Evolution is not an opinion

Jenny - posted on 10/20/2009 ( 75 moms have responded )

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More and more evidence is mounting by the day as I have posted previously. Now with the genome mapping it is confirmed. Evolution is a fact.



http://www.virginia.edu/uvatoday/newsRel...



Richard Dawkins: Universal DNA Code Is 'Knockdown' Evidence of Evolution

October 19, 2009 – Evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins was on Grounds Friday to discuss his new book, "The Greatest Show On Earth: The Evidence For Evolution," which lays out more than a dozen lines of argument and evidence in support of evolution. Dawkins gave a quick introduction to every one of those lines of evidence (each gets a chapter in the book), speaking to a standing room only audience in the Gilmer Hall Auditorium. (Scores more were turned away after the room filled.)



The most compelling evidence of all, Dawkins explained, comes from molecular biology – the fact that DNA code is universal among all living things, with all creatures sharing identical segments of code.



Dawkins, recently retired from his position as the Charles Simonyi Professor of the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University, is perhaps most famous (and certainly most controversial) for his 2006 international bestseller "The God Delusion." In it, he makes the case for the improbability of the existence of a supreme being, and, more provocatively, that religion is not only wrong, but evil, a position that defines so-called "New Atheists."



But on Friday, Dawkins skipped any attack on religion, sticking to the subject matter in his latest book. However, he did express palpable scorn for those who believe the young-earth creationist view that the earth is less than 10,000 years old, a view that 40 percent of Americans (and 28 percent of Brits) agree with, according to a Gallup poll Dawkins cited.



Since the earth is actually 4.6 billion years old, Dawkins said, the magnitude of error in the young-earth creationist view is equivalent to thinking North America is 8 yards wide. Such a magnitude of false belief would be disabling in practically any other field, Dawkins quipped, noting that a plumber wouldn't be able to connect his pipes and do his job if his measurements were off by such a factor.



Dawkins' new book is an attempt to better muster the evidence for evolution, in hopes of changing the "disturbing" opinion of some who subscribe to the creationist view. While Dawkins acknowledged that there was little use in trying to argue with the most dyed-in-the-wool creationists (responding to a student who asked how best to join the fight against the creationist view), he suggested that the most persuasive tactic is to drop the truculence and share the fascinating ways that evolution can explain the natural world.



Dawkins himself did so with a mix of wry humor and a wide-eyed appreciation for the power of the idea of evolution.



The most convincing evidence for evolution comes from considering the similarities between so many living creatures, Dawkins explained.



Charles Darwin himself was quite aware of the striking similarities in the skeletons of various mammals, such as the wings of a bat and the fingers of a human hand, Dawkins explained. The bat's wing is composed of five sets of bones that support the flesh draped between them. Compared to the bone structure of a human hand, the bats' five wing bones are quite elongated in proportion to his body, but there is a striking similarity in the number and arrangement of the bones that makes it plain, Dawkins said, that they are two versions of the same thing. The same 'five-finger' outline is even evident in the skeleton of a winged dinosaur, the pterodactyl, that lived more than 65 million years ago.



While Darwin was limited to observing such qualitative sameness among species, a similar lesson is much more discretely apparent in comparisons of the genetic code of various creatures.



To begin with, it's striking that all life, from plants and animals to bacteria, viruses and fungi, rely on the same DNA coding mechanism to carry the biological instructions guiding how the creature is put together, Dawkins noted. What varies from one animal to another is not the code's structure or mechanism, but the individual genes.



Thanks to the Human Genome Project and similar projects that have uncovered the gene sequences of other animals, such as the chimpanzee, scientists can now compare the code among different species. They can be textually compared, like a Biblical scholar might compare two scrolls containing the book of Genesis. When every letter of two gene sequences is compared, scientists find whole 'sentences' and 'paragraphs' of identical DNA 'text.'



In the future, as ever-increasing computing power will enable a proliferation of genome sequencing, scientists will be able to make detailed DNA comparisons about the evolutionary relatedness of every species to every other. There is already enough such DNA comparison evidence to prove beyond doubt that all living things have shared ancestry, Dawkins said. This textual proof of the common ancestry of all living things is "knockdown evidence" of evolution.



Dawkins' talk was sponsored by U.Va.'s Department of Biology.







— By Brevy Cannon

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Johnny - posted on 10/20/2009

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Unfortunately, while there is plenty of evidence (growing every day) to support evolution, there is virtually no evidence save the Bible to support creation. Yes, evolution is a theory, but creationism is simply a belief. It would require some real study and verifiable testing to become anything more. Same goes for Intelligent Design as it is currently constructed. However, I have not seen any evidence against the idea that God does not control evolution. Nor any that he does, so in that department, my mind is open.

ME - posted on 10/25/2009

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...Catholics don't take the bible literally...at least not the creation myth, so it's not that difficult for the Pope to reconcile some type of evolution with the idea that God is the "primary mover" or the "intelligent designer"...The problem only exists for folks who believe that the earth is 6-10 thousand years old...

[deleted account]

Quoting Jenny:

No, it's not. Everyone knows what evolution means. Back on topic please.



Jenny, your refusal to define what you mean by "evolution" makes me think that either a) you don't actually know what you mean by the word, or b) you're not at all interested in having a clear, intelligent conversation about the topic and you're just arguing for the sake of arguing. Evolution as a whole is a massive process and it's possible for people to agree with parts of it but not all of it. The pope himself (thanks for providing those links last night!) said that SOME of Darwin's theories may have credence.



