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  1. #1
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    Default For the other 66%: Everything about Evolution

    Below in italics is the original post for this very old thread, dusted off for various OT Days.

    Now the thread has been resurrected in honor of the "33% of Americans don't believe in evolution" thread.

    Look, I don't care whether you believe in the theory, and the science, and/or the possibility of ever proving the truth of evolution. All are welcome.

    It seems to me that before one can have a good conversation about whether or not one should believe in evolution or not, or whether evolution and God need to be antithetical to one another, a body should get a good understanding of evolution. The thread is already long, and lots has been discussed by many expert COTHers. You might find some of your questions answered here. Or you can pose a new question/gripe/whathaveyou.

    Put 'er here!

    As a professional historian of this science, I'm Just. So. Done. with people giving simple and inaccurate accounts of Chuckie D.'s theory.

    But it's my job to help you guys do better if you want.

    Ask away. Anything/any period of evolutionary thought is fair game.

    Hecklers are welcome, of course.
    Last edited by mvp; Jan. 20, 2014 at 01:00 AM. Reason: New OT Day, New Year, New Title!
    The armchair saddler
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  2. #2
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    I can't wait, my daughter is a physical anthropologist, her research professor is an evolutionary biologist. And we live in Kentucky. Her undergrad requires a natural science in its gen ed courses because so few students come from Kentucky high schools having been taught evolution. I guess if they can't teach creationism, they refuse to teach anything.
    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." ~Immanuel Kant


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  3. #3
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    Default

    I am an atheist and a pro evolution person, however I have a question; why, if things are constantly evolving why aren't there any "in between" stages, do example, an ape in the in-between stage of the evolution to man. Sorry if this is a dumb question.



  4. #4
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    Why do systems become more complex instead of becoming simpler?
    How do parasites exist if they kill the host?
    Is life on our planet natural or is a planet with life an infected planet? Like mold on an orange? Is the natural state of a planet to be barren?


    3 members found this post helpful.

  5. #5
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    If we do ourselves in by nuclear eradication, is it true that all that's left will be cockroaches and Stubben Siegfrieds?
    Blugal

    You never know what kind of obsessive compulsive crazy person you are until another person imitates your behaviour at a three-day. --Gry2Yng


    8 members found this post helpful.

  6. #6
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    Default

    This may be my most favorite OT thread ever! No questions yet, but I cannot wait to see the answers to ones already asked!



  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by LauraKY View Post
    I can't wait, my daughter is a physical anthropologist, her research professor is an evolutionary biologist. And we live in Kentucky. Her undergrad requires a natural science in its gen ed courses because so few students come from Kentucky high schools having been taught evolution. I guess if they can't teach creationism, they refuse to teach anything.
    Great! And bad!

    I ask my undergradlings if they were taught any form of creationism in HS, or "Naturalistic Evolution as one theory among others." In most parts of the US, the answer is no: It's Orthodox Darwinism all the way, or otherwise, any form of creationism is looked down upon.

    But! The latest round of Creationism-- the Intelligent Design Movement which enjoyed a heyday from about the late 1990s to the Dover v. Kitzmiller trial in 2005-- was smart! Those guys asked some questions left hanging out by orthodox Darwinians.

    And! Your average Gen Ed Science or General Evolution course won't do a fantastic job of presenting this complicated science in its present state. I have watched these at 3 universities. They present the established and simple.
    The armchair saddler
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeucesWild11 View Post
    I am an atheist and a pro evolution person, however I have a question; why, if things are constantly evolving why aren't there any "in between" stages, do example, an ape in the in-between stage of the evolution to man. Sorry if this is a dumb question.
    A very good-- if 19th century question.

    To be clear, I have to back up some. Darwin's theory has two parts: That species change over time; and a causal explanation that explains how they change over time.

    Because Darwin touted ancestral-descendant relationships for species and insisted that evolution process is gradual, his theory (as he put it in 1859) predicts smooth gradations of form between related species. These should show up across space-- say across a territory and decidedly in the fossil record.

    So the basic answer to your question has two parts:

    We don't see those "transitional forms" in the fossil record because it's a rather coarse and uneven "transcript" of life's history. Not all species leave fossil representatives.

    Also, one can ask "How fast is 'gradual'"? How fast does the evolution of characters distinguishing species change with respect to geologic time?

    19th century paleontologists got a lot of milage out of predicting and finding smooth series like the horse phylogeny.
    The armchair saddler
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by xeroxchick View Post
    Why do systems become more complex instead of becoming simpler?
    How do parasites exist if they kill the host?
    Is life on our planet natural or is a planet with life an infected planet? Like mold on an orange? Is the natural state of a planet to be barren?
    I'll take a shot at all of them....

    The standard explanation for the evolving complexity of life changes depending on the morphology or organism you are talking about. For the evolution of eukaryotic cells or things like sponges or even symbiotic relationships between modern species, the answer tends to be "Division of labor among all whose survival gets easier."

    For cool stuff like eyes and wings, it has a great deal to do with 1) What "heritable variations" (genes) can be brought into combination; and 2) The environment that establishes the rules of competition for survival and "reproductive success" (leaving lots of offspring that, in turn, live to reproduce themselves).

    Well-adapted parasites *don't* kill the host.

