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#1 Guest_92g_*

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Posted 27 December 2005 - 07:55 PM

I saw a silkworm hanging from a tree earlier today, and got to thinking about silk from an evolutionary standpoint.

How closely related, in an evolutionary sense, are the silkworm and spider?

Terry

#2 lwj2op2

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Posted 02 January 2006 - 05:04 AM

I saw a silkworm hanging from a tree earlier today, and got to thinking about silk from an evolutionary standpoint.

How closely related, in an evolutionary sense, are the silkworm and spider?

Terry

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Terry without any research I will say that ToE's will claim any similarity will stem from same origin and the new "facilitated variation" revision to evolution makes this more arguable. ID's or YEC's will claim (I do) it is simply using what works. Both valid arguments. Only one truth. Faith is the ground between them.

#3 chance

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Posted 10 January 2006 - 02:59 PM

Spiders are arachnids (related to arthropods), silkworms are insects. I think the divergence of these two groups took place at about the time of trilobites, i.e. segmented bodies.


Silk

Various web sites state things like this

Silk turns out to be a fascinating substance. Spider, caterpillar (silkworm), and webspinner silks are quite similar in that they are made completely of protein and very strong.

still trying to see how similar these silks are.

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Posted 10 January 2006 - 03:32 PM

Spiders are arachnids (related to arthropods), silkworms are insects.  I think the divergence of these two groups took place at about the time of trilobites, i.e. segmented bodies.
Silk


If the supposed "divergence" took place before the existance of a common ancestor that produced silk, or at a minimum had the mechanism to produce silk, then you would have a real delima on your hands.

Various web sites state things like this  still trying to see how similar these silks are.


Its a moot point. Random chance mutatations producing that mechanism is already a strecth. To think that it happened twice, well......., I tihnk the evidence speaks for itself.

Keep looking....... B)

Terry

#5 chance

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Posted 10 January 2006 - 03:44 PM

If the supposed "divergence" took place before the existance of a common ancestor that produced silk, or at a minimum had the mechanism to produce silk, then you would have a real delima on your hands.


Possibly but as silk doesn’t fossilise (I assume) it a question that is likely to be unanswerable. The relationship between insect and arachnid in the fossil record based on the body plan, so there is likely to be a lot of room for error. Relationships like this are limited to what common attributes they share and thus would be limited to “X and Y both have 6 legs and are more closely related than A and X (where A has 8 legs)”.

In reality the production of silk need be no different than reptiles and mammals both being able to produce saliva.


Various web sites state things like this  still trying to see how similar these silks are.


Its a moot point. Random chance mutatations producing that mechanism is already a strecth. To think that it happened twice, well......., I tihnk the evidence speaks for itself.

Keep looking.......


Legs evolving into wings (at least 4 times), some excreted substance into silk is no different in principle.

#6 Guest_92g_*

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Posted 10 January 2006 - 03:46 PM

In reality the production of silk need be no different than reptiles and mammals both being able to produce saliva.

B) :) B) :) :o :o :o :o

Terry

#7 Springer

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Posted 10 January 2006 - 05:12 PM

quote=chance,Jan 10 2006, 03:44 PM

In reality the production of silk need be no different than reptiles and mammals both being able to produce saliva.

I think the point is that the ability to produce silk had to evolve twice, whereas the ability of produce saliva in reptiles and mammals supposedly evolved once. How can you reconcile such a specialization to have occurred twice, when you claim that evolution is random?


Legs evolving into wings (at least 4 times), some excreted substance into silk is no different in principle.

You speak as if the production of silk is a simple change involving perhaps one mutation. You have imagined all of these fantastic changes as having occurred, such as legs evolving into wings, and use those assumptions to justify other unknowns.

#8 chance

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Posted 10 January 2006 - 07:11 PM

I think the point is that the ability to produce silk had to evolve twice, whereas the ability of produce saliva in reptiles and mammals supposedly evolved once.  How can you reconcile such a specialization to have occurred twice, when you claim that evolution is random?


How do you know that silk production was not also a part of the common ancestor, and only evolved once? And what we see today between arachnid and insect has resulted since the split?

I (nor does evolution propose) that evolution is a random process.

Is there a problem with a feature evolving twice?




You speak as if the production of silk is a simple change involving perhaps one mutation. You have imagined all of these fantastic changes as having occurred, such as legs evolving into wings,  and use those assumptions to justify other unknowns.


