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 Post subject: The Evolution Puzzle
PostPosted: May 22nd, '13, 10:02 
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I posted the following over in Cool Non-AP stuff and Joel presented a challenge, so here is a thread to talk about some of the peculiarities of Evolution.

Disclaimer: I come from a Science background - for 4 decades I have read avidly of SciAM, Nature and other journals and Science mags. Although I have recently come to question the workings of some areas of Science I still follow the principles of Science and think it is the best method we have yet found for discovering and describing the world in which we live.

My disagreements come more from the way some people practice Science and the political influences that dictate what results can be published.

Here is the post that drew Joel's question...
Journeyman wrote:
Seeing those monkey orchids is, to me, a restimulation of thoughts I have had a number of times over the years - how the hell does 'Evolution' do that? Note I am not trying to start a Creationist/Evolutionist debagte here, I am just puzzled as to how such things happen. Another example is the owl butterfly in South America which has an eye on the wings.

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Looked at sideways you can see the reptilian head shape as well as the eye in the right place, clearly set up to scare off the birds that like to eat the butterfly. The lizard (I think it is a lizard not a snake) it most resembles likes to eat the birds.

There is a disconnect between the end result and the final product that leaves me very puzzled as to how such things can happen.

Here's another with an identity crisis - looked at from one side it clearly looks bird-like, maybe a parrot of some kind, but the other wing is clearly reptilian.

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 Post subject: Re: The Evolution Puzzle
PostPosted: May 22nd, '13, 10:07 
I'm not sure what the "disconnect" is that you find....

The pictures are a perfect example of evolution.... over time the butterfly has developed pattern colourations...

That deter the species that are most likely to prey upon it.... birds and reptiles...

The success of the adaption.... ensures it's survival... thus passing on the genetic variation... until it's mainstream.....


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 Post subject: Re: The Evolution Puzzle
PostPosted: May 22nd, '13, 10:20 
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Note: This thread is not meant to start the age old argument between believers of Evolution and those who believe Creationism. There are issues with either view but the biggest one, which neither side seems to be able to comprehend, is they talk about totally different things.

Creation is an event, a way to describe the beginning of all things. Evolution is a process. 'Nuff said...

OK, so let's get into the subject...

Evolution has a number of problems, ranging from the whole DNA issue through to the process itself. Included we have issues such as the aftermath of ELE's (Extinction-Level Events) as well as the sweeping assumptions made about the environment within which the various creatures lived.

Apropos the butterfly above, here is the issue...

Evolution says any advantage will cause the holder of that advantage to become the norm for that species, genus or type. We can see that with the Owl Butterfly - there are no Owl Butterflys which do not have the eye and wing shape.

The Owl Butterfly has various guises, all of which are specific to their area and the predator which likes to eat them - e.c. the first one above here, the bird that eats them gets eaten by a reptile, so that particular version is clearly a reptilian shape and eye. The markings of the 2nd one above are more generalised - there would seem to be more than one predator for the bird that likes to eat those butterflys.

So, let's think about just how such markings come about. Evolution decrees a gradual process whereby those with the beginnings of the markings have a greater ability to survive. But in this instance that cannot be true. Unless we are going to propose that the eye magically appeared, fully delineated and precisely an imitation of the eye of a species NOT actively involved in the lifecycle of the butterfly, there must have been a gradual development.

The problem with that is, these butterflys are large and do not fly far - a few metres each time. They rely on camouflage for protection, which is why the rest of the wing is similar to the bark of the trees they live in. Now, let's take a camouflaged butterfly and put a black blotch on the wing. Bye-bye camo... bye-bye butterfly.

ANY change to the camo of the original butterfly will spoil the camo and make the butterfly easier to spot. We can deduce this from the fact there are no non-eyed owl butterflys around. The way Evolution is supposed to work, the change must have had an advantage or it doesn't pass along. And there are no black blotches, mal-formed eyes, non-realistic eye types around.

So the mystery is, how could such an eye pattern have formed? Near as I can see, ANY change would make the butterfly an easier prey, UNTIL they eye is perfect, at which time the birds often get scared off.

I'd be interested in hypotheses as to how it might have come about...


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 Post subject: Re: The Evolution Puzzle
PostPosted: May 22nd, '13, 10:41 
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I marvel at the colour the simple cabbage moth caterpillar matches almost to the exact shade of the cabbage, brochilli, spinach, lettuce....it eats.

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 Post subject: Re: The Evolution Puzzle
PostPosted: May 22nd, '13, 10:47 
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Dr Bee, I can more easily understand that - any colour change that gets closer to the background should help hide the creature from any predator - providing of course the predator sees in colour. :D But imagine if the caterpillar starts to form an eye on its back - any chage to the uniform colour would reveal it to the predator, making it easy pickings.

