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thalassa
02 Nov 2010, 08:27
...because we don't have one yet, and its bound to happen anyway...

Corvus
02 Nov 2010, 11:54
Isn't it evolution as in mokey is to people,dinosaur is to bird?

Dufonce
02 Nov 2010, 12:00
its bacteria to cell to fish to amphibian to lizards/birds to mammals.

and ape to neanderthal to human progression too...

Corvus
02 Nov 2010, 12:02
So are we supposed to discuss why or why not evolution exsists? Or something like that...

Dufonce
02 Nov 2010, 12:04
I believe in adaptation over time. and natural selection (until smart people started caring about stupid people)

at work sometimes when people cant operate an ice/water machine... i kinda hope they dehydrate and die... but thats mean.

Corvus
02 Nov 2010, 12:08
Darwin theorized natural selection was the driveing force behind evolution, that the progressive adaptation of a species created a new species. Sounds good enough for me.

Madness
02 Nov 2010, 14:11
*ahem* On topic...

I found this interesting. As I've heard in the past, the US is the hotbed for the evolution debate. Here's a good graph to represent that:

http://www.newscientist.com/data/images/archive/2565/25653701.jpg (http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn9786-why-doesnt-america-believe-in-evolution.html)

And the article says the acceptance of evolution has dropped 5% in the last 20 years despite an increase in education level in the US.

Corvus
02 Nov 2010, 14:13
That is weird an increase in church attendance maybe?

Dufonce
02 Nov 2010, 15:16
Excerpt from Wikipedia on Evolution:

Two main processes cause variants to become more common or rarer in a population. One is natural selection, through which traits that aid survival and reproduction become more common, while traits that hinder survival and reproduction become rarer. Natural selection occurs because only a small proportion of individuals in each generation will survive and reproduce, since resources are limited and organisms produce many more offspring than their environment can support. Over many generations, heritable variation in traits is filtered by natural selection and the beneficial changes are successively retained through differential survival and reproduction. This iterative process adjusts traits so they become better suited to an organism's environment: these adjustments are called adaptations.

Natural selection is a part of the theory of evolution. Sorry I didn't know subtopics were off topic from broad topics. I was trying to figure out how we were getting off topic. The topic was started left WIDE OPEN, hell it started off-topic. If we were given an aspect of evolution we were supposed to discuss then maybe we could discuss it, we went with natural selection, it went slightly off topic but still within the topic.

Please, give us something to discuss, or we will end up with our random spouts on different aspects. Sorry if this upsets you.

B. de Corbin
02 Nov 2010, 15:30
And the article says the acceptance of evolution has dropped 5% in the last 20 years despite an increase in education level in the US.


Did it suggest any possible explanations for it? That kind of thing is troubling.

And, just out of curiosity (because I have to ask - It's SCIENCE! :D), did it make any statements as to how the question was asked, and to what group? For example, if it were a phone survey given to people who subscribe to National Enquirer I'm not going to worry about it nearly as much as I will if it was in a written survey given to people as they graduate from state universities...

Madness
02 Nov 2010, 16:08
Did it suggest any possible explanations for it? That kind of thing is troubling.

I finally found the actual study instead of just blogs linking to it. There are no concrete conclusions drawn, but there is an interesting table of factors that effect the response (page 8 (http://cdn.cloudfiles.mosso.com/c148221/Science_evolution_2006_SOM.pdf)). The bottom line: the more religious you are, the less you accept evolution. The more literate you are in genetics, the more you accept evolution. So it's kind of a tautology if you ask me.

Here's the textual conclusions for why the US is different than Europe:


First, the structure and beliefs of American fundamentalism historically differ from those of mainstream Protestantism in both the United States and Europe. The biblical literalist focus of fundamentalism in the United
States sees Genesis as a true and accurate account of the creation of human life that supersedes any scientific finding or interpretation. In contrast, mainstream Protestant faiths in Europe (and their U.S. counterparts) have viewed Genesis as metaphorical and—like the Catholic Church—have not seen a major contradiction between their faith and the work of Darwin and other scientists.

<snip>

Second, the evolution issue has been politicized and incorporated into the current partisan division in the United States in a
manner never seen in Europe or Japan. In the second half of the 20th century, the conservative wing of the Republican Party has adopted creationism as a part of a platform designed to consolidate their support in southern and Midwestern states—the “red” states. In the 1990s, the state Republican platforms in seven states included explicit demands for the
teaching of “creation science” (1). There is no major political party in Europe or Japan that uses opposition to evolution as a part of its political platform.




And, just out of curiosity (because I have to ask - It's SCIENCE! :D), did it make any statements as to how the question was asked, and to what group?

The main question was: "Human beings, as we know them, developed from earlier species of animals." (true, false, unknown/not sure).

One thing they were specifically testing was giving the question a clear black and white. In other polls, they were given 5 possible answers ranging in certainty. In those only 14% thought evolution was "definitely true."

(source (http://cdn.cloudfiles.mosso.com/c148221/Science_evolution_2006.pdf))

Juniper
02 Nov 2010, 16:52
I have stripped the non-useful posts in the hopes of getting an actual discussion going here.

Please remember that this is in Academics and while it is not a debate, sources for your references are still encouraged.

I realize that this is a broad subject without any direct focus, but please keep discussions within a reasonable range. If you feel that a particular part of this topic needs more attention, I encourage you to start a new topic for that purpose.

Thank you.

thalassa
02 Nov 2010, 19:08
Wow, I go to vote, pick my kid up from school, go to work and have dinner at my grandma's and the joint explodes. WTF. Anyhoo...



Evolution.

Theodosius Dobzhansky (http://amphilsoc.org/mole/view?docId=ead/Mss.B.D65-ead.xml) (famous biologist dude known for much work with fruit flies and the development of the Modern Synthesis (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modern_evolutionary_synthesis)--which is what bio-geeks call modern evolution) wrote that "Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution." And he is quite right, if one looks at the development of biology from natural history during the 1800's.



But...what *is* evolution?

Modern evolution is defined as "a change in allele frequencies over time" (from Evolutionary Analysis, Fifth Ed by Freeman and Herron)...in English this simply means that evolution is a change in the number of organisms in a population that express a particular genetic code over time. There are a series of mechanisms by which this evolution can occur...from random mutation (a possible origin of genetic differences in an organism) to sexual selection (how organisms choose mates).
(further discussion on this topic) (http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/evolution-definition.html)



Then what about this Darwin guy?

Charles Darwin proposed the Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection, which created one of the original definitions of evolution (descent with modification) and offered a mechanism by which it occurred (natural selection, sometimes known as "selection of the fittest"). Charles Darwin is not the originator of the idea of evolution...or even the idea of natural selection, rather he was the first to articulate them in a organized and logical manner with a shit ton of evidence to back them up. Quite simply, Darwin was one of the first persons (and he shares his first published paper...having sat on the idea for 20 years...with the forgotten Alfred Russel Wallace (http://www.strangescience.net/wallace.htm)) to treat the idea of Evolution to scientific empiricism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empiricism). From a modern perspective, Darwin got a lot right. He also got a lot wrong (none of which negates evolution) (http://www.progressiveu.org/blog/444-was-darwin-wrong).




Yeah...but evolution is just a theory.

Well...yeah. It is "just" a theory--a scientific theory to be precise...which is a helluva lot different than "just a theory" in the common vernacular. As discussed in the Science vs Religion thread (http://www.paganforum.com/index.php?topic=632.0), scientific theories "are structures of ideas that explain and interpret facts" (qtd from palentologist and evolutionary biologist Steven Jay Gould). They are supported by data and can be used to make predictions. Which takes us back to Dobzhansky...every single sub-discipline within the field of biology depends on evolution as a fact, or supports evolution as a theory (and sometimes both).

B. de Corbin
03 Nov 2010, 02:01
...The bottom line: the more religious you are, the less you accept evolution. The more literate you are in genetics, the more you accept evolution. So it's kind of a tautology if you ask me....



..."Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution." And he is quite right, if one looks at the development of biology from natural history during the 1800's.

Put these these two ideas together, and I think you get a good picture of the problem. Evolutionary theory has such enormous explanatory and predictive power that, on the one hand, if you reject it, you need some kind of Big Magic to fill the void, while on the other hand, if you believe in the Big Magic, your "evidence for belief" faces a serious challenge from the explanatory and predictive power of evolutionary theory.

Simon Slade
03 Nov 2010, 02:54
Isn't Darwinism a religion? And don't they worship the devil?

Sorry . . .
/troll

To be constructive: I found this and I think that it explains evolution and the confusion surrounding it pretty well: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/evolution-definition.html

I would post more, but I have to catch the bus in fifteen minutes.

pihlaja
03 Nov 2010, 07:39
Because Finland wasn't represented in the picture above, I wanted to google it. I found out that 65% of Finns accept evolution as it is and about one third does think evolution theory is false. I find this rather interesting in a coutry where nine years of education is compulsory.. On the other hand when compared to Sweden and Denmark, Finnish people are more religious which might explain the difference. Also it's suggested in the article I found that the reason for the large group of people who don't believe in evolution could be the large elder population who haven't had education about evolution in their school years.

This made me think about if the increasing amount of non-evolution-believing people in the US might also be a result of immigration? I don't have any reference to this but what I've understood is that immigrants coming to the US usually don't have very high education and/or are coming from more religious (and probably not se evolution centered) countries. I also assume that the amount of immigrants is quite big over there. Could that explain (partly) the increase in the numbers?