    I do like the idea of an infected planet. I never thought of it that way. I can't speak to big cosmological stuff. I don't know if planets have a "natural state." There are some reasons to *not* think that all planets are similar, ergo no single "naturalness" to consider at all.
    Last edited by mvp; Apr. 8, 2012 at 06:55 PM.
    The armchair saddler
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blugal View Post
    If we do ourselves in by nuclear eradication, is it true that all that's left will be cockroaches and Stubben Siegfrieds?
    Yes.

    Count on it. Bet on it. Too bad you won't be there. Too bad currency won't exist any more. But if you can find some post-Apocalypse endzone to do a dance in, I suggest you get nekkid and let 'er rip.

    Celebrate your having been right because you'll die of radiation sickness or starvation or heinous mano-a-mano fighting with your species surrounded by toilet seat saddles and bugs.
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat



  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blugal View Post
    If we do ourselves in by nuclear eradication, is it true that all that's left will be cockroaches and Stubben Siegfrieds?
    BIG laugh out loud on this one!

    My dumb question: How did humans evolve such big craniums when it makes childbirth so risky for the mother? Seems like smaller craniums would select out because mom/baby would survive--over the larger craniumed, more intelligent.
    Mon Ogon (Mojo), black/bay 16 H TB Gelding



  12. #12
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    Where did all the stuff come from that created the big bang?



  13. #13
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    My turn!

    So Dawin's theory is assumes natural selection. What about unnatural selection -- where will that get us? We have mapped the humane genome, we are beginning to develop more personalized medicine, we can clone animals......where is all of this going? It strikes me as it may end natural selection (admittedly not too soon) eventually assuming we manage not to blow the place up first.
    Where Norwegian Fjords Rule
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  14. #14
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    What if the Hokey Pokey is really what it's all about?


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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by IronwoodFarm View Post
    My turn!

    So Dawin's theory is assumes natural selection. What about unnatural selection -- where will that get us? We have mapped the humane genome, we are beginning to develop more personalized medicine, we can clone animals......where is all of this going? It strikes me as it may end natural selection (admittedly not too soon) eventually assuming we manage not to blow the place up first.
    You forgot inserting genes from one species into another.

    "Natural selection" is not a constant.

    We didn't know genes are not immutable until not so long ago.
    Many of them can be altered by the environment too, to the surprise of many.

    There is more to this than straightforward changes.



  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by nccatnip View Post
    What if the Hokey Pokey is really what it's all about?



  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by mojo7777 View Post
    My dumb question: How did humans evolve such big craniums when it makes childbirth so risky for the mother? Seems like smaller craniums would select out because mom/baby would survive--over the larger craniumed, more intelligent.
    The usual story: The benefits of a Fat Head outweigh the risk of not being born and killing your mom in the process. Other parts to the story-- the ladies tolerated a wider pelvis (bad for running) in order to "compromise" and be able to give birth. Also, we have a cool feature: The sutures in the human skull and come unglued for a sec. and allow those plates to slide over one another in the birth canal.

    And then there's also the idea of "heterochrony"-- the rates of individual development for different features of an organism. Given genetic control over features that are related during development but not necessarily in adaptive function, we get some notable but evolutionarily-irrelevant "extras." That has a great deal to do with what proves most important to survival over the whole life of an organism.

    In all cases, we accept trade-offs: The risk that some Fat Heads will die in childbirth while the rest of the Slightly-less Fat-Headed-with-Big-Bootied-Moms will enjoy the benefits of a huge brain.
    The armchair saddler
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by FitToBeTied View Post
    Where did all the stuff come from that created the big bang?
    The Big Bang preceded anything evolutionary.

    I don't do cosmology nearly as well as I do history of biology, but you'd have to find some folks talking about the intraconvertability of energy and matter. Or read the Bible. Take your pick.
    The armchair saddler
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by IronwoodFarm View Post
    My turn!

    So Dawin's theory is assumes natural selection. What about unnatural selection -- where will that get us? We have mapped the humane genome, we are beginning to develop more personalized medicine, we can clone animals......where is all of this going? It strikes me as it may end natural selection (admittedly not too soon) eventually assuming we manage not to blow the place up first.
    Let's get one thing straight!

    Darwin based N.S. on A. S.-- artificial selection-- or really, what some early 19th-century livestock (and pigeon) breeders did in order to modify and improve their breeds.

    The first chapter of the Origin is entitled, "Variation Under Domestication." He begins with "unnatural" selection and analogizes to the natural case.

    Onto the rest:

    We are doing what any species does: Overpopulating the world, trying to arrange things to suit us and polluting our environment.

    Thus the "selection pressure"-- the collected set of criteria determining who lives and breeds and who dies-- are changing in the regular way for our species. We have, however, stalled our own evolution to a great extent: Many of the things that would have killed animals or even pre-historic people don't keep us from reproducing.
    The armchair saddler
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by nccatnip View Post
    What if the Hokey Pokey is really what it's all about?
    If this is code for "have as much sex as you can and raise as many of those spawn to reproductive age as you can" then, yes, the Hokey Pokey IS what it's all about.

    And there's a reason this sounds like a dirty and grand-parently term: The "fitness" of any one organism is not decided until it has grandbabies on the ground.
    The armchair saddler
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