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Don't Believe In Evolution? Read This.

post #1 of 522
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New York Times article:


December 10, 2006
Study Detects Recent Instance of Human Evolution

By NICHOLAS WADE
A surprisingly recent instance of human evolution has been detected among the peoples of East Africa. It is the ability to digest milk in adulthood, conferred by genetic changes that occurred as recently as 3,000 years ago, a team of geneticists has found.

The finding is a striking example of a cultural practice the raising of dairy cattle feeding back into the human genome. It also seems to be one of the first instances of convergent human evolution to be documented at the genetic level. Convergent evolution refers to two or more populations acquiring the same trait independently.

Throughout most of human history, the ability to digest lactose, the principal sugar of milk, has been switched off after weaning because there is no further need for the lactase enzyme that breaks the sugar apart. But when cattle were first domesticated 9,000 years ago and people later started to consume their milk as well as their meat, natural selection would have favored anyone with a mutation that kept the lactase gene switched on.

Such a mutation is known to have arisen among an early cattle-raising people, the Funnel Beaker culture, which flourished some 5,000 to 6,000 years ago in north-central Europe. People with a persistently active lactase gene have no problem digesting milk and are said to be lactose tolerant.

Almost all Dutch people and 99 percent of Swedes are lactose-tolerant, but the mutation becomes progressively less common in Europeans who live at increasing distance from the ancient Funnel Beaker region.

Geneticists wondered if the lactose tolerance mutation in Europeans, first identified in 2002, had arisen among pastoral peoples elsewhere. But it seemed to be largely absent from Africa, even though pastoral peoples there generally have some degree of tolerance.

A research team led by Sarah Tishkoff of the University of Maryland has now resolved much of the puzzle. After testing for lactose tolerance and genetic makeup among 43 ethnic groups of East Africa, she and her colleagues have found three new mutations, all independent of each other and of the European mutation, which keep the lactase gene permanently switched on.

The principal mutation, found among Nilo-Saharan-speaking ethnic groups of Kenya and Tanzania, arose 2,700 to 6,800 years ago, according to genetic estimates, Dr. Tishkoffs group is to report in the journal Nature Genetics on Monday. This fits well with archaeological evidence suggesting that pastoral peoples from the north reached northern Kenya about 4,500 years ago and southern Kenya and Tanzania 3,300 years ago.

Two other mutations were found, among the Beja people of northeastern Sudan and tribes of the same language family, Afro-Asiatic, in northern Kenya.

Genetic evidence shows that the mutations conferred an enormous selective advantage on their owners, enabling them to leave almost 10 times as many descendants as people without them. The mutations have created one of the strongest genetic signatures of natural selection yet reported in humans, the researchers write.

The survival advantage was so powerful perhaps because those with the mutations not only gained extra energy from lactose but also, in drought conditions, would have benefited from the water in milk. People who were lactose-intolerant could have risked losing water from diarrhea, Dr. Tishkoff said.

Diane Gifford-Gonzalez, an archaeologist at the University of California, Santa Cruz, said the new findings were very exciting because they showed the speed with which a genetic mutation can be favored under conditions of strong natural selection, demonstrating the possible rate of evolutionary change in humans.

The genetic data fitted in well, she said, with archaeological and linguistic evidence about the spread of pastoralism in Africa. The first clear evidence of cattle in Africa is from a site 8,000 years old in northwestern Sudan. Cattle there were domesticated independently from two other domestications, in the Near East and the Indus valley of India.

Both Nilo-Saharan speakers in Sudan and their Cushitic-speaking neighbors in the Red Sea hills probably domesticated cattle at the same time, since each has an independent vocabulary for cattle items, said Dr. Christopher Ehret, an expert on African languages and history at the University of California, Los Angeles. Descendants of each group moved southward and would have met again in Kenya, Dr. Ehret said.

