by saying x person claims evolution is blah, but that is wrong because....

The fact remains that your initial claim of evolution had nothing to do with fixation, whereas what you said was wrong was detailing how fixation occurs. I am glad you've realised this mistake.

5. Yes they "must" be true IF evolution is true, therefore they are assumptions by definition since evolution is far from proven despite what others may claim... The fact that all these things that are statistically impossible must be assumed to be true in order for evolution via mutation to "work" ensures that it is patently absurd.

Reasoning is far from actual demonstration. You claim that such reasoning is showing.... Well I reason many things that would sound absurd, I could reason that since many redheads have pale skin they are half-vampire....

So what of these variations are too big? Have you empirically demonstrated this? Or are you just claiming it is so with no evidence.

6. Calling assumptions facts do not make them facts, your words are not golden. Basically you have assumed evolution is true, therefore all these other things must be true by default... This is nowhere near scientific, nor is it logical.

#91 Sporktastic

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 08:26 PM

Yet mutation is not always random copy mistakes, contrary to popular belief. In some cases it is affected by the genome itself, by algorithms that shuffle and change the genome in specific, predetermined ways.

The should not be misconstrued as a mechanism for macro-evolution, which requires massive amounts of copy errors that make successful leaps in reproductive success and survivability in order to fixate and change the genome extensively. Living fossils prove that organisms can remain in a state of stasis for "millions of years", which effectively proves that macro-evolutionary change is not inevitable as suggested by evolutionists:

That bit about algorithmic mutation sounds really interesting! I would like to hear more about that. To be clear, though, I am not trying to argue for macro-evolution right now. In my experience there are some topics of debate that always degenerate into messy example wars, so I try to avoid debating them. One of these topics is the barrier (or lack thereof) between micro- and macro-evolution. Right now, I just want to demonstrate that mutations are crucial to micro-evolution.

No problem, others have said its silly so I guess whatever floats your boat. I think it makes it clearer for me to see what I am responding to :)


1. Of course there are variants, no-one here doubts this. What we do doubt is whether he extent of the mutations can lead to entirely novel traits, such as hip bones for fish etc.

2. You do realise that coding genes express protein products... The level of product produced, and which of the products formed are the genetic expression of the gene.

3. So you've created a strawman... by saying x person claims evolution is blah, but that is wrong because....

The fact remains that your initial claim of evolution had nothing to do with fixation, whereas what you said was wrong was detailing how fixation occurs. I am glad you've realised this mistake.

5. Yes they "must" be true IF evolution is true, therefore they are assumptions by definition since evolution is far from proven despite what others may claim... The fact that all these things that are statistically impossible must be assumed to be true in order for evolution via mutation to "work" ensures that it is patently absurd.

Reasoning is far from actual demonstration. You claim that such reasoning is showing.... Well I reason many things that would sound absurd, I could reason that since many redheads have pale skin they are half-vampire....

So what of these variations are too big? Have you empirically demonstrated this? Or are you just claiming it is so with no evidence.

6. Calling assumptions facts do not make them facts, your words are not golden. Basically you have assumed evolution is true, therefore all these other things must be true by default... This is nowhere near scientific, nor is it logical.

1. Like I said to JayShel, I don't want to argue about whether small mutations can add up to make completely new traits. What I do want to argue is that mutations are an essential part of the variation of traits over time that we do see.

2. Well ok, so the effect of a gene depends on how much protein it produces as well as what kind of protein. That doesn't change the amount of heritable variation each gene can have. At best, maybe the degree to which a gene is expressed can vary depending on the environment. But variation like that wouldn't be heritable, so there would be no way for it to build up over generations.

3. I don't think it counts as a strawman if it was actually what NewPath had in mind when he talked about mutation. If it wasn't, I apologize for misconstruing his position, but only he can tell me whether he found my comment helpful.

5 and 6. You keep accusing me of assuming things. But my argument really only relies on one statement. Specifically: In some populations (especially dogs), we see too much variation to be accounted for just by mixing and matching pre-existing genes. Of course I cannot "prove" this statement. But in my last reply I made to NewPath, I explained in some detail why I think it is clearly true. If I am right about this, mutation must play a big role in micro-evolution, and all the things you listed follow. That is why I called them conclusions instead of assumptions. You can definitely argue against my reasoning, but I think it's well-though-out enough to deserve more than a simple "Reasoning is far from actual demonstration." On the flip side, you can't just say that the things you listed are "statistically impossible" without backing it up somehow.

