Darwinian selection continues to influence human evolution

Apr 30, 2012

New evidence proves humans are continuing to evolve and that significant natural and sexual selection is still taking place in our species in the modern world.

Despite advancements in medicine and technology, as well as an increased prevalence of , research reveals humans are continuing to evolve just like other species.

Scientists in an international collaboration, which includes the University of Sheffield, analysed church records of about 6,000 Finnish people born between 1760-1849 to determine whether the demographic, cultural and technological changes of the affected natural and in our species.

Project leader Dr Virpi Lummaa, of the University's Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, said: "We have shown advances have not challenged the fact that our species is still evolving, just like all the other species 'in the wild'. It is a common misunderstanding that evolution took place a long time ago, and that to understand ourselves we must look back to the hunter-gatherer days of humans."

Dr Lummaa added: "We have shown significant selection has been taking place in very recent populations, and likely still occurs, so humans continue to be affected by both natural and sexual selection. Although the specific pressures, the factors making some individuals able to survive better, or have better success at finding partners and produce more kids, have changed across time and differ in different populations."

As for most animal species, the authors found that men and women are not equal concerning Darwinian selection.

Principal investigator Dr Alexandre Courtiol, of the Wissenschftskolleg zu Berlin, added: "Characteristics increasing the mating success of men are likely to evolve faster than those increasing the mating success of women. This is because mating with more partners was shown to increase more in men than in women. Surprisingly, however, selection affected wealthy and poor people in the society to the same extent."

The experts needed detailed information on large numbers of study subjects to be able to study selection over the entire life cycle of individuals: survival to adulthood, mate access, mating success, and fertility per mate.

Genealogy is very popular in Finland and the country has some of the best available data for such research thanks to detailed church records of births, deaths, marriages and wealth status which were kept for tax purposes. Movement in the country was also very limited until the 20th century.

"Studying evolution requires large sample sizes with individual-based data covering the entire lifespan of each born person," said Dr Lummaa. "We need unbiased datasets that report the life events for everyone born. Because natural and sexual selection acts differently on different classes of individuals and across the life cycle, we needed to study selection with respect to these characteristics in order to understand how our species evolves."

Explore further: Walking fish reveal how our ancestors evolved onto land

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Squirrel
1.6 / 5 (16) Apr 30, 2012
Most people would read this as concerning evolution of what makes people human--but it--if it concerns a real effect (which I doubt)--only does so for genes frequencies of physiological traits that can vary without effecting the humanness of people as a species. Different colored skin, immune proteins, height for example can change over generations due to Darwinian selection (they have done on a geographical level in the past) without this having implying any change to humans as a species.
foofighter
2.2 / 5 (9) Apr 30, 2012
And therefore the Kingship of Christ is preserved - nice logic squirrel brain
Tewk
4.3 / 5 (6) Apr 30, 2012
And therefore the Kingship of Christ is preserved - nice logic squirrel brain

A strange, nearly pathologically bigoted comment.
malapropism
3 / 5 (2) Apr 30, 2012
@Squirrel
Why do you say this? The logic or otherwise of your comment doesn't seem to me to be supported by what's reported in the article. There seems to be no reason to suppose that some selection pressure that works on (taking your examples) skin colour could not also apply in a wider context.
Again taking your example, there is a fairly rare condition that causes an immune reaction within the vagina against a man's semen (causing effective infertility); it's not too much of a leap to imagine that if some selective agent caused this condition to become common in some population of women and the corresponding local population of men adapted to it with say a chemical change in their seminal fluid then human speciation could potentially occur. (That local population of women & men would become non-interbreeding with the rest of the world population.)
ormondotvos
1 / 5 (2) May 01, 2012
Too bad the Internet has no room for a decent description of what they meant as variation leading to trait selection.

Is the work in English?
kochevnik
3.2 / 5 (13) May 01, 2012
And therefore the Kingship of Christ is preserved - nice logic squirrel brain
Why does everyone keep talking about wax figures? If I make a wax penis, it is a christ too. If people will worship anything I make out of wax then I can quit my day job!

In regards to the article, there is a distinct evolutionary pressure in modern life that favors stupid.
deisik
not rated yet May 01, 2012
"In regards to the article, there is a distinct evolutionary pressure in modern life that favors stupid"

It cuts both ways
Sinister1811
1.4 / 5 (9) May 01, 2012
You hear about road accidents on a daily basis. I'm guessing Natural Selection is weeding out bad drivers. That could be one example.
88HUX88
5 / 5 (4) May 01, 2012
no, bad drivers are weeding out good drivers, motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians.
Sinister1811
1.3 / 5 (8) May 01, 2012
no, bad drivers are weeding out good drivers, motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians.

Good point!
okyesno
1.2 / 5 (21) May 01, 2012
It is well documented that Darwin was a racist. He believed that the white race would eventually dominate the planet. He considered blacks and asians to be less evolved. How wrong could he be! These kinds of false predictions completely invalidate his theory. And then there is the absence of any evidence for macroevolution. What we see over and over again is variation within a species due to built in flexibility.
megmaltese
1.8 / 5 (10) May 01, 2012
Sure selection is still happening. The problem is: on what parameters is it happening.
And don't get fooled: each time a person with a congenital malformation/illness reproduces it brings bad genes further.
julianpenrod
1.4 / 5 (9) May 01, 2012
Note the insistence on refusing to mention just what tratis were "found" to be "selected for" and "selected against". If you don't have to say what happened, you can say anything happened. Much genetic change information supposedly is hidden in cells, it can be in the form of dormant or recessive genes. These are things that don't necessarily show up in records of births, deaths and marriages. Adult height, weight, demonstrated strength, resistance to weather extremes are more informative in that sense, but don't seem to be among the records "examined". And consider, one effect of intelligences was described to be less of a reliance on evolution to handle conditions. For example, tools, communication and society are supposed to refduce any need for someone to evolve. And, in the end, the primary facet of evolution is speciation, not isolating of species traits due to conditions. Without speciation, the fossil record is a collection of animals that just appeared somehow.
Infinite Fractal Consciousness
5 / 5 (1) May 01, 2012
megmaltese :
Sure selection is still happening. The problem is: on what parameters is it happening.
And don't get fooled: each time a person with a congenital malformation/illness reproduces it brings bad genes further.