Dr. Tishkoff detected lactose tolerance among both Cushitic speakers and Nilo-Saharan groups in Kenya. Cushitic is a branch of Afro-Asiatic, the language family that includes Arabic, Hebrew and ancient Egyptian.

Dr. Jonathan Pritchard, a statistical geneticist at the University of Chicago and the co-author of the new article, said that there were many signals of natural selection in the human genome, but that it was usually hard to know what was being selected for. In this case Dr. Tishkoff had clearly defined the driving force, he said.

The mutations Dr. Tishkoff detected are not in the lactase gene itself but a nearby region of the DNA that controls the activation of the gene. The finding that different ethnic groups in East Africa have different mutations is one instance of their varied evolutionary history and their exposure to many different selective pressures, Dr. Tishkoff said.

There is a lot of genetic variation between groups in Africa, reflecting the different environments in which they live, from deserts to tropics, and their exposure to very different selective forces, she said.

People in different regions of the world have evolved independently since dispersing from the ancestral human population in northeast Africa 50,000 years ago, a process that has led to the emergence of different races. But much of this differentiation at the level of DNA may have led to the same physical result.

As Dr. Tishkoff has found in the case of lactose tolerance, evolution may use the different mutations available to it in each population to reach the same goal when each is subjected to the same selective pressure. I think its reasonable to assume this will be a more general paradigm, Dr. Pritchard said.


Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

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post #2 of 522
I don't think there are any folks at AI who don't believe in evolution.

With that said, I appear to be a freak: a lactose intolerant continental european.
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post #3 of 522
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Feel free to re-post on some Intelligent Design boards.

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post #4 of 522
Allow me to provide the standard anti-evolutionist response: Oh, that's just microevolution, not macroevolution. You haven't proven anything about one species turning into another species, especially turning into humans. Show me a lab experiment where an amoeba turns into Ronald Reagan, or you've got NOTHING!
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post #5 of 522
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That's good!

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post #6 of 522
Quote:
Originally Posted by Splinemodel

I don't think there are any folks at AI who don't believe in evolution.

Except virtually all of the religious conservatives.
post #7 of 522
Quote:
Originally Posted by BRussell

Except virtually all of the religious conservatives.

and all the neutral people like me. I have reservations about both evolution and religious beliefs. Both seem plausible and I haven't heard any convincing evidence to fully support either.

One reason why I could believe evolution is when you see human beings developing from cells. This kind of goes against the whole Adam and Eve appeared scenario. Family Guy have a great clip about that:

http://religiousfreaks.com/UserFiles...reationism.wmv

I also like to believe that the universe has some sort of purpose though and spontaneous evolution doesn't satisfy that. Religious theories, however inadequate, still maintain that premise.

Also evolution says that some species developed into a variety of species. Who's to say that each species didn't develop from individual sets of primitive cells? The fact is that scientists talk about these 'facts' as if they are undeniable and they are talking about timeframes of thousands to billions of years ago. If they can't disprove what Jesus did or didn't do a couple of thousand years ago then how can we trust them on much greater timeframes?
post #8 of 522
Oh my god.

Go peruse past evolution threads or read the Talk Origins website.
post #9 of 522
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin

and all the neutral people like me. I have reservations about both evolution and religious beliefs. Both seem plausible and I haven't heard any convincing evidence to fully support either.

One reason why I could believe evolution is when you see human beings developing from cells. This kind of goes against the whole Adam and Eve appeared scenario. Family Guy have a great clip about that:

http://religiousfreaks.com/UserFiles...reationism.wmv

I also like to believe that the universe has some sort of purpose though and spontaneous evolution doesn't satisfy that. Religious theories, however inadequate, still maintain that premise.

Also evolution says that some species developed into a variety of species. Who's to say that each species didn't develop from individual sets of primitive cells? The fact is that scientists talk about these 'facts' as if they are undeniable and they are talking about timeframes of thousands to billions of years ago. If they can't disprove what Jesus did or didn't do a couple of thousand years ago then how can we trust them on much greater timeframes?