And what do you mean, "Back on topic"? Correct me if I'm wrong, but the word "Evolution" is in the subject line of this thread...so asking you to define what you mean by "evoluion" is clearly within the boundaries of the topic.

Isobel - posted on 10/21/2009

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I just want to say this...I don't know why you assume Christa AND Jenny, that if evolution is true then God must not exist. There is plenty of room for both (if you wish), so long as you don't hold a LITERAL view of the bible.

Jenny - posted on 10/24/2009

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Some more interesting stuff I came across: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/crea...



Q: You say one of the most compelling pieces of evidence for evolution is that it's a mess, that it's not an intelligent design in some senses.



A: When you look at the outside of an animal you don't see much mess. The outside of an animal is rather elegantly designed, especially if it has to move fast through some medium like air, like a swallow – or through water, like a dolphin. You look on the inside and it does look a bit of a mess. It doesn't look like the kind of thing an engineer would put together.



If you look at the main arteries leading from the heart, superficially it looks like the exhaust manifold of a car. But whereas the exhaust manifold of a car has the pipes coming off regularly spaced, parallel to each other, the pipes coming off the heart go every which way. It's a mess.



Q: You dissected a giraffe recently in order to prove this point.



A: I assisted. I was fascinated by the extraordinary devious routes that's taken by a particular nerve in all mammals. The recurrent laryngeal nerve goes from the brain down into the neck and it should then stop at the voice box, where its end organ is. Instead it goes way down into the chest, loops around one of those same arteries I mentioned, then back up to the voice box. A preposterous detour when you consider it goes straight past the voice box. And it's even more preposterous in a giraffe where the detour is a 15-foot detour.



Q: Is it true that every human fetus has gills?



A: It has slits in the place where gills would be. They don't actually breathe water like fish gills do, but they clearly are homologous, they clearly are the same things as the gills of a fish. They appear in the same way in the embryo and the blood vessels serve them in the same way as they do in the fish's gills. Then most of them disappear as the embryo grows older. Some of them remain as some of the main arteries I was talking about earlier.



Q: What's the one most compelling piece of evidence you would present if you were asked before a judge in a new Scopes trial?



A: I'd be torn between the geographical distribution of animals and plants, which is exactly the way it should be if they'd evolved, rather than placed there by a creator, and comparative molecular genetics. I think I'd probably go for comparative molecular genetics.



The beauty of that is that every living creature that has ever been looked at has the identical genetic code. The machine code of all life is the same – the DNA-protein machine code. It's a digital textual code, and you can look at the coded messages of every animal and every other animal, literally look at the same gene – you know it's the same gene because most of it is the same – and count the minor differences. So you've got a perfect quantitative measure of how much each pair of animals resembles each other and how different they are.



And when you put it all into one big picture, it's a tree, it's a hierarchical, branching tree. And obviously it's a family tree, it's a pedigree. The same tree works for every gene you look at. Every gene could give a different tree, but it doesn't. It gives the same tree.

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Jenny - posted on 11/24/2009

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Here's some observable human evolution in action:

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn18...

It's a snapshot of human evolution in progress. A genetic mutation protecting against kuru – a brain disease passed on by eating human brains – only emerged and spread in the last 200 years.

When members of the Fore people in Papua New Guinea died, others would eat the dead person's brain during funeral rituals as a mark of respect. Kuru passed on in this way killed at least 2500 Fore in the 20th century until the cause was identified in the late 1950s and the practice halted.

Identification of kuru and how it was spread helped researchers identify how BSE – mad cow disease – spread through the feeding of infected cattle brains to other animals, and how this eventually led to variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD), which has killed 166 people so far in the UK.

Simon Mead of the British prion research centre at University College London says the discovery of an "anti-kuru" gene is the most clear-cut evidence yet of human evolution in action.

"I hope it will become a textbook example of how evolution happens," he says. "It's a striking and timely example, given the 150th anniversary of the publication of Darwin's Origin of Species," he says.

Good mutations
Mead and his colleagues discovered the mutation after comparing stored DNA from 152 dead Fore victims of the disease with DNA from more than 3000 living Fore, including almost 560 who participated in the ritual eating of brains before it was banned.

In 51 survivors and their descendants, they discovered a hitherto-unknown variant of PRNP, the gene which makes prions, the proteins that spread the disease. These prions become malformed and in turn make all healthy prions they encounter malformed as well, in a chain reaction that ultimately destroys brains by turning them into a spongy mush.

The change in the gene comes at a position called codon 127. Throughout the animal kingdom, the codon contains the same amino acid, called glycine or "G", from each parent, giving the form G127G. To their astonishment, Mead and his colleagues found a variant of the codon never seen in nature before, in which one of the glycines has been swapped for a valine amino acid, giving the new variant the name G127V.

Initially, Mead and his colleagues thought that because the variant had never been seen before, it must have damaging rather than beneficial effects. "We thought we'd found the trigger for how kuru happens, that someone ate the brain of someone with the mutation and that's how the disease started spreading through the cannibalistic funeral feasts," he said.

"Instead, we found the complete opposite, which is that it was protective."

Inherited health
The mutation first arose about 200 years ago by accident in a single individual, who then passed it down to his or her descendants. "When the kuru epidemic peaked about 100 years back, there were maybe a couple of families who found that they and their children survived while all their neighbours were dying, and so on to today's generation, who still carry the gene," says Mead. "So it was a very sudden genetic change under intense selection pressure from the disease," he says.

None of the 152 victims of kuru had the protective gene, suggesting that it provides almost complete resistance to the disease. But it's not yet known whether the variant protects against other prion diseases. Mead said that experiments are already under way in mice deliberately given the new mutation, to see if they are protected against both kuru and vCJD.