Not intentional, you can assume a series of mutations.
The environment is the key, if arachnid and insect have a similar trait used for similar purpose, and the environment favours silk as a solution, there nothing stopping the parallel evolution of some common trait.

#9 chance

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Posted 10 January 2006 - 07:18 PM

B)  :)  B)  :)  :o  :o  :o  :o

Terry

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?

Anyhow to answer the first question, how closely related, see this page from the , tree of life project.

Hmmm insects are classified as hexapods.

#10 Guest_George R_*

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Posted 10 January 2006 - 07:39 PM

FYI

I never studied the potential linkage between silk and spiders' webs. In fact I am truly ignorant of both of these topics.

It sounds like a good area to take a deeper look at though.

My very untutored view is that any explanation will be sprinkled with the word protein and presented as if that one word "protein" simplifies everything. I am not completely untutored on proteins. That one word could be a life study and still amaze more than explain.

For spider web silk... I did make some progress.

I did locate one source of knowledge... here it is -- a study on the spider side of the equation ... if somebody wants to shell out $24.95 to read a Harvard Zoo prof on this topic.

This is a recent book about the mechanism required for production of spiders web and silk, and a tie-in from an evolutionary point of view.

It is called "Spiderwebs and Silk" by Catherine L. Craig (Oxford University Press, 2003).

It is subtitled "Tracing Evolution From Molecules to Genes to Phenotypes".

To quote the PR briefly:

"This book links the molecular evolution of silk proteins to the evolution and behavioral ecology of web-spinning spiders and other arthropods. Craig's book draws together studies from biochemistry through molecular genetics, cellular physiology, ecology, and behavior to present an integrated understanding of an interesting biological system at the molecular and organizational levels."

"The four chapters on silk form the core of the book. The first outlines the history of silk evolution, and the second explores the genetic code behind the proteins that make up some silks. Next comes an investigation of how the mechanical properties of bulk silk depend on the protein skeleton of the filament. And it is all wrapped up by an explanation of the economics of silk synthesis and its effect on the evolution of the wide range of silk types that some spiders can produce. There is also a chapter on the absence of higher social development in spiders, which, in a twist, is linked to development and related silk-production costs. The brief final chapter summarizes the author's view on the forces that drive silk evolution."

or .... to avoid spending $25 you could search for it in a library near you. There is in fact a website dedicated to library searches for you...

http://www.worldcatl...b4da09e526.html

Now to one of the creationist rebuttals...

From arn:

"All You Wanted to Know About Spider Webs, Except Their Evolution
This is a good example of the leaps of faith taken by Darwinists, who expound on the wonders of nature, then just say they evolved.

How did the exact recipe of proteins, sugars, phosphates, calcium, sulfur, neurotransmitter peptides and other organic and inorganic ingredients that yielded a substance called spider silk? It evolved.

It evolved because it evolved: that is enough intellectual content to satisfy a Darwinista."

For more... start at May 2005 arn blogs ... http://www.arn.org/b....php/3/2005/05/

#11 Springer

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Posted 10 January 2006 - 07:40 PM

quote=chance,Jan 10 2006, 07:11 PM


I (nor does evolution propose) that evolution is a random process.

I think everyone agrees that mutations are random. Evolutionists think that natural selection can produce non-random changes.

Is there a problem with a feature evolving twice?

There is a huge problem with this... Evolutionists claim that there is no direction... no purpose in nature. The production of silk would have required a series of fortuitous mutations. This requires a major stretch of the imagination in the first place to imagine such a thing happening. You are suggesting that the same thing could happen twice... the probability against such is ridiculous.

The environment is the key, if arachnid and insect have a similar trait used for similar purpose, and the environment favours silk as a solution, there nothing stopping the parallel evolution of some common trait.


This is a widely held assumption in evolutionary thinking that has never been verified.... that natural selection is an all-powerful selective force. You are suggesting that it is such a powerful force that it could produce two essentially complex specializations independent of each other.

#12 lwj2op2

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Posted 11 January 2006 - 04:24 AM

I (nor does evolution propose) that evolution is a random process.


I am confused. I thought a tenet of ToE was non-directional, accidental mutations which are selected or rejected by usefulness in the enviroment. This seems to imply randomness.

Is there a problem with a feature evolving twice?


Such a non directed process as evolution causes the probability of equal mutations along to separate branches to become a logical impossibility.

Not intentional, you can assume a series of mutations.


Might as well add some assumptions to ToE's list

The environment is the key, if arachnid and insect have a similar trait used for similar purpose, and the environment favours silk as a solution, there nothing stopping the parallel evolution of some common trait.