Where to begin?...

Quote:
I haven't heard any convincing evidence to fully support either.

Did you pay attention in Biology class? On the macro level the evidence is all around us, clearly in the form of all of the wonderful shapes, sizes and colors of humanity, and the animal species of the Earth. How could anyone dispute that? On the micro level, you have viruses that mutate and evolve all the time.

Quote:
I also like to believe that the universe has some sort of purpose though and spontaneous evolution doesn't satisfy that. Religious theories, however inadequate, still maintain that premise.

Whatever keeps you from sliding off the deep end and shooting up a McDonald's is fine with me. I'm willing to sacrifice a little scientific evidence in favor of societal mental stability.

Quote:
If they can't disprove what Jesus did or didn't do a couple of thousand years ago then how can we trust them on much greater timeframes?

I didn't realize it was ever proven. Religious scholars are much less forgiving of wild popular notions of what really happened and what was actually said and done during Jesus' time. America has a very odd view of Jesus, to say the least... and I'm an American!

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post #10 of 522
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin

and all the neutral people like me.

You're definitely not alone. The majority of Americans think as you do, or go even further and simply reject biological evolution.


Quote:
Both seem plausible and I haven't heard any convincing evidence to fully support either.

Then you have some work to do, because the people who actually have done the work in biological, geological, botanical, etc. etc. sciences sure seem to believe there's plenty of evidence. Why do you, Marvin on the internet, have such a different view?
post #11 of 522
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You can take a horse to water, but you can't make him drink... but if you take a drink, you might end up watering a horse.

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post #12 of 522
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin

and all the neutral people like me. I have reservations about both evolution and religious beliefs. Both seem plausible and I haven't heard any convincing evidence to fully support either.

One reason why I could believe evolution is when you see human beings developing from cells. This kind of goes against the whole Adam and Eve appeared scenario. Family Guy have a great clip about that:

http://religiousfreaks.com/UserFiles...reationism.wmv

I also like to believe that the universe has some sort of purpose though and spontaneous evolution doesn't satisfy that. Religious theories, however inadequate, still maintain that premise.

Also evolution says that some species developed into a variety of species. Who's to say that each species didn't develop from individual sets of primitive cells? The fact is that scientists talk about these 'facts' as if they are undeniable and they are talking about timeframes of thousands to billions of years ago. If they can't disprove what Jesus did or didn't do a couple of thousand years ago then how can we trust them on much greater timeframes?

1. Evolution is the central theme binds all of biology, and without it you've got squat.

2. Evolution (unless your ignorant or brainwashed) does not in any way preclude one from participating or believing in the christian religion. They are IN NO WAY mutually exclusive, and I can't tell you how sick I am of people on both sides of the issue portraying it that way.
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post #13 of 522
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You could, theoretically believe that God caused a nutrient-rich comet to slam into the Earth during it's formative period, thus causing humanlings to evolve from "mud" over a period of millions of years! It works!

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post #14 of 522
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flounder

1. Evolution is the central theme binds all of biology, and without it you've got squat.

2. Evolution (unless your ignorant or brainwashed) does not in any way preclude one from participating or believing in the christian religion. They are IN NO WAY mutually exclusive, and I can't tell you how sick I am of people on both sides of the issue portraying it that way.

Those are two profoundly ignorant, bigoted, statements.

Evolution is of no working use to science, it's just another ideological position. And yes, several billion 'brainwashed' people of many faiths would disagree with your assertion of being able, in good conscience, to cotton on to evolution.

It would be better if you only posted on subjects that you grasp.

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post #15 of 522
Quote:
Originally Posted by dmz

It would be better if you only posted on subjects that you grasp.

Heh. Likewise.
post #16 of 522
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShawnJ

Heh. Likewise.

And that goes for you, too, sweetcheeks.

