I don't really see how multiculturalism is bad...

Postby MikeVanPelt on Sat Nov 11, 2006 8:28 pm

Kerry Skydancer wrote:It did get re-introduced every so often by legislators in the Bible Belt who didn't figure it out the first time, though it never seems to make it out of committee any more. The coincidence of geography seems to imply that it's literalists doing it, apparently in a misguided effort to make some of the architectural details of Solomon's Temple exact instead of approximations.


No... the Indiana law did not set pi=3, and it had nothing to do with any sort of Biblical literalism.

One representative had a constituent who was a mathematics crackpot, and had some nutburger formula for pi that ... differed somewhat from what we're all familiar with in a space with Euclidean geometry.

The representative didn't know enough to know this was crackpottery, and thought it would be great for this marvelous discovery to be the property of the state of Indiana. He slipped it through with nobody with a clue ever looking at it very closely; fortunately (or perhaps unfortunately for those of us who like to make fun of Hoosiers) the Indiana senate didn't bite on it.
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Postby Madmoonie on Sat Nov 11, 2006 9:08 pm

I REALLY do not understand how talking about how pi might equal 3 refers to multiculturalism but Terry Pratchett does refer to its effects in Going Postal.
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Postby Sapphire on Sat Nov 11, 2006 9:31 pm

Madmoonie wrote:Now I am confused. I always thought that Darwinism was 'survival of the species' and all that. The weaker of the species will be eleminated to make room for the growth and development of said species until a 'bigger fish' comes along and this starts over again. And the stronger must adapt to its environment and situation to continue to be the stronger one.


You said you were confused. I shall take that at face value, but wish to note that I have seen a score of evolution opponents on a hundred occasions put up the "I'm just asking questions" front in order to feign innocence, ignoring answers that already exist.

The preceding definition of Evolution is missing a factor, which is perticularly key in regards to this discussion; It isn't other species that one directly competes with in order to compete with (here I ignore speciation, which I will explain following), it is instead a minor variation in two members of the same speciation brought about by random mutation. Some fish, by a set of DNA strands that didn't go right, got the ability to breathe on land ablbeit not exclusively, though--think amphibian. (Note: This grazes over a big part of formative evolutionary biology, so its taking a lot of little leaps as a big one).

So we got a fish that can survive on land for a little bit and a fish that can't, but they're the same species, which is to say they can both breed and produce fertile offspring. But one can escape predators by going up on land--or find new and different foods should water-succor become lean.

The new fish is more likely to survive, ergo breeds more, ergo more fishies with breathing apparati. Competition is with everyone when it comes to survival of the fittest.

This, of course, gets into a complicated area when explaining the natural formation of morality. Mankind, by nature a social creature, survives better as a part of a social structure. The old anti-Darwinian argument of "If I'm just a monkey, why don't I just kill people? Isn't that survival of the fittest?" doesn't make sense when compared to actual animal social structures--consider, for example, the wolf pack. Or the lion pride. Or even the familial structure of chimps, gorillas, or lemurs. Survival of the fittest may, indeed, often demands the survival of more than one: 'Fittest' may refer to thed fittest group. Thus, the basic rules of pack apply; the fittest group is the one that does not attack itself from within. This is the basis for morality in humans.

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Postby StrangeWulf13 on Sun Nov 12, 2006 12:51 am

It is the basis for morality for evolutionists, but I take issue with it. Animals don't really have any concept of right or wrong. A wolf pack is focused on survival by any cost, save injury or death. They don't kill clean unless they get the opportunity for it. They'll also take the opportunity to have one pack member hold the prey by its nose while the others dig into its living insides.

I believe the author of "The Hatchet" saw this happen once, and when he told them to stop, the wolves simply looked at him as if he were crazy. He got the sense he was interrupting something he didn't understand and left them.

Even if we did "evolve" our morality from this pack mentality, we've since dropped a lot of instincts that were key to our survival. For one, we're not quite as ruthless. We also have this unusual aversion to causing pain, while animals simply don't care (though many hunters do learn to supress their reactions).

What I really take issue with though is mutation. Supposedly, mutation is what produced all the great variety in the world and helped evolution along. Random variations in the DNA sequence produced limbs and lungs, and wings, and bills, and claws...