Mead says that the team has evidence that the prion protein made by the new variant might prevent the abnormal version of the prion from multiplying, giving clues to how to treat or prevent vCJD with drugs.

In 2003, Mead and his colleagues discovered a much more common variant of the prion gene that provides protection against prion diseases. The variant's position in the gene, at codon 129, is just two units away from the new one.

The protective variant at codon 129 is called "MV", standing for the amino acids methionine and valine. All deaths except one from vCJD have so far been in people with the "MM" variant, suggesting that they are specially at risk.

Jose Ordovas, who studies genetics and nutrition at Tufts University, Boston, said the finding "really supports the concept of very rapid adaptation of humans to the environment".

Jenny - posted on 11/18/2009

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http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/wildern...



Newly evolved finch appears on the Galapagos Islands

Evolution caught in the act? An isolated population of finches have odd-shaped beaks, sing differently, and don't breed with others.

By Bryan NelsonMon, Nov 16 2009 at 9:40 PM EST

Read more: ANIMALS, BIRDS, ECOLOGY, NATURE





NEW SPECIES: Scientists studying Darwin's finches in the Galapagos are witnessing evolution in action. (Photo: Grant, P./PNAS)

Just a few years ago, the husband and wife team of Peter and B. Rosemary Grant made the breakthrough discovery that the beak sizes of some of the finches on the Galapagos Islands had already changed since Darwin's visit in 1835. Now they believe they may have witnessed the evolution of a brand new species.



Even more remarkable, the scientists have tracked the evolution of the new lineage back to a single bird. As Nature reports, it began in 1981 when the Grants spotted an unusually heavy, medium ground finch (Geospiza fortis) on the Galapagos Island of Daphne Major. At 29.7 grams, the male was markedly heavier than any of the other finches they had found there. Genetic analysis revealed that the odd bird likely came from the neighboring island of Santa Cruz, where the species is larger.



The Grants marked the bird with the number 5110, and proceeded to follow it over the course of seven generations. Because 5110's descendants had different origins than other, smaller Geospiza fortis found on Daphne Major, they also had unusually shaped beaks and grew up learning to sing different songs. Since finches use their beaks and their songs to identify suitable mates, the population began to isolate itself from others.



Then in the fourth generation, tragedy struck 5110's family. A severe drought parched the entire island, leaving only two living descendants — a brother and a sister. From that time forward, the outcasts became permanently isolated, refusing to breed with any other G. fortis on the island.



While the Grants aren't quite ready to call the isolated lineage a new species yet, they acknowledge that if the birds continue to remain isolated, speciation will be inevitable. "There is no non-arbitrary answer to the question of how many generations should elapse before we declare the reproductively isolated lineage to be a new species," they said. "[But] for the present it is functioning as a [separate] species."



And it's unlikely that the population would breed with any birds from their original home in Santa Cruz either. Although these finches learned their songs from their father, and thus derived it from 5110's original home in Santa Cruz, they have already developed a thick accent. It's likely that over time, the song mishmashed from its original version while the birds attempted to copy the music of Daphne Major's other finches.



"No study of this sort has been done before, and it shows one way in which speciation can get started," said the Grants from Japan, where they are set to receive the Kyoto Prize for basic science for their life work.

Jenny - posted on 11/11/2009

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I found this post on another board and thought I'd share



"application of evolutionary knowledge"



Without practical application, the theory of evolution is useless. So here are the practical applications:



1. Evolutionary theory is the framework tying together all of biology. It explains similarities and differences between organisms, fossils, biogeography, drug resistance, extreme features such as the peacock's tail, relative virulence of parasites, and much more besides. Without the theory of evolution, it would still be possible to know much about biology, but not to understand it.



This explanatory framework is useful in a practical sense. First, a unified theory is easier to learn, because the facts connect together rather than being so many isolated bits of trivia. Second, having a theory makes it possible to see gaps in the theory, suggesting productive areas for new research.



2. Evolutionary theory has been put to practical use in several areas (Futuyma 1995; Bull and Wichman 2001). For example:

* Bioinformatics, a multi-billion-dollar industry, consists largely of the comparison of genetic sequences. Descent with modification is one of its most basic assumptions.

* Diseases and pests evolve resistance to the drugs and pesticides we use against them. Evolutionary theory is used in the field of resistance management in both medicine and agriculture (Bull and Wichman 2001).

* Evolutionary theory is used to manage fisheries for greater yields (Conover and Munch 2002).

* Artificial selection has been used since prehistory, but it has become much more efficient with the addition of quantitative trait locus mapping.

* Knowledge of the evolution of parasite virulence in human populations can help guide public health policy (Galvani 2003).

* Sex allocation theory, based on evolution theory, was used to predict conditions under which the highly endangered kakapo bird would produce more female offspring, which retrieved it from the brink of extinction (Sutherland 2002).



Evolutionary theory is being applied to and has potential applications in may other areas, from evaluating the threats of genetically modified crops to human psychology. Additional applications are sure to come.



3. Phylogenetic analysis, which uses the evolutionary principle of common descent, has proven its usefulness:

* Tracing genes of known function and comparing how they are related to unknown genes helps one to predict unknown gene function, which is foundational for drug discovery (Branca 2002; Eisen and Wu 2002; Searls 2003).

