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Professor Henry Harpending lead the research that revealed that humans are evolving at a rate hundreds to even thousands of times quicker than in their early history. He teaches Anthropology at the University of Utah.
Homely Homo sapiens are evolving hundreds to thousands of times faster than in their early history

Many who discredit evolution due to lack of evidence or theistic reasons may be powerfully startled by how much evolution is smacking humanity in the face. Humans are evolving at frenetic, previously unobserved pace according to a new paper titled "Recent acceleration of human adaptive evolution", which was published Monday in the peer-reviewed Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) journal.

The paper, which was based on research spearheaded by University of Utah anthropologist Henry Harpending, examined 3.9 million gene segments of 270 individuals, 90 of European descent, 90 of African descent, 45 of Han Chinese descent and 45 of Japanese descent.  The conclusion was that humans evolved rapidly, and apart from each other. 

Evidence indicates that this rapid evolution has not stopped either.

If the human genome had evolved at the current pace during the period of 6 million years since the human lineage separated from the Chimpanzee lineage, as is currently believed, than there should have been 160 times the current number of genetic variations in human DNA.   Further by comparing dental and skeletal variations of the last 10,000 years of human history, the team came to the conclusion that man underwent a relatively slow paced change over the first couple of million years, but is now entering into an era of unprecedented evolution, which would explain why the current rate is so much higher than the previous rate.

The study cites large separated populations as a tremendous factor for the increase in evolution.  For example, a U.S. state has millions of citizens.  If a significant portion of these people stay inside the state, Harpending predicts that we should see tremendous genetic variation occur between these people and the people in the adjacent state -- as much change as you would see in the entire smaller population human population a million years ago. 

The study indicates people today exhibit as much genetic variation from Homo sapiens 5,000 years ago as they do to Homo erectus, or Neanderthals.

Team leader Professor Harpending sees the research as pushing a revolutionary fundamental change to the general public perception and understanding of evolution.  Says Harpending, "I was raised with the belief that modern humans showed up 40,000 to 50,000 years ago and haven't changed.  The opposite seems to be true.  Our species is not static."

Harpending says that while no one is going to see change occur in their lifetime, over thousands of years major changes have and will continue to occur in human being's physiology and in genes related to social factors and intelligence.  Such changes will have a profound effect on how humans behave in society and how they interact with the world around them.

The study also points to how geographic location has influenced humans, like many animals to adapt and evolve via natural selection.  For example human skin lightened among population groups in farther northern or southern lying regions in order absorb more Vitamin D in cold areas with less sunlight.  While factors like this may cause humans to evolve together in a sense to deal with certain common obstacles, the research also notes that the actually genetic adaptation, while superficially similar can be very different due to geographic and social population isolation. 

A good example of this phenomena is that a bat, a bee and a bird, can all fly (all have wings and lightweight bodies) but the actually chemical and fine-level physical mechanics are very different.  Similarly, the study discusses how the adaptation of lightened skin color is implemented by different genetic changes in the Asian and in the European populations, despite the superficially similar result.

The research of the oft-published Harpending and his colleagues are stirring up the genetic community and should bring some really exciting change to how we view evolution, society, and a broad array of other fields.

Harpending warns not to get too hung up on the societal implementations of the research.  He emphasizes that unlike fellow genetic researcher Watson, the researcher of DNA-helix fame whose controversial comments on race and intelligence landed him in a boatload of hot water, he believes that he sees no genetic evidence that any specific population group is evolving to be "better" than the others

In an interview, he says, "Some of the mutations let us do better. We can eat simple carbohydrates, which hunter-gatherers never did. But we may also be accumulating damaging stuff.  Evolution is a double-edged sword.  What evolution cares about is that I have more offspring. If you can do it by charming and manipulating, and I'm a hardworking farmer that's going to feed the kids ten years down the road, then you're going to win. Hit-and-run, irresponsible males are reproducing more. That isn't good for anyone except those males, but that's evolution."

Harpending's no-nonsense unbiased approach to genetics research is fortunate and essential as the topic is prone to fan some tremendous critical fires.  As he and his team continue to release insightful and groundbreaking research, hopefully society will take the research in the proper context and use it for the betterment of mankind applying it to useful fields such as biotech.


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genetic variation
By ethies on 12/12/2007 3:58:47 PM , Rating: 2
Is genetic variation the same thing as evolution? I mean, there's waaaay more of us now than at any other time in history so of course there should be more varition. I'm not sure exactly what he means to point out in saying this. We're more diverse compared to people 5000 years ago, yet we still we still look a lot more like egyptian statues than neanderthals. Maybe I'm confused.




RE: genetic variation
By KristopherKubicki (blog) on 12/12/2007 4:03:23 PM , Rating: 2
There's more to evolution than just superficial appearance. The ability to process simple carbs for example, is a monstrous and certainly evolutionary change.

And given that Ancient Egyptians usually topped out at about 5 feet tall, I'd have to disagree that we look all that similar!


RE: genetic variation
By ethies on 12/12/2007 4:16:13 PM , Rating: 3
I guess that's my point, we're supposedly more diverse yet there hasn't been that kind of kind of fundamental change anywhere.

Simply because they were short doesn't mean that we don't still resemble them more than we resemble neanderthals. Also, height is highly driven by nutrition levels. We've found that nutritional variances during youth accounts for a large part of height, and ancient egyptians were known for famine. I'm not saying we look identical, just a lot more than we look like neanderthals.


RE: genetic variation
By KristopherKubicki (blog) on 12/12/2007 4:20:56 PM , Rating: 1
There is an amazing theory called epi-genetics. It basically states that while we all have genetic markers "enabled" at birth, by introducing specific proteins and chemicals into our bodies we can actually disable / enable markers at will.

Some of the people who've done these studies also show signs that your "epi-genome" is also inherited.

So let's say I have a marker for cancer. It may be possible to disable that marker via diet and my environment. It may even be possible that my kids, who will inherit that marker might also have it disabled if its disabled in me.

Nutritional changes affect height, as you mentioned, but they may be affecting a whole lot more.


RE: genetic variation
By ethies on 12/12/2007 4:26:13 PM , Rating: 2
I've not heard of this, interesting. I've read that many genes influnce on our phenotype is not about if they are 'on' or 'off', but rather when they are on or off and for how long.

My real beef with this thing is I'm not sure I buy into:
Genetic Diversity = Evolution


RE: genetic variation
By BMFPitt on 12/12/2007 4:30:38 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
My real beef with this thing is I'm not sure I buy into:
Genetic Diversity = Evolution
Geographically separated races of humans diverged due to differing evolutionary pressures in their respective environments. What's not to buy into?


RE: genetic variation
By ethies on 12/12/2007 4:36:51 PM , Rating: 2
I know what you mean. I guess I should have said that differently. We are no longer a world divided. People from all different races have children with one another. Is the simple novelty of combinations of genes not previously expressed together evolution? Or is it neccessary for these combinations to meet a purpose of change and adaptation for it to be considered evolution. I guess I'd side with the latter. Otherwise every single child produced is an example of evolution.


RE: genetic variation
By masher2 (blog) on 12/12/2007 4:55:01 PM , Rating: 2
Evolution is the change in frequency of certain characteristics. It's more than an expression of diversity; it indicates that some characteristics are becoming more or less common in the general population.

It's really not surprising to me that evolution is occurring so much faster. Technology has removed the maintaining pressure of natural selection. Now, genetic drift is quickly taking the human genome to uncharted territory.


RE: genetic variation
By JCheng on 12/12/2007 5:02:02 PM , Rating: 2
You're just describing natural selection, not evolution. For evolution you need to add mutation, that is, the introduction of new traits.


RE: genetic variation
By phattyboombatty on 12/12/2007 5:27:15 PM , Rating: 2
No, he properly described evolution. Mutation is one of several effects that causes gene variation, and the definition of evolution does not depend on mutation occurring.


RE: genetic variation
By masher2 (blog) on 12/12/2007 5:29:11 PM , Rating: 2
My apologies; I didn't see your post before submitting my own.


RE: genetic variation
By masher2 (blog) on 12/12/2007 5:28:28 PM , Rating: 2
Wrong on a few counts. Firstly, evolution doesn't imply the introduction of wholly new traits. If an existing trait becomes substantially more or less common, the species has evolved...albeit slightly.

Secondly, mutation is simply one of the three primary factors which causes evolution, natural selection and genetic drift being the other two.

Thirdly, mutation isn't required to bring about new characteristics. Both selection and drift can do so as well...though not so rapidly as mutation can, obviously.


RE: genetic variation
By odessit740 on 12/12/2007 6:15:27 PM , Rating: 3
Evolution is the change in allele frequency over time.

In addition to mutation there is also recombination, selfish genes, and selfish groups of genes.

Selection and Drift are the two primary forces that act upon populations to produce evolution, much more so than mutations.

Selection relies on large populations, while Drift is most effective in small populations.

PNAS is one of the most highly accredited peer-reviewed scientific journals, so I trust what they include in their publications. The probability of this being bogus is small.


RE: genetic variation
By AWeav09 on 12/12/2007 7:36:21 PM , Rating: 2
You are treating natural selection and mutation like they are two entirely different forces, but in reality they work together to cause evolution. When a gene experiences a mutation, it can be beneficial to the organism, harmful to the organism, or it can have no significant effect. This is where natural selection comes into play - a beneficial mutation may allow the organism to have more offspring, thus passing along more of their genes than would another organism without the mutation.

While you are correct in claiming that natural selection is a primary evolution-producing force, downplaying the importance of mutation in the same sentence is ignorant.


RE: genetic variation
By masher2 (blog) on 12/12/2007 8:08:26 PM , Rating: 2
> "You are treating natural selection and mutation like they are two entirely different forces, but in reality they work together to cause evolution"

They *are* two different forces, and yes they (along with genetic drift) work together to cause evolution. Which is what my original post stated.

> "downplaying the importance of mutation in the same sentence is ignorant. "

But I didn't "downplay" mutation at all. I merely pointed out that mutation isn't the only force which can create new characteristics.


RE: genetic variation
By AWeav09 on 12/12/2007 10:24:12 PM , Rating: 2
I'm sorry, I meant to reply to odessit's post, not yours.


RE: genetic variation
By rcc on 12/13/2007 3:12:39 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
While you are correct in claiming that natural selection is a primary evolution-producing force,


The role of natural selection has been greatly reduced, at least in more developed countries. The traits that allow greater reproduction still have a large effect. But those that "trimmed" the undesirable traits have been nullified to a great degree by medicine and over protective societies. : )


RE: genetic variation
By geddarkstorm on 12/13/2007 1:10:38 PM , Rating: 3
Oh, I think that whole "selfish gene" postulation (it isn't even a testable hypothesis last I heard) is absolute garbage. Selection does not occur on the gene level, but on the population level: the survival of any one gene depends utterly on the survival of the organism and genome it is in which in turn is determined by the combinations of all genes, regulatory elements, and structure of that genome (and random chance) for successful propagation to successive generations. Moreover, it's been shown that bacterial genomes are greatly shrinking over time, and any unneeded genes for a nitch a bacteria finds itself in are cut out and eliminated from the genome (see Mycoplasma), so that if a gene is preserved it has to have some function that is useful to the bacteria and which elimination of will be deleterious (that function can be on the population level, such as a switch from a host to non-host environment requires totally different genes, so even if one individual bacteria has been in a host for all its life, the life cycle of the species and population as a whole requires those non-host genes for continual survival).

Transposons seem to be a favorite of the "Selfish gene" examples I've seen, but transposons play a critical role in genetics, especially bacterial, where recombinational events such as the aforementioned deletion of genes, is greatly enhanced and driven by the presence of transposons. Transposons also act as platforms for the formation of pathogenicity islands and where multiple drug resistance genes can be incorporated into easily via cassets and recombination; and then transposons, due to their ability to move, can jump to plasmids and be shared with other bacteria (through conjugation, transduction, or for those that are naturally competent, transformation). This makes transposons one of the most powerful genetic manipulation tools in the bacterial arsenal (same for us, though they play less of a role due to the size and complexity of the genome). Notwithstanding, that if a transposon becomes deleterious, it is eliminated like any other gene.

