Evolution, survival and adaptation (Evolution)

by dhw, Saturday, September 02, 2017, 12:56 (1075 days ago)

I am once more telescoping overlapping threads.

Dhw: (under “Balance of nature, ants…") All forms of life have always depended on some sort of balance, and the balance is constantly shifting, which is why some species have survived and others have died out in the long history of the higgledy-piggledy bush. Thank you for this beautiful illustration of Margulis’s contention that evolution depends on cooperation as well as (if not more than) competition.
DAVID: This is why I question the significance of competition for survival as a major factor.

You questioned the concept of “survival of the fittest”. This is not just a matter of competition. Once again you seem to be equating survival with population density and totally ignoring every other environmental factor that threatens life.

QUOTE: (under “Natures wonders: bacterial adaptation”) "To survive hostile environments, an organism often has to acquire new traits.”
dhw: And yet you keep trying to tell us that survivability plays no role in evolution. Bacteria remain bacteria, but maybe other organisms acquire major new traits for the same reason, and duly become new species.
DAVID: Not that survivability 'plays no role' but a much smaller role than implied by 'survival of the fittest’.

You wrote: “Survival of the fittest is an unproven conjecture.” I consider it pure commonsense that organisms which can cope with the environment survive, and organisms which cannot cope do not survive. Once multicellularity appears, I would suggest that the development of means of survival (and I would add improvement) plays a crucial role in evolution, but perhaps you think that different ways of acquiring food, of catching prey or of defence against predators, and of countering or exploiting changes in the environment only play a small role.

Dhw (under Natural wonders: bacteria can spear amoebas): [...] I do not ask you to agree with my hypothesis – I also have reservations. I only ask you to consider it as a possibility. The mystery does not in any way support your theory that there is a supernatural power which designed flippers before pre-whales entered the water.
DAVID: If major and minor adaptations ae part of the mechanism for change, we have no evidence so far, only small epigenetic DNA changes which can be passed on to descendants. What supports my theory of a supernatural power is the obvious need for visualizing the future form and the design planning that must go into it in order for the change to be accomplished. The DNA of a completely new species may show reference to the past species, but will have very major differences in order to create the new form and function. Only design fits this.

We have had this discussion many times before, but it’s worth repeating since so much else depends on it. After much ado, you agreed some time ago that environmental factors play a major role in evolution. Minor adaptations clearly take place as a RESPONSE to environmental change. There is no visualizing of the future form, and no design planning in advance. You continue to ignore my question concerning the mechanism that makes this possible - i.e. do you think your God dabbled or preprogrammed the changes in the beaks of finches, or did their cell communities accomplish these autonomously? We agree that innovation is far more complex, and that nobody can explain it. Where we do not agree is on the likeliest order of events. You have your God planning major adaptations (innovations) in advance of environmental change, whereas I have my organisms responding to environmental change. Your version requires your God’s advance knowledge of every environmental change that entails innovation, which suggests that he has preprogrammed or manipulated the environment (local and global) as well as the structures of all the creatures that survive the changes. (We’d better leave out the great non sequitur of all this being done for the sake of the human brain!) The complications are enormous, whereas the scenario of life forms RESPONDING to environmental change, either by dying or by adapting or by producing useful new organs to exploit the changes requires only one premise: that they do the designing themselves with an intelligence which your God may have given them in the first place. We know they respond on a minor scale. Perhaps they also respond on a major scale. It’s a hypothesis, but Occam would be delighted with such a simple solution to the mystery.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by David Turell @, Saturday, September 02, 2017, 15:20 (1075 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: This is why I question the significance of competition for survival as a major factor.

dhw: You questioned the concept of “survival of the fittest”. This is not just a matter of competition. Once again you seem to be equating survival with population density and totally ignoring every other environmental factor that threatens life.

I don't think population density is an issue. It is something you seemed to mention and I questioned. Darwinists have math models regarding reproductivity as another issue. We've discussed Raup and environment causing extinctions. Survival of the fittest is a tautology.

dhw: We have had this discussion many times before, but it’s worth repeating since so much else depends on it. After much ado, you agreed some time ago that environmental factors play a major role in evolution. Minor adaptations clearly take place as a RESPONSE to environmental change. There is no visualizing of the future form, and no design planning in advance. You continue to ignore my question concerning the mechanism that makes this possible - i.e. do you think your God dabbled or preprogrammed the changes in the beaks of finches, or did their cell communities accomplish these autonomously?

Not so. I have stated that finch beak changes are epigenetic adaptations, a mechanism given by God.

dhw: We agree that innovation is far more complex, and that nobody can explain it. Where we do not agree is on the likeliest order of events. You have your God planning major adaptations (innovations) in advance of environmental change, whereas I have my organisms responding to environmental change.

Environmental change is only one issue. There is no evidence that humans left trees because of major climate changes. Preparatory anatomic changes for bipedalism started 23 million years ago!

dhw: Your version requires your God’s advance knowledge of every environmental change that entails innovation, which suggests that he has preprogrammed or manipulated the environment (local and global) as well as the structures of all the creatures that survive the changes. (We’d better leave out the great non sequitur of all this being done for the sake of the human brain!) The complications are enormous, whereas the scenario of life forms RESPONDING to environmental change, either by dying or by adapting or by producing useful new organs to exploit the changes requires only one premise: that they do the designing themselves with an intelligence which your God may have given them in the first place. We know they respond on a minor scale. Perhaps they also respond on a major scale. It’s a hypothesis, but Occam would be delighted with such a simple solution to the mystery.

All I can say to this mishmash is that Occam did not accept simplicity beyond all recognition. Whales entering water is an environmental change for them, but not an environmental change for the Earth. As for the brain, it evolved, a process you accept. All in a scramble to deny God.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by dhw, Sunday, September 03, 2017, 14:12 (1074 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: This is why I question the significance of competition for survival as a major factor.
dhw: You questioned the concept of “survival of the fittest”. This is not just a matter of competition. Once again you seem to be equating survival with population density and totally ignoring every other environmental factor that threatens life.
DAVID: I don't think population density is an issue. It is something you seemed to mention and I questioned.

It was you who brought it up on the amoeba thread (see my post 31 August at 8.21 am), when you mistakenly assumed that survivability only entailed that one issue:
DAVID: We have no proof that survivability is a major issue due to population density, as you imply. Density is only an issue since WWII when we are displacing animal habitats.
Dhw: I do not imply population density at all! Where did you get that from?
DAVID: From your statement: " more and more new organisms came on the scene".
Dhw: "New organisms" refers to variety, not to population density. It’s a fact of evolution that more and more new organisms came on the scene once multicellularity had occurred, and I am suggesting that the variety entailed more and more new ways of surviving.

DAVID: Darwinists have math models regarding reproductivity as another issue. We've discussed Raup and environment causing extinctions. Survival of the fittest is a tautology.

It’s not a tautology (= saying the same thing twice) but it is a self-evident observation. That does not mean it plays no role, or only a small role, in the development of evolution.

dhw: We have had this discussion many times before, but it’s worth repeating since so much else depends on it. After much ado, you agreed some time ago that environmental factors play a major role in evolution. Minor adaptations clearly take place as a RESPONSE to environmental change. There is no visualizing of the future form, and no design planning in advance. You continue to ignore my question concerning the mechanism that makes this possible - i.e. do you think your God dabbled or preprogrammed the changes in the beaks of finches, or did their cell communities accomplish these autonomously?
DAVID: Not so. I have stated that finch beak changes are epigenetic adaptations, a mechanism given by God.

With my theist hat on, I am happy to accept that the mechanism for autonomous epigenetic changes may have been given by your God, i.e. that he may have given finches the autonomous means of adapting their beaks without being preprogrammed or dabbled with. So maybe he also gave pre-whales the autonomous means of adapting their legs.

dhw: We agree that innovation is far more complex, and that nobody can explain it. Where we do not agree is on the likeliest order of events. You have your God planning major adaptations (innovations) in advance of environmental change, whereas I have my organisms responding to environmental change.
DAVID: Environmental change is only one issue. There is no evidence that humans left trees because of major climate changes. Preparatory anatomic changes for bipedalism started 23 million years ago!

But it IS an issue, even if it is not the ONLY issue. You say later: “Whales entering water is an environmental change for them, but not an environmental change for the Earth.” Who says that species change can only happen if the whole Earth changes? Maybe both pre-whales and pre-humans started off in local areas where it became advantageous to enter the water or to descend from the trees. Convergent evolution suggests that local changes can lead to similar solutions in other areas. And a successful new species can spread.

dhw: Your version requires your God’s advance knowledge of every environmental change that entails innovation, which suggests that he has preprogrammed or manipulated the environment (local and global) as well as the structures of all the creatures that survive the changes. (We’d better leave out the great non sequitur of all this being done for the sake of the human brain!) The complications are enormous, whereas the scenario of life forms RESPONDING to environmental change, either by dying or by adapting or by producing useful new organs to exploit the changes requires only one premise: that they do the designing themselves with an intelligence which your God may have given them in the first place. We know they respond on a minor scale. Perhaps they also respond on a major scale. It’s a hypothesis, but Occam would be delighted with such a simple solution to the mystery.

DAVID: All I can say to this mishmash is that Occam did not accept simplicity beyond all recognition. As for the brain, it evolved, a process you accept. All in a scramble to deny God.

There is no scramble to deny God, since my hypothesis allows for God. Of course I accept that the brain evolved, as did every other organ we can think of, and since I accept that the human brain is a very special instrument, I can even allow for your God doing a dabble. But divine preprogramming or dabbling of the whole history of evolution, including by implication the history of the environment, seems to me to take complexity beyond all reason, especially when there is a simple explanation which – as you have repeatedly acknowledged – fits in perfectly with the history of life.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by David Turell @, Sunday, September 03, 2017, 15:56 (1074 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Not so. I have stated that finch beak changes are epigenetic adaptations, a mechanism given by God.

dhw: With my theist hat on, I am happy to accept that the mechanism for autonomous epigenetic changes may have been given by your God, i.e. that he may have given finches the autonomous means of adapting their beaks without being preprogrammed or dabbled with. So maybe he also gave pre-whales the autonomous means of adapting their legs.

Beak size is a very simple epigenetic change (God given). Leg to flipper involves total form change. Only prior design planning and a designer (God) could do that.


dhw: We agree that innovation is far more complex, and that nobody can explain it. Where we do not agree is on the likeliest order of events. You have your God planning major adaptations (innovations) in advance of environmental change, whereas I have my organisms responding to environmental change.

DAVID: Environmental change is only one issue. There is no evidence that humans left trees because of major climate changes. Preparatory anatomic changes for bipedalism started 23 million years ago!

dhw: But it IS an issue, even if it is not the ONLY issue. You say later: “Whales entering water is an environmental change for them, but not an environmental change for the Earth.” Who says that species change can only happen if the whole Earth changes? Maybe both pre-whales and pre-humans started off in local areas where it became advantageous to enter the water or to descend from the trees. Convergent evolution suggests that local changes can lead to similar solutions in other areas. And a successful new species can spread.

There is no disagreement from me that environment change can have major effects: Chicxulub.


DAVID: All I can say to this mishmash is that Occam did not accept simplicity beyond all recognition. As for the brain, it evolved, a process you accept. All in a scramble to deny God.

dhw: There is no scramble to deny God, since my hypothesis allows for God. Of course I accept that the brain evolved, as did every other organ we can think of, and since I accept that the human brain is a very special instrument, I can even allow for your God doing a dabble. But divine preprogramming or dabbling of the whole history of evolution, including by implication the history of the environment, seems to me to take complexity beyond all reason, especially when there is a simple explanation which – as you have repeatedly acknowledged – fits in perfectly with the history of life.

God, for you, is 'beyond all reason', but if you can accept a brain dabble with bipedalism as part of it, you are accepting God's control over the last 8 million years of human evolution. Why can't all evolution be under the same God controls? Not beyond all reason.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by dhw, Monday, September 04, 2017, 15:02 (1073 days ago) @ David Turell

I am once more juxtaposing different posts and threads as they all deal with aspects of evolution.

DAVID (under “footprints on Crete”): I think all God did was open the flood gates of different hominin types for further development. What other family of organisms did this? None! Apes made no changes.
dhw: I agree that the floodgates opened. But I thought your God was always in total control. Why bother with all these different hominin types if his primary purpose was homo sapiens?

Question not answered.

Dhw: I don’t know why you keep harping on about hominins being the only family that changed. If apes all descended from a common ancestor, there are loads of variations. Perhaps you mean that only homos developed into homo sapiens, whereas gibbons only developed into 16 species of gibbon, and none of them are homo sapiens.
DAVID: That is of course what I mean.

So apes did make lots of changes, and at one stage some of the changed apes must have changed into hominins who changed into homos who changed into homo sapiens, while other apes changed into other apes or stayed the same. Pre-gorillas became gorillas, and pre-orang-utans became orang-utans. What is your point? Do you think your God should have changed every other type of ape into homo sapiens? Why didn’t he, if he only wanted homo sapiens? Same question as above. Why all the apes, and why all the hominins?
xxxx

DAVID (under “glial cell guidance”): I'm convinced your nebulous hypothesis is just that in our theistic-mode discussion. How do you explain evolution without God present?

My hypothesis could hardly be more concrete: that cells are intelligent, and that cell communities are sufficiently intelligent to innovate (not proven) as well as to adapt (proven). But I have ALWAYS said that it is a hypothesis, and like yourself I will need more evidence before it turns into a belief. How do I explain evolution without God present? Easy. If he exists, he set up the whole mechanism and then let it run autonomously, as with finch beaks and humans, so too with all other organisms, lifestyles and natural wonders, and the environment.

DAVID: (under “glial cell guidance”) Your inventive mechanism proposal would need a human-brain-like ability as you describe above. That implies all the complexity of our brain, not found in current studies of the genome.

It would not imply human-brain-like ability. The human brain is also a collection of cells, and different cells have different functions, all of which are limited. Just as individual ants are limited but the group is able to design whole cities, groups of cells can design what individual cells cannot. I would not expect heart cells to write King Lear, but they can do things that Shakespeare would never have known about. My point is that there are different forms of intelligence with different abilities.

DAVID: Why do you constantly slough aside the point that development of complex changes, as seen in the gaps in evolution, require foresight of the future needs in order to start designing the plans for those changes?

Why do you constantly slough aside the possibility that complex changes may be a RESPONSE to environmental changes, instead of having your God foreseeing or causing every environmental change local and global and preparing organisms before the change takes place?

DAVID (on this thread): There is no disagreement from me that environment change can have major effects: Chicxulub.

Good. An effect comes after the cause. This applies both to local and to global changes. But according to you, every innovation ANTICIPATES environmental change: God changes legs to fins before pre-whales enter the water. So does that mean, for instance, that God created all the new Cambrian species before increasing the oxygen?
xxxxx

DAVID (on this thread): God, for you, is 'beyond all reason', but if you can accept a brain dabble with bipedalism as part of it, you are accepting God's control over the last 8 million years of human evolution. Why can't all evolution be under the same God controls? Not beyond all reason.

I have accepted the possibility of a brain dabble, mainly to please you, but if pressed, I would say that all the different hominins evolved naturally from some form of ape (bipedalism being a natural response to an environment in which it became advantageous to leave the trees). If there was a dabble, it would have been much later in the proceedings, perhaps as an afterthought, but I can just as easily view the human brain as a natural progression too. As regards control, yes, the whole history of life on Earth could be your God’s game, as he shifts the pieces around. You and I could also be his playthings, but we just don’t know it. Or maybe, just maybe, if he exists he allowed us to be free agents. And maybe, just maybe, if he exists, he allowed evolution to take its own course.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by David Turell @, Monday, September 04, 2017, 17:18 (1073 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID (under “footprints on Crete”): I think all God did was open the flood gates of different hominin types for further development. What other family of organisms did this? None! Apes made no changes.
dhw: I agree that the floodgates opened. But I thought your God was always in total control. Why bother with all these different hominin types if his primary purpose was homo sapiens?

The history of evolution is it always produces bushes of organisms. Must be His method. Your human logic is not His.


dhw: Why all the apes, and why all the hominins?

Same answer. God creates bushes. Only the hominins are advanced in mentation.

xxxx

DAVID (under “glial cell guidance”): I'm convinced your nebulous hypothesis is just that in our theistic-mode discussion. How do you explain evolution without God present?

dhw: My hypothesis could hardly be more concrete: that cells are intelligent, and that cell communities are sufficiently intelligent to innovate (not proven) as well as to adapt (proven). But I have ALWAYS said that it is a hypothesis, and like yourself I will need more evidence before it turns into a belief. How do I explain evolution without God present? Easy. If he exists, he set up the whole mechanism and then let it run autonomously, as with finch beaks and humans, so too with all other organisms, lifestyles and natural wonders, and the environment.

Your same answer. Where did cellular intelligence come from if God did not do it? An inorganic universe creating intelligence on its own is beyond my belief.


DAVID: (under “glial cell guidance”) Your inventive mechanism proposal would need a human-brain-like ability as you describe above. That implies all the complexity of our brain, not found in current studies of the genome.

dhw: It would not imply human-brain-like ability. The human brain is also a collection of cells, and different cells have different functions, all of which are limited.

You are understating the complexity of the organization of the brain. The individual neurons might have specific duties, but they also have plasticity to adapt to new tasks in an multitude of new ways.

dhw:Just as individual ants are limited but the group is able to design whole cities, groups of cells can design what individual cells cannot. I would not expect heart cells to write King Lear, but they can do things that Shakespeare would never have known about. My point is that there are different forms of intelligence with different abilities.

Your nebulous point is based on what Shapiro finds in bacteria. It is a giant jump to cell committees speciating.


DAVID: Why do you constantly slough aside the point that development of complex changes, as seen in the gaps in evolution, require foresight of the future needs in order to start designing the plans for those changes?

dhw: Why do you constantly slough aside the possibility that complex changes may be a RESPONSE to environmental changes, instead of having your God foreseeing or causing every environmental change local and global and preparing organisms before the change takes place?

Of course the change must be a response, but you still ignoring the necessity for foresight and planning to solve the new problems, not possible at a cellular level. Your house was built by a plan, not thrown together. The same with new organisms, planning and design required either by your cell committees or by God.


DAVID (on this thread): There is no disagreement from me that environment change can have major effects: Chicxulub.

dhw: Good. An effect comes after the cause. This applies both to local and to global changes. But according to you, every innovation ANTICIPATES environmental change: God changes legs to fins before pre-whales enter the water. So does that mean, for instance, that God created all the new Cambrian species before increasing the oxygen?

Twisting my approach. I just presented Chicxulub as a prime example of change requiring adaptation. We don't know if Whales had flippers on land, like sea lions or seals, but perhaps that is a change God used to put whales in water. Only whales came directly from land animals. As for the Cambrian the evidence is oxygen came first to support it, the explosion second.

xxxxx


dhw: I have accepted the possibility of a brain dabble, mainly to please you, but if pressed, I would say that all the different hominins evolved naturally from some form of ape (bipedalism being a natural response to an environment in which it became advantageous to leave the trees). If there was a dabble, it would have been much later in the proceedings, perhaps as an afterthought, but I can just as easily view the human brain as a natural progression too. As regards control, yes, the whole history of life on Earth could be your God’s game, as he shifts the pieces around. You and I could also be his playthings, but we just don’t know it. Or maybe, just maybe, if he exists he allowed us to be free agents. And maybe, just maybe, if he exists, he allowed evolution to take its own course.

Written like a true agnostic.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by dhw, Tuesday, September 05, 2017, 13:32 (1072 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: I thought your God was always in total control. Why bother with all these different hominin types if his primary purpose was homo sapiens?
DAVID: The history of evolution is it always produces bushes of organisms. Must be His method. Your human logic is not His.

We know the history, and I’m pleased to see you acknowledge the illogicality of your interpretation. I therefore wonder why you are not prepared to accept the possibility that God’s logic might be the same as ours, and it is your interpretation that is wrong.
xxxx
dhw: How do I explain evolution without God present? Easy. If he exists, he set up the whole mechanism and then let it run autonomously, as with finch beaks and humans, so too with all other organisms, lifestyles and natural wonders, and the environment.
DAVID: Your same answer. Where did cellular intelligence come from if God did not do it? An inorganic universe creating intelligence on its own is beyond my belief.

If your God set up the autonomous mechanism, then your God set up the autonomous mechanism. The subject here is the existence of the autonomous mechanism (as opposed to a divine 3.8-billion-year computer programme or divine dabbling), and not the existence of God.

DAVID: Your inventive mechanism proposal would need a human-brain-like ability as you describe above. That implies all the complexity of our brain, not found in current studies of the genome.
dhw: It would not imply human-brain-like ability. The human brain is also a collection of cells, and different cells have different functions, all of which are limited.
DAVID: You are understating the complexity of the organization of the brain. The individual neurons might have specific duties, but they also have plasticity to adapt to new tasks in an multitude of new ways.

Of course they do. One of their functions is to adapt to new tasks!

dhw: […] My point is that there are different forms of intelligence with different abilities.
DAVID: Your nebulous point is based on what Shapiro finds in bacteria. It is a giant jump to cell committees speciating.

Nothing nebulous, and yes it is based on what a number of scientists have found in cells (hardly a reason for rejecting it), and yes it is a giant jump – just as it is a giant jump from the complexity of life to a sourceless, eternal, infinite, conscious being that creates universes and micro-organisms but keeps itself hidden. Both are hypotheses for which there is no conclusive evidence.

dhw: Why do you constantly slough aside the possibility that complex changes may be a RESPONSE to environmental changes, instead of having your God foreseeing or causing every environmental change local and global and preparing organisms before the change takes place?
DAVID: Of course the change must be a response, but you still ignoring the necessity for foresight and planning to solve the new problems, not possible at a cellular level.

Cells solve new problems all the time. (But see the proviso below.) Adaptation to new conditions is a proven process, and I find it difficult to believe that bacteria have prior knowledge of new problems and plan the responses in advance. I find it equally difficult to believe that your God provided them with a computer programme to cover every possible new problem, or that he pops down to give them instructions.

DAVID: Your house was built by a plan, not thrown together. The same with new organisms, planning and design required either by your cell committees or by God.

We are not talking about a house. We are talking about responses to a changing environment. See above. But always with the proviso that major innovations are a mystery, and my hypothesis is an unproven extension of an existing mechanism.

DAVID (on this thread): There is no disagreement from me that environment change can have major effects: Chicxulub.
dhw: Good. An effect comes after the cause. This applies both to local and to global changes. But according to you, every innovation ANTICIPATES environmental change: God changes legs to fins before pre-whales enter the water. So does that mean, for instance, that God created all the new Cambrian species before increasing the oxygen?
DAVID: Twisting my approach. I just presented Chicxulub as a prime example of change requiring adaptation. We don't know if Whales had flippers on land, like sea lions or seals, but perhaps that is a change God used to put whales in water. Only whales came directly from land animals. As for the Cambrian the evidence is oxygen came first to support it, the explosion second.

Why is this a twist? You are acknowledging that environmental change can precede organismal change. Previously you have insisted that your God prepared whales for life in the water. I’m delighted that you are now acknowledging the possibility that the changes took place after whales entered the water, and I would suggest that this order of events is the norm. No foresight, no planning, but organisms (which consist of cell communities) responding to challenges and opportunities.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by David Turell @, Tuesday, September 05, 2017, 17:51 (1072 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: The history of evolution is it always produces bushes of organisms. Must be His method. Your human logic is not His.

dhw: We know the history, and I’m pleased to see you acknowledge the illogicality of your interpretation.

I have said nothing illogical. God does what He wants.

xxxx

DAVID: Your same answer. Where did cellular intelligence come from if God did not do it? An inorganic universe creating intelligence on its own is beyond my belief.

dhw: If your God set up the autonomous mechanism, then your God set up the autonomous mechanism. The subject here is the existence of the autonomous mechanism (as opposed to a divine 3.8-billion-year computer programme or divine dabbling), and not the existence of God.

You've avoided the question. Without God where does intelligent foresight come from?

DAVID: You are understating the complexity of the organization of the brain. The individual neurons might have specific duties, but they also have plasticity to adapt to new tasks in an multitude of new ways.

dhw: Of course they do. One of their functions is to adapt to new tasks!

Given by consciousness/soul. They do not initiate.

DAVID: Your house was built by a plan, not thrown together. The same with new organisms, planning and design required either by your cell committees or by God.

dhw: We are not talking about a house. We are talking about responses to a changing environment. See above. But always with the proviso that major innovations are a mystery, and my hypothesis is an unproven extension of an existing mechanism.

Your answer again ignores the concept of foresight and planning to arrange for new advances or adaptations.

DAVID: Twisting my approach. I just presented Chicxulub as a prime example of change requiring adaptation. We don't know if Whales had flippers on land, like sea lions or seals, but perhaps that is a change God used to put whales in water. Only whales came directly from land animals. As for the Cambrian the evidence is oxygen came first to support it, the explosion second.

dhw: Why is this a twist? You are acknowledging that environmental change can precede organismal change. Previously you have insisted that your God prepared whales for life in the water. I’m delighted that you are now acknowledging the possibility that the changes took place after whales entered the water, and I would suggest that this order of events is the norm. No foresight, no planning, but organisms (which consist of cell communities) responding to challenges and opportunities.

Yes, they just do it. That is your answer. Unbelievable. Planning and foresight are never needed prior to arranging for complex changes. Totally illogical.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by dhw, Wednesday, September 06, 2017, 13:38 (1071 days ago) @ David Turell

Dhw: I thought your God was always in total control. Why bother with all these different hominin types if his primary purpose was homo sapiens?
DAVID: The history of evolution is it always produces bushes of organisms. Must be His method. Your human logic is not His.
dhw: We know the history, and I’m pleased to see you acknowledge the illogicality of your interpretation.
DAVID: I have said nothing illogical. God does what He wants.

So your always-in-control God’s method of fulfilling his primary purpose (the human brain) was to produce a bush. My human logic suggests that a primary purpose would normally be fulfilled as directly as possible, but although you can’t explain why he created all these different hominins, not to mention the whales and the rest of the bush, you happen to know that God’s logic is different from human logic, and so you are not prepared to consider the possibility that the bush itself might have been his primary purpose.
xxxx

DAVID: Your same answer. Where did cellular intelligence come from if God did not do it? An inorganic universe creating intelligence on its own is beyond my belief.
dhw: If your God set up the autonomous mechanism, then your God set up the autonomous mechanism. The subject here is the existence of the autonomous mechanism (as opposed to a divine 3.8-billion-year computer programme or divine dabbling), and not the existence of God.
DAVID: You've avoided the question. Without God where does intelligent foresight come from?

I keep disputing “foresight”, as below. Where does intelligence come from? I have always acknowledged that it may come from your God. I don’t know. That is why I am an agnostic.

DAVID: You are understating the complexity of the organization of the brain. The individual neurons might have specific duties, but they also have plasticity to adapt to new tasks in an multitude of new ways.
dhw: Of course they do. One of their functions is to adapt to new tasks!
DAVID: Given by consciousness/soul. They do not initiate.

Adapting to new tasks does not mean initiating. The soul as initiator = dualism, as opposed to materialism, but that is not the point here, since we are debating whether your God preprogrammed or dabbled every evolutionary change, or (theistic version) gave organisms the intelligence to do it themselves.

DAVID: Your house was built by a plan, not thrown together. The same with new organisms, planning and design required either by your cell committees or by God.
dhw: We are not talking about a house. We are talking about responses to a changing environment. See above. But always with the proviso that major innovations are a mystery, and my hypothesis is an unproven extension of an existing mechanism.
DAVID: Your answer again ignores the concept of foresight and planning to arrange for new advances or adaptations.

I am not ignoring it. I am disputing it. My whole hypothesis is based on intelligent organisms RESPONDING to new challenges and/or opportunities, instead of your God preprogramming them in advance or dabbling with them. The response comes AFTER the challenge/new opportunity.

DAVID: Yes, they just do it. That is your answer. Unbelievable. Planning and foresight are never needed prior to arranging for complex changes. Totally illogical.

No, not prior to. There is nothing illogical in the argument that organisms ADAPT to changing conditions. It is a proven fact. The open question is how far they can take that process. I like your example of the whale, because I see each stage as a logical progression in the whale’s adaptation to life in the water. Not your God preprogramming or dabbling eight different changes (and it’s not clear anyway when he would actually have pushed the pre-whales into the water). What is unbelievable to you is that cell communities should be able to make major changes to themselves, although you accept minor changes. But nobody knows how the major changes took place. We only have different hypotheses: 1) random mutations; 2) a divine 3.8-billion-year-old computer programme plus divine dabbling; 3) cellular intelligence (origin unknown but possibly your God). And it takes faith to turn a hypothesis into a belief. I sometimes wonder if your hostility to (3) might be connected to your unwillingness to question your fixed belief in (2).

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by David Turell @, Wednesday, September 06, 2017, 15:11 (1071 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: I have said nothing illogical. God does what He wants.


So your always-in-control God’s method of fulfilling his primary purpose (the human brain) was to produce a bush. My human logic suggests that a primary purpose would normally be fulfilled as directly as possible, but although you can’t explain why he created all these different hominins, not to mention the whales and the rest of the bush, you happen to know that God’s logic is different from human logic, and so you are not prepared to consider the possibility that the bush itself might have been his primary purpose.

The amazing human brain is His obvious purpose. Bushiness is the unavoidable history.

xxxx

DAVID: Your answer again ignores the concept of foresight and planning to arrange for new advances or adaptations.

dhw: I am not ignoring it. I am disputing it. My whole hypothesis is based on intelligent organisms RESPONDING to new challenges and/or opportunities, instead of your God preprogramming them in advance or dabbling with them. The response comes AFTER the challenge/new opportunity.

You have again ignored the need for foresight and planning. How do intelligent organisms accomplish major adaptive changes without those mental processes? I'm not discussing the adaptive level of finch beaks. Of course the required change might be a challenge or opportunity. The impetus is not the point!


DAVID: Yes, they just do it. That is your answer. Unbelievable. Planning and foresight are never needed prior to arranging for complex changes. Totally illogical.

dhw: No, not prior to. There is nothing illogical in the argument that organisms ADAPT to changing conditions. It is a proven fact. The open question is how far they can take that process. I like your example of the whale, because I see each stage as a logical progression in the whale’s adaptation to life in the water. Not your God preprogramming or dabbling eight different changes (and it’s not clear anyway when he would actually have pushed the pre-whales into the water). What is unbelievable to you is that cell communities should be able to make major changes to themselves, although you accept minor changes. But nobody knows how the major changes took place. We only have different hypotheses: 1) random mutations; 2) a divine 3.8-billion-year-old computer programme plus divine dabbling; 3) cellular intelligence (origin unknown but possibly your God). And it takes faith to turn a hypothesis into a belief. I sometimes wonder if your hostility to (3) might be connected to your unwillingness to question your fixed belief in (2).

Cellular intelligence is the result of intelligent instructions in the DNA. 3) is a pipedream.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by dhw, Thursday, September 07, 2017, 10:52 (1070 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: I have said nothing illogical. God does what He wants.
dhw: So your always-in-control God’s method of fulfilling his primary purpose (the human brain) was to produce a bush. My human logic suggests that a primary purpose would normally be fulfilled as directly as possible, but although you can’t explain why he created all these different hominins, not to mention the whales and the rest of the bush, you happen to know that God’s logic is different from human logic, and so you are not prepared to consider the possibility that the bush itself might have been his primary purpose.
DAVID: The amazing human brain is His obvious purpose. Bushiness is the unavoidable history.

God wanted to produce the human brain, and so he could not avoid producing dinosaurs, whales, monarch butterflies and the weaverbird’s nest. I understand why you think God’s logic is different from ours.
xxxx
DAVID: Your answer again ignores the concept of foresight and planning to arrange for new advances or adaptations.
dhw: I am not ignoring it. I am disputing it. My whole hypothesis is based on intelligent organisms RESPONDING to new challenges and/or opportunities, instead of your God preprogramming them in advance or dabbling with them. The response comes AFTER the challenge/new opportunity.
DAVID: You have again ignored the need for foresight and planning. How do intelligent organisms accomplish major adaptive changes without those mental processes? I'm not discussing the adaptive level of finch beaks. Of course the required change might be a challenge or opportunity. The impetus is not the point!

Taking your favourite example of the whale, here’s how:

PRE-WHALE: Dammit, there ain’t no food around here. Wonder what’s in the water. (Wades out to sea.) Wowee, look at all them thar fishes. (Gobbles his fill and returns to land.) I reckon we’d be a darn sight better off livin’ in the water than starvin’ out here. I’m goin’ back in again.

PRE-WHALE CELL COMMUNITIES (exchanging messages): Looks like we’m in for a big change here. It ain’t workin’ too good for you leggy folk. We need ter get you more like what them fishy folk have – y’know, them finny, flippy things. Means makin’ quite a few adjustments, but hey, we c’n do it. Dammit, if them thar finches c’n change the shape o’ their beaks, we c’n change the shape of our legs. So let’s do it…

(They do it. Repeat the dialogue for noses/blowholes, and all the other changes.)

Contrast this with the Turell scenario:

PRE-WHALE: What the heck’s happenin’ to me? Why is my legs turnin’ into flippers? Jumpin’ Jiminy, I’d better go live in the water.
(Repeat the dialogue for noses/blowholes and all the other changes, apart from the last line, as pre-whale may already have gone to live in the water…except that all the other changes are supposed to have been planned in advance as well and not as a result of his entering the water. Pre-whale to improvise last line until scenario is clarified.)

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by David Turell @, Thursday, September 07, 2017, 14:36 (1070 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: I am not ignoring it. I am disputing it. My whole hypothesis is based on intelligent organisms RESPONDING to new challenges and/or opportunities, instead of your God preprogramming them in advance or dabbling with them. The response comes AFTER the challenge/new opportunity.
DAVID: You have again ignored the need for foresight and planning. How do intelligent organisms accomplish major adaptive changes without those mental processes? I'm not discussing the adaptive level of finch beaks. Of course the required change might be a challenge or opportunity. The impetus is not the point!

dhw: Taking your favourite example of the whale, here’s how:

PRE-WHALE: Dammit, there ain’t no food around here. Wonder what’s in the water. (Wades out to sea.) Wowee, look at all them thar fishes. (Gobbles his fill and returns to land.) I reckon we’d be a darn sight better off livin’ in the water than starvin’ out here. I’m goin’ back in again.

PRE-WHALE CELL COMMUNITIES (exchanging messages): Looks like we’m in for a big change here. It ain’t workin’ too good for you leggy folk. We need ter get you more like what them fishy folk have – y’know, them finny, flippy things. Means makin’ quite a few adjustments, but hey, we c’n do it. Dammit, if them thar finches c’n change the shape o’ their beaks, we c’n change the shape of our legs. So let’s do it…

(They do it. Repeat the dialogue for noses/blowholes, and all the other changes.)

Contrast this with the Turell scenario:

PRE-WHALE: What the heck’s happenin’ to me? Why is my legs turnin’ into flippers? Jumpin’ Jiminy, I’d better go live in the water.
(Repeat the dialogue for noses/blowholes and all the other changes, apart from the last line, as pre-whale may already have gone to live in the water…except that all the other changes are supposed to have been planned in advance as well and not as a result of his entering the water. Pre-whale to improvise last line until scenario is clarified.)

Very cute but shoves all the complexity of change under the rug.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by dhw, Friday, September 08, 2017, 14:21 (1069 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: [….]
PRE-WHALE CELL COMMUNITIES (exchanging messages): Looks like we’m in for a big change here. It ain’t workin’ too good for you leggy folk. We need ter get you more like what them fishy folk have – y’know, them finny, flippy things. Means makin’ quite a few adjustments, but hey, we c’n do it. Dammit, if them thar finches c’n change the shape o’ their beaks, we c’n change the shape of our legs. So let’s do it…

(They do it. Repeat the dialogue for noses/blowholes, and all the other changes.)

Contrast this with the Turell scenario:

PRE-WHALE: What the heck’s happenin’ to me? Why is my legs turnin’ into flippers? Jumpin’ Jiminy, I’d better go live in the water.
(Repeat the dialogue for noses/blowholes and all the other changes, apart from the last line, as pre-whale may already have gone to live in the water…except that all the other changes are supposed to have been planned in advance as well and not as a result of his entering the water. Pre-whale to improvise last line until scenario is clarified.)

DAVID: Very cute but shoves all the complexity of change under the rug.

The need for clarification of the Turell scenario has been shoved under the rug.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by David Turell @, Friday, September 08, 2017, 21:00 (1069 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: [….]
PRE-WHALE CELL COMMUNITIES (exchanging messages): Looks like we’m in for a big change here. It ain’t workin’ too good for you leggy folk. We need ter get you more like what them fishy folk have – y’know, them finny, flippy things. Means makin’ quite a few adjustments, but hey, we c’n do it. Dammit, if them thar finches c’n change the shape o’ their beaks, we c’n change the shape of our legs. So let’s do it…

(They do it. Repeat the dialogue for noses/blowholes, and all the other changes.)

Contrast this with the Turell scenario:

PRE-WHALE: What the heck’s happenin’ to me? Why is my legs turnin’ into flippers? Jumpin’ Jiminy, I’d better go live in the water.
(Repeat the dialogue for noses/blowholes and all the other changes, apart from the last line, as pre-whale may already have gone to live in the water…except that all the other changes are supposed to have been planned in advance as well and not as a result of his entering the water. Pre-whale to improvise last line until scenario is clarified.)

DAVID: Very cute but shoves all the complexity of change under the rug.

dhw: The need for clarification of the Turell scenario has been shoved under the rug.

Behind the curtain of your play, God is whispering to the whales-to-be, " I'd like you to live in water and I'll supply the changes. Want to try?"

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by dhw, Saturday, September 09, 2017, 10:42 (1068 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: PRE-WHALE: What the heck’s happenin’ to me? Why is my legs turnin’ into flippers? Jumpin’ Jiminy, I’d better go live in the water.
(Repeat the dialogue for noses/blowholes and all the other changes, apart from the last line, as pre-whale may already have gone to live in the water…except that all the other changes are supposed to have been planned in advance as well and not as a result of his entering the water. Pre-whale to improvise last line until scenario is clarified.)

DAVID: Very cute but shoves all the complexity of change under the rug.

dhw: The need for clarification of the Turell scenario has been shoved under the rug.

DAVID: Behind the curtain of your play, God is whispering to the whales-to-be, "I'd like you to live in water and I'll supply the changes. Want to try?"

Nice of him to give them the choice. However, we still don’t know why he wanted pre-whales to live in water when his primary purpose was to produce the human brain. And we still don’t know why he made the changes in so many different stages. And since you have him planning everything in advance, and not making the changes as a RESULT of their entering the water, we still don’t at which stage they actually did start living in water. Do you think at Stage 1 he said: “You got your fins. Go live in the water.” Then at Stage 2: “Come on out o’ there now, cos it’s time for me to give you a blowhole.” Or: “Dammit, I make the darnedest mistakes. I’m comin’ in to give you guys a blowhole.”

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by David Turell @, Saturday, September 09, 2017, 14:45 (1068 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: PRE-WHALE: What the heck’s happenin’ to me? Why is my legs turnin’ into flippers? Jumpin’ Jiminy, I’d better go live in the water.
(Repeat the dialogue for noses/blowholes and all the other changes, apart from the last line, as pre-whale may already have gone to live in the water…except that all the other changes are supposed to have been planned in advance as well and not as a result of his entering the water. Pre-whale to improvise last line until scenario is clarified.)

DAVID: Very cute but shoves all the complexity of change under the rug.

dhw: The need for clarification of the Turell scenario has been shoved under the rug.

DAVID: Behind the curtain of your play, God is whispering to the whales-to-be, "I'd like you to live in water and I'll supply the changes. Want to try?"

dhw: Nice of him to give them the choice. However, we still don’t know why he wanted pre-whales to live in water when his primary purpose was to produce the human brain. And we still don’t know why he made the changes in so many different stages. And since you have him planning everything in advance, and not making the changes as a RESULT of their entering the water, we still don’t at which stage they actually did start living in water. Do you think at Stage 1 he said: “You got your fins. Go live in the water.” Then at Stage 2: “Come on out o’ there now, cos it’s time for me to give you a blowhole.” Or: “Dammit, I make the darnedest mistakes. I’m comin’ in to give you guys a blowhole.”

This whole whale play doesn't get to the point of why bother to create such a major physiologic mess that required so many major bodily changes and physiological alterations. It happened and is miraculous.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by dhw, Sunday, September 10, 2017, 13:55 (1067 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Behind the curtain of your play, God is whispering to the whales-to-be, "I'd like you to live in water and I'll supply the changes. Want to try?"

dhw: Nice of him to give them the choice. However, we still don’t know why he wanted pre-whales to live in water when his primary purpose was to produce the human brain. And we still don’t know why he made the changes in so many different stages. And since you have him planning everything in advance, and not making the changes as a RESULT of their entering the water, we still don’t at which stage they actually did start living in water. Do you think at Stage 1 he said: “You got your fins. Go live in the water.” Then at Stage 2: “Come on out o’ there now, cos it’s time for me to give you a blowhole.” Or: “Dammit, I make the darnedest mistakes. I’m comin’ in to give you guys a blowhole.”

DAVID: This whole whale play doesn't get to the point of why bother to create such a major physiologic mess that required so many major bodily changes and physiological alterations. It happened and is miraculous.

The point of the whale play is to emphasize what a major physiologic and theological mess your theory creates. It’s a mess because you have no idea why your God should have done it that way, or what it has to do with his prime purpose of creating the human brain. The mess disappears if you accept the possibility that pre-whales may have had good reason to enter the water (e.g. more food), and adapted to life in the water in different stages, thanks to their cell communities using their (possibly God-given) intelligence, as you agree they do when changes are minor (e.g. finches’ beaks).

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by David Turell @, Sunday, September 10, 2017, 15:30 (1067 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: This whole whale play doesn't get to the point of why bother to create such a major physiologic mess that required so many major bodily changes and physiological alterations. It happened and is miraculous.

dhw: The point of the whale play is to emphasize what a major physiologic and theological mess your theory creates. It’s a mess because you have no idea why your God should have done it that way, or what it has to do with his prime purpose of creating the human brain. The mess disappears if you accept the possibility that pre-whales may have had good reason to enter the water (e.g. more food), and adapted to life in the water in different stages, thanks to their cell communities using their (possibly God-given) intelligence, as you agree they do when changes are minor (e.g. finches’ beaks).

Finch beaks are epigenetic. Whales are speciation. The two are not equivalent. You can't use beaks to explain whales. You have stretched cell intelligent responses beyond all recognition.

Evolution, strange prehistoric ants

by David Turell @, Sunday, September 10, 2017, 23:38 (1066 days ago) @ David Turell

Powerful jaws and a metallic unicorn horn:

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2146821-meet-the-vampire-ant-from-hell-with-huge-j...

"A newly discovered species of prehistoric “hell ant” had anatomy that lived up to its demonic name, including a lethal feeding apparatus reinforced with metal.

"Hell ants are an extinct lineage from the Cretaceous Period. Instead of regular mouthparts, they had upward-facing blades.

No living species have such facial anatomy. However, the hairs around hell ants’ mouths are reminiscent of hairs on modern trap-jaw ants that cause their mouths to snap shut when triggered. This has led to speculation that the hell ants’ mouthparts worked in a similar way.

"Some also had a horn-like appendage that jutted out over their tusk-like mandibles. This includes the new species, Linguamyrmex vladi, which Phillip Barden at the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark and his colleagues found preserved in 98-million-year-old amber.

"It may be that when another insect brushed the trigger hairs, the blade-like mandibles flipped up and impaled the prey against the horn, punching through its outer layer. “You have this sort of stopping plate, made to accommodate the mandibles closing and capturing prey,” says Barden.


"That’s not all. CT scans revealed that L. vladi’s horn was reinforced with metal.

“'Probably the metal helps to keep the horn undamaged,” says Vincent Perrichot at the University of Rennes 1 in France. In 2016, he published a description of another horned hell ant, which he called a “unicorn ant”.

“'It makes sense to reinforce that [appendage],” agrees Barden, since the horn must have had to withstand repeated impacts from the mandibles. Some modern insects reduce wear and tear in a similar way, by reinforcing their mandibles with metals like zinc and iron.

"As well as being a metal-reinforced unicorn, L. vladi may have been a vampire. When their mandibles moved upwards, they formed a “gutter”. “That might be something that developed to funnel haemolymph – insect blood – down through the mouthparts,” says Barden.

"Next to the ant, Barden’s team found a preserved beetle grub – exactly the kind of “squishy, haemolymph-laden insect” that could support a vampiric lifestyle. Perhaps it was next on the menu.

"But the metal-reinforced horn suggests that the ants’ jaws moved with enough power to penetrate the tougher cuticles of adult insects as well.

“'Until we find a specimen with the prey item trapped, which is probably a matter of time, we’re left to speculate,” says Barden. However, the Myanmar amber deposits where he found his specimen are so rich that more detailed observations are likely to emerge."

Comment: Wow! I wouldn't want this ant at my picnic.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by dhw, Monday, September 11, 2017, 13:16 (1066 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: This whole whale play doesn't get to the point of why bother to create such a major physiologic mess that required so many major bodily changes and physiological alterations. It happened and is miraculous.

dhw: The point of the whale play is to emphasize what a major physiologic and theological mess your theory creates. It’s a mess because you have no idea why your God should have done it that way, or what it has to do with his prime purpose of creating the human brain. The mess disappears if you accept the possibility that pre-whales may have had good reason to enter the water (e.g. more food), and adapted to life in the water in different stages, thanks to their cell communities using their (possibly God-given) intelligence, as you agree they do when changes are minor (e.g. finches’ beaks).

DAVID: Finch beaks are epigenetic. Whales are speciation. The two are not equivalent. You can't use beaks to explain whales. You have stretched cell intelligent responses beyond all recognition.

Epigenetic changes are heritable changes most likely caused by environmental factors. Nobody knows how speciation takes place. It is possible that the same mechanism which causes small changes also caused the unexplained large changes. Finches needed different beaks to cope with different environments. Whale legs were modified into fins for the same reason. The difference between the two is one of scale, not of basic principle. But it remains a hypothesis, as does your divine 3.8-billion-year computer programme and/or divine dabbling, all somehow geared to the production of the human brain. The advantage of my hypothesis is that it removes the physiological, philosophical and theological mess engendered by yours.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by David Turell @, Monday, September 11, 2017, 17:59 (1066 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Finch beaks are epigenetic. Whales are speciation. The two are not equivalent. You can't use beaks to explain whales. You have stretched cell intelligent responses beyond all recognition.

dhw: Epigenetic changes are heritable changes most likely caused by environmental factors. Nobody knows how speciation takes place. It is possible that the same mechanism which causes small changes also caused the unexplained large changes. Finches needed different beaks to cope with different environments. Whale legs were modified into fins for the same reason. The difference between the two is one of scale, not of basic principle. But it remains a hypothesis, as does your divine 3.8-billion-year computer programme and/or divine dabbling, all somehow geared to the production of the human brain. The advantage of my hypothesis is that it removes the physiological, philosophical and theological mess engendered by yours.

Agree it is a matter of scale. I don't view my views as illogical. My theology is God is in charge.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by dhw, Tuesday, September 12, 2017, 12:07 (1065 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Finch beaks are epigenetic. Whales are speciation. The two are not equivalent. You can't use beaks to explain whales. You have stretched cell intelligent responses beyond all recognition.

dhw: Epigenetic changes are heritable changes most likely caused by environmental factors. Nobody knows how speciation takes place. It is possible that the same mechanism which causes small changes also caused the unexplained large changes. Finches needed different beaks to cope with different environments. Whale legs were modified into fins for the same reason. The difference between the two is one of scale, not of basic principle. But it remains a hypothesis, as does your divine 3.8-billion-year computer programme and/or divine dabbling, all somehow geared to the production of the human brain. The advantage of my hypothesis is that it removes the physiological, philosophical and theological mess engendered by yours.

DAVID: Agree it is a matter of scale. I don't view my views as illogical. My theology is God is in charge.

Thank you for your agreement. As you have admitted you don’t understand why your God kept messing around with pre-whales, I presume your logic is that God is in charge, and therefore it’s logical that God messed around with pre-whales though you don’t know why. My sense of logic requires coherent reasoning, e.g. that whales wanted more food, entered the water to get it, and their bodies adapted stage by stage to life in the water. And your God may have given their cell communities the ability to make the necessary adjustments, as with finches and their beaks, but on a much larger scale.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by David Turell @, Tuesday, September 12, 2017, 15:32 (1065 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: Agree it is a matter of scale. I don't view my views as illogical. My theology is God is in charge.

dhw: Thank you for your agreement. As you have admitted you don’t understand why your God kept messing around with pre-whales, I presume your logic is that God is in charge, and therefore it’s logical that God messed around with pre-whales though you don’t know why. My sense of logic requires coherent reasoning, e.g. that whales wanted more food, entered the water to get it, and their bodies adapted stage by stage to life in the water. And your God may have given their cell communities the ability to make the necessary adjustments, as with finches and their beaks, but on a much larger scale.

You sense of logic doesn't explain polar bears who swim about eating seafood and never change. And if God can offer cell communities the biochemical knowledge to make major phenotypic and physiologic changes, why does your logic require a two step mechanism? He can do it directly Himself, can't He?