Bullshit. You show me one, just one, incident where random mutation produced a beneficial alteration to a creature's biology. To my knowledge, there is no record of any such thing. Find me a link to a few cases, and I'll concede that it is indeed possible... though still improbable, given there's likely to be a small number of such incidents.

I admit, I don't seek to learn as much as I once did. Government school cured me of that, to assure I could not debate my "intellectual superiors" and show them for the fools they are. But I still ask questions. And most pressing, in my mind, is "why".

I never heard a satisfactory answer as to why there is so much beauty in the world. Surely, this is proof of a god? Someone had to create this, or at least guide the machine. Evolution is a process, a mechanism, and as such is incapable of producing beauty on its own. It would have to be directed, to be guided... like a computer, it must be told what goes where in order to produce any beauty.

Some argue that these are natural tools that evolved in creatures to produce some purpose, such as camoflage or to attract mates. And yet, is it not possible for other, less attractive features to function in the same way. If evolution is true, then what purpose does beauty serve? Sentient creatures like us are the only ones who truly appreciate it. Animals are attracted to bright colors and shiny surfaces (watch out for the ferrets), but they neither produce them nor maintain them. Animals don't make themselves beautiful. It just happens (bet the fashion industry envies that :roll: ). A chimp will keep a plaything if it attracts its attention, but can you seriously argue the primate will try to keep it clean? It's preposterous. Animals barely understand some of our most basic concepts. What makes you think they can appreciate beauty like we can?

Unless this beauty was tailor-made for us by some Supreme Being, what purpose does it serve? Without God, why does beauty exist?

I don't know if anyone can produce a satisfactory answer for me.
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Postby Sun tzu on Sun Nov 12, 2006 2:01 am

StrangeWulf13 wrote:It is the basis for morality for evolutionists, but I take issue with it. Animals don't really have any concept of right or wrong. A wolf pack is focused on survival by any cost, save injury or death. They don't kill clean unless they get the opportunity for it. They'll also take the opportunity to have one pack member hold the prey by its nose while the others dig into its living insides.

I believe the author of "The Hatchet" saw this happen once, and when he told them to stop, the wolves simply looked at him as if he were crazy. He got the sense he was interrupting something he didn't understand and left them.

Even if we did "evolve" our morality from this pack mentality, we've since dropped a lot of instincts that were key to our survival. For one, we're not quite as ruthless. We also have this unusual aversion to causing pain, while animals simply don't care (though many hunters do learn to supress their reactions).

What I really take issue with though is mutation. Supposedly, mutation is what produced all the great variety in the world and helped evolution along. Random variations in the DNA sequence produced limbs and lungs, and wings, and bills, and claws...

Bullshit. You show me one, just one, incident where random mutation produced a beneficial alteration to a creature's biology. To my knowledge, there is no record of any such thing. Find me a link to a few cases, and I'll concede that it is indeed possible... though still improbable, given there's likely to be a small number of such incidents.

I admit, I don't seek to learn as much as I once did. Government school cured me of that, to assure I could not debate my "intellectual superiors" and show them for the fools they are. But I still ask questions. And most pressing, in my mind, is "why".

I never heard a satisfactory answer as to why there is so much beauty in the world. Surely, this is proof of a god? Someone had to create this, or at least guide the machine. Evolution is a process, a mechanism, and as such is incapable of producing beauty on its own. It would have to be directed, to be guided... like a computer, it must be told what goes where in order to produce any beauty.

Some argue that these are natural tools that evolved in creatures to produce some purpose, such as camoflage or to attract mates. And yet, is it not possible for other, less attractive features to function in the same way. If evolution is true, then what purpose does beauty serve? Sentient creatures like us are the only ones who truly appreciate it. Animals are attracted to bright colors and shiny surfaces (watch out for the ferrets), but they neither produce them nor maintain them. Animals don't make themselves beautiful. It just happens (bet the fashion industry envies that :roll: ). A chimp will keep a plaything if it attracts its attention, but can you seriously argue the primate will try to keep it clean? It's preposterous. Animals barely understand some of our most basic concepts. What makes you think they can appreciate beauty like we can?

Unless this beauty was tailor-made for us by some Supreme Being, what purpose does it serve? Without God, why does beauty exist?

I don't know if anyone can produce a satisfactory answer for me.