In eukaryots, humans, it's recently come to light that "junk DNA" is not necessarily junk, but often encodes for small RNAs instead of proteins, which serve a variety of functions (i.e. the 7SL RNA used in secretion tag recognition by the SRP system, and RNAi). Moreover, intergenic regions often have vital roles in the regulation of gene expression by the impact of the spacing of enhancer elements, promotors, and local regulatory elements; where any change in base pair distances can negatively or positively affection expression rates of a gene even in temporal settings. Furthermore, studies of chromatin structure are beginning to paint the picture that intergenic regions are very important for affecting the layout and loading of histones throughout the DNA, as well as methylation patters which affect condensation such as the switch from euchromatin to heterochromatin, or even packing of chromatin into the hypercondensed chromosomes seen during mitosis/meiosis. IS elements, or satellite DNA, are also great sites for recombination events between non-homologous chromosomes as often they are the only shared homology between them; and we all know recombination is the fastest way to create genetic diversity.

Sorry for the rant, but that whole notion that genes are some how individuals trying to survive just bugs me. A single gene by itself is nothing, and all a gene is is code for making protein.


RE: genetic variation
By DerwenArtos12 on 12/13/2007 2:00:05 AM , Rating: 2
You're taking the term genetic diversity to mean that there is a diverse population of genetic combinations. What the author is using genetic diversity to imply is the broadening gap between our basic genetic commonalities and those of our ancestors.


RE: genetic variation
By Ryanman on 12/15/2007 3:59:58 PM , Rating: 1
We're talking about evolution though. Interracial sex has been going on for a long time, but definitely not as long as you'd thinkg. It's been a mere 500-1000 years since ships, planes, etc. etc. etc. made racial mixing so much easier. We aren't a world divided anymore, but evolution-scale wise I still think we have yet to see those effects.


RE: genetic variation
By shecknoscopy on 12/12/2007 8:39:53 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
There is an amazing theory called epi-genetics. It basically states that while we all have genetic markers "enabled" at birth, by introducing specific proteins and chemicals into our bodies we can actually disable / enable markers at will.


Actually epigenetics is far more than a theory, it's an observable (and rather wide) field of research. Briefly, epigenetics refers to any heritable trait (i.e., which can be passed from parent to offspring, as would be with a gene) which is NOT due to the chemical sequence of your DNA. At first glimpse, you might imagine, "well, if we can get traits through means other than the sequence of our DNA, then haven't we refuted the so-called purpose of DNA in the first place?" No so much.

To illustrate, I'll give two brief examples.

First, consider that each and every one of your cells has ~six meters of DNA in them, if we were to stretch the molecules out and lay them end-to-end. However, each cell is only about 50-100 micrometers wide (and the nucleus is even smaller), so when you make a new cell, you have to package your DNA inside a very tight space. Picture a long length of yarn being wound up around itself to make a ball.

Now, in order for a particular gene to be useful, there are molecular machines to have to physically bind to, and process the patch of DNA corresponding to that given gene. If this gene has been "wound up" in the very center of our "ball of yarn," it's going to be substantially harder for the machinery to get to it, and do its job, as opposed to a schenario where it's closer to the surface of the ball. So, if two individuals have the exact same sequence of DNA corresponding to this gene, but one individual's cells have packed it so as to be more accessible, but the other's have buried it in their core, then the two people will show different traints for this gene, even though the DNA is identical. This is epigentics.

(An interesting side note: true calico cats can only be female, and the reason why deals with epigentic control of a certain gene, much as described above.)

The second example is probably more familiar. Prions - proteins which can adopt two drastically different shapes, and in one shape can catalyze the self-assembly of long protein fibrils - are an epigenetic phenomenon. Mad-Cow disease is probably the most famous prion, and indeed all known examples in humans are horrific, lethal diseases. However, in yeast there are numerous known prions which dramatically change the organism's ability to react to its environment, but which are completely nontoxic (and certainly nonlethal) to the cell. These can be genetically passed on from parent to offspring, but - as the trait is linked only to the fold of a protein - has nothing to do with the sequence of DNA. Hence, it is an epigenetic phenomenon.

...and also forbodes of the horrible day we discover "Mad Yeast Disease," forcing us to purge our society of bread and beer. May God have mercy on our souls.


RE: genetic variation
By MrPickins on 12/13/2007 10:40:10 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Actually epigenetics is far more than a theory, it's an observable (and rather wide) field of research.


Kind of like the Theory of Relativity, The Theory of Evolution, Quantum Field Theory, The Theory of Plate Tectonics, ect.

You sound like an intelligent person. You should already know that in science Theory != Hypothesis.


RE: genetic variation
By retrospooty on 12/13/2007 11:02:05 AM , Rating: 2
Things gain the name theory when they are a theory, and often the name "theory" stick.

The theory of evolution is still called the "theory", but it is proven, just a linguistical error. Scientifically speaking Evolutiona nd plate tectonics are not "theories" they are proven facts. Relativity, and quantome filed... Who knows, I thing we have a long way to go to absolutley prove either.


RE: genetic variation
By MrPickins on 12/13/2007 11:15:15 AM , Rating: 2
No.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theory
quote:
In scientific usage, a theory does not mean an unsubstantiated guess or hunch, as it can in everyday speech. A theory is a logically self-consistent model or framework for describing the behavior of a related set of natural or social phenomena. It originates from or is supported by experimental evidence (see scientific method). In this sense, a theory is a systematic and formalized expression of all previous observations, and is predictive, logical, and testable. As such, scientific theories are essentially the equivalent of what everyday speech refers to as facts. In principle, scientific theories are always tentative, and subject to corrections or inclusion in a yet wider theory. Commonly, a large number of more specific hypotheses may be logically bound together by just one or two theories. As a general rule for use of the term, theories tend to deal with much broader sets of universals than do hypotheses, which ordinarily deal with much more specific sets of phenomena or specific applications of a theory.


I know wikipedia isn't the best source of info in the world, but it is more than accurate in this case.

Read up on the scientific method.


RE: genetic variation
By retrospooty on 12/13/2007 1:17:48 PM , Rating: 2
OK, point taken on the language...

My point is that evolution is a proven fact. I thought you were debating that fact and saying it is not yet proven. It is, and has been for quite a while.


RE: genetic variation
By Spyvie on 12/13/2007 11:28:24 PM , Rating: 2
Evolution and natural selection are obvious truths, but the theory of evolution does nothing to explain the origin of life on earth. I think we frequently loose sight of that fact.

I submit that there is absolutely no evidence supporting any theory regarding what happened in the primordial soup. The theory of evolution (fact of natural selection) is frequently inserted here as something for the layman to grasp, even if it's validity is only in place because nothing else makes sense... and that's exactly the same reason used to embrace a creator model.


RE: genetic variation
By Spyvie on 12/13/2007 11:32:57 PM , Rating: 2
The fact that I mistakenly used the word loose instead of lose may illustrate my carelessness, but does not invalidate my comment. :)


RE: genetic variation
By MrPickins on 12/14/2007 12:40:44 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
My point is that evolution is a proven fact.


Mine too. :-D

All too often I hear: "But evolution's just a theory!"


RE: genetic variation
By shecknoscopy on 12/13/2007 11:23:58 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Kind of like the Theory of Relativity, The Theory of Evolution, Quantum Field Theory, The Theory of Plate Tectonics, ect.


quote:
You sound like an intelligent person. You should already know that in science Theory != Hypothesis.


Oh yeah, but I put in the correction here for two reasons. First, though the Quantum Theory, Theory of Evolution, etc... are terms which have become lexiconized, and hence are pretty much idiomatic, the same is not true of the "Theory of Epigenetics." That is, in a physics lecture, you might here a Quantum researcher refer to it as the Quantum theory, but the same would not be true of a geneticist talking about epigenetics.

The second reason is that, unlike the Quantum Theory, the Theory of Relativity, Evolution, (or heck, the Atomic Theory...), there's no cogent, unifying single thought that unifies epigenetics. It's not like "Hey, I wonder if energy can be quantized," or, "I wonder if the speed of light is the fastest speed at which any object with mass can travel." That is, there's no single thought from which all the other details of the field stem. It's just "I wonder if sometimes traits aren't purely the readout of the sequence of DNA." Yeah, it's unifying, but the details of how and when it holds true don't derive perfectly from this single insight. Like a lot of biology, the current state of the art is just to do a lot of experiments, and list all the examples you've found, with putative mechanisms.

Oh, and if possible, threaten to hold the city's water supply hostage with it. :)


RE: genetic variation
By MrPickins on 12/13/2007 12:14:07 PM , Rating: 2
I was pretty sure you knew the difference, I was mainly commenting on a misconception I hear all too often from the layperson.

Epigenetics probably would be a theory if there was some way to construct a usable model the interactions between proteins and DNA. Hell, just to understand the many folds is a daunting task.


RE: genetic variation
By InsaneGain on 12/12/2007 9:45:07 PM , Rating: 2
I always understood that the evolution of traits was solely driven by either survival or mate selection resulting in an increased chance for these traits to be passed on to future generations. I was thinking that evolution would slow to a complete standstill today, now that traits no longer have any bearing on whether or not an individual survives to pass their genes on. Regarding what you say about epi-genetics, am I correct in thinking that evolution is actually at least partially driven by the environment, directly affecting the genes in the germ cells? Is it possible that the evolution of light skin was caused not by increasing survival rates in northern latitudes, but by a lack of sunlight causing certain genes to be turned off or on, and that this change was then passed on to future generations? This would be an amazing revelation. I wonder if drug addicts or smokers can possibly pass on genetic issues to their children.


RE: genetic variation
By shecknoscopy on 12/12/2007 10:43:12 PM , Rating: 4
Well, the influence of environment on the evolutionary process is quite palpable; afterall, it's the population's reproductive fitness under certain selective stresses that determines survival/extinction, and hence how represented any genes will be in the next generation.

As for the other parts of your question, though, the answer is both "yes" and "no," sadly. In the "yarn ball" example I originally posted, we have a type of epigentic control that's effectively another attribute that we'd ascribe to the gene itself. I.e., it's not just the sequence, but how "accessible" it is to be read, which determines its final readout (the "phenotype" as we say in the 'biz.). One must wonder, however, as to what exactly caused the gene to be more or less accessible in different individuals. That is, what caused the epigenetic phenomenon? In some cases it's though to be stoichastic - the packaging of a gene in the nucleus of the cell is effectively just a random walk. In most cases, though, scientists either have some hazy proof that that's not quite the case, or just going on the intiution built up from our developments in molecular biology, would guess not. Things like this - intrinsic, requisite cellular phenomena - tend not to be left too much to chance.

So, we come back to the question: why are the epigenetics of a given gene different in two individuals? Maybe because there's another gene which controls the epigenetics of the first gene, and THIS gene is genetically different between the two. (I.e., there's a difference in the actual sequence of the DNA). Or maybe not.

A great illustration to this would be the multiple different types of tissues present in your body (or in any complex multicellular organism's body - from microscopic worms to plants, to animals and higher fungi, etc...). Your liver cells, stomach cells, muscles, brain tissue, eye photoreceptors, kidneys, etc.. all have *exactly* the same DNA in them (immuno cells are a little bit different, but who's counting?). And yet, there's *quite* a difference between a liver cell and a skin cell and a neuron, etc... Where did that difference arise?

There's epigenetic control which helps determine the creation of special tissue types during embryonic development. But how was this epigenetic control programmed? Genetically .

Of course, that genetic control of epigentic control could itself be partially controlled epigenetically, which could be controlled genetically, which..... and it's turtles all the way down...

So really, in many cases, epigenetics are just attribute which colors the "classical" genetics; the two are contributing factors which cannot be fully understood without taking the other into account.

The skin-color issue that you mentioned can actually be explained by the need to genetate vitamin D; this is done when the cells which line your cappilaries are hit with light, and that energy is used to synthesize the vitamin. If you're living on the planes of Africa, you get enough sunlight to do this by about 9am every morning (assuming you're topless, and you got up at about 8:30).* Hence the worry is more UV damage to the rest of your cells. So, darker skin is positively selected for so as to keep you from constantly having sunburn or getting melonoma. If you live in Norway, though, where at best ~10% of your body's skin is exposed to sunlight, and where the light is physically weaker in energy, then the selective pressure is negative for blocking out UV rays (which are in low abundnace), but positive for transparency, so as to allow more light in, and allow vitamin-D production.