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by dhw, Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 13:30 (1064 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Agree it is a matter of scale. I don't view my views as illogical. My theology is God is in charge.

dhw: Thank you for your agreement. As you have admitted you don’t understand why your God kept messing around with pre-whales, I presume your logic is that God is in charge, and therefore it’s logical that God messed around with pre-whales though you don’t know why. My sense of logic requires coherent reasoning, e.g. that whales wanted more food, entered the water to get it, and their bodies adapted stage by stage to life in the water. And your God may have given their cell communities the ability to make the necessary adjustments, as with finches and their beaks, but on a much larger scale.

DAVID: You sense of logic doesn't explain polar bears who swim about eating seafood and never change. And if God can offer cell communities the biochemical knowledge to make major phenotypic and physiologic changes, why does your logic require a two step mechanism? He can do it directly Himself, can't He?

Polar bears don’t live in the water. They can get ample food without changing. Pre-whales presumably couldn’t. I don’t know what you’re referring to with your ‘two-step mechanism’. Cell communities would take as many steps as are needed to reach optimum efficiency. Hence all the different finch beaks and all the different stages of whale. But your God could have created the final whale directly, without any steps, so why didn’t he?

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by David Turell @, Thursday, September 14, 2017, 01:34 (1063 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: You sense of logic doesn't explain polar bears who swim about eating seafood and never change. And if God can offer cell communities the biochemical knowledge to make major phenotypic and physiologic changes, why does your logic require a two step mechanism? He can do it directly Himself, can't He?

dhw: Polar bears don’t live in the water. They can get ample food without changing. Pre-whales presumably couldn’t. I don’t know what you’re referring to with your ‘two-step mechanism’.

Two steps are: step one, God gives the organisms the info to make their own changes, and step two, the organisms make the changes.

dhw: Cell communities would take as many steps as are needed to reach optimum efficiency. Hence all the different finch beaks and all the different stages of whale. But your God could have created the final whale directly, without any steps, so why didn’t he?

God obviously prefers to evolve organisms. Why all the steps to H. sapiens I might point out to you. It is his pattern of action.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by dhw, Thursday, September 14, 2017, 13:19 (1063 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: You sense of logic doesn't explain polar bears who swim about eating seafood and never change. And if God can offer cell communities the biochemical knowledge to make major phenotypic and physiologic changes, why does your logic require a two step mechanism? He can do it directly Himself, can't He?

dhw: Polar bears don’t live in the water. They can get ample food without changing. Pre-whales presumably couldn’t. I don’t know what you’re referring to with your ‘two-step mechanism’.

DAVID: Two steps are: step one, God gives the organisms the info to make their own changes, and step two, the organisms make the changes.

Thank you. I am never happy with your use of “info” as you sometimes turn it into instructions. My hypothesis is that he has given them the autonomous means (subsumed under “intelligence”) of gathering their own info, of processing it, and of then making the changes.

dhw: Cell communities would take as many steps as are needed to reach optimum efficiency. Hence all the different finch beaks and all the different stages of whale. But your God could have created the final whale directly, without any steps, so why didn’t he?

DAVID: God obviously prefers to evolve organisms. Why all the steps to H. sapiens I might point out to you. It is his pattern of action.

What I keep pointing out to you is the illogicality of your know-it-all God having the prime purpose of producing Homo sapiens and his brain, and yet going all round the mulberry bush to do it – not just with all the other hominins and homos but also with all the lifestyles and natural wonders you insist can only be produced by him. Why could his pattern of action not be to set the wheels of evolution in motion and see where they lead (though granting himself the odd dabble when he feels like it)? THAT hypothesis fits the history of life and accounts for every twig extant and extinct of life’s great bush.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by David Turell @, Thursday, September 14, 2017, 16:08 (1063 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: Cell communities would take as many steps as are needed to reach optimum efficiency. Hence all the different finch beaks and all the different stages of whale. But your God could have created the final whale directly, without any steps, so why didn’t he?

DAVID: God obviously prefers to evolve organisms. Why all the steps to H. sapiens I might point out to you. It is his pattern of action.

dhw: What I keep pointing out to you is the illogicality of your know-it-all God having the prime purpose of producing Homo sapiens and his brain, and yet going all round the mulberry bush to do it – not just with all the other hominins and homos but also with all the lifestyles and natural wonders you insist can only be produced by him. Why could his pattern of action not be to set the wheels of evolution in motion and see where they lead (though granting himself the odd dabble when he feels like it)? THAT hypothesis fits the history of life and accounts for every twig extant and extinct of life’s great bush.

What doesn't fit your theory is the obvious driven portion of evolution. The bush of hominins leading to sapiens has no underlying apparent causative drive, but in the DNA of these folks are found hot spots of mutations, noted in a previous entry. Why not a God who drives evolution? After all He created a life-giving universe. If He has that power why stop and watch as you imply?

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by dhw, Friday, September 15, 2017, 13:29 (1062 days ago) @ David Turell

Once again I am telescoping threads.

Dhw (under “misfolded protein problems”): It is because we don’t know about lots of things that we formulate hypotheses. Yours seem to change from day to day. You now seem to be taking it for granted that God has limits. Not so long ago, he was all-powerful and always in control. Why not acknowledge the possibility (which is all it can be) that what we have IS God’s goal – namely, a massive free-for-all, full of nice and nasty, good and evil, joy and sadness, birth and death, extinction and survival?

DAVID: Obviously I don't see that your conclusion fits the arrival of H. sapiens, but yours does include free will and the chaos it creates. Birth and death, extinctions are requirements of evolution. Your view of God's limits may be requirements of evolving life as a method of creation. As for my apparent changeability, it is the result of your probing questions, requiring me to explore my own theories and consolidate ideas.

Not a conclusion but a hypothesis, and these are not my views of your God’s limits. They are yours, as you constantly shift your ground. My proposal is that your God is NOT limited, and that he deliberately created a free-for-all, i.e. did not WANT to control every twist and turn of evolution. This removes all the convolutions that arise from your anthropocentrism, which is the theory you want to consolidate but can’t. So I am simply asking you to consider an alternative.

DAVID: What doesn't fit your theory is the obvious driven portion of evolution. The bush of hominins leading to sapiens has no underlying apparent causative drive, but in the DNA of these folks are found hot spots of mutations, noted in a previous entry. Why not a God who drives evolution? After all He created a life-giving universe. If He has that power why stop and watch as you imply?

My theory is that evolution is driven by the twin fuels of survival and improvement. There is a perfectly natural progression from use of tools to use of more sophisticated tools to ways of making life more comfortable to ways of making life even more comfortable. This doesn’t solve the great mystery of consciousness, which I accept might stem from a God. As for stopping and watching, it is you who tell us that your God is hidden. Of course he has the power to do what he likes, so ask yourself why there is a higgledy-piggledy bush instead of a straight line to Homo sapiens, and why your God hides, and maybe the answer is that he wanted a higgledy-piggledy bush and once he had set the wheels in motion, he wanted to stop and watch. If he exists, he’s created a great show.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by David Turell @, Friday, September 15, 2017, 15:29 (1062 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: Not a conclusion but a hypothesis, and these are not my views of your God’s limits. They are yours, as you constantly shift your ground. My proposal is that your God is NOT limited, and that he deliberately created a free-for-all, i.e. did not WANT to control every twist and turn of evolution. This removes all the convolutions that arise from your anthropocentrism, which is the theory you want to consolidate but can’t. So I am simply asking you to consider an alternative.

I don't view myself as shifting at all in my basic premise that God is in charge. And we agree He uses an evolutionary mechanism that creates a marvelously inventive bush of life.


DAVID: What doesn't fit your theory is the obvious driven portion of evolution. The bush of hominins leading to sapiens has no underlying apparent causative drive, but in the DNA of these folks are found hot spots of mutations, noted in a previous entry. Why not a God who drives evolution? After all He created a life-giving universe. If He has that power why stop and watch as you imply?

dhw: My theory is that evolution is driven by the twin fuels of survival and improvement. There is a perfectly natural progression from use of tools to use of more sophisticated tools to ways of making life more comfortable to ways of making life even more comfortable. This doesn’t solve the great mystery of consciousness, which I accept might stem from a God. As for stopping and watching, it is you who tell us that your God is hidden. Of course he has the power to do what he likes, so ask yourself why there is a higgledy-piggledy bush instead of a straight line to Homo sapiens, and why your God hides, and maybe the answer is that he wanted a higgledy-piggledy bush and once he had set the wheels in motion, he wanted to stop and watch. If he exists, he’s created a great show.

We both know God is hidden. You can't find Him at all. As for the bush I've accepted God's approach of evolving complex organisms rather than the six day Genesis story. Note He had first to evolve a universe with exploding stars to spread around the necessary life-creating element molecules from their fiery fusion furnaces. God evolves what He wants to create. That conclusion cannot be avoided. As for your theory, what fuels evolution of life is a mechanism that knows how to change for the better, not nebulous concepts of survival and improvement. You are touting purpose, which is fine sounding, but it is obvious that speciation requires foresight and planning by a mental process, in God's brain.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by dhw, Saturday, September 16, 2017, 13:03 (1061 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Not a conclusion but a hypothesis, and these are not my views of your God’s limits. They are yours, as you constantly shift your ground. My proposal is that your God is NOT limited, and that he deliberately created a free-for-all, i.e. did not WANT to control every twist and turn of evolution. This removes all the convolutions that arise from your anthropocentrism, which is the theory you want to consolidate but can’t. So I am simply asking you to consider an alternative.

DAVID: I don't view myself as shifting at all in my basic premise that God is in charge. And we agree He uses an evolutionary mechanism that creates a marvelously inventive bush of life.

If God exists, then of course he is in charge, and of course we agree that he used evolution, and of course we agree that evolution has resulted in a great big bush. Where we don’t agree is that God personally designed every twig of the bush although his prime purpose was to produce Homo sapiens and his brain. THAT is the theory you keep trying to consolidate, and in doing so find yourself shifting ground with every anomaly it throws up.

DAVID: What doesn't fit your theory is the obvious driven portion of evolution. […] Why not a God who drives evolution? After all He created a life-giving universe. If He has that power why stop and watch as you imply?

dhw: My theory is that evolution is driven by the twin fuels of survival and improvement. […] Of course he has the power to do what he likes, so ask yourself why there is a higgledy-piggledy bush instead of a straight line to Homo sapiens, and why your God hides, and maybe the answer is that he wanted a higgledy-piggledy bush and once he had set the wheels in motion, he wanted to stop and watch. If he exists, he’s created a great show.

DAVID: We both know God is hidden. You can't find Him at all. As for the bush I've accepted God's approach of evolving complex organisms rather than the six day Genesis story. Note He had first to evolve a universe with exploding stars to spread around the necessary life-creating element molecules from their fiery fusion furnaces. God evolves what He wants to create. That conclusion cannot be avoided.

As above, the question concerns what he wanted to create. With my theist hat on, I suggest he wanted to create an ever changing show which perhaps he continues to watch. You suggest he wanted to create Homo sapiens, you don’t know why he had to create a higgledy-piggledy bush of whales and monarchs and weaverbirds’ nests and hominins in order to get there, and he’s hidden himself because…well, why has he hidden himself, and is he watching or not?

DAVID: As for your theory, what fuels evolution of life is a mechanism that knows how to change for the better, not nebulous concepts of survival and improvement.

Changing for the better IS improvement! And I don’t see anything nebulous in the concept of survival.

DAVID: You are touting purpose, which is fine sounding, but it is obvious that speciation requires foresight and planning by a mental process, in God's brain.

God’s brain (does he have one?) could have provided the mental process by which organisms work out their own path to speciation. And that process can be one of response and not crystal-ball gazing.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by David Turell @, Saturday, September 16, 2017, 15:17 (1061 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: I don't view myself as shifting at all in my basic premise that God is in charge. And we agree He uses an evolutionary mechanism that creates a marvelously inventive bush of life.

dhw: If God exists, then of course he is in charge, and of course we agree that he used evolution, and of course we agree that evolution has resulted in a great big bush. Where we don’t agree is that God personally designed every twig of the bush although his prime purpose was to produce Homo sapiens and his brain. THAT is the theory you keep trying to consolidate, and in doing so find yourself shifting ground with every anomaly it throws up.

You cannot get around the evidence that the pinnacle of evolution is the human brain, making it an obvious goal. That is all the evidence I need. Look at your own words. If He used evolution and it created a great bush, it was His work. all perfectly logical.

DAVID: We both know God is hidden. You can't find Him at all. As for the bush I've accepted God's approach of evolving complex organisms rather than the six day Genesis story. Note He had first to evolve a universe with exploding stars to spread around the necessary life-creating element molecules from their fiery fusion furnaces. God evolves what He wants to create. That conclusion cannot be avoided.

dhw: As above, the question concerns what he wanted to create. With my theist hat on, I suggest he wanted to create an ever changing show which perhaps he continues to watch. You suggest he wanted to create Homo sapiens, you don’t know why he had to create a higgledy-piggledy bush of whales and monarchs and weaverbirds’ nests and hominins in order to get there, and he’s hidden himself because…well, why has he hidden himself, and is he watching or not?

I recognize those are your questions which keep you agnostic. Accepting God's existence does away with your issues. How logical is God in human terms? Perhaps not at all.


DAVID: You are touting purpose, which is fine sounding, but it is obvious that speciation requires foresight and planning by a mental process, in God's brain.

dhw: God’s brain (does he have one?) could have provided the mental process by which organisms work out their own path to speciation. And that process can be one of response and not crystal-ball gazing.

You can't build a house without a plan. Crystal-ball gazing is required. "Their own path to speciation" response must be a step by step attempt, which cannot produce highly complex physiology or phenotypic change all at once, as the fossil gaps show. You cannot avoid the need for design.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by dhw, Sunday, September 17, 2017, 10:40 (1060 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: You cannot get around the evidence that the pinnacle of evolution is the human brain, making it an obvious goal. That is all the evidence I need. Look at your own words. If He used evolution and it created a great bush, it was His work. all perfectly logical.

I have looked at my own words. If God exists, his work resulted in a great bush and in the brain of Homo sapiens. Of course it’s logical, if God exists. However, the theistic question is the nature of the work, as follows:

dhw: […] the question concerns what he wanted to create. With my theist hat on, I suggest he wanted to create an ever changing show which perhaps he continues to watch. You suggest he wanted to create Homo sapiens, you don’t know why he had to create a higgledy-piggledy bush of whales and monarchs and weaverbirds’ nests and hominins in order to get there, and he’s hidden himself because…well, why has he hidden himself, and is he watching or not?

DAVID: I recognize those are your questions which keep you agnostic. Accepting God's existence does away with your issues. How logical is God in human terms? Perhaps not at all.

They are not the questions that keep me agnostic. They are the questions I ask when I put on my theist hat, and you cannot answer them because they pinpoint the anomalies in your anthropocentric theory of evolution and your personal concept of your God.

DAVID: You are touting purpose, which is fine sounding, but it is obvious that speciation requires foresight and planning by a mental process, in God's brain.
dhw: God’s brain (does he have one?) could have provided the mental process by which organisms work out their own path to speciation. And that process can be one of response and not crystal-ball gazing.
DAVID: You can't build a house without a plan. Crystal-ball gazing is required. "Their own path to speciation" response must be a step by step attempt, which cannot produce highly complex physiology or phenotypic change all at once, as the fossil gaps show. You cannot avoid the need for design.

We are not talking about house-building but about how organisms change. Nobody understands the latter. But we actually see it happening in cases of minor adaptation, and this is in RESPONSE to environmental change. If it is not rapid, organisms will die. We have no idea how swiftly organisms can make major changes to themselves. You simply assume they can’t do it. You may be right, and you may be wrong – it is a hypothesis. I don’t know why you think I am avoiding the need for design. I am only questioning the need for your God to do all the designing. (And to please you, I can even allow for the odd dabble, which might include sapiens’ brain, though as I pointed out earlier, I can see that as a perfectly logical progression from earlier brains.) For instance, I see no reason why – in his quest to produce the human brain – he should have taken the trouble to design eight stages of whale, to guide the monarch butterfly to its distant destination (having also fiddled with its reproductive cycle), and to give the weaverbird private lessons in nest-building.

(This post also answers the points made under “revisiting convergence”.)`

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by David Turell @, Sunday, September 17, 2017, 15:34 (1060 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: I recognize those are your questions which keep you agnostic. Accepting God's existence does away with your issues. How logical is God in human terms? Perhaps not at all.

dhw: They are not the questions that keep me agnostic. They are the questions I ask when I put on my theist hat, and you cannot answer them because they pinpoint the anomalies in your anthropocentric theory of evolution and your personal concept of your God.

Your theistic hat contains a human attempt to be logical about God, rather than accepting the evidence that God's works offer. He can only be understood from what we see He created and how it seems He did it.

DAVID: You can't build a house without a plan. Crystal-ball gazing is required. "Their own path to speciation" response must be a step by step attempt, which cannot produce highly complex physiology or phenotypic change all at once, as the fossil gaps show. You cannot avoid the need for design.

dhw: We are not talking about house-building but about how organisms change. Nobody understands the latter. But we actually see it happening in cases of minor adaptation, and this is in RESPONSE to environmental change. If it is not rapid, organisms will die. We have no idea how swiftly organisms can make major changes to themselves. You simply assume they can’t do it. You may be right, and you may be wrong – it is a hypothesis. I don’t know why you think I am avoiding the need for design. I am only questioning the need for your God to do all the designing. (And to please you, I can even allow for the odd dabble, which might include sapiens’ brain, though as I pointed out earlier, I can see that as a perfectly logical progression from earlier brains.) For instance, I see no reason why – in his quest to produce the human brain – he should have taken the trouble to design eight stages of whale, to guide the monarch butterfly to its distant destination (having also fiddled with its reproductive cycle), and to give the weaverbird private lessons in nest-building.

You are not avoiding design, but trying to find ways around the principals of how design occurs. You know how it occurs in human terms on Earth today. Since you don't like the concept of God, the hidden eternal engineer of reality, you want a mechanism to appear, by itself, which must be by chance, after life appears (somehow, but lets avoid that miracle), that speciates with huge gaps in the fossil record. The fossil record leaps and jumps. Why don't you restart your thinking from that point of view? I find the basic footprints of your theories planted firmly in mid air.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by dhw, Monday, September 18, 2017, 10:11 (1059 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: With my theist hat on, I suggest he wanted to create an ever changing show which perhaps he continues to watch. You suggest he wanted to create Homo sapiens, you don’t know why he had to create a higgledy-piggledy bush of whales and monarchs and weaverbirds’ nests and hominins in order to get there, and he’s hidden himself because…well, why has he hidden himself, and is he watching or not?

DAVID: I recognize those are your questions which keep you agnostic. Accepting God's existence does away with your issues. How logical is God in human terms? Perhaps not at all.
dhw: They are not the questions that keep me agnostic. They are the questions I ask when I put on my theist hat, and you cannot answer them because they pinpoint the anomalies in your anthropocentric theory of evolution and your personal concept of your God.

DAVID: Your theistic hat contains a human attempt to be logical about God, rather than accepting the evidence that God's works offer. He can only be understood from what we see He created and how it seems He did it.

Of course my logic is human, but what makes you think it is not based on the evidence that your God’s works offer? Even you have agreed that my hypothesis fits in perfectly with the history of life as we know it! Yours doesn’t, which is why you don't answer the questions raised at the head of this post.

DAVID: You are not avoiding design, but trying to find ways around the principals of how design occurs. You know how it occurs in human terms on Earth today. Since you don't like the concept of God, the hidden eternal engineer of reality, you want a mechanism to appear, by itself, which must be by chance, after life appears (somehow, but lets avoid that miracle), that speciates with huge gaps in the fossil record.

Hey, hold on! Design occurs through intelligence, and I am proposing that all organisms are intelligent in their own particular way. Who says I don’t like the concept of God? I am an agnostic, not an atheist. I do not “want a mechanism that appears by itself by chance”! Its origin is a mystery, which is why I always specify that the mechanism may have been invented by your God. This is the unworthy digression you always indulge in when I challenge your version of how evolution works and of what your God’s purpose might be. That is why I put on my theist’s hat, so that we can begin with the same basic premise.

DAVID: The fossil record leaps and jumps. Why don't you restart your thinking from that point of view? I find the basic footprints of your theories planted firmly in mid air.

If your God was capable of preprogramming every leap and jump 3.8 billion years ago, I’m sure he was also capable of producing a mechanism that would do its own leaping and jumping. Once more: I am not excluding your God. I am challenging your hypothesis that your God designed every twig on the higgledy-piggledy bush, and that he did so in order to fulfil his primary purpose of producing the human brain.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by David Turell @, Monday, September 18, 2017, 17:49 (1059 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: With my theist hat on, I suggest he wanted to create an ever changing show which perhaps he continues to watch. You suggest he wanted to create Homo sapiens, you don’t know why he had to create a higgledy-piggledy bush of whales and monarchs and weaverbirds’ nests and hominins in order to get there, and he’s hidden himself because…well, why has he hidden himself, and is he watching or not?

We know he's there because only a designing mind could have created life. We don't know if He is watching, but since He is in charge, I'm sure he is. Why create and n ot watch the outcomes?


DAVID: You are not avoiding design, but trying to find ways around the principals of how design occurs. You know how it occurs in human terms on Earth today. Since you don't like the concept of God, the hidden eternal engineer of reality, you want a mechanism to appear, by itself, which must be by chance, after life appears (somehow, but lets avoid that miracle), that speciates with huge gaps in the fossil record.

dhw: Hey, hold on! Design occurs through intelligence, and I am proposing that all organisms are intelligent in their own particular way. Who says I don’t like the concept of God? I am an agnostic, not an atheist. I do not “want a mechanism that appears by itself by chance”! Its origin is a mystery, which is why I always specify that the mechanism may have been invented by your God. This is the unworthy digression you always indulge in when I challenge your version of how evolution works and of what your God’s purpose might be. That is why I put on my theist’s hat, so that we can begin with the same basic premise.

We don't start with the same basic premise. Your theist hat is skewed, and you don't realize it. For example I don't know why God made the whales but I can sure He did because of the obvious design planning that must be done to span each gap between the eight stages. You want organisms to be their own architects to jump to the next species. Your theory fits only minor adaptations in existing species.


DAVID: The fossil record leaps and jumps. Why don't you restart your thinking from that point of view? I find the basic footprints of your theories planted firmly in mid air.

dhw: If your God was capable of preprogramming every leap and jump 3.8 billion years ago, I’m sure he was also capable of producing a mechanism that would do its own leaping and jumping. Once more: I am not excluding your God. I am challenging your hypothesis that your God designed every twig on the higgledy-piggledy bush, and that he did so in order to fulfil his primary purpose of producing the human brain.

Either way, under your theory, God is in charge. don't you realize that?

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by dhw, Tuesday, September 19, 2017, 11:53 (1058 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: We know he's there because only a designing mind could have created life. We don't know if He is watching, but since He is in charge, I'm sure he is. Why create and not watch the outcomes?

We don’t “know” anything, but if he is there, and you believe he is watching but stays hidden, is it not possible that he started the show off because he wanted a show he could watch? What do you think would be more interesting: a lot of robots doing precisely what you have instructed them to do, or a free-for-all with unpredictable outcomes?

dhw: Design occurs through intelligence, and I am proposing that all organisms are intelligent in their own particular way. Who says I don’t like the concept of God? I am an agnostic, not an atheist. I do not “want a mechanism that appears by itself by chance”! Its origin is a mystery, which is why I always specify that the mechanism may have been invented by your God. This is the unworthy digression you always indulge in when I challenge your version of how evolution works and of what your God’s purpose might be. That is why I put on my theist’s hat, so that we can begin with the same basic premise.

DAVID: We don't start with the same basic premise. Your theist hat is skewed, and you don't realize it. For example I don't know why God made the whales but I can sure He did because of the obvious design planning that must be done to span each gap between the eight stages. You want organisms to be their own architects to jump to the next species. Your theory fits only minor adaptations in existing species.

The basic premise is that God exists and does what he wants to do. You go on to say your God designed the eight stages of whale and you don’t know why. I go on to say your God gave the whale the intelligence to adapt of its own accord to a new environment which would improve its way of life (possibly even to ensure its survival). You go on to say that your God’s prime purpose was to create Homo sapiens’ brain. I go on to say that doesn’t fit in with the higgledy-piggledy bush of evolution’s history. A free-for-all fits in perfectly (though he can still dabble if he wants to). I have agreed that we do not know if my hypothesis concerning the DEGREE of organismal intelligence is correct. Nor do we know if your hypothesis concerning a 3.8-billion-year computer programme for the whole of evolutionary history is correct. Same basic premise, different interpretation of how it applies to evolution.

DAVID: Either way, under your theory, God is in charge. don't you realize that?

Dhw: (Saturday 16 September at 13.03): If God exists, then of course he is in charge, and of course we agree that he used evolution, and of course we agree that evolution has resulted in a great big bush. Where we don’t agree is that God personally designed every twig of the bush although his prime purpose was to produce Homo sapiens and his brain. THAT is the theory you keep trying to consolidate, and in doing so find yourself shifting ground with every anomaly it throws up.
I stand by every word of my earlier post.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by David Turell @, Tuesday, September 19, 2017, 14:57 (1058 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: We know he's there because only a designing mind could have created life. We don't know if He is watching, but since He is in charge, I'm sure he is. Why create and not watch the outcomes?

dhw: We don’t “know” anything, but if he is there, and you believe he is watching but stays hidden, is it not possible that he started the show off because he wanted a show he could watch? What do you think would be more interesting: a lot of robots doing precisely what you have instructed them to do, or a free-for-all with unpredictable outcomes?

So God is like a sports spectator! How humanizing.


DAVID: We don't start with the same basic premise. Your theist hat is skewed, and you don't realize it. For example I don't know why God made the whales but I can sure He did because of the obvious design planning that must be done to span each gap between the eight stages. You want organisms to be their own architects to jump to the next species. Your theory fits only minor adaptations in existing species.

The basic premise is that God exists and does what he wants to do. You go on to say your God designed the eight stages of whale and you don’t know why. I go on to say your God gave the whale the intelligence to adapt of its own accord to a new environment which would improve its way of life (possibly even to ensure its survival). You go on to say that your God’s prime purpose was to create Homo sapiens’ brain. I go on to say that doesn’t fit in with the higgledy-piggledy bush of evolution’s history. A free-for-all fits in perfectly (though he can still dabble if he wants to). I have agreed that we do not know if my hypothesis concerning the DEGREE of organismal intelligence is correct. Nor do we know if your hypothesis concerning a 3.8-billion-year computer programme for the whole of evolutionary history is correct. Same basic premise, different interpretation of how it applies to evolution.

DAVID: Either way, under your theory, God is in charge. don't you realize that?

Dhw: (Saturday 16 September at 13.03): If God exists, then of course he is in charge, and of course we agree that he used evolution, and of course we agree that evolution has resulted in a great big bush. Where we don’t agree is that God personally designed every twig of the bush although his prime purpose was to produce Homo sapiens and his brain. THAT is the theory you keep trying to consolidate, and in doing so find yourself shifting ground with every anomaly it throws up.
dhw: I stand by every word of my earlier post.

And I stand by my interpretations.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by dhw, Wednesday, September 20, 2017, 13:37 (1057 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: We know he's there because only a designing mind could have created life. We don't know if He is watching, but since He is in charge, I'm sure he is. Why create and not watch the outcomes?

dhw: We don’t “know” anything, but if he is there, and you believe he is watching but stays hidden, is it not possible that he started the show off because he wanted a show he could watch? What do you think would be more interesting: a lot of robots doing precisely what you have instructed them to do, or a free-for-all with unpredictable outcomes?

DAVID: So God is like a sports spectator! How humanizing.

You said above that you thought he was watching: “Why create and not watch the outcomes?” So please give us your theory as to why he’s watching if he’s not interested in what’s happening, like a sports spectator.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by David Turell @, Wednesday, September 20, 2017, 15:01 (1057 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: We know he's there because only a designing mind could have created life. We don't know if He is watching, but since He is in charge, I'm sure he is. Why create and not watch the outcomes?

dhw: We don’t “know” anything, but if he is there, and you believe he is watching but stays hidden, is it not possible that he started the show off because he wanted a show he could watch? What do you think would be more interesting: a lot of robots doing precisely what you have instructed them to do, or a free-for-all with unpredictable outcomes?

DAVID: So God is like a sports spectator! How humanizing.

dhw: You said above that you thought he was watching: “Why create and not watch the outcomes?” So please give us your theory as to why he’s watching if he’s not interested in what’s happening, like a sports spectator.

I don't think He watches in a human way.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by dhw, Thursday, September 21, 2017, 13:06 (1056 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: We know he's there because only a designing mind could have created life. We don't know if He is watching, but since He is in charge, I'm sure he is. Why create and not watch the outcomes?

dhw: We don’t “know” anything, but if he is there, and you believe he is watching but stays hidden, is it not possible that he started the show off because he wanted a show he could watch? What do you think would be more interesting: a lot of robots doing precisely what you have instructed them to do, or a free-for-all with unpredictable outcomes?

DAVID: So God is like a sports spectator! How humanizing.

dhw: You said above that you thought he was watching: “Why create and not watch the outcomes?” So please give us your theory as to why he’s watching if he’s not interested in what’s happening, like a sports spectator.

DAVID: I don't think He watches in a human way.

So when you asked: “Why create and not watch the outcomes?” what did you mean by “watch”? If it means looking at what is happening, and it's reasonable for him to look at what is happening, why would it not be reasonable to assume that he is interested in what is happening?

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by David Turell @, Thursday, September 21, 2017, 15:14 (1056 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: So God is like a sports spectator! How humanizing.

dhw: You said above that you thought he was watching: “Why create and not watch the outcomes?” So please give us your theory as to why he’s watching if he’s not interested in what’s happening, like a sports spectator.

DAVID: I don't think He watches in a human way.

dhw: So when you asked: “Why create and not watch the outcomes?” what did you mean by “watch”? If it means looking at what is happening, and it's reasonable for him to look at what is happening, why would it not be reasonable to assume that he is interested in what is happening?

Of course interested, but in His own way, not humanized

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by dhw, Friday, September 22, 2017, 13:19 (1055 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: So God is like a sports spectator! How humanizing.

dhw: You said above that you thought he was watching: “Why create and not watch the outcomes?” So please give us your theory as to why he’s watching if he’s not interested in what’s happening, like a sports spectator.

DAVID: I don't think He watches in a human way.

dhw: So when you asked: “Why create and not watch the outcomes?” what did you mean by “watch”? If it means looking at what is happening, and it's reasonable for him to look at what is happening, why would it not be reasonable to assume that he is interested in what is happening?

DAVID: Of course interested, but in His own way, not humanized.

So he creates a show and watches it with interest. I’ll settle for that and leave you to imagine what sort of watching is different from human watching, and what sort of interest is different from human interest.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by David Turell @, Friday, September 22, 2017, 15:03 (1055 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: So God is like a sports spectator! How humanizing.

dhw: You said above that you thought he was watching: “Why create and not watch the outcomes?” So please give us your theory as to why he’s watching if he’s not interested in what’s happening, like a sports spectator.

DAVID: I don't think He watches in a human way.

dhw: So when you asked: “Why create and not watch the outcomes?” what did you mean by “watch”? If it means looking at what is happening, and it's reasonable for him to look at what is happening, why would it not be reasonable to assume that he is interested in what is happening?

DAVID: Of course interested, but in His own way, not humanized.

dhw: So he creates a show and watches it with interest. I’ll settle for that and leave you to imagine what sort of watching is different from human watching, and what sort of interest is different from human interest.

It is obvious I do not know, and do not try because He is a personality like none other.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by dhw, Saturday, September 23, 2017, 12:48 (1054 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: I don't think He watches in a human way.

dhw: So when you asked: “Why create and not watch the outcomes?” what did you mean by “watch”? If it means looking at what is happening, and it's reasonable for him to look at what is happening, why would it not be reasonable to assume that he is interested in what is happening?

DAVID: Of course interested, but in His own way, not humanized.

dhw: So he creates a show and watches it with interest. I’ll settle for that and leave you to imagine what sort of watching is different from human watching, and what sort of interest is different from human interest.

DAVID: It is obvious I do not know, and do not try because He is a personality like none other.

How do you know he is a personality like none other? How do you know that his way of watching the show and his interest in it is not precisely the same as our way of watching and being interested? If, as some folk believe, he made us in his image, then it stands to reason that we reflect his image. You have even argued that our consciousness is a piece of his consciousness, which returns to him when we die. So how do you know that a piece of his consciousness is unlike his consciousness?

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by David Turell @, Saturday, September 23, 2017, 14:38 (1054 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: I don't think He watches in a human way.

dhw: So when you asked: “Why create and not watch the outcomes?” what did you mean by “watch”? If it means looking at what is happening, and it's reasonable for him to look at what is happening, why would it not be reasonable to assume that he is interested in what is happening?

DAVID: Of course interested, but in His own way, not humanized.

dhw: So he creates a show and watches it with interest. I’ll settle for that and leave you to imagine what sort of watching is different from human watching, and what sort of interest is different from human interest.

DAVID: It is obvious I do not know, and do not try because He is a personality like none other.

dhw: How do you know he is a personality like none other? How do you know that his way of watching the show and his interest in it is not precisely the same as our way of watching and being interested? If, as some folk believe, he made us in his image, then it stands to reason that we reflect his image. You have even argued that our consciousness is a piece of his consciousness, which returns to him when we die. So how do you know that a piece of his consciousness is unlike his consciousness?

As to his personality I'm quoting Adler, whose teachings I follow. As for consciousness, the basic mechanism may be the same but the personal thought process different. We may well use it differently.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by dhw, Sunday, September 24, 2017, 13:22 (1053 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Of course interested, but in His own way, not humanized.

dhw: So he creates a show and watches it with interest. I’ll settle for that and leave you to imagine what sort of watching is different from human watching, and what sort of interest is different from human interest.

DAVID: It is obvious I do not know, and do not try because He is a personality like none other.

dhw: How do you know he is a personality like none other? How do you know that his way of watching the show and his interest in it is not precisely the same as our way of watching and being interested? If, as some folk believe, he made us in his image, then it stands to reason that we reflect his image. You have even argued that our consciousness is a piece of his consciousness, which returns to him when we die. So how do you know that a piece of his consciousness is unlike his consciousness?

DAVID: As to his personality I'm quoting Adler, whose teachings I follow. As for consciousness, the basic mechanism may be the same but the personal thought process different. We may well use it differently.

So how do you and your teacher Adler know your God is a personality like none other and indulges in a kind of watching and interest that is different from ours?

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by David Turell @, Sunday, September 24, 2017, 14:43 (1053 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: As to his personality I'm quoting Adler, whose teachings I follow. As for consciousness, the basic mechanism may be the same but the personal thought process different. We may well use it differently.

dhw: So how do you and your teacher Adler know your God is a personality like none other and indulges in a kind of watching and interest that is different from ours?

It is an assumption based on the seeming powers, yet remoteness, of God

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by dhw, Monday, September 25, 2017, 13:21 (1052 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: As to his personality I'm quoting Adler, whose teachings I follow. As for consciousness, the basic mechanism may be the same but the personal thought process different. We may well use it differently.

dhw: So how do you and your teacher Adler know your God is a personality like none other and indulges in a kind of watching and interest that is different from ours?

DAVID: It is an assumption based on the seeming powers, yet remoteness, of God.

Why do you assume that watching and being interested in his own creation has a different meaning for your God just because he is all-powerful and remote? I do wish you and Adler would explain what you think the words might mean to him. If you can’t, then why not assume that when you say your God is watching and is interested, he is "watching" and is "interested"?

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by David Turell @, Monday, September 25, 2017, 14:31 (1052 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: As to his personality I'm quoting Adler, whose teachings I follow. As for consciousness, the basic mechanism may be the same but the personal thought process different. We may well use it differently.

dhw: So how do you and your teacher Adler know your God is a personality like none other and indulges in a kind of watching and interest that is different from ours?

DAVID: It is an assumption based on the seeming powers, yet remoteness, of God.

dhw: Why do you assume that watching and being interested in his own creation has a different meaning for your God just because he is all-powerful and remote? I do wish you and Adler would explain what you think the words might mean to him. If you can’t, then why not assume that when you say your God is watching and is interested, he is "watching" and is "interested"?

Because we think He does it in His own particular way.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by dhw, Tuesday, September 26, 2017, 12:10 (1051 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: So how do you and your teacher Adler know your God is a personality like none other and indulges in a kind of watching and interest that is different from ours?

DAVID: It is an assumption based on the seeming powers, yet remoteness, of God.

dhw: Why do you assume that watching and being interested in his own creation has a different meaning for your God just because he is all-powerful and remote? I do wish you and Adler would explain what you think the words might mean to him. If you can’t, then why not assume that when you say your God is watching and is interested, he is "watching" and is "interested"?

DAVID: Because we think He does it in His own particular way.

I’ll settle for that. Your God created life and evolution to provide himself with a show which, like all of us, he could watch with interest in his own particular way.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by dhw, Friday, September 29, 2017, 13:29 (1048 days ago) @ dhw

Once more I am bringing different threads together, as the arguments interlink.

DAVID’s comment (under "frog self-protection"): Unless these moths had these chemicals from the beginning of their species, they would not be here now. I think they were designed to be protected this way.
dhw: […] is it just possible that the now acknowledged capability for autonomous design was in operation for both the frog and the moth?
DAVID: You keep pushing your idea that God gave organisms the ability to speciate or to create irreducibly complex mechanisms. I have specifically, in both comments above, specified the need for design. And as always it is programmed from the beginning or it is a dabble. The 'capability for autonomous design' is epigenetic adaptation at the level we have discovered.

Thank you for answering my question: you believe that 3.8 billion years ago your God either provided the first living cells with a programme for the poisonous frogs and moths, or he specially created these variations in existing frogs and moths (assuming you still believe in common descent). This leads to the following point:

dhw (under “frog adaptation”):Clearly they have nothing to do with producing the brain of Homo sapiens, and you have agreed that “balance of nature” means nothing more than that life goes on, regardless of whether humans are there or not. So could it be that you are now saying your God specially designs all these things for the sake of the show (of which humans are simply one part), which he watches with interest in his own special way?
DAVID: I've not changed and neither have you. Balance of nature is absolutely necessary to produce the human brain, exactly to keep solve the issue of 'life goes on' by providing the necessary energy supply.

And so your all-powerful God could not have provided the necessary energy supply to produce the human brain without preprogramming/dabbling the poisonous moths and frogs, the weaverbird’s nest, the eight stages of whale, the monarch butterfly’s life cycle, plus all the innovations, lifestyles and natural wonders that no longer exist. And this makes sense to you?

DAVID: The brain is the current endpoint of evolution. The possibility of a 'show' is your side issue. I see God full of purpose, not theatrics, which might be a favorite subject of yours as a playwright.

What purpose? All you offer is H. sapiens’ brain! (You did once mention a desire to communicate with us, but that became a problem with our interlocutor being hidden.) I have suggested purposes for individual organisms and for your God producing the whole bush of evolution AND the human brain. You wrote: “We don’t know if he is watching, but since he is in charge, I’m sure he is. Why create and not watch the outcomes?” And you conceded that this must mean he is interested. If this doesn’t suggests a show of some kind, perhaps you will tell us what other purpose you think he had in creating the higgledy-piggledy bush of a billion and one organisms, lifestyles and wonders, including the brain of Homo sapiens, while remaining hidden and watching with interest.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by David Turell @, Friday, September 29, 2017, 15:05 (1048 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: I've not changed and neither have you. Balance of nature is absolutely necessary to produce the human brain, exactly to keep solve the issue of 'life goes on' by providing the necessary energy supply.

dhw: And so your all-powerful God could not have provided the necessary energy supply to produce the human brain without preprogramming/dabbling the poisonous moths and frogs, the weaverbird’s nest, the eight stages of whale, the monarch butterfly’s life cycle, plus all the innovations, lifestyles and natural wonders that no longer exist. And this makes sense to you?

DAVID: The brain is the current endpoint of evolution. The possibility of a 'show' is your side issue. I see God full of purpose, not theatrics, which might be a favorite subject of yours as a playwright.

dhw: What purpose? All you offer is H. sapiens’ brain! (You did once mention a desire to communicate with us, but that became a problem with our interlocutor being hidden.) I have suggested purposes for individual organisms and for your God producing the whole bush of evolution AND the human brain. You wrote: “We don’t know if he is watching, but since he is in charge, I’m sure he is. Why create and not watch the outcomes?” And you conceded that this must mean he is interested. If this doesn’t suggests a show of some kind, perhaps you will tell us what other purpose you think he had in creating the higgledy-piggledy bush of a billion and one organisms, lifestyles and wonders, including the brain of Homo sapiens, while remaining hidden and watching with interest.

Your confusion about my theory is that you refuse to recognize that evolution takes time and must be supported during the long periods. There must be a balance of nature to provide energy for life to continue to evolve. God uses evolution in all He does. That is what history tells us. I really don't delve any deeper. I'm satisfied with how all of that fits together. I'm sorry you don't see the connections.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by dhw, Saturday, September 30, 2017, 13:20 (1047 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: I've not changed and neither have you. Balance of nature is absolutely necessary to produce the human brain, exactly to keep solve the issue of 'life goes on' by providing the necessary energy supply.

dhw: And so your all-powerful God could not have provided the necessary energy supply to produce the human brain without preprogramming/dabbling the poisonous moths and frogs, the weaverbird’s nest, the eight stages of whale, the monarch butterfly’s life cycle, plus all the innovations, lifestyles and natural wonders that no longer exist. And this makes sense to you?

DAVID: The brain is the current endpoint of evolution. The possibility of a 'show' is your side issue. I see God full of purpose, not theatrics, which might be a favorite subject of yours as a playwright.

dhw: What purpose? All you offer is H. sapiens’ brain! (You did once mention a desire to communicate with us, but that became a problem with our interlocutor being hidden.) I have suggested purposes for individual organisms and for your God producing the whole bush of evolution AND the human brain. You wrote: “We don’t know if he is watching, but since he is in charge, I’m sure he is. Why create and not watch the outcomes?” And you conceded that this must mean he is interested. If this doesn’t suggests a show of some kind, perhaps you will tell us what other purpose you think he had in creating the higgledy-piggledy bush of a billion and one organisms, lifestyles and wonders, including the brain of Homo sapiens, while remaining hidden and watching with interest.

DAVID: Your confusion about my theory is that you refuse to recognize that evolution takes time and must be supported during the long periods. There must be a balance of nature to provide energy for life to continue to evolve. God uses evolution in all He does. That is what history tells us. I really don't delve any deeper. I'm satisfied with how all of that fits together. I'm sorry you don't see the connections.

I recognize that evolution has been going on for billions of years, and that it couldn’t continue if it couldn’t continue. How does that make the brain of H. sapiens the purpose of the eight stages of whale, the weaverbird’s nest, the monarch’s migration, the frog’s poison, and every other innovation, lifestyle and natural wonder you can think of? The problem is that the deeper we delve, the more disconnected your hypothesis becomes. I notice you are also avoiding the subject of purpose, which you were so keen to push before. But perhaps you are right not to delve. When people are satisfied, perhaps one shouldn’t question their beliefs. And yet Dawkins is another who seems to be satisfied with how it all fits together, but you don’t hesitate to delve.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by David Turell @, Saturday, September 30, 2017, 15:03 (1047 days ago) @ dhw


dhw: What purpose? All you offer is H. sapiens’ brain! (You did once mention a desire to communicate with us, but that became a problem with our interlocutor being hidden.) I have suggested purposes for individual organisms and for your God producing the whole bush of evolution AND the human brain. You wrote: “We don’t know if he is watching, but since he is in charge, I’m sure he is. Why create and not watch the outcomes?” And you conceded that this must mean he is interested. If this doesn’t suggests a show of some kind, perhaps you will tell us what other purpose you think he had in creating the higgledy-piggledy bush of a billion and one organisms, lifestyles and wonders, including the brain of Homo sapiens, while remaining hidden and watching with interest.

DAVID: Your confusion about my theory is that you refuse to recognize that evolution takes time and must be supported during the long periods. There must be a balance of nature to provide energy for life to continue to evolve. God uses evolution in all He does. That is what history tells us. I really don't delve any deeper. I'm satisfied with how all of that fits together. I'm sorry you don't see the connections.

dhw: I recognize that evolution has been going on for billions of years, and that it couldn’t continue if it couldn’t continue. How does that make the brain of H. sapiens the purpose of the eight stages of whale, the weaverbird’s nest, the monarch’s migration, the frog’s poison, and every other innovation, lifestyle and natural wonder you can think of? The problem is that the deeper we delve, the more disconnected your hypothesis becomes. I notice you are also avoiding the subject of purpose, which you were so keen to push before. But perhaps you are right not to delve. When people are satisfied, perhaps one shouldn’t question their beliefs. And yet Dawkins is another who seems to be satisfied with how it all fits together, but you don’t hesitate to delve.

I haven't avoided the issue of purpose. It is you who seem to avoid it. Humans with their amazing brain is the primary purpose, which you always wish to deny. The other evolutionary developments support complex ecosystems which support evolution. To me it all fits together, so why delve deeper. Where is the deeper?

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by dhw, Sunday, October 01, 2017, 13:38 (1046 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: What purpose? All you offer is H. sapiens’ brain! (You did once mention a desire to communicate with us, but that became a problem with our interlocutor being hidden.) I have suggested purposes for individual organisms and for your God producing the whole bush of evolution AND the human brain. You wrote: “We don’t know if he is watching, but since he is in charge, I’m sure he is. Why create and not watch the outcomes?” And you conceded that this must mean he is interested. If this doesn’t suggests a show of some kind, perhaps you will tell us what other purpose you think he had in creating the higgledy-piggledy bush of a billion and one organisms, lifestyles and wonders, including the brain of Homo sapiens, while remaining hidden and watching with interest.
[…]
dhw: The problem is that the deeper we delve, the more disconnected your hypothesis becomes. I notice you are also avoiding the subject of purpose, which you were so keen to push before. But perhaps you are right not to delve. When people are satisfied, perhaps one shouldn’t question their beliefs. And yet Dawkins is another who seems to be satisfied with how it all fits together, but you don’t hesitate to delve.

DAVID: I haven't avoided the issue of purpose. It is you who seem to avoid it. Humans with their amazing brain is the primary purpose, which you always wish to deny. The other evolutionary developments support complex ecosystems which support evolution. To me it all fits together, so why delve deeper. Where is the deeper?

I have reproduced the paragraph which I devoted to purpose and to which you have not responded. If your all-powerful God deliberately created all the complex organisms and ecosystems extant and extinct (which would have to include all the environmental changes – one of several issues you vacillate over), and if they were not directly connected to the production of the human brain (even you can’t find a connection between eight stages of whale, the weaverbird’s nest, the frog’s poison etc. and the human brain), then maybe they had another purpose. And maybe that other purpose also applied to the human brain. Or don’t you think he must have had a purpose in producing the human brain? That is what I call delving deeper. Until you can explain how your God’s personal design or preprogramming of the weaverbird’s nest “fits together” with the production of the human brain, there can be no “fitting together” of your prime purpose and the history of evolution.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by David Turell @, Sunday, October 01, 2017, 14:37 (1046 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: What purpose? All you offer is H. sapiens’ brain! (You did once mention a desire to communicate with us, but that became a problem with our interlocutor being hidden.) I have suggested purposes for individual organisms and for your God producing the whole bush of evolution AND the human brain. You wrote: “We don’t know if he is watching, but since he is in charge, I’m sure he is. Why create and not watch the outcomes?” And you conceded that this must mean he is interested. If this doesn’t suggests a show of some kind, perhaps you will tell us what other purpose you think he had in creating the higgledy-piggledy bush of a billion and one organisms, lifestyles and wonders, including the brain of Homo sapiens, while remaining hidden and watching with interest.
[…]
dhw: The problem is that the deeper we delve, the more disconnected your hypothesis becomes. I notice you are also avoiding the subject of purpose, which you were so keen to push before. But perhaps you are right not to delve. When people are satisfied, perhaps one shouldn’t question their beliefs. And yet Dawkins is another who seems to be satisfied with how it all fits together, but you don’t hesitate to delve.

DAVID: I haven't avoided the issue of purpose. It is you who seem to avoid it. Humans with their amazing brain is the primary purpose, which you always wish to deny. The other evolutionary developments support complex ecosystems which support evolution. To me it all fits together, so why delve deeper. Where is the deeper?

dhw: I have reproduced the paragraph which I devoted to purpose and to which you have not responded. If your all-powerful God deliberately created all the complex organisms and ecosystems extant and extinct (which would have to include all the environmental changes – one of several issues you vacillate over), and if they were not directly connected to the production of the human brain (even you can’t find a connection between eight stages of whale, the weaverbird’s nest, the frog’s poison etc. and the human brain), then maybe they had another purpose. And maybe that other purpose also applied to the human brain. Or don’t you think he must have had a purpose in producing the human brain? That is what I call delving deeper. Until you can explain how your God’s personal design or preprogramming of the weaverbird’s nest “fits together” with the production of the human brain, there can be no “fitting together” of your prime purpose and the history of evolution.