* Phylogenetic analysis is a standard part of epidemiology, since it allows the identification of disease reservoirs and sometimes the tracking of step-by-step transmission of disease. For example, phylogenetic analysis confirmed that a Florida dentist was infecting his patients with HIV, that HIV-1 and HIV-2 were transmitted to humans from chimpanzees and mangabey monkeys in the twentieth century, and, when polio was being eradicated from the Americas, that new cases were not coming from hidden reservoirs (Bull and Wichman 2001). It was used in 2002 to help convict a man of intentionally infecting someone with HIV (Vogel 1998). The same principle can be used to trace the source of bioweapons (Cummings and Relman 2002).

* Phylogenetic analysis to track the diversity of a pathogen can be used to select an appropriate vaccine for a particular region (Gaschen et al. 2002).

* Ribotyping is a technique for identifying an organism or at least finding its closest known relative by mapping its ribosomal RNA onto the tree of life. It can be used even when the organisms cannot be cultured or recognized by other methods. Ribotyping and other genotyping methods have been used to find previously unknown infectious agents of human disease (Bull and Wichman 2001; Relman 1999).

* Phylogenetic analysis helps in determining protein folds, since proteins diverging from a common ancestor tend to conserve their folds (Benner 2001).



4. Directed evolution allows the "breeding" of molecules or molecular pathways to create or enhance products, including:

* enzymes (Arnold 2001)

* pigments (Arnold 2001)

* antibiotics

* flavors

* biopolymers

* bacterial strains to decompose hazardous materials.

Directed evolution can also be used to study the folding and function of natural enzymes (Taylor et al. 2001).



5. The evolutionary principles of natural selection, variation, and recombination are the basis for genetic algorithms, an engineering technique that has many practical applications, including aerospace engineering, architecture, astrophysics, data mining, drug discovery and design, electrical engineering, finance, geophysics, materials engineering, military strategy, pattern recognition, robotics, scheduling, and systems engineering (Marczyk 2004).



6. Tools developed for evolutionary science have been put to other uses. For example:

* Many statistical techniques, including analysis of variance and linear regression, were developed by evolutionary biologists, especially Ronald Fisher and Karl Pearson. These statistical techniques have much wider application today.

* The same techniques of phylogenetic analysis developed for biology can also trace the history of multiple copies of a manuscript (Barbrook et al. 1998; Howe et al. 2001) and the history of languages (Dunn et al. 2005).



7. Good science need not have any application beyond satisfying curiosity. Much of astronomy, geology, paleontology, natural history, and other sciences have no practical application. For many people, knowledge is a worthy end in itself.



8. Science with little or no application now may find application in the future, especially as the field matures and our knowledge of it becomes more complete. Practical applications are often built upon ideas that did not look applicable originally. Furthermore, advances in one area of science can help illuminate other areas. Evolution provides a framework for biology, a framework which can support other useful biological advances.



9. Anti-evolutionary ideas have been around for millennia and have not yet contributed anything with any practical application.



References:



1. Arnold, Frances H. 2001. Combinatorial and computational challenges for biocatalyst design. Nature 409: 253-257.

2. Barbrook, Adrian C., Christopher J. Howe, Norman Blake, and Peter Robinson, 1998. The phylogeny of The Canterbury Tales. Nature 394: 839.

3. Benner, Steven A. 2001. Natural progression. Nature 409: 459.

4. Branca, Malorye. 2002. Sorting the microbes from the trees. Bio-IT Bulletin, Apr. 07. www.bio-itworld.com/news/040702_report186.html

5. Bull, J. J. and H. A. Wichman. 2001. Applied evolution. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 32: 183-217.

6. Cherry, J. R., and A. L. Fidantsef. 2003. Directed evolution of industrial enzymes: an update. Current Opinion in Biotechnology 14: 438-443.

7. Conover, D. O. and S. B. Munch. 2002. Sustaining fisheries yields over evolutionary time scales. Science 297: 94-96. See also pp. 31-32.

8. Cummings, C. A. and D. A. Relman. 2002. Microbial forensics-- "cross-examining pathogens". Science 296: 1976-1979.

9. Dunn, M., A. Terrill, G. Reesink, R. A. Foley and S. C. Levinson. 2005. Structural phylogenetics and the reconstruction of ancient language history. Science 309: 2072-2075. See also: Gray, Russell. 2005. Pushing the time barrier in the quest for language roots. Science 309: 2007-2008.

10. Eisen, J. and M. Wu. 2002. Phylogenetic analysis and gene functional predictions: Phylogenomics in action. Theoretical Population Biology 61: 481-487.

11. Futuyma, D. J. 1995. The uses of evolutionary biology. Science 267: 41-42.

12. Galvani, Alison P. 2003. Epidemiology meets evolutionary ecology. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 18(3): 132-139.

13. Gaschen, B. et al.. 2002. Diversity considerations in HIV-1 vaccine selection. Science 296: 2354-2360.

14. Howe, Christopher J. et al. 2001. Manuscript evolution. Trends in Genetics 17: 147-152.

15. Marczyk, Adam. 2004. Genetic algorithms and evolutionary computation. www.talkorigins.org/faqs/genalg/genalg.html

16. Nesse, Randolph M. and George C. Williams. 1994. Why We Get Sick. New York: Times Books.

17. Relman, David A. 1999. The search for unrecognized pathogens. Science 284: 1308-1310.

18. Searls, D., 2003. Pharmacophylogenomics: Genes, evolution and drug targets. Nature Reviews Drug Discovery 2: 613-623. www.nature.com/nature/view/030731.html

19. Sutherland, William J., 2002. Science, sex and the kakapo. Nature 419: 265-266.

20. Taylor, Sean V., Peter Kast, and Donald Hilvert. 2001. Investigating and engineering enzymes by genetic selection. Angewandte Chemie International Edition 40: 3310-3335.