Dumuzi
03 Nov 2010, 09:03
I wanted to add something that might be relevant to this thread. (It's more related to religion and evolution than just evolution, so I hope it's OK to talk about here)

I think the problem is that people often think that the idea of evolution and religion are mutually exclusive. So when such polls are made, it is very important to ask the right kind of questions.

I will use an example outside of evolution.

I believe that god has created me. I also believe that some time ago I was a zygote that started growing in number of cells and size, and started a process of 'evolution' where it started to grow organs and limbs and so on until I was born.

So the science of embryology and the fact I believe god created me do not contradict each other. Embryology is just explaining the way god created me. With that said, people who wish to learn about embryology shouldn't have to learn about god. That belongs in another 'class' so to speak.

The whole point of this post is that sometimes those polls are made so a person has to choose between two options that aren't really mutually exclusive.

People often feel like the question is like, "Do you believe in evolution and so automatically disbelieve in god and if it happens to be a god you are totally going to go to burn in hell?"

:p

WillowDreamwalker
03 Nov 2010, 13:24
I feel inclined to agree with Dumuzi on this subject.

I have heard the same things: that believing in either God or Evolution automatically excludes the other, that it is not possible for the two to coexist in any one mind. I speak here as both an amatuer animal biologist and one who believes in a world/worlds outside the mundane physical.

I believe that biological matters and all other scientific subjects can exist in harmony with religion. That cells, growth, natural selection, and all the rest are merely outward manifestations of what is Really Going On -- physical manifestations that we can understand as human beings, that we can measure and document, that we can percieve with our five physical senses. As such, I also believe that evolution may very well be a process created by the Divine (if you believe in the Divine) so that we may physically exist, and that the theories of evolution serve as a reminder to us that animals and plants and such are indeed on the same level as us and deserve respect as much as we do. Or that evolution is another clever illusion to give us a foundation from which we may wisely build ourselves and our civilization (yeah, it's kind of failed in most aspects). Or something. I'm not very good at discussing such matters.

I apologize as this is the Academics forum and this post is merely my own opinion. But I couldn't not say anything. :)

Zeno
07 Nov 2010, 14:57
I always find these arguments against evolution annoying because they are wrong...here we go...

Misconception 1) Evolution is only a theory
Yes it is, but in the scientific community a theory is different than how it is viewed outside the scientific community. A scientific theory is an idea that had been back through experimentation, study, and multiple analysis, and has yet to be refuted. It's a fact because it explains changes that scientists KNOW occur (genetic changes in individuals, populations, etc). Scientists can even see these changes and measure them.

Misconception 2) There are no missing links
This has been a constant factor in this debate ever since Darwin came out with "The Origin of Species". Many people back then didn't thinkg that there were transitional fosil but you can see them in museums today. Such fossil specimens include Archaeopteryx, Tiktaalik, and Australopithecus just to start. There are many more.

Misconception 3) It violates the second law of Thermodynamics
The second law of thermodynamics states that entropy, increases in a closed system, making more complex systems more uniform. Therefore, some will state, evolution is impossible, because when an organism evolves it becomes more complex. What they don't realize though, is that Earth is not a closed system. Energy, in the form of sunlight comes from outside our planet, making this theory irrelevant to evolution.

Misconception 4) Scientists don't agree on the idea
Wrong. Scientists don't agree on the details. Just because scientists don't agree on the details doesn't mean the disagree on the theory. Scientists disagree on the details about everything, this allows for critical thinking and allows the formation of new ideas and getting rid of the old one involved in theory. This means nothing.

Misconception 5) It can't create complex structures
Often times, creationists will say that organisms are to complex to be evolve, therefore there had to have been a creator, or a "Watch Maker". However, scientists, time and time again, have identified intermediate structures again and again, such as with the eye, where groups of photo-sensitive cells, become light sensitive organs, and so on.

I write up more if I can think of more.

PharaohKatt
15 Nov 2010, 16:23
I'm not very knowledgeable about this subject, so I'll try not to sound like a total ignoramus asking this, but:

One of the primary methods of evolution is Natural Selection. Given that humans, as a species, have started caring for people who would have otherwise died, given that people with genetic variations that would have been unfavourable in the wild are living and having children, have we changed the process of evolution?

We're not exactly naturally selecting anymore. Are we still going to evolve, and if so will the rate of evolution be different than in the long ago?

thalassa
15 Nov 2010, 18:16
One of the primary methods of evolution is Natural Selection. Given that humans, as a species, have started caring for people who would have otherwise died, given that people with genetic variations that would have been unfavourable in the wild are living and having children, have we changed the process of evolution?

We're not exactly naturally selecting anymore. Are we still going to evolve, and if so will the rate of evolution be different than in the long ago?


Well...there's a couple things to think about here. 1) Natural selection *is* important, don't get me wrong...but its not the only force that directs evolution. For example...sexual selection often leads to traits that aren't beneficial to an organisms survival. Now, unlike animal species that have really obvious sexual selection traits (a peacock for example), we have a variance of cultural and individual things we find attractive...so...if you apply that to people...well, who the heck knows what might happen in another dozen generations (seriously, look up the movie Idiocracy...its very sad) 2) Also...humans haven't had natural selection really be an obvious force for a while. We've been pretty savvy at manipulating our environment to our advantage for quite some time. But that doesn't mean that selection doesn't happen, just that its probably going to be more subtle as different things make you more or less successful and more or less likely to have grandchildren
Because really, at the end of the day, the ultimate success of evolution isn't that you pass your genes on to the next generation, but that they pass their genes on to the next generation.

PharaohKatt
16 Nov 2010, 02:58
Well...there's a couple things to think about here. 1) Natural selection *is* important, don't get me wrong...but its not the only force that directs evolution. For example...sexual selection often leads to traits that aren't beneficial to an organisms survival. Now, unlike animal species that have really obvious sexual selection traits (a peacock for example), we have a variance of cultural and individual things we find attractive...so...if you apply that to people...well, who the heck knows what might happen in another dozen generations (seriously, look up the movie Idiocracy...its very sad) 2) Also...humans haven't had natural selection really be an obvious force for a while. We've been pretty savvy at manipulating our environment to our advantage for quite some time. But that doesn't mean that selection doesn't happen, just that its probably going to be more subtle as different things make you more or less successful and more or less likely to have grandchildren
Because really, at the end of the day, the ultimate success of evolution isn't that you pass your genes on to the next generation, but that they pass their genes on to the next generation.


Thanks for that. *is learnding*

ThorsSon
16 Nov 2010, 03:27
One thing that an anthropologist friend of mine is fond of saying:

"People get mistakenly hung up on 'survival of the fittest,' while it is more accurately 'survival of the sexually fittest.'"

In order pass traits on to later generations, and thus contribute to evolution, an organism must do two things:

a) Be able to reproduce.
b) Survive long enough to reproduce.

Being able to reproduce does mean more than being physical able to reproduce, theoretically. Barring asexual reproduction, the organism must be able to acquire a mate. Be this by attraction, by accident or luck, or by force.

Some traits aid in reproduction (such as peacock feathers aiding in attraction), and as a result these traits will carry over.

In other words... it is possible that someone could have some adaptation that makes them excellently suited for survival but, be extremely unattractive and socially awkward, and thus unable to get a date... and as a result, unable to pass that adaptation on to further generations.

ChainLightning
16 Nov 2010, 04:17
One thing that an anthropologist friend of mine is fond of saying:

"People get mistakenly hung up on 'survival of the fittest,' while it is more accurately 'survival of the sexually fittest.'"

In order pass traits on to later generations, and thus contribute to evolution, an organism must do two things:

a) Be able to reproduce.
b) Survive long enough to reproduce.

Being able to reproduce does mean more than being physical able to reproduce, theoretically. Barring asexual reproduction, the organism must be able to acquire a mate. Be this by attraction, by accident or luck, or by force.

Some traits aid in reproduction (such as peacock feathers aiding in attraction), and as a result these traits will carry over.

In other words... it is possible that someone could have some adaptation that makes them excellently suited for survival but, be extremely unattractive and socially awkward, and thus unable to get a date... and as a result, unable to pass that adaptation on to further generations.


Like me. No matter how attractive my genes may be, to society, whether in terms of survival, strength, intelligence or even stunning good looks, they've reached a dead end.

No siblings and no offspring of my own... the world won't see my genes continue.

Though... naturally, that *could* be a 'good thing'.


[EDITED: A quote? With no reply?? Damn phone access!]

ThorsSon
16 Nov 2010, 04:22
Ummm... thanks for the quotation, Chain... I've heard it said that quotation is the sincerest form of flattery... but did you mean to say anything? ;)


Hey, Chain, your post is showing... you might want to do something about that.

ChainLightning
16 Nov 2010, 04:38
Uh, yes. Let it be known, I do not plagairize.

I do, however, have a bit of trouble with quoting, while using my cell to access the forum. Consistent, it isn't. I am actually surprised that it quoted, at all. Not letting me reply? That's the rarity. Fortunately... I can 'modify'. ;-)

/off topic

ThorsSon
16 Nov 2010, 06:28
Like me. No matter how attractive my genes may be, to society, whether in terms of survival, strength, intelligence or even stunning good looks, they've reached a dead end.

No siblings and no offspring of my own... the world won't see my genes continue.

Though... naturally, that *could* be a 'good thing'.