Until someday when those gene variations are found to provide resistance to the impending wave of llama-pox.
baudrunner
1 / 5 (5) May 01, 2012
I don't know why anyone would think that evolution stopped when we started wearing clothes.

One way to quantify evolution is to study the body's mass to volume ratio as that ratio changes over history. As we increase in proportions, our mass decreases. That's a fact. Good luck trying to prove it now though.
antialias_physorg
3.7 / 5 (3) May 01, 2012
Again taking your example, there is a fairly rare condition that causes an immune reaction within the vagina against a man's semen (causing effective infertility);

Infertility is unlikely to be a genetic variant that spreads to a large part of a species.

Much as (in another context): Celibacy is not hereditary
julianpenrod
1.3 / 5 (13) May 01, 2012
Note, among other things, the utterly illegitimate scope of the "research". "6000 people born between 1760 - 1849" the article says! There were provably many, many more born in that interval, even among the Finnish! If you want to "prove" something, limiting the "study" to only those things you want to say is very convenient! Too, evolution is described as the adopting of traits that make an individual personally fit for their environment. When the things they surround themselves with take the place of personal need to survive, evolution does stop. And, again, the primary engine of evolution is mutation, introducing new qualities that weren't there before, leading up to speciation. Without that, it is no different from a single species just accidentally expressing a single gene that was always there! The appearance of new species, then, cannot be said not to have occurred from a Deific source.
CHollman82
2.7 / 5 (12) May 01, 2012
Natural selection affects everything not in Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium, and Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium is thought to be an impossibility... so selection affects everything, always.
julianpenrod
1.4 / 5 (11) May 01, 2012
"Natural selection" affects what is "selected" by "nature", and that process involves removing the individual and their genome by death due to an inability to handle their environment. Tools, communication, society are among the things that humans use to handle their environment without having to be personally fit to it.
And, it has to be said. Those who did not realize that 6000 people over an eighty nine year span was too small a sample to make conclusions from, since, in terms of adaptation and evolution, every single member of a large group and their descendants must be looked at, cannot be relied upon autmatically in any statement they make defending that "study".
CHollman82
2.5 / 5 (11) May 01, 2012
There were provably many, many more born in that interval. If you want to "prove" something, limiting the "study" to only those things you want to say is very convenient!


Hi, I see you don't understand statistics... simple random sample, three sigma, are these terms unfamiliar to you?

evolution is described as the adopting of traits that make an individual personally fit for their environment.


No, evolution is the change in the frequency of expression of an allele...

When the things they surround themselves with take the place of personal need to survive, evolution does stop.


No, evolution does not stop.

the primary engine of evolution is mutation, introducing new qualities that weren't there before, leading up to speciation.


Mutation can lead to speciation, yes, but I wouldn't call it the primary engine of evolution... are you ignoring inheritance? genetic recombination? These are equally important.
CHollman82
2.2 / 5 (10) May 01, 2012
"Natural selection" affects what is "selected" by "nature", and that process involves removing the individual and their genome by death due to an inability to handle their environment. Tools, communication, society are among the things that humans use to handle their environment without having to be personally fit to it.


Predation and other forms of premature death (ill suited to the environment for example) are mechanisms of selection, and while it may be argued that these components no longer greatly affect humans we are still highly subject to sexual selection, which you seem to be ignoring.

An organism can live a full life and die at a normal age and still have been selected against. Reproduction and the fitness of your offspring is what is important, not your age at death.
Rohitasch
not rated yet May 01, 2012
Too bad the Internet has no room for a decent description of what they meant as variation leading to trait selection.

Out of varied traits, some traits are preferred by prospective mates. People with these preferred traits are more likely to find mates than others.
julianpenrod
1 / 5 (10) May 01, 2012
It can be fascinating to watch ham-handed apologia, the retooling of "first principles" to fit a biased conclusion.
Among the simplest examples, consider CHolliman82 saying that "your age at death" is not important in "evolution". At the very least, if someone dies before they reach sexual maturity, that does affect their place in "evolution". And, the longer one lives, the greater the likelihood of reproducing. And note CHolliman82's attempt to invalidate everything I said by insisting I didn't include sexual selection in the things involved in "evolution". As if society, with everything from what many accept as surrogates for attractiveness, like criminal conniving corporatewealth' to cosmetic surgery' to finding personal quality more important than looks don't act to undermine so many cases of sexual selection.
Deathclock
2.2 / 5 (10) May 01, 2012
consider CHolliman82 saying that "your age at death" is not important in "evolution".


Hey retard, he said this:

Predation and other forms of premature death (ill suited to the environment for example) are mechanisms of selection


Either your intellectually dishonest, illiterate, or stupid. You tell me.
julianpenrod
1 / 5 (11) May 01, 2012
And CHolliman82 doesn't mind proving they don't know sufficient about statistics to make reasoned statements in this matter. First, statistics don't prove everything. "Evolution" is a process, which means that you can't just take a few individuals, you have to examine their descendants and those who intermarry. And, still 6000 does not prove anything since you can always find 6000 individuals who fit a particular definition of "evolution". And, what is more, "evolution" is described as essentially a measured and gradual process. Any change that would express itself over less than one tenth of one percent of an entire population would be so aggressive, it would produce massive changes.
julianpenrod
1 / 5 (9) May 01, 2012
And trotting out the term "three sigma" only further demonsrates an unfamiliarity with statistics. Because those who understand statistics refer to standard deviation. Those who use "sigma" just want to give a show of sophistication because those who understand statistics know that sample standard deviations are called s, not sigma. And "three sigma" means nothing. The implication of "three sigma" is that the majority of points fall within such and such a range, but that proves nothing since, if points fall outside that range, then the "law" is not a universal! And if there is an appeal to the consideration of drawing a conclusion from a limited sample size, you are invoking Student's t distribution and that utilizes a sample standard deviation, s.
Deathclock
2.2 / 5 (10) May 01, 2012
First, statistics don't prove everything.


Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the wisdom of julianpenrod!

"Evolution" is a process, which means that you can't just take a few individuals, you have to examine their descendants and those who intermarry.


You didn't understand the article, read it again.

And, still 6000 does not prove anything since you can always find 6000 individuals who fit a particular definition of "evolution".


Oh, now you are questioning the researchers integrity, accusing them of fabricating the data?

What is wrong with you?
CHollman82
2.5 / 5 (11) May 01, 2012
Hey retard, he said this:


Thank you.

julienpenrod is a Dunning-Kruger poster child, always has been since I started posting here like 5 years ago.
julianpenrod
1 / 5 (11) May 01, 2012
Notice Deathclock's compulsive need to be vicious, rather than insightful or explanatory or even honest. CHolliman82 admitted that these do not play such a role with the development of, among other things, tools, communication and society. And add the illiterate use of "your" rather than "you're" to demonstrate Deathclock's legitimacy.
julianpenrod
1 / 5 (8) May 01, 2012
And no matter how CHolliman82 wants to describe it, an essential element at least of Darwinian "evolution" is the developing of traits in a population that weren't there before. Otherwise, you'd have to say that every creature had every single genetic make-up of every single species already within them and different ones emerged at different times. Evolution is not the changing of a particular species genetic expression. That may be part of the natural selection process, but it does not produce speciation. It's mutation that causes speciation, presumably. Even many who question "evolution" overall don't question that existing genomic expressions can become more prevalent in a species in isolation. But those would have to be genomes that were there previously. A species that has a different prevalent genetic expression but is still the same species has not "evolved". "evolutiion" means definitive change that, in general, does not retrace its steps.
julianpenrod
1 / 5 (11) May 01, 2012
Statistically, you can "prove" that water causes the common cold. Eveyrone who has caught the common cold has drunk water. The connection is statistically 100%. You need more than just an agreement of numbers to make a "conclusion".
Deathclock
1.9 / 5 (9) May 02, 2012
An essential element at least of Darwinian "evolution" is the developing of traits in a population that weren't there before. Otherwise, you'd have to say that every creature had every single genetic make-up of every single species already within them and different ones emerged at different times. Evolution is not the changing of a particular species genetic expression. That may be part of the natural selection process, but it does not produce speciation. It's mutation that causes speciation, presumably. Even many who question "evolution" overall don't question that existing genomic expressions can become more prevalent in a species in isolation. But those would have to be genomes that were there previously. A species that has a different prevalent genetic expression but is still the same species has not "evolved". "evolutiion" means definitive change that, in general, does not retrace its steps.


No one has suggested or argued any of this... what did you say about straw men?
Deathclock
2.2 / 5 (10) May 02, 2012
Also:

Evolution is not the changing of a particular species genetic expression.


As stated, biological evolution is defined as a change in allele frequency within a population... so you're wrong.

Here is how Wikipedia words it:
"Evolution is any change across successive generations in the heritable characteristics of biological populations"

Which again means you are wrong. You don't know what evolution means, stop speaking so arrogantly about it, you are an amateur at best.
julianpenrod
1.4 / 5 (11) May 02, 2012
In their haste to pretend my statements are not legitimate, Deathclock demonstartes their lack of understanding of what they discuss. I said "evolution" involves mutations in genetic material creating altered or new genes or both. Essentially, speciation. Promoting CHollman82's "definition" of "evolution" encompassing simple changes in existing genetic material distribution in a population, Deathclock professorily quotes Wikipedia as saying "evolution" as incorporating change in heritable characteristics of biological populations. But, if there is only the expressing of different combinations pre-existing genes, it is not a change in heritable characteristics! There can only be a change in heritable characteristics if there is new genetic material that wasn't there before! And most cases lead to speciation. Simple re-arrangements of frequencies of pre-existing genes is not a change, since they existed before.
deisik
5 / 5 (3) May 02, 2012
Statistically, you can "prove" that water causes the common cold. Eveyrone who has caught the common cold has drunk water. The connection is statistically 100%. You need more than just an agreement of numbers to make a "conclusion".


You confuse correlation with causation
okyesno
1 / 5 (13) May 02, 2012
Evilutionists always make the same claim. Evolution is change over time they say. Yes, well everything changes over time. But change over time does not explain how species emerged. You can only change what already exists. For new things to come about you need creation, not change.
Anorion
4.1 / 5 (9) May 02, 2012
Creationists always make the same claim. That everything was created by an magical being who live in a magical parallel dimension and used his magic to magically create everything in 6 magical days for some unknown magical reason. Bu there is a problem with that... magic doesn't exist, except in lord of the rings, bible,... and other fairy tales and heroic fantasy novels and such...
okyesno
1 / 5 (14) May 02, 2012
Creationists do not make that claim at all. This kind of tu quoque fallacy does not magically make Darwinism anymore true.
CHollman82
2.8 / 5 (12) May 02, 2012
julianpenrod does not understand evolution at all.

Biological evolution is the change in the frequency of expression of an allele within a population across successive generations. Mutation can cause evolution, but inheritance with recombination is also evolution.

Evolution and speciation are not synonyms. Julianpenrod, when asserting that mutation is required for evolution, is confusing evolution with speciation.

Evolution is simple, inheritance causes genetic material to be passed on from parent to child. Recombination provides subtle variation in that material so that each child is not a clone of one of their parents. Mutation provides drastic (and usually detrimental) changes as a source of major variance, and natural selection determines which variations of a genotype are favored.