My not delving into your thought processes of God's purposes is I find many of your questions unanswerable as I have stated. We can only understand God through what He has produced. His motives, from our standpoint are only educated guesses. You have yours, influenced from your non-belief, I have mine. Mine look consistent to me. Yours make me think, but if I have no answer to your questions, it is generally because I don't see how to reach one I can believe. As for watching, since God created form and function, I'm sure He watches to see how His creations are working out their lives at a functional level. Does He judge human choices and moral behavior? Doubtful. As for fitting in whales, weaverbirds, etc., I'll stick with ecosystems for food supply.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by dhw, Monday, October 02, 2017, 13:39 (1045 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: […] Until you can explain how your God’s personal design or preprogramming of the weaverbird’s nest “fits together” with the production of the human brain, there can be no “fitting together” of your prime purpose and the history of evolution.

DAVID: My not delving into your thought processes of God's purposes is I find many of your questions unanswerable as I have stated. We can only understand God through what He has produced. His motives, from our standpoint are only educated guesses. You have yours, influenced from your non-belief, I have mine. Mine look consistent to me. Yours make me think, but if I have no answer to your questions, it is generally because I don't see how to reach one I can believe. As for watching, since God created form and function, I'm sure He watches to see how His creations are working out their lives at a functional level. Does He judge human choices and moral behavior? Doubtful. As for fitting in whales, weaverbirds, etc., I'll stick with ecosystems for food supply.

As always, I appreciate your honesty in admitting that your hypothesis raises questions you cannot answer. That is why I keep asking you to consider other hypotheses. If God exists, we can indeed only try to understand him through what he has produced, and what he has produced does not fit in with your hypothesis. I shan’t repeat the long list of anomalies, since you acknowledge them as questions you can’t answer. My own theistic hypothesis is not “influenced by my non-belief” (when I put on my theist’s hat, I don’t suddenly become an atheist!) – it is influenced by my attempt to find a coherent explanation for evolution’s history. I agree that humans are especially self-aware and intelligent, and so they may have been an afterthought, or the result of experimentation or a dabble, but that does not make them the “prime” purpose, which needs to explain the weaverbird’s nest as well as the human brain. The motive I suggest is the spectacle (which even you think he must be watching), and the method is a free-for-all, so we needn’t wonder why he specially created the whale and the weaverbird's nest and the frog's poison. The simple answer is that he didn’t. He only created the means whereby they (their intelligent cell communities) did their own creating. Just a hypothesis, but which of your “unanswerable” questions does it fail to answer?

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by David Turell @, Monday, October 02, 2017, 15:32 (1045 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: […] Until you can explain how your God’s personal design or preprogramming of the weaverbird’s nest “fits together” with the production of the human brain, there can be no “fitting together” of your prime purpose and the history of evolution.

DAVID: My not delving into your thought processes of God's purposes is I find many of your questions unanswerable as I have stated. We can only understand God through what He has produced. His motives, from our standpoint are only educated guesses. You have yours, influenced from your non-belief, I have mine. Mine look consistent to me. Yours make me think, but if I have no answer to your questions, it is generally because I don't see how to reach one I can believe. As for watching, since God created form and function, I'm sure He watches to see how His creations are working out their lives at a functional level. Does He judge human choices and moral behavior? Doubtful. As for fitting in whales, weaverbirds, etc., I'll stick with ecosystems for food supply.

dhw: As always, I appreciate your honesty in admitting that your hypothesis raises questions you cannot answer. That is why I keep asking you to consider other hypotheses. If God exists, we can indeed only try to understand him through what he has produced, and what he has produced does not fit in with your hypothesis. I shan’t repeat the long list of anomalies, since you acknowledge them as questions you can’t answer. My own theistic hypothesis is not “influenced by my non-belief” (when I put on my theist’s hat, I don’t suddenly become an atheist!) – it is influenced by my attempt to find a coherent explanation for evolution’s history. I agree that humans are especially self-aware and intelligent, and so they may have been an afterthought, or the result of experimentation or a dabble, but that does not make them the “prime” purpose, which needs to explain the weaverbird’s nest as well as the human brain. The motive I suggest is the spectacle (which even you think he must be watching), and the method is a free-for-all, so we needn’t wonder why he specially created the whale and the weaverbird's nest and the frog's poison. The simple answer is that he didn’t. He only created the means whereby they (their intelligent cell communities) did their own creating. Just a hypothesis, but which of your “unanswerable” questions does it fail to answer?'

Don't you realize your paragraph is supposition piled on supposition to explain in your mind what is miraculous material. Why is there any life? Why did the human brain appear? If you look at it from a sense of wonder and appreciation purpose can appear. If you then say to yourself it all requires planning, that planning must come from a miraculous mind. It is all very logical to me. I see the coherence you can't find.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by dhw, Tuesday, October 03, 2017, 13:31 (1044 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Don't you realize your paragraph is supposition piled on supposition to explain in your mind what is miraculous material. Why is there any life? Why did the human brain appear? If you look at it from a sense of wonder and appreciation purpose can appear. If you then say to yourself it all requires planning, that planning must come from a miraculous mind. It is all very logical to me. I see the coherence you can't find.

You keep talking of purpose, but you admit that you can’t answer my questions about how your own speculations concerning purpose fit in with the history of life, and you refuse to consider a hypothesis (not a supposition but a suggestion) which answers those questions. The sense of wonder and appreciation applies every bit as much to my hypothesis as it does to yours, so here are the suggestions in their theistic form. Why is there life? Because God wanted to create life. Why did God want to create life? Because he wanted to create a spectacle that he could watch. How did he do it? He created an autonomous mechanism which enabled living cells to change themselves into all kinds of wonderful creatures, including humans. How much of this was planned? The design of the autonomous intelligent cell was entirely his, and his plan was to create a system of changing environments which provided both challenges and opportunities for his autonomous cell communities to adapt to or exploit, so that there would be an ever changing variety of life. But he also left himself the option to dabble if he felt like it. For some people, the human brain is so unique that it must have been the result of a dabble. Some people may think that Chixculub was another dabble. But the variety of organisms, lifestyles and natural wonders extant and extinct is the result of autonomous intelligences, exploiting or not exploiting, coping or not coping with environmental changes. We do not have to ask unanswerable questions such as why God planned the whale and the weaverbird’s nest (he didn’t), why he adopted such a roundabout way of producing the brain of Homo sapiens (he didn’t, though he may have dabbled), whether he did or did not control every single environmental change, whether his powers are limited, why he remains hidden if he wants contact with humans etc., because they are all covered by a simple proposal: what we see is what he wanted – namely an ever changing spectacle. That provides both purpose and, in our case and perhaps also in his, a sense of wonder and appreciation. So once again, please tell us which of your “unanswerable questions” this hypothesis fails to answer.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by David Turell @, Tuesday, October 03, 2017, 14:22 (1044 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Don't you realize your paragraph is supposition piled on supposition to explain in your mind what is miraculous material. Why is there any life? Why did the human brain appear? If you look at it from a sense of wonder and appreciation purpose can appear. If you then say to yourself it all requires planning, that planning must come from a miraculous mind. It is all very logical to me. I see the coherence you can't find.

dhw: You keep talking of purpose, but you admit that you can’t answer my questions about how your own speculations concerning purpose fit in with the history of life, and you refuse to consider a hypothesis (not a supposition but a suggestion) which answers those questions. The sense of wonder and appreciation applies every bit as much to my hypothesis as it does to yours, so here are the suggestions in their theistic form. Why is there life? Because God wanted to create life. Why did God want to create life? Because he wanted to create a spectacle that he could watch. How did he do it? He created an autonomous mechanism which enabled living cells to change themselves into all kinds of wonderful creatures, including humans. How much of this was planned? The design of the autonomous intelligent cell was entirely his, and his plan was to create a system of changing environments which provided both challenges and opportunities for his autonomous cell communities to adapt to or exploit, so that there would be an ever changing variety of life. But he also left himself the option to dabble if he felt like it. For some people, the human brain is so unique that it must have been the result of a dabble. Some people may think that Chixculub was another dabble. But the variety of organisms, lifestyles and natural wonders extant and extinct is the result of autonomous intelligences, exploiting or not exploiting, coping or not coping with environmental changes. We do not have to ask unanswerable questions such as why God planned the whale and the weaverbird’s nest (he didn’t), why he adopted such a roundabout way of producing the brain of Homo sapiens (he didn’t, though he may have dabbled), whether he did or did not control every single environmental change, whether his powers are limited, why he remains hidden if he wants contact with humans etc., because they are all covered by a simple proposal: what we see is what he wanted – namely an ever changing spectacle. That provides both purpose and, in our case and perhaps also in his, a sense of wonder and appreciation. So once again, please tell us which of your “unanswerable questions” this hypothesis fails to answer.

You have created an inventive scenario that fits the facts, no question. But it defines a different motive for God than those who believe in Him would ever want to accept. Since it fits, it is a possible interpretation, but that is not proof. My proof to myself gets into the issue of design complexity, which I constantly present here and you admit its importance and then appear to gloss it over in your theories. The complexity requires design by a planning mind is my constant point. I'll stick with it.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by dhw, Wednesday, October 04, 2017, 14:12 (1043 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: You have created an inventive scenario that fits the facts, no question. But it defines a different motive for God than those who believe in Him would ever want to accept. Since it fits, it is a possible interpretation, but that is not proof. My proof to myself gets into the issue of design complexity, which I constantly present here and you admit its importance and then appear to gloss it over in your theories. The complexity requires design by a planning mind is my constant point. I'll stick with it.

Thank you for your first sentence. You have always rejected organized religion and identified your beliefs with panentheism, which most religious people have probably never heard of, so I would suggest that even for you, it’s more important to find explanations that fit the facts than to follow what other believers accept. In any case my hypothesis is very much in line with Deism, which proposes that God lets his creation pursue its own course. Neither your hypothesis nor mine is proven. If it were, there would be no discussion. I have never glossed over the issue of complexity, which is why my hypothesis leaves room for God. The issue is whether your God created a mechanism that was capable of creating the complexities that have given rise to the history of life on Earth. The answer is we don’t know. Your answer appears to be that although it fits the facts, unlike your own hypothesis, it doesn’t fit your interpretation of how God’s mind works.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by David Turell @, Wednesday, October 04, 2017, 19:04 (1043 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: You have created an inventive scenario that fits the facts, no question. But it defines a different motive for God than those who believe in Him would ever want to accept. Since it fits, it is a possible interpretation, but that is not proof. My proof to myself gets into the issue of design complexity, which I constantly present here and you admit its importance and then appear to gloss it over in your theories. The complexity requires design by a planning mind is my constant point. I'll stick with it.

dhw: Thank you for your first sentence. You have always rejected organized religion and identified your beliefs with panentheism, which most religious people have probably never heard of, so I would suggest that even for you, it’s more important to find explanations that fit the facts than to follow what other believers accept. In any case my hypothesis is very much in line with Deism, which proposes that God lets his creation pursue its own course. Neither your hypothesis nor mine is proven. If it were, there would be no discussion. I have never glossed over the issue of complexity, which is why my hypothesis leaves room for God. The issue is whether your God created a mechanism that was capable of creating the complexities that have given rise to the history of life on Earth. The answer is we don’t know. Your answer appears to be that although it fits the facts, unlike your own hypothesis, it doesn’t fit your interpretation of how God’s mind works.

Your summary certainly defines our differences.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by dhw, Thursday, October 05, 2017, 13:30 (1042 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: You have created an inventive scenario that fits the facts, no question. But it defines a different motive for God than those who believe in Him would ever want to accept. Since it fits, it is a possible interpretation, but that is not proof. My proof to myself gets into the issue of design complexity, which I constantly present here and you admit its importance and then appear to gloss it over in your theories. The complexity requires design by a planning mind is my constant point. I'll stick with it.

dhw: Thank you for your first sentence. You have always rejected organized religion and identified your beliefs with panentheism, which most religious people have probably never heard of, so I would suggest that even for you, it’s more important to find explanations that fit the facts than to follow what other believers accept. In any case my hypothesis is very much in line with Deism, which proposes that God lets his creation pursue its own course. Neither your hypothesis nor mine is proven. If it were, there would be no discussion. I have never glossed over the issue of complexity, which is why my hypothesis leaves room for God. The issue is whether your God created a mechanism that was capable of creating the complexities that have given rise to the history of life on Earth. The answer is we don’t know. Your answer appears to be that although it fits the facts, unlike your own hypothesis, it doesn’t fit your interpretation of how God’s mind works.

DAVID: Your summary certainly defines our differences.

The basic difference being that my hypothesis, unlike your own, fits the facts but not your interpretation of how your God’s mind works. I’ll settle for that.

Evolution, survival and adaptation; fast fish

by David Turell @, Wednesday, August 08, 2018, 15:50 (735 days ago) @ dhw

Reproduction from birth to performance in 14 days. Amazing adaptation:

https://cosmosmagazine.com/biology/fish-goes-from-egg-to-maturity-in-just-14-days

"The turquoise killifish (Nothobranchius furzeri) from Africa can reach sexual maturity in just 14 days, making it the fastest maturing vertebrate on record.

"The species has a stop-start life history strategy suited to life in the ephemeral pools and puddles of the savannahs of Africa. Tiny embryos in a state of inactivity known as diapause survive in dry sediments, and spring to life when rain falls. A short life cycle of rapid maturation and breeding ensues before the puddles dry.

***

"The killifish life-cycle has been studied extensively in laboratory conditions, and the maturation period has ranged from 18 days to as long as 10 weeks. Reichard and his team decided to observe the fish in its natural habitat, southern Mozambique.

"The team collected fish from eight separate pools between January and May 2016, within three weeks of the pools first finning with rainwater. They used a combination of otolith (ear bone) ageing and careful examination of gonads of both sexes.

"The findings, published in the journal Current Biology, reveal that Nothobranchius furzeri is capable of reaching sexual maturity just 14 days after hatching, the fastest rate of sexual maturation recorded for any vertebrate.

"In the lab, killifish which reach sexual maturity in a short time span such as 18 days deteriorate rapidly after breeding and only live for only four to six months. The species pays the price of rapid maturity with a shorter lifespan. In the wild, the strategy means that even a pool that dried out after three weeks was able to support one entire life cycle.

"This type of life history strategy, with an embryo sealed in a protective case, is more commonly seen in invertebrates such as sand shrimp and other small animals.

“'The killifish combines a vertebrate body plan with a characteristically invertebrate solution to survival in unpredictable conditions,” adds Reichard."

Comment: If water is so brief in its appearance, how did this have time to evolve in the expected Darwin stages of several intermediate steps? Perhaps the fish was designed this way.

Evolution, survival and adaptation; fast fish

by dhw, Thursday, August 09, 2018, 10:31 (734 days ago) @ David Turell

QUOTE: “'The killifish combines a vertebrate body plan with a characteristically invertebrate solution to survival in unpredictable conditions,” adds Reichard."

David’s comment: If water is so brief in its appearance, how did this have time to evolve in the expected Darwin stages of several intermediate steps? Perhaps the fish was designed this way.

A fascinating example of how cell communities can adapt to all kinds of environments. Slightly spoilt by the unnecessary reference to Darwin’s gradualism, which you and I have long since rejected. If you want to go on flogging dead horses, then what is your theory? That your God preprogrammed the killifish 3.8 billion years ago or leapt in to specially design it, as he apparently did with the weaverbird’s nest, because it was essential to the balance of nature so that life could continue until he was able to design the brain of Homo sapiens?

Evolution, survival and adaptation; fast fish

by David Turell @, Thursday, August 09, 2018, 18:58 (734 days ago) @ dhw

QUOTE: “'The killifish combines a vertebrate body plan with a characteristically invertebrate solution to survival in unpredictable conditions,” adds Reichard."

David’s comment: If water is so brief in its appearance, how did this have time to evolve in the expected Darwin stages of several intermediate steps? Perhaps the fish was designed this way.

dhw: A fascinating example of how cell communities can adapt to all kinds of environments. Slightly spoilt by the unnecessary reference to Darwin’s gradualism, which you and I have long since rejected. If you want to go on flogging dead horses, then what is your theory? That your God preprogrammed the killifish 3.8 billion years ago or leapt in to specially design it, as he apparently did with the weaverbird’s nest, because it was essential to the balance of nature so that life could continue until he was able to design the brain of Homo sapiens?

I said design was a distinct possibility

Evolution, survival and adaptation; fast fish

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Friday, August 10, 2018, 13:31 (733 days ago) @ David Turell

QUOTE: “'The killifish combines a vertebrate body plan with a characteristically invertebrate solution to survival in unpredictable conditions,” adds Reichard."

David’s comment: If water is so brief in its appearance, how did this have time to evolve in the expected Darwin stages of several intermediate steps? Perhaps the fish was designed this way.

dhw: A fascinating example of how cell communities can adapt to all kinds of environments. Slightly spoilt by the unnecessary reference to Darwin’s gradualism, which you and I have long since rejected. If you want to go on flogging dead horses, then what is your theory? That your God preprogrammed the killifish 3.8 billion years ago or leapt in to specially design it, as he apparently did with the weaverbird’s nest, because it was essential to the balance of nature so that life could continue until he was able to design the brain of Homo sapiens?


David: I said design was a distinct possibility

Oh, the snark is strong with you. From a biblical perspective, each stage of create was followed with "and God saw that it was good"(lit. Functional). Reading through the order of operations, which match our scientific observations, each stage had to be functionally complete and working, prior to moving on to the next. In other words, the damn weaver birds were working as they needed to work long, long before humans came on the scene. Humans were created, at least according to the account, as care takers. In other words, the weaver birds were not created for us, we were created for them, and all other creatures.

The Bibles version of a ruler is that of a servant. The King is the servant of their subjects as much as he is a ruler. For once, I would absolutely love to see how data is interpreted without the human-centric arrogance. Everything was not created for us. It was created for as a gift for Jesus, and we were created as caretakers of that gift, and because of that, Jesus was 'especially fond of us.

The point is, if you are going to make the attempt at looking at the universe through the lens of creation, exploring that possibility, have the decency to give it as much thought and attention as you do other possible explanations, considering the source material as well as the science. Otherwise, you're just giving lip service to it without making any real attempt to understand that perspective.

Over the years, I have watched as creation was discussed, but all sources of the creation narrative were summarily dismissed without consideration, yet dozens of philosophers of science were read and studied in depth, and their studies given great weight. I personally feel that, regardless of whether you believe the Bible or not, if you are going to consider a view, intellectual integrity requires us to consider the ENTIRE view, not just the parts of it we choose.

--
What is the purpose of living? How about, 'to reduce needless suffering. It seems to me to be a worthy purpose.

Evolution, survival and adaptation; fast fish

by David Turell @, Friday, August 10, 2018, 14:53 (733 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

QUOTE: “'The killifish combines a vertebrate body plan with a characteristically invertebrate solution to survival in unpredictable conditions,” adds Reichard."

David’s comment: If water is so brief in its appearance, how did this have time to evolve in the expected Darwin stages of several intermediate steps? Perhaps the fish was designed this way.

dhw: A fascinating example of how cell communities can adapt to all kinds of environments. Slightly spoilt by the unnecessary reference to Darwin’s gradualism, which you and I have long since rejected. If you want to go on flogging dead horses, then what is your theory? That your God preprogrammed the killifish 3.8 billion years ago or leapt in to specially design it, as he apparently did with the weaverbird’s nest, because it was essential to the balance of nature so that life could continue until he was able to design the brain of Homo sapiens?


David: I said design was a distinct possibility


Tony: Oh, the snark is strong with you. From a biblical perspective, each stage of create was followed with "and God saw that it was good"(lit. Functional). Reading through the order of operations, which match our scientific observations, each stage had to be functionally complete and working, prior to moving on to the next. In other words, the damn weaver birds were working as they needed to work long, long before humans came on the scene. Humans were created, at least according to the account, as care takers. In other words, the weaver birds were not created for us, we were created for them, and all other creatures.

The Bibles version of a ruler is that of a servant. The King is the servant of their subjects as much as he is a ruler. For once, I would absolutely love to see how data is interpreted without the human-centric arrogance. Everything was not created for us. It was created for as a gift for Jesus, and we were created as caretakers of that gift, and because of that, Jesus was 'especially fond of us.

The point is, if you are going to make the attempt at looking at the universe through the lens of creation, exploring that possibility, have the decency to give it as much thought and attention as you do other possible explanations, considering the source material as well as the science. Otherwise, you're just giving lip service to it without making any real attempt to understand that perspective.

Over the years, I have watched as creation was discussed, but all sources of the creation narrative were summarily dismissed without consideration, yet dozens of philosophers of science were read and studied in depth, and their studies given great weight. I personally feel that, regardless of whether you believe the Bible or not, if you are going to consider a view, intellectual integrity requires us to consider the ENTIRE view, not just the parts of it we choose.

Biblically correct and supports my design theory.

Evolution, monarch adaptation to toxic milkweed

by David Turell @, Thursday, October 03, 2019, 20:33 (314 days ago) @ David Turell

A poisonous plant is the only food for their caterpillars. It took three different mutations to do it:

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-monarch-butterflies-evolved-to-eat-a-poi...

"The monarch butterfly’s colorful caterpillars, for example, devour milkweed with gusto—in fact, it is the only thing they ever eat. They can tolerate this food source because of a peculiarity in a crucial protein in their bodies, a sodium pump, that the cardenolide toxins usually interfere with.

"All animals have this pump. It’s essential for physiological recovery after heart muscle cells contract or nerve cells fire—events that are triggered when sodium floods into the cells, causing an electrical discharge. After the firing and contracting is done, the cells must clean up, and so they turn on their sodium pumps and expel the sodium. This restores the electrical balance and resets the cell to its usual state, ready again for action.

"Cardenolides are noxious because they bind to key parts of these pumps and prevent them from doing their job. This makes animal hearts beat stronger and stronger, often ending in cardiac arrest.

***

“'They needed to get the mutations in the right order,” Whiteman says. First, a mutation of small effect would have altered the structure of the sodium pump to provide some resistance, but also some neurological problems. The second mutation would have amended the pump structure slightly, thereby fixing that problem. By so doing, it would have prepared conditions for the third mutation—the one with the heftiest antitoxin effect. By itself, that third mutation would have created intolerable neurological issues. But with the second mutation already in place, all would be well, or at least much better.

“'Biologists call this a constrained adaptive walk,” says Whiteman, “where one mutation is followed by another, in a predictable order, setting a species, or more than one, on a trajectory to higher fitness.” (my bold)

***

"The monarchs’ evolutionary innovation had an ecological ripple effect. Not only did resistance to the toxin open up a whole new source of food, but it also allowed the butterflies to repel predators by storing the toxins in their bodies."

Comment: three specific mutations are needed, and note my bold, must appear in specific order to evolve. Not by chance; only a designer can do this. And for survival all three mutations had to be present for the caterpillars to survive. And if the taste is very noxious to most insects, it must taste good for these guys, which means more mutations must be present or the three mutations also make it taste good.

Evolution, monarch adaptation to toxic milkweed

by dhw, Friday, October 04, 2019, 09:59 (313 days ago) @ David Turell

QUOTES: They needed to get the mutations in the right order,” Whiteman says. First, a mutation of small effect would have altered the structure of the sodium pump to provide some resistance, but also some neurological problems. The second mutation would have amended the pump structure slightly, thereby fixing that problem. By so doing, it would have prepared conditions for the third mutation—the one with the heftiest antitoxin effect. By itself, that third mutation would have created intolerable neurological issues. But with the second mutation already in place, all would be well, or at least much better.

“'Biologists call this a constrained adaptive walk,” says Whiteman, “where one mutation is followed by another, in a predictable order, setting a species, or more than one, on a trajectory to higher fitness.” (DAVID’s bold)

DAVID: three specific mutations are needed, and note my bold, must appear in specific order to evolve. Not by chance; only a designer can do this. And for survival all three mutations had to be present for the caterpillars to survive. And if the taste is very noxious to most insects, it must taste good for these guys, which means more mutations must be present or the three mutations also make it taste good.

I agree with you that these mutations could not have been by chance. But I don’t understand why a designer whose only purpose was to design H. sapiens would, 3.8 billion years ago, have provided the first cells with a programme for these three mutations in the monarch butterfly. Clearly the cell communities of the monarch’s immediate ancestor are what changed (mutated), and so an alternative to divine programming and/or dabbling might have been the intelligence (possibly God-given) of the cells themselves enabling them to find new ways to survive.

Evolution, monarch adaptation to toxic milkweed

by David Turell @, Friday, October 04, 2019, 18:11 (313 days ago) @ dhw

QUOTES: They needed to get the mutations in the right order,” Whiteman says. First, a mutation of small effect would have altered the structure of the sodium pump to provide some resistance, but also some neurological problems. The second mutation would have amended the pump structure slightly, thereby fixing that problem. By so doing, it would have prepared conditions for the third mutation—the one with the heftiest antitoxin effect. By itself, that third mutation would have created intolerable neurological issues. But with the second mutation already in place, all would be well, or at least much better.

“'Biologists call this a constrained adaptive walk,” says Whiteman, “where one mutation is followed by another, in a predictable order, setting a species, or more than one, on a trajectory to higher fitness.” (DAVID’s bold)

DAVID: three specific mutations are needed, and note my bold, must appear in specific order to evolve. Not by chance; only a designer can do this. And for survival all three mutations had to be present for the caterpillars to survive. And if the taste is very noxious to most insects, it must taste good for these guys, which means more mutations must be present or the three mutations also make it taste good.

dhw: I agree with you that these mutations could not have been by chance. But I don’t understand why a designer whose only purpose was to design H. sapiens would, 3.8 billion years ago, have provided the first cells with a programme for these three mutations in the monarch butterfly. Clearly the cell communities of the monarch’s immediate ancestor are what changed (mutated), and so an alternative to divine programming and/or dabbling might have been the intelligence (possibly God-given) of the cells themselves enabling them to find new ways to survive.

That is your theory, not mine. The monarchs are necessary part of their econiche and therefore part of God's design.

Evolution, monarch adaptation to toxic milkweed

by dhw, Saturday, October 05, 2019, 11:17 (312 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: three specific mutations are needed, and note my bold, must appear in specific order to evolve. Not by chance; only a designer can do this. And for survival all three mutations had to be present for the caterpillars to survive. And if the taste is very noxious to most insects, it must taste good for these guys, which means more mutations must be present or the three mutations also make it taste good.

dhw: I agree with you that these mutations could not have been by chance. But I don’t understand why a designer whose only purpose was to design H. sapiens would, 3.8 billion years ago, have provided the first cells with a programme for these three mutations in the monarch butterfly. Clearly the cell communities of the monarch’s immediate ancestor are what changed (mutated), and so an alternative to divine programming and/or dabbling might have been the intelligence (possibly God-given) of the cells themselves enabling them to find new ways to survive.

DAVID: That is your theory, not mine. The monarchs are necessary part of their econiche and therefore part of God's design.

Yes, the alternative is my suggested explanation, and yes, all organisms could be called a “necessary part of their econiche” until they become extinct and the econiche changes. You seem to have forgotten the theory which I find so illogical, so let me remind you yet again: “He knew these designs were required interim goals to establish the necessary food supply to cover the time he knew he had decided to take”, i.e. 3.X billion years NOT fulfilling his actual goal, which was to specially design piece after piece of hominin and homo until he finally specially designed H. sapiens – and you have “no idea” why he would have chosen such a method to achieve such a goal, but it’s quite logical provided we humans don’t try to figure out its logic. (See also "David’s theory of evolution”)

Evolution, monarch adaptation to toxic milkweed

by David Turell @, Saturday, October 05, 2019, 18:27 (312 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: three specific mutations are needed, and note my bold, must appear in specific order to evolve. Not by chance; only a designer can do this. And for survival all three mutations had to be present for the caterpillars to survive. And if the taste is very noxious to most insects, it must taste good for these guys, which means more mutations must be present or the three mutations also make it taste good.

dhw: I agree with you that these mutations could not have been by chance. But I don’t understand why a designer whose only purpose was to design H. sapiens would, 3.8 billion years ago, have provided the first cells with a programme for these three mutations in the monarch butterfly. Clearly the cell communities of the monarch’s immediate ancestor are what changed (mutated), and so an alternative to divine programming and/or dabbling might have been the intelligence (possibly God-given) of the cells themselves enabling them to find new ways to survive.

DAVID: That is your theory, not mine. The monarchs are necessary part of their econiche and therefore part of God's design.

dhw: Yes, the alternative is my suggested explanation, and yes, all organisms could be called a “necessary part of their econiche” until they become extinct and the econiche changes. You seem to have forgotten the theory which I find so illogical, so let me remind you yet again: “He knew these designs were required interim goals to establish the necessary food supply to cover the time he knew he had decided to take”, i.e. 3.X billion years NOT fulfilling his actual goal, which was to specially design piece after piece of hominin and homo until he finally specially designed H. sapiens – and you have “no idea” why he would have chosen such a method to achieve such a goal, but it’s quite logical provided we humans don’t try to figure out its logic. (See also "David’s theory of evolution”)

You've simply repeated your illogical distortions, implying God should have been humanly impatient and gotten right to His goal of producing humans. Instead it is obvious to me God, in charge, chose to evolve us over time and had to design the bush of life to arrange for the energy needed for the time period involved, 3.8 billion years. Note the bush is also the result of evolving life from bacteria to humans. His choice of methodology is obvious, and yes, we do not know His reasons, nor can we. You like to guess and complain about Him, when it is clearly what He has done.

Evolution: frog adaptation

by David Turell @, Thursday, September 14, 2017, 19:06 (1063 days ago) @ dhw

As frogs appeared and dispersed around the world there was a slow and steady adaptation to new environments, not rapid change:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/09/170913193106.htm

"Evolutionary biologists long have supposed that when species colonize new geographic regions they often develop new traits and adaptations to deal with their fresh surroundings. They branch from their ancestors and multiply in numbers of species.

***

"New research from the University of Kansas appearing in Royal Society Biology Letters shows, in contrast to expectations, "the rapid global range expansion of true frogs was not associated with increased net-diversification."

"First, we had to identify where these true frogs came from and when they started their dispersal all over the world," said lead author Chan Kin Onn, a doctoral student at KU's Biodiversity Institute. "We found a distinct pattern. The origin of these frogs was Indochina -- on the map today, it's most of mainland Asia, including Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Burma. True frogs dispersed throughout every continent except Antarctica from there. That's not a new idea. But we found that a lot of this dispersal happened during a short period of time -- it was during the late Eocene, about 40 million years ago. That hadn't really been identified, until now."

"Next, Chan and co-author Rafe Brown, curator-in-charge of the KU Biodiversity Institute's Herpetology Division, looked to see if this rapid dispersal of true frogs worldwide triggered a matching eruption of speciation.

"'That was our expectation," Chan said. "We thought they'd take off into all this new habitat and resources, with no competition -- and boom, you'd have a lot of new species. But we found the exact opposite was true. In most of the groups, nothing happened. There was no increase in speciation. In one of the groups, diversification significantly slowed down. That was the reverse of what was expected."

***

"'Using data from paleontological studies, we can loosely place a fossil where in the phylogeny it belongs and can put a time stamp on that point," Chan said. "That's where calibration happens, each fossil is sort of like an anchor point. You can imagine with a really big phylogeny, the more anchor points or calibration points the better your time estimate."

"Through this process, the KU researchers concluded true frogs didn't become one of the most biodiverse frog families due to dispersing into new ranges, or due to filling a gap created by a catastrophic die-off (such as the Eocene-Oligocene Extinction Event that triggered widespread extinctions from marine invertebrates to mammals in Asia and Europe).
Rather, the rich diversity of species in the Ranidae family comes from millions of years' worth of continual evolution influenced by a host of different environs.

"'Our conclusion is kind of anticlimactic, but it's cool because it goes against expectations," Chan said. "We show the reason for species richness was just a really steady accumulation of species through time -- there wasn't a big event that caused this family to diversify like crazy.'"

Comment: This contrasts with other rapid evolutionary events like the Cambrian explosion or the sudden bush of hominins. Either evolution is not a consistent progressive mechanism at all times or there is a monkey in the works, God, who picks and chooses when advances happen.

Evolution: frog adaptation

by dhw, Friday, September 15, 2017, 13:37 (1062 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID's comment: This contrasts with other rapid evolutionary events like the Cambrian explosion or the sudden bush of hominins. Either evolution is not a consistent progressive mechanism at all times or there is a monkey in the works, God, who picks and chooses when advances happen.

Could it not be that different local environments require minor changes (finches’ beaks, froggy fiddles) or major changes (when whales switch from land to water), whereas major widespread environmental changes (the Cambrian) spark major innovations?

Evolution: frog adaptation

by David Turell @, Friday, September 15, 2017, 15:07 (1062 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID's comment: This contrasts with other rapid evolutionary events like the Cambrian explosion or the sudden bush of hominins. Either evolution is not a consistent progressive mechanism at all times or there is a monkey in the works, God, who picks and chooses when advances happen.

dhw: Could it not be that different local environments require minor changes (finches’ beaks, froggy fiddles) or major changes (when whales switch from land to water), whereas major widespread environmental changes (the Cambrian) spark major innovations?

You and I will always differ on where the spark comes from. The increase in oxygen provided the energy for the complex animals of the Cambrian to appear. It did not require their appearance. As for the hominin bush, as savannah appeared only the pre-homos bothered to come down from the trees, but 23 million years ago monkey lumbar spines were showing preparatory changes while still in the trees. It seems to me only God can provides the push to advance.

Evolution: frog adaptation

by dhw, Saturday, September 16, 2017, 12:58 (1061 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Could it not be that different local environments require minor changes (finches’ beaks, froggy fiddles) or major changes (when whales switch from land to water), whereas major widespread environmental changes (the Cambrian) spark major innovations?

DAVID: You and I will always differ on where the spark comes from. The increase in oxygen provided the energy for the complex animals of the Cambrian to appear. It did not require their appearance.

As we have agreed a thousand times, no appearance was “required” beyond that of bacteria. That is why I go beyond survival to improvement. New conditions present new opportunities, and these were provided by the increase in oxygen.

DAVID: As for the hominin bush, as savannah appeared only the pre-homos bothered to come down from the trees, but 23 million years ago monkey lumbar spines were showing preparatory changes while still in the trees. It seems to me only God can provide the push to advance.

As I keep pointing out, evolution takes place in individual organisms. The emergence of one species from another does not mean the preceding species dies out. Pre-homos diverged from their ape ancestors, who stayed in the trees. That is the process of common descent we both believe in. We have no idea what lumbar-changing monkeys were up to 23 million years ago. Maybe they spent 50% of their time in the trees and 50% on the ground. Most of the changes you focus on are saltations (only God can do them), but now we have preparatory work, which clearly indicates a gradual process (and only God can do that too). If your God’s prime purpose was to produce Homo sapiens and his brain, do you really think he was incapable of doing it without millions of years of “preparatory” work?

Evolution: frog adaptation

by David Turell @, Saturday, September 16, 2017, 14:59 (1061 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: You and I will always differ on where the spark comes from. The increase in oxygen provided the energy for the complex animals of the Cambrian to appear. It did not require their appearance.

dhw: As we have agreed a thousand times, no appearance was “required” beyond that of bacteria. That is why I go beyond survival to improvement. New conditions present new opportunities, and these were provided by the increase in oxygen.

But as the frogs show, new opportunities does not mean they are always taken.


DAVID: As for the hominin bush, as savannah appeared only the pre-homos bothered to come down from the trees, but 23 million years ago monkey lumbar spines were showing preparatory changes while still in the trees. It seems to me only God can provide the push to advance.

dhw: As I keep pointing out, evolution takes place in individual organisms. The emergence of one species from another does not mean the preceding species dies out. Pre-homos diverged from their ape ancestors, who stayed in the trees. That is the process of common descent we both believe in. We have no idea what lumbar-changing monkeys were up to 23 million years ago. Maybe they spent 50% of their time in the trees and 50% on the ground. Most of the changes you focus on are saltations (only God can do them), but now we have preparatory work, which clearly indicates a gradual process (and only God can do that too). If your God’s prime purpose was to produce Homo sapiens and his brain, do you really think he was incapable of doing it without millions of years of “preparatory” work?

Since we do not see direct creation but evolution, that must be God's preference. His ability to directly create is seen in saltations of irreducibly complex mechanisms.

Evolution: frog adaptation

by dhw, Sunday, September 17, 2017, 10:34 (1060 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: You and I will always differ on where the spark comes from. The increase in oxygen provided the energy for the complex animals of the Cambrian to appear. It did not require their appearance.

dhw: As we have agreed a thousand times, no appearance was “required” beyond that of bacteria. That is why I go beyond survival to improvement. New conditions present new opportunities, and these were provided by the increase in oxygen.

DAVID: But as the frogs show, new opportunities does not mean they are always taken.

If my hypothesis is correct, evolution depends on the intelligence of the cell communities that all individual organisms consist of. Some will exploit opportunities to innovate, and some will remain as they are, and some will die out.

Dhw: If your God’s prime purpose was to produce Homo sapiens and his brain, do you really think he was incapable of doing it without millions of years of “preparatory” work?

DAVID: Since we do not see direct creation but evolution, that must be God's preference. His ability to directly create is seen in saltations of irreducibly complex mechanisms.

Since we see the evolution of apes to hominins to humans to sapiens instead of direct creation of sapiens, and we see the evolution of pre-whales to whales, and we see the evolution of countless other species, lifestyles and natural wonders with no conceivable connection to the brain of Homo sapiens, perhaps it was your God’s preference to let evolution run its own course.

Evolution: frog adaptation

by David Turell @, Sunday, September 17, 2017, 15:19 (1060 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Since we do not see direct creation but evolution, that must be God's preference. His ability to directly create is seen in saltations of irreducibly complex mechanisms.

dhw: Since we see the evolution of apes to hominins to humans to sapiens instead of direct creation of sapiens, and we see the evolution of pre-whales to whales, and we see the evolution of countless other species, lifestyles and natural wonders with no conceivable connection to the brain of Homo sapiens, perhaps it was your God’s preference to let evolution run its own course.

Your proposal ignores the obvious increasing complexity shown in evolution, which requires foresight and planning by a designing mind, an evolution which ends in the human brain, the most complex evolved organ so far. Animals do not have the demonstrated ability to change autonomously beyond minor adaptations.

Evolution: frog adaptation

by dhw, Monday, September 18, 2017, 10:04 (1059 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Since we see the evolution of apes to hominins to humans to sapiens instead of direct creation of sapiens, and we see the evolution of pre-whales to whales, and we see the evolution of countless other species, lifestyles and natural wonders with no conceivable connection to the brain of Homo sapiens, perhaps it was your God’s preference to let evolution run its own course.

DAVID: Your proposal ignores the obvious increasing complexity shown in evolution, which requires foresight and planning by a designing mind, an evolution which ends in the human brain, the most complex evolved organ so far. Animals do not have the demonstrated ability to change autonomously beyond minor adaptations.

Once again: my proposal attributes the obvious increasing complexity to a process of innovation that requires a perhaps God-given intelligence to respond to and exploit new opportunities. I have no trouble accepting that the human brain is the most complex evolved organ so far. That doesn’t mean your God designed life and evolution for the sake of the human brain. I have agreed many times that the capacity for major adaptations and innovations has not been demonstrated, which is why it is a hypothesis, as unproven as (though far more logical than) the hypothesis that an unknown, hidden and sourceless intelligence preprogrammed or dabbled eight stages of whale, monarch butterflies’ reproduction and navigation, and weaverbirds’ nests in order to produce the human brain.

Evolution: frog adaptation

by David Turell @, Monday, September 18, 2017, 15:34 (1059 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: Since we see the evolution of apes to hominins to humans to sapiens instead of direct creation of sapiens, and we see the evolution of pre-whales to whales, and we see the evolution of countless other species, lifestyles and natural wonders with no conceivable connection to the brain of Homo sapiens, perhaps it was your God’s preference to let evolution run its own course.

DAVID: Your proposal ignores the obvious increasing complexity shown in evolution, which requires foresight and planning by a designing mind, an evolution which ends in the human brain, the most complex evolved organ so far. Animals do not have the demonstrated ability to change autonomously beyond minor adaptations.

dhw: Once again: my proposal attributes the obvious increasing complexity to a process of innovation that requires a perhaps God-given intelligence to respond to and exploit new opportunities. I have no trouble accepting that the human brain is the most complex evolved organ so far. That doesn’t mean your God designed life and evolution for the sake of the human brain. I have agreed many times that the capacity for major adaptations and innovations has not been demonstrated, which is why it is a hypothesis, as unproven as (though far more logical than) the hypothesis that an unknown, hidden and sourceless intelligence preprogrammed or dabbled eight stages of whale, monarch butterflies’ reproduction and navigation, and weaverbirds’ nests in order to produce the human brain.

Note my bold: do you agree intelligent planning is required for the increasing complexity?

Evolution: frog adaptation

by dhw, Tuesday, September 19, 2017, 11:47 (1058 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Once again: my proposal attributes the obvious increasing complexity to a process of innovation that requires a perhaps God-given intelligence to respond to and exploit new opportunities. I have no trouble accepting that the human brain is the most complex evolved organ so far. That doesn’t mean your God designed life and evolution for the sake of the human brain. I have agreed many times that the capacity for major adaptations and innovations has not been demonstrated, which is why it is a hypothesis, as unproven as (though far more logical than) the hypothesis that an unknown, hidden and sourceless intelligence preprogrammed or dabbled eight stages of whale, monarch butterflies’ reproduction and navigation, and weaverbirds’ nests in order to produce the human brain.

DAVID: Note my bold: do you agree intelligent planning is required for the increasing complexity?

No. The whole point of my hypothesis is that organisms RESPOND to challenges and opportunities by using their perhaps God-given intelligence. It may even be that some opportunities are discovered by chance (particularly in the case of natural wonders), but even then it takes intelligence to recognize the benefits of a chance discovery and build on them. The key to my hypothesis is intelligent RESPONSE, not crystal ball gazing followed by planning followed by the actual events that demand or allow the physical change, which may or may not entail an increase in complexity.

Evolution: frog adaptation

by David Turell @, Tuesday, September 19, 2017, 14:54 (1058 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: Once again: my proposal attributes the obvious increasing complexity to a process of innovation that requires a perhaps God-given intelligence to respond to and exploit new opportunities. I have no trouble accepting that the human brain is the most complex evolved organ so far. That doesn’t mean your God designed life and evolution for the sake of the human brain. I have agreed many times that the capacity for major adaptations and innovations has not been demonstrated, which is why it is a hypothesis, as unproven as (though far more logical than) the hypothesis that an unknown, hidden and sourceless intelligence preprogrammed or dabbled eight stages of whale, monarch butterflies’ reproduction and navigation, and weaverbirds’ nests in order to produce the human brain.

DAVID: Note my bold: do you agree intelligent planning is required for the increasing complexity?

dhw: No. The whole point of my hypothesis is that organisms RESPOND to challenges and opportunities by using their perhaps God-given intelligence. It may even be that some opportunities are discovered by chance (particularly in the case of natural wonders), but even then it takes intelligence to recognize the benefits of a chance discovery and build on them. The key to my hypothesis is intelligent RESPONSE, not crystal ball gazing followed by planning followed by the actual events that demand or allow the physical change, which may or may not entail an increase in complexity.

Once again you are skipping over the issue of gaps in the fossil record. Even the few intermediate forms are giant leaps in form and function. You do not answer how this is covered. My answer is foresight and planning to look at a current goal.. No crystal ball fuzziness required.

Evolution: frog adaptation

by dhw, Wednesday, September 20, 2017, 13:31 (1057 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Note my bold: do you agree intelligent planning is required for the increasing complexity?

dhw: No. The whole point of my hypothesis is that organisms RESPOND to challenges and opportunities by using their perhaps God-given intelligence. It may even be that some opportunities are discovered by chance (particularly in the case of natural wonders), but even then it takes intelligence to recognize the benefits of a chance discovery and build on them. The key to my hypothesis is intelligent RESPONSE, not crystal ball gazing followed by planning followed by the actual events that demand or allow the physical change, which may or may not entail an increase in complexity.

DAVID: Once again you are skipping over the issue of gaps in the fossil record. Even the few intermediate forms are giant leaps in form and function. You do not answer how this is covered. My answer is foresight and planning to look at a current goal.. No crystal ball fuzziness required.

You can’t plan unless you know what you are planning for, i.e. future conditions. That is crystal ball gazing, unless you are arguing that your God preprogrammed every environmental change in the history of evolution.

The gaps are saltations, i.e. major adaptations or innovations with no known intermediate stages. These are the great mystery of evolution. Your hypothesis is that your God preprogrammed every single one 3.8 billion years ago, or dabbled them personally, even though his primary aim was to produce the human brain. My hypothesis is that cell communities have the intelligence (possibly God-given) to design their own major adaptations or innovations. You’ve heard all this a hundred times over, so why you regard it as “skipping the issue” of gaps, i.e. of saltatory major adaptations or innovations, I don’t know.

Evolution: frog adaptation

by David Turell @, Wednesday, September 20, 2017, 14:59 (1057 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Note my bold: do you agree intelligent planning is required for the increasing complexity?

dhw: No. The whole point of my hypothesis is that organisms RESPOND to challenges and opportunities by using their perhaps God-given intelligence. It may even be that some opportunities are discovered by chance (particularly in the case of natural wonders), but even then it takes intelligence to recognize the benefits of a chance discovery and build on them. The key to my hypothesis is intelligent RESPONSE, not crystal ball gazing followed by planning followed by the actual events that demand or allow the physical change, which may or may not entail an increase in complexity.

DAVID: Once again you are skipping over the issue of gaps in the fossil record. Even the few intermediate forms are giant leaps in form and function. You do not answer how this is covered. My answer is foresight and planning to look at a current goal.. No crystal ball fuzziness required.

dhw: You can’t plan unless you know what you are planning for, i.e. future conditions. That is crystal ball gazing, unless you are arguing that your God preprogrammed every environmental change in the history of evolution.

The gaps are saltations, i.e. major adaptations or innovations with no known intermediate stages. These are the great mystery of evolution. Your hypothesis is that your God preprogrammed every single one 3.8 billion years ago, or dabbled them personally, even though his primary aim was to produce the human brain. My hypothesis is that cell communities have the intelligence (possibly God-given) to design their own major adaptations or innovations. You’ve heard all this a hundred times over, so why you regard it as “skipping the issue” of gaps, i.e. of saltatory major adaptations or innovations, I don’t know.

You skip over the point as usual. Please look at the whales. We both know exactly what conditions have to be planned for to have an air breathing mammal enter water as a full time environment. You constantly overlook the issue of purpose. Darwinism doesn't know where it is going. Evolution is either chance or knows where it is going. Whether you realize it or not, you start your thinking from a chance approach.

Evolution: frog adaptation

by dhw, Thursday, September 21, 2017, 12:58 (1056 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Once again you are skipping over the issue of gaps in the fossil record. Even the few intermediate forms are giant leaps in form and function. You do not answer how this is covered. My answer is foresight and planning to look at a current goal.. No crystal ball fuzziness required.

dhw: You can’t plan unless you know what you are planning for, i.e. future conditions. That is crystal ball gazing, unless you are arguing that your God preprogrammed every environmental change in the history of evolution.
The gaps are saltations, i.e. major adaptations or innovations with no known intermediate stages. These are the great mystery of evolution. Your hypothesis is that your God preprogrammed every single one 3.8 billion years ago, or dabbled them personally, even though his primary aim was to produce the human brain. My hypothesis is that cell communities have the intelligence (possibly God-given) to design their own major adaptations or innovations. You’ve heard all this a hundred times over, so why you regard it as “skipping the issue” of gaps, i.e. of saltatory major adaptations or innovations, I don’t know.

DAVID: You skip over the point as usual. Please look at the whales. We both know exactly what conditions have to be planned for to have an air breathing mammal enter water as a full time environment. You constantly overlook the issue of purpose. Darwinism doesn't know where it is going. Evolution is either chance or knows where it is going. Whether you realize it or not, you start your thinking from a chance approach.

You start with the assumption that the whale entered the water fully equipped for aquatic life (although incomprehensibly for you, it took your God eight stages and millions of years to perfect the equipment). From my perspective, this is the wrong starting point. Pre-whale would have entered the water to explore. From then on, each stage would have been an improvement, as it adapted to life in the water, which was its purpose. You yourself keep admitting that you don’t know the purpose of the eight-stage whale, let alone how it links up with what you keep saying is God’s primary purpose, the production of the brain of Homo sapiens. As for my thinking, it starts with the unknown factor of how life originated, and I cannot believe in chance or in God, which is why I remain agnostic. From the moment living forms appear, I regard them as pursuing the purposes of survival and/or improvement, and the only chance element is environmental change. If God exists, I suspect that his purpose was to produce a show for himself (but this need not mean detachment – he could have feelings just like ours). If he does not exist, the universe has no purpose, but organisms have their own purposes, as above. I don’t think I can express it any more clearly.

Evolution: frog adaptation

by David Turell @, Thursday, September 21, 2017, 15:12 (1056 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: You skip over the point as usual. Please look at the whales. We both know exactly what conditions have to be planned for to have an air breathing mammal enter water as a full time environment. You constantly overlook the issue of purpose. Darwinism doesn't know where it is going. Evolution is either chance or knows where it is going. Whether you realize it or not, you start your thinking from a chance approach.

dhw: You start with the assumption that the whale entered the water fully equipped for aquatic life (although incomprehensibly for you, it took your God eight stages and millions of years to perfect the equipment). From my perspective, this is the wrong starting point. Pre-whale would have entered the water to explore. From then on, each stage would have been an improvement, as it adapted to life in the water, which was its purpose. You yourself keep admitting that you don’t know the purpose of the eight-stage whale, let alone how it links up with what you keep saying is God’s primary purpose, the production of the brain of Homo sapiens. As for my thinking, it starts with the unknown factor of how life originated, and I cannot believe in chance or in God, which is why I remain agnostic. From the moment living forms appear, I regard them as pursuing the purposes of survival and/or improvement, and the only chance element is environmental change. If God exists, I suspect that his purpose was to produce a show for himself (but this need not mean detachment – he could have feelings just like ours). If he does not exist, the universe has no purpose, but organisms have their own purposes, as above. I don’t think I can express it any more clearly.