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and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

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post #17 of 522
Quote:
Originally Posted by BRussell

Except virtually all of the religious conservatives.

I'm religious, and in some ways conservative, and I would even consider myself to be an evolutionist. I think the only religious "conservatives" who don't believe that genetic evolution exists are fundies, who are very loud, but ultimately aren't as many in number as they'd like you to believe.
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post #18 of 522
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich

That's good!

That's the way the creationist/ID game is played. Accept only the barest minimum about that which can be stuck directly under your nose in the here-and-now, treat that as a special, limited case (so-called microevolution), then pretend that by adamantly setting a totally unrealistic bar for evidence be met to "prove" evolution (a bar which will be raised if there's any sign you might actually reach the first bar) that you're the one being oh-so-scientific, unlike those evolutionist guys who haven't "proven" anything yet.

There is, of course, plenty of evidence in favor of evolution. It's easy enough to hand-wave all of that away, however, in the same manner that a person who refuses to believe that George Washington was the first American President might easily dismiss all historical documentation to the contrary as either part of a conspiracy, or the re-telling of bad history by innocent dupes of that conspiracy.

What you do is insist someone show you evolution happened and happens. And no, showing that bacteria can quickly evolve a new resistance to an antibiotics, or this evidence about the development of lactose tolerance, isn't good enough. No, you must insist on seeing one species branch off into another species right before your very eyes, being able to monitor the process from beginning to end. And no, showing you fossils doesn't count. You're too scientific to buy into that. People were once fooled by Piltdown man, and someone once carbon dated a hamburger to be two million years old, so all fossil evidence is worthless, you see.

That could take thousands of years, tens of thousands even? Oh, well. Tell 'em to get back to you when they're done, and in the mean time, you're right and they're wrong.

If someone does manage to show you a species turn into another species, you can still then insist that this isn't proof that evolution has happened before now to any other species. Insist that the only thing the example proves is the example itself, and that reading any greater implications from the good example is just wishful thinking and wild guesswork.

By these same "scientific" standards you could never use standard forensic evidence in a court room. The only way (by this conveniently ridiculous take on the scientific method) to scientifically prove Alice killed Bob is to somehow make Alice kill Bob again. Otherwise you're just blowing smoke because your results aren't "reproducible".

Only events we witness in the here and now are subject to scientific scrutiny. Anything in the past, be it human historical events, human prehistory, planetary geology, cosmological history -- those are all "obviously" the purview of faith and faith alone, because unless you can make those things happen all over again and again in a controlled and repeatable experiments, exactly as you say they were supposed to have happened before, you don't have any "science" at all.
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post #19 of 522
Quote:
Originally Posted by dmz

Those are two profoundly ignorant, bigoted, statements.

Evolution is of no working use to science, it's just another ideological position. And yes, several billion 'brainwashed' people of many faiths would disagree with your assertion of being able, in good conscience, to cotton on to evolution.

That's absolutely false, and I'll give you a personal example: My brother-in-law is a botanist specializing in classification. He does genetic testing of plants to evaluate and revise the standard plant classifications. Well, absolutely everything he does is based on the principles of evolution. Everything is based on which ones are earlier and later versions, when they separated, the environment in which they arose, etc. Everything fits together and makes sense with evolution, and nothing would make sense without it. The only possible alternative explanation is that an evil intelligent genius designer created the world to look exactly like evolution had occurred, and is up there laughing his ass off.

And this will really get the religious right up in arms: There are even bisexual plants! They're probably just experimenting though.
post #20 of 522
I don't believe in evolution. Or dairy.
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post #21 of 522
Quote:
Originally Posted by BRussell

That's absolutely false, and I'll give you a personal example: My brother-in-law is a botanist specializing in classification. He does genetic testing of plants to evaluate and revise the standard plant classifications. Well, absolutely everything he does is based on the principles of evolution. Everything is based on which ones are earlier and later versions, when they separated, the environment in which they arose, etc. Everything fits together and makes sense with evolution, and nothing would make sense without it. The only possible alternative explanation is that an evil intelligent genius designer created the world to look exactly like evolution had occurred, and is up there laughing his ass off.

