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Natural Selection: Who selects?


LeeCollins
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TeleMad:

 

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FreeThinker: "Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution" the title of a 1973 essay by Theodosius Dobzhansky ( January 25 , 1900 - November 11 , 1975 ) a noted geneticist and evolutionary biologist.

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A silly statement that is easily shown to be very wrong.

 

Tormod: Moderator warning: Please don't post one-line replies like this.

 

Please dude.

 

Tormod: If you can show it to be wrong, do so.

 

Why should I have to? Anyone who knows anyting about biology already knows the statement is silly, and can come up with numerous examples that show it to be clearly wrong.

 

Didn't think it was needed, but I guess some people here just don't know much about anatomy and physiology.

 

(1) Can one make sense out of how a skeletal muscle contracts without considering evolution? Well of course.

 

(2) Can one make sense out of how an action potential propagates along a neuron without considering evolution? Well of course

 

Happy now Tormod? Or do you need me to explain these processes to you without my making any reference whatsoever to evolution? I - and anyone who has had anatomy and physiology - can.

 

These are just two counterexamples: numerous others exist. One can make sense of these kinds of biological processes knowing only the anatomy and physiology ("structure and functioning") of the systems and their components; what is needed to make sense of them can be determined by direct experimentation on the systems as they currently exist.

 

The statement "nothing in biology makse sense except in the light of evolution" is false. It's an exaggeration, and I'm surprised that simply pointing it out wouldn't be sufficient.

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Originally posted by: LeeCollins

Sorry that I edited my post after you responded. I didn't mean to do that. But, I would like to know what you think about the opinions of people making the quotes that I posted.

I would say you spend too much time fixated on Creationist web sites. We all know how they twist what ever shreds of words they can get into things that are far from the original context and intent.

Originally posted by: LeeCollins

Dr. Colin Patterson, Senior Paleontologist at the British Museum of Natural History said this about evolution: "positively anti-knowledge," and that "all my life I had been duped into taking evolutionism as revealed truth."

Well to start by bringing us some decades later, Dr Patterson is NOT "Senior Paleontologist at the British Museum of Natural History". He has been dead for some time now. And that means we can not ask him directly what his intentions were. Fortunately he did have something to say about it before he died. Such as in this letter he wrote after he had made these comments and then found them used against him and Evolution:

 

"Sorry to have taken so long to answer your letter of July 9th. I was away for a while, and then infernally busy. I seem fated continually to make a fool of myself with creationists. "

 

It seemed that he found out that some creationists had been twisting his words. Dr Patterson was a cladistic taxonomist. As such he felt that it was not correct to assume that a fossil could be assumed to be connected to currently living species in and of themselves. That species are defined by more than just bones.

 

In fact in a letter to his most offending Creationist antagonist he wrote:

 

"The reason is that statements about ancestry and descent are not applicable in the fossil record. Is Archaeopteryx the ancestor of all birds? Perhaps yes, perhaps no: there is no way of answering the question. It is easy enough to make up stories of how one form gave rise to another, and to find reasons why the stages should be favoured by natural selection. But such stories are not part of science, for there is no way to put them to the test."

 

This does not mean in any way that Dr Patterson rejected Evolution or even some aspects of the fossil record, from his book "Evolution"

 

"In several animal and plant groups, enough fossils are known to bridge the wide gaps between existing types. In mammals, for example, the gap between horses, asses and zebras (genus Equus) and their closest living relatives, the rhinoceroses and tapirs, is filled by an extensive series of fossils extending back sixty-million years to a small animal, Hyracotherium, which can only be distinguished from the rhinoceros-tapir group by one or two horse-like details of the skull. There are many other examples of fossil 'missing links', such as Archaeopteryx, the Jurassic bird which links birds with dinosaurs (Fig. 45), and Ichthyostega, the late Devonian amphibian which links land vertebrates and the extinct choanate (having internal nostrils) fishes ..."

 

Also remember that Dr Patterson was in a minority opinion compared to the overwhelming number of Scientists that did not have the Dr's cladistic views.

 

Further most of the quotes Creationists yanked from Dr Patterson's comments came from (as he discussed in the above letter)

 

"a talk to the "Systematics Discussion Group" in the Museum, an (extremely) informal group.... my talk was addressed to professional systematists, and concerned systematics, nothing else.

 

I hope that by now I have learned to be more circumspect in dealing with creationists, cryptic or overt."

 

And we have seen historically how completely unreliable Creationist quotes are. The very reason the "Revised Quote Book" is the "Revised Quote Book" is that the original "Quote Book" had been withdrawn due to an embarrassing number of er

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Originally posted by: LeeCollins

Yes absolutely. And the most accurate explanation we have to explain this biological commonality is Evolution. Nothing else even comes close to explaining WHY there is the biological commonality we find in everything from pigs to fungus.

 

So, let me get this straight:

Biological commonality is observed and evolution is the best guess as to why. Is that it?