The eye on the butterfly is an all-or-nothing proposition. Until it is perfect it makes the butterfly MORE vulnerable, not less.


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 Post subject: Re: The Evolution Puzzle
PostPosted: May 22nd, '13, 11:08 
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Here's another puzzle...

DNA is a double helix (a shape interestingly 'discovered' by Crick when he was off his face on LSD :?) where the 2 'chains' are linked by relationships between the bases of which they are made. A links only with T and G links only with C.

Genes are made up of patterns of those bases, which means the complementary pattern MUST be on the other 'chain' or the helix unravels. e.g. a gene that is AATGCTGCATC links only to a section that is TTACGACGTAG,

So, here is the problem - Evolution is supposed to be a steady alteration of the sequence of bases, called a mutation. Something I have never seen explained in 40+ years is just how this works. Any change to (say) a T base will break the link to the corresponding A base unless there is a simultaneous change on the other 'chain' from A to a T - that seems a VERY specific set of changes and the odds of both occurring simultaneously seems astronomical when we are talking random changes.

Still with me...?

At most all I can see as likely is any 'mutation' will cause a break in a specific gene where the 'lattice' between the 2 'chains' will then show a hole. This opens up reproduction issues as the process used to form eggs and sperm relies on that lattice to be complete, as far as I know. Any break would (again AFAIK) cause the RNA to be rejected. i.e. during meiosis, the 'repair process' will falter when it hits a break.

I agree it is possible that the recombination/meiosis process is clever enough to look at the other side of the break and repair the faulty bit, but it seems to me that this would only restore the ORIGINAL base that was there.

So, my puzzle is, how can random changes to the DNA pattern create a mutation that can be passed along?

So... let's see if anyone is interested in the discussion, because I have more... *grins*


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 Post subject: Re: The Evolution Puzzle
PostPosted: May 22nd, '13, 11:45 
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Journeyman wrote:

Evolution says any advantage will cause the holder of that advantage to become the norm for that species, genus or type. We can see that with the Owl Butterfly - there are no Owl Butterflys which do not have the eye and wing shape.

The Owl Butterfly has various guises, all of which are specific to their area and the predator which likes to eat them - e.c. the first one above here, the bird that eats them gets eaten by a reptile, so that particular version is clearly a reptilian shape and eye. The markings of the 2nd one above are more generalised - there would seem to be more than one predator for the bird that likes to eat those butterflys.



I dont think evolution states that they must all have the exact same traits, just that most will and the slower they breed, the more traits they will share. those with the advantages then survive to breed, there are plenty born with "disadvantages" in evolution, they simply dont survive as well.


I also think to say there are no owl butterflies without the "eye" is not exactly correct either, only because there could be other butterflies that are genetically very similar, that split off a few generations before that trait was established, it is then only naming convention that stops that family being an "owl butterfly" too.
What i am saying is, just because humans name someting as something and lump it together with others that they think are the same, does not mean that they are actually the same, the plant kingdom is a great example of this, how many plants have moved genus in the last 10 years? i would hate to have to try and count.....


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 Post subject: Re: The Evolution Puzzle
PostPosted: May 22nd, '13, 11:48 
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Journeyman wrote:
Dr Bee, I can more easily understand that - any colour change that gets closer to the background should help hide the creature from any predator - providing of course the predator sees in colour. :D But imagine if the caterpillar starts to form an eye on its back - any chage to the uniform colour would reveal it to the predator, making it easy pickings.

The eye on the butterfly is an all-or-nothing proposition. Until it is perfect it makes the butterfly MORE vulnerable, not less.



it actually doesnt matter if the animal sees in colour or not, if 2 colour are placed ontop of each other, it now becomes irrelevant whether you see them as red, blue or black and white, it is 2 indentical colors ontop of each other.....


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 Post subject: Re: The Evolution Puzzle
PostPosted: May 22nd, '13, 11:58 
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The range of topics on an AP forum can be pretty varied!

It's interesting that you mention the "eye" on a moths wing. The human or mammal eye has many similar problems when it comes to evolution. There must be hundreds of components to both the eye and the way we process it in our brain and convert the light into something we know as vision. But you could break it down to 3 basic components for simplicity sake: 1. the actual eye 2. the part of the brain that we use, and 3 the way the two things are joined i.e. the optic nerve.
Again assuming that evolution takes a series of gradual changes or steps, and there is some sort of "survival of the fittest" component. If we assume that these 3 components didn't suddenly appear, what is the benefit of having half an eye? How could you have one complete component but not the other 2?
Given that there are hundreds of components associated with vision, all of these must have developed BOTH independently of each other AND at the same time otherwise there would not have been any benefit to the species.
Charles Darwin admitted that the very thought of the evolution of the eye had him stumped (I will try to find the actual quote).