So, selection can be either positive or negative, depending on its context, and the pressure/population in question. In the the case you mentioned, there's no need to explain it via environment interracting with epigenetics; plain old genetics would do just fine.

Drug addiction and/or smoking might be transmissable, but again, the issue of genetics vs. epigenetics is hard to say. The data on this are themselves kinda' weak. Also, smoking, drinking, and certain types of drug use are known to induce genetic alterations, so the likelihood that it'd be a genetic or epigenetic cause is harder to say

BUT, a nice example of the sort of thing you're talking about - where an enviromental cue directly interacts with epigenetics and changes the way an organism uses its genes - is in the sex determination of sea turtles. Unlike humans, where it's determined by chromosomal content (XY's are male, XX's are female, XXY's are kinda' weird males, etc...), male and female sea-turtles have the exact same DNA content. However, the temperature an egg is incubated at will untimately determine its gender - and that's because genes which respond to the environmental temperature cue directly influence which genes - the "maleness" genes or the "femaleness" ones - get used. If we imagine a scenario where the population needed to be biased toward more males or more females in order to stay evolutionarily fit, then we could imagine genetic changes in the temperature sensors which read out into epigenetic changes in the rest of the genome, etc...

As for the yeast prions, it turns out that the data are *much* clearer. Here, you might want to read up on what Susan Lindquist's lab (at MIT, formerly U. Chicago) has been doing. They find that yeasts which have a prion in the "off" state, and those which have them in the "on" state can adapt to the presence of certain toxins with different efficiencies, allowing them to live under conditions that their counterparts can't. She pitches the prion as a "capacitor for evolution," i.e. - it unmasks, or makes available, genetic variation that would otherwise be hidden, allowing for more facile selection. It's all quite cool, but still somewhat speculative. And, there's the issue of whether examples will be found outside of yeast.

*-A condition I only partially agree with


RE: genetic variation
By MBlueD on 12/13/2007 3:36:13 AM , Rating: 1
I'd rate you up if I could.


RE: genetic variation
By shecknoscopy on 12/13/2007 11:29:20 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I'd rate you up if I could.


Awww, thanks. :) I'm just a biologist who's always excited when DailyTech mentions something in his field. The minute the discussion veers toward processor architecture, I cease to be even remotely useful.

Well, I guess I can still be sent out to get sandwiches, but it's not the same.


RE: genetic variation
By masher2 (blog) on 12/13/2007 12:01:00 PM , Rating: 2
I'll have mine on rye, thanks.


RE: genetic variation
By shecknoscopy on 12/13/2007 12:19:29 PM , Rating: 3
Alright, I've got a Reuben on Rye for Masher, Tuna salad on whole-grain for Gary Key and Kubricki's typical Monty Cristo with chocolate sauce. Any other takers? I'll be back with it as soon as I get Anand his latte.

(You know he beats me if it's too cold when it arrives.)

-Sheq


RE: genetic variation
By augiem on 12/13/2007 12:28:36 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not sure where this simple carbs theory comes from, but here's some common sense observations:

- Honey and fruit have been around forver. Not as simple as glucose, but still considered simple carbs.

- Every animal I know loves simple carbs. (They are high energy foods that pack on the fat.) My old pet African Grey parrot LOVES ice cream, Sunkist, you name it. Bears will raid trash from campers. What are they going for? Sweets and doritos and such. Now you're not going to tell me bears and african grey's have been eating our trash so long they evolved to eat ice cream and twinkies.

- If evolution's made us so good at eating simple carbs, why is America, the world's #1 sugar consumer per-capita, also the fattest nation on earth? Doesn't sound like we're too efficient at processing them. You could argue fat is evolutionarily beneficial for survival, but only to a certain degree. The health detriment starts very quickly once you start getting over a certain % overweight.


RE: genetic variation
By JasonMick (blog) on 12/12/2007 4:10:00 PM , Rating: 2
Basically, genetic variation aka mutation can be like you said a simple change, which can be good, bad, and sometimes even ugly. Natural selection, which the paper also extensively discusses is the repetitive selection and promotion of a certain group of individuals with a common trait resulting from such a mutation. For example, maybe your tongue can taste a flavor that no one else can -- but if this doesn't in some way leading to you having more offspring and your children with the trait having more offspring via health, wealth, etc than it is merely genetic variation and not natural selection.

Evolution is a rather vague term that is often applied in conflicting ways, but usually it refers to many changes (genetic variation) resulting from natural selection and/or genetic drift (random mutation in small isolated populations). Darwin's "On the Origin of Species" lays out the basic theory of evolution, sans the genetic drift part. The key criteria to label something as having evolved, is from my understanding is -- has the creature changed substantially enough, chemically, physiologically, and/or behaviorally due to genetic changes over X period of time that it has become substantially different from its ancestor, creature Y? If the answer is yes than the creature has evolved.


RE: genetic variation
By ethies on 12/12/2007 4:22:24 PM , Rating: 3
My point essentially is this:

If you sample from a larger population, genetic diversity should always be higher.

If you think about it, even without developing new traits like enhanced taste or predisposition towards cancer there are a lot of genes that can be changed. Consider a human as 1 trillion switches that can be in one state or another. If you look at a group of 1000 people, compared to a group of 10 people, there should nearly always be more diversity. Right?


RE: genetic variation
By Terberculosis on 12/12/2007 4:26:34 PM , Rating: 2
Thats true, but the definition of Evolution is changes in the genes expressed in a population, wether due to introduction of new genes or just changes in relative proportion of existing genes. So even though the increased variation is due to a larger sample size, it still counts as evolution, because the rates of expression and number of different versions of genes has changed in the population as a whole.


RE: genetic variation
By ethies on 12/12/2007 4:39:52 PM , Rating: 2
As in the above thread, I have a trouble with this definition of evolution. If your metric is simply expressing a novel combination of genes, then every child is an example of evolution.


RE: genetic variation
By Terberculosis on 12/12/2007 4:49:11 PM , Rating: 2
Nope, Evolution only counts as changes in a breeding population. If that new child introduces a novel gene, then its evolution for the population, or if it changes the distribution of genes in the population. If its just a little trailer park miracle that changes nothing, its not evolution, its reproduction.


RE: genetic variation
By ethies on 12/12/2007 4:53:00 PM , Rating: 3
Ok, then is Wilt Chamberlain an evolutionary force? The man has to have affected the distribution of genes!


RE: genetic variation
By Terberculosis on 12/12/2007 4:56:10 PM , Rating: 5
Yes.
The evolutionary forces are :
1. Natural Selection
2. Genetic Drift
3. Gene flow
4. Wilt Chamberlain


RE: genetic variation
By ethies on 12/12/2007 5:18:56 PM , Rating: 2
But that sort of brings us back to the original question. Is increased variation, which doesn't favor the expression of any particular gene or set of genes, an example of evolution? It certainly is variation. But without these pairings affecting the distribution of genes or introducing novel genes, it couldn't be called evolution right? Perhaps there is a genetic drift going on, or a selection for some yet unknown gene; but increased variation does not guarantee evolution no?


RE: genetic variation
By Terberculosis on 12/12/2007 5:27:11 PM , Rating: 2
Increased variation is the essence of Evolution. it doesnt matter if the increased variation actually does anything or not. It's still a change in gene expression in the population.

That increased variation allows the species to be more adaptable when the fitness landscape changes. (we have more variation now, so should some catastrophy occur, there is a greater chance that some combination of genes within this increased variability will be better able to cope.)

It's like evolution's version of studying for an exam during dead week. times are good, which leads to an increase in variation, when times get hard, the increased variation helps the population to survive.


RE: genetic variation
By ethies on 12/12/2007 5:40:10 PM , Rating: 2
Well damint, now you've got me confused. You've said that increased variation is the essence of evolution and that all increases in in variation improve the chances of the species' survival during hard times. Doesn't that mean that the aforementioned 'trailer park miracle,' as an increment of increased variation, could potentially improve the survivability of the species? Wouldn't that imply evolution again? {dizzy}


RE: genetic variation
By Terberculosis on 12/12/2007 5:46:14 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
If that new child introduces a novel gene, then its evolution for the population, or if it changes the distribution of genes in the population. If its just a little trailer park miracle that changes nothing, its not evolution, its reproduction.<\quote>

I said that if the child does change the amount of variation then its evolution. If the child does not change the amount of variation (if it say, has a genotype that is such that it introduces no new variation, or it has the same genes as the majority of the population) then it has not changed anything.

Just because there is a new child born, it does not necessarily introduce any increase in variation.


RE: genetic variation
By ethies on 12/12/2007 6:00:16 PM , Rating: 2
Save for identical twins (and clones I suppose), isn't each individual a unique combination of genes? Doesn't it then follow that these unique individuals contribute to the genetic diversity of the species?


RE: genetic variation
By masher2 (blog) on 12/12/2007 6:06:12 PM , Rating: 2
I think you're confusing sample size with diversity. A large population doesn't imply more diversity. Diversity is a measure of the variance from the mean. A population of three individuals can theoretically be more diverse than one with thirty.


RE: genetic variation
By ethies on 12/12/2007 6:22:23 PM , Rating: 2
The mixing of many different peoples ensures that many different genes are going to come in contact with each other. I work with cattle so I'll analogize with that. A herd of 50 head that have been maintained as a closed population will have a more homogeneous genotype than a herd of 3,000 maintained in the same fashion. The more individuals in the population, the more potential for genetic variation. The world has been maintained as a closed herd and as population increases, there are more opportunities for unique gene combinations.


RE: genetic variation
By ethies on 12/12/2007 4:29:20 PM , Rating: 2
I forgot to mention that I reject the idea that genetic variation is the same thing as mutation. Mutation is a form of genetic varation but so is my being heterozygous for dark hair while my father and mother were homozygotes for dark and light hair respectively.


RE: genetic variation
By Cygni on 12/12/2007 4:54:27 PM , Rating: 1
Mutation is any (non sexual, and therefore unintentional) change in the genetic sequence. All genetic variation is the direct result of mutation. They are not one in the same, but one is the direct result of another.


RE: genetic variation
By Terberculosis on 12/12/2007 4:59:42 PM , Rating: 2
Not all variation is caused by mutation, there are other forces... see above.


RE: genetic variation
By Cygni on 12/12/2007 6:35:12 PM , Rating: 4
No. Literally all variation seen on the planet earth in living creatures, every single moved, deleted, duplicated, mis-paired base is due to mutation.

Mutation is ANY change in a genome. Therefore, there is NO source of genetic variation in life other than mutation. Period.

You are likely confusing long term mutation with more focused population genetics, where the mixing of different gene pairings through sex creates increased genetic variation in subsequent generations. But those genetic differences in the various populations got there by one thing alone: Mutation.


RE: genetic variation
By jtemplin on 12/12/2007 10:45:03 PM , Rating: 4
This is intro to biology stuff here people. Mutation is the ultimate source of variation. Good looks Cygni. Evolution is a macro level effect. Mutation is what happens at the level of DNA--the micro level stuff--that ultimately gives rise to evolution. It can happen in other ways which have been mentioned already, but mutation is the only source of truly NEW genetic information. Everything else is just re-shuffling the deck so to speak.


Unfortunately...
By BMFPitt on 12/12/2007 3:28:36 PM , Rating: 2
I think enough of us here have seen Idiocracy... I have spent a lot of time thinking of a reason why that isn't the direction we're headed in, but can't come up with one. It seems like it's either we'll be genetically modified superhumans or marching morons in a few hundred generations.

I don't like either of those outcomes.




RE: Unfortunately...
By KristopherKubicki (blog) on 12/12/2007 3:41:21 PM , Rating: 1
I think the deep seeded human emotion for greed (lust, gluttony, what-have-you) tends to go hand in hand with intelligence.

Maybe a little mischief will save us from Idiocracy


RE: Unfortunately...
By MeTaedet on 12/12/2007 4:01:49 PM , Rating: 3
You don't like the idea of human beings being genetically modified so as to ensure greater happiness, intelligence, and general competence? Why, because then you'll have to strive extra hard to remain relevant and useful to society? Here's a hint: you won't be alive in a few hundred generations and thus you have nothing to worry about. You've committed a logical fallacy. What you did was to use your mind's powers of prospection and prescience to put yourself in the future in order to determine the goodness and utility of genetic modification, and you irrationally imagined the unpleasant and abject condition being upon you of having to compete with humans who were in every respect your better, and this caused you to feel discomfort, jealousy, and anxiety. The truth is that there is no valid or logical reason to fear the advancement of the human species, but, by the same token, there's also not much reason to desire it because it shouldn't benefit us, the current generation, in any way, that future generations should be more advanced than we.

