Alternate Evolution?

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Alternate Evolution?

I understand Evolution is more than likely true, but do you think there is an alteration of evolution? It sounds as if I'm speaking of creationism, but no, I'm not, creationism is crap lies fed to clueless children who can't understand evolution, which is meant literally, not insultingly. Children, if born into strong Christian families soak up creationism like a sponge, but omg, this is a shamwow, so it doesn't drip, and nothing more can get inside nor does anyone wring it out... Did I just compare children to shamwows? Regardless, does anyone think there is a plausible alteration to evolution, one rather scientificly factual than a fairy tale? If so, what?

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Well, for what it is

Well, for what it is worth, biologists working in the general area of evolution (cladistics) do not always agree on the specific details of what the exact lineage of a given life form may have been. Is that something like what you are after?

 

For example, apparently, the lineage that led to penguins diverged from that of other birds fairly soon after the first fairly bird like creatures evolved. That taken into account led to the point where until (if memory serves) the late 80's, it was not even clear if penguins really were birds as such. There were some in the biological sciences who felt very strongly that despite having beaks and feathers, penguins might not even have been birds at all.

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 Steven Jay Gould was a

 Steven Jay Gould was a proponent of some rather controversial "alternatives" to neo-darwinian theory.  The thing is, when you get down to brass tacks, his alternatives turned out to be one of two things:

1) Shifts of emphasis, alteration of scale, or other "tweaks" to the current conceptualization of gradualism

OR

2) Misguided attempts to insert skyhooks into natural selection when cranes work just fine.

It's still somewhat unclear what his final stance was.  Suffice it to say that Gould and... oh hell... Eldredge... I think... (brain fart) caused a lot of stink over what probably amounted to a different way of saying the same things evolutionists had been saying for years.

If you're interested in details, I'd recommend Darwin's Dangerous Idea by Daniel Dennett, which could probably just as well have been titled "Dennett vs. Gould:  The Rematch."

As far as any competing theories that do not include genetic variation, descent, and modification, there simply aren't any.  You severely understate the certainty of evolution.  Let me put it to you this way.  If evolution is not true, we're going to have to throw out practically everything from agriculture to pharmacology to advanced medicine to... well... anything related to biology at all.  To say that all of the modern life sciences are dependent on evolution is even to understate the matter.

Evolution does occur.  The only questions are matters of mechanism and general philosophy of evolution.

 

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What it's after is to

What it's after is to contradict itsef.

To the thread-poster...

Creationism is based on Theism.

Are you confused about that?

Atheists are not Theists.

I grant you that some Atheists often appear to be "Theistic" in a variety of their beliefs.


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Once DNA was discovered and

Once DNA was discovered and the basic mechanics of how individual attributes were determined, and passed on, the process of evolution become pretty much a 'no-brainer'.

It became apparent how any given set of genetic material, ie chromosomes, consisting of one or two strands of DNA in the case of viruses, up to 20 or 30 in other organisms, could eventually change or mutate into any other by observed processes of:

1. duplication or deletion of stretches of DNA, from long sequences down to single 'nucleotides' ( the 'building blocks' of DNA); 

2. whole sequences re-located or copied into different locations on the same DNA molecule or into a different one;

3.  splitting of one strand into two, or fusing ( joining end-to-end ) of two into one - one of these processes appears to have happened somewhere in the descent of apes and humans from our common ancestor, so that nearest relatives in the primates have 24 chromosomes, while we have 23. If we combine two specific chromosomes in other primates, we get a sequence very close to one of ours.

Such changes would have to be small in any one generation, otherwise the chances of the new organism being viable decrease dramatically - there are many more ways of being unviable than being ok. It should also ideally be at least marginally more advantageous, at least under some real conditions, than the other variations within the population, so it could spread to at least a significant fraction of the population, to form the basis for any further 'evolution'.

But aside from these constraints, any change which could be traced through a path of such steps, is possible. 

The rate at which such changes occur, whether due to simple copying errors or other special processes, varies quite a bit from 'species' to 'species'.

Perfect copying would prevent any evolution, so nothing would have emerged from the primeval pool, two many errors and chances of successful reproduction would be too low. So even the copying accuracy itself, as controlled by the complexity and details of the system of enzymes and other molecules invoked when cells divide, evolved in itself. 

Species in relatively stable environments, with little or no competition from other species, are better served by very low 'error' rates, just enough to allow them to track small changes in their environment, with the opposite being true for species in highly volatile and/or competitive situations. 

Disease organisms, especially when exposed to a succession of antibiotics and vaccines, have become dominated by those genetic variants with the ability to evolve relatively rapidly, giving rise to new variants of diseases, and sometimes the ability to infect different species, as we see with influenza.

All of these observations and straightforward conclusions have made the mechanisms of evolution pretty much basic facts of life, literally.

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treat2 wrote:What it's after

treat2 wrote:
What it's after is to contradict itsef. To the thread-poster... Creationism is based on Theism. Are you confused about that? Atheists are not Theists. I grant you that some Atheists often appear to be "Theistic" in a variety of their beliefs.

 

What on Earth are you talking about? I believe you misread my post...

Also! Creationism is not based on Theism Per se, Theism is along the same lines as atheism. Theism is basically the belief that there is one or more dieties, that's it. I guess your statement "Creationism is based on Theism," isn't false necessarily, but it is in the matter of what you're meaning. Creationism basically derived from the monotheistic religion of Cristianity, not so much "based" on anything, more so an addition to fill up the gaps.

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 Doesn't creationism

 Doesn't creationism require a deity?  Must it not then be based on theism?

I think you're getting your universal affirmatives confused.

All C is T.  All Creationists are theists.

This is true, but universal affirmatives only partially convert.  That is, it is not necessarily true that All T is C, so we can only say with certainty, Some T is C.

In any case, I wanted to throw in a couple more things proposed by Gould, who seems to have been the last hold out among the respected biology community.  Also, please realize that it appears Gould never intended to overturn natural selection.  Rather, he appears to have wanted to refine the description of how it works.

In any case, Gould introduced a term called "saltation," in which a very large change produced what has been called a "hopeful monster" -- a creature that defied the astronomical odds and made a large leap in potential design space which turned out to be not bad enough to kill it.  Gould asserted that even assuming that a saltation event might produce a creature that was not more fit than any existing creature, if it was just fit enough to survive, it would reproduce, and the most fit of its offspring would also survive.

Of course, clever readers might ask:  Wait... didn't he just invoke gradualism by saying that the offspring which were best adapted to survive would survive?  

That was always the problem with Gould.  Everytime he presented a "shocking and revolutionary" new change to the way we look at evolution, it turned out to be just another way of saying what we already knew -- that there really is no difference between gradualism and punctuated equilibrium, and that even saltation events, if they happen, would be subject to the traditional process of natural selection.

One wonders if Gould's fondness for Marx affected his ability to objectively think about natural selection.

 

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