Evolution requires INHERITANCE, VARIATION, and SELECTION...variation can take the form of genetic recombination OR mutation OR both... mutation doesn't have to occur for evolution to have occurred.
CHollman82
3 / 5 (12) May 02, 2012
I said "evolution" involves mutations in genetic material creating altered or new genes or both. Essentially, speciation.


"Essentially, speciation"

So you have no idea what speciation is either... no surprise, I'll teach you (again).

Speciation occurs when a population is split in two. A population is a group of organisms that interbreed. Through interbreeding they share a common gene pool and evolve together, changing in roughly the same way through time. When a population splits in two (for whatever reason) they no longer interbreed so they no longer share a common gene pool, this means that the two groups will begin changing independently, as any evolutionary change that occurs in one will not be shared with the other. Over time, the two groups can change to the point that they are physiologically incapable of ever interbreeding again, and at that point they are defined as two different species.
Deathclock
2.2 / 5 (10) May 02, 2012
Right, mutation does not necessarily lead to speciation, as julianpenrod incorrectly implied. Mutation does not necessarily lead to evolution either, in fact it usually does not, because most mutations are harmful, as would be expected given their random nature.

One thing I am unsure of is whether mutation is required for speciation to occur, or can speciation occur through divergent evolution due to recombination and selection forces without mutation?
okyesno
1 / 5 (14) May 02, 2012
"Evolution requires INHERITANCE, VARIATION, and SELECTION."

Proof? Prove it, provide some proof that these phenomena lead to the origin of species. He who avers must prove.

Deathclock
2.9 / 5 (15) May 02, 2012
Are you serious okyesno? It's been proven a hundred times over, we witness it in the lab and in nature, we use it to create products and technologies.

Inheritance and variation are readily apparent, if you have children they look kind of but not exactly like you... that is not a coincidence. It is not a coincidence that Asian people have children that look Asian and Europeans have children that look European, there is a reason for this and it is called inheritance. There is a reason your child is not identical to you as well, it's called recombination.

Genetic mutations are also well known and studied, I don't have to prove this, it happens all the time.

Natural selection has been observed a thousand times, evolution has been observed a thousand times.

You are ignorant.
okyesno
1 / 5 (13) May 02, 2012
No deathclock, that was not my challenge. Redefining evolution as genetic change is not good enough.

Darwinism makes the historical claim that every species, whether fish, bird or mammal and even man is the product of a natural process called evolution millions of years ago. One could say that evolution "created" all life (apart from the initial "jump from nothing").

There is however zero evidence for this claim about our distant past to have ever really happened. All we see is change occurring in existing animals and plants and using existing genetic material. You yourself stated that we have never seen the creation of anything. That assertion can be extended to evolution. Darwinian evolution of any of the species from amoeba to humans has never been observed.
Deathclock
2.8 / 5 (13) May 02, 2012
There is however zero evidence for this claim about our distant past to have ever really happened.


There is a mountain of physical evidence for this, you will not understand it because you are uneducated. I am not going to try to teach you the basics here, but much of the evidence (whether you understand it or not) can be found here:

http://www.talkorigins.org/
CHollman82
3.2 / 5 (13) May 02, 2012
No deathclock, that was not my challenge. Redefining evolution as genetic change is not good enough.


That's not a redefinition, that's what it IS and has always been. You're understanding of evolution was (and still is) WRONG... it's not that anyone is redefining anything, it's that you are WRONG.

Darwinian evolution of any of the species from amoeba to humans has never been observed.


Nor will it be, it happened before humans existed, so what?
okyesno
1 / 5 (14) May 02, 2012
"There is a mountain of physical evidence for this"

There is a lot of physical evidence for genetic change within existing species, but not for Darwin's theory about the origin of species:

1. Fossils of dead animals. Unfortunately fossils can only prove that these animals once lived, not who their ancestors or successors were.

2. Some form of genetic variation in an existing species. The variation sometimes would be classified by scientists as a new sub-species within an existing family tree. Unfortunately this can never explain where the original animal or plant came from.

To this day no solid proof exists for Darwin's historical speculation about the origin of the species supposedly being created by evolution millions of years ago. Evolution may be true, but it mostly relies on faith.
Infinite Fractal Consciousness
5 / 5 (8) May 02, 2012
okyesno: seriously, it's clear you don't know what you're talking about. Try learning some more about evolution, but this time look to learn from credible sources, instead of just the backwards, anti-intellectual sources you seem so fond of. It's no wonder you're so confused.
CHollman82
3.2 / 5 (13) May 02, 2012
okyesno, why do Baleen whales have hind leg bones but no hind legs? Did your god get drunk one night and decide to put an entire system of useless bones, joints, ligaments, and muscles in the form of a hind leg into a fucking whale?

Well done god, perfect design.
okyesno
1 / 5 (13) May 02, 2012
"okyesno: seriously, it's clear you don't know what you're talking about. Try learning some more about evolution"

Infinite, I have heard these types of ad hominem / appeal to authority fallacies over and over again. If you do not agree, provide proof for evolution, but attacking the messenger is so 20th century.
okyesno
1 / 5 (14) May 02, 2012
CHollman,

I think the drunk one here is you. When you are able to put forward a cogent argument in a reasonably polite manner, I would be more than happy to answer you. Be blessed.
CHollman82
3.1 / 5 (15) May 02, 2012
Coward, retreating because you have absolutely no explanation for why WHALES would have hind legs INSIDE THEIR BODIES... Why would your god do that? He wouldn't, because he doesn't exist, or if he does he certainly did not "design" the ridiculously flawed life on this planet.