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The spider and silk worm are not similar, in form or function and use the silk in widely differing application. So, not only is there a need to assume (possibly) two separate evolutions of the silk gland but there is also need to assume it was "the solution" for two separate problems.

I assume that (billions) years ago two spider/worms realized they could produce silk and one decided to catch food while the other chose to take a nap and grow wings? Pardon the attempt at humor. This seems, granting the years required, quite improbable.

#13 chance

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Posted 11 January 2006 - 01:50 PM

Thanks for the book tip George R I’m off to the library this Saturday, but I suspect this book is rather too specialised for such libraries.


Now to one of the creationist rebuttals...

From arn:

"All You Wanted to Know About Spider Webs, Except Their Evolution
This is a good example of the leaps of faith taken by Darwinists, who expound on the wonders of nature, then just say they evolved.

How did the exact recipe of proteins, sugars, phosphates, calcium, sulfur, neurotransmitter peptides and other organic and inorganic ingredients that yielded a substance called spider silk? It evolved.

It evolved because it evolved: that is enough intellectual content to satisfy a Darwinista."



For more... start at May 2005 arn blogs ... http://www.arn.org/b....php/3/2005/05/


From the link you provided a rather a typical rebuttal ensues

In the middle of the primer, Vollrath tackled the specific question, “How are webs thought to have evolved?”


Spider web structures and silks began their co-evolution [sic] about 400 million years ago [sic], at first probably as a protein cover to protect the animal’s eggs and young.  Webs then evolved different functions [sic], including acting as a kind of wall-paper for the animal’s burrow and modifying the hole into a simple trap by radiating lines that inform the lurking spider about things beetling around outside.  Even such simple lines expand the animal’s anatomical phenotype many fold by incorporating the body into an extensive silken net.  The aerial webs of the ‘modern’ [sic] spiders began to evolve [sic] perhaps 200 million years ago [sic] and are superb examples of ‘extended anatomy’.  These webs also nicely illustrate the close interaction of material and behaviour which clearly are two separately encoded yet functionally inter-linked character traits.


Seems to me to be a prefect example of scientific speculation, based on current understandings of the evolutionary mechanisms. Question is the author stating this is how it really happened with absolutely no doubt? Of course not, these details are lost in time and because of this ‘arn’ thinks it has an argument to discount the proposition!

Lets get this straight, scientist dealing with evolution are going to accept evolution as a ‘scientific fact’ until proven otherwise. That’s the nature of science in all disciplines, you work with the current theory until it proven inadequate or replaced.

#14 chance

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Posted 11 January 2006 - 02:09 PM

I (nor does evolution propose) that evolution is a random process.


I think everyone agrees that mutations are random. Evolutionists think that natural selection can produce non-random changes.


True, try this thought experiment, an organism produced two offspring one with a mutation (random) that causes a small amount of fat to be laid down under the skin. The temperature changes for the colder, on average the mutated organism survives to reproductive age more frequently than the non mutated (not random, but directed, or more accurately selected).


Is there a problem with a feature evolving twice?


There is a huge problem with this... Evolutionists claim that there is no direction... no purpose in nature. The production of silk would have required a series of fortuitous mutations. This requires a major stretch of the imagination in the first place to imagine such a thing happening. You are suggesting that the same thing could happen twice... the probability against such is ridiculous.


I think you are under the misapprehension that evolution of silk twice involves “starting from scratch” in both the arachnid and hexapod linage! I seriously doubt that this was the case, it’s far more likely that silk is a form of excreta common to both lineages.

e.g. a parallel would be the milk production of mammals and monotremes, both produce a similar milk (modified sweat) yet deliver it differently, and in different chemical compositions.

IMO parallel evolution from a common trait, is the sort of thing to be expected from evolution, and must admit some perplexity at the verve some take theses examples as evidence against. I really don’t think you have a valid argument.


The environment is the key, if arachnid and insect have a similar trait used for similar purpose, and the environment favours silk as a solution, there nothing stopping the parallel evolution of some common trait.


This is a widely held assumption in evolutionary thinking that has never been verified.... that natural selection is an all-powerful selective force. You are suggesting that it is such a powerful force that it could produce two essentially complex specializations independent of each other.


The key is to determine just how independent these traits are, and with the case of silk production that may never be possible. But in principle silk production is no different than any other shared trait, and I see no reason why it should be targeted for special criticism. I.e. if the principle of inheritance (and this is what it realy boils down to) is valid for other changes in the gnome, then it can be assume to be applicable to silk production also.