In theory a discussion of a pattern on a moths wing should be much simpler given that we are not talking about the brain, the optic nerve, the retina, rods and cones, blood supply, lenses etc. but right now I can't think of how it may have evolved. Perhaps it didn't?

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 Post subject: Re: The Evolution Puzzle
PostPosted: May 22nd, '13, 12:27 
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Yavimaya wrote:
I dont think evolution states that they must all have the exact same traits, just that most will and the slower they breed, the more traits they will share. those with the advantages then survive to breed, there are plenty born with "disadvantages" in evolution, they simply dont survive as well.


I also think to say there are no owl butterflies without the "eye" is not exactly correct either, only because there could be other butterflies that are genetically very similar, that split off a few generations before that trait was established, it is then only naming convention that stops that family being an "owl butterfly" too.
What i am saying is, just because humans name someting as something and lump it together with others that they think are the same, does not mean that they are actually the same, the plant kingdom is a great example of this, how many plants have moved genus in the last 10 years? i would hate to have to try and count.....

Not sure about the 1st para - I don't think I said that. But you're correct in that Evolution doesn't demand all members of a group have exactly the same traits... and yet all the Owl Butterflys DO have the same wing patterns. This suggests, under orthodox Evolution, that it made a compelling survival trait. My problem is I can't think of a way it could have evolved. Anything less than perfect actually compromises the basic camo - plus there is the whole issue about how does any animal evolve traits to mimic something out there in the environment that aren't even related to survival of the animal? (the lizard attacks the birds, not the butterfly)

The possibility of ongoing random changes constantly compromising the integrity of the camo until 'VOILA!' a perfect eye defence appears is just a little to much a stretch of my credulity.

The possibility of closely related species that just don't have the eye seems irrelevant to me - happy if you can show me how it matters - because we are talking here about one specific breed, not near relatives that might have other adaptations to help them survive.

The eye is all-or-nothing, or worse, all-or-deadly and so it seems a puzzle I have been unable to resolve.
Yavimaya wrote:
it actually doesnt matter if the animal sees in colour or not, if 2 colour are placed ontop of each other, it now becomes irrelevant whether you see them as red, blue or black and white, it is 2 indentical colors ontop of each other.....

Not sure what you are saying here. Colour does matter in most cases - in fact there are occasions where colour provides a defence unless the predator DOESN'T see colour as in a shades-of-grey scenario, the texture or material differences show up vividly.

i.e. a green caterpillar on a same colour green leaf may be hidden, but look at the shades of grey in the picture and the caterpillar might as well be wearing neon pink coveralls.


Last edited by Journeyman on May 22nd, '13, 12:30, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: The Evolution Puzzle
PostPosted: May 22nd, '13, 12:29 
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eye evolution..
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No idea what you are talking about with the genes side of things JM.. :geek: I would try and type more but I mandolined the top off my main typing finger last night.. :support:

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 Post subject: Re: The Evolution Puzzle
PostPosted: May 22nd, '13, 12:42 
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King Erik the 14th wrote:
The range of topics on an AP forum can be pretty varied!

It's interesting that you mention the "eye" on a moths wing. The human or mammal eye has many similar problems when it comes to evolution. There must be hundreds of components to both the eye and the way we process it in our brain and convert the light into something we know as vision. But you could break it down to 3 basic components for simplicity sake: 1. the actual eye 2. the part of the brain that we use, and 3 the way the two things are joined i.e. the optic nerve.
Again assuming that evolution takes a series of gradual changes or steps, and there is some sort of "survival of the fittest" component. If we assume that these 3 components didn't suddenly appear, what is the benefit of having half an eye? How could you have one complete component but not the other 2?
Given that there are hundreds of components associated with vision, all of these must have developed BOTH independently of each other AND at the same time otherwise there would not have been any benefit to the species.
Charles Darwin admitted that the very thought of the evolution of the eye had him stumped (I will try to find the actual quote).

In theory a discussion of a pattern on a moths wing should be much simpler given that we are not talking about the brain, the optic nerve, the retina, rods and cones, blood supply, lenses etc. but right now I can't think of how it may have evolved. Perhaps it didn't?

David

The brain itself is another issue, and there are many such - the brain in humans gives us an unbeatable (so far) advantage, but only AFTER you have it. Evolution is a process whereby resources must be efficiently distributed to maximise survival and breeding opportunity.

But the brain is a massive drain on resources that provides very little advantage UNTIL it is complete. And the problem is bigger than just a one-off disadvantage - the investment in resources had to occur across a vast expanse of time - birth canals had to be modified to allow the larger heads to be born, the birth process had to alter to allow longer development internally, and the baby had to be born 'younger' after the longer gestation because of the changes needed.