Again skipping over the clear problem. Your pre-whale wishes to live in water. He has purpose. Now he needs to design some changes so he can achieve his goal. He has to understand what is required in order to modify. He needs to see needs in his future role. You gloss over this entire problem of how " [they] pursu[e] the purposes of survival and/or improvement". Something must be acting with foresight to cover the large gaps in form and physiology that the fossil record shows. Your cover your nebulous concept with the word "pursue" or "pursuing". We know that only a mind can plan. This is the basis of the ID philosophy. You could accept that and not include God.

Evolution: frog adaptation

by dhw, Friday, September 22, 2017, 13:15 (1055 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Again skipping over the clear problem. Your pre-whale wishes to live in water. He has purpose. Now he needs to design some changes so he can achieve his goal. He has to understand what is required in order to modify. He needs to see needs in his future role.

He, or rather his cell communities, must design changes, and they have to understand the problems, but this does not relate to the future. To put it in concrete terms: legs are not as useful in water as fins. The pre-whale is in the water. The cell communities work out a way of changing the legs to fins, just as cell communities work out ways of changing short beaks into long beaks (your epigenetic changes). This is not future planning. It is adjusting to present conditions.

DAVID: You gloss over this entire problem of how " [they] pursu[e] the purposes of survival and/or improvement". Something must be acting with foresight to cover the large gaps in form and physiology that the fossil record shows. Your cover your nebulous concept with the word "pursue" or "pursuing".

There is no glossing over. We know from minor adaptations that organisms react to their present circumstances, and change accordingly. They do not look into a crystal ball and forecast the conditions that will require them to change. You accept this for minor but not for major changes. What we don’t know is the mechanism that enables them to accomplish the latter. You say it is a divine 3.8-billion-year-old computer programme or direct dabbling by your God. I propose that it is the same cellular intelligence that enables them to accomplish the minor changes.

DAVID: We know that only a mind can plan. This is the basis of the ID philosophy. You could accept that and not include God.

I accept that only intelligence of some kind can produce the minor and major adaptations and innovations that have resulted in the great evolutionary bush of life. I also accept the possibility that this intelligence was invented by your God. I do not accept that these adaptations and innovations must be planned in advance.

Meanwhile, you continue to gloss over the dislocation between your God’s so-called prime purpose and the higgledy-piggledy bush, which includes the story of the whale, plus the problem of why your all-powerful God needed eight stages and millions of years to come up with his final version of the whale, as well as the huge problem of the extent to which your planning God plans all the environmental changes, local and global, that trigger organismal change.

Evolution: frog adaptation

by David Turell @, Friday, September 22, 2017, 15:11 (1055 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: We know that only a mind can plan. This is the basis of the ID philosophy. You could accept that and not include God.

dhw: I accept that only intelligence of some kind can produce the minor and major adaptations and innovations that have resulted in the great evolutionary bush of life. I also accept the possibility that this intelligence was invented by your God. I do not accept that these adaptations and innovations must be planned in advance.

Meanwhile, you continue to gloss over the dislocation between your God’s so-called prime purpose and the higgledy-piggledy bush, which includes the story of the whale, plus the problem of why your all-powerful God needed eight stages and millions of years to come up with his final version of the whale, as well as the huge problem of the extent to which your planning God plans all the environmental changes, local and global, that trigger organismal change.

If nothing is planned in advance to accommodate required change, can you explain the latest buildings in London? As for God's methods, I simply accept that He evolves solutions.

Evolution: frog adaptation

by dhw, Saturday, September 23, 2017, 12:54 (1054 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: We know that only a mind can plan. This is the basis of the ID philosophy. You could accept that and not include God.

dhw: I accept that only intelligence of some kind can produce the minor and major adaptations and innovations that have resulted in the great evolutionary bush of life. I also accept the possibility that this intelligence was invented by your God. I do not accept that these adaptations and innovations must be planned in advance.
Meanwhile, you continue to gloss over the dislocation between your God’s so-called prime purpose and the higgledy-piggledy bush, which includes the story of the whale, plus the problem of why your all-powerful God needed eight stages and millions of years to come up with his final version of the whale, as well as the huge problem of the extent to which your planning God plans all the environmental changes, local and global, that trigger organismal change.

DAVID: If nothing is planned in advance to accommodate required change, can you explain the latest buildings in London? As for God's methods, I simply accept that He evolves solutions.

I have never said that humans do not plan in advance. So do many animals. I don’t know why you think the process of evolution is the same as the process of building houses. Houses, in case you hadn’t noticed, are inanimate, inorganic objects which as far as we know are incapable of reproducing themselves and of communicating with one another and of taking decisions. In that respect they are no different from birds’ nests and anthills. There is absolutely no parallel between the inorganic products of intelligence and the organic changes which organisms undergo during the process of evolution. You insist that your God preprogrammed or dabbled them all in advance. I propose that intelligent organisms (cell communities) responded to the challenges and opportunities offered by a changing environment. My hypothesis provides an answer to some of the questions that your hypothesis engenders, which are summarized above and which you continue to gloss over.

Evolution: frog adaptation

by David Turell @, Saturday, September 23, 2017, 14:45 (1054 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: We know that only a mind can plan. This is the basis of the ID philosophy. You could accept that and not include God.

dhw: I accept that only intelligence of some kind can produce the minor and major adaptations and innovations that have resulted in the great evolutionary bush of life. I also accept the possibility that this intelligence was invented by your God. I do not accept that these adaptations and innovations must be planned in advance.
Meanwhile, you continue to gloss over the dislocation between your God’s so-called prime purpose and the higgledy-piggledy bush, which includes the story of the whale, plus the problem of why your all-powerful God needed eight stages and millions of years to come up with his final version of the whale, as well as the huge problem of the extent to which your planning God plans all the environmental changes, local and global, that trigger organismal change.

DAVID: If nothing is planned in advance to accommodate required change, can you explain the latest buildings in London? As for God's methods, I simply accept that He evolves solutions.

dhw: I have never said that humans do not plan in advance. So do many animals. I don’t know why you think the process of evolution is the same as the process of building houses. Houses, in case you hadn’t noticed, are inanimate, inorganic objects which as far as we know are incapable of reproducing themselves and of communicating with one another and of taking decisions. In that respect they are no different from birds’ nests and anthills. There is absolutely no parallel between the inorganic products of intelligence and the organic changes which organisms undergo during the process of evolution. You insist that your God preprogrammed or dabbled them all in advance. I propose that intelligent organisms (cell communities) responded to the challenges and opportunities offered by a changing environment. My hypothesis provides an answer to some of the questions that your hypothesis engenders, which are summarized above and which you continue to gloss over.

It is amazing to me that you cannot recognize the need for planning the changes that must occur within the gaps in the fossil record. I'm not glossing. I see the need for intelligent planning. You simply do not. Of course speciation is due to 'challenges and opportunities'. I'm suggesting a portion of the requirements, planning with foresight and then changing. Nothing else will work.

Evolution: frog adaptation

by dhw, Sunday, September 24, 2017, 13:26 (1053 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: There is absolutely no parallel between the inorganic products of intelligence and the organic changes which organisms undergo during the process of evolution. You insist that your God preprogrammed or dabbled them all in advance. I propose that intelligent organisms (cell communities) responded to the challenges and opportunities offered by a changing environment. My hypothesis provides an answer to some of the questions that your hypothesis engenders, which are summarized above and which you continue to gloss over.

DAVID: It is amazing to me that you cannot recognize the need for planning the changes that must occur within the gaps in the fossil record. I'm not glossing. I see the need for intelligent planning. You simply do not. Of course speciation is due to 'challenges and opportunities'. I'm suggesting a portion of the requirements, planning with foresight and then changing. Nothing else will work.

I’m delighted at your recognition of the fact that speciation is due to challenges and opportunities. It is amazing to me that you cannot recognize that these challenges and opportunities must arise before organisms change. Why would a pre-whale’s legs change to fins before it even found out that life in the water was better for it than life on land? The very idea of your all-powerful God fiddling with it in advance, and then doing seven more fiddles over the next few million years (“Oops, forgot the blowhole!”) as he perfects the process, while all the time actually wanting to produce the brain of Homo sapiens, stretches credulity to snapping point. But NB, my hypothesis is not atheistic, just in case you scurry back to origins. The (hypothetical) mechanism that would enable organisms to respond to (as opposed to prepare for) challenges and opportunities may have been your God’s invention.

Evolution: frog adaptation

by David Turell @, Sunday, September 24, 2017, 14:50 (1053 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: It is amazing to me that you cannot recognize the need for planning the changes that must occur within the gaps in the fossil record. I'm not glossing. I see the need for intelligent planning. You simply do not. Of course speciation is due to 'challenges and opportunities'. I'm suggesting a portion of the requirements, planning with foresight and then changing. Nothing else will work.

dhw: I’m delighted at your recognition of the fact that speciation is due to challenges and opportunities. It is amazing to me that you cannot recognize that these challenges and opportunities must arise before organisms change. Why would a pre-whale’s legs change to fins before it even found out that life in the water was better for it than life on land? The very idea of your all-powerful God fiddling with it in advance, and then doing seven more fiddles over the next few million years (“Oops, forgot the blowhole!”) as he perfects the process, while all the time actually wanting to produce the brain of Homo sapiens, stretches credulity to snapping point. But NB, my hypothesis is not atheistic, just in case you scurry back to origins. The (hypothetical) mechanism that would enable organisms to respond to (as opposed to prepare for) challenges and opportunities may have been your God’s invention.

But I'll stick with the requirement that changes required by challenges and opportunities require foresight and planning to jump the gaps. Thank you for noting God might have helped. And note you have never answered the problem of the gaps as exemplified by the Cambrian animals.

Evolution: frog adaptation

by dhw, Monday, September 25, 2017, 13:24 (1052 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: It is amazing to me that you cannot recognize the need for planning the changes that must occur within the gaps in the fossil record. I'm not glossing. I see the need for intelligent planning. You simply do not. Of course speciation is due to 'challenges and opportunities'. I'm suggesting a portion of the requirements, planning with foresight and then changing. Nothing else will work.

dhw: I’m delighted at your recognition of the fact that speciation is due to challenges and opportunities. It is amazing to me that you cannot recognize that these challenges and opportunities must arise before organisms change. Why would a pre-whale’s legs change to fins before it even found out that life in the water was better for it than life on land? The very idea of your all-powerful God fiddling with it in advance, and then doing seven more fiddles over the next few million years (“Oops, forgot the blowhole!”) as he perfects the process, while all the time actually wanting to produce the brain of Homo sapiens, stretches credulity to snapping point. But NB, my hypothesis is not atheistic, just in case you scurry back to origins. The (hypothetical) mechanism that would enable organisms to respond to (as opposed to prepare for) challenges and opportunities may have been your God’s invention.

DAVID: But I'll stick with the requirement that changes required by challenges and opportunities require foresight and planning to jump the gaps. Thank you for noting God might have helped. And note you have never answered the problem of the gaps as exemplified by the Cambrian animals.

So you will stick with your “explanation” that you don’t know why your God prepared pre-whales for life in the water eight different times over several million years, although his prime purpose was to create the human brain. My hypothesis is not that God “helped” but that if he exists, he provided the mechanism enabling organisms to help themselves. The problem of the Cambrian gaps is solved if the autonomous mechanism for minor adaptations is also capable of major adaptations and innovations in response to the challenges and opportunities presented by changes in the environment. I accept that this is the big “IF”. The problem is also solved if there is an unknown, sourceless, intelligent mind that preprogrammed every single environmental change, major adaptation and innovation 3.8 billion years ago, or kept popping down to Earth to do the necessary. That is also a big “IF”.

Evolution: frog adaptation

by David Turell @, Monday, September 25, 2017, 16:13 (1052 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: But I'll stick with the requirement that changes required by challenges and opportunities require foresight and planning to jump the gaps. Thank you for noting God might have helped. And note you have never answered the problem of the gaps as exemplified by the Cambrian animals.

dhw: So you will stick with your “explanation” that you don’t know why your God prepared pre-whales for life in the water eight different times over several million years, although his prime purpose was to create the human brain. My hypothesis is not that God “helped” but that if he exists, he provided the mechanism enabling organisms to help themselves. The problem of the Cambrian gaps is solved if the autonomous mechanism for minor adaptations is also capable of major adaptations and innovations in response to the challenges and opportunities presented by changes in the environment. I accept that this is the big “IF”. The problem is also solved if there is an unknown, sourceless, intelligent mind that preprogrammed every single environmental change, major adaptation and innovation 3.8 billion years ago, or kept popping down to Earth to do the necessary. That is also a big “IF”.

Yes big IF's. But those are the only two choices. The Cambrian gap was Darwin's biggest bugaboo. The sudden appearance of such complex organisms require enormous elements of foresight and planning. Within our experience we know that only a planning mind can accomplish such developments. That mind must exist.

Evolution: frog adaptation

by dhw, Tuesday, September 26, 2017, 12:14 (1051 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: (under “Trees induce ants…” Another agreement. Today is a red letter day! Now we agree that bacteria are conscious, and that organisms have an autonomous, possibly God-given mechanism through which they can make changes to themselves without any input from your God. Therefore “God did it” could mean that he did it by providing cells/cell communities with the intelligence to create ALL the adaptations and innovations that have taken place throughout evolution.

DAVID: That is a jump in possibilities that I cannot accept. The gaps in evolution require foresight and planning that only a planning mind can provide.

Dhw (on this thread): So you will stick with your “explanation” that you don’t know why your God prepared pre-whales for life in the water eight different times over several million years, although his prime purpose was to create the human brain. […] The problem of the Cambrian gaps is solved if the autonomous mechanism for minor adaptations is also capable of major adaptations and innovations in response to the challenges and opportunities presented by changes in the environment. I accept that this is the big “IF”. The problem is also solved if there is an unknown, sourceless, intelligent mind that preprogrammed every single environmental change, major adaptation and innovation 3.8 billion years ago, or kept popping down to Earth to do the necessary. That is also a big “IF”.

DAVID: Yes big IF's. But those are the only two choices. The Cambrian gap was Darwin's biggest bugaboo. The sudden appearance of such complex organisms require enormous elements of foresight and planning. Within our experience we know that only a planning mind can accomplish such developments. That mind must exist.

We have no experience of such developments. None of us were around at the time, and so we do not “know” anything. We speculate. Why should it be beyond the bounds of possibility that your all-powerful God could invent a mechanism capable of autonomous innovation? Besides, we should not forget that your hypothesis is not confined to Cambrian gaps, or are you now withdrawing your insistence that only your God could have designed the weaverbird’s nest, the monarch’s lifestyle, the parasitic wasp etc.?

Evolution: frog adaptation

by David Turell @, Tuesday, September 26, 2017, 17:19 (1051 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: Yes big IF's. But those are the only two choices. The Cambrian gap was Darwin's biggest bugaboo. The sudden appearance of such complex organisms require enormous elements of foresight and planning. Within our experience we know that only a planning mind can accomplish such developments. That mind must exist.

dhw: We have no experience of such developments. None of us were around at the time, and so we do not “know” anything. We speculate. Why should it be beyond the bounds of possibility that your all-powerful God could invent a mechanism capable of autonomous innovation? Besides, we should not forget that your hypothesis is not confined to Cambrian gaps, or are you now withdrawing your insistence that only your God could have designed the weaverbird’s nest, the monarch’s lifestyle, the parasitic wasp etc.?

I think God stepped in at many levels. I've not changed. I don 't know why it is so important to you that God gave organisms an inventive mechanism. It is just an other way for God to be in control. I use God's control as signifying a purpose in how evolution plays out. Are you trying to get rid of purpose?

Evolution: frog adaptation

by dhw, Wednesday, September 27, 2017, 10:56 (1050 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Yes big IF's. But those are the only two choices. The Cambrian gap was Darwin's biggest bugaboo. The sudden appearance of such complex organisms require enormous elements of foresight and planning. Within our experience we know that only a planning mind can accomplish such developments. That mind must exist.

dhw: We have no experience of such developments. None of us were around at the time, and so we do not “know” anything. We speculate. Why should it be beyond the bounds of possibility that your all-powerful God could invent a mechanism capable of autonomous innovation? Besides, we should not forget that your hypothesis is not confined to Cambrian gaps, or are you now withdrawing your insistence that only your God could have designed the weaverbird’s nest, the monarch’s lifestyle, the parasitic wasp etc.?

DAVID: I think God stepped in at many levels. I've not changed. I don't know why it is so important to you that God gave organisms an inventive mechanism. It is just an other way for God to be in control. I use God's control as signifying a purpose in how evolution plays out. Are you trying to get rid of purpose?

We have spent years discussing your proposal that your God’s prime purpose was to create the brain of Homo sapiens – a hypothesis that throws up so many illogicalities in relation to the higgledy-piggledy bush of life that even you admit to not understanding much of it. I am proposing that instead of your God controlling every innovation, lifestyle and natural wonder in the history of evolution, he set the wheels in motion by creating an autonomous inventive mechanism (though he could dabble if he wished to). We have just devoted several posts to discussing my suggestion that by doing so he created a show that he watches and is interested in. That is a purpose to which you have agreed (with the strange proviso that you don't know what watching and interest mean to God). It also explains the higgledy-piggledy bush. At last you have recognized that my hypothesis does not exclude your God or limit his powers other than when he decides to let organisms (including humans) control themselves. What it does do is offer an explanation of evolution that eliminates all the illogicalities and unanswered questions that bedevil your own hypothesis. To echo your post: I don’t know why it is so important to you to have your God designing the weaverbird’s nest.

Evolution: frog adaptation

by David Turell @, Wednesday, September 27, 2017, 17:25 (1050 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Yes big IF's. But those are the only two choices. The Cambrian gap was Darwin's biggest bugaboo. The sudden appearance of such complex organisms require enormous elements of foresight and planning. Within our experience we know that only a planning mind can accomplish such developments. That mind must exist.

dhw: We have no experience of such developments. None of us were around at the time, and so we do not “know” anything. We speculate. Why should it be beyond the bounds of possibility that your all-powerful God could invent a mechanism capable of autonomous innovation? Besides, we should not forget that your hypothesis is not confined to Cambrian gaps, or are you now withdrawing your insistence that only your God could have designed the weaverbird’s nest, the monarch’s lifestyle, the parasitic wasp etc.?

DAVID: I think God stepped in at many levels. I've not changed. I don't know why it is so important to you that God gave organisms an inventive mechanism. It is just an other way for God to be in control. I use God's control as signifying a purpose in how evolution plays out. Are you trying to get rid of purpose?

dhw: We have spent years discussing your proposal that your God’s prime purpose was to create the brain of Homo sapiens – a hypothesis that throws up so many illogicalities in relation to the higgledy-piggledy bush of life that even you admit to not understanding much of it. I am proposing that instead of your God controlling every innovation, lifestyle and natural wonder in the history of evolution, he set the wheels in motion by creating an autonomous inventive mechanism (though he could dabble if he wished to). We have just devoted several posts to discussing my suggestion that by doing so he created a show that he watches and is interested in. That is a purpose to which you have agreed (with the strange proviso that you don't know what watching and interest mean to God). It also explains the higgledy-piggledy bush. At last you have recognized that my hypothesis does not exclude your God or limit his powers other than when he decides to let organisms (including humans) control themselves. What it does do is offer an explanation of evolution that eliminates all the illogicalities and unanswered questions that bedevil your own hypothesis. To echo your post: I don’t know why it is so important to you to have your God designing the weaverbird’s nest.

Once again you have God giving organisms the ability to speciate as an alternative to my approach. At the same time you have allowed God to dabble. This means in your thinking God can control all of evolution if He wishes. But at the same time you propose He lets things run along producing what the organisms wish to invent. So basically you are inventing God in two ways! I chose one approach. I don't think you can have it both ways. But since you don't accept God, I'm not surprised. My bush is balance of nature, which explanation satisfies me. It is required.

Evolution: frog adaptation

by dhw, Thursday, September 28, 2017, 13:02 (1049 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Once again you have God giving organisms the ability to speciate as an alternative to my approach. At the same time you have allowed God to dabble. This means in your thinking God can control all of evolution if He wishes. But at the same time you propose He lets things run along producing what the organisms wish to invent. So basically you are inventing God in two ways! I chose one approach. I don't think you can have it both ways. But since you don't accept God, I'm not surprised. My bush is balance of nature, which explanation satisfies me. It is required.

My non-aceptance/non-rejection of your God has nothing to do with the way we think he might have operated. You have now agreed that he has created a show which he watches with interest in his own special way. As the all-powerful creator, of course he can let the show run itself or he can interfere if he feels like it. There is nothing contradictory in this. Humans use such options all the time as circumstances change. But your “one approach” entails a show which has the prime purpose of producing the brain of Homo sapiens, while at the same time it also entails your God specially creating the whale in eight different stages, designing the weaverbird’s nest, equipping moths and frogs with poisons that won’t harm them, preparing monarch butterflies for their migration, plus millions of other innovations, lifestyles and natural wonders, 99% of which have come and gone. Clearly they have nothing to do with producing the brain of Homo sapiens, and you have agreed that “balance of nature” means nothing more than that life goes on, regardless of whether humans are there or not. So could it be that you are now saying your God specially designs all these things for the sake of the show (of which humans are simply one part), which he watches with interest in his own special way?

Evolution: frog adaptation

by David Turell @, Thursday, September 28, 2017, 14:34 (1049 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Once again you have God giving organisms the ability to speciate as an alternative to my approach. At the same time you have allowed God to dabble. This means in your thinking God can control all of evolution if He wishes. But at the same time you propose He lets things run along producing what the organisms wish to invent. So basically you are inventing God in two ways! I chose one approach. I don't think you can have it both ways. But since you don't accept God, I'm not surprised. My bush is balance of nature, which explanation satisfies me. It is required.

dhw: My non-aceptance/non-rejection of your God has nothing to do with the way we think he might have operated. You have now agreed that he has created a show which he watches with interest in his own special way. As the all-powerful creator, of course he can let the show run itself or he can interfere if he feels like it. There is nothing contradictory in this. Humans use such options all the time as circumstances change. But your “one approach” entails a show which has the prime purpose of producing the brain of Homo sapiens, while at the same time it also entails your God specially creating the whale in eight different stages, designing the weaverbird’s nest, equipping moths and frogs with poisons that won’t harm them, preparing monarch butterflies for their migration, plus millions of other innovations, lifestyles and natural wonders, 99% of which have come and gone. Clearly they have nothing to do with producing the brain of Homo sapiens, and you have agreed that “balance of nature” means nothing more than that life goes on, regardless of whether humans are there or not. So could it be that you are now saying your God specially designs all these things for the sake of the show (of which humans are simply one part), which he watches with interest in his own special way?

I've not changed and neither have you. Balance of nature is absolutely necessary to produce the human brain, exactly to keep solve the issue of 'life goes on' by providing the necessary energy supply, The brain is the current endpoint of evolution. The possibility of a 'show' is your side issue. I see God full of purpose, not theatrics, which might be a favorite subject of yours as a playwright.

Evolution: networks of coevolution

by David Turell @, Wednesday, October 18, 2017, 20:00 (1029 days ago) @ David Turell

The interaction of species fighting off or cooperating with other species create networks of relationships that affect each species evolution. This is a study of those networks:

https://phys.org/news/2017-10-rapid-environmental-species-vulnerable-extinction.html

"Coevolution, which occurs when species interact and adapt to each other, is often studied in the context of pair-wise interactions between mutually beneficial symbiotic partners. But many species have mutualistic interactions with multiple partners, leading to complex networks of interacting species.

***

"a group of ecologists and evolutionary biologists from five universities has attempted to understand how species coevolve within large webs of mutualistic species. The study yielded surprising findings about the relative importance of direct and indirect effects within such networks.

***

"Natural selection favors predators that are better at capturing prey, prey that have better defenses, and individuals that compete better against other species. Among mutualistic species, natural selection favors, for example, plants that are better at attracting pollinating insects and flower-visiting insects that are better at extracting pollen and nectar from flowers.

***
"Each web had, at one extreme, species that interact with only one other species and, at the other extreme, species that interact with many other species. When drawn as a network, each species is a node and each interaction between species is a line between two nodes. Each line is therefore a direct interaction between two species.

***
"Their analyses suggested two counterintuitive results. First, the stronger the importance of coevolutionary selection between partners, the greater the importance of indirect effects on overall evolution throughout the network. Second, in mutualisms involving multiple partners, the most specialized species—those species with the fewest direct partners—are more influenced by indirect effects than by their direct partners.

"These two results, together with other results reported in the paper, have many implications for the understanding of evolution and coevolution within webs of interacting species. Among the most important are two conclusions that link evolution, coevolution, and the rate of environmental change.

"With slow environmental change, the indirect effects of species on the evolution of other species may help mutualistic interactions persist over long periods of time. In contrast, rapid environmental change may slow the overall rate of evolution driven by direct interactions within large networks, making each species more vulnerable to extinction. With rapid environmental change, then, environments may change faster than species can adapt within large mutualistic networks.

"'The indirect effects serve to buffer the system under slow environmental change, keeping it stable. With the kinds of rapid environmental changes we're seeing now, however, this buffering effect can actually prevent species from adapting fast enough," Thompson said."

Comment: This research will help us understand more exactly how econiches work in balance of nature. It has been shown how top predators are essential. But so is cooperation. These complex networks must have existed since life began 3.6-3.8 billion years ago.

Evolution: chance, contingent or convergent

by David Turell @, Friday, October 27, 2017, 01:28 (1020 days ago) @ David Turell

A new book presents it own argument:

https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg23631480-700-a-new-book-balances-two-powerful-ri...

"IT’S one of the biggest questions in biology: is the outcome of evolution deterministic and predictable? In particular, was the evolution of human beings, or something similar, inevitable?

"Jonathan Losos, an evolutionary biologist at Harvard University, approaches this through the contrasting views of the late Stephen Jay Gould and University of Cambridge palaeontologist Simon Conway Morris.

"Gould famously argued that if we “replayed the tape of life” we would get very different outcomes, because the pattern of evolution is unpredictable. In contrast, Conway Morris claims that convergent evolution – the idea that similar conditions produce similar adaptations – is “completely ubiquitous”.

***

"Losos does not explain the reasons behind Gould’s and Conway Morris’s ideas. Nor does he fully explore how their contrasting world views (Conway Morris is a devout Christian; Gould was a Marxist) influence their thinking.

***

"Losos’s conclusion is that neither Gould nor Conway Morris is right. Faced with similar selection pressures, similar populations will indeed often produce convergent evolutionary outcomes. Even distantly related groups, such as marsupials and placental mammals, may do this – think of the marsupial and placental moles, separated by over 150 million years.

"But the process isn’t ubiquitous. Sometimes, stuff happens and evolution goes a little crazy. In New Zealand, there were no terrestrial mammals (bats aside) until humans arrived, but in a striking example of non-convergent evolution, the islands’ birds did not evolve forms resembling mammals elsewhere that have a similar ecological niche and environment.

"Alongside the widespread phenomenon of convergent evolution, life produces many unique forms. The human lineage is one such.

"But before the reader can conclude that our uniqueness suggests we are the whole point of evolution, Losos plays his trump card: the duck-billed platypus.

"This monotreme mammal has hair and a beak, and lays eggs. Like ours, its lineage is unique in the fossil record. Losos concludes that humans are no more the end-point of evolution than is the platypus, with its singular and slightly comical assemblage of characteristics. Not all evolution is convergent, he argues, and uniqueness does not imply destiny. That seems about right."

Comment: Not right to me. The platypus is simply a side branch in the bush of life, just as I think whales are. As the author of this review notes 'life produces many unique forms'. I'm still with Conway Morris.

Evolution: trying to mutate a protein

by David Turell @, Friday, November 10, 2017, 05:36 (1006 days ago) @ David Turell

Can a long series of mutations produce a desired protein. it seems the answer is no:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/11/171102091113.htm

"Scientists theorized that they could manipulate a protein one mutation at a time and predict its evolution. They sought to prove it. And failed. They do think, however, that they've found a fundamental truth underlying unpredictability in a biological system.

***

"While we got a surprising negative result, we were able to say why," said Michael J. Harms, a professor in the UO Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and scientist in the Institute of Molecular Biology. "That is a positive. Our simple study provides confirmation of what many people in the field have observed repeatedly -- unpredictability. It appears it is universal."

"The research was a digital affair, done with computer simulations designed by UO doctoral student Zachary R. Sailer. He and Harms created a simple lattice protein, using an approach previously created in the Harms lab, with a random sequence of 12 amino acids. They then ran evolutionary simulations to optimize stability, a physical property of the protein.

"The goal was to use the effects of all 228 mutations known to be associated with the starting protein to predict these simulated trajectories: which mutation would occur, when, over time. The ability to project ahead faded fast after the first two mutations. After that, the anticipated trajectories went astray amid a growing number of rerouting probabilities.

"'The quality of your information actually decays over time," Sailer said. "As mutations accumulate, the effects of the mutations that you measured start to change so that you can't predict where you are going."

"In their paper, Sailer and Harms suggest that physics, particularly thermodynamics, is at play. Each mutation alters the protein in a small, but nonlinear way. This means that the effect of each mutation depends on all mutations that occurred before.

"'I think that what we showed, fundamentally, is that even if you know a lot about a system, about a protein, you cannot predict how it evolves because of the physics of the system," Harms said. "There are physical rules that limit evolution and its predictability.'"

Comment: I realize this is a computer simulation and might be open to human error in software. However, this is straightforward study and likely correct. Which raises the issue, if evolution is at the mercy of random mutation, how does any evolution occur at all? Perhaps God must HAVE to do it by Himself. The obvious appearance of purpose and directionality strongly suggests God is necessary.

Evolution: a giant nutrition step

by David Turell @, Thursday, November 30, 2017, 00:38 (986 days ago) @ David Turell

Snowball Earth set up a huge nutritional supply when it melted:

http://bigthink.com/paul-ratner/researchers-solve-one-of-the-greatest-mysteries-of-scie...

"He set the stage for how algae had such an impact by describing an event called Snowball Earth which took place 700 million years ago. It resulted in Earth being completely frozen over for 50 million years. But once the ice started to melt, a tremendous amount of nutrients was released:

"'The Earth was frozen over for 50 million years. Huge glaciers ground entire mountain ranges to powder that released nutrients, and when the snow melted during an extreme global heating event rivers washed torrents of nutrients into the ocean," elaborated Brocks.

"The rush of nutrients and the cooling of global temperatures created the right conditions for the growth and rapid propagation of algae. The ocean was no longer just full of bacteria, moving towards hosting more complex life forms. This set of an evolutionary chain reaction that resulted in you and me.

"'These large and nutritious organisms at the base of the food web provided the burst of energy required for the evolution of complex ecosystems, where increasingly large and complex animals, including humans, could thrive on Earth," proposed Brocks.

"The research team's co-lead Dr. Amber Jarrett, who found the ancient rocks that were dated to just after the Snowball Earth period, called their discovery "ground-breaking" --

"'In these rocks we discovered striking signals of molecular fossils," said Dr Jarrett. "We immediately knew that we had made a ground-breaking discovery that snowball Earth was directly involved in the evolution of large and complex life.'"

Comment: the usual overblown description, which assumes evolution just plowed ahead once nutrition appeared. It does not tell us how multicellularity appeared, but certainly the event supplied nutrients.

Evolution: whales and hippos related?

by David Turell @, Thursday, March 15, 2018, 00:09 (881 days ago) @ David Turell

This hew paper claims they are through a common ancestor:

https://www.livescience.com/102-cousins-whales-hippos.html

"if the idea of whales being mammals has always seemed a bit wild, then you'll probably be surprised to learn that the giant aquatic beasts are pretty closely related to the hippopotamus.

"One theory had been that hippos were related to pigs. Yet mounting evidence suggested they are closer to whales. A new study concludes that a four-footed semi-aquatic mammal that thrived for some 40 million years was a common ancestor to both whales and hippos.

"'The problem with hippos is, if you look at the general shape of the animal it could be related to horses, as the ancient Greeks thought, or pigs, as modern scientists thought, while molecular phylogeny shows a close relationship with whales," said Jean-Renaud Boisserie, a post-doctoral fellow at the University of California, Berkeley. "But cetaceans - whales, porpoises and dolphins - don't look anything like hippos."

"To complicate matters, there is a 40-million-year gap between fossils of early cetaceans and early hippos.

"Boisserie and colleagues in France say they've filled in the gap with fossils of a "water-loving animal" that evolved into two groups, early cetaceans and a group of four-legged animals called anthracotheres. The pig-like anthracotheres, which developed at least 37 distinct genera, died out less than 2.5 million years ago, leaving only one line: the hippopotamus.

"The analysis puts whales within a large group of cloven-hoofed mammals called Artiodactyla.

"That makes them relatives of cows, pigs, sheep, antelopes, camels and giraffes, too.

"The idea of whales and hippos being related has gained steam in recent years. Boisserie's team analyzed new and previous hippo, whale and anthracothere fossils to pin down anthracotheres as the missing link between hippos and cetaceans, they say.

"'Our study is the most complete to date, including lots of different taxa and a lot of new characteristics," Boisserie said. But leaving the case not quite shut, he added: "Our results are very robust and a good alternative to our findings is still to be formulated.'"

Comment: Makes sense. Hippos live in water. Buy at least they had the sense to not true to imitate fish.

Evolution: whales and hippos related? More relationships

by David Turell @, Monday, March 26, 2018, 23:14 (869 days ago) @ David Turell

Yes they are, but other aquatic mammals have other ancestors, and they all come with constraints:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/03/180326152405.htm

"Anyone who has witnessed majestic whales or lumbering elephant seals in person would be forgiven for associating ocean life with unlimited size in mammals, but new research reveals that mammal growth is actually more constrained in water than on land.

***

"the group found that aquatic mammal size is bounded at the small end by the need to retain heat and at the large end by difficulties getting enough food to survive.

***

"Instead, the group found that aquatic mammal size is bounded at the small end by the need to retain heat and at the large end by difficulties getting enough food to survive. The group published their findings March 26 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"'Many people have viewed going into the water as more freeing for mammals, but what we're seeing is that it's actually more constraining," said co-author Jonathan Payne, a professor of geological sciences at Stanford's School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences (Stanford Earth). "It's not that water allows you to be a big mammal, it's that you have to be a big mammal in water -- you don't have any other options."

"Although mammals that live in water share a similarly oblong body shape, they are not closely related. Rather, seals and sea lions are closely related to dogs, manatees share ancestry with elephants, and whales and dolphins are related to hippos and other hoofed mammals.

***

"From this analysis, the group found that once land animals take to the water, they evolve very quickly toward their new size, converging at around 1,000 pounds. Smaller ancestors like dog relatives increased in size more than larger ancestors like hippos to reach that optimal weight, suggesting that bigger is better for aquatic life, but only up to a point. The group points out that otters, which took to the water more recently, don't follow that trend, perhaps because many otter species still live much of their lives on land.

***

"The group argues that the larger size helps aquatic mammals retain heat in water that's lower than body temperature. "When you're very small, you lose heat back into the water so fast, there's no way to eat enough food to keep up," Payne said.

"They also suggest that metabolism increases with size more than an animal's ability to gather food, putting a boundary on how big aquatic mammals can grow. "Basically, animals are machines that require energy to operate. This need for energy places hard limits on what animals can do and how big they can be," said McClain, who was a co-author on the study.

***

"If otters are the exception at the small end, baleen whales prove the exception at the larger size. These whales expend much less energy on feeding than their toothed counterparts because they filter all their food, which makes them more efficient and allows them to grow larger than toothed whales.

"'The sperm whale seems to be the largest you can get without a new adaptation," Gearty said.

"'The only way to get as big as a baleen whale is to completely change how you're eating.'"

Comment: This study supports my contention that this is a strange and difficult way to evolve with all the new reasons shown

Evolution: whales and hippos related? More relationships

by dhw, Tuesday, March 27, 2018, 13:00 (869 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID's comment: This study supports my contention that this is a strange and difficult way to evolve with all the new reasons shown.

This study supports my contention that organisms work out their own ways of coping with the environment, as opposed to being divinely preprogrammed or dabbled with in order to keep life going for the sake of the human brain.

Evolution: whales and hippos related? More relationships

by David Turell @, Tuesday, March 27, 2018, 14:40 (869 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID's comment: This study supports my contention that this is a strange and difficult way to evolve with all the new reasons shown.

dhw: This study supports my contention that organisms work out their own ways of coping with the environment, as opposed to being divinely preprogrammed or dabbled with in order to keep life going for the sake of the human brain.

So you think land animals convert to aquatic environment with an easy change to their physiology. It is very difficult and requires many new designed systems.

Evolution: whales and hippos related? More relationships

by dhw, Wednesday, March 28, 2018, 12:22 (868 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID's comment: This study supports my contention that this is a strange and difficult way to evolve with all the new reasons shown.

dhw: This study supports my contention that organisms work out their own ways of coping with the environment, as opposed to being divinely preprogrammed or dabbled with in order to keep life going for the sake of the human brain.

DAVID: So you think land animals convert to aquatic environment with an easy change to their physiology. It is very difficult and requires many new designed systems.

I don’t remember saying it was easy. I find all of nature’s wonders wonderful. Not easy. I find human technology wonderful too, but a long, long way from being easy. It’s truly amazing what intelligent beings can come up with, and I do not believe intelligence is confined to humans. And if God exists, I do not believe it is beyond his powers to endow cell communities with the intelligence to engineer their own ways of coping with the environment.

Evolution: whales and hippos related? More relationships

by David Turell @, Wednesday, March 28, 2018, 15:09 (868 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID's comment: This study supports my contention that this is a strange and difficult way to evolve with all the new reasons shown.

dhw: This study supports my contention that organisms work out their own ways of coping with the environment, as opposed to being divinely preprogrammed or dabbled with in order to keep life going for the sake of the human brain.

DAVID: So you think land animals convert to aquatic environment with an easy change to their physiology. It is very difficult and requires many new designed systems.

dhw: I don’t remember saying it was easy. I find all of nature’s wonders wonderful. Not easy. I find human technology wonderful too, but a long, long way from being easy. It’s truly amazing what intelligent beings can come up with, and I do not believe intelligence is confined to humans. And if God exists, I do not believe it is beyond his powers to endow cell communities with the intelligence to engineer their own ways of coping with the environment.

I agree with guidelines and help in design.

Evolution: whales and hippos related? More relationships

by dhw, Thursday, March 29, 2018, 09:25 (867 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID's comment: This study supports my contention that this is a strange and difficult way to evolve with all the new reasons shown.

dhw: This study supports my contention that organisms work out their own ways of coping with the environment, as opposed to being divinely preprogrammed or dabbled with in order to keep life going for the sake of the human brain.

DAVID: So you think land animals convert to aquatic environment with an easy change to their physiology. It is very difficult and requires many new designed systems.

dhw: I don’t remember saying it was easy. I find all of nature’s wonders wonderful. Not easy. I find human technology wonderful too, but a long, long way from being easy. It’s truly amazing what intelligent beings can come up with, and I do not believe intelligence is confined to humans. And if God exists, I do not believe it is beyond his powers to endow cell communities with the intelligence to engineer their own ways of coping with the environment.

DAVID: I agree with guidelines and help in design.

If you insist that organisms cannot cope with their environment unless they have guidelines and help, you refuse to consider the possibility that your God gave them the autonomous means to cope with their environment. There is no agreement. And among other titbits for you to savour is that your God guided and helped bad bacteria and viruses to do their dirty deeds.

Evolution: whales and hippos related? More relationships

by David Turell @, Thursday, March 29, 2018, 15:18 (867 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID's comment: This study supports my contention that this is a strange and difficult way to evolve with all the new reasons shown.

dhw: This study supports my contention that organisms work out their own ways of coping with the environment, as opposed to being divinely preprogrammed or dabbled with in order to keep life going for the sake of the human brain.

DAVID: So you think land animals convert to aquatic environment with an easy change to their physiology. It is very difficult and requires many new designed systems.

dhw: I don’t remember saying it was easy. I find all of nature’s wonders wonderful. Not easy. I find human technology wonderful too, but a long, long way from being easy. It’s truly amazing what intelligent beings can come up with, and I do not believe intelligence is confined to humans. And if God exists, I do not believe it is beyond his powers to endow cell communities with the intelligence to engineer their own ways of coping with the environment.

DAVID: I agree with guidelines and help in design.

dhw: If you insist that organisms cannot cope with their environment unless they have guidelines and help, you refuse to consider the possibility that your God gave them the autonomous means to cope with their environment. There is no agreement. And among other titbits for you to savour is that your God guided and helped bad bacteria and viruses to do their dirty deeds.

You are following the religious line that God does only good things. That is certainly not true, as I discussed in my first book. Just understanding how dangerous a place is the universe gives evidence.

Evolution: whales and hippos related? More relationships

by dhw, Friday, March 30, 2018, 12:45 (866 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: If you insist that organisms cannot cope with their environment unless they have guidelines and help, you refuse to consider the possibility that your God gave them the autonomous means to cope with their environment. There is no agreement. And among other titbits for you to savour is that your God guided and helped bad bacteria and viruses to do their dirty deeds.

DAVID: You are following the religious line that God does only good things. That is certainly not true, as I discussed in my first book. Just understanding how dangerous a place is the universe gives evidence.

I'm not following any line. If you believe your God deliberately created "bad things", that's up to you. But you are the one who said it raised an issue you can't resolve. :

DAVID: under “bacterial intelligenceAnother non-religious thought is God created a such a strong driving force to produce life on Earth with bacteria that viruses also appeared and in each group nasty ones popped up, that then had to be controlled. Raises the issue of whether God is under total control or just well-intended? I have no way of knowing.

dhw: […] So did he give the nasty bacteria and viruses guidelines, as above, or did he lose control, or maybe even willingly sacrifice control? Now apparently you have no way of knowing. We are making progress.

DAVID: Since it is obvious to me God used evolution to create living forms and He wanted the arrival of humans, He controlled the advance of evolution, but viruses may have been a side effect of the drive for life. They appear to have been present since the very beginning, which also suggests they are a purposeful addition. Evidence is not clear.

Dhw: So your God may have purposefully added bad viruses and bacteria, or he may have lost control, or he may have deliberately sacrificed control to let evolution take its own course (you left out that alternative). Evidence is not clear. You are prepared to consider the possibility that he did not HAVE total control, and yet you are not prepared to consider the possibility that he did not WANT total control.

That is the point at issue, and still you refuse to consider the possibility that he did not WANT total control.

Evolution: whales and hippos related? More relationships

by David Turell @, Friday, March 30, 2018, 14:47 (866 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Since it is obvious to me God used evolution to create living forms and He wanted the arrival of humans, He controlled the advance of evolution, but viruses may have been a side effect of the drive for life. They appear to have been present since the very beginning, which also suggests they are a purposeful addition. Evidence is not clear.

Dhw: So your God may have purposefully added bad viruses and bacteria, or he may have lost control, or he may have deliberately sacrificed control to let evolution take its own course (you left out that alternative). Evidence is not clear. You are prepared to consider the possibility that he did not HAVE total control, and yet you are not prepared to consider the possibility that he did not WANT total control.

dhw: That is the point at issue, and still you refuse to consider the possibility that he did not WANT total control.

I have never thought He was not in full control. My statement of viruses as a 'side effect' certainly suggests the option that His control was not complete, but that has two interpretations: He did mean to lose total control or He didn't mean it. Om balance He demonstrates extraordinary purpose which still support full control.

Evolution: baleen whales once had teeth

by David Turell @, Thursday, May 10, 2018, 20:24 (825 days ago) @ David Turell

They came from toothed animals and now have baleen filters to use for feeding. they look like a venitian blind set of slats:

https://phys.org/news/2018-05-ancient-skull-early-baleen-whale.html

"Today's baleen whales (Mysticetes) support their massive bodies by filtering huge volumes of small prey from seawater using comb-like baleen in their mouths much like a sieve. But new evidence reported in the journal Current Biology on May 10 based on careful analysis of a 34-million-year-old whale skull from Antarctica—the second-oldest "baleen" whale ever found—suggests that early whales actually didn't have baleen at all. Their mouths were equipped instead with well-developed gums and teeth, which they apparently used to bite large prey.

"'Llanocetus denticrenatus is an ancient relative of our modern gentle giants, like humpback and blue whales," says Felix Marx of the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences. "Unlike them, however, it had teeth, and probably was a formidable predator."

"'Until recently, it was thought that filter feeding first emerged when whales still had teeth," adds R. Ewan Fordyce at the University of Otago in New Zealand. "Llanocetus shows that this was not the case."

***

"'Instead of a filter, it seems that Llanocetus simply had large gums and, judging from the way its teeth are worn, mainly fed by biting large prey," Marx says. "Even so, it was huge: at a total body length of around 8 meters, it rivals some living whales in size."

"The findings suggest that large gums in whales like Llanocetus gradually became more complex over evolutionary time and, ultimately, gave rise to baleen. That transition probably happened only after the teeth had already been lost and whales had switched from biting to sucking in small prey—as many whales and dolphins now do. Marx and Fordyce suggest that baleen most likely arose as a way to keep such small prey inside the mouth more effectively.

***

"Soft tissues, including baleen, normally rot away, making it difficult to study their evolution. As a result, researchers must rely on indicators preserved on the bones, such as tell-tale grooves or lumps indicating the position of a muscle, or holes for the passage of particular blood vessels and nerves.

"'Llanocetus presents a lucky combination, where the shape of the bones, small features suggesting the course of soft tissues, and tooth wear all combine to tell a clear story," Fordyce says. "Crucially, Llanocetus is also extremely old and lived at the very time when Mysticetes first appeared. As such, it provides a rare window into the earliest phase of their evolution."

"In the new study, Fordyce and Marx found that the broad rostrum of Llanocetus had sharp, widely spaced teeth with marked tooth wear suggesting that they were used to bite and shear prey. As in living Mysticetes, the palate bears many grooves, which have commonly been interpreted as evidence for baleen. However, the researchers showed that those grooves instead converged on the bony tooth sockets, suggesting a peri-dental blood supply to well-developed gums, rather than racks of baleen.

"The findings show that the evolution of filter feeding wasn't as straightforward as previously thought, the researchers say. They'd now like to sort out when filter feeding and baleen first evolved.

"'The giants of our modern ocean may be gentle, but their ancestors were anything but," Marx says. "Llanocetus was both large and a ferocious predator and probably had little in common with how modern whales behave.'"

Comment: Another example of the enormous changes that had to occur to produce today's whales

Evolution: insect explosion much like the Cambrian

by David Turell @, Monday, May 14, 2018, 21:00 (821 days ago) @ David Turell

There is a million year gap in insect evolution with several types appearing all at once, just like the Cambrian, with no known precursors:

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/mysterious-insect-fossil-gap-explained/?utm_...

"Yet there are none whatsoever in the known fossil record between 385 million and 325 million years ago. The earliest known insect fossil is a 385-million-year-old wingless creature that looks like a silverfish. But for the next 60 million years there is not so much as a single dragonfly, grasshopper or roach.

"This so-called hexapod gap has long vexed paleontologists, given that insects today are found in almost every imaginable land habitat. One hypothesis suggests that chokingly low oxygen levels kept insect diversity from soaring during the gap and that these creatures proliferated only once the life-giving gas increased.

"But advances in the understanding of atmospheric oxygen levels are challenging that idea, explains Sandra Schachat, a paleoentomologist at Stanford University, who led a recent study that modeled the gas's availability during the hexapod gap. Atmospheric oxygen at the time was much higher than once believed, according to the research.

***

"Schachat and her team combed through fossil information from a public paleontology database and realized there was something special about many of the insect fossils that came after the gap: they had wings. This was likely the trait that helped hexapod diversity take off; winged insects can zip away from predators and get at otherwise unreachable foods such as leaves and other insects. “The gap is simply the tail end of a larger interval in which insects are very rare on the landscape because wings had not yet originated,” Schachat says.

"The mystery now bugging Schachat is how insect wings evolved at all; the earliest flying insects found after the gap seem to have already been very diverse. “The two very first winged insects that we have in the fossil record—they're about as different from each other as you could imagine,” she says. The origins of wings, then, must lie within the gap itself. Lurking somewhere in it, there may be undiscovered fossils that could reveal how insects became the first animals to take to the skies."

Comment: Evolutionary theory now faces three gaps: the Cambrian explosion, the insect gap and the plant bloom, all preceded by time intervals in which no obvious precursor is present. It is very obvious evolution was not a gradual process but very much proceeded in a staccato fashion.