I dislike the phrasing of this article and/or the research of this man for the reason that it is liable to give a naive and poorly educated person the false impression that human beings are evolving to a condition of superiority over contemporary man. This is not necessarily the case. While I have little reason to doubt that evolution is speeding up, I do doubt that we are advancing; given the nature and state of human societies, such human beings that if they had lived thousands of years ago +, would have died due to poor genetics, are now surviving and are being given opportunities at mating and passing on their crap genetic material because our society has a misguided system of morals which is only going to result in suffering occasioned by poor genetics for future generations. Actually, I predict that if conditions remain the same long enough, barring genetic manipulation, we will have two or more species of humans at some point in the future, one being vastly superior to the other. As it is, intelligent people feel compelled to mate with other intelligent people, beautiful people with other beautiful people, and the stupid and ugly mate with other similarly stupid and ugly people. One can foresee that if this should continue long enough, we'd have a large discrete and distinct group of saliently brilliant people, a group of beautiful people, and a group of people fit for an asylum or circus show. I grant, though, that my reasoning may be rather shallow and simplistic.

On a more tangential note:

Many, or most, of us human beings believe that every person has the right to reproduce, but the truth is that because the act of reproduction affects the created child and the rest of society, and because human beings do not - or should not be thought to - have the right to harm others at their pleasure, we don't have any such right. If you have Schizophrenia, or you are a midget, or you have a family history of Alzheimer's disease, you should have NO right to reproduce, since the act is liable to cause your child a great deal of suffering who shouldn't be - and even has the right not to be - subjected to straitened conditions because his parents selfishly wished to have a child. This doesn't sound nice, or warm and fuzzy, or after-school-special, but that's precisely because it doesn't conflict with the truth of reality. I'm sure I'll get flamed for having said that, but...


RE: Unfortunately...
By BMFPitt on 12/12/2007 4:26:53 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Why, because then you'll have to strive extra hard to remain relevant and useful to society?
No, I think that it will result in a race of uniformity, which takes away a big part of what makes us human.


RE: Unfortunately...
By Terberculosis on 12/12/2007 4:30:43 PM , Rating: 2
I, for one, intend to be alive in a few hundred generations. The lord is returning soon, and we shall all live forever with him.


RE: Unfortunately...
By TITAN1080 on 12/12/07, Rating: -1
RE: Unfortunately...
By Terberculosis on 12/12/2007 4:37:35 PM , Rating: 2
It looks like someone has stairs in their house.

Has this not become a bannable offence here yet?


RE: Unfortunately...
By KristopherKubicki (blog) on 12/12/2007 4:38:39 PM , Rating: 1
Getting close...


RE: Unfortunately...
By Terberculosis on 12/12/2007 4:46:57 PM , Rating: 2
Thats a real shame, I have always felt it was a very clever and worthwhile contribution to conversation.


RE: Unfortunately...
By KristopherKubicki (blog) on 12/12/2007 4:53:06 PM , Rating: 1
You were talking about Titan right? This is admittedly the worst forum for scarcasm.


RE: Unfortunately...
By Terberculosis on 12/12/2007 4:58:03 PM , Rating: 1
I was talking about titan, yes.

I have noticed the lack of ability to read sarcasm on these boards, but I dont take offense to it.
Some might even say I have used that fact to have fun with people a time or two. Luckily, I've found Jesus, and mended my sinful ways.


RE: Unfortunately...
By nayy on 12/12/2007 6:16:36 PM , Rating: 2
The problem is that here in DT some times you can't tell if the poster is being sarcastic or just dumb (more often than not is the latter).
A simple "/sarcasm" can save you from a few worthless discussions.


RE: Unfortunately...
By Ringold on 12/12/2007 4:36:21 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
As it is, intelligent people feel compelled to mate with other intelligent people, beautiful people with other beautiful people, and the stupid and ugly mate with other similarly stupid and ugly people.


There's one critical flaw in that two population theory. That is that intelligent people feel compelled to mate at all.

Well, they feel compelled to engage in the act of mating, but statistics show the highest achievers in society have the fewest kids. It's the dredges of society that pop kids out like an assembly line in developed nations. Having children takes time away from a career, personal advacenement, personal enjoyment.. and plenty choose not to bother.

Seems to me like the more likely outcome will be a very tiny superior population running like hell to the Moon and Mars, if one survives at all.


RE: Unfortunately...
By KristopherKubicki (blog) on 12/12/2007 4:45:57 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Well, they feel compelled to engage in the act of mating, but statistics show the highest achievers in society have the fewest kids.

But is also a statistic fact that those kids tend to also become the highest achievers in their generation (with exceptions of course).

If anything, it's the foundations for genetically-"sound" racism. And we've only been dealing with that for a few millenia...


RE: Unfortunately...
By Terberculosis on 12/12/2007 4:53:13 PM , Rating: 2
Unfortunately, intelligence isn't a simple combination of genes.

Last I heard, most geneticists rejected the idea of our population splitting into two subspecies, one intelligent and one not. There are simply too many variables for the breeding populations to ever seperate totally.

In adittion, one intelligent man sireing a child from a non intelligent prostitute every few years should provide enough gene flow back and forth to keep the populations on similar footing.


RE: Unfortunately...
By phattyboombatty on 12/12/2007 5:42:11 PM , Rating: 3
Not to mention there's some damn fine looking women in the world that aren't too bright that most men (intelligent or not) would love to mate with.


RE: Unfortunately...
By clovell on 12/12/2007 4:55:57 PM , Rating: 3
After reading that, Ringold, I have to question which is actually the higher evolution of humanity - by your own comments, it seems as though the uneducated are more altruistic.


RE: Unfortunately...
By Ringold on 12/13/2007 4:38:15 AM , Rating: 2
I wouldn't necessarily disagree with that. ;)

I'm not advocating seperating groups, but just an observation. High achievers don't reproduce, so whatever genetic component makes them high achievers will not be passed on. Low achievers, though at the bottom of the income scales in developed countries, on the other hand, have lots of children. If it all has to do with nurture, then hey, no problem, it's a cultural issue. If there's a genetic component, then there's only one way that ends up. As for the running to Mars bit, well, it happened with 'white flight' as inner city crime spikes, so I figured it a safe assumption it'd happen again.

Don't pass any quick judgement, though, I'm about the only one at DT that commonly questions the push for GW when around 800 million people suffer chronic hunger when all they need is a job making us shoes (or insert random other low value added mfg job), for example.


RE: Unfortunately...
By wrekd on 12/13/2007 5:20:51 AM , Rating: 2
I see a lot of people tiptoeing around with terms like intelligent, high achievers, and educated. Isn’t all this really just subjectively bias towards those formally educated in some form? Just because some person may only have a few thousand words at their disposal and no need to count to more than a hundred, does not make them less of anything.

The key to survival is being in balance with your environment. Will being a CEO with a double masters degree help you during a cataclysm? I’m betting most brain surgeons commute to work, and get food from the grocery store. The question is, can your environment support you after an earthquake, meteor strike, or super-flu pandemic?


RE: Unfortunately...
By marvdmartian on 12/13/2007 9:35:45 AM , Rating: 2
That will be the minority evolutionary chain.

The majority evolution chain will be the 58IQ, obese, lackadaisical types that spend 1/2 their time talking to their friends on the phone (or texting them, natch!), and the other half of the time making babies that they can't afford to raise. Within 3 generations after the minority evolutionaries leave, the planet will resemble an area with a lemming invasion going on, and society will simply collapse upon itself, thus ending the dynasty of man upon the earth.

It's only many generations later that the minority humans will return to the earth, to find that the lizards have taken over.......or was it the cockroaches??


RE: Unfortunately...
By clovell on 12/12/2007 5:18:05 PM , Rating: 3
And what would you do? Sterilize those people? Then you won't have to worry about population control, because you'll have massive revolutions across the globe. Hysteria in the streets. Feminists sharing common ground with conservatives. Basically the end of civilization as we know it (sorry, just had to have some fun with it).

Having a child isn't inherently selfish, as most parents aren't aware of the risk factors they possess. And, considering the advances being made in laboratory fertility treatments, these parents may sooner be able to have children free from such genetic defects before they need worry about sterilization.

Furthermore, suffering is part of life. There's not one person on this planet who hasn't suffered. Should driving a car, speaking your mind, and owning a gun not be a right because they have the potential to cause suffering?

As for how having a non-'normal' child hurts society, I won't address the claim since you didn't substantiate it.

The Eugenics movement was struck down in the 20th century by most of the world. It was part of the foundation of the idea of a 'master race'. Call me crazy, but I think those ideas you're advocating have caused far more hurt and suffering throughout the course of human history than the idea that reproduction is a right.

That's my two cents.


RE: Unfortunately...
By Lazarus Dark on 12/13/2007 11:31:53 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Should driving a car, speaking your mind, and owning a gun not be a right because they have the potential to cause suffering?

There's where you are mistaken. According to the government, these are "priviledges". You have no rights. Unless you pay for them (taxes, fines, tariffs, etc.). Those who cannot afford it have no rights.


RE: Unfortunately...
By clovell on 12/13/2007 6:18:16 PM , Rating: 2
Driving a car may not have been the best example, but the Bill of Rights, in fact, gaurantees the right of American citizens to own guns ad speak their mind.


RE: Unfortunately...
By JoshuaBuss on 12/12/07, Rating: -1
Every few generations...
By Hypernova on 12/12/2007 3:10:37 PM , Rating: 3
Evolution takes a leap...




RE: Every few generations...
By KeithTalent on 12/12/2007 3:35:14 PM , Rating: 5
It's funny, after surfing through Youtube and/or Myspace (plus others) for a few minutes, I would actually be inclined to say we were devolving.

Very interesting article though.

KT


RE: Every few generations...
By KristopherKubicki (blog) on 12/12/2007 3:39:11 PM , Rating: 5
Mike Judge put it the best with "Idiocracy" -- evolution does not necessarily reward the smartest :)


RE: Every few generations...
By RogueSpear on 12/12/2007 3:51:12 PM , Rating: 2
Beat me to it.


RE: Every few generations...
By 16nm on 12/12/07, Rating: 0
RE: Every few generations...
By retrospooty on 12/12/2007 5:47:05 PM , Rating: 2
I really hope your just joking...

No, no-one with a proper education and brain reads the bible anymore... If they do, it is for the wisdom, not the incorrect assumption that were were "zapped" into being by god.


RE: Every few generations...
By clovell on 12/12/2007 5:49:13 PM , Rating: 2
I really wish everyone would give religion a holiday and let it rest.


RE: Every few generations...
By Mitch101 on 12/12/2007 4:02:32 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
It's funny, after surfing through Youtube and/or Myspace (plus others) for a few minutes, I would actually be inclined to say we were devolving.


Thats Umpossible!


By littlebitstrouds on 12/12/2007 3:50:02 PM , Rating: 2
Save the Cheerleader, save the world.

Gives a whole new hope for waking up one day and figuring out I can read peoples minds... here's to hoping.


Contradiction
By Strunf on 12/12/2007 3:43:34 PM , Rating: 2
"The study cites large separated populations as a tremendous factor for the increase in evolution."
I fail too see how separated populations increase evolution, if that was the case then evolution should be slowing down since people today more than at any other time change of city, state and even country, a couple hundred years back populations were quite isolated so evolution back then by what he says should have been higher than it is today.
That or maybe I understood it incorrectly.




RE: Contradiction
By KristopherKubicki (blog) on 12/12/2007 3:54:20 PM , Rating: 2
I think its easy to overlook humans have only been a global society for a few hundred years. I can trace my ancestors back to towns in Norway that did not contact the rest of the world for a 1,000 years on end.

But now that we are a global society, those radically different but previously isolated groups are intermingling.

So where long periods of isolation produced specific mutations, now that we're mixing all these mutants together we're getting a rapid second order of evolutionary change.