21. Vogel, Gretchen. 1998. HIV strain analysis debuts in murder trial. Science 282: 851-852.

Isobel - posted on 11/03/2009

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I found it fascinating Jo! I think it's cool that science is always moving forward, and you always have to keep rethinking your theories. While I am certain that evolution is true, it's kind of amazing that we're still learning who our ancestors are and how long they've been around :)

ME - posted on 11/03/2009

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Nova has a new special out on evolution (particularly human) it is airing tonight on my pbs channel, but i'm sure that you can find it on line if you are interested!

?? - posted on 11/03/2009

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Boooo!! You both suck ! lol I found it pretty interesting! You should look at see anyways, some of the info they talked about, about how Ardi puts a whole new perspective on things is pretty neat, even if you just take it in a science fiction kind of way!

Christa - posted on 11/03/2009

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LOL, I really haven't had time to sit and really look at these. Plus I've already said I don't put much weight into the fossil record because it's so circumstantial. Although I will read it someday. . .

?? - posted on 11/03/2009

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Nothin? Not even a "BOO JO YOU SUCK GET OUT!!" or a "This is LAME!" or "I'm gonna look into this further" or even just a simple "Hmmm... old news..." ? lol nothin at all???

?? - posted on 10/30/2009

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I was watching Discovery Channel last night while I was having a bath and they were showing a special on Ardi. 4.4 million year old fossil that was found in 1992 in Ethiopia and its importance only recently really came to light. It's considered the link that blows Darwins theory that we evolved from apes out of the water and has opened up other doors of exploration...



http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/...



A few other related links with different information about Ardi and the show I watched too;



http://dsc.discovery.com/tv/ardipithecus...

http://www.discoverychannel.ca/article.a...

http://anthropology.net/2009/10/01/the-4...

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8285180.stm



What are everyone's thoughts on this?

Christa - posted on 10/24/2009

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Ok Jenny, disregard everything I said because I believe in God. Whatever makes you feel better about your lack of knowledge on this subject. Now I am seriously done, this is getting ridiculous. I won't respond to you again.

Jenny - posted on 10/24/2009

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Christa, you have stated yourself on numerous occasions that you are not capable of seperating faith from anything else in life. Why would the topic of evolution be any different? I posted the thoughts from two different popes. The second one is much more clear. He is capable of reconciling evolution with his beleifs. I think it is rather big of him to come clear on that and not stomp his feet and cling to his literal beliefs with all the facts being presented these days.

Jenny - posted on 10/24/2009

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That's fine, Christa, I'm not here to debate science with someone who has faith based reasoning, it will NEVER go anywhere. I'm saying apples and you're saying oranges. See, you're giving reasons like we don't know alot about thing A and thing B turned out to be false as reasoning that thing C is not true. It's saying, don't believe evolution is a fact because science is constantly changing. While at the same time completely ignoring the astronomical amounts of facts that are coming out these days in favour of the theory. That is not a very openminded way to think. I've expressed that I've read reports and watched movies supporting evolution not being a fact and I will continue to do so. Please humour me and read Dawkins new book. At the very least, as a biologist, you should find it very interesting.



Like I said, even the pope believes in evolution. Time to get on board with popular scienitfic fact Christa. Start with reading The Greatest Story Ever Told.

Jenny - posted on 10/23/2009

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I'm not here to change YOUR mind Christa or even to debate evolution. I'm here to share information with people who are on the fence with what the current science is about a topic I find to be very interesting. We don't all need a doctorate to have a conversation about science but nice copout.

Jenny - posted on 10/23/2009

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I do not mean conception of the earth. Evolution is what happened after that. Nothing I say about evolution has anything to do with how it's started. I will never agree to disagree lol. I'm a Scorpio, we don't roll that way.



It wasn't the persistance, it was the attitude. Anyways, I'm sure we're capable of being adults and moving forward. I'll post more evidence soon, this book is mind blowing.

[deleted account]

You're both right. Dana, that comment was meant to be more of a 'wink, wink, nudge, nudge', tongue-in-cheek kind of a thing. But that sort of comment doesn't really translate well from spoken word to written word. I'll try to do a better job of remembering that in the future!



Jenny, you and I will just have to agree to disagree. While putting the link with information on there was good, the issue wasn't that we didn't know that micro and macro exist, I just wasn't getting a feel for what *you* meant in some of your writings. I see now that you probably meant the WHOLE process of evolution--including "conception" of the earth, micro-evolution, and macro-evolution. I feel that in order to have conducive discussions, it's important to be clear in in our own language usage. But again, if you felt I was being too persistent, I apologize.

Jenny - posted on 10/23/2009

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Thank you Dana, that type of behaviour is not condusive to a good debate. I posted the link with the information on micro and macro evolution. THAT is what's important to the discussion. Not MY level of expertise in genetics or ability to bring the information to this thread in layman's terms. I'm not claiming to be the expert here, I'm saying we need to start listening to the experts and the truth they are sharing.

Dana - posted on 10/23/2009

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By the way, this I found to be rude, rather than persistent:

Q: Who answers a request for specifics with generalities?







A: A person who doesn't know what they're talking about.

[deleted account]

All I wanted was for her to answer the question. Sometimes on these boards it takes awhile for people to answer specific questions within a post. Maybe we all read too fast and don't pay attention to the details. I don't think I was brow-beating, I thought I was being persistent. But you'll notice that I conceded in several posts that hey, if she doesn't want to clarify what she means by the word, so be it. I wasn't asking Jenny to concede anything, I was just asking her to be clear so that we could all have the most well-informed discussion possible. Jenny, if you felt I was being too hard on you, I apologize.