Evolution: arriving on land

by David Turell @, Saturday, June 02, 2018, 18:39 (802 days ago) @ David Turell

The mass Devonian extinction in the oceans may have driven partially air-breathing animals onto land by using estuaries:

https://phys.org/news/2018-06-stable-isotopes-earliest-tetrapods-euryhaline.html

"A team of researchers from several institutions in France and China has found evidence that some of the earliest creatures to walk on land likely emerged from estuaries or deltas. In their paper published in the journal Nature, the group describes studying certain stable isotopes in fossil specimens to determine the salinity in which they lived.

"Back in 1929, a team of researchers discovered the fossilized remains of Ichthyostega, a tetrapod that was believed to be among the first creatures to walk on land. Since that time, similar types of remains have been found in places like Greenland and China. Study has shown the creatures were able to live both on land and in water—they had four legs, tails for swimming and gills. But until now, scientists reported difficulty in figuring out if the water they came from was fresh or salty (suggesting an ocean existence). In this new effort, the researchers tested 51 ancient fossilized tetrapod bones as a new way to find the answer to this question.

"The team studied sulfur and oxygen isotopes. Seawater has more sulfur-34 compared to sulfur-32 than freshwater. Since both wind up in the bones of creatures that live in water, the researchers studied the ratios in the fossilized bones. They found that the ratios fell closer to seawater. But in studying oxygen isotopes, they found that the creatures were also exposed to freshwater. The evidence suggests that the tetrapods lived part of the time in seawater and part of the time in freshwater. Such places today include estuaries and river deltas. To further bolster their theory, they tested modern creatures that live in such places and found a near match.

"Adding to the story, the fossilized remains have been dated back to approximately 365 million years ago, which was towards the end of the Devonian Period—just prior to the mass extinction of ocean dwelling creatures. The ability to live in both fresh water and sea water, the researchers note, would have given the tetrapods a leg up, so to speak—they would have been able to survive in both types of water and sometimes on land. "


Comment: why did seagoing animals have the ability to breath air in advance of the mass extinction? Good ,luck or God?

Evolution: arriving on land

by dhw, Sunday, June 03, 2018, 09:39 (801 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID’s comment: why did seagoing animals have the ability to breath air in advance of the mass extinction? Good luck or God?

Those that had already ventured onto land had already adapted to life out of the water, and those that hadn’t adapted went extinct. Sounds perfectly natural to me.

Evolution: arriving on land

by David Turell @, Sunday, June 03, 2018, 18:46 (801 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID’s comment: why did seagoing animals have the ability to breath air in advance of the mass extinction? Good luck or God?

dhw: Those that had already ventured onto land had already adapted to life out of the water, and those that hadn’t adapted went extinct. Sounds perfectly natural to me.

You are assuming an advanced adaptation. Either an air bladder or rudimentary lungs must be available to stay awhile on land. How does adaptation occur in such an unfriendly environment? Multiple beneficial mutations are necessary. Not by chance.

Evolution: arriving on land

by dhw, Monday, June 04, 2018, 13:09 (800 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID’s comment: why did seagoing animals have the ability to breath air in advance of the mass extinction? Good luck or God?

dhw: Those that had already ventured onto land had already adapted to life out of the water, and those that hadn’t adapted went extinct. Sounds perfectly natural to me.

DAVID: You are assuming an advanced adaptation. Either an air bladder or rudimentary lungs must be available to stay awhile on land. How does adaptation occur in such an unfriendly environment? Multiple beneficial mutations are necessary. Not by chance.

But these adaptations DID occur! And I am not saying they occurred by chance! And I keep repeating that all the cell communities of which organisms are composed must cooperate to enable such adaptations to occur. In most cases, the cell communities are incapable of mastering the “unfriendly environment”, and so they go extinct. According to you, your God either forecast each environmental change 3.8 billion years ago and provided a computer programme for 1% of organisms to switch on and be saved, or he said to himself: “Whoops, looks like there’s a mass extinction on the way. I’d better fiddle with a few critters so they can carry on breathing. Otherwise, life won’t survive until I’m able to design the sapiens brain.” But you have the right to believe what you will.

Evolution: arriving on land

by David Turell @, Monday, June 04, 2018, 14:15 (800 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID’s comment: why did seagoing animals have the ability to breath air in advance of the mass extinction? Good luck or God?

dhw: Those that had already ventured onto land had already adapted to life out of the water, and those that hadn’t adapted went extinct. Sounds perfectly natural to me.

DAVID: You are assuming an advanced adaptation. Either an air bladder or rudimentary lungs must be available to stay awhile on land. How does adaptation occur in such an unfriendly environment? Multiple beneficial mutations are necessary. Not by chance.

dhw: But these adaptations DID occur! And I am not saying they occurred by chance! And I keep repeating that all the cell communities of which organisms are composed must cooperate to enable such adaptations to occur. In most cases, the cell communities are incapable of mastering the “unfriendly environment”, and so they go extinct. According to you, your God either forecast each environmental change 3.8 billion years ago and provided a computer programme for 1% of organisms to switch on and be saved, or he said to himself: “Whoops, looks like there’s a mass extinction on the way. I’d better fiddle with a few critters so they can carry on breathing. Otherwise, life won’t survive until I’m able to design the sapiens brain.” But you have the right to believe what you will.

Of course adaptations occurred. I have my thoughts and keep debating the one's you have a right to have.

Evolution: storm induced natural selection

by David Turell @, Thursday, July 26, 2018, 21:12 (747 days ago) @ David Turell

Studies of tree lizards after severe hurricanes shows how variation helps survival:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/07/180726090037.htm

" biologists at Washington University in St. Louis have published a first-of-its-kind look at the physical characteristics of lizards that seem to make the difference between life and death in a hurricane,

***

"The team spent two days collecting just shy of 100 lizards on two separate islands, then measured their forelimbs, hindlimbs and core body lengths, and took pictures of their toe pads.

"The vital statistics of the survivors could be compared with the measurements of the general lizard population that had been collected before the storm.

"'The prediction was that if we saw any changes, they would be changes in the features that help lizards hold on -- they would be related to clinging ability," Donihue said. "For example, the sticky toe pads on their fingers and toes, maybe they would be larger."

"Comparing lizards collected before and after the storm, the researchers found that the survivor populations on both islands had larger toe pads on both their forelimbs and hindlimbs.

"The survivors had proportionately longer fore legs than the initial/pre-hurricane population, while the long bones in between their hips and knees on their back legs (their femurs) were shorter. The survivor population had smaller bodies, too. The observations were statistically significant and consistent at both island sites.

***

"The missing piece of the story is still a behavioral one. Researchers don't know what lizards actually do in the middle of a hurricane. Do they abandon their typical tree perches and go to the ground? Or do they try to seek cover in notches or crevices within the trees? Or do they just hang on?

"A pilot study exploring wind threshold provides some insight into this aspect of the lizard decision-making process.

"When the researchers exposed lizards from the survivor population to hurricane-force winds, the lizards almost uniformly swiveled around their perches to the side opposite from the wind source -- and just held on tight. As wind speeds increased, they lost hold with their hindlimbs first, and were left hanging by their forelimbs.

"It appears that lizards are built to cling, but because of their stance on the perch, their big hindlimbs make them vulnerable to getting pushed off by high winds. This could explain the pattern that survivor lizards have longer forelimbs and shorter hindlimbs after a hurricane, the researchers speculate."

Comment: This is just the result one would expect. We know populations vary and in this case the expected variation survived. A clear picture of the theory of variation and survival..

Evolution: first vertebrate bone structure

by David Turell @, Tuesday, July 31, 2018, 14:53 (743 days ago) @ David Turell

Earliest form is analyzed and contains collagen like our bone now:

https://cosmosmagazine.com/palaeontology/boning-up-on-early-skeletons

"Palaeontologists have identified the oldest known form of bone, solving a 160-year-old mystery about the evolution of the human skeleton.

"Led by Joseph Keating from the University of Manchester in the UK, a team of researchers used high-energy X-rays to examine the fossilised skeletons of one of our oldest vertebrate relatives: ancient fish called heterostracans.

"The fish skeletons are made of aspidin, a tissue with a structure of crisscrossing tubes. Unlike anything found in modern vertebrates, it was thought to be a precursor to bones as we know them today.

“'For 160 years, scientists have wondered if aspidin is a transitional stage in the evolution of mineralised tissues,” explains Keating.

"Now, new findings published in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution reveal that the tiny tubes are in fact openings that formerly held bundles of collagen, a type of protein found in skin and – critically – bones.

"The discovery places the origin of the vertebrate skeleton at an earlier date than previously assumed.

“'We show that [aspidin] is, in fact, a type of bone, and that all these tissues must have evolved millions of years earlier,” says co-author Phil Donoghue from the University of Bristol, UK.

Heterostracans are an extinct group of jawless fish that inhabited salt and fresh water habitats during the early to middle Palaeozoic era some 440 to 359 million years ago. In comparison, flowering plants appear in the fossil record around 140 million years ago, and modern humans just 200,000 years ago.

“'These findings change our view on the evolution of the skeleton,” says Donoghue."

Original article abstract:

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41559-018-0624-1

"Bone is the key innovation underpinning the evolution of the vertebrate skeleton, yet its origin is mired by debate over interpretation of the most primitive bone-like tissue, aspidin. This has variously been interpreted as cellular bone, acellular bone, dentine or an intermediate of dentine and bone. The crux of the controversy is the nature of unmineralized spaces pervading the aspidin matrix, which have alternatively been interpreted as having housed cells, cell processes or Sharpey’s fibres. Discriminating between these hypotheses has been hindered by the limits of traditional histological methods. Here, we use synchrotron X-ray tomographic microscopy to reveal the nature of aspidin. We show that the spaces exhibit a linear morphology incompatible with interpretations that they represent voids left by cells or cell processes. Instead, these spaces represent intrinsic collagen fibre bundles that form a scaffold about which mineral was deposited. Aspidin is thus acellular dermal bone. We reject hypotheses that it is a type of dentine, cellular bone or transitional tissue. Our study suggests that the full repertoire of skeletal tissue types was established before the divergence of the earliest known skeletonizing vertebrates, indicating that the corresponding cell types evolved rapidly following the divergence of cyclostomes and gnathostomes."

Comment: Again punctuated evolution. A needed advance appears full blown. Only design fits.

Evolution: hummingbird evolution has gaps

by David Turell @, Tuesday, July 31, 2018, 18:35 (743 days ago) @ David Turell

Now they are only in the Western Hemisphere, but they originated in the Eastern:

https://www.audubon.org/news/the-origins-hummingbirds-are-still-major-mystery

"Hummingbirds come in a jewel-like assortment of colors and are so dexterous, they can hover still for seconds and fly backward. They also have one of the most diverse avian families in the world, boasting about 350 known species across North and South America. Sunbirds, the prime nectar-feeding birds of the Old World, have fewer than 150.

"But once upon a time, tens of millions of years ago, hummingbirds did zip around the hills and forests of Europe. According to Jim McGuire, it all started about 42 million years ago, when hummingbirds broke away from the swifts, their closest living relatives. McGuire, an integrative biologist at University of California Berkeley, calculated this date by examining genetic variation across living hummingbird species and using that information to piece together an approximate evolutionary timeline.

"The plot, McGuire says, thickens at the 30- to 35-million-year mark. The oldest hummingbird fossils we’ve discovered come from this period—but they aren’t American. Instead, they were unearthed in southeastern Germany.

***

"Modern hummingbirds evolved in the Americas around 22 million years ago, according to McGuire’s estimates, but we don’t have any fossils from the West that are older than 10,000 years ago. “We basically have no fossil material we can use” in the New World to figure out how to connect the dots, says McGuire.

"Modern hummingbirds evolved in the Americas around 22 million years ago, according to McGuire’s estimates, but we don’t have any fossils from the West that are older than 10,000 years ago. “We basically have no fossil material we can use” in the New World to figure out how to connect the dots, says McGuire.

***

"Until scientists discover more fossils on both sides of the Atlantic, the hummingbird mystery is a tough one to solve. But what we do know about hummingbird evolution so far is fascinating. “Hummingbirds can be very resource-specific in terms of their needs; they evolve relatively quickly into actual separate species that look similar and have different needs and genetics,” says Geoff LeBaron, the Christmas Bird Count director for Audubon."

Comment: They had to migrate somehow.

Evolution: storm induced natural selection

by David Turell @, Monday, April 27, 2020, 21:28 (106 days ago) @ David Turell

A new study supports the relationship of big lizard pads and Caribbean hurricanes which we mentioned before:

https://phys.org/news/2020-04-hurricanes-evolution-island-lizards.html

"Lizard groups that more frequently experience hurricanes evolve larger toepads than those that experience relatively fewer hurricanes, according to a new analysis that spans 12 island populations of Anolis sagrei lizards and, separately, 188 Anolis species with ranges from Florida to Brazil.

"Scientists have known for a long time that lizards on the Caribbean islands have larger toepads than those on the mainland. But this physical difference has never been definitively linked to an evolutionary response to hurricanes. Hurricanes happen so infrequently that researchers used to think their effects would be erased by natural selection favoring normal conditions.

"'What we found is that hurricanes actually do have evolutionary effects on lizards that span both geographic and phylogenetic scales," said Colin Donihue, a postdoctoral fellow in biology in Arts & Sciences at Washington University. "We showed that hurricanes affect a single anole species in Turks & Caicos, and those effects are likely inherited to the next generation—suggesting an evolutionary change. The effects are paralleled across 12 island populations of a different anole species, and ultimately can be detected across an entire genus of very distantly related anole lizards."

***

"'Correcting for things like differences in body size, we found that island populations that had been hit by hurricanes more [frequently] had larger toepads," Donihue said. "Hurricanes seem to be having some sort of additive effect on the evolution of these lizards—that the more hurricanes you have, the larger toepads you have, on average."

"'Toepads might be a key trait for helping lizards hold on tight to the vegetation during storms," he said. "But there's probably a tradeoff between the traits that make you really good at surviving a hurricane and the traits that make you really good at being a lizard day in, day out."

Comment: It seems like a good theory. Bigger pads will hold on better in high wind speed and natural variation will allow those with bigger pads to survive.

Evolution: whales defy explanation

by David Turell @, Wednesday, August 15, 2018, 22:32 (727 days ago) @ David Turell

A neat view parallel to my feelings:

https://evolutionnews.org/2018/08/inexplicable-species-and-the-theory-of-evolution/

"Many modern authorities continue to use fossils as proof of evolution, chronologically lining up those which appear similar, yet the gaps have only grown more glaring with time. We now delve into the cellular level comparing chemical processes, electrical charges, and genetic differences. It seems to be a secret, but researchers know that it would take millions of internal changes for dinosaurs to evolve into birds, flat plants into trees, fish into amphibians. Note there are no half-fish/half-salamanders or one-third monkey/two-thirds humans, ever.

"Upon close inspection, the absence of transitions (smaller steps) is striking. We should be up to our collective elbows with transitional species that once came about by trial and error, and failed to survive. Not so. Even for whales, the largest animal alive. We’ve been told repeatedly that transitional forms will eventually be found, but that hasn’t happened and the problems are steadily increasing in our awareness. Saying that two fossils with similar appearances, yet found thousands of miles apart, are related, begs the question.

"Some whales can grow up to 100 feet long and weigh 200 tons. The rib cage of a blue whale is large enough to accommodate a minivan or small truck. Their hearts are the size of a Volkswagen Beetle. Every aspect is so massive. A few fossilized bones from their putative predecessors have been found. But the story is still mysterious, because of the changes required.

***

" Some modern paleontologists say the whale’s ancestor must be the hippopotamus. Maybe because they are mammals and linger in the water most of their lives? But, otherwise they are strikingly (impossibly) different. Other coastal animals, that are now extinct, are also cited, but none of them could survive a day or two at sea. Of interest, the whale’s tail moves up and down, not sideways like fish. And, whales never had scales.

"No one knows how blow holes came about, certainly not by small successive steps, or how the internal lungs became connected up to these holes in a way that prevents drowning. Or, how a massive communication center, found in their heads, came about. Or, how the ability to depressurize body segments during deep dives evolved. Calves are born tail first (they cannot go head first in case the process is too slow) and these newborns must rise to the surface immediately for air or else they will drown. The ability to swim must be present from the beginning. Trial and error would never have worked."

Comment: Exactly! And yet dhw tries to claim the animals entered the water and adapted, just to follow a food supply!

Evolution: whales defy explanation

by dhw, Thursday, August 16, 2018, 11:48 (727 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: A neat view parallel to my feelings:
https://evolutionnews.org/2018/08/inexplicable-species-and-the-theory-of-evolution/

Just a couple of quotes to get the general gist:

"Many modern authorities continue to use fossils as proof of evolution, chronologically lining up those which appear similar, yet the gaps have only grown more glaring with time. […] researchers know that it would take millions of internal changes for dinosaurs to evolve into birds, flat plants into trees, fish into amphibians.”
“A few fossilized bones from their putative predecessors have been found. But the story is still mysterious, because of the changes required.”

DAVID’s comment: Exactly! And yet dhw tries to claim the animals entered the water and adapted, just to follow a food supply!

Yes, I consider the theory that the animals had a good reason for entering the water, and then underwent different stages of adaptation, to be more convincing than your theory that your God either preprogrammed each stage 3.8 billion years ago, or fiddled with the pre-whales’ anatomy before sending them into the water, and then went on fiddling with their anatomy at the different stages you yourself have agreed took place. (Or are you now rejecting this example of common descent?) Perhaps you would just confirm that these are your two possible theories, and while you’re at it give us your own explanation as to WHY your God did it all in stages.

The article concludes:

Whales are not the only misfit to smooth transitions, just the largest. The number of exceptions may actually be equal to the number of species on this planet. Standouts are kangaroos, woodpeckers, platypuses, giraffes, butterflies, octopuses, skunks, bombardier beetles, the red tide, dolphins, fireflies, tardigrades, sloths, and all micro-organisms. Maybe viruses, too.
Something besides unguided evolution is going on. In actuality, all living organisms are likely exceptions. Just breeding a horse into a faster horse doesn’t eventually change it into something fast like a cheetah. It’s simply a faster horse. The same goes for pet dogs to guard dogs. It’s true, natural selection does happen in a variety of situations, but it doesn’t change a species into another.
An incomprehensibly intelligent engineer and designer must be responsible.

If all living organisms are likely exceptions, the author is rejecting common descent altogether. And yet there is sufficient evidence to have convinced you that common descent is true, so in what way is his "neat view" parallel to your feelings? He certainly hasn’t specified that he believes in your 3.8 billion-year-old computer programmes or even your dabbling. He merely falls back on the generalisation that speciation requires design – and both of us agree. NOBODY knows how speciation took place, and that’s why there are different theories. All three of us reject random mutations. You propose divine preprogramming and/or dabbling. I propose cellular intelligence (possibly designed by your God). The author doesn’t offer us any theory at all. So where does that leave us? Since there is no consensus, “the story is still mysterious”, and if there weren’t gaps in all the theories, one of them would be fact and not theory.

Evolution: whales defy explanation

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Thursday, August 16, 2018, 12:41 (727 days ago) @ dhw

DHW: If all living organisms are likely exceptions, the author is rejecting common descent altogether. And yet there is sufficient evidence to have convinced you that common descent is true, so in what way is his "neat view" parallel to your feelings? He certainly hasn’t specified that he believes in your 3.8 billion-year-old computer programmes or even your dabbling. He merely falls back on the generalisation that speciation requires design – and both of us agree. NOBODY knows how speciation took place, and that’s why there are different theories. All three of us reject random mutations. You propose divine preprogramming and/or dabbling. I propose cellular intelligence (possibly designed by your God). The author doesn’t offer us any theory at all. So where does that leave us? Since there is no consensus, “the story is still mysterious”, and if there weren’t gaps in all the theories, one of them would be fact and not theory.

Note the authors comment on the lack of transitional fossils, and the implications for the two theories you mention here.

--
What is the purpose of living? How about, 'to reduce needless suffering. It seems to me to be a worthy purpose.

Evolution: whales defy explanation

by David Turell @, Thursday, August 16, 2018, 14:22 (727 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

DHW: If all living organisms are likely exceptions, the author is rejecting common descent altogether. And yet there is sufficient evidence to have convinced you that common descent is true, so in what way is his "neat view" parallel to your feelings? He certainly hasn’t specified that he believes in your 3.8 billion-year-old computer programmes or even your dabbling. He merely falls back on the generalisation that speciation requires design – and both of us agree. NOBODY knows how speciation took place, and that’s why there are different theories. All three of us reject random mutations. You propose divine preprogramming and/or dabbling. I propose cellular intelligence (possibly designed by your God). The author doesn’t offer us any theory at all. So where does that leave us? Since there is no consensus, “the story is still mysterious”, and if there weren’t gaps in all the theories, one of them would be fact and not theory.


Tony: Note the authors comment on the lack of transitional fossils, and the implications for the two theories you mention here.

If whales require design, there must be a designing mind to foresee all the reasons for the complex changes. On-board cells couldn't possibly have reasonably inventive ideas.

Evolution: whales defy explanation

by David Turell @, Thursday, August 16, 2018, 17:49 (727 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID’s comment: Exactly! And yet dhw tries to claim the animals entered the water and adapted, just to follow a food supply!

dhw: Yes, I consider the theory that the animals had a good reason for entering the water, and then underwent different stages of adaptation, to be more convincing than your theory that your God either preprogrammed each stage 3.8 billion years ago, or fiddled with the pre-whales’ anatomy before sending them into the water, and then went on fiddling with their anatomy at the different stages you yourself have agreed took place. (Or are you now rejecting this example of common descent?) Perhaps you would just confirm that these are your two possible theories, and while you’re at it give us your own explanation as to WHY your God did it all in stages.

Common descent dictates the whales came from some predecessor. We are not sure which one because there are no intermediate forms as the article notes. Your faith in cellular intelligence able to design complex stages of whale descent more than equals any faith in a designing mind.


dhw: The article concludes:

Whales are not the only misfit to smooth transitions, just the largest. The number of exceptions may actually be equal to the number of species on this planet. Standouts are kangaroos, woodpeckers, platypuses, giraffes, butterflies, octopuses, skunks, bombardier beetles, the red tide, dolphins, fireflies, tardigrades, sloths, and all micro-organisms. Maybe viruses, too.
Something besides unguided evolution is going on. In actuality, all living organisms are likely exceptions. Just breeding a horse into a faster horse doesn’t eventually change it into something fast like a cheetah. It’s simply a faster horse. The same goes for pet dogs to guard dogs. It’s true, natural selection does happen in a variety of situations, but it doesn’t change a species into another.
An incomprehensibly intelligent engineer and designer must be responsible.

If all living organisms are likely exceptions, the author is rejecting common descent altogether. And yet there is sufficient evidence to have convinced you that common descent is true, so in what way is his "neat view" parallel to your feelings? He certainly hasn’t specified that he believes in your 3.8 billion-year-old computer programmes or even your dabbling. He merely falls back on the generalisation that speciation requires design – and both of us agree. NOBODY knows how speciation took place, and that’s why there are different theories. All three of us reject random mutations. You propose divine preprogramming and/or dabbling. I propose cellular intelligence (possibly designed by your God). The author doesn’t offer us any theory at all. So where does that leave us? Since there is no consensus, “the story is still mysterious”, and if there weren’t gaps in all the theories, one of them would be fact and not theory.

This is just the reason I've always bring up whales. They defy any naturally-based theory.

Evolution: corn plant pest adaptation

by David Turell @, Thursday, August 16, 2018, 19:46 (727 days ago) @ David Turell

It uses the same iron protein complex as the plant:

https://phys.org/news/2018-08-herbivore-hijacks-nutrient-uptake-strategy.html

"Christelle Robert and Matthias Erb from the University of Bern had shown in the past that the corn rootworm is resistant to the most important class of maize defense metabolites, the benzoxazinoids. Robert demonstrated that rootworm larvae are even attracted by benzoxazinoids and can use these substances for their own defense against beneficial nematodes. However, until now, it was unclear which benzoxazinoids attract the rootworm. A combination of genetics, chemistry and behavioral ecology has now enabled the scientists to solve this puzzle: Rootworm larvae recognize specific iron complexes that are formed at the root surface when benzoxazinoids bind to iron.

***

"The roots of young maize plants release benzoxazinoids, which bind to iron and form complexes in the soil. The researchers found that these complexes increase iron availability for maize plants and thus improve plant growth. But the rootworm uses these exact same iron complexes too—rootworm larvae use the benzoxazinoid-iron complexes to guide them to the nutrient-rich crown roots of maize plants. At the same time, they ingest these complexes for their own needs.

"'The corn rootworm has evolved a clever strategy to exploit its host plant's ability to make iron biologically available. Tragically, this strategy enables the insect to severely damage maize plants and thereby cause massive crop failure," says Christelle Robert. "This behavior also poses a dilemma for plant breeders. In order to get rid of rootworms, they would have to reduce the release of benzoxazinoids in the roots. However, this would also undermine the plants' ability to absorb iron.

***

"The results of the study highlight the dilemma faced by plants when an herbivore breaks through and evolves tolerance to a defense. "Since benzoxazinoids function both in herbivore defense and nutrient uptake, it is difficult for the plant to immediately stop producing a defense compound that has so many other important functions.

***

" The fact that the Western corn rootworm is able to perceive iron complexes and to adjust its dietary behavior accordingly is also relevant for the understanding of food chains. "Many important trace elements are bound to organic molecules in nature. We therefore expect that other higher organisms also have the ability to perceive biologically available forms of trace elements and to ingest them to improve their nutrient balance," says Matthias Erb. "The Western corn rootworm is a frustrating, yet highly fascinating pest that has just taught us a new trick of nature.'"

Comment: This is an amazing adaptation the larvae worked out.

Evolution: corn plant pest adaptation

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Friday, August 17, 2018, 01:24 (726 days ago) @ David Turell

It uses the same iron protein complex as the plant:

https://phys.org/news/2018-08-herbivore-hijacks-nutrient-uptake-strategy.html

"Christelle Robert and Matthias Erb from the University of Bern had shown in the past that the corn rootworm is resistant to the most important class of maize defense metabolites, the benzoxazinoids. Robert demonstrated that rootworm larvae are even attracted by benzoxazinoids and can use these substances for their own defense against beneficial nematodes. However, until now, it was unclear which benzoxazinoids attract the rootworm. A combination of genetics, chemistry and behavioral ecology has now enabled the scientists to solve this puzzle: Rootworm larvae recognize specific iron complexes that are formed at the root surface when benzoxazinoids bind to iron.

***

"The roots of young maize plants release benzoxazinoids, which bind to iron and form complexes in the soil. The researchers found that these complexes increase iron availability for maize plants and thus improve plant growth. But the rootworm uses these exact same iron complexes too—rootworm larvae use the benzoxazinoid-iron complexes to guide them to the nutrient-rich crown roots of maize plants. At the same time, they ingest these complexes for their own needs.

"'The corn rootworm has evolved a clever strategy to exploit its host plant's ability to make iron biologically available. Tragically, this strategy enables the insect to severely damage maize plants and thereby cause massive crop failure," says Christelle Robert. "This behavior also poses a dilemma for plant breeders. In order to get rid of rootworms, they would have to reduce the release of benzoxazinoids in the roots. However, this would also undermine the plants' ability to absorb iron.

***

"The results of the study highlight the dilemma faced by plants when an herbivore breaks through and evolves tolerance to a defense. "Since benzoxazinoids function both in herbivore defense and nutrient uptake, it is difficult for the plant to immediately stop producing a defense compound that has so many other important functions.

***

" The fact that the Western corn rootworm is able to perceive iron complexes and to adjust its dietary behavior accordingly is also relevant for the understanding of food chains. "Many important trace elements are bound to organic molecules in nature. We therefore expect that other higher organisms also have the ability to perceive biologically available forms of trace elements and to ingest them to improve their nutrient balance," says Matthias Erb. "The Western corn rootworm is a frustrating, yet highly fascinating pest that has just taught us a new trick of nature.'"

David: Comment: This is an amazing adaptation the larvae worked out.

I am not so sure this is an 'adaptation'. If you consider that the root worm was programmed this way initially, but that corn was not really grown the way that we grow it today (in huge....huge..unbelievably huge) farms, then the most likely scenario is that this pre-existing trait is pestulant because the amount of iron released from the corn (and subsequently replenished by farmers through fertilizer) has led to a population control problem.

Why would we find it surprising that animals are programmed for certain nutrient needs, and the methods of obtaining/tracking them? No one thinks it odd that mammals smell.

--
What is the purpose of living? How about, 'to reduce needless suffering. It seems to me to be a worthy purpose.

Evolution: corn plant pest adaptation

by David Turell @, Friday, August 17, 2018, 15:15 (726 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

" The fact that the Western corn rootworm is able to perceive iron complexes and to adjust its dietary behavior accordingly is also relevant for the understanding of food chains. "Many important trace elements are bound to organic molecules in nature. We therefore expect that other higher organisms also have the ability to perceive biologically available forms of trace elements and to ingest them to improve their nutrient balance," says Matthias Erb. "The Western corn rootworm is a frustrating, yet highly fascinating pest that has just taught us a new trick of nature.'"

David: Comment: This is an amazing adaptation the larvae worked out.


Tony: I am not so sure this is an 'adaptation'. If you consider that the root worm was programmed this way initially, but that corn was not really grown the way that we grow it today (in huge....huge..unbelievably huge) farms, then the most likely scenario is that this pre-existing trait is pestulant because the amount of iron released from the corn (and subsequently replenished by farmers through fertilizer) has led to a population control problem.

Why would we find it surprising that animals are programmed for certain nutrient needs, and the methods of obtaining/tracking them? No one thinks it odd that mammals smell.

Ah, programming! All organisms need trace metals. Our hemoglobin with iron comes to mind. A nd the needs should be common.

Evolution: corn plant pest adaptation

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Friday, August 17, 2018, 18:44 (726 days ago) @ David Turell

" The fact that the Western corn rootworm is able to perceive iron complexes and to adjust its dietary behavior accordingly is also relevant for the understanding of food chains. "Many important trace elements are bound to organic molecules in nature. We therefore expect that other higher organisms also have the ability to perceive biologically available forms of trace elements and to ingest them to improve their nutrient balance," says Matthias Erb. "The Western corn rootworm is a frustrating, yet highly fascinating pest that has just taught us a new trick of nature.'"

David: Comment: This is an amazing adaptation the larvae worked out.


Tony: I am not so sure this is an 'adaptation'. If you consider that the root worm was programmed this way initially, but that corn was not really grown the way that we grow it today (in huge....huge..unbelievably huge) farms, then the most likely scenario is that this pre-existing trait is pestulant because the amount of iron released from the corn (and subsequently replenished by farmers through fertilizer) has led to a population control problem.

Why would we find it surprising that animals are programmed for certain nutrient needs, and the methods of obtaining/tracking them? No one thinks it odd that mammals smell.


David: Ah, programming! All organisms need trace metals. Our hemoglobin with iron comes to mind. A nd the needs should be common.

There should also be common ways to find/detect those nutrients, as well as signalling paths that let us know we are deficient(thus triggering cravings)

--
What is the purpose of living? How about, 'to reduce needless suffering. It seems to me to be a worthy purpose.

Evolution: corn plant pest adaptation

by David Turell @, Friday, August 17, 2018, 19:31 (726 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

David: Comment: This is an amazing adaptation the larvae worked out.


Tony: I am not so sure this is an 'adaptation'. If you consider that the root worm was programmed this way initially, but that corn was not really grown the way that we grow it today (in huge....huge..unbelievably huge) farms, then the most likely scenario is that this pre-existing trait is pestulant because the amount of iron released from the corn (and subsequently replenished by farmers through fertilizer) has led to a population control problem.

Why would we find it surprising that animals are programmed for certain nutrient needs, and the methods of obtaining/tracking them? No one thinks it odd that mammals smell.


David: Ah, programming! All organisms need trace metals. Our hemoglobin with iron comes to mind. A nd the needs should be common.

Tony: There should also be common ways to find/detect those nutrients, as well as signalling paths that let us know we are deficient(thus triggering cravings)

As for humans with iron-deficiency anemia they know they have lost energy, but they need a doctor to tell them to take iron. Less complex organisms must have recognition programs or they might not survive.

Evolution: corn plant pest adaptation

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Friday, August 17, 2018, 21:18 (725 days ago) @ David Turell

David: Comment: This is an amazing adaptation the larvae worked out.


Tony: I am not so sure this is an 'adaptation'. If you consider that the root worm was programmed this way initially, but that corn was not really grown the way that we grow it today (in huge....huge..unbelievably huge) farms, then the most likely scenario is that this pre-existing trait is pestulant because the amount of iron released from the corn (and subsequently replenished by farmers through fertilizer) has led to a population control problem.

Why would we find it surprising that animals are programmed for certain nutrient needs, and the methods of obtaining/tracking them? No one thinks it odd that mammals smell.


David: Ah, programming! All organisms need trace metals. Our hemoglobin with iron comes to mind. A nd the needs should be common.

Tony: There should also be common ways to find/detect those nutrients, as well as signalling paths that let us know we are deficient(thus triggering cravings)


David: As for humans with iron-deficiency anemia they know they have lost energy, but they need a doctor to tell them to take iron. Less complex organisms must have recognition programs or they might not survive.

Then why do so many anemics crunch ice, or sensitivity to cooler temperatures? Not conciously recognizing the signals is not evidence of abscence.

--
What is the purpose of living? How about, 'to reduce needless suffering. It seems to me to be a worthy purpose.

Evolution: corn plant pest adaptation

by David Turell @, Friday, August 17, 2018, 21:58 (725 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

David: Comment: This is an amazing adaptation the larvae worked out.


Tony: I am not so sure this is an 'adaptation'. If you consider that the root worm was programmed this way initially, but that corn was not really grown the way that we grow it today (in huge....huge..unbelievably huge) farms, then the most likely scenario is that this pre-existing trait is pestulant because the amount of iron released from the corn (and subsequently replenished by farmers through fertilizer) has led to a population control problem.

Why would we find it surprising that animals are programmed for certain nutrient needs, and the methods of obtaining/tracking them? No one thinks it odd that mammals smell.


David: Ah, programming! All organisms need trace metals. Our hemoglobin with iron comes to mind. A nd the needs should be common.

Tony: There should also be common ways to find/detect those nutrients, as well as signalling paths that let us know we are deficient(thus triggering cravings)


David: As for humans with iron-deficiency anemia they know they have lost energy, but they need a doctor to tell them to take iron. Less complex organisms must have recognition programs or they might not survive.


Tony: then why do so many anemics crunch ice, or sensitivity to cooler temperatures? Not conciously recognizing the signals is not evidence of abscence.

Never heard of ice crunching, but think blood makes it harder to keep warm.

Evolution: corn plant pest adaptation

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Saturday, August 18, 2018, 06:16 (725 days ago) @ David Turell

David: Comment: This is an amazing adaptation the larvae worked out.


Tony: I am not so sure this is an 'adaptation'. If you consider that the root worm was programmed this way initially, but that corn was not really grown the way that we grow it today (in huge....huge..unbelievably huge) farms, then the most likely scenario is that this pre-existing trait is pestulant because the amount of iron released from the corn (and subsequently replenished by farmers through fertilizer) has led to a population control problem.

Why would we find it surprising that animals are programmed for certain nutrient needs, and the methods of obtaining/tracking them? No one thinks it odd that mammals smell.


David: Ah, programming! All organisms need trace metals. Our hemoglobin with iron comes to mind. A nd the needs should be common.

Tony: There should also be common ways to find/detect those nutrients, as well as signalling paths that let us know we are deficient(thus triggering cravings)


David: As for humans with iron-deficiency anemia they know they have lost energy, but they need a doctor to tell them to take iron. Less complex organisms must have recognition programs or they might not survive.


Tony: then why do so many anemics crunch ice, or sensitivity to cooler temperatures? Not conciously recognizing the signals is not evidence of abscence.


David: Never heard of ice crunching, but think blood makes it harder to keep warm.

Pica

Craving and chewing ice (pagophagia) is often associated with iron deficiency, with or without anemia, although the reason is unclear. At least one study indicates that ice chewing might increase alertness in people with iron deficiency anemia.

--
What is the purpose of living? How about, 'to reduce needless suffering. It seems to me to be a worthy purpose.

Evolution: corn plant pest adaptation

by David Turell @, Saturday, August 18, 2018, 15:04 (725 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

David: Comment: This is an amazing adaptation the larvae worked out.


Tony: I am not so sure this is an 'adaptation'. If you consider that the root worm was programmed this way initially, but that corn was not really grown the way that we grow it today (in huge....huge..unbelievably huge) farms, then the most likely scenario is that this pre-existing trait is pestulant because the amount of iron released from the corn (and subsequently replenished by farmers through fertilizer) has led to a population control problem.

Why would we find it surprising that animals are programmed for certain nutrient needs, and the methods of obtaining/tracking them? No one thinks it odd that mammals smell.


David: Ah, programming! All organisms need trace metals. Our hemoglobin with iron comes to mind. A nd the needs should be common.

Tony: There should also be common ways to find/detect those nutrients, as well as signalling paths that let us know we are deficient(thus triggering cravings)


David: As for humans with iron-deficiency anemia they know they have lost energy, but they need a doctor to tell them to take iron. Less complex organisms must have recognition programs or they might not survive.


Tony: then why do so many anemics crunch ice, or sensitivity to cooler temperatures? Not conciously recognizing the signals is not evidence of abscence.


David: Never heard of ice crunching, but thin blood makes it harder to keep warm.


Tony: Pica

Craving and chewing ice (pagophagia) is often associated with iron deficiency, with or without anemia, although the reason is unclear. At least one study indicates that ice chewing might increase alertness in people with iron deficiency anemia.

Learning all the time. Great trivia.

Evolution: whales defy explanation

by dhw, Friday, August 17, 2018, 10:58 (726 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: NOBODY knows how speciation took place, and that’s why there are different theories. All three of us reject random mutations. You propose divine preprogramming and/or dabbling. I propose cellular intelligence (possibly designed by your God). The author doesn’t offer us any theory at all. So where does that leave us? Since there is no consensus, “the story is still mysterious”, and if there weren’t gaps in all the theories, one of them would be fact and not theory.

DAVID: This is just the reason I've always bring up whales. They defy any naturally-based theory.

They also defy any supernaturally-based theory, as does the whole of evolution. You need faith to believe in any of the explanations offered.

TONY: Note the authors comment on the lack of transitional fossils, and the implications for the two theories you mention here.

There are several transitional fossils. Here is a website that traces the history:
The evolution of whales - Understanding Evolution
www.evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/evograms_03

But of course that doesn’t explain what mechanism enables organisms to undergo such radical changes. Starting out from the basic premise of design, which is common to the two theories I have mentioned, please tell us your own theory.

DAVID: If whales require design, there must be a designing mind to foresee all the reasons for the complex changes. On-board cells couldn't possibly have reasonably inventive ideas.

Once again you insist that all the changes had to be foreseen, with your God initially fiddling with the anatomy before the pre-whale even entered the water. (Presumably the subsequent fiddles came after the pre-whale had entered the water. Did he realize bit by bit that his design could be improved?) My proposal is that the pre-whale had good reason to enter the water (food), and all the subsequent changes were made to improve its adaptation to aquatic life. Not foreseeing problems but reacting to problems.

DAVID: Your faith in cellular intelligence able to design complex stages of whale descent more than equals any faith in a designing mind.

It is a hypothesis not a faith, but if I had faith in a designing mind, I would have faith that the designing mind is perfectly capable of designing other designing minds in the form of cells/cell communities. We know that these adapt.*** The idea that they may also invent provides an explanation for the higgledy-piggledy history of life as we know it. The idea that your God personally preprogrammed every undabbled innovation, lifestyle and natural wonder 3.8 billion years ago seems to me less likely as an explanation of that higgledy-piggledy history.

***Under “CORN PLANT PEST ADAPTATION
DAVID’s comment: This is an amazing adaptation the larvae worked out.

Yes indeed. It is amazing how even little larvae can work out their own ways to improve their chances of survival.

Evolution: whales defy explanation

by David Turell @, Friday, August 17, 2018, 15:26 (726 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: This is just the reason I've always bring up whales. They defy any naturally-based theory.

They also defy any supernaturally-based theory, as does the whole of evolution. You need faith to believe in any of the explanations offered.

TONY: Note the authors comment on the lack of transitional fossils, and the implications for the two theories you mention here.

dhw: There are several transitional fossils. Here is a website that traces the history:
The evolution of whales - Understanding Evolution
www.evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/evograms_03

But of course that doesn’t explain what mechanism enables organisms to undergo such radical changes. Starting out from the basic premise of design, which is common to the two theories I have mentioned, please tell us your own theory.

Thank you. 'Radical change' is the issue, and the requirement for design! The first orbiting humans were in a capsule that required much consideration aforethought before it was created. Note that whale changes are certainly a biological equivalent.


DAVID: If whales require design, there must be a designing mind to foresee all the reasons for the complex changes. On-board cells couldn't possibly have reasonably inventive ideas.

dhw: Once again you insist that all the changes had to be foreseen, with your God initially fiddling with the anatomy before the pre-whale even entered the water. (Presumably the subsequent fiddles came after the pre-whale had entered the water. Did he realize bit by bit that his design could be improved?) My proposal is that the pre-whale had good reason to enter the water (food), and all the subsequent changes were made to improve its adaptation to aquatic life. Not foreseeing problems but reacting to problems.

But the fossil show giant changes, not explained by your just-so story.


DAVID: Your faith in cellular intelligence able to design complex stages of whale descent more than equals any faith in a designing mind.

dhw: It is a hypothesis not a faith, but if I had faith in a designing mind, I would have faith that the designing mind is perfectly capable of designing other designing minds in the form of cells/cell communities. We know that these adapt.*** The idea that they may also invent provides an explanation for the higgledy-piggledy history of life as we know it. The idea that your God personally preprogrammed every undabbled innovation, lifestyle and natural wonder 3.8 billion years ago seems to me less likely as an explanation of that higgledy-piggledy history.

You stick to it just as if it were faith.


***Under “CORN PLANT PEST ADAPTATION
DAVID’s comment: This is an amazing adaptation the larvae worked out.

dhw: Yes indeed. It is amazing how even little larvae can work out their own ways to improve their chances of survival.

Note Tony's programming comment.

Evolution: whales defy explanation

by dhw, Saturday, August 18, 2018, 07:27 (725 days ago) @ David Turell

TONY: Note the authors comment on the lack of transitional fossils, and the implications for the two theories you mention here.

dhw: There are several transitional fossils. Here is a website that traces the history:
The evolution of whales - Understanding Evolution
www.evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/evograms_03
But of course that doesn’t explain what mechanism enables organisms to undergo such radical changes. Starting out from the basic premise of design, which is common to the two theories I have mentioned, please tell us your own theory.

DAVID: Thank you. 'Radical change' is the issue, and the requirement for design! The first orbiting humans were in a capsule that required much consideration aforethought before it was created. Note that whale changes are certainly a biological equivalent.

I keep saying radical change is the issue, and I keep acknowledging the need for design, but not the kind of preprogrammed or dabbled design you propose. I suggest that if your God can invent a mechanism for human invention, he could also invent a mechanism for invention by other life forms.

DAVID: If whales require design, there must be a designing mind to foresee all the reasons for the complex changes. On-board cells couldn't possibly have reasonably inventive ideas.

dhw: Once again you insist that all the changes had to be foreseen, with your God initially fiddling with the anatomy before the pre-whale even entered the water. (Presumably the subsequent fiddles came after the pre-whale had entered the water. Did he realize bit by bit that his design could be improved?) My proposal is that the pre-whale had good reason to enter the water (food), and all the subsequent changes were made to improve its adaptation to aquatic life. Not foreseeing problems but reacting to problems.

DAVID: But the fossil show giant changes, not explained by your just-so story.

There is as yet no universally accepted story of any kind to explain giant changes, but that is no answer to my point that my hypothesis is based mainly on responses to environmental conditions and therefore NOT on foresight. I note that you do not answer my question concerning your God’s “foresight” in relation to the different stages of pre-whale evolution. Dismissing my hypothesis as a just-so story is on the same level as dismissing God as a delusion. Not a level I would wish to stay on.

***Under “CORN PLANT PEST ADAPTATION
DAVID’s comment: This is an amazing adaptation the larvae worked out.

dhw: Yes indeed. It is amazing how even little larvae can work out their own ways to improve their chances of survival.

DAVID: Note Tony's programming comment.

I preferred your own “the larvae worked it out” comment. Delighted to have you on my side at last.;-)

Evolution: whales defy explanation

by David Turell @, Saturday, August 18, 2018, 15:25 (725 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: But the fossil show giant changes, not explained by your just-so story.

dhw: There is as yet no universally accepted story of any kind to explain giant changes, but that is no answer to my point that my hypothesis is based mainly on responses to environmental conditions and therefore NOT on foresight. I note that you do not answer my question concerning your God’s “foresight” in relation to the different stages of pre-whale evolution. Dismissing my hypothesis as a just-so story is on the same level as dismissing God as a delusion. Not a level I would wish to stay on.

Of course environmental changes will at times be a great influence. The gaps in the fossil story, if real, strongly suggest design, because of the complexity of the required changes. Your theory is highly suggestive of small stepwise alterations leading to the new forms


***Under “CORN PLANT PEST ADAPTATION
DAVID’s comment: This is an amazing adaptation the larvae worked out.

dhw: Yes indeed. It is amazing how even little larvae can work out their own ways to improve their chances of survival.

DAVID: Note Tony's programming comment.

dhw: I preferred your own “the larvae worked it out” comment. Delighted to have you on my side at last.;-)

There may always be a designer.

Evolution: whales defy explanation

by dhw, Sunday, August 19, 2018, 10:39 (724 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: But the fossil show giant changes, not explained by your just-so story.

dhw: There is as yet no universally accepted story of any kind to explain giant changes, but that is no answer to my point that my hypothesis is based mainly on responses to environmental conditions and therefore NOT on foresight. I note that you do not answer my question concerning your God’s “foresight” in relation to the different stages of pre-whale evolution. Dismissing my hypothesis as a just-so story is on the same level as dismissing God as a delusion. Not a level I would wish to stay on.

DAVID: Of course environmental changes will at times be a great influence. The gaps in the fossil story, if real, strongly suggest design, because of the complexity of the required changes. Your theory is highly suggestive of small stepwise alterations leading to the new forms.

Then perhaps you can agree that environmental influences may have occasioned the many changes to the pre-whale – as opposed to your God having prepared the pre-whale for entry into the water. I have no idea how many small steps were needed before any innovation reached its current form, and nor have you. Are you proposing that your God reached down and summoned all the then existing pre-whales to come ashore so that he could equip each of them with a blowhole? All part of his “foresight”, though he didn’t think of it when he first got them to enter the water?

Evolution: more gaps in foraminifera

by David Turell @, Wednesday, October 17, 2018, 22:10 (664 days ago) @ dhw

Like whales other lines are full of gaps:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2589004218301482

"The fossil record provides empirical patterns of morphological change through time and is central to the study of the tempo and mode of evolution. Here we apply likelihood-based time-series analyses to the near-continuous fossil record of Neogene planktonic foraminifera and reveal a morphological shift along the Truncorotalia lineage. Based on a geometric morphometric dataset of 1,459 specimens, spanning 5.9–4.5 Ma, we recover a shift in the mode of evolution from a disparate latest Miocene morphospace to a highly constrained early Pliocene morphospace. Our recovered dynamics are consistent with those stipulated by Simpson's quantum evolution and Eldredge-Gould's punctuated equilibria and supports previous suppositions that even within a single lineage, evolutionary dynamics require a multi-parameter model framework to describe. We show that foraminiferal lineages are not necessarily gradual and can experience significant and rapid transitions along their evolutionary trajectories and reaffirm the utility of multivariate datasets for their future research.

"Conclusion
We documented and assessed the evolutionary transition along Truncorotalia across the Miocene/Pliocene boundary using semilandmark morphometrics and time-series analyses. A potentially localized and rapid evolutionary shift between two end members of Truncorotalia, T. juanai and T. crassaformis, at 5.1–5.2 Ma reveals that the evolutionary dynamics were not gradual and rejects the notion of an intermediate form along the lineage (contraArnold, 1983, Cifelli and Scott, 1986). The transition between end members involved a major reduction in morphological diversity and a transition to a more constrained morphological stock. Furthermore, likelihood-based time-series analyses strengthen this hypothesis through rejection of simple gradual or random modes of evolution, in favor of shift models, which can be interpreted within the context of both Simpson's QE and Eldredge and Gould's PE. Through this study we hope to augment research into tempo and mode in planktonic foraminifera and highlight certain expectations of Simpson's theory, which are not explicit to PE. We envision that application of these methods by planktonic foraminiferal researchers will garnish further explicit tests of tempo and mode in this iconic fossil group."

Comment: Very complex article, but it shows that another species, like the whales, have huge gaps between phenotypes. Nothing looks gradual in evolution. Gaps always demand consideration of design.

Evolution: more gaps in foraminifera

by David Turell @, Thursday, October 18, 2018, 00:51 (664 days ago) @ David Turell

Another look at the sudden change in forms:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/10/181017110950.htm

"Planktonic foraminifera (forams) -- tiny, shelled organisms that float in the sea -- left behind one of the most complete fossil records of evolutionary history in deep sea deposits. Consequently, evolutionists have a relatively sturdy grasp on when and how new lineages arose and developed their own unique features. However, a study publishing October 17 in the journal iScience reveals that one foram lineage evolved much more rapidly than everyone predicted, and researchers are looking beyond Darwin's original theories of gradual evolution to understand why.