RE: Contradiction
By Cygni on 12/12/2007 4:31:39 PM , Rating: 3
Exactly. Humans had a period of rapid evolution as we spread over the face of the earth... a sort of founder effect for each new environment. Each individual pocket of humanity rapidly developed their own adaptations to their surrounding world. And I am not necessarily even talking about physical adaptations... indeed, the genetic adaption to disease is far more of note when it comes to genetic differences between human populations. Just ask the Native American populations circa 1550 how much those genetic differences can mean...

Its important to remember that any form of rapid global transit is less than 150 years old. And genetic mixing between the far reaching bodies is only recently becoming socially acceptable in our own country, let alone in the rest of the world.

The mixing pot is finally being stirred for the first time since Homo Sapiens Sapiens begin its mobility. As a person who studied genetics extensively in college (although I did not choose to go into it, as a profession), and a sort of 'amature' genetics enthusiast, I dont find the results of this study especially surprising.

I would be far more surprised by the inverse... if the results of the study stated that humans were NOT rapidly changing genetically until recent times.


RE: Contradiction
By MrBungle123 on 12/12/2007 4:12:04 PM , Rating: 3
Not all isolation is geographical, there is also isolation by class, idology, profession.


RE: Contradiction
By Strunf on 12/13/2007 3:00:24 PM , Rating: 2
Yes but it's still true that today we are more mixed than ever.


Hmmmm
By bighairycamel on 12/12/2007 3:34:21 PM , Rating: 2
I know I am going to be downrated very quickly for questioning anything "scientific" but considering that carbon dating is only a guesstimate past 45k-60k years, this might just prove that those guessed ages are dramatically incorrect... that things that are supposedly 5 million years old are really only a tenth of that.

There is just waaaaay to much circumstantial evidence past carbon or DNA dating that proves to me that anything is older than 60k years. Maybe it is, who knows. I just take most things like this with a grain of salt because there is "FACT" and there is "Well we think this is fact but we'll pass it off as fact anyway cause we have PhDs!!" And past carbon dating, guessing ages or timelines follows the latter principle in the scientific community.




RE: Hmmmm
By KristopherKubicki (blog) on 12/12/2007 3:42:19 PM , Rating: 1
Well, there are other markers for dates as well. Sedimentary boundaries for example, are surprisingly accurate from time to time.


RE: Hmmmm
By System48 on 12/12/2007 4:05:03 PM , Rating: 2
Radiocarbon dating may be the most heard of dating method but it is definitely not the only method.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dating_methodology_%2...


RE: Hmmmm
By Terberculosis on 12/12/2007 4:22:28 PM , Rating: 2
Note: Carbon 14 is not the only reliable radiometric dating method.

Potassium Argon dating has a much longer timespan, and there are a number of uranium dating methods.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radiometric_dating

There are also a ton of non-radiometric dating methods, such as stratum dating as mentioned above, and electron photoluminescence...

Too bad they're all lies put here by God to test our faith. Everyone knows the earth is only 6000 years old.

LONG LIVE SCIENCE!!!


RE: Hmmmm
By T4RTER S4UCE on 12/12/07, Rating: -1
RE: Hmmmm
By Terberculosis on 12/12/07, Rating: 0
RE: Hmmmm
By retrospooty on 12/12/2007 5:54:05 PM , Rating: 3
LOL - Bible belt denial is a funny thing.

"its just Satan, trying to trick us... Just like when he put all those dinosaur bones there for us to find." - Stephen Colbert.


Evolution or Variation
By netchipguy on 12/12/2007 4:44:10 PM , Rating: 2
Just because we're different, don't make us better.

Mutations that give us near-sightedness used to be selected out, now we correct them with glasses.

A mutation that makes you deeply intelligent but troubled (the mad genius) probably would have been selected out 40,000 years ago, but given larger societies these people are advantageous.

Basically with modern techniques we can "externally correct" for mutations that were previously weeded out via survival of the fittest in a primitive setting.

So it makes sense that we see more mutations "sticking". Whether this is "just the way it is", whether it means we're turning into "Heroes", or whether it spells the death knell for our genome is another story.

I think that's an interesting debate because while you can argue that we sustain "bad" mutations, we also can sustain "good but strange" ones. Besides, we only sustain "bad" mutations that we are capable of dealing with, like short-sightedness, and one would assume we'll be even MORE capable of dealing with these for future generations.

-netchipguy




RE: Evolution or Variation
By KristopherKubicki (blog) on 12/12/2007 4:51:30 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Just because we're different, don't make us better.

Mutations that give us near-sightedness used to be selected out, now we correct them with glasses.

This is a dangerous thought.

Alexander Fleming, inventor of penicillin, had myopia. Maybe someone else would have discovered that mold can fight bacteria, but is the world a better place that Fleming did? Even though he should have been selectively eliminated from the gene pool?


RE: Evolution or Variation
By vladio on 12/12/2007 6:07:01 PM , Rating: 2
You just pick one person, from 6 Billion, and I understand your point, but look globally (not to offend, but not all people posessed ability to think clearly, globally and abstract), if 'selectively eliminated from the gene pool' will be applyed Rationally -> world without: Killers, Bloodtosty people will be much better ... (?!) or you prefer our present world, then people killed people for money and fun.
and yes, we have penicillin ... AND antrax as Bio-weapon AND nuclear bombs !! ... to me, it's Not that EZ to choose


RE: Evolution or Variation
By Cygni on 12/12/2007 7:11:47 PM , Rating: 3
Will those with poor syntax be removed as well?

I would rather live in Detroit than in a world systematically 'trimmed' of all of the genes that predispose people to behavior considered adverse to some societies. Your genetic make up DOES NOT necessarily determine your behavior. Every geneticist in the world would point that out. The nature vs nurture balance on human behavior is infinitely complex, and one that you cannot boil down to 'remove allele X'.


Can you say....
By BaronMatrix on 12/12/2007 4:13:25 PM , Rating: 2
IDIOCRACY?

Hit-and-run, irresponsible males are reproducing more. That isn't good for anyone except those males, but that's evolution."


Here's hoping PC automation jumps up a lot. How is that good for those males? It seems like it would be better to not "knock anyone up."




RE: Can you say....
By CTKP on 12/12/2007 4:26:14 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
It seems like it would be better to not "knock anyone up."


That's only true if you get hit with paying child support.


RE: Can you say....
By clovell on 12/12/2007 4:59:35 PM , Rating: 2
Pretty sure it's true across the board unless you're in a committed relationship.


RE: Can you say....
By BaronMatrix on 12/12/2007 9:51:41 PM , Rating: 2
No because either way kids cost money.


RE: Can you say....
By JoshuaBuss on 12/12/07, Rating: -1
Whatever....
By mcnabney on 12/12/2007 4:39:41 PM , Rating: 2
This whole mess is a load of bull. Evolution depends on selective pressure. The existence of civilization has done much to eliminate selective pressure. The weak, unfit, and stupid tend to have just the same or in some cases, greater chances of reproducing. The only thing that might evolve now or in the future is increased or extended fertility. That means earlier puberty and later menopause. That is difficult to track due to dietary influence. Regardless, the observation that globalization has rapidly increased genetic variability (soon there will be very few redheads since the gene will be diluted in the larger pool) has no bearing on evolution since there is no selective pressure to focus that variability.




RE: Whatever....
By KristopherKubicki (blog) on 12/12/2007 4:42:39 PM , Rating: 1
I think there's a meta-selection occurring here.

Yeah, you can be slow, stupid and unfit -- and reproduce -- but will your kids really have much of a shot of making it past that? Or their kids even?

Not everyone starts are zero when they are born. An alarming number of children born in broken homes don't make it to reproduction age, and if they do, their kids certainly don't.


RE: Whatever....
By Terberculosis on 12/12/2007 5:21:24 PM , Rating: 2
They'll make it to reproductive age more and more as the world continues to industrialize and the welfare state expands.
How many children have reached puberty in the US while living in broken homes where they are supported by welfare payments?


RE: Whatever....
By BMFPitt on 12/12/2007 5:22:38 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Yeah, you can be slow, stupid and unfit -- and reproduce -- but will your kids really have much of a shot of making it past that? Or their kids even?

Not everyone starts are zero when they are born. An alarming number of children born in broken homes don't make it to reproduction age, and if they do, their kids certainly don't.
They'll outproduce the intelligent on numbers alone. A couple that has 10 dumb kids, 5 of which don't reproduce still beats out a couple that has 2 smart kids in terms of speading genes.


you people are boring me.
By stilltrying on 12/13/2007 12:02:01 AM , Rating: 3
darwin didnt evolve to live so who cares. its such a vast amoount of time before it makes a difference so why debate about it. evolve to get rid of these dumb politicians running the country and then I'll agree that were evolving but when we have this country run by clintons and bushs for 16 years and maybe 20 i would say thats hardly evolution on our part, maybe theirs. give it a rest, theories, theories, theories, give it up, it doesnt matter but to try and explain something that will be disproven later when we EVOLVE to higher intelligence levels. watch idiocracy thats where were heading




RE: you people are boring me.
By rdeegvainl on 12/13/2007 8:48:21 AM , Rating: 4
You do realize that the Bush's and Clinton already have 5 terms. 5*4=20 Maybe we should evolve some basic math.


Natural Selection
By IronReda on 12/12/2007 5:14:07 PM , Rating: 2
I find it hard to believe humans have been evolving significantly faster than they have in the past.

The mechanisms to accelerate evolution were more prenounced in the past than they are now. Presently, with our high standards of living (magnitudes better than what they were say 500 years ago even 100 years ago...), there is no natural selection to kill off the weak and immortalize the strong. People can pass on there genes even if they are not the smartest, strongest, fastest person around. Back in a "hunter-gatherer" situation, strength and wit played a much greater roll: it ment survival, only the strong survived and in the long run humans may have gotten slightly stronger and smarter because nature chose those individuals to move on, the stupid and the weak died off to predators and disease. (these are just broad examples)

but my point being: we are so safe with technology and healthcare (comparatively speaking), that there is no mechanism for natural selection and so humans would evo at a much slower rate.

Here's a real life example: in africa where malaria kill off many individuals a year. It is natural then, that evolution would choose for those who are more adaptive to to pass on their genes, and rightly so because in areas where there are greater cases of malaria there are also greater cases of sickle cell (a blood condition that makes one resistant to malaria). People with sickle cell are more predominant in areas with high malaria rates because of natural selection because malaria is more likely to kill those without sickle cell.

In north america, there is just an intermingling of genes. If people in one area started getting more "blue-eyed" individuals, one wouldn't really call that evolution as one would call variation, but a malaria-resistant trait would definately be something categorized under "evolution".

I haven't read the journal article myself, but i wouldn't count on his statistical evidence for any support. For his big 'claims' he only has a meager 90 people from each race. This lack of evidence can be subjected to sampling error and it is unlikely that one could reject null hypothesis in this situation.




RE: Natural Selection
By masher2 (blog) on 12/12/2007 5:59:09 PM , Rating: 2
> "The mechanisms to accelerate evolution were more prenounced in the past...there is no natural selection"

True. But natural selection is only one of the pressures that causes evolution. Surely you can see that the very removal of that natural selection pressure causes an inbalance in itself. When before we had selection balancing the forces of genetic drift and mutation, now both are free to exert their influence, unchecked by whether or not their results are actually helpful to the species or not.


RE: Natural Selection
By IronReda on 12/12/2007 8:39:40 PM , Rating: 2
Genetic drift... maybe. But mutations are highly dependant on natural selection to manifest. Think about it, just an example: boy is born with a 50% increase in his frontal lobe (human anatomy isn't my specialty, but whichever part of the brain highly influences intelligence) and is put into two different senarios:

1. Hunter-gatherer senario, where his intellect is key to get food the most efficient way possible, he has a high selective advantage. His genes will most likely pass on and his sons will be successful and given enough time the human race may benefit from this 1 mutation.

2. Today being highly intelligent seems to impeed on selective advantage, that is, smarter, higher-income people tend to have less kids. As time goes by, i doubt this trend will change, humans dont seem to be undergoing any acceleration of evolution at all. However, i would agree with the notion that humans will have greater genetic diversity in the future.


Good Timing
By thestereotype on 12/12/2007 3:28:27 PM , Rating: 2
This is a very interesting headline article, especially after the lengthy debate on science vs. creation yesterday.