[EDITED: A quote? With no reply?? Damn phone access!]


Chain, your reply reminded me of another situation that I overlooked, which is that of the mule.

The mule is a hybrid of a horse and a donkey.

The mule has the strength of the donkey and the loyalty of the horse. It is a very fine physical specimen... and sterile. Can't reproduce. Won't evolve.

Dumuzi
16 Nov 2010, 06:46
I'm not very knowledgeable about this subject, so I'll try not to sound like a total ignoramus asking this, but:

One of the primary methods of evolution is Natural Selection. Given that humans, as a species, have started caring for people who would have otherwise died, given that people with genetic variations that would have been unfavourable in the wild are living and having children, have we changed the process of evolution?

We're not exactly naturally selecting anymore. Are we still going to evolve, and if so will the rate of evolution be different than in the long ago?


I also want to add that surviving of the fittest is not the same as surviving of the strongest or the biggest or the best and so on.

For example, if an animal X mutates and becomes smaller and weaker, it can still beat the other big and strong animal X in surviving, if the size of the animal X helps it hide from the predator.

gwynwas
29 Nov 2010, 10:08
Curious. No one seems to be hooked here.

This is a religious forum but there is no one arguing against evolution. How strange. Literalist religious types tend to have a problem with it. The seven days to create the universe and all that (liberal reinterpretions notwithstanding).

I'm not a pagan exactly, but I suppose this says something about paganism, or at least contemporary paganism. The Gaia principle of a couple decades ago seems like it probably should sit well with a paganist world view. However, there is very little scientific evidence to back up this kind of theory about meta-evolution.

On the other hand, in anthropology we find that some practioners/believers in Native American beliefs/religion, reject scientific theories of both biological evolution and the trans-Siberian migration model (in which it is believed that Native Americans are descended from people who crossed over from Siberia).

So, I'm just wondering, are there literalist pagans out there who believe that Odin and the gods created man and woman from Ash trees (for instance). Or do all contemporary Pagans suffer from liberal revisionism?

(Yes, I'm being intentionally provocative in the hopes of sparking conversation. I am also open to the idea that the creation myth is not as important to most Pagans as it is to fundamentalist Christians/Muslims, but this begs the question as to whether there are any fundamentalist Pagans)

thalassa
29 Nov 2010, 10:24
So, I'm just wondering, are there literalist pagans out there who believe that Odin and the gods created man and woman from Ash trees (for instance). Or do all contemporary Pagans suffer from liberal revisionism?



There are pagans that do not *believe* in evolution*, we have, in the past, occasionally had some of them drop by...though, tbh, when I started this thread (and then had to take care of something else) my intent was less to be a debate over the subject from a religious vs science stance, than a scientific discussion of the subject...and I just haven't had time to add to that yet, leaving it pretty much wide open in terms of wherever people want to take it.

Because...in my experience, when this topic comes up as a debate, it tends to be more about "evolution is wrong because *enter shoddy understanding of science here*" and not "well, according to my religious tradition, I just happen to believe X, Y &Z and think your science is a bunch of bunk" (me thinks those people just ignore the debate entirely because it doesn't matter to them what science says).

Also...I think part of the reason may be that so many people in Pagan communities leave forms of Christiaity in which the Biblical mythos is so literal and entrenched, despite the overwhelming evidence against a literal interpretation of it that once they expand beyond Christianity, perhaps it makes it difficult to accept that sort of rigidly held idea to hold a new mythos to the same kind of rigor.

I sort of wonder...considering that we have at least one full time scientist on the board, as well as myself who happens to be a 5th year senior biology major, D who is going to be a doctor, as well as a number of atheists and other individuals that just happen to geek out on science, that we might be a bit more rigorous in our expectations for certain discussions that most people that might otherwise dissent, just sort of bow out ahead of time.




*Case in point, the idea of "believing" in evolution...I'm not sure if it is in this thread, or another one, but we're already covered the idea of "belief" in evolution being irrelevent.

gwynwas
29 Nov 2010, 10:26
I do not believe that any kind of human evolution is going to occur in a dozen generations. The larger the human population, the larger the gene pool, and when you combine this with greater globalization, changes in the gene pool will slow to a crawl. Evolution occurs more rapidly in small isolated populations. You may see outward changes, most likely an increase in racially complex people. But this is only outward appearance in phenotype. The underlying variation in the gene pool will not change. For instance, over time we may see a lower propotion of people exhibiting the recessive blue-eye trait, but the proportion of blue-eye alleles to brown-eye alleles in the gene-pool will remain the same.

[oops- i quoted the wrong post, so I just deleted the quote]

thalassa
29 Nov 2010, 10:30
^^^TBH, I don't think we will have meaningful evolution as a species, without some sort of knockoff of a good deal of our population in a dozen generations either...that was pretty much just an off the cuff hypothetical example, not meant to be taken literally ;)


BUT, there are examples of sympatric speciation occuring in nature, so it is entirely feasible to have evolution within subpopulations.

gwynwas
29 Nov 2010, 10:37
^^^TBH, I don't think we will have meaningful evolution as a species, without some sort of knockoff of a good deal of our population in a dozen generations either...that was pretty much just an off the cuff hypothetical example, not meant to be taken literally ;)


BUT, there are examples of sympatric speciation occuring in nature, so it is entirely feasible to have evolution within subpopulations.


point taken.

but, again, a speciation event occurring under current circumstances is not too likely. Now, if there is some kind of mad-max-type collapse or post nuclear survival, this could possibly happen. But even then it is very unlikely given the human propensity to migrate and adapt (culturally) to diverse environments. Migrations have a tendency to bring populations together, reducing the chance that an isolation population will stay isolated.

The latest evidence about neanderthals is that there was at least some inter-group fertility. This (and/or the extermination of remaining neaderthals) apparently (?) prevented a full speciation to occur

thalassa
29 Nov 2010, 11:29
a speciation event occurring under current circumstances is not too likely

I think this is where people get hung-up though...evolution is *not just* about speciation events...any genetic shift, even just over one generation to the next--even if it is reversed the next generation, is still evolution. Sure, the cool story of evolution takes place when speciation takes place, or over the immense geological timescale of the planet...but thats like saying being a lifeguard is just jumping in the water and saving people, when the reality is far more boring than that.

gwynwas
29 Nov 2010, 13:44
I think this is where people get hung-up though...evolution is *not just* about speciation events...any genetic shift, even just over one generation to the next--even if it is reversed the next generation, is still evolution. Sure, the cool story of evolution takes place when speciation takes place, or over the immense geological timescale of the planet...but thats like saying being a lifeguard is just jumping in the water and saving people, when the reality is far more boring than that.


well, okay, people get hung up on speciation and there is the whole punctuated-equilibrium crowd (Gould, et al) who feel that any evolution worthy of the name occurs, if not during speciation, at least in a punctuated manner during speciation-like events, but I must hasten to mention 'twas you who brought up speciation first. My original point was only that due to the size and interconnectedness of the human gene pool under current circumstances, any evolutionary change is going to be very very miniscule.

Yet, at the risk of contradicting myself, I think there are some interesting evolutionary pressures currently that some people alluded to above and that get very little air time due to political correctness and the desire to avoid anything that might have even faintest whiff of eugenics about it (understandably I suppose).

One of least PC of topics being that people with significant limitations (cognitive or otherwise) get cared for and have a heightened ability to reproduce. This comes in two flavors (1) this is true of all human societies insofar as human beings are altruistic, and/or (2) this is true (or especially true) of modern industrialized societies. I don’t know that these ideas are false, but I suppose it is more complex than it seems at first. There has been a lot of academic blood and ink spilt in sociobiology and evolutionary psychology circles around how (apparently) altruistic behavioral traits came to be among humans or whether they are in fact epiphenomenal. Another complication is that genes contributing to disabling conditions like schizophrenia probably also contribute to important functions of higher thought and creativity.

Another, related, topic, is the well documented fact that better educated, affluent people have less children, thus contributing less to the gene pool. This is concerning if you assume that better educated and affluent people got to where they are because of their innate abilities. But, again I suspect is to be more complicated than that. Many very smart people come from lineages of laborers and farmers. Likewise the uneducated masses of the non-affluent regions probably have just as much innate ability conferred by their genetic inheritance as the affluent do. But who knows.

These are sources of anxiety for people, but what I remember from physical anthro is that the cutting edges of human evolution have to do with (1) the ratio between brain capacity of a newborn and the size / birthing capacity of the mother’s hips; and (2) the ratio of tooth size to jaw size. That’s not quite as exciting, but apparently that’s where it’s all happening, evolutionarily speaking.

gwynwas
29 Nov 2010, 14:04
BUT, there are examples of sympatric speciation occuring in nature, so it is entirely feasible to have evolution within subpopulations.


Sorry, but I guess I quite missed your point the first time around, simply because i was not familiar with sympatic speciation (I blame it on anthropology wherein i was forced to learn a little bit about a lot of very different things). An interesting concept that, but (perhaps with my limited understanding) I fail to see where a sympatric speciation would occur in the human poplulation. The current trend seems to be going in the opposite direction, if anything.

Dumuzi
29 Nov 2010, 15:59
Curious. No one seems to be hooked here.

This is a religious forum but there is no one arguing against evolution. How strange. Literalist religious types tend to have a problem with it. The seven days to create the universe and all that (liberal reinterpretions notwithstanding).