Instead of accepting reality you retreat back into your own fantasy, you are pathetic.
Anorion
4.4 / 5 (7) May 02, 2012
why all those god fanatics come post on all the science sites, even tough they undesirable and no one likes them, and no one care about their imaginary god and idiotic religions, oky just go away.
Infinite Fractal Consciousness
4.3 / 5 (6) May 02, 2012
okyesno, you acknowledge there were species in the past that are now extinct. I assume you would acknowledge living species that clearly did not exist in the past. Out of curiosity, I must ask, where/when do YOU think they came from? Does your god occasionally create a new species and sprinkle them around the planet? Seriously, how does it work in your opinion?
I keep picturing a news broadcast in your world: "Today, in Washington, Congressional hearings were disrupted when thousands of canary-like birds manifested out of thin air. Ornithologists are describing them as a new species that God must have just made."
okyesno
1.3 / 5 (16) May 02, 2012
Infinite,

I believe the Bible is more or less accurate when it states that the main species were created by God at some point in the past. Some form of evolution may well have happened since then, and is responsible for the variety we have now. So I think nature is more like an orchyard with many trees than one single tree, for which no real branches can be inferred. As to the age of the universe or the earth I am agnostic, and am willing to accept either long or short ages. Since Einstein we know that time is relative anyway.

As for the fossils, they are simply species that once lived and are now extinct. Every year hundreds of species go extinct, and very few if any form new. So this is not an implausible idea.
Infinite Fractal Consciousness
4.1 / 5 (9) May 02, 2012
okyesno,
Do you dispute that the fossil record shows a growing absence of modern species the further back in time we look? Do you dispute that as we look back, we cease finding any evidence of large mammals, for example, while still seeing plenty of fish, reptiles, etc.? And as we look further back, the birds and reptiles completely vanish, but we can still find fish? And before the fish, we find single-celled life... etc. We have a timeline to work with, and a clear changes were taking place over a very long time. Do you dispute this fundamental aspect of the fossil record?

Also, CHollman's example of whale's hind leg bones is an excellent piece of evidence that even laymen can appreciate. Please, I'm curious about your theory on why whales have these. Do you dispute that marine mammals descended from land mammals?
okyesno
1.2 / 5 (17) May 02, 2012
"Do you dispute that the fossil record shows a growing absence of modern species the further back in time we look?"

I think that statement is problematic, because it implicitly assumes evolution is true. These kinds of questions are called "loaded questions". It is like asking someone: Did you stop beating your wife? Both yes and no imply the person is essentially a wife beater.

The whole geological column idea might actually be wrong, for which there is evidence. If the earth layers are indeed sediments from a giant catastrophic event, they do not represent millions of years, but rapid deposits of different types of materials. That would be consistent with finding different types of fossils in them.

If however we assume that these layers do represent millions of years, it still is inconsistent with Darwin. The virtual absence of any gradual development between the main groups remains a strong advocate against his historical speculation. A good example is the Cambrian explosion.
malapropism
5 / 5 (5) May 02, 2012
"Do you dispute that the fossil record shows a growing absence of modern species the further back in time we look?"


I think that statement is problematic, because it implicitly assumes evolution is true.

I think you need to explain why you believe IFC's question implicitly assumes evolution to be true: it appears to me to propose that, in a geologic-time-wise view of the species discovered in the fossil record, we observe that there is a decreasing number of mammals, then avians, then reptiles, then fish to be found. This is a true statement. IFC goes on to ask you if you dispute this.

In itself that statement does not imply evolution however it begs for a rational reason as to why we observe this sequence. A number of reasons (hypotheses) can be put forward (and to some extent, tested) but the one that best explains the observation is that evolution (and speciation and extinction) occurs.
Deathclock
2.4 / 5 (14) May 02, 2012
"Do you dispute that the fossil record shows a growing absence of modern species the further back in time we look?"

I think that statement is problematic, because it implicitly assumes evolution is true.


No it doesn't. Try again...
malapropism
4.4 / 5 (7) May 02, 2012
The whole geological column idea might actually be wrong, for which there is evidence. If the earth layers are indeed sediments from a giant catastrophic event, they do not represent millions of years, but rapid deposits of different types of materials. That would be consistent with finding different types of fossils in them.

You would need to provide some pretty strong evidence to support your proposition that the "geological column idea might ... be wrong" in any convincing way.

Your evidence will need to show a mechanism for non-assortment (that is, mixing-up) of, for example (but not limited to), differing magnetic orientations of particles in rocks at different layers (arising from magnetic pole reversals over time), indicating that the orientations were laid down in your suggested single catastrophic event rather than over geological time. You also need to show how radiological decay (all types) can be falsified so that geological layering is not correlated with time.
okyesno
1.3 / 5 (14) May 03, 2012
I do not need to falsify radiological decay at all. The assumption that nuclear decay is unambiguously connected to the age of a rock is a hypothesis that is impossible to prove conclusively. Like I said it relies on a host of assumptions. Furthermore, the geological column as it appears in textbooks does not appear anywhere in nature. It exists at best partially, and many layers are found in the "wrong" order as older layers are on top of younger ones. But then one can bring in some rescue vehicles consisting of extra ad hoc assumptions. The column is still a scientific house of cards ever since it was developed in the 19th century.
Deathclock
2.3 / 5 (15) May 04, 2012
I do not need to falsify radiological decay at all.


You don't know enough about it to understand it unless you're a nuclear physicist so I don't know why you would even try.

The assumption that nuclear decay is unambiguously connected to the age of a rock is a hypothesis that is impossible to prove conclusively.


Radioisotopes decay with regular frequency, this is the observation. If you want to believe what we HAVEN'T observed rather than what we have that's your problem.

Furthermore, the geological column as it appears in textbooks does not appear anywhere in nature.


Yes it does you fucking liar I have seen it with my own eyes... idiot.

It exists at best partially, and many layers are found in the "wrong" order as older layers are on top of younger ones.


yes, that is called stratigraphic inversion, and it is WELL understood (not by you).
okyesno
1.3 / 5 (16) May 04, 2012
"stratigraphic inversion"

Indeed, if there is a problem with the theory then there is always the option of inventing a new fancy term or ad hoc assumption to explain away akward facts. But the more assumptions, the weaker the hypothesis.
Anorion
4.3 / 5 (7) May 05, 2012
Science adjusts it's views based on what's observed, faith is the denial of observation so that belief can be preserved.
MandoZink
4.3 / 5 (6) May 05, 2012
yes, that is called stratigraphic inversion, and it is WELL understood (not by you)

The proper term may actually be "reverse stratigraphy" or maybe "inverted stratigraphy". They are very real.