RE: Good Timing
By RandallMoore on 12/12/2007 5:22:56 PM , Rating: 2
I this it's more than interesting. I think its purposfully provocative. http://youtube.com/watch?v=JZR022_GbzU


There's nawt as daft as folks
By Pelligrino on 12/13/2007 3:05:04 AM , Rating: 2
People will always believe what they want to believe, esp. where they have a vested interest in the outcome. A fanatic is by definition someone who will not alter his views regardless of the evidence, and trying to change a fanatic's mind is a fool's game. The arguments present in this thread in favor of evolution are clear and convincing; the fact that creathir continues to cling to his "truths" is a wonderful lesson in human nature.

I have an acquaintance who believes that the Bible is literally true. Presenting him with hard facts contradicting the irrational nonsense of a great deal of what is written in the Old Testament is both hilarious and extremely depressing. In the end, all you can do is walk away and hope the guy never attains a position of influence in the world - but of course, this being the United States.............




By Lazarus Dark on 12/13/2007 12:09:21 PM , Rating: 2
I have studied most of the evidence for evolution in excruciating detail and I find it to be utter nonsense. But I respect the right of others to believe in it.

My only problem is with the majority of people on both sides. Intelligent people as a whole are in a tiny minority to the vast numbers of uneducated and unintelligent. Sadly, if you ask most people if they believe in God or evolution, their answer will be, "I was told ___". Very, very few people actually know anything about either side of the argument. They just say "my teacher told me this" or "my parents told me that". 99 percent of people who believe either side are simply mindless automatons repeating what someone else told them; this includes some of the most outspoken supporters of that view. It's like towing the party line in politics.

As far as "fanatics" and "evidence", I agree. Fanatical evolutionists cling to their halfassed theory no matter how much evidence there is to the contrary. With God, the evidence just fits; round peg in round hole. With evolution you have to shave some of the square peg off to make it fit into the round hole. (or as some do, just get a hammer and force it into the hole)


By phattyboombatty on 12/12/2007 6:05:06 PM , Rating: 2
If my understanding is correct, the 6 million years ago date for the divergence with chimps is based in part (mostly I believe) on prior studies of the DNA of humans and chimps and prior estimates of the rate of genetic change. Thus, scientists believed based on a certain rate of genetic change and the degree of genetic differences between chimps and humans that 6 million years was necessary for the change to occur.

Now, a new study shows that the rate of genetic change is higher than previously thought. Rather than revise (or even question) the 6 million year period based on the new evidence, the researchers conclude that the rate must be different in the last 10,000 years than it was for the prior 6 millions years. To me, this seems to violate the current uniformitarian principles that most modern scientists follow. Why wouldn't the scientists say, "Oops, the old estimate was probably wrong because this new evidence shows that genetic change occurs faster than previously thought."

Maybe I'm missing something here. I'd appreciate it if some of the more knowledgable folks here help me out.




Heroes
By Shawn on 12/12/2007 11:13:24 PM , Rating: 2
Sounds kinda like the premise for Heroes.




Evolutionist or creationist?
By straycat74 on 12/13/2007 9:32:17 AM , Rating: 2
I believe he inadvertently raises a case for creationism. He references the genetic split from monkey's, and that we hadn't changed as quickly as in the last 10,000 years. Seeing as there is no real 'missing link' that has been uncovered, (unless you have "faith" in evolution), you could say that since man was created by God 10,000 years ago, we have been able to quickly adapt to our surroundings to survive. interesting.




Not quite so!
By DeepBlue1975 on 12/13/2007 6:29:24 PM , Rating: 2
Evolution is my mouse's free spinning wheel, which allowed me to scroll this whole debate in less than 3 seconds.

And there is a creator for evolution: in the case of my example, the creator God is called Logitech. (?)




There's not as daft as folks 2
By Pelligrino on 12/14/2007 1:52:28 AM , Rating: 2
The evidence for evolution is everywhere. Hospitals the world over are having to cope with MSRA, a common staph bacteria that has evolved to be resistant to most antibiotics. New dog varieties are still being created by selective breeding. The examples are endless. Who was the biologist who stated that if the theory of evolution is incorrect, then god must be purposely deceiving us by placing evidence for it everywhere? It is true that the theory of evolution says nothing about the first appearance of life on earth, so there is a little wriggle room for the Catholic Church to embrace both god and Darwin; but this is an argument based on gaps in our knowledge; not very different from early man's attempt to explain thunder by inventing some deity hurling lightening.

However, there is NO evidence for the existence of god. The whole argument for god is framed in such a way that scientific examination of the question is impossible. All one can do is play solipsistic mind games that, in the final analysis, derive a superficial semblance of credibility by playing on the limitations of human reason - as if pointing out small imperfections in an otherwise very elegant and convincing theory is somehow proof of some improbable competing theory for which there isn't even a shred of credible evidence. But in the end, either you believe in god or you don't. Kierkegaard made this point in the 19th century when he said the only thing for the believer to do is make that leap of faith. He chose to believe because it made live easier, which is really what lies at the heart of most religious belief.

And it always amuses me to see Christians try to disprove evolution by making vague claims for the existence of some formless generic god when they, in fact, mean their intolerant god who intends to send all believers in the competition to hell. The only time the religious agree about anything is when they unite to fight off the more rational among us. The arguments made in religion's favor against evolution would just as easily support voodoo and polytheism as they do Christianity. So either you believe in evolution or open up your mind to all the silly nonsense that mankind is still struggling to crawl out from under. Or is it the Christian agenda to first do away with evolution before advancing to the next stage in their campaign of obfuscation. (Substitute Islam/Hinduism/whatever for Christianity in the above argument.)




Devolution
By IronGeek on 12/18/2007 1:05:58 AM , Rating: 2
IMHO, there are two main factors in play here:

1) There are more people & therefore more people mutating.

2) There are FAR fewer obstacles to survival & therefore most EVERYONE 'makes the cut'.

End result? Not an "evolutionary paradigm" ala "X-Men", but rather an increase in entropy, an exponential trend of DEVOLUTION.

Face it, folks. We're getting stupider & weaker faster than ever before.




Devolution
By IronGeek on 12/18/2007 1:07:02 AM , Rating: 2
IMHO, there are two main factors in play here:

1) There are more people & therefore more people mutating.

2) There are FAR fewer obstacles to survival & therefore most EVERYONE 'makes the cut'.

End result? Not an "evolutionary paradigm" ala "X-Men", but rather an increase in entropy, an exponential trend of DEVOLUTION.

Face it, folks. We're getting stupider & weaker faster than ever before.




Human evolution
By vladio on 12/12/2007 5:46:52 PM , Rating: 1
Boy-ooo-boy, so much bla-bla...
But Reality! we know very-very little about biology in general. Well, we can kill any living 'one' on this planet, and we know how to cooke to eat half of them, but real knowleage of biology is very-very little. Just a reminder:
DNA was first isolated in 1869, only in 1953 we understand DNA structure (in very general form), we still do NOT have COMPLEATE DNA 'BluePrint' for any individual person.
"The human genome is currently thought to contain a-p-p-r-o-x-i-m-a-t-e-l-y 40000 genes..."
And, We absolutly do NOT know, how IT Actually work.
Lot's of theorys... IBM still Not able to produce Supercomputer to investigate the way protein molecules fold up, and 'protein' is just a molecula, billions of them working in each cell, and we have no slightest clue ... HOW?
so, can we stop all this 'bla-bla' and talk about facts, about something, what we actually know.




Where's my tail?
By SiliconAddict on 12/12/2007 7:57:32 PM , Rating: 1
tail controlled mouse would leave my hands free to code....my productivity would go through the roof! ;-)




Interesting
By creathir on 12/12/07, Rating: -1
RE: Interesting
By HeelyJoe on 12/12/2007 5:11:31 PM , Rating: 2
Brilliant, the classic argument from incredulity. You don't understand how it works, therefore it is impossible.

Great logic.

Just by the way, Behe's book has dozens of essays floating around that refute his examples of irriducible complexity.

As for physical evidence, search Google for ERVs. Or, if you have some free time, read through 29+ Evidences for Macroevolution.
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/

Just a final though, do you ever wonder why none of these holes are published in peer-reviewed scientific journals? Behe wrote a book because his theory is the one full of holes.


RE: Interesting
By creathir on 12/12/07, Rating: 0
RE: Interesting
By HeelyJoe on 12/12/2007 5:48:17 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
It has nothing to do with understand how it works. The problem is multiple systems "evolved" and met at a single point. THAT is impossible without an intentional design.


Why is that impossible? You seem to think that the "single point" is predetermined. It isn't. If it were, then of course it would necessitate a designer, but since the point was reached purely through natural means, your point is void.

quote:
Remember, according to evolution, the organisms did not go "Okay, time to grow eyes" and poof, they were there. Instead, it developed the eye over time. This would have been IMPOSSIBLE for both systems to develop independently of each other, not to mention what was the purpose of the in between stages of evolution of that eye? How did the tissue growing in the part it was growing know it needed to grow there for a future addition of an eye?

Your assumption that these systems evolved independently is false. They did.

As for the intermediate stages for the eye: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution_of_the_eye

Please stop acting like evolution is an intelligent process. It is not. It doesn't "know" to do anything. It simply happens. Assuming a designer for a process that is inherently unintelligent does not help your credibility.

Finally, here are those some of those essays I was talking about: http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/science/cre...


RE: Interesting
By retrospooty on 12/12/2007 5:50:37 PM , Rating: 2
That is the eternal question of religion.

Evolution happened, and is proven, no doubts there... The question is, did it just happen naturally or did some higher power that we do not yet (or maybe ever) understand put the laws of science into place that enabled evolution to happen?


RE: Interesting
By Visual on 12/13/2007 1:32:31 PM , Rating: 2
...but when put this way, the question is rather irrelevant.

Even if I accept that a "higher power" put the laws in place with a higher purpose, I'd still call myself atheist - as that still won't convince me such a "higher power" is watching and evaluating my behavior and performance, listening to my thoughts and wishes, altering reality in miraculous ways in direct conflict with these same laws it put at the start just to help me with what i asked it or to give me a test or reward or punishment.

Damn, how much more off-topic could I go? I better stop here.


RE: Interesting
By retrospooty on 12/13/2007 1:49:18 PM , Rating: 3
LOL -

Think of it this way... If it is a higher power, it is not neccesarily a god as described in the bible that watches and judges you. Its just a higher intelligence that mankind cannot define.

There are 3 basic ways to look at it.

1. Intelligent Design - Evolution happened, and was a result of the laws of physics put into place by a higher not yet understood intelligence (god or some yet undefined thing).

2. Evolution - Evolution happened, and was a result of the laws of physics. No god or higher power.

3. Creationism - An explanation put into place by primitive men that did not understand the true nature of life. Anyone that believes this in this day and age of educated people, and science is a total crackpot. Most hardcore christians think that we were zapped into being about 7000 years ago per the bible. to give you an idea how rediculous this flawed assumption is -George W Bush believes in creationism.


RE: Interesting
By creathir on 12/13/07, Rating: 0
RE: Interesting
By retrospooty on 12/13/2007 3:57:01 PM , Rating: 4
Not quite right - 70% of Americans believe in a higher power, or god, which encompasses both Intelligent Design and creationism. Granted there are alot of Americans that do believe in creationism, including our dimwit in chief. That scares teh hell out of me. Anyhow, that doensn't make them right and its nowhere near 70%. The ones that do are because they were indoctrinated into the false bible since birth. Its a tough hill to climb, I know... My name is Chris, and I was obviously born and indoctrinated Christian. I rose above that primitive stone age mentality once I was grown and educated.

I do believe in some form of higher power, and that life and the universe has meaning and purpose - so that places me in the Intelligent design camp. But to deny that evolution happened is just plain ignorant. You should close your bible once in a while and try to actually learn some facts.


RE: Interesting
By Visual on 12/14/2007 6:08:41 AM , Rating: 2
but your option 1 and 2 are identical for all purposes that do matter. "Evolution happened, and was a result of the laws of physics." and that's that.

How those laws came to be is unknown yet, you can call it whatever you like, and it is still irrelevant.
I still would prefer to call it just "unknown", instead of "unknowable", "big bang" instead of "god", just because the second option has an established meaning that suggests we completely give up hope of ever understanding it... or worse yet, by varying definitions - we can only understand it by (a) killing all people that don't believe in it (b) committing mass suicide (c) spending years in a monastery not talking to anyone (d) eating oysters all our lives, etc.