If you want beneficial mutations, take a look at all the bacteria that have developped resistance to antibiotics over the alst few decades (and if you ask why we've only observed mutations in the most simple organisms, the answer is that they reproduce a lot faster, so there are more opporunities for mutations over "short" periods of time. You realize, I hope, that the couple centuries we've been studying nature scientifically are an extremely short time period by evolutionnary standards). For that matter, also pay attention to insects that evolved resistance to insecticides or farm animals that produce way, way, way more eggs or milk than they did before human farmers started selecting those who produced less to be eaten (I'm pretty certain chicken didn't lay an egg every day in nature. They wouldn't last a generation).
As for beauty in nature, well...Take a look at a fractal, a crystal, a snowflake. None of these needed an intelligent designer - they formed according to simple mathematical rules that logically result in complex structures. Our entire world - our entire set of physical laws - obey simple mathematical rules; there is no need for a designer behind it for complexity to appear - and we humans like complexity.
In all honesty, I do no,t and never have, understood why some people consider the beauty and complexity of the world to be an indication of design. :-?
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Postby RHJunior on Sun Nov 12, 2006 4:41 am

Bacterial "mutations"...
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Postby Sun tzu on Sun Nov 12, 2006 6:38 am

RHJunior wrote:Bacterial "mutations"...
Damaging the lock doesn't improve the house.

If you wan to say something, Mr Hayes, say it clearly.
Care to elaborate on your use of quotation marks?
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Postby Luna_Northcat on Sun Nov 12, 2006 8:43 am

Wulf, you and I have had this discussion before. You "asked questions", and I answered them, and you admitted to me later that you had not read the answers and didn't intend to, because you were afraid of learning something you didn't want to know. You declared that you would simply fight the concept of "evolution" on moral and philosophical grounds.

So, I'm curious; have you developed any real curiosity, now, or are you just pulling the same stunt again, on somebody else?

Anyway, I believe I had given you citations for beneficial mutations as well, although I don't have the links to hand.

Plant polyploidy: increases hardiness and disease resistance, and yes, there are a lot of documented cases of this.

Recent (as in, sometime in the last couple of centuries) mutations in the human hemoglobin protein, HbC, which confer resistance to malaria without any associated anemia, appearing in W. Africa. Different HbC mutations appearing in Arabic countries, with much the same effect. Those mutations are currently spreading like wildfire; in about 8 more generations, those forms of hemoglobin will predominate in many areas.

A mutation I was reading about recently -- I'll have to go look it up -- which allows people to eat fatty, cholesterol-laden diets with reduced risk of heart disease.

The appearance of mutations in both African and Norwegian populations which confer resistance to HIV, by altering the proteins of the T1 cell membranes.

Bacterial mutations which confer resistance to antibiotics -- and Ralph, you know this perfectly well, too, so please don't keep repeating the same argument, it's not honest -- not by removing or deleting proteins (or more accurately, glycoproteins) where the antibiotics attach, but by increasing the bacteria's ability to produce enzymes which render the antibiotics inert, by the appearance of new enzymes, by the appearance of new glycoproteins on the cell membrane which block binding sites, or by the appearance of brand new molecular pumps in the membrane which grab certain molecules (common in many antibiotics) and shunt them straight back out of the cell.

Now, given this information, is it worth my while going and looking up the exact citations for all these again, or are you going to keep repeating the "beneficial mutations don't happen" mantra anyway?

Oh, incidentally -- wolves have a fascinating morality. It isn't focussed around their prey; it's focussed around each other. They care for the sick members of their pack, and they often care for old and injured wolves who can no longer hunt and will never hunt again. And they have a memory; how well an old wolf gets treated, depends on how well that wolf treated others when it was in its prime. Yeah, they beat up on each other a lot too, but they have still built a working cooperative society.
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Postby Madmoonie on Sun Nov 12, 2006 8:47 am

Sapphire, thank you for answering the question. I am going to have to read it again several times to fully comprehend it but thank you for answering.
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Postby Sapphire on Sun Nov 12, 2006 2:00 pm

StrangeWulf13 wrote:It is the basis for morality for evolutionists, but I take issue with it. Animals don't really have any concept of right or wrong. A wolf pack is focused on survival by any cost, save injury or death. They don't kill clean unless they get the opportunity for it. They'll also take the opportunity to have one pack member hold the prey by its nose while the others dig into its living insides.