A similar geological column inversion is caused by "folding". I have seen this many times in Utah. The upturned and overturned rock layer patterns are often magnificent to behold, obvious and easy to visualize.
elephants_are_soft_and_squishy
4.6 / 5 (10) May 05, 2012
okyesno, at the risk of being rude, you are out of your league here. why don't you take some time to read up on basic biology, instead of promoting ignorance and half-baked religious nonsense.
Irukanji
1 / 5 (6) May 06, 2012
Medicine is the end of natural selection in humans. Only when we get over this "compassion" bullshit and start euthanasing people born with physical and mental deformities will we ever advance as a race. They are a waste of money, a burden on society. We'd do better freeing up the hospital beds for people who have had an accident and only need a quick patch up to keep going.

If you start forcing the deformities out of our genes, then eventually it will no longer exist. If you immunise everybody against smallpox, eventually it becomes extinct(save for 2 specimens, in research labs).

Natural selection was outdone by self-righteous people and medicine.
elephants_are_soft_and_squishy
5 / 5 (4) May 06, 2012
You know who else wanted us to advance as a race?
Sinister1811
3 / 5 (8) May 06, 2012
Natural selection was outdone by self-righteous people and medicine.


You're right. We shouldn't be trying to help anyone who's sick, injured, or in need of medical assistance. The next time that happens to you, be sure to let the hospital know, and I'm sure they'd be willing to drop the "compassion bullshit" and let you die in the name of natural selection. By the way, immunization against smallpox. What do you think that is? That's part of the field of "medicine" (which you seem to be so against).
Sinister1811
2 / 5 (8) May 06, 2012
Sorry for being so rude. But I hope you do realize that the field of medicine is pretty important. It doesn't have to mean the end of natural selection, so to speak. And what are Humans, as a species, without "compassion"? I don't know about you, but I wouldn't want to be part of such a race. Or, would anyone? I also don't agree with euthanizing people against their will, unless they are willing to be euthanized. Another thing, there are other factors (such as environmental) for people developing deformities. It's not just genetic.
kochevnik
3.5 / 5 (13) May 06, 2012
@okyesno But the more assumptions, the weaker the hypothesis.
LOL "more assumptions???" You just destroyed your entire argument for religion, assumption man.
malapropism
5 / 5 (6) May 06, 2012
... Only when we get over this "compassion" bullshit and start euthanasing people born with physical and mental deformities will we ever advance as a race. They are a waste of money, a burden on society. We'd do better freeing up the hospital beds for people who have had an accident and only need a quick patch up to keep going.
...
Natural selection was outdone by self-righteous people and medicine.

Way to go writing about self-righteousness after that introductory paragraph.
rwinners
3.4 / 5 (10) May 07, 2012
Had a good laugh at the title of this article. Evolution cannot fail to continue. It is part of the nature of the universe.
Human beings have, by their actions and in-actions, altered somewhat the course of evolution, but only slightly.
In the end, mother wins out.
okyesno
1 / 5 (14) May 07, 2012
"A similar geological column inversion is caused by "folding". I have seen this many times in Utah."

In fact you haven't seen it. The "folding" has never been observed especially since it supposed to take thousands or even millions of years. The only thing we do see is rapid formation of rock layers during sedimentation (flooding) or eruptions (lava). A good example would me St Helens, where in a matter of days rock formations were formed that look exactly like the ones we now attach millions of years to, with layers and folding.
Dug
1 / 5 (4) May 07, 2012
It's probably undeniable that evolution continues in humans at some minor levels, but major optimizations have been replaced by major devolutions in eyesight, hearing, immune function, etc. and the speed of our former optimizations are demonstrably dramatically slower (if they exist at all) than they have ever been. Without careful genetic engineering of needed genetic repairs and optimizations, we will continue to decline because of increased genetic errors until a population collapse starts the resumption of an admittedly brutish natural selection processes once again.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (6) May 07, 2012
by major devolutions in eyesight, hearing, immune function, etc.

There is no such thing as 'devolution'. Sometimes a feature is no longer selected for. Whales have lost their hind legs. Is that devolution? No. They adapted to a different environment.

We keep adapting to ours: The pressures are just not what they used to be (e.g. selecting for the most robust immune system isn't currently necessary. Neither is for being superlatively strong or having stellar eyesight). Now we might deplore that (why?) - but it isn't 'devolution'.

speed of our former optimizations are demonstrably dramatically slower

Source? Just because optimization slows down in one trait (as it always must at some point) doesn't mean we're not changing in another at an increased rate.
Deathclock
3 / 5 (14) May 07, 2012
In fact you haven't seen it. The "folding" has never been observed especially since it supposed to take thousands or even millions of years.


It was clear to anyone with a brain that he meant he saw the effect, not the action...

The only thing we do see is rapid formation of rock layers during sedimentation (flooding) or eruptions (lava). A good example would me St Helens, where in a matter of days rock formations were formed that look exactly like the ones we now attach millions of years to, with layers and folding.


You have no idea how little you know about how much actual geologists know. Trust me, geologists can identify layering put down by volcanism and radiometric dating shows that those layers were deposited rapidly over a short period of time. Likewise geologists can tell exactly when sedimentary layers were put down by flooding and the timescales involved in that too. In no way does any of this validate your genesis global flood myth, only your ignorance.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.4 / 5 (10) May 07, 2012
okyesno: seriously, it's clear you don't know what you're talking about. Try learning some more about evolution
He doesnt want to. He would have to get new friends.
but not for Darwin's theory about the origin of species
Sure there is. You have been presented with it. You refuse to consider it. This is at a minimum malfeasance which you are thus guilty as charged.
CHollman82
2.6 / 5 (10) May 07, 2012
"stratigraphic inversion"
Indeed, if there is a problem with the theory then there is always the option of inventing a new fancy term or ad hoc assumption to explain away akward facts. But the more assumptions, the weaker the hypothesis.