#92 gilbo12345

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 11:28 PM

That bit about algorithmic mutation sounds really interesting! I would like to hear more about that. To be clear, though, I am not trying to argue for macro-evolution right now. In my experience there are some topics of debate that always degenerate into messy example wars, so I try to avoid debating them. One of these topics is the barrier (or lack thereof) between micro- and macro-evolution. Right now, I just want to demonstrate that mutations are crucial to micro-evolution.


1. Like I said to JayShel, I don't want to argue about whether small mutations can add up to make completely new traits. What I do want to argue is that mutations are an essential part of the variation of traits over time that we do see.

2. Well ok, so the effect of a gene depends on how much protein it produces as well as what kind of protein. That doesn't change the amount of heritable variation each gene can have. At best, maybe the degree to which a gene is expressed can vary depending on the environment. But variation like that wouldn't be heritable, so there would be no way for it to build up over generations.

3. I don't think it counts as a strawman if it was actually what NewPath had in mind when he talked about mutation. If it wasn't, I apologize for misconstruing his position, but only he can tell me whether he found my comment helpful.

5 and 6. You keep accusing me of assuming things. But my argument really only relies on one statement. Specifically: In some populations (especially dogs), we see too much variation to be accounted for just by mixing and matching pre-existing genes. Of course I cannot "prove" this statement. But in my last reply I made to NewPath, I explained in some detail why I think it is clearly true. If I am right about this, mutation must play a big role in micro-evolution, and all the things you listed follow. That is why I called them conclusions instead of assumptions. You can definitely argue against my reasoning, but I think it's well-though-out enough to deserve more than a simple "Reasoning is far from actual demonstration." On the flip side, you can't just say that the things you listed are "statistically impossible" without backing it up somehow.


1. Ok no probs, just realise that in this area the evolutionist has no leg to stand on.... much like the fish that apparently went on land ;)

2. Hence my point. This is evidenced by offspring that are not what you'd expect from their parents... A prizewinning pig can have runts, the same as any other.. They can also have a botched litter with many of them stillborn.

3. No probs

4 + 5. It is still an assumption, (or many of them), since

a ) in order for mutation to account for such all of the things I mentioned must be assumed to occur
b ) you assume that mutation is the only other option available... There may yet be some other reason or function that causes this, (perhaps non-coding DNA is responsible?)

If you looked into the assumptions you are making you would see that they are statistically (and logically) impossible


-that there is a build up of the same mutation which leads to an increased exaggeration of a feature

Is it proven empirically that such mutations do "add up"?

- that ALL these mutations are benign

Considering the vast vast majority of mutations are harmful this is statistically impossible

- that the amount of mutations the organism is required to endure to get the % amount of these very specific mutations are also benign

Due to the randomness of mutation there are MANY MANY millions of mutations that must have occurred in order to statistically get to the "right" one that will add on... All these additional mutations must be benign since otherwise the organism would b

- that all these accumulative mutations occur in the egg or sperm of the organism, rather than an external mutation which cannot be passed on.

This decreases the probability of the mutation occurring (properly) dramatically.. Also due to independent assortment divide that tiny number by 4... (or it is deleted since 3 /4 of the initial egg cell are neutered.

- that these mutations reach fixation within a population

This decreases the statistical probability even more

- that these successive mutations also occur within the same population

This also decreases the statistical probability even more

- that genetic drift doesn't snub out these mutations, (if there is no fitness benefit then there is over 99% chance they will be snubbed out, due to the unique and singular nature of the mutation in the population)

Unless the population is VERY small any new neutral mutations will be neutered due to genetic drift. Since the mutation would only occur (statistically) once and such has less than 99% chance of "survival" in a large population.

- that these mutation occurs in the first place

You're assuming that mutations are in fact the reason of variation

#93 Sporktastic

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Posted 21 April 2012 - 12:38 AM

Now that you mention it, I guess I did assume that mutation is the only other available option. I hopped onto Wikipedia and found out a bit about epigenetics... apparently I have a lot more reading to do before I can speak with any authority :). In the mean time, another argument just occurred to me while I was thinking about how to decide just how much variation is too much to explain without mutation. Assuming that you are a Biblical literalist, humans and all species of unclean animals can be traced back to just two ancestors each. Humans can be traced back to Adam and Eve, while each unclean species can be traced back to its ark pair. Pretty much every animal alive is diploid. That means it has two sets of chromosomes, so it can have two copies of each gene. Two copies each from two parents gives four copies total, so without mutation there can be at most four versions, or alleles, of any gene floating around in the population. Looking at the Wikipeda pages on Polymorphism (http://en.wikipedia....ic_polymorphism) and Alleles (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allele) give several examples of genes with more than four alleles. In particular, the Alleles page cites a paper describing a whopping 70 alleles for the human blood-type gene. (The three main categories are A, B, and O, but smaller variations bring the count up to 70) How can this be explained without mutations?