"'It was an exciting moment. What our study and many others are starting to agree on is that evolution of forams is not necessarily gradual, as Darwin and more recent scientists thought," says first author Russell Bicknell, a palaeontologist at the University of New England's Palaeoscience Research Centre in Australia. "Life can exist for long periods of time exhibiting only minor changes followed by rapid, punctuated shifts."

***

"'The abrupt change in the shape of Truncorotalia's shell shows that foram lineages can evolve rapidly, explosively, and dramatically," says Bicknell. "That points to more complex evolutionary dynamics than previously thought and justifies a re-evaluation of the evolutionary dynamics of other foram lineages."

"The researchers think either of two post-Darwinian theories could describe the rapid changes they observed: punctuated equilibrium and quantum evolution. Punctuated equilibrium describes short bursts and subsequent steady periods of morphological change within a lineage. The theory of quantum evolution describes broader, rapid splits into new families, orders, and classes. If the theory fits, the researchers have potentially observed quantum evolution at a species level for the first time. In either case, the researchers believe previous theories of gradual evolution in foram lineages need reassessment.

***

"'Evolution is so much more complicated than we think," says Bicknell. "How, when, and why evolutionary changes occur constantly surprise us. It is one of the reasons working in evolution is so much fun.'"

Comment: It is best to abandon Darwin's theory of evolution, because staying with his presumptions slows real research.

Evolution: more gaps in foraminifera

by dhw, Tuesday, October 23, 2018, 12:44 (659 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Very complex article, but it shows that another species, like the whales, have huge gaps between phenotypes. Nothing looks gradual in evolution. Gaps always demand consideration of design.

quote: The researchers think either of two post-Darwinian theories could describe the rapid changes they observed: punctuated equilibrium and quantum evolution. Punctuated equilibrium describes short bursts and subsequent steady periods of morphological change within a lineage. The theory of quantum evolution describes broader, rapid splits into new families, orders, and classes. If the theory fits, the researchers have potentially observed quantum evolution at a species level for the first time. In either case, the researchers believe previous theories of gradual evolution in foram lineages need reassessment.

DAVID: It is best to abandon Darwin's theory of evolution, because staying with his presumptions slows real research.

It is best not to abandon a whole theory because you disagree with a part of that theory. I agree that it is best to abandon Darwin’s theory that evolution only proceeds gradually and nature does not make jumps. Even his "bulldog" Huxley disagreed with him, so what's new?

Evolution: more gaps in foraminifera

by David Turell @, Tuesday, October 23, 2018, 15:14 (659 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Very complex article, but it shows that another species, like the whales, have huge gaps between phenotypes. Nothing looks gradual in evolution. Gaps always demand consideration of design.

quote: The researchers think either of two post-Darwinian theories could describe the rapid changes they observed: punctuated equilibrium and quantum evolution. Punctuated equilibrium describes short bursts and subsequent steady periods of morphological change within a lineage. The theory of quantum evolution describes broader, rapid splits into new families, orders, and classes. If the theory fits, the researchers have potentially observed quantum evolution at a species level for the first time. In either case, the researchers believe previous theories of gradual evolution in foram lineages need reassessment.

DAVID: It is best to abandon Darwin's theory of evolution, because staying with his presumptions slows real research.

dhw: It is best not to abandon a whole theory because you disagree with a part of that theory. I agree that it is best to abandon Darwin’s theory that evolution only proceeds gradually and nature does not make jumps. Even his "bulldog" Huxley disagreed with him, so what's new?

All that is left of Darwin is some form of common descent, and Tony disagrees with that.

Evolution: more gaps in foraminifera

by dhw, Wednesday, October 24, 2018, 11:23 (658 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: It is best to abandon Darwin's theory of evolution, because staying with his presumptions slows real research.

dhw: It is best not to abandon a whole theory because you disagree with a part of that theory. I agree that it is best to abandon Darwin’s theory that evolution only proceeds gradually and nature does not make jumps. Even his "bulldog" Huxley disagreed with him, so what's new?

DAVID: All that is left of Darwin is some form of common descent, and Tony disagrees with that.

And you disagree with Tony, because you also believe in common descent. The dispute concerns how evolution works. You believe in a divine 3.8-billion-year-old computer programme plus dabbling; Darwin believed in random mutations and gradualism; Huxley rejected gradualism and Gould proposed punctuated equilibrium; I hypothesize cellular intelligence. None of us have abandoned the bedrock of Darwin’s theory, which is common descent.

Evolution: more gaps in foraminifera

by David Turell @, Wednesday, October 24, 2018, 18:40 (658 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: It is best to abandon Darwin's theory of evolution, because staying with his presumptions slows real research.

dhw: It is best not to abandon a whole theory because you disagree with a part of that theory. I agree that it is best to abandon Darwin’s theory that evolution only proceeds gradually and nature does not make jumps. Even his "bulldog" Huxley disagreed with him, so what's new?

DAVID: All that is left of Darwin is some form of common descent, and Tony disagrees with that.

dhw: And you disagree with Tony, because you also believe in common descent. The dispute concerns how evolution works. You believe in a divine 3.8-billion-year-old computer programme plus dabbling; Darwin believed in random mutations and gradualism; Huxley rejected gradualism and Gould proposed punctuated equilibrium; I hypothesize cellular intelligence. None of us have abandoned the bedrock of Darwin’s theory, which is common descent.

All your reply does is agree with me. And you won't abandon Darwin as s patron saint for you. What Darwin failed to do is based on what he did not know. The concept of common descent was present before Darwin's work. The concept of evolution from simple to complex was made more popular by his book, although his method of advancing evolution is demonstrably wrong.

Evolution: more gaps in foraminifera

by dhw, Thursday, October 25, 2018, 11:21 (657 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Bacteria prove that multicellularity, the dog’s nose, the camel's hump, the weaverbird’s nest the monarch butterfly’s migration and the human brain are not necessary for life to survive. You also have your God specially designing bird sleep, dandelion seed, shrimp punching and insects hibernating. So why do you keep using the same old "not needed" and the same "by design" arguments to single out the human brain? They apply to every organ and organism of the multicellular world.

DAVID: And how did life jump from ever present bacteria to complex forms? Not by chance.

dhw: I asked why you keep trotting out the same old “not needed” and “by design” arguments to single out the human brain, when the same arguments apply to every other multicellular organism and natural wonder you can think of. You respond by changing the subject.

DAVID: Subject not changed if the discussion is viewed in totality. Our brain is demonstrably beyond any need to drive its appearance. It is you who constantly revert to stresses and environmental changes as causing evolution, while I think it is planned. Environment plays a small role, if any to explain whales, bats, etc.

And etc. etc. etc. Nobody knows the causes of speciation, and that includes the causes that led to humans descending from tree-dwelling apes. But the idea that environmental change drove our ancestors to climb down from (possibly disappearing) trees, to adopt bipedalism and to exercise and thereby develop their brains in devising new ways to improve their chances of survival seems to me every bit as plausible as the idea that your God preprogrammed the process 3.8 billion years ago, or popped in to fiddle with their anatomy before they climbed down, and fiddled with their brains so that they could think up new strategies and, in due course, extend their thoughts to matters beyond their immediate needs.

Evolution: more gaps in foraminifera

by David Turell @, Thursday, October 25, 2018, 18:46 (657 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: Bacteria prove that multicellularity, the dog’s nose, the camel's hump, the weaverbird’s nest the monarch butterfly’s migration and the human brain are not necessary for life to survive. You also have your God specially designing bird sleep, dandelion seed, shrimp punching and insects hibernating. So why do you keep using the same old "not needed" and the same "by design" arguments to single out the human brain? They apply to every organ and organism of the multicellular world.

DAVID: And how did life jump from ever present bacteria to complex forms? Not by chance.

dhw: I asked why you keep trotting out the same old “not needed” and “by design” arguments to single out the human brain, when the same arguments apply to every other multicellular organism and natural wonder you can think of. You respond by changing the subject.

DAVID: Subject not changed if the discussion is viewed in totality. Our brain is demonstrably beyond any need to drive its appearance. It is you who constantly revert to stresses and environmental changes as causing evolution, while I think it is planned. Environment plays a small role, if any to explain whales, bats, etc.

dhw: And etc. etc. etc. Nobody knows the causes of speciation, and that includes the causes that led to humans descending from tree-dwelling apes. But the idea that environmental change drove our ancestors to climb down from (possibly disappearing) trees, to adopt bipedalism and to exercise and thereby develop their brains in devising new ways to improve their chances of survival seems to me every bit as plausible as the idea that your God preprogrammed the process 3.8 billion years ago, or popped in to fiddle with their anatomy before they climbed down, and fiddled with their brains so that they could think up new strategies and, in due course, extend their thoughts to matters beyond their immediate needs.

If other primates stayed in the trees and survive happily to this day, it is very difficult to see why a few dropped to the ground and they had to invent, or be helped by God, the complexities that are human beings. I obviously view the whole process totally differently than you.

Evolution: more gaps in foraminifera

by dhw, Friday, October 26, 2018, 11:31 (656 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Subject not changed if the discussion is viewed in totality. Our brain is demonstrably beyond any need to drive its appearance. It is you who constantly revert to stresses and environmental changes as causing evolution, while I think it is planned. Environment plays a small role, if any to explain whales, bats, etc.

dhw: And etc. etc. etc. Nobody knows the causes of speciation, and that includes the causes that led to humans descending from tree-dwelling apes. But the idea that environmental change drove our ancestors to climb down from (possibly disappearing) trees, to adopt bipedalism and to exercise and thereby develop their brains in devising new ways to improve their chances of survival seems to me every bit as plausible as the idea that your God preprogrammed the process 3.8 billion years ago, or popped in to fiddle with their anatomy before they climbed down, and fiddled with their brains so that they could think up new strategies and, in due course, extend their thoughts to matters beyond their immediate needs.

DAVID: If other primates stayed in the trees and survive happily to this day, it is very difficult to see why a few dropped to the ground and they had to invent, or be helped by God, the complexities that are human beings. I obviously view the whole process totally differently than you.

We are theorizing. There must have been a beginning. It is perfectly possible that in one location, the primates could not stay in the trees, whereas in other locations they could. So you have one group of primates forced to develop a new way of life, while the rest carry on as before. Just as some land-dwelling organisms took up marine life, and some sea-dwelling organisms took up land life, always depending on local conditions. Why do you find this less logical than your God preparing one group of primates/land-dwelling/sea-dwelling organisms for life in conditions that don’t yet exist? (See "big brain birth canal" for more details.)

Evolution: more gaps in foraminifera

by David Turell @, Friday, October 26, 2018, 15:24 (656 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Subject not changed if the discussion is viewed in totality. Our brain is demonstrably beyond any need to drive its appearance. It is you who constantly revert to stresses and environmental changes as causing evolution, while I think it is planned. Environment plays a small role, if any to explain whales, bats, etc.

dhw: And etc. etc. etc. Nobody knows the causes of speciation, and that includes the causes that led to humans descending from tree-dwelling apes. But the idea that environmental change drove our ancestors to climb down from (possibly disappearing) trees, to adopt bipedalism and to exercise and thereby develop their brains in devising new ways to improve their chances of survival seems to me every bit as plausible as the idea that your God preprogrammed the process 3.8 billion years ago, or popped in to fiddle with their anatomy before they climbed down, and fiddled with their brains so that they could think up new strategies and, in due course, extend their thoughts to matters beyond their immediate needs.

DAVID: If other primates stayed in the trees and survive happily to this day, it is very difficult to see why a few dropped to the ground and they had to invent, or be helped by God, the complexities that are human beings. I obviously view the whole process totally differently than you.

dhw: We are theorizing. There must have been a beginning. It is perfectly possible that in one location, the primates could not stay in the trees, whereas in other locations they could. So you have one group of primates forced to develop a new way of life, while the rest carry on as before. Just as some land-dwelling organisms took up marine life, and some sea-dwelling organisms took up land life, always depending on local conditions. Why do you find this less logical than your God preparing one group of primates/land-dwelling/sea-dwelling organisms for life in conditions that don’t yet exist? (See "big brain birth canal" for more details.)

As usual you are blithely ignoring the complex design changes in phenotype that are required, as the animal leaves land, and miraculously grows fins. Or drops out of the trees and is suddenly bipedal. Actually Lucy was both tree and ground capable, a true transition form, but even at that her differences from apes is enormous. the usual gap that requires design and a designer.

Evolution: more gaps in foraminifera

by dhw, Saturday, October 27, 2018, 09:38 (655 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: If other primates stayed in the trees and survive happily to this day, it is very difficult to see why a few dropped to the ground and they had to invent, or be helped by God, the complexities that are human beings. I obviously view the whole process totally differently than you.

dhw: We are theorizing. There must have been a beginning. It is perfectly possible that in one location, the primates could not stay in the trees, whereas in other locations they could. So you have one group of primates forced to develop a new way of life, while the rest carry on as before. Just as some land-dwelling organisms took up marine life, and some sea-dwelling organisms took up land life, always depending on local conditions. Why do you find this less logical than your God preparing one group of primates/land-dwelling/sea-dwelling organisms for life in conditions that don’t yet exist? (See "big brain birth canal" for more details.)

DAVID: As usual you are blithely ignoring the complex design changes in phenotype that are required, as the animal leaves land, and miraculously grows fins. Or drops out of the trees and is suddenly bipedal. Actually Lucy was both tree and ground capable, a true transition form, but even at that her differences from apes is enormous. the usual gap that requires design and a designer.

I am not blithely ignoring anything. You asked why some primates descended and others didn’t. I have offered you an explanation which you have completely ignored, preferring to confine the discussion to complex design changes. Nobody can explain the complex changes that lead to speciation, and so we theorize. The fact that we have found transitional forms is evidence for common descent.

Evolution: more gaps in foraminifera

by David Turell @, Saturday, October 27, 2018, 19:30 (655 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: If other primates stayed in the trees and survive happily to this day, it is very difficult to see why a few dropped to the ground and they had to invent, or be helped by God, the complexities that are human beings. I obviously view the whole process totally differently than you.

dhw: We are theorizing. There must have been a beginning. It is perfectly possible that in one location, the primates could not stay in the trees, whereas in other locations they could. So you have one group of primates forced to develop a new way of life, while the rest carry on as before. Just as some land-dwelling organisms took up marine life, and some sea-dwelling organisms took up land life, always depending on local conditions. Why do you find this less logical than your God preparing one group of primates/land-dwelling/sea-dwelling organisms for life in conditions that don’t yet exist? (See "big brain birth canal" for more details.)

DAVID: As usual you are blithely ignoring the complex design changes in phenotype that are required, as the animal leaves land, and miraculously grows fins. Or drops out of the trees and is suddenly bipedal. Actually Lucy was both tree and ground capable, a true transition form, but even at that her differences from apes is enormous. the usual gap that requires design and a designer.

dhw: I am not blithely ignoring anything. You asked why some primates descended and others didn’t. I have offered you an explanation which you have completely ignored, preferring to confine the discussion to complex design changes. Nobody can explain the complex changes that lead to speciation, and so we theorize. The fact that we have found transitional forms is evidence for common descent.

Agreed

Evolution: whale teeth and baleens

by David Turell @, Thursday, November 29, 2018, 22:54 (621 days ago) @ David Turell

The way some whales feed they don't need teeth:

https://phys.org/news/2018-11-whales-lost-teeth-evolving-hair-like.html

Evolution: whale teeth and baleens

by David Turell @, Friday, November 30, 2018, 15:06 (621 days ago) @ David Turell

David: The way some whales feed they don't need teeth:

https://phys.org/news/2018-11-whales-lost-teeth-evolving-hair-like.html

For some reason the excerpts didn't publish. From a different article:

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2186912-prehistoric-whales-used-to-simply-suck-the...

Whales were once all toothed predators. Around 36 million years ago, a group of them evolved to lose their teeth. We don’t know what drove that evolutionary trend, but it ultimately gave rise to today’s filter-feeding whales, including blue whales and humpback whales, that use baleen bristles in their mouths to remove tiny prey from the water.

Scientists haven’t been able to precisely reconstruct what happened during whales’ transition from teeth-bearing to filter-feeding – but they had assumed that the filter-feeding system emerged before the whales lost all their teeth.

***

Using CT scans, the team found the extinct whale (Maiabalae nanesbittae) had no alveoli – teeth sockets. It also had a different mouth structure than baleen-bearing whales, meaning it had no ability to filter-feed either.

“[The whale] represents a surprising intermediate stage between modern filter-feeding whales and their toothed ancestors,” Peredo says. “Our study makes it very unlikely that teeth and baleen existed at the same time in the same animals.”

Peredo suggests baleen might have appeared 23 million years ago, about 10 million years after whales lost their teeth.

But how did M. nanesbittae capture prey? Peredo says this whale was probably a suction-feeder like modern salmon and trout. The whale has an enlarged bone in the back of its mouth, resembling those observed in suction-feeding fish. Such bones help the mouth muscles generate a strong sucking force.

The transformation from a biter to a suction-feeder then into a filter-feeder also tells us about when whale diets changed. Sucking and biting are techniques that work best when the animal aims to take one target at a time, whereas filter-feeding targets bulk quantity of tiny organisms.

“There’s a good chance that [filter-feeding] is more energetically efficient,” Peredo says. “It seems to be a successful body plan for marine mammals.”

Comment: When a mammal enters a new environment to live the changes have to be very complex and enormous. Just hopping into the water doesn't work. Losing teeth and gaining a filter system isn't done stepwise. It has to be designed.

Evolution: whale teeth and baleens; another article

by David Turell @, Wednesday, December 05, 2018, 19:45 (616 days ago) @ David Turell

More of the story:

https://mail.yahoo.com/d/folders/1/messages/AHmSTNVdqD4tXAggdgZ0WLZykDI?reason=norrinuser

"No creature on Earth is as successful an eater as the baleen whale. By swimming through clouds of krill with their mouths open wide, then sorting food from water by filtering it through a curtain of bony bristles, these cetaceans have grown bigger than any animal in the history of the planet. The largest dinosaur would have been dwarfed by the average 300,000-pound blue whale. Massive woolly mammoths would have swooned to see rorquals swallow half a million calories in a single mouthful.

***

"The first whales had jaws full of teeth, like their four-legged ancestors that abandoned the land for the ocean about 50 million years ago. But chewing, at least the way we do it, is not an effective strategy for dining at sea.

“'The rules of engagement are totally different underwater,” Pyenson told me. Whales “can’t use claws to subdue prey. . . . They don’t have opposable thumbs.” Imagine trying to munch on a meal you couldn’t even hold.

"For that reason, most of today’s whales that have teeth, such as dolphins and beluga, are suction feeders. They use their pearly whites to grab onto prey, then take advantage of the temporary pressure differential created when they open their mouths to slurp the food down their gullets.

"But this strategy entails spending a lot of time chasing single large prey, Pyenson said. So sometime around 30 million years ago, when a changing ocean environment probably led to a surge in planktonic organisms, whales picked up a new technique — swimming through a mass of many millions of small critters.

"This “lunge feeding” technique is the “largest biomechanical event on the planet,” Pyenson said. And it’s a genius way to eat. “It’s got a huge return on investment.”

"Baleen is essential to this strategy. But the origins of this structure — which is made from keratin, like hair and nails, rather than dentin and enamel, like teeth — have long been a mystery. Did early whales have both baleen and teeth? How long were they munchers before they became gulpers?

"In a new study in the journal Current Biology, Pyenson and his colleague, Carlos Mauricio Peredo, offer a clue: The newly discovered prehistoric whale Maiabalaena nesbittae, which lived about 33 million years ago, didn’t have teeth or baleen. To Pyenson, this suggests that the ancestors of today’s baleen whales totally gave up on teeth in favor of suction feeding, setting the stage for the rise of baleen a few million years later."

Comment: All by Darwin magic, of course. what happened takes a lot of planning and design.This discussion suggests that baleens came from hair follicle genes. How did they get to work from within the jaw?

Evolution: whale teeth and baleens; another article

by dhw, Thursday, December 06, 2018, 12:44 (615 days ago) @ David Turell

QUOTE: “So sometime around 30 million years ago, when a changing ocean environment probably led to a surge in planktonic organisms, whales picked up a new technique — swimming through a mass of many millions of small critters.
The newly discovered prehistoric whale Maiabalaena nesbittae, which lived about 33 million years ago, didn’t have teeth or baleen. To Pyenson, this suggests that the ancestors of today’s baleen whales totally gave up on teeth in favor of suction feeding, setting the stage for the rise of baleen a few million years later."

DAVID: All by Darwin magic, of course. what happened takes a lot of planning and design. This discussion suggests that baleens came from hair follicle genes. How did they get to work from within the jaw?

And this discussion also suggests that the whole process took place in response to environmental change, as opposed to your theory that your God preprogrammes or dabbles change in advance of environmental change. Two hypotheses for you: 1) your God took away the teeth of pre-baleen whales, told them to go away and suction feed, and then a few million years later dabbled with all of them to insert baleens, because all this was essential to keep life going until he could produce humans; 2) pre-baleen whales took to suction feeding in response to the changing ocean environment and so they didn’t need their teeth, which then disappeared, and a few million years later the cell communities used their (possibly God-given) intelligence to adapt existing structures to improve the whale’s method of feeding.

Evolution: whale teeth and baleens; another article

by David Turell @, Thursday, December 06, 2018, 18:26 (615 days ago) @ dhw

QUOTE: “So sometime around 30 million years ago, when a changing ocean environment probably led to a surge in planktonic organisms, whales picked up a new technique — swimming through a mass of many millions of small critters.
The newly discovered prehistoric whale Maiabalaena nesbittae, which lived about 33 million years ago, didn’t have teeth or baleen. To Pyenson, this suggests that the ancestors of today’s baleen whales totally gave up on teeth in favor of suction feeding, setting the stage for the rise of baleen a few million years later."

DAVID: All by Darwin magic, of course. what happened takes a lot of planning and design. This discussion suggests that baleens came from hair follicle genes. How did they get to work from within the jaw?

dhw: And this discussion also suggests that the whole process took place in response to environmental change, as opposed to your theory that your God preprogrammes or dabbles change in advance of environmental change. Two hypotheses for you: 1) your God took away the teeth of pre-baleen whales, told them to go away and suction feed, and then a few million years later dabbled with all of them to insert baleens, because all this was essential to keep life going until he could produce humans; 2) pre-baleen whales took to suction feeding in response to the changing ocean environment and so they didn’t need their teeth, which then disappeared, and a few million years later the cell communities used their (possibly God-given) intelligence to adapt existing structures to improve the whale’s method of feeding.

Of course a Darwin-based article will present your line of reasoning, which always avoids the need for design engineering.

Evolution: whale teeth and baleens; another article

by dhw, Friday, December 07, 2018, 13:24 (614 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: This discussion suggests that baleens came from hair follicle genes. How did they get to work from within the jaw?

dhw: And this discussion also suggests that the whole process took place in response to environmental change, as opposed to your theory that your God preprogrammes or dabbles change in advance of environmental change. Two hypotheses for you: 1) your God took away the teeth of pre-baleen whales, told them to go away and suction feed, and then a few million years later dabbled with all of them to insert baleens, because all this was essential to keep life going until he could produce humans; 2) pre-baleen whales took to suction feeding in response to the changing ocean environment and so they didn’t need their teeth, which then disappeared, and a few million years later the cell communities used their (possibly God-given) intelligence to adapt existing structures to improve the whale’s method of feeding.

DAVID: Of course a Darwin-based article will present your line of reasoning, which always avoids the need for design engineering.

Sorry, but “Darwin-based” is no defence of hypothesis 1). My line of reasoning never avoids the need for “design engineering”. Its theistic version simply offers the possibility that your God gave cells/cell communities the ability to do their own designing – not in anticipation of changing conditions but in response to them.

Evolution: whale teeth and baleens; another article

by David Turell @, Friday, December 07, 2018, 18:13 (614 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: This discussion suggests that baleens came from hair follicle genes. How did they get to work from within the jaw?

dhw: And this discussion also suggests that the whole process took place in response to environmental change, as opposed to your theory that your God preprogrammes or dabbles change in advance of environmental change. Two hypotheses for you: 1) your God took away the teeth of pre-baleen whales, told them to go away and suction feed, and then a few million years later dabbled with all of them to insert baleens, because all this was essential to keep life going until he could produce humans; 2) pre-baleen whales took to suction feeding in response to the changing ocean environment and so they didn’t need their teeth, which then disappeared, and a few million years later the cell communities used their (possibly God-given) intelligence to adapt existing structures to improve the whale’s method of feeding.

DAVID: Of course a Darwin-based article will present your line of reasoning, which always avoids the need for design engineering.

dhw: Sorry, but “Darwin-based” is no defence of hypothesis 1). My line of reasoning never avoids the need for “design engineering”. Its theistic version simply offers the possibility that your God gave cells/cell communities the ability to do their own designing – not in anticipation of changing conditions but in response to them.

Why you constantly think God would give up control of one of His projects puzzles me. We can make up anything about God we want, but our only clues about God's thoughts are the results of His works, and then working backwards in our reasoning. I certainly don't reason like you do.

Evolution: whale teeth and baleens; another article

by dhw, Saturday, December 08, 2018, 09:55 (613 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: This discussion suggests that baleens came from hair follicle genes. How did they get to work from within the jaw?

dhw: And this discussion also suggests that the whole process took place in response to environmental change, as opposed to your theory that your God preprogrammes or dabbles change in advance of environmental change. Two hypotheses for you: 1) your God took away the teeth of pre-baleen whales, told them to go away and suction feed, and then a few million years later dabbled with all of them to insert baleens, because all this was essential to keep life going until he could produce humans; 2) pre-baleen whales took to suction feeding in response to the changing ocean environment and so they didn’t need their teeth, which then disappeared, and a few million years later the cell communities used their (possibly God-given) intelligence to adapt existing structures to improve the whale’s method of feeding.

DAVID: Of course a Darwin-based article will present your line of reasoning, which always avoids the need for design engineering.

dhw: Sorry, but “Darwin-based” is no defence of hypothesis 1). My line of reasoning never avoids the need for “design engineering”. Its theistic version simply offers the possibility that your God gave cells/cell communities the ability to do their own designing – not in anticipation of changing conditions but in response to them.

DAVID: Why you constantly think God would give up control of one of His projects puzzles me. We can make up anything about God we want, but our only clues about God's thoughts are the results of His works, and then working backwards in our reasoning. I certainly don't reason like you do.

You tell me I always avoid the need for design engineering, I explain that I never ignore it, and so you switch back to the question of control, which has already been dealt with umpteen times! Ah well, round we go. Yes indeed, we work backwards from the results, which are millions and millions of life forms, econiches etc. etc. extant and extinct. You reason that your God’s motive for this diversity was to provide food to keep life going. And you then reason that his sole purpose for doing so was to produce H. sapiens, so that we would think about him and he could have a relationship with us, although he is always in full control and you simply don’t know why he chose this roundabout method of achieving his sole purpose. Why would he want to give up control? Perhaps because – as you have often said – he is hidden but watches us with interest, and it is more interesting to watch the unpredictable than to watch everything do precisely what you have prearranged for it to do. (But he can still dabble if he wants to.) This reading of God’s mind is an alternative to your own, as described above, and – to anticipate the next leap backwards – is no more “humanizing” than your own.

Evolution: whale teeth and baleens; another article

by David Turell @, Saturday, December 08, 2018, 21:57 (612 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Of course a Darwin-based article will present your line of reasoning, which always avoids the need for design engineering.

dhw: Sorry, but “Darwin-based” is no defence of hypothesis 1). My line of reasoning never avoids the need for “design engineering”. Its theistic version simply offers the possibility that your God gave cells/cell communities the ability to do their own designing – not in anticipation of changing conditions but in response to them.

DAVID: Why you constantly think God would give up control of one of His projects puzzles me. We can make up anything about God we want, but our only clues about God's thoughts are the results of His works, and then working backwards in our reasoning. I certainly don't reason like you do.

dhw; You tell me I always avoid the need for design engineering, I explain that I never ignore it, and so you switch back to the question of control, which has already been dealt with umpteen times! Ah well, round we go. Yes indeed, we work backwards from the results, which are millions and millions of life forms, econiches etc. etc. extant and extinct. You reason that your God’s motive for this diversity was to provide food to keep life going. And you then reason that his sole purpose for doing so was to produce H. sapiens, so that we would think about him and he could have a relationship with us, although he is always in full control and you simply don’t know why he chose this roundabout method of achieving his sole purpose. Why would he want to give up control? Perhaps because – as you have often said – he is hidden but watches us with interest, and it is more interesting to watch the unpredictable than to watch everything do precisely what you have prearranged for it to do. (But he can still dabble if he wants to.) This reading of God’s mind is an alternative to your own, as described above, and – to anticipate the next leap backwards – is no more “humanizing” than your own.

He arranged for us to have free will. That gives Him plenty to watch if He wants to watch. I don't know if He wants to watch. Why should I know why He chose evolution as His methodology?
I can only take reasons from what I see. You want to know more than we can know.

Evolution: animal, vegetable or both?

by David Turell @, Tuesday, February 05, 2019, 17:46 (554 days ago) @ dhw

Exactly what has been found in planktons:

https://www.knowablemagazine.org/article/living-world/2019/mixing-it-web-life

"After some groundbreaking experiments, Stoecker was one of the first scientists to describe how these types of plankton not only hunted their prey, but also sequestered the chloroplasts of their food sources and used them to get energy from sunlight. “I was very excited to find that they really were photosynthetic,” she says.

"Traditionally, marine microplankton had been divided similarly to species on land. You had plant-like phytoplankton, such as algae, and animal-like zooplankton that ate the phytoplankton. What Stoecker found was that some of these organisms were somewhere in the middle: They could eat like animals when food was present and photosynthesize like plants in the light. “If you think about it, it can be the best of both worlds,” says marine ecologist Dave A. Caron of the University of Southern California.

"Today, there’s growing realization that these in-between beasties — dubbed mixotrophs — are not only widespread but also play vital roles in the ecology of the oceans.

"At first, mixotrophs were considered a rarity of nature and no more than an evolutionary curiosity, but it soon became clear that they were widespread and abundant. In her first samples, Stoecker reported that more than a third of ciliates had chlorophyll in them. With time, more and more planktonic species that were previously considered either phytoplankton or zooplankton came to be recognized as mixotrophs.

"Scientists know now that there are myriad mixotrophs in the ocean and they come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, as well as in two main types. There are constitutive mixotrophs, whose own physiology permits production of energy from the sunlight. And there are non-constitutive mixotrophs, like Stoecker’s Strombidium and L. strobila, that must steal photosynthetic organelles from their prey, or keep whole algae hostage within them, in order to do it.

"It took a long time for anyone but plankton biologists to be especially interested in mixotrophs, says Stoecker, now at the University of Maryland’s Center for Environmental Science. But in the last decade, as evidence of their abundance and diversity builds up, their pivotal role in the marine ecosystem has become clearer.

***

"In a free-for-all frenzy, mixotrophs eat algae, animal-like plankton and each other, and are placed in the lower, broad base of food-web pyramids. The importance of their role in the ocean came to light when scientists started including mixotrophy in food web models — simulations of how the food web works under different conditions. What they found is that the survival of bigger organisms depends heavily on mixotrophs.

“'It’s basically redefining marine ecology,” says Mitra. “The base of the food web has practically changed.”

***

"As much as we know about mixotrophs now, “there’s still a big unknown,” says Stoecker. “In the ocean, in general, we still don’t know how many mixotrophs there are and how active they are.” Researchers are now studying the role mixotrophs play in Arctic regions and in other oceanic conditions.

"Scientists are also working on developing new methods to study the creatures’ physiology. But perhaps the biggest task has been reanalyzing species of plankton to check for mixotrophy since, historically, scientists would only classify plankton as plant-like or animal-like. “We were only studying half of it,” says Mitra. “We had to go back and reclassify the whole protist kingdom.” Advances in DNA sequencing technologies are making this endeavor easier, while also resolving the distribution and location of mixotrophs in the global oceans.

Comment: The bush of life gets bushier. This is no surprise. Photosynthesis appears in many forms.

Evolution: there is not enough time for Darwin to work

by David Turell @, Tuesday, February 19, 2019, 04:40 (540 days ago) @ dhw

Like the Wistar Institute meeting in 1967, current math calculations say Darwin cannot work and the fossil record supports them:

https://world.wng.org/2019/02/if_rocks_could_talk

"German paleontologist Günter Bechly, former curator of the Stuttgart State Museum of Natural History, is a world expert on fossilized dragonflies. He has discovered more than 170 new species, and 11 new genera have been named after him.

"Why dragonflies? When I was researching in the tropics, I simply discovered that I loved these animals and found them very interesting: aquatic larvae with helicopterlike flight, compound eyes, beautiful colors, and strange, intricate mating behavior.

"In what ways do they add to the case for intelligent design? One way is their sudden appearance in the fossil record with fully formed wing articulation. Another evidence concerns the reproductive system in suborders of dragonflies. While the organs in each suborder are constructed from the same basic parts, in each one a different part of the system has the function of sperm transmission—a parallel development in which it appears the same kind of solution was derived independently in several instances. It indicates a kind of design template used several times, as an engineer would use to build different motor engines, using the same parts. (my bold)

"Their mouths are interesting? Larvae have prehensile mouths that can be thrust forward like a chameleon’s tongue. To do that, they must be partially detached from the head. How this happened at each intermediate state, as the Darwinian process would require—to be a viable state with an adaptive advantage—is very hard to imagine.

***

"Could the overwhelming percentage of biologists who reject ID be wrong? The problem is that, of the biologists who reject ID, 98 percent don’t work on the actual underpinnings of the neo-Darwinian theory. They simply learn the theory at university, accept it as true, and apply the theory to detailed problems: They study whether the East African locust is related more closely to the Asian or Australian locust, but they don’t think about the mathematical feasibility of the neo-Darwinian process. The few theoretical biologists who work on the underpinnings of the theory have mostly become critical of the neo-Darwinian process.

***

"How would you encourage someone entering the field of biology today? Be open-minded, read both sides, and don’t be indoctrinated by propaganda. Weigh all the evidence and then look for the best explanation of the evidence. Those who see that the standard Darwinian picture might be wrong should attend a Discovery Institute summer seminar to meet the scientists and ask critical questions. But I would also advise staying undercover until their career is a bit settled, because the risk to ruin their career is real, as I and many others have encountered.

"What areas of biology are particularly compelling for the future? One is the whole field of genetics, where you see the striking phenomena of overlapping genes where the same strands of DNA are used to code different genes. It’s like a book that you can read backwards and forwards and it still makes sense. This is nearly unbelievable to believe with a Darwinian process.

***

"What are your current projects? I’m working on discontinuities in the fossil record and explosion like events in the history of life. Not just the Cambrian explosion, but all over the history of life you see new body plans and complex new structures appearing out of nowhere without the kind of gradual transitions you should find according to Darwinian predictions.

"You’re working on the “waiting time problem”? Darwinian evolutionists seek confirmation in the fossil record and population genetics. But if you combine these two fields, you find that the time necessary for certain transitions would be at least 10 times longer than the time available. Michael Behe used mathematical modeling to study mutations where we have empirical data: for example, mosquito resistance to malaria drugs. Applying that model to a vertebrate species with a smaller population size and longer generational turnover, we find the time needed to get a single coordinated mutation is much longer than the existence of the entire universe.

"Just not enough time? A mathematician is doing the modeling, I’m establishing the fossil dating and windows of time. Molecular biologists and biochemists are working on the genetic underpinnings. We want to show that across nature and through all eras of Earth history, this time problem is everywhere and is the rule, not the exception. This refutes Darwinism. If Darwinism is still upheld as the ruling paradigm, it will be in spite of the contradictory, conflicting evidence."

Comment: Just like Wistar, but with more sudden appearances now in the fossil record. Note my bold. More evidence for my theory that God uses patterns. Bechly and I are similar converts. It just takes unbiased thought.

Evolution: the newly-found bacterial role:

by David Turell @, Friday, November 23, 2018, 20:22 (627 days ago) @ David Turell

Bacteria play a role in every activity in the body, as the microbiome is studied and the influences the bacteria create is recognized:

https://www.quantamagazine.org/should-evolution-treat-our-microbes-as-part-of-us-20181120/

“'We’ve underestimated the potential contribution of microbes to traits we’ve been studying for decades or centuries,” said Kevin Theis, a microbiologist at Wayne State University who studies the paste-making microbes of the hyena. “If the genes for these important traits are actually in the microbiome and not the animal itself, then we need to take a systems-level approach and look at the host-microbe system as a whole.”

"Look closely enough at any plant or animal and you will discover a riot of bacteria, fungi and viruses forming a complex and interconnected ecosystem. A recent explosion of research reveals how deeply we rely on our microbial patterns to keep our bodies functioning, raising profound questions about what it means to be an individual.

***

"Some biologists are calling for a radical upgrade of evolutionary theory, arguing that prevailing ideas, developed from the study of bigger, more easily understood organisms, don’t fit nicely into this new world. Others contend that existing theory just needs to be applied more carefully. All agree that the micro and macro worlds are inescapably interdependent, and that biologists must explore the frontier of their interconnections.

***

"Holobionts and hologenomes are “incontrovertible realities of nature,” wrote Theis and his colleagues in the journal mSystems. Hologenomes contain vastly more genes than the host genome alone, and since at least a fraction of the microbial genes have significant bearing on the survival and reproduction of the host, we need to consider the hologenome as a possible unit of selection if we want to understand the evolution of the holobiont.

***

"Proponents of this hologenomic concept of evolution argue that if there is a fidelity across generations between hosts and microbes, then the holobiont embodies a coming together of numerous, disparate evolutionary lineages into a singular being, a coalition of many that contributes to the functional integrity of the whole. Only when considering the holobiont as a single entity capable of being shaped as a unit by natural selection can we make sense of its complexities.

***

"Typically, human babies not born by cesarean section acquire their mother’s vaginal microbes en route to the outside world. Mom’s microbes also rub off on a baby through close contact and breastfeeding. Although eventually the microbial community changes as the child moves more freely through the world, these early microbes play an outsize role in immune system development.

***

"Strassmann argues that focusing solely on what’s happening in the holobiont misses much of the microbes’ story. Many host-associated microbes spend significant chunks of their lives outside their host, in an environment where they’re subject to very different selection pressures. The holobiont idea, she says, puts blinders on our understanding of the evolution of these microbes, focusing attention on the host environment and neglecting other habitats that could shape a microbe’s character.

"Critics of holobiont-centered theories are not discounting the importance of studying the interconnections between microbes and hosts, but they think the holobiont framework is almost always misleading. They envision the holobiont as an ecological community, not an evolutionary individual. The knowledge that symbiotic relationships with microbes are important “doesn’t mean we have to completely forget what we know about how evolution and natural selection operate,” Strassmann said."

Comment: the article continues with debate about the meaning of this approach as if offers a new avenue to thinking about evolution. What occurs to me is we can see a new role for bacteria which have persisted since the beginning of life and perhaps this is the reason why they have remained so active in the process of evolving. They take new roles to play at all stages. They create immediate adaptations, for example, in digestion, but it is certainly obvious they do not design giant changes.

Evolution: microbiome of coral

by David Turell @, Saturday, November 24, 2018, 19:20 (627 days ago) @ David Turell

Bacteria and other organisms are everywhere and obviously play a role in evolution as microbiomes:

https://phys.org/news/2018-11-corals-microbiomes-evolved.html

"Corals and the microbes they host evolved together, new research by Oregon State University shows.

***

"Modern corals are home to a complex composition of dinoflagellates, fungi, bacteria and archaea that together make up the coral microbiome. Shifts in microbiome composition are connected to changes in coral health.

"'Likely the ancestral corals also harbored complex microbial communities but there's a lot we don't know about how these coral-microbe symbioses evolved or the key factors influencing microbial communities in modern corals," Vega Thurber said. "Certain species of corals have distinct microbiomes, to the point where that occurred at some point in their evolutionary history. Not 400 million years ago, but there are specific groups of microbes that do show very strong evidence of evolving with their hosts more recently."

***

"On a lot of different scales, the more similar the coral hosts, the more similar the microbial communities are—both the whole community and particular microbes," McMinds said. "We collected samples from as many kinds of corals as was possible. For every sample set, we looked at the corals' tissue, skeleton and mucus to see what microbes were there."

"To do that, the researchers sequenced the 16S rRNA gene. The gene is present in every living organism, McMinds explains, but is slightly different. He likened it to a "molecular bar code" of each organism it belongs to.

"From there, the scientists could look for patterns between different corals' microbial communities and determine whether co-evolution of the corals and their microbiomes had taken place.

"'We found strong support for coral-microbe 'phylosymbiosis,' in which coral microbiome composition and richness is reflected in coral host's evolutionary history," Vega Thurber said. "When speciation for modern reef-building coral families began between roughly 25 million and 65 years ago, that was accompanied by large changes in microbiome richness. And changes continued to accumulate during more recent speciation events."

***

"It was something of a surprise to researchers to find that the microbial communities of the corals' calcium carbonate skeletons showed greater microbiome richness compared to the tissue and mucus microbiomes. Also, the skeletal microbiomes displayed the strongest signal of long-term phylosymbiosis—a pattern in which the diversification of a related group of host organisms correlates with changes in dissimilarities among their microbiomes.

"'We originally thought corals would show signs of phylosymbiosis throughout their entire phylogenetic history, and the results support that for the skeleton and tissue but not the mucus," McMinds said. "Despite variability in the chemical composition of mucus between species and significant host-specificity in the mucus microbiome, host specificity was limited to relatively recent divergences.'"

Comment: This line of research is just beginning, but there is no question that life
may have started with bacteria, but they have remained active to influence evolution over time in the multicellular forms that followed them..

Evolution: speciation through hybridization

by David Turell @, Tuesday, September 10, 2019, 19:20 (337 days ago) @ David Turell

New findings suggest this may be a more rapid mechanism than chance mutations and natural selection:

https://www.quantamagazine.org/new-hybrid-species-remix-old-genes-creatively-20190910/

"Classically, the origin of new species is a slow, gradual process dependent on random mutations that build a bigger beak or a sexier song. If this novel trait helps a subpopulation exploit a new ecological niche or makes its members less likely to mate with neighboring populations, a new species may be born. As lineages remain isolated from one another, their diverging genomes accumulate differences that become increasingly incompatible. When speciation is complete, the genomes are so different that they don’t work when combined in a hybrid, producing infertile or unfit “dead ends.”

"Yet that is precisely the opposite of what Seehausen and his colleagues say is happening in many rapidly diverging species. Combinatorial speciation, they argue, explains how the genetic novelty for speciation can arise so quickly and is consistent with discoveries that hybridization is more commonplace than previously thought. Other biologists urge caution, however, because we simply don’t know enough about the evolutionary consequences of hybridization across the tree of life. They argue that there are too many known examples of extensive hybridization failing to create new species for anyone to speculate too boldly about the importance of combinatorial modes of speciation.

"The three authors’ views are shaped by their work on one of nature’s most explosive species radiations — that of African cichlid fish. In just 150,000 years, well over 700 species have radiated into a technicolor panoply of shapes, sizes and ecologies. Since Lake Victoria formed 15,000 years ago, about 500 species have diversified within its shores, making it an ideal system for biologists trying to understand the early stages of speciation.

***

"... some parts of the Lake Victoria cichlid genomes more closely resemble that of the Nile species while others are closer to the Congo one. “They’re a genetic mosaic of these two species that hybridized at the origin of Lake Victoria cichlids,” she said. Those mosaic genomes seeded the ancestral hybrid swarm with enough genetic variation from the parental lineages to fuel the fishes’ rapid spread and speciation.

***

"The ancient admixture event that prompted the diversification of African cichlids is just one of the ways old alleles can be recombined to help form new species. Combinatorial speciation encompasses the classic mechanism of hybrid speciation that farmers and gardeners know so well: In plants, it’s common for hybridization to immediately create a new species that is reproductively isolated from its parents.

***

"The list of species groups with similar patterns goes on — Darwin’s finches, the apple maggot fly, capuchino seedeaters, Hawaiian silverswords. The scientists who work on these systems have long recognized the potential importance of hybridization in their radiations.

"But Marques and his colleagues suggest that the accumulated genomic evidence warrants the introduction of “combinatorial speciation” as a new term to frame future research. The word “combinatorial,” Marques said, seemed to best describe the crucial “generation of new combinations from existing variation, which is really the commonality.”

***

“'Hybridization is really common, and much of the time it just might be neutral or deleterious gene flow,” she said. But even if we knew how helpful or harmful it is, that wouldn’t enable us to pinpoint its importance in speciation compared with, say, the gradual accumulation of genetic incompatibilities. And while some crosses between species yield hybrids that are viable and fertile, even closely related species sometimes turn out to be highly incompatible. “There is a lot we don’t understand about the genetic interactions impacting hybrids, let alone the interplay between the genetics of hybrids and their environments,” she said.

"Evolutionary biologists can find it satisfying when grand, unifying theories seem to suggest themselves from the data. But biology is messy. “These processes may just end up being quite system specific,” Schumer said."

Comment: A new concept, obviously not fully accepted.

Evolution: speciation through hybridization

by David Turell @, Wednesday, November 20, 2019, 20:11 (265 days ago) @ David Turell

A study of evolution through hybridization in butterflies:

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-03521-4?utm_source=Nature+Briefing&utm_c...

"The data allowed Grishin’s team to build an evolutionary tree detailing the relationships of all the butterflies, as well as to determine the pace at which new species formed. The team suggests that fast-diversifying groups of butterflies are those that swap genes with close relatives through interbreeding — a phenomenon that could extend to other organisms.

***

"The tree also revealed that some groups of butterflies have evolved faster than others. Two of the fastest-evolving groups, commonly known as the blues and the whites, have developed highly specialized interactions with other organisms that might explain their rapid evolution, say Grishin’s team. The blues, or Polyommatinae, form symbiotic relationships with ants, whereas whites, or Pierini, have developed adaptations to feed on mustard plants that are toxic to many other insects.

***

"An analysis of genes shared by multiple species also showed that these diverse groups were more likely to have acquired genes through interbreeding between species, rather than from a distant ancestor. Many of the genes that are swapped between species are thought to be involved in mate recognition and other factors that can cause species splits. Grishin says that by spreading such genes, interbreeding — rather than the gradual accrual of new mutations — could be helping to drive the evolution of butterfly species."

Comment: All this study shows is minor speciation by hybridization. There are 30 animal phyla and butterflies are a huge family with subspecies at the bottom of the tree. When we discuss speciation, what I am really referring to is a real advance to a new level with a different sort of organism. In our short time on Earth we really cannot see it and have no idea how the Cambrian Explosion can occur, which ended with 30 final phyla,shrunk from about 56 originals.

Evolution: early snakes had hind legs

by David Turell @, Wednesday, November 20, 2019, 20:36 (265 days ago) @ David Turell

Since there were legs in the Cambrian this is no surprise:

https://phys.org/news/2019-11-fossils-snakes-lost-legs.html

"The fossil discoveries published in Science Advances have revealed they possessed hind legs during the first 70 million years of their evolution.

"They also provide details about how the flexible skull of snakes evolved from their lizard ancestors.

"The evolution of the snake body has captivated researchers for a long time—representing one of the most dramatic examples of the vertebrate body's ability to adapt—but a limited fossil record has obscured our understanding of their early evolution until now.

"Dr. Alessandro Palci, from Flinders University, was part of the international research team that performed high-resolution (CT) scanning and light microscopy of the preserved skulls of Najash to reveal substantial new anatomical data on the early evolution of snakes.

"'Snakes are famously legless, but then so are many lizards. What truly sets snakes apart is their highly mobile skull, which allows them to swallow large prey items. For a long time we have been lacking detailed information about the transition from the relatively rigid skull of a lizard to the super flexible skull of snakes".

"'Najash has the most complete, three-dimensionally preserved skull of any ancient snake, and this is providing an amazing amount of new information on how the head of snakes evolved. It has some, but not all of the flexible joints found in the skull of modern snakes. Its middle ear is intermediate between that of lizards and living snakes, and unlike all living snakes it retains a well-developed cheekbone, which again is reminiscent of that of lizards."

***

"The new snake family tree also reveals that snakes possessed small but perfectly formed hind legs for the first 70 million years of their evolution.

"'These primitive snakes with little legs weren't just a transient evolutionary stage on the way to something better. Rather, they had a highly successful body plan that persisted across many millions of years, and diversified into a range of terrestrial, burowing and aquatic niches," says Professor Lee."

Comment: a logical finding

Evolution: the newly-found bacterial role:

by David Turell @, Thursday, March 28, 2019, 17:10 (503 days ago) @ David Turell

The microbiome works importantly across the entire bush of life:

https://www.the-scientist.com/critic-at-large/opinion--individuals-are-greater-than-the...


It is widely accepted that all animals and plants host diverse microbial communities that are vitally important for their functioning and survival. In many cases, these microbiomes can be at least partially heritable, being passed from parent to offspring. Thus, when environmental changes occur, we would expect to see alterations not only in hosts’ physiology over subsequent generations, but also in their microbiomes.

Husband-and-wife team Eugene Rosenberg and Ilana Zilber-Rosenberg of Tel Aviv University in Israel were the first researchers to propose this concept (FEMS Microbiol Rev, 32:723–35, 2008). A host organism and its resident microbes—the so-called holobiont—functions as a whole on multiple levels, they argued, from the gene and chromosome to the organism’s anatomy and physiology, and acts as an independent unit of selection.