This doesn't make sense, this idea of inversion was not made up after the fact to try to maintain the theory in spite of the evidence... your just too goddamn ignorant of geology to have any clue what you are talking about.

It's a shame too, because the more people tell you that you're crazy the crazier and more paranoid you will become as you attempt to hold on to the story that's been indoctrinated into your brain since childhood... there is no hope for you, you've been mentally programmed to resist all efforts to cure you.

I can see a day when religious fundamentalism will be classified as a mental disorder, and treated with medication.
okyesno
1 / 5 (9) May 07, 2012
Hollman,

The inversion hypothesis was indeed invented to cover this geological anomaly. The problem is that it does not work. Brittle limestone rocks do not bend perfectly like this after being formed.

By the way, that day has already passed. In the atheistic system of the Sovjet Union religion was banned from society and faith was considered an illness. This led to persecution of religion under Lenin and Stalin. I guess atheists still crave that kind of oppressive system.
okyesno
1 / 5 (9) May 07, 2012
"Sure there is"

What would you consider the very best evidence that man came from an amoeba through ape like creatures millions of years ago? What is the ultimate pinnacle of irrefutable truth for Darwinian evolution of the species according to you? In your words please, no links or websites, just try to think on your own.
Anorion
5 / 5 (4) May 07, 2012
"Sure there is"

What would you consider the very best evidence that man came from an amoeba through ape like creatures millions of years ago? What is the ultimate pinnacle of irrefutable truth for Darwinian evolution of the species according to you? In your words please, no links or websites, just try to think on your own.

creationists
they still more close to apes than homo sapiens
CHollman82
2.5 / 5 (11) May 07, 2012
The inversion hypothesis was indeed invented to cover this geological anomaly. The problem is that it does not work. Brittle limestone rocks do not bend perfectly like this after being formed.


okyesno, let me tell you a bit about myself:

I have a masters in computer science during which I minored in evolutionary biology. I have also taken 20 credit hours (5 full-term courses) in the field of Geology, including graduate courses. I have spent hundreds of hours in the lab and in the field studying stratigraphy and depositional environments.

You're assertions are not and will not convince me against the evidence I have examined with my own eyes, especially considering your educational background in related fields is highly suspect (I don't believe it exists...)
CHollman82
3 / 5 (12) May 07, 2012
"Sure there is"

What would you consider the very best evidence that man came from an amoeba through ape like creatures millions of years ago? What is the ultimate pinnacle of irrefutable truth for Darwinian evolution of the species according to you? In your words please, no links or websites, just try to think on your own.


The telomere-telomere fusion of 2 ancestral chromosomes (which are still evident in the modern great apes) that formed human chromosome number 2 is extremely strong evidence of a common ancestor between modern humans and modern great apes, if you're asking for only one...

...but I've already told you about this, you keep asking the same questions and getting the same answers. What exactly are you looking for? I can tell you that you won't fully understand the evidence without the prerequisite education. Get educated in evolutionary biology and genetics (I mean formally educated, enroll in a university program) or STFU honestly.
malapropism
3 / 5 (3) May 07, 2012
I can see a day when religious fundamentalism will be classified as a mental disorder, and treated with medication.

Though if we are to take up the suggestions put forward by Irukanji, all religious fundamentalists would then be euthanised... Come to think of it, maybe we ought to support him/her! Affirmative evolution in action, lol.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.8 / 5 (9) May 07, 2012
What would you consider the very best evidence that man came from an amoeba through ape like creatures millions of years ago?
This is like asking what is your favorite word in a particular book. Read the book dweeb. I've read yours. I know it much better than you do. That makes me smile :) or laugh out loud :))
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (8) May 07, 2012
There is no such thing as 'devolution'.
This depends. It depends on where you might draw the line between evolution and domestication. Inbred animals may tend to exhibit heritable defects such as weak hindquarters in the German shepherd. This may be selected out in the wild but the shepherd has evolved to a different set of constraints.

Are modern humans evolved or domesticated? They responded to a million years of near-constant tribal warfare by growing overlarge brains capable of prodigious planning, communicating, remembering, and imagining. These brains are especially prone to defect and malfunction of the sort which can produce delusions of god visions and other imaginary friends. Is this degeneration? Endemic dysfunction?

This too would probably be selected out in the wild. Consider the ape who would pray for protection against the lion, or the goose for providence as it crosses the road.
okyesno
1 / 5 (10) May 07, 2012
Hollman,

Chromosome fusion alone does not generate a new species. Chrom. fusion can occur in humans without causing harm. To say that apes and humans must have a common ancestor because a human chrom. is similar to a fusion of an "ancestral version" of two ape chrom is begging the question. It already assumes evolution is true.

Given the distinct differences between ape genes and human genes, it is far more likely that originally humans had the two chrom folding into one due to some mutation. Humans with unfused chromosome 2 are still human, because DNA makes human not folding.

There is genetic evidence against a common ancestor. It is related to the Y chromosome. The USP9Y gene in humans is necessary for fertility. In apes it is lost. But a common ancestor would have had this gene with a similar function. So why did the ape ancestor lose it, and how did the replacing gene develop in the common ancestor? There are many examples like this that contradict common ancestry.
malapropism
5 / 5 (3) May 07, 2012
There is genetic evidence against a common ancestor. It is related to the Y chromosome. The USP9Y gene in humans is necessary for fertility. In apes it is lost. But a common ancestor would have had this gene with a similar function. So why did the ape ancestor lose it, and how did the replacing gene develop in the common ancestor? There are many examples like this that contradict common ancestry.

The USP9Y gene is not lost in some great apes (chimpazees, bonobos); rather it is present but inactive. Your suggestion that the ape ancestor lost the gene but that humans redeveloped it, is therefore wrong. It is simply active in us.