#94 gilbo12345

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Posted 21 April 2012 - 02:32 AM

Now that you mention it, I guess I did assume that mutation is the only other available option. I hopped onto Wikipedia and found out a bit about epigenetics... apparently I have a lot more reading to do before I can speak with any authority :). In the mean time, another argument just occurred to me while I was thinking about how to decide just how much variation is too much to explain without mutation. Assuming that you are a Biblical literalist, humans and all species of unclean animals can be traced back to just two ancestors each. Humans can be traced back to Adam and Eve, while each unclean species can be traced back to its ark pair. Pretty much every animal alive is diploid. That means it has two sets of chromosomes, so it can have two copies of each gene. Two copies each from two parents gives four copies total, so without mutation there can be at most four versions, or alleles, of any gene floating around in the population. Looking at the Wikipeda pages on Polymorphism (http://en.wikipedia....ic_polymorphism) and Alleles (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allele) give several examples of genes with more than four alleles. In particular, the Alleles page cites a paper describing a whopping 70 alleles for the human blood-type gene. (The three main categories are A, B, and O, but smaller variations bring the count up to 70) How can this be explained without mutations?


Glad you've realised this assumption, however epigenetics is only one part of the puzzle.

4 types of gene now consider if there is either shared dominance or incomplete dominance then this would account for 20 types of variations, as follows

Aa, AA, Ab, AB, Ac, AC, Ad, AD
Bb, BB, Bc, BC, Bd, BD
Cc, CC, Cd,CD
Dd, DD

However this is assuming that both the dominant form and recessive form are both available, or perhaps some conditions make these more or less dominant...


With the blood claim on wikipedia, perhaps this is via mutations but the main point to be considered is that they have identical properties... There is no change, hence this actually goes against what you are intending to imply. Yes there may well be minimal changes in the sequence but the end result is identical, otherwise there would be 70 different blood types, (with even more to come).


However considering that every human on the planet have different features this still is not enough. Perhaps the answer is found in the tracts of non-coding DNA, (this is what I believe, it is my opinion only), since this would be enough to account for the trillions upon trillions of facial features etc that would have occurred over Earths history. Yes this would utilise mutation, but not in the sense of altering coding genes... Since to alter a coding gene would also alter how it performs its function, a less than perfect fit will result in a decrease in fitness, once a gene's product is optimized for a perfect fit it cannot get any better, outside of becoming an entirely new product... However this causes a cascade of problems which I won't discuss now.

#95 NewPath

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Posted 21 April 2012 - 04:23 AM

I am glad you brought up the ark, because it makes my point easier to illustrate. According to Leviticus 11:27, dogs are an unclean animal, so there were only two of them on the ark. How could two dogs have all the genes necessary to make all the breeds that exist today? I admit that mixing and matching genes can create a surprising amount of diversity, but english mastiffs can weigh over 20 times as much as chihuahuas. Do you really think that the two ark dogs were carrying around enough conflicting genes to generate body masses that differed by a factor of 20 depending on how they were arranged? Also consider dog breeds that were created more recently, like the Australian cattle dog. In these cases, a breed that has already evolved from the common dog-ancestor responds to new selective pressures and starts evolving in a different direction. Under your model, not only did the ark dogs need to have enough genetic diversity to make all the modern breeds, they needed to have so much diversity that even after evolving into a particular breed they would still have enough diversity to evolve more when the need arose. That is just too much diversity to pack into only two individuals.


Well I thought that I made the point pretty clear, the sheer number of combinations is absolutely staggering. Therefore the number of variations within the original gene pool is staggering. This allows for the observed diversity.

As a side note, you mentioned that plants can change radically in size depending on the conditions, which is interesting. But these changes are developmental, not genetic. They do not get passed on from generation to generation. If you bred a normally short plant in a hyperbaric chamber for 100 generations, it might get very tall, but as soon as you planted one of its seedlings outside it would go right back to being short. By contrast, two dogs of different breeds will grow up to be very different even if they are raised in identical environments, so we know that many of the most important differences are genetic.


Definitely agree with you here. My point is irrelevant when comparing say a modern dog breed to another modern dog breed. But becomes relevant when observing fossils and comparing them to modern forms, some of the observed differences can be related to developmental factors.

#96 NewPath

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Posted 21 April 2012 - 05:00 AM

However considering that every human on the planet have different features this still is not enough. Perhaps the answer is found in the tracts of non-coding DNA, (this is what I believe, it is my opinion only), since this would be enough to account for the trillions upon trillions of facial features etc that would have occurred over Earths history. Yes this would utilise mutation, but not in the sense of altering coding genes... Since to alter a coding gene would also alter how it performs its function, a less than perfect fit will result in a decrease in fitness, once a gene's product is optimized for a perfect fit it cannot get any better, outside of becoming an entirely new product... However this causes a cascade of problems which I won't discuss now.