I believe the author of "The Hatchet" saw this happen once, and when he told them to stop, the wolves simply looked at him as if he were crazy. He got the sense he was interrupting something he didn't understand and left them.

Even if we did "evolve" our morality from this pack mentality, we've since dropped a lot of instincts that were key to our survival. For one, we're not quite as ruthless. We also have this unusual aversion to causing pain, while animals simply don't care (though many hunters do learn to supress their reactions).


Okay, forgive me, but I tend to work better when I first sumise my opponent's position in a short way. It's glib, I know, but it helps me.

In this, the first issue of your post, you seem to be asking, "If evolution is the basis of morality, why, then, do humans regularly behave in ways that do not follow 'survival of the fittest,' yet we understand to be good?"

The answer is simple: We are burdened with consciousness. This thing, this understanding of the world as it works, is to me the single greatest argument for the existence of the Almighty; better than demanding the world couldn't work without appeal to a creator, better than appealing to things of beauty, better than morality, or design, or any of I don't know how many arguments for the existence of God, is that we are conscious. Aware. With that is the burden of understanding pain, not only in ourselves but in others, not only other people but other species. This wonderful burden allows us to see, explain, and evaluate the world in ways animals never could. That is why we behave in ways infinitely more complex; we are infinitely more complex.

StrangeWulf13 wrote:What I really take issue with though is mutation. Supposedly, mutation is what produced all the great variety in the world and helped evolution along. Random variations in the DNA sequence produced limbs and lungs, and wings, and bills, and claws...

Bullshit. You show me one, just one, incident where random mutation produced a beneficial alteration to a creature's biology. To my knowledge, there is no record of any such thing. Find me a link to a few cases, and I'll concede that it is indeed possible... though still improbable, given there's likely to be a small number of such incidents.


Okay, here's ten. Now, if you don't mind, I'll be over here, waiting for that concession.

StrangeWulf13 wrote:I admit, I don't seek to learn as much as I once did. Government school cured me of that, to assure I could not debate my "intellectual superiors" and show them for the fools they are. But I still ask questions. And most pressing, in my mind, is "why".


You didn't? I was just thinking the other day about how many times I did. And how much I wish I had done more.

But you brought up a good point, something everyone here, ALL of you, should remember; Evolution is 'How,' NOT 'Why.' That's it. Even South Park can recognize that.

StrangeWulf13 wrote:I never heard a satisfactory answer as to why there is so much beauty in the world. Surely, this is proof of a god? Someone had to create this, or at least guide the machine. Evolution is a process, a mechanism, and as such is incapable of producing beauty on its own. It would have to be directed, to be guided... like a computer, it must be told what goes where in order to produce any beauty.

Some argue that these are natural tools that evolved in creatures to produce some purpose, such as camoflage or to attract mates. And yet, is it not possible for other, less attractive features to function in the same way. If evolution is true, then what purpose does beauty serve? Sentient creatures like us are the only ones who truly appreciate it. Animals are attracted to bright colors and shiny surfaces (watch out for the ferrets), but they neither produce them nor maintain them. Animals don't make themselves beautiful. It just happens (bet the fashion industry envies that :roll: ). A chimp will keep a plaything if it attracts its attention, but can you seriously argue the primate will try to keep it clean? It's preposterous. Animals barely understand some of our most basic concepts. What makes you think they can appreciate beauty like we can?

Unless this beauty was tailor-made for us by some Supreme Being, what purpose does it serve? Without God, why does beauty exist?

I don't know if anyone can produce a satisfactory answer for me.


I'd like to point out only that this is largely irrelevent to the discussion of evolution or old-earth theories. Remember; neither God nor the existence of beauty are disproven by evolution; it's just forcing a lot of people to think a lot harder about what they believe. Some people don't like that. Their place in the world and beyone is built upon a foundation of an inerrant Bible, and will fight tooth and claw to never, ever have to consider the full ramifications of having to believe in God while simultaneously being forced to doubt His existence.