That's because not all religions are in real conflict with it ;)

Also, thalassa, made a very good point. This thread is in the Academics section so it's more like a discussion about the science behind evolution itself rather than a CREATION VS EVOLUTION!!!11! kind of topic where you have to take sides and form arguments against the other side, so it gets more heated.

To me it's kinda like this (emphasis on the word kinda):

On one hand you can have a "Out of wedlock babies, is it good or not?" topic, which is gonna generate a really heated debate.

On the other hand you can have a topic in Academics with the title "Embryology: The science behind it" where people are just gonna casually discuss how babies are made in terms of zygotes, germ cells, multiplication and so on.

Make sense?

gwynwas
30 Nov 2010, 07:21
Make sense?


As you say, kinda. It depends, i think, on how literal your religious views are. I could say that homo erectus evolved from homo habilis (or whatever the current thinking is) and someone from the church i grew up in would have said, no, your interpretation of the evidence is incorrect, because God put those bones in the earth to test your faith. Particularly from a "intelligent design" perspective it is an ontological discussion and you cannot artificially separate the religious and scientific discourse, because they inevitably overlap. Now, of course, you could say that some religious outlooks are less in contradiction with current science than others.

My point was that, if there are fundamentalist pagans (and i know for a fact that they do exist in the world) they do not seem to be popping up here. And, i would further surmise that it has to do with the backgrounds and educated outlook of first-world pagans. Thalassa actually stated it very well, i thought. And, it is also likely that people simply don't want to feed trolls ;)

Dumuzi
30 Nov 2010, 11:33
My point was that, if there are fundamentalist pagans (and i know for a fact that they do exist in the world) they do not seem to be popping up here. And, i would further surmise that it has to do with the backgrounds and educated outlook of first-world pagans. Thalassa actually stated it very well, i thought. And, it is also likely that people simply don't want to feed trolls ;)


Hehe.

Yeah I agree with you. I also feel this thread is less about proving or disproving evolution and more about the science behind it for those people that know a bit about it.

Juniper
30 Nov 2010, 11:37
Curious. No one seems to be hooked here.

This is a religious forum but there is no one arguing against evolution. How strange. Literalist religious types tend to have a problem with it. The seven days to create the universe and all that (liberal reinterpretions notwithstanding).


This is not meant to be a debate or it would be in the debate section. It's meant to be an academic discussion about Evolution itself. Creationism has no place in this topic.

gwynwas
02 Dec 2010, 07:30
Speaking of evolution . . . i recently saw an interesting documentary on the co-evolution of humans and dogs. Co-evolution, is a way of looking at how domestic plant and animal species change with domestication and how humans have evolved as a result of the domestication. A textbook example is lactose intolerance. Population that have used dairy for many centuries are less likely to have this trait. Some of the genetic traits that influence alcoholism, also are possibly higher in populations that do not have a long history of grain agriculture.

Anyway, this dog thing, what I didn't know was that dogs are so behaviorally attuned to human's they automatically look at the right side of the human face. Humans tend to do the same thing. This is apparently because emotion is expressed slightly more on the right side of the face. No other animal does this, not even wolves. Dogs also respond to pointing and wolves raised domestically (as dogs) do not do this either.

Well, I thought it was interesting anyway.

Yazichestvo
02 Dec 2010, 10:32
To me, Evolution is pretty cut and dried. If you accept that life has been around for billions of years, it's inevitable. As a science major, I've heard more than my share of evidence. For instance, the fact that human chromosome #2 seems to be a combination of two different chromosomes found in apes, with he remnants of a telomere visible where they fused. We have 46 chromosomes and chimps have 48, so this accounts for the difference. In other cases, our chromosomes are said to have pretty similar patterns. Once you start arguing hard evidence like that with a fundamentalist though, they just shrug and say God made us with similar looking patterns of DNA. Well, he must have really made it a point to do so.

http://www.gate.net/~rwms/hum_ape_chrom.html

thalassa
02 Dec 2010, 11:05
In other cases, our chromosomes are said to have pretty similar patterns. Once you start arguing hard evidence like that with a fundamentalist though, they just shrug and say God made us with similar looking patterns of DNA. Well, he must have really made it a point to do so.



And I just shrug and ask "then why'd a supposedly perfect begin make everything with so many mistakes"... :P


Really though, I rarely bother with Evo vs Creation debates IRL ;) Because I just don't care what they believe or don't believe--belief is irrelevant for the subject

B. de Corbin
02 Dec 2010, 12:47
Let me ask a question, then, about evolution...

Let's imagine a hypothetical genetic disease. We'll call it "X."

If left untreated, X generally leads to the death of the person who has it by the age of 10 or so.

However, X can be managed with medications - not cured - that would require gene therapy which doesn't yet exist.

When managed, a person with X can live, with reasonably good health, well into his/her thirties.

In such a case, (scientific question) would treating X lead to a greater prevalence of the disease in human populations?

If the answer to the above question is "yes," (moral question) should X be treated or not?

thalassa
02 Dec 2010, 13:40
Let me ask a question, then, about evolution...

Let's imagine a hypothetical genetic disease. We'll call it "X."

If left untreated, X generally leads to the death of the person who has it by the age of 10 or so.

However, X can be managed with medications - not cured - that would require gene therapy which doesn't yet exist.

Well...hypothetically, if gene therapy (from what I understand of it...and considering the mush my brain is in ATM from my term paper marathon, I don't feel like bothering to double check) is ever perfected, it *will* be a cure, because it will change the person at the genetic level, which...hypothetically would mean that it would change their gametes as well, and wouldn't be passed on to their children.

For example...real genetic disease, Cystic Fibrosis...shows up when two persons carrying a copy of the recessive trait have offspring that inherit both recessive copies of the gene (realistically, it more complicated than that, but we will go with the simplified version for everyone's sanity) Without treatment, CF patients usually die young, prior to having off spring and most (maybe all ?) males afflicted are actually sterile.



When managed, a person with X can live, with reasonably good health, well into his/her thirties.

In such a case, (scientific question) would treating X lead to a greater prevalence of the disease in human populations?


But...theoretically, yes. A disease that can be treated and is inheritable can increase in prevalence in human populations...or it can "drop out" of the population as well.

There are actually statistical curves that visually explain how traits increase, stabilize or decline in populations in the face of different pressures and processes (I don't think most people realize how much of ecology and evolution is actually math)...but basically, a trait that is neither selected for or against is at the whim of stochasticity (chance) and has as much a possibility of remaining in the population as dropping out for a whole host of reasons mainly having to do with the genetics side of evolution.


If the answer to the above question is "yes," (moral question) should X be treated or not?


Really, thats an entirely different discussion ;) ...one that *can't* be answered by science...

Although, if the condition is manageable...why would it matter if it occurs in an increased prevalence?

B. de Corbin
02 Dec 2010, 14:24
Really, thats an entirely different discussion ;) ...one that *can't* be answered by science...

Although, if the condition is manageable...why would it matter if it occurs in an increased prevalence?


That's why I labeled it a moral question - there is no technically correct answer, not in the way a scientific question can be answered.

Why would it matter? Well, reasonably good health well into the thirties is much less desirable for our children/decedents than is good health into the sixties. I don't know if that would matter to a lot of people, but it might matter to some people.

thalassa
02 Dec 2010, 14:38
Why would it matter? Well, reasonably good health well into the thirties is much less desirable for our children/decedents than is good health into the sixties. I don't know if that would matter to a lot of people, but it might matter to some people.


The problem with this is that it assumes there is some sort of guarantee about life. That same person could die in a car crash at 29. Or live to be perfectly healthy without the "normal complications" of increased age for that population until they are 100. Or there could be a new treatment or cure next month. Or their kids could lack the genetics to pass on the disease.

The same stochasticity that influences evolution and ecology, etc also influence individual survival--no matter how much we humans like to *try* to control destiny, we are just as much victims of statistical un/likeliness as the next species or population or community.

To claim that there is some sort of moral decision to be made on whom we has the "right" to roll the dice of life, is incredibly dangerous...and to some degree, incredible hubris on our part. I would think that is a decision best left in the hands of the people that would be taking that chance.

B. de Corbin
02 Dec 2010, 17:34
To claim that there is some sort of moral decision to be made on whom we has the "right" to roll the dice of life, is incredibly dangerous...and to some degree, incredible hubris on our part. I would think that is a decision best left in the hands of the people that would be taking that chance.


Yes. Who would that be, in the situation I described?

thalassa
02 Dec 2010, 19:12
Yes. Who would that be, in the situation I described?


The parent, or potential parents of those individuals.

...all of which is largely off topic ;)

B. de Corbin
03 Dec 2010, 02:36
The parent, or potential parents of those individuals.

...all of which is largely off topic ;)


Only until it comes back on track.

What this indicates is that it is possible to consciously control at least parts of evolution. Whether a parent decides to have, or not to have a child with a particular genetic configuration, or whether such a child decides to have children of his/her own, the individual is making a choice of what genes will/will not be passed down.

Formerly, because we humans didn't know enough about genetics we had no control over our own evolution. It just happened, according to whatever natural laws were operating. However, now we do know enough... or soon will know enough that we can determine what our ancestors will be like.

If some parts of evolution can be controlled, other parts will follow. I predict that eugenics will com back, in a much more effective form. I don't know if that will be a good thing, or a bad thing...

Did you ever read Star Maker by Olaf Stapledon?

gwynwas
03 Dec 2010, 07:16
The parent, or potential parents of those individuals.