And this will really get the religious right up in arms: There are even bisexual plants! They're probably just experimenting though.

That's not evolution, Brussel, that's using what's there already. That article at the top is just more of this sort of thing (other than more science by press release). I can guarantee you that your brother-in-law doesn't come into the office everyday and wait around for more information to show up -- out of the blue [goo?] -- in his plants.

Just the opposite: he's intelligently designing them.

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post #22 of 522
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I just knew this article would be inflammatory enough to goad both sides into a verbal ground war... bwahahahaha!

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post #23 of 522
For those who are at all curious about what evolution is and how it works, I recommend the Evolution 101 podcast. Very informative, very easy to understand, and very free.

dmz:

Quote:
Evolution is of no working use to science

Epidemiologists would be interested to know what exactly you mean by that.

Quote:
That's not evolution, Brussel, that's using what's there already.

Again, what are these statements supposed to mean? Are you attempting some kind of information theory or entropy argument?

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post #24 of 522
and we all knew, even at age 8 that E=mc^2
post #25 of 522
Quote:
Originally Posted by dmz

Those are two profoundly ignorant, bigoted, statements.

Evolution is of no working use to science, it's just another ideological position. And yes, several billion 'brainwashed' people of many faiths would disagree with your assertion of being able, in good conscience, to cotton on to evolution.

It would be better if you only posted on subjects that you grasp.

I stand by my statements.

Arguments pitting evolution against religion are essentially arguments about nothing. They're really awfully unrelated topics.
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post #26 of 522
Quote:
Originally Posted by dmz

That's not evolution, Brussel, that's using what's there already. That article at the top is just more of this sort of thing (other than more science by press release). I can guarantee you that your brother-in-law doesn't come into the office everyday and wait around for more information to show up -- out of the blue [goo?] -- in his plants.

Just the opposite: he's intelligently designing them.

And that post demonstrates you're utter lack of a grasp on evolution.
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post #27 of 522
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flounder

I stand by my statements.

Arguments pitting evolution against religion are essentially arguments about nothing. They're really awfully unrelated topics.

Then, unfortunately, you're a bigot. Adjectives like 'brainwashed' have no place in this dicussion.

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and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

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post #28 of 522
Quote:
Originally Posted by dmz

That's not evolution, Brussel, that's using what's there already.

What? You said evolution is of no working use to scientists, it's just an ideology with no function. That couldn't be further from the truth, and I gave you an example of how it's of "working use."
post #29 of 522
Quote:
Originally Posted by BRussell

What? You said evolution is of no working use to scientists, it's just an ideology with no function. That couldn't be further from the truth, and I gave you an example of how it's of "working use."

nooooooooo, you showed me an example of someone manipulating the known features of plants; not someone waiting for 'random' events to to add information to the plants' genomes.

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and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

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post #30 of 522
DMZ: Have you heard of dinosaurs?

What about viruses, which are continually evolving? Or bacteria, that have evolved to become resistant to antibiotics? Or the hundreds of observed instances of speciation, the evolution one one species into another?
post #31 of 522
Quote:
Originally Posted by dmz

nooooooooo, you showed me an example of someone manipulating the known features of plants; not someone waiting for 'random' events to to add information to the plants' genomes.

dmz: you show me an example of God.
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post #32 of 522
Quote:
Originally Posted by gregmightdothat

DMZ: Have you heard of dinosaurs?

What about viruses, which are continually evolving? Or bacteria, that have evolved to become resistant to antibiotics? Or the hundreds of observed instances of speciation, the evolution one one species into another?