#15 chance

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Posted 11 January 2006 - 02:26 PM

I (nor does evolution propose) that evolution is a random process.


I am confused. I thought a tenet of ToE was non-directional, accidental mutations which are selected or rejected by usefulness in the enviroment. This seems to imply randomness.


Two concepts:

Yes mutations are random, but evolution is directional in the sense the that the environment ‘decides’ who survives.

When one speaks of non-directional evolution it is usually in response to the old tree of life concept (like a ladder) showing man on top, i.e. evolution is non-directional in that it did not have an aim to produce man on the top.


Is there a problem with a feature evolving twice?


Such a non directed process as evolution causes the probability of equal mutations along to separate branches to become a logical impossibility.


Logically unlikely but not impossible. And this must be modified by how many mutational steps one has to make between arachnid and hexapod silk from what ever was the precursor. Although we cant answer this question right now, it will in the not to distant future with gene sequencing. With this technology you will be able to see the differences and similarities between the silk producing genetics, and I would speculate that they will be very similar in a way demonstrating common ancestry.


The environment is the key, if arachnid and insect have a similar trait used for similar purpose, and the environment favours silk as a solution, there nothing stopping the parallel evolution of some common trait.


The spider and silk worm are not similar, in form or function and use the silk in widely differing application.


Hold it right there, the best info I could find is that the silks are similar, do you have a source that compares the two silks? This needs to be sorted before we go any further.


So, not only is there a need to assume (possibly) two separate evolutions of the silk gland but there is also need to assume it was "the solution" for two separate problems.


Do you have some specific information showing the silk gland evolved twice from scratch, or are you proposing this as an example?

I assume that (billions) years ago two spider/worms realized they could produce silk and one decided to catch food while the other chose to take a nap and grow wings? Pardon the attempt at humor. This seems, granting the years required, quite improbable.


oh come now, this really is a absurd way of portraying evolution. :)

#16 Springer

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Posted 11 January 2006 - 02:38 PM

quote=chance,Jan 11 2006, 02:09 PM


True, try this thought experiment, an organism produced two offspring one with a mutation (random) that causes a small amount of fat to be laid down under the skin.  The temperature changes for the colder, on average the mutated organism survives to reproductive age more frequently than the non mutated (not random, but directed, or more accurately selected).


Natural selection sounds reasonable for that specific example, but does not work the gradual development of such things as wings and feathers from forelimbs and scales.


IMO parallel evolution from a common trait, is the sort of thing to be expected from evolution, and must admit some perplexity at the verve some take theses examples as evidence against.  I really don’t think you have a valid argument.


It's not "expected" from evolution, it's observed in nature and therefore rationalized away by evolution. You see its existence and have concluded that evolution produced it. Therefore, you see it as predicted by evolution. This is at complete odds with your assertion that mutations are random.
What would be your reaction if an alien were discovered and he was exactly like a human? Would you call that "parallel evolution"? That would be profound evidence of creative design.


The key is to determine just how independent these traits are, and with the case of silk production that may never be possible. But in principle silk production is no different than any other shared trait, and I see no reason why it should be targeted for special criticism.  I.e. if the principle of inheritance (and this is what it realy boils down to) is valid for other changes in the gnome, then it can be assume to be applicable to silk production also.

You speak as if silk production were some simple secretory product that could be turned on or off by a simple mutation.

#17 Guest_George R_*

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Posted 11 January 2006 - 02:49 PM

chance

the search site I gave the link to will actually search for this specific book at any nearby library .... to save you a trip to many libraries...



There is in fact a website dedicated to library searches for you...

http://www.worldcatl...b4da09e526.html

#18 chance

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Posted 11 January 2006 - 07:08 PM

IMO parallel evolution from a common trait, is the sort of thing to be expected from evolution, and must admit some perplexity at the verve some take theses examples as evidence against.  I really don’t think you have a valid argument.


It's not "expected" from evolution, it's observed in nature and therefore rationalized away by evolution. You see its existence and have concluded that evolution produced it. Therefore, you see it as predicted by evolution. This is at complete odds with your assertion that mutations are random.
What would be your reaction if an alien were discovered and he was exactly like a human? Would you call that "parallel evolution"? That would be profound evidence of creative design.


Yes it is expected, hereditary mandates it, if we inherit from our parents, then traits get passed on. Mutation happens, it gets passed on. it’s that simple.