...all of which is largely off topic ;)


I might add, the actual children, offspring to your list of people who, although they don't "take" the risk, they do live it.

It is a moral issue (and off-topic ::) ) but it seems that this has to come into the equation. I will use myself as an example. I carry a trait called thalessemia minor. It is a mild anemia in the heterozygous condition but it is a fatal condition in the homozygous condition (treatment by blood transfusion can keep a child alive for a few years but never into adulthood--last time i checked anyway). A lot of ppl are carriers without even knowing it.

However, I know I am a carrier. I can take a risk and have a child with someone who doesn't know they are a carrier. That is my right. No law says my partner has to be checked. There is not even very much social awareness of the issue. The risk is, my child may inherit the severe form of the disease and live a short and possibly painful life. I get to make the choice, but it is the child who is at risk. Society and the law does not make me care. I have to care on my own.

gwynwas
03 Dec 2010, 07:31
Formerly, because we humans didn't know enough about genetics we had no control over our own evolution. It just happened, according to whatever natural laws were operating. However, now we do know enough... or soon will know enough that we can determine what our ancestors will be like.


i question whether we really know enough. Traits often have beneficial factors we don't necessarily understand.

Take ADHD, for example. This was a very very popular diagnosis in Nineties. Still is. Upwards of 20-25% of boys in some schools get the diagnosis.

Lets just pretend someone finds a single gene that is a significant contributer to this "condition." Would that be a good thing, evolutionarily speaking (not morally), for the human race to eradicate that trait? (that's hypothetical and rhetorical, not a troll line ;) ) The point being we don't know what we don't know, so maybe we should be cautious about taking human evolution into our own hands.

thalassa
03 Dec 2010, 07:49
Perfect example, sickle cell anemia...

In a double dose, it sucks...but in the heterozygous form, its beneficial in malarial environments---which is highly contributory to its persistance in certain populations.

B. de Corbin
03 Dec 2010, 16:17
Perfect example, sickle cell anemia...

In a double dose, it sucks...but in the heterozygous form, its beneficial in malarial environments---which is highly contributory to its persistance in certain populations.




Sickle cell anemia was what actually made me start to think seriously about things like this. The problem with any attempt to "fix" the gene pool is always going to be the lack of knowledge about future conditions - no matter how well humans come to understand conditions as they are (an it's questionable that even these can be understood clearly enough), they won't be able to accurately predict chance events occurring in the future. The very nature of "chance events" precludes predictability.

However… as all forms of genetic technology (from genetic testing to genetic engineering) advance, move into society, they will become increasing available to people, and increasing accepted as “normal.” There will come a time, somewhere down the road, when it becomes possible to choose the genetic characteristics of one’s offspring. This could be either good or bad, depending on how people choose to use it.

Already there are high end sperm banks which solicit contributions from people of above average talents in various fields, and intellectuals. Forget, for a moment, that these attempts to breed genius are ineffective (the complex interplay between genes and environment is too poorly understood at present to breed genius). It does indicate that there is a desire on the part of at least some people to choose what they believe are desirable genetic characteristics for their offspring. As technology making this possible becomes increasing advanced and more widely available, and more widely accepted, people will be more tempted to use these technologies.

While science is, technically, morally neutral - in the sense that the choice of how to use what science discovers belongs to the people, not to science - scientists are going to need to be certain that they make information about the possible risks and benefits of new technology clear, and available to the people - in the hopes that at least a reasonable percentage will make informed choices.

gwynwas
10 Dec 2010, 08:41
Sickle cell anemia was what actually made me start to think seriously about things like this. The problem with any attempt to "fix" the gene pool is always going to be the lack of knowledge about future conditions - no matter how well humans come to understand conditions as they are (an it's questionable that even these can be understood clearly enough), they won't be able to accurately predict chance events occurring in the future. The very nature of "chance events" precludes predictability.. . .


A varied gene pool is a healthy gene pool. The more variation in a population the greater chance that population will adapt to changes.

For humans this is actually a bigger problem than just genetic engineering. It is a problem that has been occurring since the domestication of plants and animals. You can look at the domestication process as co-evolution. We all know that kine and sheep and pigs and wheat and maize, etc. all changed through artificial (and inadvertent) selection over time. To some degree humans from long-term agrarian areas have changed somewhat too (e.g., lactose tolerance, alcohol tolerance, etc).

The reason why this is concerning is the Red Queen Hypothesis. This is a theory, and fairly well supported, that ecosystems have a tendency to become increasingly interdependent over time--the hare evolves in response to the very specific threat of the fox, and the fox evolves to specialize in catching the hare. However, over time, the more specialized and interdependent the system, as a whole, becomes, the more vulnerable it is to total collapse. As the parts (species) are adapted to specific other species, if one species is taken out, the house of cards comes down.

Humans are a perfect example of this kind of interdependent specialization with our handful of domesticated foodsources. I suppose humans are still pretty adaptable with our assumed intelligence and all, but we do fit the bill for total ecological collapse.

B. de Corbin
10 Dec 2010, 11:52
Humans are a perfect example of this kind of interdependent specialization with our handful of domesticated foodsources. I suppose humans are still pretty adaptable with our assumed intelligence and all, but we do fit the bill for total ecological collapse.


Yes - and, should the cloning of domesticated animals ever become widespread, we're in even bigger trouble - the clones would be extremely specific & highly specialized (there's not much other point in creating a clone).

But, again, if the average person in the population does not understand at least in a basic way how genes, environment, and evolution can interact, the kinds of choices he/she will be asked to make through his/her vote in open elections will be way beyond his or her capacity.

Educating people in science is more critical at this point in human history than it has ever been at any time in the past (IMHO).

thalassa
21 Sep 2011, 06:46
Made me laugh my ass off...but true:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ISg6j7BF02Q&feature=related

B. de Corbin
21 Sep 2011, 11:55
LOL - I think something is missing there...

lorraine02
13 Nov 2012, 00:11
what is missing ?
in your life or in everyone's life ,
this a worthy being discussed topics/

JCaydic
10 Apr 2013, 04:31
I think it is a fact that evolution is true. It is beyond reasonable doubt.

Anyone doubting it or negating it (Creationists) is probably misunderstanding science and evidence or is blinded by faith to that point that he or she can't reason anymore.

Yazichestvo
15 Apr 2013, 11:51
Evolution is one of my favorite subjects within Biology. Cladistics allows one to see the map of life, and without it, the patterns of Biology are meaningless. You can hardly even make sense of a newly sequenced genome without comparing it to its relatives. The functions of its proteins will be difficult to infer without comparisons with closely related proteins.

Young earth creationism is probably one of my biggest hot buttons. It's become my litmus test for sanity when it comes to religious people. If you can acknowledge the countless perfect confirmations of the phylogenetic tree, then you're alright. We can at least speak with one another as fellow denizens of reality.

Luce
02 Jul 2013, 17:36
...because we don't have one yet, and its bound to happen anyway...

It's really simple. Either we evolved from monkeys, or we're supposed to look like this. And I'm not impressed, either way.

thalassa
03 Jul 2013, 01:07
I think it is a fact that evolution is true. It is beyond reasonable doubt.

Anyone doubting it or negating it (Creationists) is probably misunderstanding science and evidence or is blinded by faith to that point that he or she can't reason anymore.


As much as I would agree...there are people other than Creationists that disbelieve in evolution. I've actually "met" any number of Pagans, IRL and online that don't actually.

Heka
03 Jul 2013, 03:53
As much as I would agree...there are people other than Creationists that disbelieve in evolution. I've actually "met" any number of Pagans, IRL and online that don't actually.

why is that? I assume you asked? I'm curious. My husband is a creationist

thalassa
21 Jan 2014, 17:10
why is that? I assume you asked? I'm curious. My husband is a creationist

lol...six months later I see this...

Erm...I never really got a good answer that I found at all comprehensible. Usually its been that they believed in a non-Christian form of 'Intelligent Design'...

But I've even seen people that actually think that people were independently created by their own specific gods--a Pagan version of "multiple creation" (polygenism) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polygenism)...which even trickled down into ideas like you MUST worship the pantheon of your ethnicity (else you be doing it wrong). Personally, I find this load of bs to be incredibly offensive...

And, in most cases, it seems more like a willful disregard of science, than ignorance of it. I dunno, Americans as a group are really stupid when it comes to science--what it is, how it works, etc. I think part of it is how science is portrayed in the media, some of it is probably education...but honestly, I think a big solid chunk of it comes from the whole American identity of "distrust of authority".




Which isn't even why I came to this thread, lol...