Science is all about the simplest possible explanation... Occam's razor, if you wish. The laws are there, and that's what matters. We study these laws and maybe some day we may understand why they are like this or maybe even how to change them... but giving them a mythical cause, and ascribing human qualities like "intelligence" to that cause is quite rushed and unfounded and overcomplicated - unscientific.


RE: Interesting
By masher2 (blog) on 12/12/2007 5:56:16 PM , Rating: 2
> "How did the tissue growing in the part it was growing know it needed to grow there for a future addition of an eye?"

It didn't "need" to grow anywhere. You've totally misunderstood the process. It began with a organism that possessed multiple cells. That organism evolved to some of those cells specializing to carry information-- "nerve" cells. Then other cells-- now already connected via nerves, specialized to detect varying levels of light (phototropism). Meanwhile, some nerve cells are further specializing to not just carry information, but process it.

At this point you still have nothing whatsoever resembling an "eye", but you have photosentive patches connected via a nerve to a rudimentary brain. At that point, further specialization was inevitable.


RE: Interesting
By creathir on 12/12/07, Rating: 0
RE: Interesting
By retrospooty on 12/12/2007 7:01:25 PM , Rating: 3
and that post, my friends is why they created trailer parks. (shrugs)


RE: Interesting
By robp5p on 12/12/2007 7:31:22 PM , Rating: 3
Maybe I'll be hated by both sides for saying this, but what amazes me is that so many people find the idea of intelligent design and evolution to be mutually exclusive.

The issue I have with most people's definition of intelligent design is that it seeks to be inject itself into evolution by looking for specific points in the the process of evolution that no one currently has a foolproof answer for. The eye, the shift from water to land, whatever it may be.

The same thing happened with the curvature of the earth, the rotation of the planets, etc. Each time, human understanding expands to fill in the details that were previously unexplainable and spiritual people who hung their hats on these gaps are understandable threatened. Its called "putting God in a box", and it dooms a person to eventually be disappointed.

On the other hand, it bothers me to see otherwise logical people point to these "God in a box" failures in the past and dismiss any possibility of something being beyond human understanding in its entirety. Why is the existence of a higher power, who intelligently set 'something' in motion impossible?

Saying that we can define the point at which existence was set into motion, or pointing to a specific fact as evidence is doomed to fail. Belief, on the other hand, need not be burdened by current or future understanding.

Evolution is an elegant process for us all to better understand. But it is awe-inspiring to think of a creator so far beyond my comprehension that evolution may be a byproduct of the series of events he put into motion at a time and place far beyond my understanding (and I refuse to define one specific time or place that was that beginning).


RE: Interesting
By retrospooty on 12/13/2007 10:14:11 AM , Rating: 3
I agree with you there...

When you learn about evolution, and what really happened on a geological, biological, and most specifically a DNA level, the actual way it transpired and the perfect chain of events that occured to get us here today are far more of a miracle than to just think that a god snapped his finger and we existed.

I don't think anyone believes the idea of intelligent design and evolution to be mutually exclusive, both are evolution and based on fact. ID is just belief that it was enabled by a higher power that we do not yet understand. If you beleive that higher power to be spiritual, or scientific, either way, its really both true.


RE: Interesting
By vladio on 12/13/2007 2:53:52 PM , Rating: 2
Q: Take 2-3 black-and-white TV's apart, put all parts in one box. How long you have to shake this box to 'ramdomly' get one color TV ?


RE: Interesting
By retrospooty on 12/13/2007 3:00:14 PM , Rating: 3
Assuming these "hypothetical" TV's are a lifeform, and there is a need for color, it would take several hundred thousand to a million years. Not a fast process. :)


RE: Interesting
By creathir on 12/13/2007 9:41:13 PM , Rating: 1
And assuming you are correct, your one change just ate up 1/14000 of the number of changes you have in the age of your hypothetical universe. So, can you create the vast differences in our universe, including the planets, stars, and all life on our planet, with everything in between, in only 14,000 changes?

Good luck.

- Creathir


RE: Interesting
By retrospooty on 12/13/2007 10:02:25 PM , Rating: 3
You arent very bright are you?

1/14000 is a nice number you pulled out of thin air. What does it have to do with anything? You are either do dense to understand how evolution works, or to overcome by the "power of the lord" to pay attention to facts. Either way, I am happy your narrow way of thinking is fading away. Eventually it will be gone completely.


RE: Interesting
By KristopherKubicki (blog) on 12/12/2007 5:56:36 PM , Rating: 3
The eye is actually one of the most understood evolutionary developments. This is partially due to the fact that lots of living creatures have eyes, but some were developed independently from one another.

The argument is that an organ can develop via continuous refinement -- so that the next stage is always more useful than the one before. It doesn't require multiple systems, it just requires a lot of time and mutation.

There is an incredible PBS segment on the eye:
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/library/01/1/l_0...

In my opinion, the fallacies of the current Intelligent Design theory or the strengths of evolution do not "disprove" God's existence.


RE: Interesting
By blaster5k on 12/12/2007 6:27:48 PM , Rating: 4
All I can say is, intelligent design is not science. Science involves studying the world and piecing together theories based on what we observe. Even if there are gaps in the theory of evolution, that still doesn't prove the existence of a creator. You're certainly welcome to believe in a higher power, but that gets you into the realm of philosophy and theology and it's really a completely different matter. Science looks at the "how", not the "why".

Quite simply, "we don't understand it, therefore it's God's work" is not scientific reasoning. It's faulty logic -- the same kind of thinking that set back progress by locking up people who thought the earth wasn't the center of the universe and so forth.


RE: Interesting
By onwisconsin on 12/12/2007 5:17:22 PM , Rating: 2
Where is the evidence that there is a creator? Where can I observe a "creator?" Hmm.


RE: Interesting
By Terberculosis on 12/12/2007 5:34:09 PM , Rating: 3
If you look into the skies late at night, sometimes you can catch a glimpse of his noodly apendage.


RE: Interesting
By creathir on 12/12/2007 5:35:14 PM , Rating: 1
Look outside! Look at your hand! Look at your eye!

Evidence enough is in the creation. It's infinite complexity more than merits intentional design.

- Creathir


RE: Interesting
By HeelyJoe on 12/12/2007 5:54:33 PM , Rating: 2
Funny thing about the eye. It has a blind spot in the middle.

Good work on that one God.


RE: Interesting
By shecknoscopy on 12/12/2007 11:34:59 PM , Rating: 4
Hey, Creathir:

I'm not trying to be a jerk, here; let's just have a discussion about your views. I feel that, as adults, we can share our viewpoints and hopefully come to some sort of consensus.

First off, we've actually made things evolve in my lab. Single molecules, whole organisms, the whole shebang. So, there's some arcane evidence for you.

But, in the more direct sense, you're literally swimming in evidence for the evolutionary process. Your point about the eye is a commonly-quoted one, and is typically referred to as an "unfit intermetidate" hypothesis, which is kissing-cousin to the "irreproducible complexity" problem. That is, why would an organism evolve "half an eye" without the intent of making a full one later? Hence, intelligent design.

However, these ideas are flawed, and disprovable:

1) In the specific case of the eye, there *are* viable intermediate states, and not only can we hypothesize them, but organisms which use something very much akin to what we imagine being present are actually around today. Lower bivalves (clams, mussels, etc..), have "eye-like" structures which they use to sense light. These are built using the bivalve version of the genes you and I use to build our eyes. In fact, flat worms and lower annelids have a similar "intermediate state" lower-eye that's essentially an elaborate photo receptor. it's built using the same parts we use (hence, it didn't need to be come up with independantly of ours), just fewer of them.

2) BUT, there's the irreducible complexity issue. If we remove one part, in some cases the rest of the organism falls apart. So, how could it have evolved without the other pieces being present, or more importantly, without a creator guiding its direction?

To answer this, let me use an analogy: if you've purchased a car built after ~1995 or so, there's more than likely a microcontroller chip that coordinates the car's functions. If we remove that chip, the car ceases to function. So, do we come to the conclusion that "the controller chip is an integral part to motor vehicles - that they cannot exist without them?" Nope. Obviously the Model T didn't have one, nor a 68 Trans Am. But as the car developed over time, the chip was added, and has now become integral. Just because a certain gene cannot be removed without killing an organism doesn't mean that that gene (and the host of others like it) *had* to always be around, just that it needs to be within the modern milleu. We can posit simpler systems built out of fewer parts which served as early points along the evolutionary pathway - just like a Model T served as the basis for cars which came after it. More complex systems built from the same stuff.

But, there's a bigger issue at hand, here, that I want to address. Namely, that accepting the mathematically *provable* truth of evolution isn't necessarily incompatible with the existance of a creator being. In fact, it says absolutely nothing about its presence or absence at all. To wit, several of the world's great religions can accept the truth of evolution without it coloring their faiths whatsoever. Darwinian selection is accepted by the Vatican as the explanation of the arisal of all life on earth, and I'd hardly label the pope as an atheist. Likewise the Dalai Lama announced last year that the study of evolution and the practice of buddhism are congruous pursuits.

Now, I want to make it very clear here that I'm not trying to be offensive to your personal faith whatsoever; I'd simply ask you to be somewhat open minded with my viewpoint. A true skeptic of the existence/absence of God would say that there's no reliable evidence for it either way. What we have in lieu of evidence can be categorized as either personal emotion ("I feel the love of God in my heart,") which cannot be repeated in every person, or reported evidence which cannot be corroborated, and which has suffered multiple translations and modifications (The scripture.). Does this, in the eyes of a skeptic, disprove god? Does it supplant him with evolutionary forces?

Nope.

Let me give you a scientist's justification for believing in god. Again - I'm not trying to offend, here. But, consider my pet rabbit, Clyde*. As hard as I try, there's no way I could teach clyde to perform even the simplest manipulations of the Calculus. In a world populated solely by bunnies, the ability to calculate the area beneath a well-behaved curve, or to predict the speed of objects knowing the forces on them and their current trajectory - these things are *impossible*. Not just inaccessible given current technology, but *impossible.*

Why? Well, frankly, the calculus requires more brain power than Clyde's got. Since the mind is ultimately limited by the capacity of the physical structure of the brain there may be absolutely true aspects of the universe which cannot physically be understood by a given brain.

So, just like Clyde cannot grasp advanced high-school math, so too could there (and I'd say, are there likely) absolutely true aspects of the universe that the human brain cannot comprehend. Your creator deity would be a fine exaple. However, just because we can't understand everything doesn't make our logic flawed in the cases of those things which we do understand. Evolution is easilty illistratable, mathematically provable fact. It doesn't say anything about the existance or absence of God. What it does say is that the creation of the earth and all life on it cannot be as described in Genesis; that strict interpretation of the text is flawed.

But think about it: evolution is a magnificent, robust process, which concretely explains the myriad complex life on our planet. And moreover, in a somewhat poetic sense - it links every single living thing together through a common thread. Is it not possible that our unknowable creator being is responsible for building this wonderous machine?

*-I don't actually have one, but I've always wanted a pet rabbit named Clyde.


RE: Interesting
By IronGeek on 12/18/2007 2:10:32 PM , Rating: 2
Excellent analogies, Shek.


RE: Interesting
By mcnabney on 12/12/2007 5:42:36 PM , Rating: 1
The Flying Spaghetti Monster is angry that you aren't worshiping him!

See how silly that sounds?

And evidence? How about antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria? They have evolved entirely new cell membranes in reaction to the selective force known as antibiotics. This would be equivalent to a person growing feathers or scales.

Evolution requires variation/mutation, selective pressure, and time. It is an extremely simple idea and it baffles me that so many people can't come to grips with it. But I guess just saying "God did it" and being done with it is easier.

Maybe I should just write that on my next paper and see how it goes?


RE: Interesting
By clovell on 12/12/2007 5:45:52 PM , Rating: 2
> Maybe I should just write that on my next paper and see how it goes?

lol - it'd be pretty interesting to see the prof.'s comments on that one.


RE: Interesting
By Terberculosis on 12/12/2007 5:49:12 PM , Rating: 3
I tried it in a primate evolution class a few years ago. The professor just told me I had better have a real paper to go along with it. Luckily, I lack faith, and had prepared a real paper just in case.


RE: Interesting
By clovell on 12/12/2007 5:50:49 PM , Rating: 2
Did s/he write any comments on the first paper?


