Evolution: how does it actually work?

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Nilloc James
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Evolution: how does it actually work?

Post #1

Post by Nilloc James »

Even among those who accept evolution there seems to be much disagreement about how it works. I think it would be interesting to discuss evolution without the usual "yes/no" approach. So how do you think evolution works? (I put a few questions bellow as a start, feel free to add more)

What do you think is the level of selection? 
Would you agree with gradualism or punctuatd equilbrium? 
What is the definition and limit of what can be considered a phenotype?
 Is there a non-arbritary difference between phenotype and genotype?
 Do genes record the choices of natural selection or are they selected for/against? 

Tiberius47
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Re: Evolution: how does it actually work?

Post #2

Post by Tiberius47 »

Nilloc James wrote: Even among those who accept evolution there seems to be much disagreement about how it works. I think it would be interesting to discuss evolution without the usual "yes/no" approach. So how do you think evolution works? (I put a few questions bellow as a start, feel free to add more)
How does evolution work?
  • You have a population of animals.
  • Each individual in this population is slightly different.
  • Differences are caused (generally) by genes, different alleles.
  • These differences can help the individual or disadvantage the individual.
  • The individuals with helpful differences are more likely to survive long enough to reproduce.
  • The offspring of these individuals with the helpful differences are likely to get the same helpful difference because the genes that caused the helpful difference in the parent are probably going to get passed to the offspring.
  • So over time, the helpful difference will become spread more and more through the population.
Now, as for your questions...
What do you think is the level of selection?
The individual. If they survive long enough to produce offspring, they have been selected by nature. (please note that this is not a conscious selection on nature's part.)
Would you agree with gradualism or punctuatd equilbrium?
I;d say elements of both are at work in the real world. It would really depend on the particular environment at the particular time.
What is the definition and limit of what can be considered a phenotype?
My understanding of a phenotype is that it is the resulting trait that an individual has due to the particular genes in its body. For example, your eye colour is determined by the action of genes, so eye colour is a phenotype.

However, genes can also control behaviour, so the results of behaviour can also be considered a phenotype. Richard Dawkins uses the example of a beaver's dam.
Is there a non-arbritary difference between phenotype and genotype?
I;d say that the genotype is the gene itself, and the phenotype is the result of that gene. Just from reading the quick definitions on Wikipedia.
Do genes record the choices of natural selection or are they selected for/against?
A bit of both, really. If we look at an individual, the genes in its body record the genes that have been selected for.

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Re: Evolution: how does it actually work?

Post #3

Post by Kyrani99 »

[Replying to post 1 by Nilloc James]

Actually there is growing evidence that evolution as is taught (ie Darwin's Theory) does not work.
One piece of evidence is that there are at least two languages that are coded within the genome. One language describes how proteins are to be made, and the other language instructs the cell on genes control. This can't happen by chance or miscopying and natural selection because it requires forethought. Such things do not happen in harmoney with one another without some sort of "intelligent agent".

Another piece of evidence is that some scientists worked out that the number of chance events to get to the appearance of dinasaurs requires more time by a long way than the age of the universe!

So how does evolution work.. it depends,
if you are talking about Darwin's Theory, it doesn't work
if you see changes deliberately made by some intelligence there at the start then it can be seen to work. Simulations on computers only work if you plan and make deliberate choices. :)

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Re: Evolution: how does it actually work?

Post #4

Post by Goat »

Kyrani99 wrote: [Replying to post 1 by Nilloc James]

Actually there is growing evidence that evolution as is taught (ie Darwin's Theory) does not work.
One piece of evidence is that there are at least two languages that are coded within the genome. One language describes how proteins are to be made, and the other language instructs the cell on genes control. This can't happen by chance or miscopying and natural selection because it requires forethought. Such things do not happen in harmoney with one another without some sort of "intelligent agent".
Now, you do realize the whole 'language' thing was an analogy.

Let's see you provide some articles that show that there is growing evidence that evolution does not work. Can you link to the source of your claim? Let's see if it is an actual claim from biologists, or if there is a religious element that is making the claim. It SOUNDS like what you are describing is a someone who does not understand evolution making the logical fallacy of 'argument from personal incredulity'. It is also ignoring that interdependent mechanisms would develop at the same time.
[/quote]

Another piece of evidence is that some scientists worked out that the number of chance events to get to the appearance of dinasaurs requires more time by a long way than the age of the universe!
Please show the source for this claim. This sounds like one of the peaces of arguments that would be put on an anti-evolution religious web site. Can you back that up with an article that has gotten put into biological journals?
“What do you think science is? There is nothing magical about science. It is simply a systematic way for carefully and thoroughly observing nature and using consistent logic to evaluate results. So which part of that exactly do you disagree with? Do you disagree with being thorough? Using careful observation? Being systematic? Or using consistent logic?�

Steven Novella

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Nilloc James
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Post #5

Post by Nilloc James »

Im disappointed this thread never really produced any real discussion of evolution, as even among the supporters of evolution on this forum there is lots of disagreement and misinformation (nevermimd those who reject it).