I was going to say that coursera is starting a human evolution course this week! https://class.coursera.org/humanevolution-001

thalassa
27 Jan 2015, 17:26
So, I haven't gotten to watch all of them, but Jack Szostak is a pretty damn famous geneticist (also a Nobel winner)...and just happens to study RNA and the early origins of life...and happens to have this fab (though I've not gotten all to see two and a half hours yet) set of lectures (http://www.ibiology.org/ibioseminars/evolution-ecology/jack-szostak-part-1.html)

thalassa
04 Feb 2015, 06:08
and in exibit b, organism that hasn't evolved in 2 billion years (http://mainenewsonline.com/content/15022676-organism-hasn-t-evolved-more-2-billion-years-discovered)

(I can't comment on this, because I haven't had time to read up on it)

thalassa
02 Apr 2015, 05:05
http://www.fusionviralvideo.com/blog-post-all-things-bright-and-beautiful-evolution-made-them-all/

^best evolution in a nutshell I've found yet

Fyre Faery Queen
16 Apr 2015, 23:11
The thing that bothers me about people's 'belief' in evolution is this idea that someone man is the pinnacle of it. Somehow we are this perfect animal in 'God's' own likeness. Therefore we are no longer evolving. I think the idea that we are more 'like god' than anything else in the animal Kingdom is what seems to give many scientists the lack of conscience or arrogance to play around with nature, and create so much havoc with the natural order. We are an animal, and we continue to evolve along with the rest of them. X

iris
17 Apr 2015, 02:00
This is pretty good.. also, I adore Tim Minchin...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-7NL48kRH3A no offence intended ^^

B. de Corbin
17 Apr 2015, 04:47
The thing that bothers me about people's 'belief' in evolution is this idea that someone man is the pinnacle of it. Somehow we are this perfect animal in 'God's' own likeness. Therefore we are no longer evolving. I think the idea that we are more 'like god' than anything else in the animal Kingdom is what seems to give many scientists the lack of conscience or arrogance to play around with nature, and create so much havoc with the natural order. We are an animal, and we continue to evolve along with the rest of them. X

This, actually, only applies to people who DO NOT understand evolution. Evolution has no goal, except existence. There is no better or worse, no higher or lower, just existence or extinction.

From an evolutionary standpoint, humans are exactly equal to maggots.

It's when one tosses religion (or some other form of "non-mechanical motivation") into the idea that one gets the idea of the pinnacle of creation...

thalassa
28 Aug 2015, 04:30
Just sort of cool: http://www.dailytimesgazette.com/scientist-hatch-out-two-new-theories-on-how-life-spread-across-the-universe/24506/

Gleb
05 Feb 2016, 03:17
From the pet chit chat thread -

It's actually an important part of the intricate non-verbal communication system that dogs have. Seriously.


I heard somewhere that many kinds of animals (humans included, though the ability is in sleep mode in many of us), can communicate only by looking inside each other's eyes and transfer different kinds of information. It is present in wolf packs.

anunitu
05 Feb 2016, 04:25
In my thoughts,the idea of Religious "Creation" or the Intelligent Design idea begs the question if intelligent action,then why the kind of hit and miss actions that seem to be the norm in Animals. A perfect designer would mean a perfect product. Evolution seems the better prospect for the hit and miss aspect of all animals end products.

B. de Corbin
05 Feb 2016, 04:33
From the pet chit chat thread -

I heard somewhere that many kinds of animals (humans included, though the ability is in sleep mode in many of us), can communicate only by looking inside each other's eyes and transfer different kinds of information. It is present in wolf packs.

We actually do this - the majority of communication is non-verbal (which is why communication over the internet creates problems).

Here is an interesting article about our unconscious use of smell:

http://www.psychologicalscience.org/index.php/news/releases/the-knowing-nose-chemosignals-communicate-human-emotions.html

anunitu
05 Feb 2016, 04:54
Why we have emojis,to express emotion or even just facial expression. I think I have seen a fart emoji even...

- - - Updated - - -

http://smileys.emoticonsonly.com/emoticons/f/fart-421.gif

I did,I did,I did see a fart emoji!!!

- - - Updated - - -

Man, they have a million of these things.
http://smileys.emoticonsonly.com/emoticons/p/plane-2405.gif

- - - Updated - - -

Here for your Emoji needs. (http://www.emoticonsonly.com/)

- - - Updated - - -

One for Medusa
http://smileys.emoticonsonly.com/emoticons/m/medusa-3536.gif

thalassa
05 Feb 2016, 07:05
We actually do this - the majority of communication is non-verbal (which is why communication over the internet creates problems).

Here is an interesting article about our unconscious use of smell:

http://www.psychologicalscience.org/index.php/news/releases/the-knowing-nose-chemosignals-communicate-human-emotions.html

Have you seen this book? (http://catdir.loc.gov/catdir/samples/cam033/2002024628.pdf) I'm so going to order it with my tax refund...used on Amazon for $68...




Gleb, animals often are transmitting information by smell (that we can't smell), sound (that we can't hear), visual cues (that we can't see), etc.

anunitu
05 Feb 2016, 07:08
I do know from being around animals that they KNOW a bit more about us than we most likely believe they do.

Gleb
05 Feb 2016, 08:40
Thanks, B. De!



Gleb, animals often are transmitting information by smell (that we can't smell), sound (that we can't hear), visual cues (that we can't see), etc.

What's true is true. Take wolves for example - they use smell in order to track their prey. However the leader of the pack often gives the other pack members signals of what everyone should do during the ambush/hunt by looking directly in their eyes.

habbalah
05 Feb 2016, 13:48
Thanks, B. De!



What's true is true. Take wolves for example - they use smell in order to track their prey. However the leader of the pack often gives the other pack members signals of what everyone should do during the ambush/hunt by looking directly in their eyes.

I forget what I was reading now, but there was a study done that showed that animals who had more whites to their eyes (such as wolves) evolved to communicate silent eye contact, because the larger whites of their eyes allowed for more clear expression.

thalassa
05 Feb 2016, 20:12
I forget what I was reading now, but there was a study done that showed that animals who had more whites to their eyes (such as wolves) evolved to communicate silent eye contact, because the larger whites of their eyes allowed for more clear expression.

Is this what you were thinking of? http://conservationmagazine.org/2014/06/do-wolves-communicate-with-their-eyes/




What's true is true. Take wolves for example - they use smell in order to track their prey. However the leader of the pack often gives the other pack members signals of what everyone should do during the ambush/hunt by looking directly in their eyes.

Actually, pheremones play a big role in communication between animals, including wolves, not just tracking purposes (Rae'ya posted about pee mail in the thread on why dogs pee on things, there's also scent-rolling (http://wolfcenter.org/site/wolf-behavior/scent-rolling.html)). And eyes are part of facial expression (see the study I linked above)--subtle facial cues that are pretty much lost on humans. We also are lost on the subtleties of their vocal communications...

Contrary to popular belief (and older science on the subject) pack hierarchy likely has much less to do with behavior during a hunt than previously thought. Hunting behavior in wolves is thought to be quite similar to how birds in a flock (think starlings) fly--it's governed more by spatial arrangement and math than active communication or direction.

Gleb
05 Feb 2016, 23:51
Thanks, Thal.

Briton
19 Feb 2016, 13:03
I think what frustrates me is that you're expected to take sides whenever the topic of evolution comes up somewhere. Now, I don't support any creation myth, I certainly see the grand physics of how the Solar System came to be... but how evolution works just goes over my head. I wouldn't say it's wrong because I don't understand it. Hell knows I've tried to understand it. I'm in the "if it's true, that's cool. I'm sure other people can do something with that fact, but it will probably never effect me, least of all in my choice of career" camp. I see no benefit in taking sides. I have questions about the evolutionary process, but I know that any answer I get will just go over my head so... how important is the understanding and recognition of evolution in this day and age? How does it actually change how we do things as a group of people, a nation, or as a species?

DragonsFriend
19 Feb 2016, 13:39
In certain cases and careers it is very important. In my life it was never more than a curiosity, like rocketry and exterior ballistics. If you work in immunology it is very important. Evolution is a fact but that the processes are not completely understood keeps it listed as a theory, scientifically. It is sometimes easy to see how and when a genetic change takes place - like with the sickle cell anemia genetic steps - but the process of a dinosaur changing into a bird, not well understood even though the genetic record still exists in each species of bird. It would be interesting to see the process of how mankind evolved from a small burrowing mammal in the last 66 million years though not necessarily important to the present day social activities. We rarely eat our young in times of stress any more so some of the instincts have faded. (although I sometimes thing retroactive abortions should be practiced ;) JK)

thalassa
19 Feb 2016, 15:32
I have questions about the evolutionary process, but I know that any answer I get will just go over my head so...

I *think* I have a pretty decent ability to explain aspects of evolution fairly simply, so feel free to ask away.

Or maybe not...my daughter does, after all, call our species-ancestors hu-monkeys...so clearly I've missed explaining something to her satisfaction.



how important is the understanding and recognition of evolution in this day and age? How does it actually change how we do things as a group of people, a nation, or as a species?

An understanding of the nitty gritty minutia? Maybe not so much to someone that isn't in a field directly related to biology... But then again, evolution influences everything from what you eat, what medical treatments you get, and how you act and how cultures interact, to technology and how natural resources are distributed (and how our economies *actually* work)...so at least a very basic understanding and acceptance is needed by enough people to make up for everyone else (a sort of herd immunity from ignorance, if you will)

Briton
21 Feb 2016, 01:15
Surely evolution will occur whether we are aware of it or not. Understanding evolution is no prerequisite to eating healthily or taking care of the environment. As far as we can tell, we are the only species to be aware of the progress of evolution, in the sense of examining it and teaching it, yet b billions of years hasn't been in vain.

My main sticking point is speciation. Why are early humans regarded as humans? That is to say, how do we drew the line between 'ancestor of humans' and 'humans'? Is it because that's when the other great apes diverged? Because I thought they split away a lot earlier than that. Furthermore, what is the line between species and 'breed' or ethnicity? If it were an issue of cross breeding capabilities, we shouldn't have been able to mix with neanderthalensis, but we did.

thalassa
21 Feb 2016, 14:15
Surely evolution will occur whether we are aware of it or not. Understanding evolution is no prerequisite to eating healthily or taking care of the environment. As far as we can tell, we are the only species to be aware of the progress of evolution, in the sense of examining it and teaching it, yet b billions of years hasn't been in vain.