You need to be more specific in your terms. Information passed around in viruses, or bacteria that is reusing genetic information -- or simply killing off all the bacteria that don't have antibiotic resistance, is not evolution. That is only the natural variation that will happen in any event. The DNA had to be loaded with that information in order for that same information to get loose into the population.

In the end, you end up copping to the belief that chaos corresponds to high degrees of complexity, that chaos is the mother of all of us. (Not an original philosophy, in any case.)

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and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

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post #33 of 522
Quote:
Originally Posted by Splinemodel

dmz: you show me an example of God.

well, I'll ask, but.......

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and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

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post #34 of 522
Quote:
Originally Posted by dmz

You need to be more specific in your terms. Information passed around in viruses, or bacteria that is reusing genetic information -- or simply killing off all the bacteria that don't have antibiotic resistance, is not evolution. That is only the natural variation that will happen in any event. The DNA had to be loaded with that information in order for that same information to get loose into the population.

In the end, you end up copping to the belief that chaos corresponds to high degrees of complexity, that chaos is the mother of all of us. (Not an original philosophy, in any case.)

Oh, ok. So you're just a little confused about what evolution is.

But you are denying genetic mutations...
post #35 of 522
Quote:
Originally Posted by gregmightdothat

Oh, ok. So you're just a little confused about what evolution is.

But you are denying genetic mutations...

I think it helps if you actually read the posts.

And if you have read the post, and believe that anyone, anywhere, has seen information increase from purely random mutations, then you're misinformed. (You can trade information, tear up what's there, etc.)

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and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

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post #36 of 522
dmz: Are you advocating intelligent design, or only refuting evolution?
post #37 of 522
Quote:
Originally Posted by kdraper

dmz: Are you advocating intelligent design, or only refuting evolution?

I'd be happy if people simply knew what evolution was and what it wasn't.

Statements like "viruses are evolving all the time" isn't accurate at all and it reflects how evolution is taught not as science but as a roughly outlined belief system. There is a lot of confusion as to what is simply adaptation within a species and what is descent from a common ancestor caused from start to finish by nothing more than random mutations.

That's a huge difference. (although we may need to subsitute 'evolution' with Darwinism, here)

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and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

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post #38 of 522
Quote:
Originally Posted by dmz

Statements like "viruses are evolving all the time" isn't accurate at all and it reflects how evolution is taught not as science but as a roughly outlined belief system.

Are you suggesting that viruses do not mutate? Viruses create many more genetic variants when they reproduce than human genes. They change quite a lot. If one of those variants has a useful mutation (say, communicability with humans) it will spread. It's not precisely the same as human reproduction since viruses don't reproduce of their own accord, but the selective behavior is similar.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dmz

There is a lot of confusion as to what is simply adaptation within a species and what is descent from a common ancestor caused from start to finish by nothing more than random mutations.

There's a lot of confusion about evolution in general, mainly because people pick sides and argue without knowing what evolution is and is not.
post #39 of 522
Quote:
Originally Posted by dmz

nooooooooo, you showed me an example of someone manipulating the known features of plants; not someone waiting for 'random' events to to add information to the plants' genomes.

What are you talking about? Let's track here. You made a very specific allegation: "Evolution is of no working use to science, it's just another ideological position." I provided one minor example that your statement is false: People doing actual work in science make working use of evolution every day. It's not just some abstract idea that communist monkey-loving atheists in their white lab coats talk about to piss off the pleebs.

For you it's just an abstract concept. Not for people working in any field of the earth or life sciences. How that morphed into demonstrating evolution in a test tube, I don't know. Well actually I do know: You made an absurd claim and so then tried to change the subject.
post #40 of 522
dmz-- how many times do we have to go through this with you? in each evolution thread, you say the same exact things and after getting thoroughly discredited you simply bide your time for the next thread. my personal favorite is your "analysis" of the judge jones decision on intelligent design.

Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox

I think a certain someone will do what he usually does. Come back with a quote or a reference to a movie and then disappear.
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