Dana - posted on 10/23/2009

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Yes, it was good that Colleen brought up the question of Micro and Macro but, I do think she was quite rude about it from that point on. I don't think brow beating anyone will get them to admit to something you want to hear. There have been plenty of times where people don't want to concede a point proven. People in glass houses.......

Jenny - posted on 10/22/2009

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Did you or did you not read the link? More facts and logic than you can shake a stick at.



Also please ensure personal attacks are left out, thanks.

[deleted account]

Po-tay-to, po-tah-to. But fair enough. I thought the definition of evolution was relevant--as is how we all intend the word "evolution" when we discuss it--but it's cool, OP.

Jenny - posted on 10/22/2009

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So we're going into personal insults now? Sorry, I don't play that game. How about you stick to the topic?

[deleted account]

Quoting Jenny:

That IS what I mean when I say evolution. I'm not into bastardizing a definition to fit preconceived notions about what it "should" mean.

Micro and macro evolution are two sides to the same coin. One turns into the other over the long term. There are smaller changes in the species itself which eventually leads to becoming a new species over the long term. There is no "believing" one or the other. It is just called evolution.



False.

Jenny - posted on 10/22/2009

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That IS what I mean when I say evolution. I'm not into bastardizing a definition to fit preconceived notions about what it "should" mean.



Micro and macro evolution are two sides to the same coin. One turns into the other over the long term. There are smaller changes in the species itself which eventually leads to becoming a new species over the long term. There is no "believing" one or the other. It is just called evolution.

Isobel - posted on 10/22/2009

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humans came from apes.
I don't see how God has anything to do with this topic, his existence, or lack thereof has nothing to do with whether or not evolution exists...unless we believe in the LITERAL translation of the bible.

[deleted account]



Quoting Jenny:

Because, as the OP, I don't want this conversation to get sidetracked by definining words and lose focus on the overall topic. So just to get it out of the way and move forward here is the definition. I used the dictionary, hopefully it is unbiased enough for you. Huh. Sassy.




ev·o·lu·tion (v-lshn, v-)
n.
1. A gradual process in which something changes into a different and usually more complex or better form. See Synonyms at development.
2.
a. The process of developing.
b. Gradual development.
3. Biology
a. Change in the genetic composition of a population during successive generations, as a result of natural selection acting on the genetic variation among individuals, and resulting in the development of new species.
b. The historical development of a related group of organisms; phylogeny.
4. A movement that is part of a set of ordered movements.
5. Mathematics The extraction of a root of a quantity.





Thanks for the definition! I was more asking what *you* mean when you say evolution, but as you're so opposed to releasing that information, we can move on!



For the sake of everyone's clarity when they read my posts, I'll make sure to differentiate between micro-evolution and macro-evolution, as both are parts of the process and yet are very different. As I've said, I personally believe in micro-evolution but not macro-evolution.

Jenny - posted on 10/22/2009

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Because, as the OP, I don't want this conversation to get sidetracked by definining words and lose focus on the overall topic. So just to get it out of the way and move forward here is the definition. I used the dictionary, hopefully it is unbiased enough for you.



ev·o·lu·tion (v-lshn, v-)

n.

1. A gradual process in which something changes into a different and usually more complex or better form. See Synonyms at development.

2.

a. The process of developing.

b. Gradual development.

3. Biology

a. Change in the genetic composition of a population during successive generations, as a result of natural selection acting on the genetic variation among individuals, and resulting in the development of new species.

b. The historical development of a related group of organisms; phylogeny.

4. A movement that is part of a set of ordered movements.

5. Mathematics The extraction of a root of a quantity.

Jenny - posted on 10/21/2009

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No, it's not. Everyone knows what evolution means. Back on topic please.

[deleted account]

Laura, maybe I'm not reading closely enough, but I don't think I've seen anybody say that it's either God OR evolution. I've said that I believe that God created the world, but that I also believe in micro-evolution. Or is that not what you meant? (It's late and I need to go to bed!)



And seriously, let's specify what we mean by "evolution". Because it's an incredibly broad term and we're all probably using it in different ways to describe different parts of the process, thus resulting in mis-communication.

Johnny - posted on 10/21/2009

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Christa, I'm glad that you appreciate my agreement on your points to do with the fallibility of evolution as a fact. Every theory should constantly be updated and altered according to what the most recent evidence supports, evolution is no different.

However, you completely failed to answer my question on the evidence that supports god's involvement. You are very focused on stating that evolution is used to prove god's non-existence by many of it's proponents. I think that is correct, although I think most of those arguments have faulty logic. Science (from my understanding) has yet to prove the non-existence or existence of god. I am an agnostic because in my opinion, it is impossible to know that god does or does not exist. I have done quite a bit of reading on intelligent design, as I originally had hoped it would breach the gap that I feel exists between scientific knowledge and the "unknowable". I have been sadly disappointed by its faulty logic and paucity of evidence to support any of its assertions. So I will ask again, what evidence do you have to back up your statement that you "KNOW that God created the earth"?

Jenny - posted on 10/21/2009

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Science is constantly changing and always will, forever, until the end of time. Doesn't mean it is false, just means we are learning new things. That's actually a good thing!



I'll reply on this thread again shortly once I finish this book. I'm two chapters in and it is very thorough, well referenced, solid proof. I highly recommend it, especially to scientists, looking for a scientifically based analysis on evolution.

[deleted account]

Quoting Jenny:

Here's another, clearer viewpoint with current Pope Benedict: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19956961/



Did you even read the articles, or did you just look at the headlines? In the first article, he's obvioulsy talking about micro-evolution, not macro-evolution.