First, who said "guess"? Do you know so little about Science as to claim that in Science a Theory is nothing more than a "guess"? Do we need to drop back to some basic educational discussion of scientific termonology? Your comments are showing an alignment with a Creationist agenda. Is it simple coincidence?

 

Unless you can provide a well documented and supported theory that fits better, then YES Evolution IS the best THEORY we have to explain our observations.

Is it unreasonable that someone...

How reasonable is it to claim that ANY "someone" is involved? How many "someone(s)" can you name that would have this ability? Especially since they could not have existed BEFORE they existed.

 

And adding a "someone" to an explanation when it has a well supported Theory that does not require an additional agent, a "someone", violates Ockham's Razor.

I don't want to get Occam and his razor upset but is this possibility ruled out by known science?

Yes. And particially BECAUSE OF Ockham's Razor, which IS part of "known science".

... could have created fungus and pigs using the same basic parts?

I know this does not sound scientific,

That's because it is NOT Scientific.

 

Creation is in and of itself anti-scientific. The entire concept violates even the most basic of Scientific Methodology. Creationism is based on the concept of some intellectual agent, after an infitinte period of time, DECIDING to interfere with stasis and take actions to change things. As this would be actions that do not follow causality, other than some personal choice, there can be no correlation to observed processes. There would be no "based on understood conditions, when we have X, Y will happen".

 

This would also remove another major tool of Science, Predictablity. "God happens" does not give any predictive value. Try applying it to the most basic of hereditary processes. Two blond, blue eyed parents have a child. Scientific Evolutionary heredity would predict perhaps a 99% chance of the child being blond and blue eyed. "God happens" predicts nothing. Each case would be non-causal with no predictive value.

however, as a software developer, I write many applications from communication systems to accounting apps. Some of the applications, if analyzed, would yield the exact same machine-code in some places. These places are where a generic function is required. If I create an object that does certain computations, I will use it everywhere that I need that kind of computation. Sometimes I may need to modify to object to perform on a certain platform so the object I created will vary but it will have the same function.

As a software developer, especially if you were the best software developer that has or will ever exist (not saying you are not), would you intentionally use a less than effective or appropriate module just because you had used it effectively before? Or, as there would be a "best possible" design for a specific function, would you use other less efficient ones elsewhere?

 

Take the obvious common skeletal construction between humans and apes. It is obvious that our spinal construction is NOT optimal for bipedal upright movement. Yet we share it with many species in which it IS much more optimal, yet still poorly designed.

 

Or stomach

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Originally posted by: TeleMad

FreeThinker: The only explanation we have that would accurately explain how medicine works is Evolution.

No. We do have others, such as anatomy, physiology, and biochemistry; and they are MUCH better explanations for HOW medicine works than is evolution.

And our anatomy, being similar to many other species, which allows medical science to experiment on other species with direct application to humans, can be explained how else?

 

And our physiology, again with great commonality to other species, which allows drugs to not only be tested on other species, but actually taken directly from other species and used to treat huamns, can be explained how, other than by Evolution?

 

And finally the biochemical commonality used by Medical Science can be explain how else?

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Originally posted by: Tormod

I don't agree with Freethinker that medical science is wholly based on the nature of evolution, though. But that is a different discussion for another thread.

To clarify, though I think I did some in reply to Telemad, I am not asserting that Evolution is the only thing Medical Science uses. But if we trace back anything we do understand, any processes we do use, they funnel back to Evolution as the best explanation for the diversity of life on earth and this commonality, this observable causal line, allows Science to make accurate medical observations and predictions.

 

My assertion is more that Medical Science would not have understandings it does and the predictability it does if Evolution was not the process responsible for the diversity of life on Earth.

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Originally posted by: TeleMad

(1) Can one make sense out of how a skeletal muscle contracts without considering evolution? Well of course.

Nope. In order to truly understand skeletal structure, muscle attachment, muscle cell construction, types of muscles, ... we need to understand why the skeletal muscular structure is the way it is. Again, like our spine. It's construction makes no sense if we were "designed" from the start as upright bipedal species. Only by understanding how we evolved the structure we are stuck with can we make sense out of why we have the problems we do.

 

Can a person understand how to do arm curls without understanding Evolution? Sure. But someone truly interested in how to do them best, or how to repair muscles damaged by doing them wrong, can only do so by having a very basic understanding of the undelying construction. And there is no better way to udnerstand it than to understand how it got that way in the first place, Evolution.

The statement "nothing in biology makse sense except in the light of evolution" is false. It's an exaggeration, and I'm surprised that simply pointing it out wouldn't be sufficient.

You are arguing with someone with perhaps the most extensive credentials in Medical Biology. He is no longer alive or I am sure he would be pleased to learn he was wrong. And that you can correct his ignorance.

 

And as always I am sure you will be forthcoming with a list of your credentials showing why you are in a better position than him to make such a claim.

 

And they are?

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