A famous example of this concept is the relationship between corals and their symbionts, the zooxanthellae. Researchers have demonstrated that some corals can evolve to tolerate higher water temperatures by changing the makeup of their symbiont communities. Because microbes have much shorter generation times than coral polyps, the genetic composition of the symbiont populations can evolve much more rapidly than that of their hosts, and these changes can confer higher tolerance on the holobiont unit.

Over the last decade, it has become evident that the idea of the evolutionary concept of the hologenome, which views the holobiont as the unit of selection, can be applied across the tree of life, with examples cropping up in plants and insects. This revelation motivated us to explore the relevance of the microbiome to the adaptation of so-called poikilothermic animals, which are unable to maintain a stable body temperature using internal mechanisms. Specifically, we set out to answer whether host selection for an environmental stressor such as cold exposure results in selection of fishes’ associated microbes.

We bred tropical blue tilapia, which are typically found in marine environments with high water temperatures of 24–28 °C. Over three generations, we selected for fish whose siblings had high survival rates in low-temperature conditions. We then compared the gut microbiomes of genetically cold-resistant fish to those of cold-sensitive fish. Despite having never experienced low-temperature environments themselves, these two groups had different gut microbiomes as a result of the selection. Moreover, when we challenged all these fish in low-temperature conditions, cold-resistant fish’s gut microbiomes were more stable, as were the fish’s transcriptomes. Thus, our selection regime shaped both the host and its associated microbiome to be more resilient to drops in temperature (eLife, 7:e36398, 2018).

These findings are no doubt just one example of coordination between a host and its microbes. As the evolutionary concept of the hologenome matures, researchers will likely document many more plant and animal communities that evolve with their microbiomes. It remains to be determined whether a microbiome’s compositional changes directly affect its host’s physiological response to changing environmental conditions. But the holo­genome concept will undoubtedly influence our understanding of the evolution and ecology of all organisms.

Comment: This is why bacteria never stopped existing.

Evolution: the newly-found bacterial role:

by dhw, Tuesday, April 02, 2019, 10:40 (498 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: The microbiome works importantly across the entire bush of life:
https://www.the-scientist.com/critic-at-large/opinion--individuals-are-greater-than-the...

QUOTE:These findings are no doubt just one example of coordination between a host and its microbes. As the evolutionary concept of the hologenome matures, researchers will likely document many more plant and animal communities that evolve with their microbiomes. It remains to be determined whether a microbiome’s compositional changes directly affect its host’s physiological response to changing environmental conditions. But the holo¬genome concept will undoubtedly influence our understanding of the evolution and ecology of all organisms.

If we bear in mind that the “host” actually consists of cell communities, then it becomes blindingly obvious that the behaviour of the plant or animal “community” must be the result of coordination between all its cells as they respond to changing environmental conditions. This is what I take to be the “hologenome concept”, and is the basis of the hypothesis that evolution has occurred through “coordination between the host and its microbes” as they respond to changes in the environment.

Evolution: the newly-found bacterial role:

by David Turell @, Tuesday, April 02, 2019, 15:48 (498 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: The microbiome works importantly across the entire bush of life:
https://www.the-scientist.com/critic-at-large/opinion--individuals-are-greater-than-the...

QUOTE:These findings are no doubt just one example of coordination between a host and its microbes. As the evolutionary concept of the hologenome matures, researchers will likely document many more plant and animal communities that evolve with their microbiomes. It remains to be determined whether a microbiome’s compositional changes directly affect its host’s physiological response to changing environmental conditions. But the holo¬genome concept will undoubtedly influence our understanding of the evolution and ecology of all organisms.

dhw: If we bear in mind that the “host” actually consists of cell communities, then it becomes blindingly obvious that the behaviour of the plant or animal “community” must be the result of coordination between all its cells as they respond to changing environmental conditions. This is what I take to be the “hologenome concept”, and is the basis of the hypothesis that evolution has occurred through “coordination between the host and its microbes” as they respond to changes in the environment.

Obviously , as previously stated, bacteria have stayed around to play a major role in evolution.

Evolution: the newly-found bacterial role: nitrogen

by David Turell @, Saturday, April 20, 2019, 02:07 (480 days ago) @ David Turell

Nitrogen is most of the atmosphere but is rare in the ground and is a major molecule in many protein molecules. Bacteria have a major role in fixing the nitrogen into the ground where it can be used by living organisms:

https://phys.org/news/2019-04-fuel-cells-bacteria.html

"The exchange of nitrogen between the atmosphere and organic matter is crucial for life on Earth because nitrogen is a major component of essential molecules such as proteins and DNA. One major route for this exchange, discovered only in the 1990s, is the anammox pathway found in certain bacteria. It proceeds via hydrazine, a highly reactive substance used by humans as a rocket fuel. Researchers now describe the structure of the enzyme performing the last step in this process: turning hydrazine into nitrogen gas and harvesting the energy set free in this way. The results, which were just published in Science Advances, show an unprecedented network of heme groups for handling the large number of electrons released during the chemical conversion.

"A number of bacteria perform such conversions and contribute to the biochemical nitrogen cycle (image) by producing more reactive forms of nitrogen.

"In the 1990s, scientists discovered a bacterial process called anaerobic ammonium oxidation (anammox). "We now believe this process is responsible for 30 to 70 percent of the yearly nitrogen removal from the oceans," explains Thomas Barends,...."Due to this characteristic, anammox bacteria are used in sustainable wastewater treatment all over the world," Cornelia Welte of Radboud University adds. During this process, bacteria convert nitrites and ammonia into dinitrogen (N2) and water, while generating energy for the cell. The molecule hydrazine is produced in an intermediate step. Hydrazine is a common component of rocket fuel, but its use by bacteria as a metabolic fuel is rather exotic—and surprising in living organisms because of its high toxicity. Welte: "So far, hydrazine has only been found in anammox and not in other bacteria." Until recently, little was known about how these bacteria harness the energy released during the hydrazine conversion.

" Previously the research group and their collaborators have described the structures of the enzymes hydrazine synthase and hydroxylamine oxidoreductase. The researchers now further unravel the anammox puzzle by describing the crystal structure of hydrazine dehydrogenase, the enzyme involved in the conversion of toxic hydrazine to harmless dinitrogen gas. "Both the use of hydrazine as well as the structure of hydrazine dehydrogenase are quite unique, making it important to uncover the biological process in detail," Welte explains.

***

"'One could compare the HDH complex to a fuel cell with electrical outlets that only fit certain types of plugs," says Thomas Barends, describing the structure and mechanism of HDH. The 'fuel' hydrazine enters the protein complex through a channel on the outside. The enzyme then catalyzes the conversion of hydrazine into nitrogen gas through an unprecedentedly large network of 192 heme groups. Then the electrons are carried to other parts of the bacterium, like the transfer of current to electrical consumers. These consumers then generate the cell's energy.

"'We are now working on finding the protein that takes up the electrons stored in the heme network," says Mohd Akram, postdoc in the Barends group and first author of the paper. From the structure they observed they expect that only small proteins can enter the complex, take up the electrons in a hollow space inside, and leave again. Selecting which proteins can access the electrons may help ensure the electrons are brought to the right place to be used for energy generation in the cell. "

Comment: Another very important process bacteria must produce for life to exist. Since it uses a strange toxic hydrazine molecule the origin of this process must provide protection for the producing bacteria and must invent two very complex enzymes. Why did these bacteria develop this process, which is not necessary for their survival? Good engineering by God? Not by chance.

Evolution: the newly-found bacterial role:

by David Turell @, Saturday, August 10, 2019, 22:34 (367 days ago) @ David Turell

Bacteria have always been round and are found to have a very expanded role, well beyond what was previously thought. They make tiny proteins that have been missed before:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/08/190808152543.htm

"...there's mounting evidence that many aspects of our health are closely intertwined with the composition and hardiness of our microscopic compatriots, though exactly how is still mostly unclear.

"...researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have discovered that these microbial hitchhikers -- collectively known as the human microbiome -- are churning out tens of thousands of proteins so small that they've gone unnoticed in previous studies. The proteins belong to more than 4,000 new biological families predicted to be involved in, among other processes, the warfare waged among different bacterial strains as they vie for primacy in coveted biological niches, the cell-to-cell communication between microbes and their unwitting hosts, and the critical day-to-day housekeeping duties that keep the bacteria happy and healthy.

"Because they are so small -- fewer than 50 amino acids in length -- it's likely the proteins fold into unique shapes that represent previously unidentified biological building blocks. If the shapes and functions of these proteins can be recreated in the lab, they could help researchers advance scientific understanding of how the microbiome affects human health and pave the way for new drug discovery.

***

"It might be intimidating for the uninitiated to think too deeply about the vast numbers of bacteria that live on and in each of us. They account for far more cells in and on the human body than actual human cells do. Yet these tiny passengers are rarely malicious. Instead, they help with our digestion, supplement our diet and generally keep us running at our peak. But in many cases, it's been difficult to pick apart the molecular minutiae behind this partnership. (my bold)

***

"To tackle the problem, Sberro decided to compare potential small-protein-coding genes among many different microbes and samples. Those that were identified repeatedly in several species and samples were more likely to be true positives, she thought. When she applied the analysis to large data sets, Sberro found not the hundreds of genes she and Bhatt had expected, but tens of thousands. The proteins predicted to be encoded by the genes could be sorted into more than 4,000 related groups, or families, likely to be involved in key biological processes such as intercellular communication and warfare, as well as maintenance tasks necessary to keep the bacteria healthy.

***

"The researchers confirmed the genes encoded true proteins by showing they are transcribed into RNA and shuttled to the ribosome for translation -- key steps in the protein-making pathway in all organisms. They are now working with collaborators to learn more about the proteins' functions and to identify those that might be important to the bacteria fighting for space in our teeming intestinal carpet. Such proteins might serve as new antibiotics or drugs for human use, they believe.

"'Small proteins can be synthesized rapidly and could be used by the bacteria as biological switches to toggle between functional states or to trigger specific reactions in other cells," Bhatt said. "They are also easier to study and manipulate than larger proteins, which could facilitate drug development. We anticipate this to be a valuable new area of biology for study.'"

Comment: Bacteria have been obviously kept around since the beginning of life since they are seen to contribute to so many beneficial functions. It looks like a very well-designed plan to me. Imagine, your microbiome might weigh more than he rest of you!

Evolution: the newly-found bacterial role:

by dhw, Sunday, August 11, 2019, 11:24 (367 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Bacteria have always been round and are found to have a very expanded role, well beyond what was previously thought. They make tiny proteins that have been missed before:
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/08/190808152543.htm

QUOTE: "...there's mounting evidence that many aspects of our health are closely intertwined with the composition and hardiness of our microscopic compatriots, though exactly how is still mostly unclear.

DAVID: Bacteria have been obviously kept around since the beginning of life since they are seen to contribute to so many beneficial functions. It looks like a very well-designed plan to me. […]

They also contribute to multiple diseases. All part of the well-designed plan? But of far more significance to me is the fact that all multicellular organisms consist of communities that work together. This is Lynn Margulis’s theory of cooperation as being the crucial factor in evolution. We must remember that every single bacterium is concerned with its survival – whether we judge its methods to be fair or foul. Each of us is a community of communities, and it is not difficult to envisage how this may have arisen through individual intelligences combining to form every combination known to us, whether extant or extinct. And this has nothing whatsoever to do with the existence or otherwise of God, because it is the process that constitutes Chapter Two of life, not Chapter One. Chapter One deals with the origin, and has everything to do with the existence or otherwise of God.

Evolution: the newly-found bacterial role:

by David Turell @, Sunday, August 11, 2019, 15:35 (367 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Bacteria have always been round and are found to have a very expanded role, well beyond what was previously thought. They make tiny proteins that have been missed before:
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/08/190808152543.htm

QUOTE: "...there's mounting evidence that many aspects of our health are closely intertwined with the composition and hardiness of our microscopic compatriots, though exactly how is still mostly unclear.

DAVID: Bacteria have been obviously kept around since the beginning of life since they are seen to contribute to so many beneficial functions. It looks like a very well-designed plan to me. […]

dhw: They also contribute to multiple diseases. All part of the well-designed plan? But of far more significance to me is the fact that all multicellular organisms consist of communities that work together. This is Lynn Margulis’s theory of cooperation as being the crucial factor in evolution. We must remember that every single bacterium is concerned with its survival – whether we judge its methods to be fair or foul. Each of us is a community of communities, and it is not difficult to envisage how this may have arisen through individual intelligences combining to form every combination known to us, whether extant or extinct. And this has nothing whatsoever to do with the existence or otherwise of God, because it is the process that constitutes Chapter Two of life, not Chapter One. Chapter One deals with the origin, and has everything to do with the existence or otherwise of God.

But it is in Chapter One that bacteria appear at the start of life along with a proliferation of other one-celled forms. Note they compete and fight with each other from the beginning, which means Darwin's point about continuous competition always plays a major role, and human diseases are a result. But at the same time bacteria are very importantly beneficial. So why can't it all part of God's planning?

Evolution: the newly-found bacterial role:

by dhw, Monday, August 12, 2019, 12:36 (366 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Bacteria have been obviously kept around since the beginning of life since they are seen to contribute to so many beneficial functions. It looks like a very well-designed plan to me. […]

dhw: They also contribute to multiple diseases. All part of the well-designed plan? But of far more significance to me is the fact that all multicellular organisms consist of communities that work together. This is Lynn Margulis’s theory of cooperation as being the crucial factor in evolution. We must remember that every single bacterium is concerned with its survival – whether we judge its methods to be fair or foul. Each of us is a community of communities, and it is not difficult to envisage how this may have arisen through individual intelligences combining to form every combination known to us, whether extant or extinct. And this has nothing whatsoever to do with the existence or otherwise of God, because it is the process that constitutes Chapter Two of life, not Chapter One. Chapter One deals with the origin, and has everything to do with the existence or otherwise of God.

DAVID: But it is in Chapter One that bacteria appear at the start of life along with a proliferation of other one-celled forms. Note they compete and fight with each other from the beginning, which means Darwin's point about continuous competition always plays a major role, and human diseases are a result. But at the same time bacteria are very importantly beneficial. So why can't it all part of God's planning?

This is a jumble of observations. Bacteria remain bacteria. Chapter Two is the arrival of multicellular organisms which result from single cells cooperating to create new forms of life – i.e. the history of evolution, for those of us who believe in it. My point about diseases was simply to redress the balance, since you only mentioned beneficial functions, but you are right: disease may have been part of your God’s plan. We can’t read his mind. None of this alters the fact that we are a community of communities, in which cells cooperate to produce a functioning whole, and since many scientists support the theory of bacterial and cellular intelligence (as championed by Margulis), it is perfectly possible that multicellular life (Chapter Two) evolved as a result of these individual organisms pooling their perhaps God-given (Chapter One) intelligences.

Evolution: the newly-found bacterial role:

by David Turell @, Monday, August 12, 2019, 15:29 (366 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Bacteria have been obviously kept around since the beginning of life since they are seen to contribute to so many beneficial functions. It looks like a very well-designed plan to me. […]

dhw: They also contribute to multiple diseases. All part of the well-designed plan? But of far more significance to me is the fact that all multicellular organisms consist of communities that work together. This is Lynn Margulis’s theory of cooperation as being the crucial factor in evolution. We must remember that every single bacterium is concerned with its survival – whether we judge its methods to be fair or foul. Each of us is a community of communities, and it is not difficult to envisage how this may have arisen through individual intelligences combining to form every combination known to us, whether extant or extinct. And this has nothing whatsoever to do with the existence or otherwise of God, because it is the process that constitutes Chapter Two of life, not Chapter One. Chapter One deals with the origin, and has everything to do with the existence or otherwise of God.

DAVID: But it is in Chapter One that bacteria appear at the start of life along with a proliferation of other one-celled forms. Note they compete and fight with each other from the beginning, which means Darwin's point about continuous competition always plays a major role, and human diseases are a result. But at the same time bacteria are very importantly beneficial. So why can't it all part of God's planning?

dhw: This is a jumble of observations. Bacteria remain bacteria. Chapter Two is the arrival of multicellular organisms which result from single cells cooperating to create new forms of life – i.e. the history of evolution, for those of us who believe in it. My point about diseases was simply to redress the balance, since you only mentioned beneficial functions, but you are right: disease may have been part of your God’s plan. We can’t read his mind. None of this alters the fact that we are a community of communities, in which cells cooperate to produce a functioning whole, and since many scientists support the theory of bacterial and cellular intelligence (as championed by Margulis), it is perfectly possible that multicellular life (Chapter Two) evolved as a result of these individual organisms pooling their perhaps God-given (Chapter One) intelligences.

Note my entry today about a particular Archaea which finally cultured supports your comment

Evolution: the newly-found bacterial role:

by dhw, Tuesday, August 13, 2019, 10:44 (365 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: ...we are a community of communities, in which cells cooperate to produce a functioning whole, and since many scientists support the theory of bacterial and cellular intelligence (as championed by Margulis), it is perfectly possible that multicellular life (Chapter Two) evolved as a result of these individual organisms pooling their perhaps God-given (Chapter One) intelligences.

DAVID: Note my entry today about a particular Archaea which finally cultured supports your comment.

Thank you. Herewith my comment on your entry:

DAVID (Under "origin of eukaryotes"): Still not well understood, but an amazing advance in studying descendants of early life

And yet more evidence for Margulis’ theory of endosymbiosis, leading to her much wider theory that evolution has come about through cooperation between cells, which she regarded as being intelligent.

Under “Reality”:

dhw: “We are talking about molecular biology, and lots of organisms use chemical signals to communicate. These include bacteria, which are single cells. Many scientists agree that they are sentient, communicative, cooperative, decision-making, and therefore intelligent. Of course their “consciousness” is not comparable to ours, but David’s theory that 3.8 billion years ago his God preprogrammed every single bacterial response to every single new problem for the rest of time seems to me less likely than the (theistic) theory that his God gave them the intelligence to work out their own solutions. This would also apply to our own cell communities which at some time in the past cooperated to produce every individual organ in our bodies, and which continue (now mainly automatically) to cooperate in enabling those organs to function. (See also below.)

DAVID: And I reply it all can be automatic, based on instructions the organisms or cells carry.

Which, I repeat, means that 3.8 billion years ago your God provided the very first cells with programmes for every single development in the history of evolution, including every solution to every problem bacteria will ever face. Yes, it “can be” so – just as there “can be” an invisible teapot orbiting the sun (Bertrand Russell).

Under “Magic embryology: what guides cell development, placement?

QUOTE: “The gene does not exist in a vacuum,” Saunders said. “And we’re realizing more and more that the mechanical environment in which those genes are operating matters” — including for decisions about cell fate."

DAVID: It is obvious embryonic cells are controlled by chemical and physical influences. but an overall body plan has to exist. Darwin does not explain the development of embryology in any of his theories. It is magical and strongly suggests that only design fits.

This article shows how embryology mirrors the whole process of evolution. Of course cells/cell communities respond to their environment, whether internal or external, and adjust accordingly. If they didn’t, they would not survive. I agree that only design fits, but every single species – which you and I believe descended from former species – has introduced new features, which means the embryo has inherited the innovations which the cell communities have newly designed (or in your theory were preprogrammed 3.8 billion years ago). Yes, an overall body plan has to exist, but it also had to be invented in the first place, as each species either adjusted to or exploited the environment. I agree that once it has been established, the process has to work more or less automatically – just as factory workers must follow given procedures (though that does not mean they are automatons) – but the process itself was first introduced by the cell communities of the preceding organism, and that could not have been automatic because it deviated from its inheritance. Divinely preprogrammed 3.8 billion years ago, the result of chance mutations, or the product of (possibly God-given) cellular intelligence?

Evolution: the newly-found bacterial role:

by David Turell @, Tuesday, August 13, 2019, 15:02 (365 days ago) @ dhw

Under “Reality”:

dhw: “We are talking about molecular biology, and lots of organisms use chemical signals to communicate. These include bacteria, which are single cells. Many scientists agree that they are sentient, communicative, cooperative, decision-making, and therefore intelligent. Of course their “consciousness” is not comparable to ours, but David’s theory that 3.8 billion years ago his God preprogrammed every single bacterial response to every single new problem for the rest of time seems to me less likely than the (theistic) theory that his God gave them the intelligence to work out their own solutions. This would also apply to our own cell communities which at some time in the past cooperated to produce every individual organ in our bodies, and which continue (now mainly automatically) to cooperate in enabling those organs to function. (See also below.)

DAVID: And I reply it all can be automatic, based on instructions the organisms or cells carry.

dhw: Which, I repeat, means that 3.8 billion years ago your God provided the very first cells with programmes for every single development in the history of evolution, including every solution to every problem bacteria will ever face. Yes, it “can be” so – just as there “can be” an invisible teapot orbiting the sun (Bertrand Russell).

Or God steps in at many steps to adjust designs.


Under “Magic embryology: what guides cell development, placement?

QUOTE: “The gene does not exist in a vacuum,” Saunders said. “And we’re realizing more and more that the mechanical environment in which those genes are operating matters” — including for decisions about cell fate."

DAVID: It is obvious embryonic cells are controlled by chemical and physical influences. but an overall body plan has to exist. Darwin does not explain the development of embryology in any of his theories. It is magical and strongly suggests that only design fits.

dhw; This article shows how embryology mirrors the whole process of evolution. Of course cells/cell communities respond to their environment, whether internal or external, and adjust accordingly. If they didn’t, they would not survive. I agree that only design fits, but every single species – which you and I believe descended from former species – has introduced new features, which means the embryo has inherited the innovations which the cell communities have newly designed (or in your theory were preprogrammed 3.8 billion years ago). Yes, an overall body plan has to exist, but it also had to be invented in the first place, as each species either adjusted to or exploited the environment. I agree that once it has been established, the process has to work more or less automatically – just as factory workers must follow given procedures (though that does not mean they are automatons) – but the process itself was first introduced by the cell communities of the preceding organism, and that could not have been automatic because it deviated from its inheritance. Divinely preprogrammed 3.8 billion years ago, the result of chance mutations, or the product of (possibly God-given) cellular intelligence?

I note your agreement in regard to the need for design in bold above. Complex design requires complex thought. Cell committees do not fit the requirement. Your cellular theory fits only tiny modifications, not major alterations, as in whale evolution.

Evolution: the newly-found bacterial role:

by dhw, Wednesday, August 14, 2019, 13:18 (364 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: […] it all can be automatic, based on instructions the organisms or cells carry.

dhw: Which, I repeat, means that 3.8 billion years ago your God provided the very first cells with programmes for every single development in the history of evolution, including every solution to every problem bacteria will ever face. Yes, it “can be” so – just as there “can be” an invisible teapot orbiting the sun (Bertrand Russell).

DAVID: Or God steps in at many steps to adjust designs.

I thought you were happy to dispense with the dabbling. Under “God’s divine nature”: “My thought about dabbling has always been a tentative alternative. I can easily accept the author’s viewpoint that dabbling is not required.” Which means you can easily accept that your God provided the first cells with programmes for every single life form etc., and every single solution to every problem bacteria would ever face.

Under “Magic embryology: what guides cell development, placement?”

dhw: This article shows how embryology mirrors the whole process of evolution. Of course cells/cell communities respond to their environment, whether internal or external, and adjust accordingly. If they didn’t, they would not survive. I agree that only design fits, [David’s bold] but every single species – which you and I believe descended from former species – has introduced new features, which means the embryo has inherited the innovations which the cell communities have newly designed (or in your theory were preprogrammed 3.8 billion years ago). Yes, an overall body plan has to exist, but it also had to be invented in the first place, as each species either adjusted to or exploited the environment. I agree that once it has been established, the process has to work more or less automatically – just as factory workers must follow given procedures (though that does not mean they are automatons) – but the process itself was first introduced by the cell communities of the preceding organism, and that could not have been automatic because it deviated from its inheritance. Divinely preprogrammed 3.8 billion years ago, the result of chance mutations, or the product of (possibly God-given) cellular intelligence?[/i][dhw’s bold]

DAVID: I note your agreement in regard to the need for design in bold above. Complex design requires complex thought. Cell committees do not fit the requirement. Your cellular theory fits only tiny modifications, not major alterations, as in whale evolution.

Yes, I agree that the complexities require design, and I disagree with your authoritative statement that cell communities are incapable of it. You don’t know that, and nor do I. It’s a theory, also promulgated by Shapiro, following on from the findings of such scientific luminaries as Margulis and McClintock, who were pioneers in the field of cellular intelligence. I ended my post with three possible explanations, now bolded. I really don’t know why you consider the first to be more credible than the third.

Evolution: the newly-found bacterial role:

by David Turell @, Wednesday, August 14, 2019, 16:42 (364 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: […] it all can be automatic, based on instructions the organisms or cells carry.

dhw: Which, I repeat, means that 3.8 billion years ago your God provided the very first cells with programmes for every single development in the history of evolution, including every solution to every problem bacteria will ever face. Yes, it “can be” so – just as there “can be” an invisible teapot orbiting the sun (Bertrand Russell).

DAVID: Or God steps in at many steps to adjust designs.

dhw: I thought you were happy to dispense with the dabbling. Under “God’s divine nature”: “My thought about dabbling has always been a tentative alternative. I can easily accept the author’s viewpoint that dabbling is not required.” Which means you can easily accept that your God provided the first cells with programmes for every single life form etc., and every single solution to every problem bacteria would ever face.

My theories have to have flexibility. Dabbling cannot be absolutely ruled out.


Under “Magic embryology: what guides cell development, placement?”

dhw: This article shows how embryology mirrors the whole process of evolution. Of course cells/cell communities respond to their environment, whether internal or external, and adjust accordingly. If they didn’t, they would not survive. I agree that only design fits, [David’s bold] but every single species – which you and I believe descended from former species – has introduced new features, which means the embryo has inherited the innovations which the cell communities have newly designed (or in your theory were preprogrammed 3.8 billion years ago). Yes, an overall body plan has to exist, but it also had to be invented in the first place, as each species either adjusted to or exploited the environment. I agree that once it has been established, the process has to work more or less automatically – just as factory workers must follow given procedures (though that does not mean they are automatons) – but the process itself was first introduced by the cell communities of the preceding organism, and that could not have been automatic because it deviated from its inheritance. Divinely preprogrammed 3.8 billion years ago, the result of chance mutations, or the product of (possibly God-given) cellular intelligence?[/i][dhw’s bold]

DAVID: I note your agreement in regard to the need for design in bold above. Complex design requires complex thought. Cell committees do not fit the requirement. Your cellular theory fits only tiny modifications, not major alterations, as in whale evolution.

dhw: Yes, I agree that the complexities require design, and I disagree with your authoritative statement that cell communities are incapable of it. You don’t know that, and nor do I. It’s a theory, also promulgated by Shapiro, following on from the findings of such scientific luminaries as Margulis and McClintock, who were pioneers in the field of cellular intelligence. I ended my post with three possible explanations, now bolded. I really don’t know why you consider the first to be more credible than the third.

Shapiro and the others considered cellular intelligence to allow for minor adaptations. You are the one stretching it to major species modification. Not likely since so much advanced design is required

Evolution: the newly-found bacterial role:

by dhw, Thursday, August 15, 2019, 09:56 (363 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: I thought you were happy to dispense with the dabbling. Under “God’s divine nature”: “My thought about dabbling has always been a tentative alternative. I can easily accept the author’s viewpoint that dabbling is not required.” Which means you can easily accept that your God provided the first cells with programmes for every single life form etc., and every single solution to every problem bacteria would ever face.

DAVID: My theories have to have flexibility. Dabbling cannot be absolutely ruled out.

Ah, good to hear that your fixed beliefs are flexible, apart from those we keep discussing under “Unanswered questions”!

dhw: Yes, I agree that the complexities require design, and I disagree with your authoritative statement that cell communities are incapable of it. You don’t know that, and nor do I. It’s a theory, also promulgated by Shapiro, following on from the findings of such scientific luminaries as Margulis and McClintock, who were pioneers in the field of cellular intelligence. I ended my post with three possible explanations, now bolded. I really don’t know why you consider the first to be more credible than the third.

DAVID: Shapiro and the others considered cellular intelligence to allow for minor adaptations. You are the one stretching it to major species modification. Not likely since so much advanced design is required.

Since both Shapiro and McClintock champion(ed) the concept of cellular intelligence, how do you think Shapiro’s “natural genetic engineering” works?

Natural genetic engineering - Wikipedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_genetic_engineering

Shapiro points out that multiple cellular systems can affect DNA in response to specific environmental stimuli. These "directed" changes stand in contrast to both the undirected mutations in the modern synthesis and (in Shapiro's interpretation) the ban on information flowing from the environment into the genome.
In the 1992 Genetica paper that introduced the concept, Shapiro begins by listing three lessons from molecular genetics:
• there is a surprising amount of genetic conservation across taxonomic boundaries,
• the mosaic structure of the genome results in multiple nonlocal genes having multiple phylogenic effects, and, drawing on the work of his friend and collaborator Barbara McClintock,
• the existence of multiple cellular mechanisms (including mobile genetic elements) that can restructure DNA.
From these, Shapiro concludes:
It can be argued that much of genome change in evolution results from a genetic engineering process utilizing the biochemical systems for mobilizing and reorganizing DNA structures present in living cells.[1]

Evolution: the newly-found bacterial role:

by David Turell @, Thursday, August 15, 2019, 19:45 (363 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: I thought you were happy to dispense with the dabbling. Under “God’s divine nature”: “My thought about dabbling has always been a tentative alternative. I can easily accept the author’s viewpoint that dabbling is not required.” Which means you can easily accept that your God provided the first cells with programmes for every single life form etc., and every single solution to every problem bacteria would ever face.

DAVID: My theories have to have flexibility. Dabbling cannot be absolutely ruled out.

dhw: Ah, good to hear that your fixed beliefs are flexible, apart from those we keep discussing under “Unanswered questions”!

dhw: Yes, I agree that the complexities require design, and I disagree with your authoritative statement that cell communities are incapable of it. You don’t know that, and nor do I. It’s a theory, also promulgated by Shapiro, following on from the findings of such scientific luminaries as Margulis and McClintock, who were pioneers in the field of cellular intelligence. I ended my post with three possible explanations, now bolded. I really don’t know why you consider the first to be more credible than the third.

DAVID: Shapiro and the others considered cellular intelligence to allow for minor adaptations. You are the one stretching it to major species modification. Not likely since so much advanced design is required.

dhw; Since both Shapiro and McClintock champion(ed) the concept of cellular intelligence, how do you think Shapiro’s “natural genetic engineering” works?

Natural genetic engineering - Wikipedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_genetic_engineering

Shapiro points out that multiple cellular systems can affect DNA in response to specific environmental stimuli. These "directed" changes stand in contrast to both the undirected mutations in the modern synthesis and (in Shapiro's interpretation) the ban on information flowing from the environment into the genome.
In the 1992 Genetica paper that introduced the concept, Shapiro begins by listing three lessons from molecular genetics:
• there is a surprising amount of genetic conservation across taxonomic boundaries,
• the mosaic structure of the genome results in multiple nonlocal genes having multiple phylogenic effects, and, drawing on the work of his friend and collaborator Barbara McClintock,
• the existence of multiple cellular mechanisms (including mobile genetic elements) that can restructure DNA.
From these, Shapiro concludes:
It can be argued that much of genome change in evolution results from a genetic engineering process utilizing the biochemical systems for mobilizing and reorganizing DNA structures present in living cells.[1]

All true, but only covers small modifications in his research which is limited within bacteria and nothing more. Please note that most scientific journals do not accept quotes from Wikipedia which is notoriously slanted by biases that are entered from a multitude of uncontrolled sources. But what you presented is OK.

Evolution: the newly-found bacterial role:

by dhw, Friday, August 16, 2019, 08:40 (362 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Shapiro and the others considered cellular intelligence to allow for minor adaptations. You are the one stretching it to major species modification. Not likely since so much advanced design is required.

dhw; Since both Shapiro and McClintock champion(ed) the concept of cellular intelligence, how do you think Shapiro’s “natural genetic engineering” works?

Natural genetic engineering - Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_genetic_engineering
Shapiro points out that multiple cellular systems can affect DNA in response to specific environmental stimuli. These "directed" changes stand in contrast to both the undirected mutations in the modern synthesis and (in Shapiro's interpretation) the ban on information flowing from the environment into the genome.
In the 1992 Genetica paper that introduced the concept, Shapiro begins by listing three lessons from molecular genetics:
• there is a surprising amount of genetic conservation across taxonomic boundaries,
• the mosaic structure of the genome results in multiple nonlocal genes having multiple phylogenic effects, and, drawing on the work of his friend and collaborator Barbara McClintock,
• the existence of multiple cellular mechanisms (including mobile genetic elements) that can restructure DNA.
From these, Shapiro concludes:
It can be argued that much of genome change in evolution results from a genetic engineering process utilizing the biochemical systems for mobilizing and reorganizing DNA structures present in living cells.[1]

DAVID: All true, but only covers small modifications in his research which is limited within bacteria and nothing more. Please note that most scientific journals do not accept quotes from Wikipedia which is notoriously slanted by biases that are entered from a multitude of uncontrolled sources. But what you presented is OK.

His theory is not confined to small modifications! Same source:
"Natural genetic engineering (NGE) is a class of process proposed by molecular biologist James Shapiro to account for novelty created in the course of biological evolution."

Novelty, not small modifications. But of course it’s an unproven theory – just as your divine preprogramming and dabbling is an unproven theory. You refuse to consider it, though, because it conflicts with your fixed belief.

Evolution: the newly-found bacterial role:

by David Turell @, Friday, August 16, 2019, 18:45 (362 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Shapiro and the others considered cellular intelligence to allow for minor adaptations. You are the one stretching it to major species modification. Not likely since so much advanced design is required.

dhw; Since both Shapiro and McClintock champion(ed) the concept of cellular intelligence, how do you think Shapiro’s “natural genetic engineering” works?

Natural genetic engineering - Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_genetic_engineering
Shapiro points out that multiple cellular systems can affect DNA in response to specific environmental stimuli. These "directed" changes stand in contrast to both the undirected mutations in the modern synthesis and (in Shapiro's interpretation) the ban on information flowing from the environment into the genome.
In the 1992 Genetica paper that introduced the concept, Shapiro begins by listing three lessons from molecular genetics:
• there is a surprising amount of genetic conservation across taxonomic boundaries,
• the mosaic structure of the genome results in multiple nonlocal genes having multiple phylogenic effects, and, drawing on the work of his friend and collaborator Barbara McClintock,
• the existence of multiple cellular mechanisms (including mobile genetic elements) that can restructure DNA.
From these, Shapiro concludes:
It can be argued that much of genome change in evolution results from a genetic engineering process utilizing the biochemical systems for mobilizing and reorganizing DNA structures present in living cells.[1]

DAVID: All true, but only covers small modifications in his research which is limited within bacteria and nothing more. Please note that most scientific journals do not accept quotes from Wikipedia which is notoriously slanted by biases that are entered from a multitude of uncontrolled sources. But what you presented is OK.

dhw: His theory is not confined to small modifications! Same source:
"Natural genetic engineering (NGE) is a class of process proposed by molecular biologist James Shapiro to account for novelty created in the course of biological evolution."

All based on bacterial studies and therefore an unproven extrapolation. I've read the book.


dhw: Novelty, not small modifications. But of course it’s an unproven theory – just as your divine preprogramming and dabbling is an unproven theory. You refuse to consider it, though, because it conflicts with your fixed belief.

You are unfixed and I am fixed. That is why we debate.

Evolution: the newly-found bacterial role:

by dhw, Saturday, August 17, 2019, 11:07 (361 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: All true, but only covers small modifications in his research which is limited within bacteria and nothing more. Please note that most scientific journals do not accept quotes from Wikipedia which is notoriously slanted by biases that are entered from a multitude of uncontrolled sources. But what you presented is OK.

dhw: His [Shapiro’s] theory is not confined to small modifications! Same source:
"Natural genetic engineering (NGE) is a class of process proposed by molecular biologist James Shapiro to account for novelty created in the course of biological evolution."

DAVID: All based on bacterial studies and therefore an unproven extrapolation. I've read the book.

Then you should have known that his theory was not confined to “small modifications” but to novelty, which is what enables evolution to progress. And I keep acknowledging, as below, that ALL the theories are unproven, including your own. If they were proven, they would be facts.

dhw: Novelty, not small modifications. But of course it’s an unproven theory – just as your divine preprogramming and dabbling is an unproven theory. You refuse to consider it, though, because it conflicts with your fixed belief.

DAVID: You are unfixed and I am fixed. That is why we debate.

On that we can agree!:-)

Evolution: the newly-found bacterial role:

by David Turell @, Saturday, August 17, 2019, 19:07 (361 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: All true, but only covers small modifications in his research which is limited within bacteria and nothing more. Please note that most scientific journals do not accept quotes from Wikipedia which is notoriously slanted by biases that are entered from a multitude of uncontrolled sources. But what you presented is OK.

dhw: His [Shapiro’s] theory is not confined to small modifications! Same source:
"Natural genetic engineering (NGE) is a class of process proposed by molecular biologist James Shapiro to account for novelty created in the course of biological evolution."

DAVID: All based on bacterial studies and therefore an unproven extrapolation. I've read the book.

dhw: Then you should have known that his theory was not confined to “small modifications” but to novelty, which is what enables evolution to progress. And I keep acknowledging, as below, that ALL the theories are unproven, including your own. If they were proven, they would be facts.

dhw: Novelty, not small modifications. But of course it’s an unproven theory – just as your divine preprogramming and dabbling is an unproven theory. You refuse to consider it, though, because it conflicts with your fixed belief.

DAVID: You are unfixed and I am fixed. That is why we debate.

dhw: On that we can agree!:-)

So the debate will continue :-|

Evolution: the newly-found bacterial gut role:

by David Turell @, Wednesday, October 30, 2019, 22:01 (286 days ago) @ David Turell

Each person has his own biome in his gut:

https://phys.org/news/2019-10-survive-human-gut-bacteria-genetic.html

"Bacteria living in people's intestines pump out toxins to deter microbial intruders. But each person's gut comes with its own set of toxins—an individualized "passcode" microbes must solve to survive, scientists report October 30, 2019, in the journal Nature.

"The findings suggest that there's not a one-size-fits-all approach to probiotics or live biotherapeutics, the microbial supplements that promote the growth of healthy bacteria, says study coauthor Joseph Mougous, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Investigator

***

{"The human gut is rife with bacteria. Feces contains about 100 billion bacterial cells per gram, and gut bacteria outnumber human cells 10 to 1. These microbes, collectively called the gut microbiome, take on all sorts of maintenance-type work, Mougous says. They digest food, keep the gut's surface intact, provide vitamins, and kick bad bacteria out. "The gut microbiome is very important for human health—that much we certainly know," he says.

"Over the last decade, Mougous's team has worked out the details of a bacterial defense mechanism called the type VI secretion system. It's like a molecular syringe that slams toxins into neighboring cells. The toxins break down cell walls, cleave membranes, and chew up cells' energy source. "They're pretty insidious," he says.

"Bacteria use immunity genes to neutralize these toxins and protect themselves. Invaders that lack the right genes get booted from the gut. Mougous's team had thought that toxin and immunity genes came together in pairs, like a lock and key. But an analysis of data from more than 1,000 human fecal samples revealed something surprising.

"Immunity genes from the gut bacteria Bacteroides fragilis vastly outnumbered toxin genes. All those extra immunity genes, the team discovered, actually belonged to other bacteria. Those bacteria had stolen B. fragilis's genes to protect themselves from its toxins. That means the genes must be crucial for bacteria to survive in the gut, Mougous says—something scientists hadn't known before.

"Mougous's team, including microbiologist Benjamin Ross, worked with UW's Elhanan Borenstein on the genomic analysis. Borenstein has since moved to Tel Aviv University, and Ross is now at Dartmouth College. "This collaboration was a lot of fun because it took both of our groups into new areas," Mougous says.

"Experiments in the lab showed that the immunity genes cluster together on stretches of DNA that can jump from bacterial strain to bacterial strain. In lab dishes and in living mice, bacteria given these genes immediately became resistant to B. fragilis's toxins.

"What's more, human fecal samples had unique combinations of toxin and immunity genes, the team found. "So what it takes to survive in one person's microbiome might not be the same in another person's microbiome," Mougous says."

Comment: Bacteria have been around ever since life started. Previous articles and this one show the important roles they still play. Start life and continue to help it.

Evolution: the newly-found bacterial role:

by David Turell @, Tuesday, May 12, 2020, 18:56 (92 days ago) @ David Turell

They are here to stimulate the immune system, when it is not being stimulated, keeping it on the ready:

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-05-microbiome-immune.html

"Working alongside colleagues in Mainz, Bern, Hannover and Bonn, researchers ... were able to show how the microbiome helps to render the immune system capable of responding to pathogens. If microbiome-derived signals are absent, relevant mediators are not released, resulting in a failure to activate metabolic processes in certain immune cells. According to the researchers' report, which has been published in Cell, this leaves the relevant cells without the necessary fuel to mount an immune response.

***

"Presence of an infection triggers the body's immune response. A key role in this process is played by conventional dendritic cells (CDCs). These form part of the body's innate immune system and carry a range of pattern recognition receptors that enable them to detect invading pathogens quickly. The cells' initial response involves the release of cytokines, signaling proteins that attract immune cells to the site of infection. At the same time, these cells also use phagocytosis to engulf and digest invasive pathogens, after which they present individual particles as antigens on their cell surface. This, in turn, leads to the activation of T cells, which form part of the adaptive immune system, and results in a targeted immune response. In contrast, when T cell activation is triggered by CDCs presenting endogenous antigens, it leads to a faulty and undesirable immune response and results in autoimmune diseases.

"The team of researchers led by Prof. Diefenbach found that CDCs are incapable of triggering immune responses in sterile conditions (i.e., in germ-free mice). The researchers concluded that CDCs must receive information while the cell is in its basal state, which is characterized by the absence of infection, and that this information must derive from the microbiome. These microbiome-derived signals prime CDCs for a future response against pathogens.

"'We want to understand the nature of the microbiome's continuous effects on CDC function," says Prof. Diefenbach. "In this study, we were able to show that in their basal state, these specialist immune cells are subject to the uninterrupted microbiome-controlled signaling of type I interferons (IFN-I)."

"Interferons are cytokines, special signaling molecules known to play a role in antiviral activity. "Until now, we had known only little about the role of IFN-I in the basal state. CDCs that do not receive this IFN-I signaling during the basal state cannot fulfill the physiological functions they perform as part of the body's fight against pathogens," says the microbiologist. Study results suggest that the microbiome controls the immune system's fitness. It exerts this control by bringing the immune system to a state of 'readiness' in order to speed up its response to pathogens.

***

"Describing the researchers' observations, the study's first author, Laura Schaupp, says, "Interestingly, when we looked at CDCs from germ-free animals and those without IFN-I signaling, we were able to observe low levels of expression among genes involved in the mitochondrial respiratory chain. Further analyses revealed that the cellular metabolism of CDCs from germ-free animals is dysfunctional, making them unable to initiate an immune response. The cells effectively lack the fuel needed to respond to pathogens." This suggests that the microbiome is of crucial importance to the functioning of CDCs. It appears essential to the ability of CDCs to mount an effective response to bacterial or viral infections, including responses mediated by T cells."

Comment: We see an other reason why bacteria were at the start and are still here to manage readiness for immune systems, even when they are idle without a challenge. Looks like a great plan to me.

Evolution: ribosomes flexible, ancient

by David Turell @, Saturday, November 17, 2018, 19:10 (634 days ago) @ David Turell

By cut and past this study altered ribosomes radically and they still worked with the conclusion they were very flexible at the start of life:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/11/181112095934.htm

"This experiment had a good chance of crashing. Instead, it delivered whopping evidence to corroborate the earliest evolution of the translational system, the mechanisms which make life out of our genes. The study swapped out all its magnesium, tabula rasa, and showed that the system, centering on the ribosome, would have thrived basically as it is today 4 billion years ago at the earliest foundations of life on Earth.

***

"In the system inside cells that translates genetic code into life, he replaced about 1,000 essential linchpins with primitive substitutes to see if the translational system would survive and function. It seemed impossible, yet it worked swimmingly, and Bray had compelling evidence that the great builder of proteins was active in the harsh conditions in which it evolved 4 billion years ago.

"The experiment's success reaffirmed the translational system's place at the earliest foundations of life on Earth.

"Every living thing exists because the translational system receives messages from DNA delivered to it by RNA and translates the messages into proteins. The system centers on a cellular machine called the ribosome, which is made of multiple large molecules of RNA and protein and is ubiquitous in life as we know it.

***

"In today's ribosome, and in the whole translational system, they are magnesium ions, and Bray's experiment replaced them all with iron ions and manganese ions, which were overabundant on primordial Earth. Williams and Jennifer Glass, the principal investigators in the new study, also had their doubts this was doable.

"I thought, 'It's not going to work, but we might as well try the moonshot'," said Williams who has led similar work before but on simpler molecules. "The fact that swapping out all the magnesium in the translational system actually worked was mind-boggling."

"That's because in living systems today, magnesium helps shape ribosomes by holding them together. Magnesium is also needed for some 20 additional enzymes of the translational system. It's one reason why dietary magnesium (Mg) is so important.

"The number of different things magnesium does in the ribosome and in the translational system is just enormous," said Williams. "There are so many types of catalytic activities in translation, and magnesium is involved in almost all of them."

***

"Bray incubated ribosomes in the presence of magnesium, iron, or manganese inside a special chamber with an artificial atmosphere devoid of oxygen, like the Earth four billion years ago.

"He found that the magnesium replacement went far beyond atoms in the ribosome.
"Surrounding the ribosome is also a huge cloud of magnesium atoms. It's called an atmosphere, or shell, and engulfs it completely. I replaced everything, including that, and the whole system still worked."

"Eons down the road, the evolution of the translational system in the presence of magnesium may have given it an adaptive advantage. As oxygen levels on Earth rose, binding up free manganese and iron, and making them less available to biology, magnesium probably comfortably assumed the thousands of roles it occupies in the translational system today.

Comment: This theoretical conclusion from this study supports the concept of initial design which was flexible enough to use what metals were available at different points in the Earth's evolution

Evolution: very early whale with useful legs

by David Turell @, Thursday, April 04, 2019, 22:34 (495 days ago) @ dhw

Found in Peru and dates from 43 million years ago:

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2198740-amazing-four-legged-fossil-shows-how-walki...

"A fossil of a 43-million-year-old whale that was still able to walk on land on four legs has been found in Peru. It is the first amphibious whale found in the southern hemisphere, and suggests that whales managed to swim across the South Atlantic early in their evolution.

"The 3-metre-long animal looked a bit like an otter or a beaver, with four legs and a large tail for swimming.

“'It was still capable of bearing its weight on its limbs,” says Olivier Lambert at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, a member of the team that made the discovery. “It was intermediate between fully walking and fully aquatic.”

"Whales started evolving in South Asia around 50 million years ago, from a dog-like creature related to deer and hippos. As they became more aquatic, these early whales began spreading along coasts.

"Fossils of semi-aquatic whales have recently been found in West Africa. The latest discovery suggests that these early whales managed to swim from there to South America at least 43 million years ago.

"At the time, the West African coast was just 1200 kilometres from what is now Brazil, and there was a westward current. But it would still have taken a week or two to make the crossing. That may suggest that these whales were already capable of surviving without fresh water, and of sleeping at sea.

"They soon reached North America too, where fossil teeth dating to around 41 million years ago have been found.

"'The last common ancestor of all modern whales and dolphins lived 37 million years ago, so the new discovery may be one of the ancestors of modern whales. However, it is far more likely to be a cousin – a member of a side branch that died off," says Lambert."

Comment: Being able to handle both terrestrial and aqueous life gave it access to both styles of living as predators. I still want to know why they became totally aquatic with all the attendant physiological adaptations that were required to be solved.

Evolution: very early whale with useful legs

by dhw, Friday, April 05, 2019, 09:52 (495 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Being able to handle both terrestrial and aqueous life gave it access to both styles of living as predators. I still want to know why they became totally aquatic with all the attendant physiological adaptations that were required to be solved.

Yet another link in the whale chain. May I suggest that over the course of time, the whale’s ancestors found life at sea to be more productive than life on land, and consequently the cell communities that form legs restructured themselves to form flippers, which are better adapted to life in the water. All the other changes would have taken place in the same way and for the same reason. Too obvious? I find this considerably more convincing than the theory that your God changed legs into flippers before pre-whales entered the water, and I would also like to know why he left these particular pre-whales with legs but gave them a tail.

Thank you for all the other articles. I don’t feel that there is any need for me to comment, other than to register my appreciation for this ongoing education.

Evolution: very early whale with useful legs

by David Turell @, Friday, April 05, 2019, 15:06 (495 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Being able to handle both terrestrial and aqueous life gave it access to both styles of living as predators. I still want to know why they became totally aquatic with all the attendant physiological adaptations that were required to be solved.

dhw: Yet another link in the whale chain. May I suggest that over the course of time, the whale’s ancestors found life at sea to be more productive than life on land, and consequently the cell communities that form legs restructured themselves to form flippers, which are better adapted to life in the water. All the other changes would have taken place in the same way and for the same reason. Too obvious? I find this considerably more convincing than the theory that your God changed legs into flippers before pre-whales entered the water, and I would also like to know why he left these particular pre-whales with legs but gave them a tail.