"Benedict argued that evolution had a rationality that the theory of purely random selection could not explain.



"The process itself is rational despite the mistakes and confusion as it goes through a narrow corridor choosing a few positive mutations and using low probability," he said.



"This...inevitably leads to a question that goes beyond science...where did this rationality come from?"



Answering his own question, he said it came from the "creative reason" of God."



 



And the 2nd link basically says that Pope Benedict thinks that science (specifically evolution) and faith can coexist...which is basically what I and some others on this thread have been saying anyway. So you're basically telling me that the Pope's views on evolution line up with mine. Great! Thanks for the confirmation!

Jenny - posted on 10/21/2009

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By Brontosaurus you mean the dinosaur now commonly called Apatosaurus? http://www.miketaylor.org.uk/dino/faq/s-...



Question

Why is ``Brontosaurus'' now called Apatosaurus?

Answer

Brontosaurus excelsus was named in 1879 by Marsh, based on a rather good specimen. Unfortunately, two years earlier he'd named some much scrappier remains with the rather less resonant name Apatosaurus ajax.

In 1903, Elmer Riggs' re-examination of Marsh's specimens led him to conclude that they represented the same genus (although see below), meaning that the names were synonyms. In such cases, the ICZN (International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature, see www.iczn.org) mandates that the oldest name has priority - which means that the rather dull Apatosaurus (``deceptive lizard'') wins out over the much more resonant ``Brontosaurus'' (``thunder lizard'').



So why does the world still talk about ``Brontosaurus'' all the time? The paper in which Riggs established the synonymy was published in the Geological Series of the Field Columbian Museum - a relatively obscure journal, so the findings were not as widely known as they should have been. Also, the sexier invalid name received a lot of public exposure from non-scientific sources: for example, the Sinclair oil company used a ``Brontosaurus'' as its logo for many years. (Rather inappropriately, as it turns out, since oil is formed from plant matter, not animals. Never mind.)



So the world continued and continues to use ``Brontosaurus''; but Apatosaurus should be used in all serious writing.



I said that Riggs established that Apatosaurus and ``Brontosaurus'' were from the same genus. But the two Marsh specimens are still considered to represent separate species: the older specimen is Apatosaurus ajax and the newer Apatosaurus (nee ``Brontosaurus'') excelsus. However, since it's always a judgement call whether any species belong in the same genus (see ``When is a new dinosaur erected as a new species or genus?'' ), there are palaeontologists - notably Robert Bakker - who feel that the two species are sufficiently distinct that excelsus merits a separate genus. Under this scheme, the old genus name is still perfectly good, so Bakker still uses the formal name Brontosaurus excelsus (but never Brontosaurus ajax.)



Finally: for many years, Apatosaurus was believed to have a head similar to that of Camarasaurus - a mistake that was rectified in the 1970s with the discovery of a specimen with associated cranial remains closely resembling the head of Diplodocus. This has led to a misapprehension in some quarters that the name ``Brontosaurus'' refers to the combination of an Apatosaurus body with a Camarasaurus head. No so: the naming confusion is quite separate from this issue.

Isobel - posted on 10/21/2009

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Quoting Christa:

Good thing I never care what the Pope says. ;-P

Carol, to answer your question.

I'm glad you agree that evolution is just a theory, it really makes me breathe a sigh of relief. My only problem with evolution is that it's shoved down our throats as fact and it's not. I think there are many people out there who are so obsessed with it being the only option because it doesn't stick with the literal translation of the bible. And some are so desperate to prove Christianity wrong. I don't believe we came from a common ancestor and there are facts to support that. However those facts can't say that yes God did it, but they do say that the current evolution theory isn't plausible and there is a lot of science to support an alternative theory, call it what you want. I briefly mentioned one point which is the length it takes for these mutations to occur, it isn't consistent with any of the current hypotheses for the age of the earth. NONE of them are long enough.

There is too much science to discuss every aspect. Maybe someday I'll have time to put together a comprehensive lesson on it, but working 22 wks pregnant with a 21 month old is not that time. LOL If you are truly interested I suggested one book earlier and there are several others. They will say it much better then I ever could.

I don’t claim to have all the answers or know for sure what the exact scientific explanation is. I just think it’s irresponsible for our scientific community to run around saying this is fact when any real scientist can see it’s not, it’s a theory. There are parts of the theory that are very likely to be fact, but the entire theory in it’s entirety has too many holes. There are too many assumptions made to make the pieces fit. It is scientist’s best guess right now, but as is demonstrated by some on this thread, they are not willing to include information that does not fit into their puzzle. Some have so much invested that they aren’t willing to back up and include new facts and see if they can come up with a new theory. I am and will always be a scientist, even though I will probably never go back to the lab. I enjoy continually learning, especially at the molecular level, I think that’s where the future of science lies not in fossils. I will continue to look at the new data that is found and adjust my thoughts accordingly. I just wish the rest of society was willing to do the same. Look outside the box and what they teach in schools because there is a lot more out there that is all very fascinating.


you feel that evolution is being crammed down your throat?   how does is feel to be on the other side?  ;P



 

[deleted account]

Quoting Jenny:

Even the Pope says evolution is a fact: http://biblelight.net/darwin.htm You don't get too much more conservative than the Pope!



Well, it depends on how much research you do on the speech, and which sources you research! Apparently there were two ways to translate what he said, and according to French grammar, he wasn't actually endorsing evolution. Here's an excerpt, as well as a link to the whole Q & A.



"



A: According to the native French-speakers I have consulted, the best translation is:





"Today, almost half a century after the publication of the encyclical, new knowledge has led to the recognition of the theory of evolution as more than a hypothesis."