RE: Interesting
By creathir on 12/12/2007 6:39:38 PM , Rating: 1
14 billion years is no where near enough time to complete the evolutionary changes required for macroevolution.

At least 50,000 changes would be needed to go from a land creature to a sea dwelling creature. Where are all of the changes in between the two? Where is the evidence such in between creatures ever existed?

- Creathir


RE: Interesting
By Cygni on 12/12/2007 6:55:41 PM , Rating: 2
You mean, besides the meticulously constructed fossil record and directly linking mRNA trails?


RE: Interesting
By retrospooty on 12/12/2007 6:59:48 PM , Rating: 2
What are you even talking about?

Where is the evidence? Its all over the world in fossil records, sediment layers

You say on a web post that 14 billion years isnt enough.... Actually, Earth itself has been here 4.5 billion, and it was enough.

all of the scientists that study genetics, geology, biology, and paleantology (as well as a myriad of other fields) all disagree with your conclusion.


RE: Interesting
By creathir on 12/13/2007 11:40:08 AM , Rating: 1
You counter my argument that mathmatically 14 billion years isn't enough, with an opinion. That you believe it was enough.

quote:

all of the scientists that study genetics, geology, biology, and paleantology (as well as a myriad of other fields) all disagree with your conclusion.


This is a false statement.

Numerous scientists believe evolution by itself is impossible.

- Creathir


RE: Interesting
By retrospooty on 12/13/2007 1:14:24 PM , Rating: 3
You counter my argument that mathmatically 14 billion years isn't enough, with an opinion. That you believe it was enough.


It is certainly not my opinion. it is all of the scientists that study genetics, geology, biology, and paleantology (as well as a myriad of other fields) opinions. It is also a widely proven fact. If any "scientist" disagrees with the fact that evolution happened, they themselves are widely discredited by the entire scientific community and by thinking people everywhere.


Numerous scientists believe evolution by itself is impossible.


This is a wide open statement, tell me what you mean by that. How do you, or the scientists you refer to qualify the "by itself" portion of that statement???

If they say that evolution happened, and it was helped along by some unknown process (perhaps god, perhaps yet unknown science). Then, yes, I believe that. If they or you say that evolution did not occur and that we did not evolve from apes, that evolved from earlier primates that evolved from rodents that evolved from earlier species and so on and so on to the point that we all evolved from bacteria I would like to see a link, and thier credentials as well.

You see, Earth is 4.5 billion years old, and evolution happened - that is a proven fact (just as sure as your DNA and mine are 99.9999 % alike , 99.2% exactly the same as a chipanzee, 97% exactly the same as a dog). The process that set it in motion is debatable. Was it a higher power? Was it just the laws of physics? Is a higher power controlling the laws of physics? These are all valid questions that we have no answers for, except possibly faith.


RE: Interesting
By HeelyJoe on 12/14/2007 6:28:35 AM , Rating: 2
You can't honestly expect us to simply take the numbers you have obviously either pulled out of thin air or copied from a Creationist site, where the author has pulled them from thin air. There was no math in your statement, you just said that it would take 50,000 changes to occur, and expected us to believe it.

That which is presented without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.

quote:
This is a false statement.

Numerous scientists believe evolution by itself is impossible.

And the other 95% continue making discoveries based on evolution being true.

Really, if you understood anything about Biology or Evolution, you would understand that nothing in Biology makes sense without it.


RE: Interesting
By masher2 (blog) on 12/12/2007 10:01:55 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
At least 50,000 changes would be needed to go from a land creature to a sea dwelling creature. Where are all of the changes in between the two? Where is the evidence such in between creatures ever existed?
Prototypical amphibians bridge the gap, being creatures that can exist on both land and sea. The earliest such primitive tetrapods lived nearly exclusively in the sea, venturing out only occasionally and for brief periods onto land.


RE: Interesting
By helms on 12/13/2007 3:13:10 AM , Rating: 1
Stop preaching your bullshit creathir, you fundamentalist .

I've seen the crap you and your kind teach children instead of evolution and I find it despicable. Yeah right humans existed alongside dinosaurs for a few hundred years before the dinosaurs got wiped out. What stopped dinosaurs from eating and therefore wiping out all the humans was God, wtf if God actually wanted/has that level of involvement in human kind, then there would be a lot less suffering in this world.

Yeah right we all started from Adam and Eve and their children. Adam had sex with his daughters, Eve had sex with her sons and brothers and sisters had sex with each other. Sexual relations between family members results in retarded offspring. This is because the parents would have a lot of matching genes. If both parents have matching genes, the likely hood of bad genes getting passed on and becoming dominant is 100%. On the other hand if the parents weren't family members and had dissimilar genes even if one parent passed on a faulty gene because the other parent passed on a good gene the bad gene would not become dominant in the offspring. I suppose God ensured that the children weren't retarded by modifying their genes. - *sarcasm* Better yet I suppose God made sure Adam and Even and the first few generations of their children never had any bad genes which would cause their offspring to be retarded.

Stick with preaching to your own flock, whom you are preaching to already. I must say you are doing a successful job at it, on the other hand it doesn't take much to convince your flock:
http://www.vidly.net/video-the-chasers-war-on-ever...
"How many sides does a triangle have?"
"4?"
"There are no sides, 1?"
I can see why there are so many of your flock, people will believe anything as long as the preacher looks respectable, Julian Morrow: "I am the PM of Australia." The most despicable part is when you brainwash the children of your flock with your bullshit.

I have no problem with a God existing or not existing. However I do not believe that God, if God exists, just put humans on the earth. If a God exists I imagine that God created the universe and engineered the universe so that humans would eventually evolve. Being all powerful and all, God probably calculated the multiple possibilities and made sure that the universe God created was one in which people would come to be. In fact God probably made sure a comet hit the earth so that the dinosaurs would die.


RE: Interesting
By creathir on 12/13/2007 11:20:49 AM , Rating: 2
Sorry, I have no problem being called a fundamentalist. The mere fact you have to resort to name calling speaks volumes.

I am also afraid to say, me and "my kind" are the majority in the United States. (Over 70% of the country believe a creator created the universe.)

I am not trying to jam my viewpoint down ANYONES throat. I post a few posts on here, expressing my opinion, and people go nuts. If you want to believe in evolution, even though there are numorous facts that disprove it, go right ahead. I view the hysterical following of the theory to be in the exact spot global warming is. People ignoring science and cold hard facts. You can go right ahead and acuse me of doing the same if you wish, but facts are facts. There must be method to scientific theory. Whenever you hear anyone talk of evolution, they always just proclaim it to be the truth. It sits in a realm beyond theory, but not quite law. It is "untouchable", a presumed truth.

- Creathir


RE: Interesting
By straycat74 on 12/13/2007 2:07:48 PM , Rating: 2
your biggest obstacle is that evolution is a religion, but its believers don't know it.


RE: Interesting
By RandallMoore on 12/14/2007 12:58:28 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly my thought.

No one on this earth can ever prove that macro evolution ever happend or happens. Evolution IS a religion. You have to have faith to believe in it.

I belive some dinosaurs are still here we just call them reptiles today. I also belive dragons are aka Dinosaurs. (dont tell me the entire world has dragon stories, and that they were all fake.) (fire breathing may be an exagerating tho)

How are they comming up with those facts and figures?? They date the dinosaur bones by which rock layer they are in. And they date the rock layer by the bones that are in them. See the logic?

All types of carbon (any any other type of elemental dating method) dating have been proven to be totally inaccurate or false. If you dont believe me then kill an animal and do your testing. I guess the animal has to be dead at least 100,000 years for the test to be accurate. Live animals have been reported to be thousands of years old.

People will do anything to try to disprove god.


RE: Interesting
By HeelyJoe on 12/14/2007 5:17:40 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
No one on this earth can ever prove that macro evolution ever happend or happens. Evolution IS a religion. You have to have faith to believe in it.

Evolution is not religion, and to be honest, I am astonished that people believe this. http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CA/CA610.html

Evolution is based on evidence. Faith isn't. "Belief" in Evolution does not require faith.

quote:
I belive some dinosaurs are still here we just call them reptiles today. I also belive dragons are aka Dinosaurs. (dont tell me the entire world has dragon stories, and that they were all fake.) (fire breathing may be an exagerating tho)

Dinosaurs are not modern day reptiles. Dragons are fairy tales. Men did not live among dinosaurs. There is absolutely no evidence for this claim.

quote:
How are they comming up with those facts and figures?? They date the dinosaur bones by which rock layer they are in. And they date the rock layer by the bones that are in them. See the logic?

No. That is not what happens at all. They are dated using radiometric dating.

quote:
All types of carbon (any any other type of elemental dating method) dating have been proven to be totally inaccurate or false. If you dont believe me then kill an animal and do your testing. I guess the animal has to be dead at least 100,000 years for the test to be accurate. Live animals have been reported to be thousands of years old.

Carbon dating is not inaccurate. http://www.tim-thompson.com/radiometric.html#relia...

quote:
People will do anything to try to disprove god.

You do understand that most Christians accept evolution as fact, right? In no way does it disprove God, nor did the scientists behind it set out to do so. There is no conspiracy against God. http://www.butler.edu/clergyproject/clergy_project...


RE: Interesting
By RandallMoore on 12/14/2007 9:04:50 PM , Rating: 2
Just because you say something, then post a link to something doesnt automatically make you right. Also, just because a "scientist" claims something, does not automatically make him right either. Evolution is a religion because you have to believe that long ago and far far away something happend that no one observed. You still didnt answer my question about macro evolution. Show me something.


RE: Interesting
By HeelyJoe on 12/15/2007 2:48:01 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Just because you say something, then post a link to something doesnt automatically make you right.

When did I ever claim that it did? I posted links to site sources for my claims. Why is providing evidence for my claims a bad idea?

quote:
Also, just because a "scientist" claims something, does not automatically make him right either.

Which is what makes science great. It is based on facts, not opinions.

quote:
Evolution is a religion because you have to believe that long ago and far far away something happend that no one observed.

But we do observe Evolution today: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-speciation.htm...

And although we did not observe Evolution, we do have a record of Evolution spanning billions of years - the fossil record.

Evolution is not a religion no matter how you look at it. It does not provide a moral guide. It does not tell us how to live our lives. It does not explain the meaning of life, nor does it explain how it originated.

And again, the majority of Christians, or at least many of them, accept Evolution as fact, yet they do not claim it as their religion.

quote:
You still didnt answer my question about macro evolution. Show me something.

You're right. I was so amazed by the "Evolution is religion" part that I must have skipped over that. Anyway, is this enough evidence for you? http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/


RE: Interesting
By RandallMoore on 12/15/2007 6:29:31 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Evolution is not a religion no matter how you look at it. It does not provide a moral guide. It does not tell us how to live our lives. It does not explain the meaning of life, nor does it explain how it originated.


You are very wrong. Evolution is a bunch of lies mixed in with science. It requires you to assume way to many things. IT IS A RELIGION. If what you support is true, then we have nothing in this world to look forward to but death. Death is the only way evolution succeeds. Im not going to argue with someone that does nothing but try to find ways to agrue with God. You can make whatever "i win the argument" comment that you want to, but just know its not about that. Its about hoping that people like you dont go to hell if in the end, the bible turns out to be literally true. Word for word.

That will always be the difference between people like you and me. I argue because I dont want anyone going to hell.

You argue because you want to prove to everyone how smart you are.

I can only do so much tho. So dont bother commenting back. I will not respond.


RE: Interesting
By HeelyJoe on 12/16/2007 2:52:28 AM , Rating: 2
You really just don't understand the definition of a religion, do you?


RE: Interesting
By retrospooty on 12/13/2007 2:51:57 PM , Rating: 2
"I am also afraid to say, me and "my kind" are the majority in the United States. (Over 70% of the country believe a creator created the universe.)"

70% of americans may believe that a creator created the universe, but it takes a special brand of dimwit to think he created it 7000 years ago as described in the bible.

There is a HUGE difference between Intelligent design, and creationism.


RE: Interesting
By threepac3 on 12/12/2007 8:24:10 PM , Rating: 2
I have heard of that Flagella Motor argument before. Though the argument has already been disproved. Many of the same "parts" that allow for the motor to work in the flagella. Also have entirely different function in another bacteria. Leading most people to figure that a simple change in the bacteria could have allowed for dissimilar job to emerge.


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