Like I said earlier, just the sheer number of combinations explains nearly all diversity without the need for mutations. I'm also still learning, and I'm finding that old saying is true, the more I know, the more I realise I don't know. But however you do the maths, you get myriads of combinations.

Not sure if this formula would apply to genes, but let's say that only 18 genes affect the face. Are there 4 possible combinations of each gene? If so the number of combinations for facial features is : 68 719 476 736


68 billion facial gene combinations based on 18 genes of four possible combinations
If 100 genes affect the face, the number is 1.6E+60

Thats a trillion times a trillion times a trillion times a trillion times a trillion combinations of for a feature that involves merely 100 genes.

#97 Sporktastic

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Posted 21 April 2012 - 11:16 AM

Glad you've realised this assumption, however epigenetics is only one part of the puzzle.

4 types of gene now consider if there is either shared dominance or incomplete dominance then this would account for 20 types of variations, as follows

Aa, AA, Ab, AB, Ac, AC, Ad, AD
Bb, BB, Bc, BC, Bd, BD
Cc, CC, Cd,CD
Dd, DD

A couple points of clarification. First, the paper said there are70 alleles, not 70 phenotypes, meaning that the gene itself has 70 forms and mixing/dominance takes the variety from there. Second, I got the impression that there are meaningful differences between all or most of these alleles. The differences beyond A/B/O just aren't enough to affect blood transfusion, which is why people have typically ignored them. The differences might still be small enough for you to accept that they were produced by mutation, though.

However considering that every human on the planet have different features this still is not enough. Perhaps the answer is found in the tracts of non-coding DNA, (this is what I believe, it is my opinion only), since this would be enough to account for the trillions upon trillions of facial features etc that would have occurred over Earths history. Yes this would utilise mutation, but not in the sense of altering coding genes... Since to alter a coding gene would also alter how it performs its function, a less than perfect fit will result in a decrease in fitness, once a gene's product is optimized for a perfect fit it cannot get any better, outside of becoming an entirely new product... However this causes a cascade of problems which I won't discuss now.

This is interesting to hear. It sounds like you do agree that mutations are important, but you think that the mutations had to occur mostly outside of coding genes to keep them from being destructive. I have a few cool examples from my biochemist friends of useful, coding gene mutations they watched happen in a lab. But I do not have the expertise to argue decisively that coding gene mutations in particular are common and/or often beneficial.


Like I said earlier, just the sheer number of combinations explains nearly all diversity without the need for mutations. I'm also still learning, and I'm finding that old saying is true, the more I know, the more I realise I don't know. But however you do the maths, you get myriads of combinations.

Not sure if this formula would apply to genes, but let's say that only 18 genes affect the face. Are there 4 possible combinations of each gene? If so the number of combinations for facial features is : 68 719 476 736


68 billion facial gene combinations based on 18 genes of four possible combinations
If 100 genes affect the face, the number is 1.6E+60

Thats a trillion times a trillion times a trillion times a trillion times a trillion combinations of for a feature that involves merely 100 genes.

Thanks for reminding me how big exponential functions get :). Just FYI, the number of combinations of each gene depends on the gene. Most genes have at least two alleles, so in diploid animals there are (# of alleles)^2 possible genotypes for each gene. The number of phenotypes is almost always less than this because some alleles are dominant over others (if A is dominant, AB and AA will have the same phenotype) and because most genes don't care about the order of combination (AB and BA have the same phenotype, although s*x-linked traits are one exception I can think of). Your general point makes sense, though. My gut instinct tells me that a population with that much diversity packed into it would fall apart, because even offspring from the same parent could vary wildly depending on which genes it drew. With dogs, for instance, if mixing and matching the parents' genes could produce any of the 150+ breeds alive today, I would expect that one pair of parents could give birth to many different breeds of children depending on what genes landed where. Like in my discussion with gilbo, though, I'm not enough of an expert to make this argument at all rigorously.

#98 gilbo12345

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 09:01 AM

Actually even changes to noncoding regions are also mostly detrimental since many regions do have function, (such as snoRNA, mRNA, etc).

I'd be interested to hear from anyone who has observed all these
- a strictly random mutation occur in a coding region causing an undoubted increase in average fitness, at normal conditions.
- observe this mutation become fixed 100% in a population


I was only putting forward my own opinion for the amount of variability of likeness and differences.




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