These questions and many more are brushed aside in the eagerness to decalare Evolution a 'settled science' yet they do not have easy answers, particularly when the driver of all this is considered to be tiny, random changes made purely by accident.

And no, I am NOT driving towards a Creationist destination.


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 Post subject: Re: The Evolution Puzzle
PostPosted: May 22nd, '13, 12:58 
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Even with an explanation of eyes, including examples of the types, there is still a problem - the genes for them have to be invented over and over.

Craig Venter spent a couple of years travelling the oceans of the world - every 200kms (or miles) he stopped and dropped a sample bucket over the side. What he found changes the face of any discussion on Evolution.

Humans have 23,500 (approx) genes in the genome. Most disappointing to Big Pharma who bankrolled the mapping of the genome on the belief that we are all so individual they would be able to tailor medicines for each of us - making billions in profits well above what they can make with more generalised medicines.

Venter found something of the order of 50 MILLION genes, broadly classed into more gene families than humans have genes - 29,000 from memory. (he's on Ted Talks so check him out)

Under the old assumptions it was logical to think of eyes 'evolving' like the above explanation, but the problem is, there are now known to be so many genes, the same solutions, expressed differently, have clearly been invented again and again across the aeons.

The tree of life suddenly looks far more like a vast scrubland.

PS: May have those 2 figures the wrong way around - could be 50,000 gene families and 29 million genes - got to take missus out so don't have the 20 minutes to go refresh memory.


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 Post subject: Re: The Evolution Puzzle
PostPosted: May 22nd, '13, 13:02 
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Wow, The goal I set myself for this year was to solve the rubic's cube puzzle. This puzzle seems alot harder!!

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 Post subject: Re: The Evolution Puzzle
PostPosted: May 22nd, '13, 13:10 
Journeyman wrote:
So, here is the problem - Evolution is supposed to be a steady alteration of the sequence of bases, called a mutation. Something I have never seen explained in 40+ years is just how this works. Any change to (say) a T base will break the link to the corresponding A base unless there is a simultaneous change on the other 'chain' from A to a T - that seems a VERY specific set of changes and the odds of both occurring simultaneously seems astronomical when we are talking random changes.

Still with me...?

At most all I can see as likely is any 'mutation' will cause a break in a specific gene where the 'lattice' between the 2 'chains' will then show a hole. This opens up reproduction issues as the process used to form eggs and sperm relies on that lattice to be complete, as far as I know. Any break would (again AFAIK) cause the RNA to be rejected. i.e. during meiosis, the 'repair process' will falter when it hits a break.

You're confusing apples, oranges... and bananas.... DNA, genes and chromosomes...

A DNA helix... is a genetic fingerprint... it is as you say a sequence of 4 fundamental "bases".... A, T, C, and G... that are repeated over and over in pairs.

The DNA fingerprint of any species is made up of xxx number of genes.... A gene is a distinct portion of a cell’s DNA....

Genes are coded instructions for making everything the body needs, especially proteins. Human beings have about 25,000 genes....

Genes are packaged in bundles called chromosomes.....

Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes (for a total of 46). Of those, 1 pair is the sex chromosomes (determines whether you are male or female, plus some other body characteristics), and the other 22 pairs are autosomal chromosomes ... which determine the rest of the body’s makeup...

Evolution is based/caused by mutation of genes, or chromosomes... which is reflected in the DNA encoding...

The particular order of the pairs of As, Ts, Cs, and Gs is extremely important in the DNA....

Sometimes there is a mistake — one of the pairs gets switched, dropped, or repeated. This changes the coding for one or more genes.....

This is called genetic mutation..... which maybe disease-causing, life threatening... advantages or harmless.... or even promote sterility....

Another way the DNA code could be changed is by errors in the chromosomes... parts of a chromosome could break off, switch with part of another chromosome, or be swapped within the same chromosome.....

If any of these or other mistakes occurs then changes (mutations) happen in the gene coding....

Sometimes there may be 3 or more copies of a chromosome, or only one chromosome, instead of the normal pair...

It's pretty easy to see how an almost infinite amount of variations can arise in a genetic code.... even if by random chance...

Those that provide a life "advantage".... trend towards dominance over time... through sheer reproduction/survival...

Disadvantageous mutations... are either life threatening... or result in sterility.... thus they're not passed on to subsequent generations... and disappear... or fade to near irrelevancy in the gene pool... perhaps sometimes only resurfacing as abnormalities.. or subsequent "mutations....


The DNA helix of a species... is essentially the pairing... (hence the distinct mating/pairing of bases)... of two sets of genetic strings.... male/female... of a species... through reproduction....

Most mutations occur when this primal reproductive pairing occurs.... some may occur through events/exposures during the life of the species itself...


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