Q: Does this mean that the pope was endorsing evolution?



A: Actually, no. The CNS story has it right when it says: "His point was that evolution was now accepted by a wide range of scientific disciplines doing independent research."



The native French-speakers inform me that if the pope had wanted to include himself among those endorsing evolution, French idiom would have required him to use a different construction.



According to them, the way the sentence reads in French implies only that the evidence accumulated over the last fifty years has led a group of people to a recognition of evolution as more than a hypothesis, but the pope is neither including or excluding himself in that category, merely stating that it exists. If he had wanted to include himself, he would have used a different construction.



Thus the pope's remark about the "recognition" of evolution as more than a hypothesis, according to the native French-speakers I have consulted, should not be translated "leads us to recognize" (implying that the pope is among those who so recognize it) but "has led to the recognition" (implying nothing about who makes this recognition).



In fact, the native French-speakers say that the way the sentence is constructed in French suggests that the pope was deliberately side-stepping the issue of whether he believes in evolution or not and was merely stating a fact about how the theory is regarded in the scientific community."



http://www.ask.com/bar?q=did+the+pope+sa...



Also, just for the sake of clarity, when we say "evolution" do we mean micro-evolution (ie, adaptations and "survival of the fittest" within species), or do we mean macro-evolution (a species forming into a completely different species). Because the two are very different. As a Christian who believes that the world was created by God, I fully agree with/believe in micro-evolution. But macro-evolution seems like a load of crap.

Dana - posted on 10/21/2009

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I think the thing about evolution that is offensive to many, is that God is more often than not brought into it by those who believe in evolution. I have seen it used many times as a way to disprove God instead of what it is about. I think the best thing that everyone should practice is not bringing God or atheism into a evolution conversation at all. Neither has any place in the conversation in my opinion.

Isobel - posted on 10/21/2009

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Quoting Christa:

Laura I never said it proves that God doesn't exist I said others want to use it to try and prove that. I’ve said I don't care what mechanism he used. However there are holes in the theory of evolution so I do not believe it to be the only option for the beginning of the earth.

Jenny, I'm not going to post evidence for you. I've cited one of many books for you do to your own research if you choose to do so. There is too much data to simply cite a few facts and have a debate about them. It is not on my list of things to do today to show you all the data that disproves this very complex theory. I was just addressing the title of your OP that it is an opinion it is not fact.


I guess I should really take more time to explain my comments clearly...my point was, Christa, that most of us DON'T use evolution for the end purpose of proving god's non-existence.  Even Jenny says that is not her goal, that evolution would NOT prove the non-existence of God.



Most of us are just looking at the EVIDENCE and coming to the most logical conclusion.  I will add, that many of my religious friends (one is a menonite) still believe in God, AND evolution. 



I cannot, for the life of me, figure out what on earth is SO offensive about the idea of evolution.

Johnny - posted on 10/21/2009

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Christa, you continue to point out that Evolution is not a fact and it has not been proven. I agree with you. It is a theory that has been supported by more evidence than many other theories about existence, but it is by no means fully explained or proven. I agree with you that it is possible that there are serious errors in the theory of Evolution, and that it is possible, perhaps even likely, that there are other explanations of how we came to be.

However, you state that you KNOW god created the earth. I was wondering if you have evidence of this that you would like to share with us. I am actually interested (as I said earlier, my mind is open on this issue). I am not wondering about which mechanism by which this creation occurred, but what facts you have to back up your assertion god is the creator of earth. You clearly have a scientific background and insist on research based evidence for your understanding of the mechanisms of existence, so I am assuming that you are relying on more than faith for this assertion. Please elaborate.

Jenny - posted on 10/21/2009

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Quoting Christa:

Laura I never said it proves that God doesn't exist I said others want to use it to try and prove that. I’ve said I don't care what mechanism he used. However there are holes in the theory of evolution so I do not believe it to be the only option for the beginning of the earth.



Now how am I supposed to take you seriously when you keep posting this? The Big Bang Theory is a theory on the beginning of the earth. Evolution is what happened after that. Evolution has nothing at all to do with the beginning of our earth.



 
Jenny, I'm not going to post evidence for you. I've cited one of many books for you do to your own research if you choose to do so. There is too much data to simply cite a few facts and have a debate about them. It is not on my list of things to do today to show you all the data that disproves this very complex theory. I was just addressing the title of your OP that it is an opinion it is not fact.



I followed your previous link to the book Christa, it was about Intelligent Design. I look at all opposing evidence with an open mind. I watched Expelled. I am always willing to look at other poster's evidence when they actually have some to post.  





 

Jenny - posted on 10/21/2009

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Quoting Christa:

Laura I never said it proves that God doesn't exist I said others want to use it to try and prove that. I’ve said I don't care what mechanism he used. However there are holes in the theory of evolution so I do not believe it to be the only option for the beginning of the earth.



Now how am I supposed to take you seriously when you keep posting this? The Big Bang Theory is a theory on the beginning of the earth. Evolution is what happened after that. Evolution has nothing at all to do with the beginning of our earth.



 
Jenny, I'm not going to post evidence for you. I've cited one of many books for you do to your own research if you choose to do so. There is too much data to simply cite a few facts and have a debate about them. It is not on my list of things to do today to show you all the data that disproves this very complex theory. I was just addressing the title of your OP that it is an opinion it is not fact.



I followed your previous link to the book Christa, it was about Intelligent Design. I look at all opposing evidence with an open mind. I watched Expelled. I am always willing to look at other poster's evidence when they actually have some to post.  





 

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