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Re: Evolution: how does it actually work?

Post #6

Post by Ooberman »

Tiberius47 wrote:
Nilloc James wrote: Even among those who accept evolution there seems to be much disagreement about how it works. I think it would be interesting to discuss evolution without the usual "yes/no" approach. So how do you think evolution works? (I put a few questions bellow as a start, feel free to add more)
How does evolution work?
  • You have a population of animals.
  • Each individual in this population is slightly different.
  • Differences are caused (generally) by genes, different alleles.
  • These differences can help the individual or disadvantage the individual.
  • The individuals with helpful differences are more likely to survive long enough to reproduce.
  • The offspring of these individuals with the helpful differences are likely to get the same helpful difference because the genes that caused the helpful difference in the parent are probably going to get passed to the offspring.
  • So over time, the helpful difference will become spread more and more through the population.
Now, as for your questions...
What do you think is the level of selection?
The individual. If they survive long enough to produce offspring, they have been selected by nature. (please note that this is not a conscious selection on nature's part.)
Would you agree with gradualism or punctuatd equilbrium?
I;d say elements of both are at work in the real world. It would really depend on the particular environment at the particular time.
What is the definition and limit of what can be considered a phenotype?
My understanding of a phenotype is that it is the resulting trait that an individual has due to the particular genes in its body. For example, your eye colour is determined by the action of genes, so eye colour is a phenotype.

However, genes can also control behaviour, so the results of behaviour can also be considered a phenotype. Richard Dawkins uses the example of a beaver's dam.
Is there a non-arbritary difference between phenotype and genotype?
I;d say that the genotype is the gene itself, and the phenotype is the result of that gene. Just from reading the quick definitions on Wikipedia.
Do genes record the choices of natural selection or are they selected for/against?
A bit of both, really. If we look at an individual, the genes in its body record the genes that have been selected for.

There is no need for anyone else to respond. This post covers it, and if there are further questions, the internet is abound with information on Evolution and it's not contradictory. It is what it is.

Evolution is very well understood.

If it weren't for the Bible claiming animals were magically popped into existence by a Sky Father, we wouldn't be having this discussion.

This is the danger - the real danger to our understanding of the world - that Christianity, and other such religions, pose.
Thinking about God's opinions and thinking about your own opinions uses an identical thought process. - Tomas Rees

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Nilloc James
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Post #7

Post by Nilloc James »

The above description is fairly good, however I have seen other nontheists here while defending evolution present totally different (and false) explanations of evolution.

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Post #8

Post by Ooberman »

Nilloc James wrote: The above description is fairly good, however I have seen other nontheists here while defending evolution present totally different (and false) explanations of evolution.
Sure, I wouldn't expect a person to know about Evolution just because they are a non-theist.

My point is that, generally, that first response sums it up in principle, and the rest is details that are debated among scientists. It's details.

Basically, I don't see how anyone can deny that Natural selection occurs, or gene variation and genetic drift, etc. The final element is Time.

If one believes the Earth is only 6000 years old, then, yes, Evolution is outlandish. If it's 4.5 billion years old, no problem.

As I said, the only reason we are discussing this and not some other scientific principle is because it challenges the religious text of a dominant religion in this country.

It is completely religiously motivated. It weakens us all, as a Nation, to continue giving Creationists time to espouse Moses' Hypothesis of Speciation.

It's not Darwin vs. Moses. It's the ENTIRE SCIENTIFIC COMMUNITY vs. Moses. And Moses comes up short.
Thinking about God's opinions and thinking about your own opinions uses an identical thought process. - Tomas Rees

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Re: Evolution: how does it actually work?

Post #9

Post by Donray »

Nilloc James wrote: Even among those who accept evolution there seems to be much disagreement about how it works. I think it would be interesting to discuss evolution without the usual "yes/no" approach. So how do you think evolution works? (I put a few questions bellow as a start, feel free to add more)

What do you think is the level of selection? 
Would you agree with gradualism or punctuatd equilbrium? 
What is the definition and limit of what can be considered a phenotype?
 Is there a non-arbritary difference between phenotype and genotype?
 Do genes record the choices of natural selection or are they selected for/against? 
Tell us what books you have read on evolution and maybe we can suggest other books you can read for the information you want?

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