My main sticking point is speciation. Why are early humans regarded as humans? That is to say, how do we drew the line between 'ancestor of humans' and 'humans'? Is it because that's when the other great apes diverged? Because I thought they split away a lot earlier than that. Furthermore, what is the line between species and 'breed' or ethnicity? If it were an issue of cross breeding capabilities, we shouldn't have been able to mix with neanderthalensis, but we did.

So the only thing I'm going to address right now (I'm on my phone and I distinctly dislike texting long posts) is the species thing.

What is a species? I'm guessing you learned that species are populations of organisms that can't interbreed and produce viable offspring.

This is called the biological species concept. (BSC). it's throne most people learn and know, but in reality, it's messier than that. There are over 30 different species concepts (I learned 32, by I think we are up to 36, but only about 20 of them are uswd...if you (or anyone else) are interested I can post some links for the most relevant ones). But the point is that what a a species is, as a scientific idea, is not a black and white definition. The reason why there are so many species concepts is to cover all the different exceptions for different fields of biology.

Basically, what this means is that the BSC is a handy definition to teach because it usually holds true. But, when it comes to closely related species , you can see where it seems to fall apart.

*what a species is* is an entirely man made concept..

To borrow an example (paraphrased) from Richard Dawkins The Greatest Show On Earth (truly one of the two best lay science books on evolution):

Imagine a female rabbit. Now, imagine her mother next to her, her grandmother next to her, etc, generation after generation like troops lined up for inspection. As you walk backwards in rabbit-time, you notice that they begin to look different than your starting rabbit, but the rate of change is so slow that adjacent rabbits (one generation to the next) make this trend impossible to spot. In any one generation, the variation between individuals will be different than the variation between generations. But, as you go back, the rabbit ancestors will stop looking rabbity and start looking more like a shrew (but really not like a shrew we would identify with today). At some point you come to the MRCA (most recent common ancestor)...the point at which the rabbit line branches off from its ancestors to become rabbits. Dawkins calls this a "hairpin turn and, if you make that particular turn and follow it forward again in time from that shrew-like rabbit creature, you actually eventually arrive at the leopard (ignoring of course, other branches you could have taken along the way).

Most of us are familiar with the "evolutionary tree" allegory for evolution, so I'm describing something you are no doubt aware of. And something we could have done with any two organisms... The point is that for any two organisms there has to be that splitting point, the MCRA.

Individuals are links in a chain...and the path "forward" is rather arbitrary. The problem is that Western ideas tend to use Platonic ideal forms. Nature does not. Largely, she laughs at that shit.

Under the BSC, a species would be any branch that can't breed with any other branch....but what if two branches CAN breed, but don't ordinarily do so because of geographic range or seasonality of mating or because they don't look enough alike to recognize each other as mates or even if they do breed, their generation (or the generation after) has problems? What about asexual organisms?

With your question, about when is a human a human, particually taking into account interbreeding in hominid species, it is more helpful to think of a species phylogenetically --as a product of evolution (a phylogeny for lack of an easier definition *is* the evolutionary tree). A phylogenetic species is the end of the branch (including the nodes--the split at the MRCA). If you add the timescale to this (the generation-by generation March to the end of the branch) you have what is called an internodal species.

Neanderthals branched off and had an independent evolutionary lineage from the "last wave" of hominids that produced H.sapiens (when it comes to fossil remains species have yet another way that they are defined by scientists....). This is quite similar to the problem of cats....the African and European wildcats share a very common ancestor (and are more commonly than not regarded by scientists as subspecies, along with the domestic cat and less commonly, the Chinese mountain cat).

The decision with regard to naming a species (and by default, deciding what a species is) is made by committee (for animals this is the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature).

MaskedOne
21 Feb 2016, 14:19
*casts knock on thread*

Bartmanhomer
22 Feb 2016, 13:06
Hey I just thought of something. About by millions years from now, do you think that human beings will evolved into aliens?

Medusa
22 Feb 2016, 14:11
Hey I just thought of something. About by millions years from now, do you think that human beings will evolved into aliens?

Technically yes and technically no. To everything living on any other planet in the universe we are classified as aliens. As a born Earth dweller, we can't be alien to our own planet.

But if we are born on Uranus we would thus be Uranites. :=I:

thalassa
22 Feb 2016, 14:24
Hey I just thought of something. About by millions years from now, do you think that human beings will evolved into aliens?


Do you mean that in a million (or other unspecified time range) years we will look like the stereotype of what we imagine aliens to look like?

Emaciated giant heads with big eyeballs, like these guys (http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/technology-science/science/advanced-aliens-could-conquer-colonise-6545914) (scroll down a bit for pic)?


Because human beings can't evolve into aliens. Alien, by its very definition, is a term that simply means something that is foreign--to another region, culture, country, or (in this case), planet. Its a term of relevance. If we go to Mars, we are technically aliens to Mars. A human can't become an alien by evolution, a human becomes an alien by travel. It we are talking interplanetary aliens, then we need space flight technology, not biological evolution.

If you are asking if we can evolve giant heads and sort of gender neutral androgeny, etc....that is something else. Evolution is just the shift of genes in a population. Sure, we probably could if there was something that selected for those traits (or against them) in our environment OR if something in our environment selected for or against a trait that "carried over" another trait with it--often sets of genes, even seemingly unrelated ones, are connected and when one is changed, so is another.

But then again, maybe not--a head that big would make pregnancy and childbirth more difficult, and would probably require other changes to the body; also carrying a head that big around would likely require differences in body structure.

Bartmanhomer
22 Feb 2016, 14:33
Ok I understand now.

- - - Updated - - -

Oh I'm sorry. I didn't read the whole post. What I mean is that human beings can evolved to intergalactic space aliens.

- - - Updated - - -

Oh I'm sorry. I didn't read the whole post. What I mean is that human beings can evolved to intergalactic space aliens.

Bartmanhomer
22 Feb 2016, 20:18
So I guess that human beings are the final evolution from apes, right?

thalassa
23 Feb 2016, 04:03
So I guess that human beings are the final evolution from apes, right?

Well, no.

We are the most recent organism descended from a common ancestor with other apes, and we are still evolving (as are other species).

1) We are members of the superfamily of organisms called Hominoidea, which includes the family of lesser apes (Hylobatidae) and the family of greater apes (Hominidae). Humans (Homo sapiens), chimpanzees, orangutans, and gorillas are all great apes.
2) We did not evolve from any of these species. We evolved from a common ancestor. If you compare this to a family, you were not born from your brother, you and your brother share a mother; you were not born from your cousin, you and your cousin share a grandparent, etc. Humans and chimpanzees last shared a common ancestor (around 4 million years ago), that common ancestor last shared a common ancestor with modern gorillas around 10 million years ago.
3) There is no "end game" in evolution. The "final evolution" of anything is just whatever is here of any particular species, and over time that too will evolve. Evolution is just the change in genes in a population over time.
4) Evolution is not progressive. Its not leading "up to" something. Evolution, as a process, is unconscious--it is purely a matter of what genes get passed on to the next generation in a population. Which genes get passed on are a matter of random chance and environmental pressure, as well as other selection pressures (like mate preferences).

DragonsFriend
23 Feb 2016, 10:22
If mankind establishes and maintains a community on the moon, Mars or other planet, those people could evolve separately from the humans on Earth but they could never really be aliens.

If life on earth came from outer space we could be aliens... ;)

Bartmanhomer
23 Feb 2016, 12:59
Well, no.

We are the most recent organism descended from a common ancestor with other apes, and we are still evolving (as are other species).

1) We are members of the superfamily of organisms called Hominoidea, which includes the family of lesser apes (Hylobatidae) and the family of greater apes (Hominidae). Humans (Homo sapiens), chimpanzees, orangutans, and gorillas are all great apes.
2) We did not evolve from any of these species. We evolved from a common ancestor. If you compare this to a family, you were not born from your brother, you and your brother share a mother; you were not born from your cousin, you and your cousin share a grandparent, etc. Humans and chimpanzees last shared a common ancestor (around 4 million years ago), that common ancestor last shared a common ancestor with modern gorillas around 10 million years ago.
3) There is no "end game" in evolution. The "final evolution" of anything is just whatever is here of any particular species, and over time that too will evolve. Evolution is just the change in genes in a population over time.
4) Evolution is not progressive. Its not leading "up to" something. Evolution, as a process, is unconscious--it is purely a matter of what genes get passed on to the next generation in a population. Which genes get passed on are a matter of random chance and environmental pressure, as well as other selection pressures (like mate preferences).

Wait I'm confused. We not come from apes but we have common ancestor with other apes? I really don't get it. :confused:

Medusa
23 Feb 2016, 13:10
You wear a pair of pants.
The ape wears a pair of pants.
Inside the genes/jeans are similiar candy. Not the same candy, but similar candy. :p

anunitu
23 Feb 2016, 14:06
Blink,blink!,blink!!...so that's how the whole genes thing works...wow,and now I am informed...depends if you wear Levi's or Wrangler,or even Lee Jeans...and the kind of CANDY(me thinks Duce has candy on her mind)

MaskedOne
23 Feb 2016, 14:55
Wait I'm confused. We not come from apes but we have common ancestor with other apes? I really don't get it. :confused:

Apes are a separate currently existing group of species from humanity descended from not-ape-anscestor (Thal may know the name of the ancestor, I don't). Humans are descended from aforementioned not-ape-ancestor. Some of not-ape-ancestor's descendents became human, some became apes. TL;DR, Apes are cousins, not parents.