Ralph once talked about screaming to the stars, asking 'Why?', but the fervency with which he claims that God has given us a bunch of easy ways out--both to believe in Him, and to go to heaven--makes me think he has never done this. Maybe its time to wonder; to think about things from the other end, just for a bit. To approach the world from the other end. To see things upside down. I dare you.[/url]
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Postby The JAM on Sun Nov 12, 2006 6:08 pm

If I may ask a simple question: in all of these beneficial mutations, are new species being produced by them, or are they variants within one species?
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Postby Kerry Skydancer on Sun Nov 12, 2006 8:20 pm

The JAM wrote:If I may ask a simple question: in all of these beneficial mutations, are new species being produced by them, or are they variants within one species?


Both. Species isn't even a valid concept for bacteria - the little buggers interbreed, after a fashion, with anything closely related. Polyploid plants are -automatically- new species, since they cannot interbreed with the ancestral stock due to chromosome mismatch. Again, the time factor works against living animal examples, but a new species of fly has arisen in North America since colonial days - the new one feeds on apples, which didn't exist here before that time, and can no longer interbreed with the ancestral population that still feeds on native hawthorns.

And don't start up the 'but they're still flies' nonsense. OF COURSE they're still flies. And they're still Diptera, Insecta, Arthropoda, and Animalia. The point is that they are a -new- kind of fly, just as wolves were once a new form of carnivore and humans were a new form of ape. We're still apes, but now we're also humans, which is a more restrictive category. These are now apple flies, which is different from hawthorn flies, but they're still both North American fruit flies, etc. There are a -lot- more types of fly than apes. And they are a -lot- more different from each other than we are from chimps or gorillas.
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Postby TMLutas on Sun Nov 12, 2006 8:33 pm

sun tzu wrote:If you want beneficial mutations, take a look at all the bacteria that have developped resistance to antibiotics over the alst few decades (and if you ask why we've only observed mutations in the most simple organisms, the answer is that they reproduce a lot faster, so there are more opporunities for mutations over "short" periods of time. You realize, I hope, that the couple centuries we've been studying nature scientifically are an extremely short time period by evolutionnary standards). For that matter, also pay attention to insects that evolved resistance to insecticides or farm animals that produce way, way, way more eggs or milk than they did before human farmers started selecting those who produced less to be eaten (I'm pretty certain chicken didn't lay an egg every day in nature. They wouldn't last a generation).
As for beauty in nature, well...Take a look at a fractal, a crystal, a snowflake. None of these needed an intelligent designer - they formed according to simple mathematical rules that logically result in complex structures. Our entire world - our entire set of physical laws - obey simple mathematical rules; there is no need for a designer behind it for complexity to appear - and we humans like complexity.
In all honesty, I do no,t and never have, understood why some people consider the beauty and complexity of the world to be an indication of design. :-?


Nobody serious disputes the idea that species can change as you describe. But as you noted the changes happen both without intelligent intervention and with it. ID evolution in the modern world is most often called "animal husbandry" and "breeding programs". The spread of beneficial mutations is not particularly controversial for creationists who have put some serious thought into the matter. The trouble comes with speciation, the drift of populations so far apart that they no longer can interbreed. Many creationists reject that and with that position, you've got a real fight on your hands.

Now there are examples of speciation, I believe. However, they are a lot fewer and further between than most evolutionists have liked to admit and as a younger fellow, I've spent months asking for honest speciation examples before somebody finally comes up with something, usually obscure, usually from the insect family. I accept that these are legitimate instances but this is the sort of thing that should be in the FAQs and on the tip of the tongue of most evolutionist arguments and not the "you're religious" ad homenim that bedevils so much of the conversation.

On the creationist side of the argument, there are certain "species" that can interbreed and produce fertile offspring. Polar bears are an example (hybrids with brown bears and even grizzlies have been verified) which goes to show that, at the very least, there should be some cleanup in the present system to describe reality better.
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Postby TMLutas on Sun Nov 12, 2006 8:38 pm

The JAM wrote:If I may ask a simple question: in all of these beneficial mutations, are new species being produced by them, or are they variants within one species?


http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/speciation.html

They exist, but it's some pretty weak tea, see the first example.
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Postby MikeVanPelt on Sun Nov 12, 2006 11:44 pm

sapphire wrote:The answer is simple: We are burdened with consciousness. This thing, this understanding of the world as it works, is to me the single greatest argument for the existence of the Almighty; better than demanding the world couldn't work without appeal to a creator, better than appealing to things of beauty, better than morality, or design, or any of I don't know how many arguments for the existence of God, is that we are conscious. Aware.