Re the alien, my first instinct would be to suspect a copying or design process involved, the odds against some total alien species evolving precisely the same way as the earth (almost demanding the same history), with no common ancestry, to be beyond plausibility. Theoretically the probability is 1, but the number against would be incalculable). However I see no reason why an alien could not resemble a human, due to a similar environment plus history.




The key is to determine just how independent these traits are, and with the case of silk production that may never be possible. But in principle silk production is no different than any other shared trait, and I see no reason why it should be targeted for special criticism.  I.e. if the principle of inheritance (and this is what it realy boils down to) is valid for other changes in the gnome, then it can be assume to be applicable to silk production also.


You speak as if silk production were some simple secretory product that could be turned on or off by a simple mutation.


In principle it’s no different to any other trait. Look at any bodily function in detail and I bet you will find it far more complex than initially thought. 1 mutation, 10 mutations makes no difference if the split came at 9 mutations, yes?

#19 Springer

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Posted 11 January 2006 - 09:20 PM

quote=chance,Jan 11 2006, 07:08 PM

Yes it is expected, hereditary mandates it, if we inherit from our parents, then traits get passed on.  Mutation happens, it gets passed on. it’s that simple.


It's not simple because any kind of complex "adaptation" would require multiple, successive directional changes all affecting specific portions of the genome. When you consider the number of base pairs in DNA and the rarity of mutations, then it would seem impossible to end up with anything that resulted in any kind of purposeful change. My point is that given these vast improbabilities, it is even more absurd to suppose that the same thing (e.g., silk production) could happen twice.

Re the alien, my first instinct would be to suspect a copying or design process involved, the odds against some total alien species evolving precisely the same way as the earth (almost demanding the same history), with no common ancestry, to be beyond plausibility.  Theoretically the probability is 1, but the number against would be incalculable). However I see no reason why an alien could not resemble a human, due to a similar environment plus history.


The reason it couldn't happen is because you're relying on random, chance, fortuitous mutations, all of which are exceedingly rare. Evolutionists are always claiming that there is no direction, no purpose. Yet you're saying that two things could evolve essentially the same way, given the same set of conditions. That just doesn't make sense in view of the fact that evolution relies ultimately on blind chance.

In principle it’s no different to any other trait.  Look at any bodily function in detail and I bet you will find it far more complex than initially thought.  1 mutation, 10 mutations makes no difference if the split came at 9 mutations, yes?

The greater number of mutations required to produce a change, the greater the improbability.

#20 chance

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Posted 12 January 2006 - 02:15 PM

Yes it is expected, hereditary mandates it, if we inherit from our parents, then traits get passed on.  Mutation happens, it gets passed on. it’s that simple.


It's not simple because any kind of complex "adaptation" would require multiple, successive directional changes all affecting specific portions of the genome. When you consider the number of base pairs in DNA and the rarity of mutations, then it would seem impossible to end up with anything that resulted in any kind of purposeful change. My point is that given these vast improbabilities, it is even more absurd to suppose that the same thing (e.g., silk production) could happen twice.


Not so, the environment is directing the change, i.e. cold adaptation requires as you say more than one mutation, the collective build-up of these mutations that favour survival in the new environment are the one that survive. In another post it was reported that each individual has (if memory serves) 1.3 mutations on average, that with a large population, and lots of time, is not beyond any probability.


Re the alien, my first instinct would be to suspect a copying or design process involved, the odds against some total alien species evolving precisely the same way as the earth (almost demanding the same history), with no common ancestry, to be beyond plausibility.  Theoretically the probability is 1, but the number against would be incalculable).  However I see no reason why an alien could not resemble a human, due to a similar environment plus history.


The reason it couldn't happen is because you're relying on random, chance, fortuitous mutations, all of which are exceedingly rare. Evolutionists are always claiming that there is no direction, no purpose. Yet you're saying that two things could evolve essentially the same way, given the same set of conditions. That just doesn't make sense in view of the fact that evolution relies ultimately on blind chance.


How many time must I make this point, yes the mutations are random, but the selection of those mutations is anything but random, the environment selects. Thus two independent species can resemble one another because they live is a similar environment (a look at the gnome, however will dispel any recent common ancestor).


In principle it’s no different to any other trait.  Look at any bodily function in detail and I bet you will find it far more complex than initially thought.  1 mutation, 10 mutations makes no difference if the split came at 9 mutations, yes?


The greater number of mutations required to produce a change, the greater the improbability.


But not impossability!




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