Medusa
23 Feb 2016, 15:14
TL;DR, Apes are cousins, not parents.

I dunno. Sometimes those 'cousins' look awfully close to each other. :p

Bartmanhomer
23 Feb 2016, 15:34
Ok. That's make sense.

Hawkfeathers
23 Feb 2016, 15:51
Have any of you watched the X-Files reboot that had it's finale last night? It was about how alien DNA was put in smallpox vaccine years ago to make us all susceptible to viral warfare, etc., so the elite could thin out the population.
Hey, anything's possible.

Medusa
23 Feb 2016, 16:37
Have any of you watched the X-Files reboot that had it's finale last night? It was about how alien DNA was put in smallpox vaccine years ago to make us all susceptible to viral warfare, etc., so the elite could thin out the population.
Hey, anything's possible.

I remember the original episode! We all had ourselves checking that small circle on our arms.
*go on. check. I'll wait here.

*sits and flips through 'I believe' today magazine. :p

ThePaganMafia
23 Feb 2016, 16:50
Thanks for reminding me I completely forgot to watch the last episode. gdi

Anywhere online I can watch it?

Hawkfeathers
23 Feb 2016, 17:49
Thanks for reminding me I completely forgot to watch the last episode. gdi

Anywhere online I can watch it?

http://www.fox.com/watch/627373123941/7756658688

Briton
26 Feb 2016, 02:35
Sorry it took me so long to get back to this, thanks thal! That helped. For some reason, in the back of my mind I knew this. I guess it must have just slipped behind the sofa of my memory bank!

So when we (neanderthalensis and sapiens) split and diverged from our MRCA, at the very beginning we would have been able to interbreed anyway because we were closer to being the same species - only chance and selection dictates whether or not we continue to diverge, or diverge a bit and then more or less stay parallel. Different enough to not be the same, but similar enough to not be unrelatable. Right?

B. de Corbin
26 Feb 2016, 03:23
Human evolution is more a muddy delta than a branching tree (https://aeon.co/opinions/human-evolution-is-more-a-muddy-delta-than-a-branching-tree)

Sean R. R.
26 Feb 2016, 03:44
I am the apogee of human evolution.

thalassa
26 Feb 2016, 03:50
So when we (neanderthalensis and sapiens) split and diverged from our MRCA, at the very beginning we would have been able to interbreed anyway because we were closer to being the same species - only chance and selection dictates whether or not we continue to diverge, or diverge a bit and then more or less stay parallel. Different enough to not be the same, but similar enough to not be unrelatable. Right?

Pretty much. And that similar-but-different can last thousands and thousands of years, unless there is a selection pressure that drives a difference that goes too far. With humans, we are so adaptable (because of cultural evolution and transmission), that our genetic changes have been minimal.


Human evolution is more a muddy delta than a branching tree (https://aeon.co/opinions/human-evolution-is-more-a-muddy-delta-than-a-branching-tree)

TBH, I'd guess that many splits are like this (duh, if I'd just read further in the article before posting, I'd have seen they say that already)...I think we've just sort of studied ourselves more extensively than any other species by comparison. If you look, for example, at domesticated species that still have extant wild species from which they originated, hybridization is pretty common (in Felis sp. especially). We only really see the difference when we are far enough down the line to see the morphological and behavioral changes between populations. Fossil evidence creates its own sampling bias, which might confuse things a bit more.

And we humans are very bad at understanding and accepting complex ideas that require more than a 10 word/20 second slogan for an answer.

DragonsFriend
12 Mar 2016, 16:20
About 30% of Neanderthal genome is still alive and well in the human population today.

thalassa
12 Mar 2016, 20:17
About 30% of Neanderthal genome is still alive and well in the human population today.

The exact amount depends on the study in question, but either way, it only accounts for something like 1.5-2.1 % of human DNA for persons with European or Asian heritage (including persons native to the Americas). As we get better Neanderthal genome sequences and as we sequence more individuals, the amount of Neanderthal genes in modern humans will get more precise.

Medusa
12 Mar 2016, 22:17
About 30% of Neanderthal genome is still alive and well in the human population today.

You can find 100% of that during Spring Break.:xD:

DragonsFriend
13 Mar 2016, 08:30
You can find 100% of that during Spring Break.:xD:

Now THAT is so true! ;)

Briton
13 Mar 2016, 11:32
You can find 100% of that during Spring Break.:xD:

That's unfair, Neanderthals were highly intelligent, with a developed culture and were very creative.

Also I was under the impression we had less than 5% Neanderthal DNA. If someone has recent info I'd like to see it.

thalassa
13 Mar 2016, 16:50
That's unfair, Neanderthals were highly intelligent, with a developed culture and were very creative.

Also I was under the impression we had less than 5% Neanderthal DNA. If someone has recent info I'd like to see it.


Individuals that carry Neanderthal DNA have, generally speaking, about 1.5-2% in their genome---I'll have to look for the article another time, I'm headed to be now... But the thing to remember is that it isn't the same part of the Neanderthal genome that got passed down.
When they get down to comparing the small pieces of Neanderthal DNA that are present in the genomes of modern humans, they find that about 20% of the Neanderthal genome (exact numbers depend on the study and methodology) can be found in our DNA.

Think of it as a sorting game--Half your DNA comes from your mom, and half from your dad. And half your Dad's DNA comes from his mom and dad...BUT that doesn't mean you actually have 1/4 the DNA from your dad's dad or dad's mom. During meiosis (which occurs for the formation of sperm and eggs cells), there is an event called "crossing over", where chromosomes shuffle themselves up. This might be a little bit technical, but this probably explains it better than I can with just words:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TQkG8D7v1SI

Shorter version:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5x_Rp1mwotQ

Essentially though, over time, different parts of your dad's dad (or mom) DNA would end up in your generation unevenly distributed amongst siblings and cousins. If you carry that further even more generations, though stochastic events (random occurances) some of that SNA would be "lost" (death, failure to reproduce, being shuffled out during crossing over, not being "the winner" egg or sperm, etc---this is where genetic diversity within our species truly comes from).

anunitu
13 Mar 2016, 17:29
Show off...I love your high tech mind Thal:cool:

thalassa
18 Mar 2016, 03:39
A recent article: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/22/science/neanderthals-interbred-with-humans-denisovans.html?_r=0

DanieMarie
21 Mar 2016, 13:20
I saw this video today and thought it was neat: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rFxu7NEoKC8

Nayru
22 Jul 2016, 11:08
I'm reading Drawing Down the Moon and came across this quote from Paul Radin: No progress will ever be achieved, however, until scholars rid themselves, once and for all, of the curious notion that everything possesses an evolutionary history."

I was surprised to find such a quote in this book. I guess I assumed that most Pagans were more accepting of the idea of evolution. I, for one, do not see evolution and religion as being mutually exclusive. In fact, it's one of the reasons I was drawn to Paganism in the first place. I believe in science. And I believe in spirituality. And it's extremely important to me that my spiritual path is inclusive of the idea of evolution. I could never be a part of a religion that chooses to ignore hard evidence.

thalassa
22 Jul 2016, 16:49
I'm reading Drawing Down the Moon and came across this quote from Paul Radin: No progress will ever be achieved, however, until scholars rid themselves, once and for all, of the curious notion that everything possesses an evolutionary history."

I was surprised to find such a quote in this book. I guess I assumed that most Pagans were more accepting of the idea of evolution. I, for one, do not see evolution and religion as being mutually exclusive. In fact, it's one of the reasons I was drawn to Paganism in the first place. I believe in science. And I believe in spirituality. And it's extremely important to me that my spiritual path is inclusive of the idea of evolution. I could never be a part of a religion that chooses to ignore hard evidence.

Pagans that don't acknowledge evolution are (sadly, IMO) not as uncommon as one might hope.

Otherwise, I agree wholeheartedly. The evidence for evolution at this point is overwhelming and unarguable to actual scientists (and less scientists than many folks think are unable to reconcile their religion and/or spirituality with science...though they end to have less dogmatic and traditional views), though the finer points of mechanisms of evolution are very much still an area of study.

Azvanna
25 Jul 2016, 10:23
So what are the alternative beliefs about origin for pagans who don't acknowledge evolution?

anunitu
25 Jul 2016, 11:05
I have seen and heard from some the idea that "Humans" were changed by extraterrestrials(the whole Sumerian Annunaki thing) Though not what I would call Pagan,more new age kind of beliefs. The whole "Nibiru,planet X thing". We(humans were altered genetically by said aliens) It makes the rounds in the whole new age belief system.

The idea is we were "Dumb" apes that had our genes altered.

BTW,not my personal belief.

- - - Updated - - -

Little information here. (http://www.altheadlines.com/anunnaki/)

Little grain of salt here,as the ideas are also included in some conspiracy theories,and groups.

thalassa
25 Jul 2016, 14:26
So what are the alternative beliefs about origin for pagans who don't acknowledge evolution?

Usually some variation of creationism but by multiple pantheons and deities or by their own. Or that its just human evolution that worked that way.