I think you're on to something here.

God made Man in His Own image, the Bible says.

What does that mean? Not physical form, of course.

Descartes said "I think, therefore I am."

When Moses asked God "Who are you, really?" God's answer was "I AM."

I've long thought that was the answer to the question of what what "in God's image" meant.
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Postby Wanderwolf on Mon Nov 13, 2006 1:13 am

For some real "evolution in action", go to Sapphire's link and check further down; seems there's now evidence for the evolution of unicellular organisms into multicellular ones.

The experiment was originally to grow Chlorella vulgaris algae as food for an Ochromonas algae-eating flagellate. Well, Murphy being as right as ever, the pump sending algae to the algae-eaters backwashed, setting algae-eaters among the algae.

Five days later, multicellular algae colonies had developed; ranging from 4 to 32 cells in size, they were big enough to survive flagellate attacks, and thus began to dominate the system. An additional kicker is that the Chlorella vulgaris colonies are no longer Chlorella vulgaris; their genetics mark them as Coelosphaerium, a different genus altogether.

The colonies have been kept going since 1983.

Yours truly,

The wolfish,

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Postby Luna_Northcat on Mon Nov 13, 2006 5:48 am

The JAM wrote:If I may ask a simple question: in all of these beneficial mutations, are new species being produced by them, or are they variants within one species?


Yes. Actually -- one of the weaknesses of the Talkorigin FAQ is that they focus on animals. Speciation events are most frequently observed in plants -- because plants can be self-fertilising, a single mutant can the immediate founder of an entire new species. One of the problems of polyploidy in an animal is that it can prevent the animal from being able to successfully breed with anything else; plants get to bypass that, so a mutant that is sterile with its ancestor population can still reproduce. Also, even where the mutant can still reproduce with its ancestor population, there would need to be a period of populational re-organisation, with every generation adding a few more members with the new genome before the new species really had enough for them only to breed with each other. That is a lot slower, and again, a self-fertilising plant can bypass that.

There have been at least 40 speciation events as a result of polyploidy in plants in the last two centuries. Most of them have been in the madder and sunflower families, a few in grasses and other wildflowers, and I believe at least one citrus. I'll see if I can collect all the names of the species for you.

Several other species have been mentioned on this thread, as well, I believe, including one of my favorites of all time, the Chlorella.

Another one is the speciation of Culex pipiens to Culex molestus in the London underground. Around 1900, a population of Culex pipiens followed the workers who were digging for the first Tube down; now, 106 years later, they are genetically and morphologically distinct from their ancestral population, with limited or no gene flow between the two populations, earning themselves a new species name. (See for example http://www.nature.com/hdy/journal/v82/n ... 4120a.html ).

Another example is the ongoing -- and closely watched -- speciation of European Corn Borers. Changes in emergence and mating timing allow them to take advantage of different food plants in different places; however, because the difference in emergence and mating timing makes it easier for each to mate with others on the same (or a close) schedule, although it all started out as variation due to mutation within a single species, the more synchronised populations are now becoming more specialised and distinct, with restricted gene flow to those on another schedule -- we are seeing sympatric speciation in action! The expectation is that over the next few decades gene flow between populations on different schedules will become more and more restricted, leading to the accumulation of other genetic differences which will probably be reflected in morphology as well as behavior -- classic speciation. One of the many, many, many papers on it is <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=12683523&dopt=Citation">here</a>.

We see speciation most often in plants, insects and bacteria because that is where it happens fastest, even possibly within a human lifetime. With mammals on a slower breeding schedule, we wouldn't expect to see it as easily or as often.
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Postby Luna_Northcat on Mon Nov 13, 2006 5:50 am

MikeVanPelt wrote:
sapphire wrote:The answer is simple: We are burdened with consciousness. This thing, this understanding of the world as it works, is to me the single greatest argument for the existence of the Almighty; better than demanding the world couldn't work without appeal to a creator, better than appealing to things of beauty, better than morality, or design, or any of I don't know how many arguments for the existence of God, is that we are conscious. Aware.


I think you're on to something here.

God made Man in His Own image, the Bible says.

What does that mean? Not physical form, of course.

Descartes said "I think, therefore I am."

When Moses asked God "Who are you, really?" God's answer was "I AM."