In addition, there is a recent report (N Engl J Med 2009; 360:881-885) of a man (and his brother and father) with complete deletion of this gene who has normal spermatogenesis capacity and is fully fertile. The authors conclude that the deletion of this gene from the Y chromosome region AZFa implies that the gene is not necessary for fertility.
okyesno
1 / 5 (7) May 07, 2012
The whole chrom 2 argument is a dud. Heres why:
(P1) We observe a possible fusion event in human chrom 2 from originals 2a and 2b
(P2)The ape has chrom much similar to 2a and 2b
(C1)There must be an unfused common ancestor with original 2a and 2b

However, (C1) Does not logically flow from (P1) and (P2). The reason is simple: we do not know when the fusion occurred and in what species. The argument would only support the following:

(P1)We observe a possible fusion event in human chrom 2 from originals 2a and 2b
(P3)The ape has chrom much similar to 2a and 2b
(C2) Humans in the past had original chrom 2a and 2b

Even the weak version of (C1):
(C3) There could be an unfused common ancestor with original 2a and 2b

is implausible because why would such a mutation that carries risk of disease develop in the entire human/ape precursor population and then only end up in humans? It is far more logical that a very small number of humans developed it w.o. common ancestry.
okyesno
1 / 5 (9) May 07, 2012
"The USP9Y gene is not lost in some great apes"

The article is not conclusive. More research is required to verify the role of the gene. There is ample evidence that the gene indeed plays a key role in male infertility.

The point is that recent research shows that human and chimp Y chrom are too different to be plausibly explained by common ancestry. Up to 30% difference in MSY area.

Hughes, JF, et al., Chimpanzee and human Y chromosomes are remarkably divergent in structure and gene content. Nature 463:536-539, 2010.
malapropism
5 / 5 (3) May 08, 2012
The article is not conclusive.

Actually, I'd argue that the article is conclusive. The men were fertile; they did not have this gene. What is not conclusive is the full role the gene plays in fertility.
More research is required to verify the role of the gene.

That statement I would agree with.
There is ample evidence that the gene indeed plays a key role in male infertility.

This may be the case, however, "a key role" is not the same as your prior statement that, "The USP9Y gene in humans is necessary for fertility", which seems fairly incontrovertibly wrong in the example of the fertile men in whom it is deleted.
malapropism
5 / 5 (3) May 08, 2012
The point is that recent research shows that human and chimp Y chrom are too different to be plausibly explained by common ancestry. Up to 30% difference in MSY area.

Given that the human Y chromosome has undergone - and is still undergoing - some of the most rapid (evolutionarily recent) change observed in the human genome, the extent of the difference doesn't seem at all implausible.
Deathclock
1.9 / 5 (9) May 08, 2012
(C1) Does not logically flow from (P1) and (P2). The reason is simple: we do not know when the fusion occurred and in what species.


Irrelevant, two chromosomes exist in chimpanzees, these EXACT chromosomes exist as one fused chromosome in humans, the similarity is unmistakable.

Here is what happened:

Common ancestor of both humans and apes lived happily in a population until one day the population was split (for any number of reasons). One of the new populations would end up receiving the mutation that caused the fusion of the two chromosomes which provided an overall advantage and was thus selected for. Since the other population was no longer part of the same gene pool this advantageous mutation was not shared with them and they continued developing without it, leading to the various modern day great apes.

Is implausible because why would such a mutation that carries risk of disease develop


It also provided a phenotypic advantage and was thus selected fo
Deathclock
2.2 / 5 (10) May 08, 2012
Chromosome fusion alone does not generate a new species.


He didn't say it did... what are you talking about? Divergent evolution after a population split leads to speciation.

To say that apes and humans must have a common ancestor because a human chrom. is similar to a fusion of an "ancestral version" of two ape chrom is begging the question.


No, it's presenting evidence.

It already assumes evolution is true.


No, it provides evidence that evolution is true. Deny until you're blue in the face, the smartest people on the planet believe in evolution and common descent because they understand it. Most creationists who deny it are uneducated charlatans.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (2) May 08, 2012
What would you consider the very best evidence that man came from an amoeba through ape like creatures millions of years ago?

Handedness of amino acids.

If you create amino acids like alanine in the lab (which you can do) you get the left- and right-handed variants in equal amounts (L- and D-alanine). They are chemically indistinguishable (same number of atoms, same energy content, react the same way, etc.)
But in nature you find ONLY the left handed alanine in proteins.

If organism had developed independently of each other (or were created by a designer) then there would be absolutely no reason for this (we should see a mix of L- and D-alanine in proteins).

But once life started it happened to get started with the one and not with the other - and from then on there was no way back. This is true of all life forms we have ever discovered on this planet.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (2) May 08, 2012
Take sugarwater and shine a polarized light through it. The plane of polarization will tilt to the right.
If we make sugar artificially (which we can) then the plane is not rotated.

If we dump (any) bacteria that eat sugar into the artificially created sugarwater, let them eat for a while, and then filter out the bacteria the polarized light tilts to the left.

Reason: bacteria can only eat the one kind of sugar (the 'natural kind' with the correct handedness. When we create sugar artificially we get both handednesses: left and right..and after the bacteria eat only the 'non-natural' type is left). This goes for all living things. None can use the 'wrong handed sugar'. we're all related.

BTW this 'non-natural' or 'wrong-handed' sugar is what we call 'artificial sweeteners' (used in lite products). Our taste receptors register them as sweet, but our biology can't use them (hence no calories).
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (2) May 08, 2012
But in nature you find ONLY the left handed alanine in proteins.

Qualifier: occasionally there is a D-alanine in a cell wall - but not in proteins.

Take sugarwater and shine a polarized light through it. The plane of polarization will tilt to the right.

Historical note: This is why glucose is also known as DEXTRose. ('dextra' being latin for 'right')
Artificial sweeteners are often referred to as 'invert' sugars (you will sometimes see something like 'invert sugar sirup' on pakaging) because, even though they are chemically identical, they rotate light the other way.