I've long thought that was the answer to the question of what what "in God's image" meant.


FWIW, I agree with both of you. I've long thought that "In His own image" referred to consciousness, awareness, free will and above all responsibility for our choices, exactly.

---Incidentally, Sapphire: thanks, that was all quite beautifully said.
Last edited by Luna_Northcat on Mon Nov 13, 2006 6:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Luna_Northcat on Mon Nov 13, 2006 6:21 am

TMLutas wrote:<snip>

Now there are examples of speciation, I believe. However, they are a lot fewer and further between than most evolutionists have liked to admit and as a younger fellow, I've spent months asking for honest speciation examples before somebody finally comes up with something, usually obscure, usually from the insect family. I accept that these are legitimate instances but this is the sort of thing that should be in the FAQs and on the tip of the tongue of most evolutionist arguments and not the "you're religious" ad homenim that bedevils so much of the conversation.


Hmm, I both agree and disagree with this. I agree that a lot of people ought to be better informed about what speciation events we *have* observed, and that this information should be better collated and more easily available. [files mental note for project, in my oh-so-copious spare time]

I disagree that we see fewer than we should have expected. As I noted in a previous post, speciation is observable most easily where it happens fast -- fast breeding populations with short generation times. Yes, that largely does limit it to prokaryotes, plants, and the smaller invertebrates. But that is not unexpected, or unreasonable. Most speciation events are expected to take place over, at a minimum, hundreds to thousands of years, as new genetic organisations spread through a population. Why should we expect to catch most of these "in the act", so to speak, when we've only really been looking for a century and a half?

I also agree that the "you're only saying that because you're religious" ad hominem is not a good argument at all. *sigh* however...it is hard to stay away from saying it someone who holds the religious position that the literal inerrancy of the Bible as trumping all physical evidence, because there you are trying to get them to think outside the entire frame of reference.

On the creationist side of the argument, there are certain "species" that can interbreed and produce fertile offspring. Polar bears are an example (hybrids with brown bears and even grizzlies have been verified) which goes to show that, at the very least, there should be some cleanup in the present system to describe reality better.


Oh, believe me, you have no idea.

Terry Pratchett actually wrote very well about the problem of defining boundaries in his first "Science of Discworld" book. Humans look for neat, clean classifications for things; we like clear delineation. Unfortunately, nature has no reason to be interested in that. Very few things in nature have exact, clean, clear delineations -- individuals squarely in the center of a classification we have invented are clear and distinct from individuals squarely in the center of a different classification. However, individuals at the very edges of a population, or classification, tend to merge on sort of a spectrum with individuals from the edge of the next classification over.

"Reproductive isolation" is the core concept behind species, but it is far from being absolute. Often the best we can manage is to tack on "under normal circumstances" at the end of that.

That said, there is some interesting research going on at the minute about gene flow through hybrid zones. Where polar bears breed with brown bears is a good example of a hybrid zone, actually. One thing that distinguishes hybrid zones is that generally, the hybrids are weaker or weedier or in some way not as well adapted as full individuals of either parental population, so the hybrid zone does not spread and the population "even out"; there's generally a narrow area where hybrids are found, and that's it. However, if a particularly beneficial gene crops up in one population and finds its way into a hybrid zone, it seems that this particular gene will spread far and rapidly out of the hybrid zone again into both parent populations -- possibly carrying with some neutral genetic variation as well -- because it has a fitness advantage. This kind of mixing keeps the two species more closely related than they would otherwise be. Reality isn't simple.

Reality can actually be very well described indeed by way of mathematics. For example,
dPi /dt = Wi Pi - <W> Pi - S j uji Pi + S j uij Pj , i = 1,...,K ,

where t is time, <W> = S ij Wij Pij is the mean fitness in a population; uij is the mutation rate of the transition Aj --> Ai, uii =0 (i, j = 1,..., K).

...but now, just try translating that into English. Believe me, it ends up a lot messier, and if you are trying to put into a simple sentence, you sacrifice exactness.
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Postby Deckard Canine on Mon Nov 13, 2006 7:28 am

FWIW, Rabbi Harold Kushner thought that in "Let us make man in our image," the first person plural referred to God and the animals. So man would have an animal-like body and a God-like conscience/soul.

Of course, Christians have a different view of the first person plural.
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