Thank you for all the other articles. I don’t feel that there is any need for me to comment, other than to register my appreciation for this ongoing education.

Yes, it is a fascinating transitional form, but never answers my eternal question: Why bother with all the attendant physiological changes required to be invented or designed.

Evolution: whale adaptive losses and changes

by David Turell @, Friday, September 27, 2019, 00:27 (320 days ago) @ David Turell

It is quite a list:

https://cosmosmagazine.com/biology/why-don-t-whales-have-saliva?utm_source=Cosmos+-+Mas...

On land, hair is often a necessary part of an organism’s heat regulation strategy, but in water it can cause drag, leading to inefficient swimming and all that comes with it, such as poor predator avoidance. In this case, the loss of genes producing keratin actually helped to adapt to the new environment.

In this study, the scientists discovered 85 genes that had been deactivated by mutations in both extant cetacean clades; odontocetes (toothed whales) and mysticetes (baleen whales).

***

Of the 85 genes identified, 62 have never been reported and the researchers have identified eight genes specifically that are likely to have been involved in the adaptation of the stem lineage to a fully aquatic lifestyle. These are implicated in a wide range of traits, from sleep to saliva.

Two of the lost genes, called F12 and KLKB1, were associated with blood coagulation. While these are vital on land, in the water they could lead to dangerous clotting inside the blood vessels, known as thrombosis.

F12, for example, causes clotting when it encounters foreign surfaces in the body. Losing this gene may have been beneficial for cetaceans because “nitrogen microbubbles, which readily form in the blood upon repeated breath-hold diving, may act as foreign F12-activating surfaces entailing harmful thrombus formation.”

Other lost genes help to reduce the chance of genetic mutation caused by DNA repair mechanisms working to rectify damage done by the high oxygen levels in the blood necessary for deep diving.

Loss of the genes MAP3K19 and SEC14L3 might help prevent scarring and the resulting loss of elasticity in cetacean lungs which, unlike humans and other terrestrial mammals, collapse during deep diving and explosively expand upon resurfacing. This elasticity helps cetaceans to renew 90% of the air in their lungs in a single breath.

The gene SLC4A9 is partly responsible for the production of saliva in terrestrial mammals, but your average dolphin or whale has little need of spittle which is why it has been lost in cetaceans.

Saliva helps to lubricate the mouth, break down starch and facilitate taste, all of which are less important in an aquatic environment. Who needs oral lubrication when your meal comes with a mouthful of seawater?

Beyond that, write the authors “the hyperosmotic marine environment necessitates strict housekeeping of freshwater resources in marine species; thus, freshwater loss via saliva secretion may be detrimental.”

Cetacean ancestors, as mammals who need air to breathe, also faced issues with regards to the mammalian sleep cycle. Just as humans tend to avoid napping face-down in puddles, cetaceans can’t just fall asleep in the ocean.

So the creatures of the cetacean stem lineage had to find a way to balance the need for sleep with the restriction of their new aquatic environment. As a result, they have a unique adaptation called ‘unihemispheric sleep’, which “allows one brain hemisphere to sleep while the awake hemisphere coordinates movement for surfacing.”

This adaptation was facilitated by the loss of several genes involved in the production and reception of the sleep hormone melatonin. This helped to “decouple sleep-wake patterns from daytime,” which, argue the researchers, “may have been a precondition to adopt unihemispheric sleep as the exclusive sleep pattern.” (my bold)

Comment: Interesting complex changes, and one can imagine some of these adaptations while learning to become aquatic, but note my bold. How does a whale learn to sleep with half a brain active while living in the water, without drowning during the process of adaptation? For me god prepared them.

Evolution: whale adaptive losses and changes

by dhw, Friday, September 27, 2019, 18:40 (320 days ago) @ David Turell

QUOTE: “So the creatures of the cetacean stem lineage had to find a way to balance the need for sleep with the restriction of their new aquatic environment. As a result, they have a unique adaptation called ‘unihemispheric sleep’, which “allows one brain hemisphere to sleep while the awake hemisphere coordinates movement for surfacing.”
This adaptation was facilitated by the loss of several genes involved in the production and reception of the sleep hormone melatonin. This helped to “decouple sleep-wake patterns from daytime,” which, argue the researchers, “may have been a precondition to adopt unihemispheric sleep as the exclusive sleep pattern.
[/b]” (DAVID’s bold)

DAVID: Interesting complex changes, and one can imagine some of these adaptations while learning to become aquatic, but note my bold. How does a whale learn to sleep with half a brain active while living in the water, without drowning during the process of adaptation? For me god prepared them.

Nobody knows, but I suggest that, as with every other adaptation, the cells worked out a solution to improve performance or to cope with new conditions. It’s not beyond the scope of reason that initially some whales did drown if they strayed too far away from land, and others swam till they found dry land to sleep on. Loss of melatonin would then be the result of training the body to do without sleep for long periods. But the eventual half and half compromise would be the solution that worked best and hence survived by natural selection. Certainly no more fanciful than your God preprogramming the first cells with the whole history of whale stages, bacteria solutions, monarch butterfly migration, weaverbird nesting etc., all to cover the time he’d decided to wait before pursuing his one and only goal!

Evolution: whale adaptive losses and changes

by David Turell @, Friday, September 27, 2019, 22:50 (319 days ago) @ dhw

QUOTE: “So the creatures of the cetacean stem lineage had to find a way to balance the need for sleep with the restriction of their new aquatic environment. As a result, they have a unique adaptation called ‘unihemispheric sleep’, which “allows one brain hemisphere to sleep while the awake hemisphere coordinates movement for surfacing.”
This adaptation was facilitated by the loss of several genes involved in the production and reception of the sleep hormone melatonin. This helped to “decouple sleep-wake patterns from daytime,” which, argue the researchers, “may have been a precondition to adopt unihemispheric sleep as the exclusive sleep pattern.
[/b]” (DAVID’s bold)

DAVID: Interesting complex changes, and one can imagine some of these adaptations while learning to become aquatic, but note my bold. How does a whale learn to sleep with half a brain active while living in the water, without drowning during the process of adaptation? For me God prepared them.

dhw: Nobody knows, but I suggest that, as with every other adaptation, the cells worked out a solution to improve performance or to cope with new conditions. It’s not beyond the scope of reason that initially some whales did drown if they strayed too far away from land, and others swam till they found dry land to sleep on. Loss of melatonin would then be the result of training the body to do without sleep for long periods. But the eventual half and half compromise would be the solution that worked best and hence survived by natural selection. Certainly no more fanciful than your God preprogramming the first cells with the whole history of whale stages, bacteria solutions, monarch butterfly migration, weaverbird nesting etc., all to cover the time he’d decided to wait before pursuing his one and only goal!

Your explanation tells us some just-so stories. Finding dry land does not explain what God must have programmed. How did whales tell melatonin to go away? Same issue: why bother with whales in the first place? Answer, because they are a major part of of the ecosystem of the ocean

Evolution: whale adaptive losses and changes

by dhw, Saturday, September 28, 2019, 10:58 (319 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Interesting complex changes, and one can imagine some of these adaptations while learning to become aquatic, but note my bold. How does a whale learn to sleep with half a brain active while living in the water, without drowning during the process of adaptation? For me God prepared them.

dhw: Nobody knows, but I suggest that, as with every other adaptation, the cells worked out a solution to improve performance or to cope with new conditions. It’s not beyond the scope of reason that initially some whales did drown if they strayed too far away from land, and others swam till they found dry land to sleep on. Loss of melatonin would then be the result of training the body to do without sleep for long periods. But the eventual half and half compromise would be the solution that worked best and hence survived by natural selection. Certainly no more fanciful than your God preprogramming the first cells with the whole history of whale stages, bacteria solutions, monarch butterfly migration, weaverbird nesting etc., all to cover the time he’d decided to wait before pursuing his one and only goal!

DAVID: Your explanation tells us some just-so stories. Finding dry land does not explain what God must have programmed.

That is your “just-so story”, and I don’t know where you get your “must have” from! In any case, why is it “just-so” that initially some whales would have drowned but others could have found a place to sleep?

DAVID: How did whales tell melatonin to go away?

They didn’t. It went away of its own accord when its sleep-inducing properties were no longer effective or needed, just as the flipper would have lost its legginess, and the toothless whale would have lost its teeth.

DAVID: Same issue: why bother with whales in the first place? Answer, because they are a major part of the ecosystem of the ocean.

Every organism plays/played a part in every ecosystem extant and extinct. The question is why your God bothered if the only species he wanted was H. sapiens. But of course that is “explained” by your God’s inexplicable decision not to design the only species he wanted for 3.X billion years, and therefore having or needing to invent all sorts of organisms to eat or be eaten by one another in order to “cover the time”.

Evolution: whale adaptive losses and changes

by David Turell @, Saturday, September 28, 2019, 18:30 (319 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Interesting complex changes, and one can imagine some of these adaptations while learning to become aquatic, but note my bold. How does a whale learn to sleep with half a brain active while living in the water, without drowning during the process of adaptation? For me God prepared them.

dhw: Nobody knows, but I suggest that, as with every other adaptation, the cells worked out a solution to improve performance or to cope with new conditions. It’s not beyond the scope of reason that initially some whales did drown if they strayed too far away from land, and others swam till they found dry land to sleep on. Loss of melatonin would then be the result of training the body to do without sleep for long periods. But the eventual half and half compromise would be the solution that worked best and hence survived by natural selection. Certainly no more fanciful than your God preprogramming the first cells with the whole history of whale stages, bacteria solutions, monarch butterfly migration, weaverbird nesting etc., all to cover the time he’d decided to wait before pursuing his one and only goal!

DAVID: Your explanation tells us some just-so stories. Finding dry land does not explain what God must have programmed.

dhw: That is your “just-so story”, and I don’t know where you get your “must have” from! In any case, why is it “just-so” that initially some whales would have drowned but others could have found a place to sleep?

The point is not finding a place to sleep! It is how do you learn to sleep while in a total water environment? The result is half a brain asleep, no melatonin, and still take a breath now and then. For me it is designed from the beginning. logically, it cannot be learned as a gradual adaptation.


DAVID: How did whales tell melatonin to go away?

dhw: They didn’t. It went away of its own accord when its sleep-inducing properties were no longer effective or needed, just as the flipper would have lost its legginess, and the toothless whale would have lost its teeth.

Your faith in gradual adaptations is amazing.


DAVID: Same issue: why bother with whales in the first place? Answer, because they are a major part of the ecosystem of the ocean.

dhw: Every organism plays/played a part in every ecosystem extant and extinct. The question is why your God bothered if the only species he wanted was H. sapiens. But of course that is “explained” by your God’s inexplicable decision not to design the only species he wanted for 3.X billion years, and therefore having or needing to invent all sorts of organisms to eat or be eaten by one another in order to “cover the time”.

You try to make God logical to fit your human thinking, It doesn't work.

Evolution: whale adaptive losses and changes

by dhw, Sunday, September 29, 2019, 08:43 (318 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Interesting complex changes, and one can imagine some of these adaptations while learning to become aquatic, but note my bold. How does a whale learn to sleep with half a brain active while living in the water, without drowning during the process of adaptation? For me God prepared them.

dhw: Nobody knows, but I suggest that, as with every other adaptation, the cells worked out a solution to improve performance or to cope with new conditions. It’s not beyond the scope of reason that initially some whales did drown if they strayed too far away from land, and others swam till they found dry land to sleep on. Loss of melatonin would then be the result of training the body to do without sleep for long periods. But the eventual half and half compromise would be the solution that worked best and hence survived by natural selection. Certainly no more fanciful than your God preprogramming the first cells with the whole history of whale stages, bacteria solutions, monarch butterfly migration, weaverbird nesting etc., all to cover the time he’d decided to wait before pursuing his one and only goal!

DAVID: Your explanation tells us some just-so stories. Finding dry land does not explain what God must have programmed.

dhw: That is your “just-so story”, and I don’t know where you get your “must have” from! In any case, why is it “just-so” that initially some whales would have drowned but others could have found a place to sleep?

DAVID:The point is not finding a place to sleep! It is how do you learn to sleep while in a total water environment? The result is half a brain asleep, no melatonin, and still take a breath now and then. For me it is designed from the beginning. logically, it cannot be learned as a gradual adaptation.

One moment you have your God taking 2O million years to develop sapiens’ vertebrae because it had to be done step by step, and the next you have him either coming down from heaven and literally overnight changing every sleepy pre-whale into a half-sleepy whale, or he provided the first cells with a programme to accomplish the same operation. And this was done because he had to cover the time he had decided to take before designing H. sapiens bit by bit. No wonder you have come up with the following conclusion:

DAVID: You try to make God logical to fit your human thinking, It doesn't work.

Correction: you try to make God illogical to fit your fixed belief in his purpose and method of achieving that purpose. So be it, but please don’t tell us that your theory is logical because it fits in with God’s illogicality!

Evolution: whale adaptive losses and changes

by David Turell @, Sunday, September 29, 2019, 19:43 (318 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Interesting complex changes, and one can imagine some of these adaptations while learning to become aquatic, but note my bold. How does a whale learn to sleep with half a brain active while living in the water, without drowning during the process of adaptation? For me God prepared them.

dhw: Nobody knows, but I suggest that, as with every other adaptation, the cells worked out a solution to improve performance or to cope with new conditions. It’s not beyond the scope of reason that initially some whales did drown if they strayed too far away from land, and others swam till they found dry land to sleep on. Loss of melatonin would then be the result of training the body to do without sleep for long periods. But the eventual half and half compromise would be the solution that worked best and hence survived by natural selection. Certainly no more fanciful than your God preprogramming the first cells with the whole history of whale stages, bacteria solutions, monarch butterfly migration, weaverbird nesting etc., all to cover the time he’d decided to wait before pursuing his one and only goal!

DAVID: Your explanation tells us some just-so stories. Finding dry land does not explain what God must have programmed.

dhw: That is your “just-so story”, and I don’t know where you get your “must have” from! In any case, why is it “just-so” that initially some whales would have drowned but others could have found a place to sleep?

DAVID:The point is not finding a place to sleep! It is how do you learn to sleep while in a total water environment? The result is half a brain asleep, no melatonin, and still take a breath now and then. For me it is designed from the beginning. logically, it cannot be learned as a gradual adaptation.

dhw: One moment you have your God taking 2O million years to develop sapiens’ vertebrae because it had to be done step by step, and the next you have him either coming down from heaven and literally overnight changing every sleepy pre-whale into a half-sleepy whale, or he provided the first cells with a programme to accomplish the same operation. And this was done because he had to cover the time he had decided to take before designing H. sapiens bit by bit. No wonder you have come up with the following conclusion:

DAVID: You try to make God logical to fit your human thinking, It doesn't work.

dhw: Correction: you try to make God illogical to fit your fixed belief in his purpose and method of achieving that purpose. So be it, but please don’t tell us that your theory is logical because it fits in with God’s illogicality!

God is not illogical. As the Creator, He does what He wants, making big or small steps, and we see the results in the history, which we then can try to interpret.

Evolution: whale echolocation ability

by David Turell @, Friday, November 01, 2019, 21:19 (284 days ago) @ David Turell

It is puffs of air, not causing much energy:

https://phys.org/news/2019-11-echolocation-cheap-deep-diving-whales.html

"Many whales and dolphins, including the champion deep-diving beaked whales, use echolocation, the ability to locate objects by reflected sound, to find food in the dark of the deep ocean. Scientists have not been able to agree on how much energy this remarkable sensing ability takes, until now.

***

"In a throwback to terrestrial ancestors, whales use air to make their intense echolocation click sounds and this raises a problem for deep divers. Air compresses with depth so that at 700m deep, where pilot whales hunt, a lung-full of air has shrunk to 1.5% of its volume. But the new study shows that pilot whales use tiny amounts of air to make each click so this volume goes a long way. Even so, whales need to capture the air used by each click and recycle it, like a SCUBA rebreather, to be able to echolocate throughout their dives.

***

"To rise to this challenge, the international team attached miniature computers to whales with suction cups to record the close-in sound of the echolocation clicks.

"Dr. Mark Johnson, a researcher at the Sea Mammal Research Unit at the University of St Andrews, commented: "There was a eureka moment when we realized that the sound of each click changes gradually as whales echolocate depending on how much air is used."

"Professor Peter Madsen from the Department of Bioscience at Aarhus University added: "This meant that we could measure for the first time just how little air whales use to make each click. Even though these whales can detect prey at tens or even hundreds of meters, the small air volumes mean that echolocation doesn't take much energy."

"To study deep-diving pilot whales, the team went to Tenerife in the Canary Islands. Dr. Natacha Aguilar de Soto of the University of La Laguna, a co-author on the paper, said: "This study gives us a glimpse of the incredible evolutionary developments that allow pilot whales to hunt efficiently in the dark. But their reliance on sound makes them vulnerable to the noise from boats that we are adding to the ocean.'"

Comment: A very clever adaptation using land-based air breathing. Note the illustrated mechanism diagram. Another complex adaptation which makes me wonder, why bother to enter the water.

Evolution: blue whale adaptive cardiac changes

by David Turell @, Tuesday, November 26, 2019, 01:52 (260 days ago) @ David Turell

It is well known from previous whale studies that the bigger whales have slower heart beats. I learned this while still a fellow in cardiology. Thsi study about a blue whale illustrates another of the intense complications a whale designer has to overcome:

https://cosmosmagazine.com/biology/scientists-record-a-blue-whale-s-heartbeat?utm_sourc...


"Scientists have recorded the heart rate of a blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) in the wild and found considerable extremes in how fast it beats.

"When the whale dove for food, its heart rate dropped as low as two beats per minute, but back at the water’s surface it sped up to nearly 40.

"This suggests it is working at its limit, write Jeremy Goldbogen, from Stanford University,

***

"And it could explain why the world’s largest animal – with a heart weighing as much as a car – doesn’t get any bigger. Its heart wouldn’t be able to sustain higher energy needs.

"Body size is intimately related to physiological functions, an observation known as allometry.

"The quest to understand this has led researchers like Goldbogen and colleagues to explore the limits of body mass.

“From the smallest shrews to the largest whales, physiological performance at the extremes may shed light on constraints to body size,” they write.

***

"Once they managed to decipher the data, the researchers found the lowest rate averaged four to eight beats per minute, up to 50% lower than predicted. The upper rate averaged 25 to 37 beats, nearly outpacing predictions.

"When blue whales dive for krill, their main food source, their heart slows down to lower the rate of oxygen store depletion as well as its own oxygen needs.

"Goldbogen and colleagues found that the extremely low rate at the bottom of the dive increased by 2.5-fold as the whale powerfully ascended in a feeding lunge, then gradually decreased while it glided to filter the water out from the catch.

"It rose to near maximum capacity when the whale resurfaced to replenish its oxygen stores.
The researchers think this explains why the whale’s heart has a high yielding, stretchy aortic arch, to accommodate blood pumped out by the heart and keep it flowing between beats."

Comment: This is a huge whale. So a huge heart is required. But the circulatory changes in heart rate are vital to this animal's life style. Note the amazingly different aortic arch construction. What is also amazing is that they grew to this size from smaller whales to become the largest animal ever on the planet. Since there are eight to nine stages in whale development from land animals, how did this happen? Those eight to nine stages are fossil gaps. Each larger size required more and more cardiac and circulatory changes. We know humans can adapt to a small degree to deep diving. I presented studies here. Only design can do this. By the way the article notes heart rate is related to body size. A hummingbird's heart can reach 1,000 per minute!

Evolution: new transitional whale

by David Turell @, Thursday, December 12, 2019, 15:13 (244 days ago) @ dhw

There were transitional changes in the spine/hip area:

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/ancient-whale-fossil-helps-detail-how-mam...

"Whales don’t swim like fish do. Instead of moving their tales side-to-side like a shark or a sunfish, the marine mammals pump their tails up-and-down to propel themselves forward. But over 50 million years ago, the earliest whales had legs and could walk on land. Adapting to life in the sea required a new way of moving, and a fossil uncovered in Egypt helps estimate the time when whales became primarily tail-powered swimmers.

***

"All told, the paleontologists uncovered almost the entire spine, part of the skull, and pieces of the arms and legs. “It was very clear from the shape and the size of the vertebrae and appendages that this whale is new in this area,” Zalmout says. Further study indicated that the mammal was a species not seen anywhere else in the world.

"Named Aegicetus gehennae, the ancient swimmer stands out from others found in Wadi Al-Hitan, which fall into one of two groups. Some earlier whales could swim with a combination of paddling limbs and undulating their spines, not unlike otters. Other whales, like Basilosaurus, lived in the sea full time and swam with tails only. Aegicetus fits between the two, representing a moment when whales were just switching to exclusively tail-driven locomotion.

***

"The key feature in this fossil, Zalmout and co-authors point out, is the relationship between the hips and the spine. The earliest whales had hips attached to the spine, just like any terrestrial mammal. This configuration helped the hind limbs support the animal’s weight on land. But in Aegicetus and other whales that came later, the hips are decoupled from the spine and suspended by the flesh of the body. The tight fusion of vertebrae at the hip-spine connection—called the sacrum—also became unfused and more flexible. These whales could no longer paddle with their legs and relied more on undulating their spines to move through the water. The shift indicates two things: that these whales were spending most, if not all, of their time in the water where weight-supporting legs weren’t needed, and that these beasts swam by principally using their tails.

"Not that Aegicetus was much like a modern orca or sperm whale. The fossil whale, which weighed almost a ton (or about a sixth the weight of the biggest orcas), still had jaws set with different types of teeth instead of the simple cones of today’s dolphins. Nor did Aegicetus swim just like its living relatives."

Comment: Another partial step as whales adapted more fully to living in water, which required an enormous number of physical and physiological changes.

Evolution: food supply limits whale size

by David Turell @, Thursday, December 12, 2019, 20:08 (243 days ago) @ David Turell

It seems to depend on being able to eat enough:

https://phys.org/news/2019-12-limits-ocean-heavyweights-prey-curb.html

"'Blue whales and sperm whales are not just kind of big," said Nicholas Pyenson, curator of fossil marine mammals at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History. "They are among the biggest animals ever to have evolved. They rival and, in some cases, exceed the heaviest dinosaurs. That's pretty spectacular. But why aren't they bigger?"

***

"'Energy is a key currency for all life, and we wanted to know how energy gain compares to energy use in foraging whales with different body sizes and feeding strategies," Goldbogen said. "The ratio of energy gain relative to energy use reveals a whale's foraging efficiency and that provides clues as to why different whales are big and why they aren't bigger."
The relationship between body size and energetic payoff, they found, depended on what feeding strategy a whale had evolved to use—whether a whale was a filter feeder that gulps down schools of prey and strains them from ocean water in their mouth or, instead, a toothed hunter that catches prey individually.

"Blue whales, humpbacks and other filter-feeding whales use baleen—rows of flexible hair-like plates in their mouths—to strain krill and other small prey from ocean water. They seek out dense patches of their prey and almost always, the data showed, consume more calories than they expend when they feed. For filter-feeding whales, large size is no impediment to foraging: blue whales, fin whales and humpback whales, the largest whales in this study, achieved greater energy payoff during feeding events than any other whale in the study.

"Toothed whales, instead, use echolocation to forage and are limited to feeding on one prey target at a time. They must also dive deeper than other whales to find the largest and most abundant prey, like deep-sea squid and fish. Few other warm-blooded predators can access the parts of the ocean where large toothed whales feed. Below 1,000 feet, Pyenson said, "there's nothing else down there except all the squid you can eat." But squid must be chased, and that, the data showed, takes a lot of energy—especially for the biggest toothed whales. In some cases, the largest toothed whales did not eat enough food during a dive to make up for the energy they spent getting there. "They literally can't eat enough to achieve a higher energetic payoff before they have to return to the surface and breathe," Pyenson said.

"Sperm whales, which can be up to 60 feet long, are not only larger than any other of today's toothed whales, but are also bigger than all of their fossil ancestors. That makes sense, Pyenson said, because based on the relative energy efficiencies that the team calculated for different-sized toothed whales, "being a sperm whale today is really pushing a serious biological limit." The team's calculations suggest that sperm whales would not be able to find enough of the largest squid prey to maintain their body size if they were any larger—there simply are not enough large squid in the ocean to sustain bigger sperm whales.

"In contrast, large filter-feeding whales are not limited in their body size by the availability of their prey in the same way as toothed whales. Filter-feeding whales feed on small but very abundant krill prey that flourish at high population densities for short periods of time in specific parts of the world. As a result, Goldbogen, Pyenson and colleagues speculate that the seasonal availability of their abundant prey is what ultimately limits size in today's filter-feeding ocean giants like fin whales and blue whales.

"'The largest baleen whale species must reap the energy gains of krill patches in only a few of the most productive summer months at high latitudes," Goldbogen said. "Highly efficient filter-feeding strategies mean that these whales can build up fat stores that can then power their migrations across ocean basins to breeding grounds at lower latitudes that are leaner and provide much less food."

"The new study underscores the precarious position that all whales hold within their ecosystems. "You have to wonder just how perilous it is for whales living on an energetic knife's edge," Pyenson said—particularly in the face of climate change, overfishing and other threats to the oceans.

"If you're a blue whale and your only prey item is krill, and something causes krill populations to go into decline, then you are at an evolutionary dead end because you would not be able to eat enough to sustain yourself," he said. "It's a good reason for us to try to better understand these predator-prey relationships.'" (my bold)

Comment: Very educational study of whale size limits. They can evolve to a dangerous size for their continuing existence. My bold is a major point. Top predators control ecosystems unless or until they eat themselves out of a job, or prey disappear. The bush of life requires active econiches/systems

Evolution: possible role of stem cells (promised find)

by David Turell @, Thursday, December 12, 2019, 20:40 (243 days ago) @ David Turell

Special different stem cells may have driven human brain size and specialization evolution:

https://www.ucsf.edu/news/2015/09/131646/stem-cell-research-hints-evolution-human-brain

"The human cerebral cortex contains 16 billion neurons, wired together into arcane, layered circuits responsible for everything from our ability to walk and talk to our sense of nostalgia and drive to dream of the future. In the course of human evolution, the cortex has expanded as much as 1,000-fold, but how this occurred is still a mystery to scientists.

"Now, researchers at UC San Francisco have succeeded in mapping the genetic signature of a unique group of stem cells in the human brain that seem to generate most of the neurons in our massive cerebral cortex.

***

"Until recently, most of what scientists knew about this process came from studies of model organisms such as mice, where nearly all neurons are produced by stem cells called ventricular radial glia (vRGs) that inhabit a fertile layer of tissue deep in the brain called the ventricular zone (VZ). But recent insights suggested that the development of the human cortex might have some additional wrinkles.

"In 2010, Kriegstein’s lab discovered a new type of neural stem cell in the human brain, which they dubbed outer radial glia (oRGs) because these cells reside farther away from the nurturing ventricles, in an outer layer of the subventricular zone (oSVZ). To the researchers’ surprise, further investigations revealed that during the peak of cortical development in humans, most of the neuron production was happening in the oSVZ rather than the familiar VZ.

***

"The gene activity profiles also provided several novel insights into the biology of outer radial glia. For example, researchers had previously been puzzled as to how oRG cells could maintain their generative vitality so far away from the nurturing VZ. “In the mouse, as cells move away from the ventricles, they lose their ability to differentiate into neurons,” Kriegstein explained.

"But the new data reveals that oRGs bring a support group with them: The cells express genes for surface markers and molecular signals that enhance their own ability to proliferate, the researchers found.
'
“This is a surprising new feature of their biology,” Pollen said. “They generate their own stem cell niche.”

"The researchers used their new molecular insights to isolate oRGs in culture for the first time, and showed that these cells are prolific neuron factories. In contrast to mouse vRGs, which produce 10 to 100 daughter cells during brain development, a single human oRG can produce thousands of daughter neurons, as well as glial cells—non-neuronal brain cells increasingly recognized as being responsible for a broad array of maintenance functions in the brain.

"The discovery of human oRGs’ self-renewing niche and remarkable generative capacity reinforces the idea that these cells may have been responsible for the expansion of the cerebral cortex in our primate ancestors, the researchers said."

Comment: It is logical that stem cells must play a major role in speciation, since they are the creators of functional cells. We still don't understand why or how the new stem cells arrived on the scene.

Evolution: food supply limits whale size

by dhw, Friday, December 13, 2019, 12:43 (243 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID (under “new transitional whale”):There were transitional changes in the spine/hip area:
https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/ancient-whale-fossil-helps-detail-how-mam...

DAVID: Another partial step as whales adapted more fully to living in water, which required an enormous number of physical and physiological changes.

So would you say these enormous physical changes were the result of whales adapting itty-bitty more fully to living in water, or do you think your God preprogrammed each individual change 3.8 billion years ago or kept popping in to do a new dabble in his effort to cover the time until he turned to the itty-bitty evolution of H. sapiens?

QUOTE: "If you're a blue whale and your only prey item is krill, and something causes krill populations to go into decline, then you are at an evolutionary dead end because you would not be able to eat enough to sustain yourself," he said. "It's a good reason for us to try to better understand these predator-prey relationships.'" (David’s bold)

DAVID: Very educational study of whale size limits. They can evolve to a dangerous size for their continuing existence. My bold is a major point. Top predators control ecosystems unless or until they eat themselves out of a job, or prey disappear. The bush of life requires active econiches/systems.

Of course it does. Every single organism that has ever lived depends or depended on econiches that provide food. Could anyone possibly disagree? (NB this subject has nothing whatsoever to do with the theory that a God personally designed every econiche for the sole purpose of keeping life going until he fulfilled his one and only purpose of designing H. sapiens. Thank you for keeping the two subjects separate.)

Evolution: food supply limits whale size

by David Turell @, Friday, December 13, 2019, 13:52 (243 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID (under “new transitional whale”):There were transitional changes in the spine/hip area:
https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/ancient-whale-fossil-helps-detail-how-mam...

DAVID: Another partial step as whales adapted more fully to living in water, which required an enormous number of physical and physiological changes.

dhw: So would you say these enormous physical changes were the result of whales adapting itty-bitty more fully to living in water, or do you think your God preprogrammed each individual change 3.8 billion years ago or kept popping in to do a new dabble in his effort to cover the time until he turned to the itty-bitty evolution of H. sapiens?

What I believe is God guided evolution constantly or with much pre-programming or pre-planning.


QUOTE: "If you're a blue whale and your only prey item is krill, and something causes krill populations to go into decline, then you are at an evolutionary dead end because you would not be able to eat enough to sustain yourself," he said. "It's a good reason for us to try to better understand these predator-prey relationships.'" (David’s bold)

DAVID: Very educational study of whale size limits. They can evolve to a dangerous size for their continuing existence. My bold is a major point. Top predators control ecosystems unless or until they eat themselves out of a job, or prey disappear. The bush of life requires active econiches/systems.

dhw: Of course it does. Every single organism that has ever lived depends or depended on econiches that provide food. Could anyone possibly disagree? (NB this subject has nothing whatsoever to do with the theory that a God personally designed every econiche for the sole purpose of keeping life going until he fulfilled his one and only purpose of designing H. sapiens. Thank you for keeping the two subjects separate.)

What allows such huge size is buoyancy. No strain on bones and joints..

Evolution: bacterial version of inventive mechanism

by David Turell @, Saturday, June 01, 2019, 23:36 (437 days ago) @ dhw

It appears necessary mutations can be automatic under stress:

https://journals.plos.org/plosgenetics/article/file?id=10.1371/journal.pgen.1007995&...

Abstract:

"Mutations drive evolution and were assumed to occur by chance: constantly, gradually, roughly uniformly in genomes, and without regard to environmental inputs, but this view is being revised by discoveries of molecular mechanisms of mutation in bacteria, now translated across the tree of life. These mechanisms reveal a picture of highly regulated mutagenesis, up-regulated temporally by stress responses and activated when cells/organisms are maladapted to their environments—when stressed—potentially accelerating adaptation. Mutation is also nonrandom in genomic space, with multiple simultaneous mutations falling in local clusters, which may allow concerted evolution—the multiple changes needed to adapt protein functions and protein machines encoded by linked genes. Molecular mechanisms of stress-inducible mutation change ideas about evolution and suggest different ways to model and address cancer development, infectious disease, and evolution generally.

***

"Here, we review some of the wealth of evidence, much of which originated in microbes, that reframes mutagenesis as dynamic and highly regulated processes. (my bold) Mutation is regulated temporally by stress responses, occurring when organisms are poorly adapted to their environments, and occurs nonrandomly in genomes. Both biases may accelerate adaptation.

***

"John Cairns’ later proposal of “directed” or “adaptive” mutagenesis in starvation-stressed Escherichiacoli[10, 11] reframed the supposed randomness of mutation as an exciting problem not yet solved. The mutagenesis they studied under the nonlethal environment of starvation is now known to reflect stress-induced mutagenesis—mutation up-regulated by stress responses. Its molecular mechanism(s), reviewed here, demonstrate regulation of mutagenesis. Similar mechanisms are now described from bacteria to humans, suggesting that regulated mutagenesis may be the rule, not the exception

***

"During a general stress response, theσS transcriptional activator increases the transcription of hundreds of genes (approximately 10% of all E.coligenes) that provide a range of protective functions. We do not know exactly how the general stress response promotes mutagenesis.

***

"In addition to starvation-induced MBR inE.coli, diverse bacteria and single-celled eukaryotes display examples of stress response–up-regulated mutagenesis. Some of these mutation mechanisms provide additional insight into how mutation rates vary across genomes in ways that may accelerate adaptive evolution. Many share characteristics withE.coliMBR but differ enough to suggest that regulated mutagenesis has evolved independently multiple times, thus highlighting the importance of regulated mutagenesis to evolution-driven problems, such as combatting infectious disease and antimicrobial resistance.

***

"Stress response–up-regulated mutation mechanisms have been discovered in plants, flies, and human cells (reviewed, [12]). The potential adaptive roles of these mutation mechanisms are less clear in multicellular organisms than in microbes. Do these mechanisms contribute to germline variation (and thus organismal evolution), mosaicism and somatic cell evolution, or both? Or are they simply biproducts of other required cellular functions or stress-induced dysfunctions?

***

"Mutations provide the raw material for evolution but can also decrease the fitness of an organism. ... Constitutively high mutation rates are advantageous in rapidly changing environments but decrease fitness in more stable (or periodically changing) environments. By biasing mutation to times of stress and to particular genomic regions, perhaps such regions relevant to a specific stress, stress-induced mutagenesis mechanisms provide the benefits of high mutation rate, while mitigating the risks. The ubiquity of these mechanisms throughout the tree of life supports their crucial role in evolution.

"Stress-induced mutation mechanisms, first discovered in bacteria, challenge historical assumptions about the constancy and uniformity of mutation. Mutation is still viewed as probabilistic, not deterministic, but we argue that regulated mutagenesis mechanisms greatly increase the probability that the useful mutations will occur at the right time, thus increasing an organism’s ability to evolve and, possibly, in the right places. Assumptions about the constant, gradual, clock-like, and environmentally blind nature of mutation are ready for retirement. " (my bold)

Comment: IM described as a highly controlled, regulated mechanism. My bold above is their view of stepwise original Darwin theory: gone.

Evolution: side effects of defense mechanisms:

by David Turell @, Saturday, July 27, 2019, 18:54 (382 days ago) @ David Turell

Many of our infections come from self-defense mechanisms of various agents:

https://aeon.co/essays/when-bacteria-kill-us-it-s-more-accident-than-assassination?utm_...

"Many of the bacteria and fungi that afflict us with severe diseases are not aiming at us at all. Instead, they have evolved to thrive in harsh environments or to fend off other microbes. It just so happens that these same adaptations allow them to thrive in our bodies or to fend off our immune systems.

***

"the thickly armoured strains of S.pneumoniae are impervious to white blood cells, and can stand their ground. Their armour would normally be a liability – they take so much energy to make that their owners get outcompeted by strains that make lighter and less costly coats. But with H.influenzae mobilising an immune army, a thick coat suddenly becomes worthwhile. And by coincidence, those coats make these strains better at invading deeper parts of the respiratory system, and causing serious disease. In defending itself from a competitor, S.pneumoniae inadvertently becomes an armoured killer.

"Its virulence – its ability to cause disease – is not an adaptation against its host. It is a side effect, a fluke. It kills through coincidence.

***

"The adaptations that allow bacteria, fungi and other pathogens to cause us harm can easily evolve outside the context of human disease. They are part of a microbial narrative that affects us, and can even kill us, but that isn’t about us. This concept is known as the coincidental evolution hypothesis or, as the Emory University microbiologist Bruce Levin described it in 2008, the ‘shit happens’ hypothesis.

***


"The coincidental evolution hypothesis explains a number of other recent discoveries about microbes. Scientists have found antibiotic resistance genes in bacteria that have been frozen for 30,000 years, or isolated in million-year-old caves. We might think of antibiotics as modern inventions, but they’re actually weapons that bacteria have been using against each other for aeons, or at least well before Alexander Fleming noticed a funky mould in a Petri dish in 1928. Antibiotic resistance genes evolved as part of this ancient war, but they also help today’s microbes to deal with the medicines that we mass-produce.

"Likewise, many of the ‘virulence genes’ that help pathogens to cause disease have counterparts in marine microbes with no track record of infecting humans. And some supposedly pathogenic bacteria were often common parts of the environment. ‘These organisms become accidental pathogens,’ says the microbiologist Arturo Casadevall.

***

"There are so many microbes out there that some of them will end up with a hand that lets them muscle their way into our game. ‘If you take all the microbial species in the world and imagine that they have these traits randomly, you can find pathogenic microbes for practically anything,’ says Casadevall.

***

"...if virulence is coincidental to begin with, there might not be much of an evolutionary pressure for the inadvertent pathogen to change its ways.

"There is something unsatisfying, almost nihilistic, about this idea. It deprives us of answers. As Casadevall wrote in a review, it says that virulence can arise by chance, ‘in a process that has no explanation, except for that it happened’. According to this outlook, we’re not central actors in the dramas that affect our lives. We’re not even bit players. We are just passers-by, walking outside the theatre and getting hit by flying props.

"The most important parts of a microbe’s world are, after all, other microbes. They’ve been dealing with each other for billions of years before we came along. When we step into the crossfire of this ancient war, we risk becoming collateral damage."

Comment: Part of evolutionary relationships may simply be unintended consequences, which brings us back to God as an impersonal being, not actually caring about humans welfare. Adler thought God answering prayers was a 50/50 proposition.

Evolution: life below ground

by David Turell @, Monday, December 10, 2018, 19:11 (611 days ago) @ David Turell

New borings to five kilometers find enormous amounts of life:

https://phys.org/news/2018-12-life-deep-earth-totals-billion.html

"Barely living "zombie" bacteria and other forms of life constitute an immense amount of carbon deep within Earth's subsurface—245 to 385 times greater than the carbon mass of all humans on the surface, according to scientists nearing the end of a 10-year international collaboration to reveal Earth's innermost secrets.

***

"With insights from now hundreds of sites under the continents and seas, they have approximated the size of the deep biosphere—2 to 2.3 billion cubic km (almost twice the volume of all oceans) - as well as the carbon mass of deep life: 15 to 23 billion tonnes (an average of at least 7.5 tonnes of carbon per cu km subsurface).

***

"Among many key discoveries and insights:
The deep biosphere constitutes a world that can be viewed as a sort of "subterranean Galapagos" and includes members of all three domains of life: bacteria and archaea (microbes with no membrane-bound nucleus), and eukarya (microbes or multicellular organisms with cells that contain a nucleus as well as membrane-bound organelles)

"Two types of microbes—bacteria and archaea—dominate Deep Earth. Among them are millions of distinct types, most yet to be discovered or characterized. This so-called microbial "dark matter" dramatically expands our perspective on the tree of life. Deep Life scientists say about 70% of Earth's bacteria and archaea live in the subsurface

"Deep microbes are often very different from their surface cousins, with life cycles on near-geologic timescales, dining in some cases on nothing more than energy from rocks
The genetic diversity of life below the surface is comparable to or exceeds that above the surface

"While subsurface microbial communities differ greatly between environments, certain genera and higher taxonomic groups are ubiquitous—they appear planet-wide

"Microbial community richness relates to the age of marine sediments where cells are found—suggesting that in older sediments, food energy has declined over time, reducing the microbial community

"The absolute limits of life on Earth in terms of temperature, pressure, and energy availability have yet to be found. The records continually get broken.

***

"Led by Cara Magnabosco of the Flatiron Institute Center for Computational Biology, New York, and an international team of researchers, subsurface scientists factored in a suite of considerations, including global heat flow, surface temperature, depth and lithology—the physical characteristics of rocks in each location—to estimate that the continental subsurface hosts 2 to 6 × 10^29 cells.

"Combined with estimates of subsurface life under the oceans, total global Deep Earth biomass is approximately 15 to 23 petagrams (15 to 23 billion tonnes) of carbon.

***

"Molecular studies raise the likelihood that microbial dark matter is much more diverse than what we currently know it to be, and the deepest branching lineages challenge the three-domain concept introduced by Carl Woese in 1977. Perhaps we are approaching a nexus where the earliest possible branching patterns might be accessible through deep life investigation.

"Ten years ago, we knew far less about the physiologies of the bacteria and microbes that dominate the subsurface biosphere," says Karen Lloyd, University of Tennessee at Knoxville, USA. "Today, we know that, in many places, they invest most of their energy to simply maintaining their existence and little into growth, which is a fascinating way to live.

"Today too, we know that subsurface life is common. Ten years ago, we had sampled only a few sites—the kinds of places we'd expect to find life. Now, thanks to ultra-deep sampling, we know we can find them pretty much everywhere, albeit the sampling has obviously reached only an infinitesimally tiny part of the deep biosphere."

Comment: First it is obvious the Earth allows life everywhere and it is amazingly life-friendly. The next question is how did those organisms get down there? Did they first evolve on the surface and then slowly go deeper? If they suddenly went that deep they could not have evolved to the forms they are now, which are markedly different from surface bacteria. Were they designed to be there? That could be God at work running the evolutionary process.

Evolution: species pre-planning identified

by David Turell @, Thursday, January 31, 2019, 01:22 (559 days ago) @ David Turell

In a stickleback fish study:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/01/190130112722.htm

"Genetic analysis of sticklebacks shows that isolated populations in similar environments develop in comparable ways. The basis for this is already present in the genome of their genetic ancestors.

***

"On the Scottish island of North Uist, sticklebacks can be found in bodies of water with extremely varied pH values. While the lakes to the west contain alkaline water, the high moorland lakes in the east are acidic and low in nutrients.

"Studies of five populations from both the western and eastern lakes showed that the fish adapted to their alkaline or acidic habitat independently of each other, but in comparable ways. All five populations in the acidic lakes, for example, displayed a greatly reduced skeleton and stunted growth -- probably as an adaptation to the lack of nutrients.

"In addition to the shared external characteristics, the researchers were also able to establish that changes in the genetic pool proceeded in very similar ways: the populations within the same type of habitat showed the same genetic variants in dozens of regions of the genome. This makes it possible to predict where in the genome changes will take place under the influence of a particular habitat -- evolution becomes predictable to some extent.

"Genetic analysis of the marine ancestor also showed that the genetic variants that are beneficial for adapting to acidic or alkaline water are all present in the ancestor. Similar life forms, therefore, didn't occur randomly, but independently of each other through the predictable sorting of advantageous genetic variants that were already present in the genome. "

Comment: It certainly looks as if the existing genome can guide future adaptations, but in case within related species. Note the bold statement

Evolution: species pre-planning identified

by David Turell @, Friday, February 01, 2019, 14:57 (558 days ago) @ David Turell

In a stickleback fish study:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/01/190130112722.htm

"Genetic analysis of sticklebacks shows that isolated populations in similar environments develop in comparable ways. The basis for this is already present in the genome of their genetic ancestors.

***

"On the Scottish island of North Uist, sticklebacks can be found in bodies of water with extremely varied pH values. While the lakes to the west contain alkaline water, the high moorland lakes in the east are acidic and low in nutrients.

"Studies of five populations from both the western and eastern lakes showed that the fish adapted to their alkaline or acidic habitat independently of each other, but in comparable ways. All five populations in the acidic lakes, for example, displayed a greatly reduced skeleton and stunted growth -- probably as an adaptation to the lack of nutrients.

"In addition to the shared external characteristics, the researchers were also able to establish that changes in the genetic pool proceeded in very similar ways: the populations within the same type of habitat showed the same genetic variants in dozens of regions of the genome. This makes it possible to predict where in the genome changes will take place under the influence of a particular habitat -- evolution becomes predictable to some extent.

"Genetic analysis of the marine ancestor also showed that the genetic variants that are beneficial for adapting to acidic or alkaline water are all present in the ancestor. Similar life forms, therefore, didn't occur randomly, but independently of each other through the predictable sorting of advantageous genetic variants that were already present in the genome. "

Comment: It certainly looks as if the existing genome can guide future adaptations, but in case within related species. Note the bold statement

I'm surprised there is no comment on this obvious evidence of pre-planning

Evolution: origin of eukaryotes

by David Turell @, Wednesday, April 17, 2019, 19:55 (483 days ago) @ David Turell

Alternatives to mitochondrial origin theory:

https://www.quantamagazine.org/rethinking-the-ancestry-of-the-eukaryotes-20190409/

"A particularly vexing mystery is the rise of the eukaryotes, cells with well-defined internal compartments, or organelles, which are present only in animals, plants, fungi and some microbes like protists — our evolutionary kin. The earliest eukaryotes left no clear fossils as clues, so researchers are forced to deduce what they were like by comparing the structural and molecular details of later ones and inferring their evolutionary relationships.

***

"And those first eukaryotes may depart significantly from what most scientists expected, if some recent findings are any indication. Earlier this month, one team presented evidence that a signature event in eukaryote evolution — the development of the organelles called mitochondria — might have unfolded quite differently than was theorized. Meanwhile, other researchers have suggested that the earliest “ancestor” of all eukaryotes might not have been a single cell at all, but rather a mixed population of cells that avidly swapped DNA. The difference is subtle, but it might be important for understanding the evolution and diversity of the eukaryotes we see today.

"The very first cells — the first life forms on this planet — were prokaryotes, but they were not all alike. Even early on, two very distinct lineages emerged, the archaea and the bacteria. The archaea might have been the first to thrive because even now they can survive in extreme environments like hot vents and super-saline pools. But it’s also possible that archaea and bacteria split from the first cells at the same time and began to diversify independently from the start. Figuring out definitively when and how the split occurred is probably impossible given how much time has passed; fossil evidence is nonexistent, and organisms from both branches have swapped genes extensively through horizontal gene transfer (as opposed to the “vertical” transfer of genes down through generations), which complicates analyses of their genomic history.

***

"It would be a struggle to distinguish the cells of this first eukaryotic common ancestor, or FECA, as such. It didn’t yet have a nucleus, for example. It didn’t have mitochondria to convert sugars and other molecules into more metabolically usable forms of energy. It didn’t even have microtubules, the structural proteins in eukaryotic cells that allow for compartmentalization by enabling the cell to shuttle things where they need to go.

***

"The scientists concluded that mitochondria most likely arose out of a partnership between archaeal cells that fermented certain small organic molecules and alphaproteobacteria that survived by oxidizing certain other ones: The bacteria could use the electrons and hydrogen that the archaeal cells shed as wastes. (The researchers call this the “reverse flow model” because according to a previously popular theory, the bacteria would have donated hydrogen to the archaea’s metabolism.)

***

"For example, some modern archaea that live under oxygen-free conditions and metabolize hydrocarbons depend on bacteria to accept their electrons. “A similar type of interaction may have characterized the presumed archaeal ancestor of eukaryotes.”

"Over time, horizontal transfers of genes from other bacteria would have provided more of the machinery for the metabolic processes performed by mitochondria as we know them. Meanwhile, gene transfers between archaeal hosts and their bacterial symbiotes, along with the loss of some superfluous genes on each side, would have cemented what had been separate symbiotic cells into a permanently unified eukaryotic state.

***

"Overall, the genesis of eukaryotes remains mysterious because all eukaryotes alive today arose from an organism that was already complex. Somehow, over an unknown number of millennia, FECA turned into the last eukaryotic common ancestor, or LECA — an organism ancestral to every other subsequent eukaryote living or extinct, including ones currently unknown to science. LECA is a lot easier to imagine because it probably looked similar to some of today’s microbial eukaryotes. “It turns out that everything that has a nucleus also has mitochondria, a Golgi apparatus and everything else,” said W. Ford Doolittle, “LECA appears to have already been a fairly sophisticated eukaryotic cell.”

***

"many of O’Malley and Leger’s colleagues do agree that it makes sense to think of LECA as a population of cells. But there has been some pushback to that idea, too. According to O’Malley, some scientists insist that LECA had to be a single cell, one that split and then split again and again and again, eventually giving rise to all other eukaryotic cells.

***

"The trouble is, we may never know what LECA looked like because no fossils or remnants of DNA will ever reveal its nature directly. Even the best genomic methods can’t literally turn back time and allow us to watch how a sequence changed. It’s basically impossible to concretely determine what LECA’s genome or pangenome looked like."

Comment: The prokaryote cell and the eukaryote cell are as different as as tribe of cave dwellers are to a modern city's population. The highly organized cell functioned just as the simple cell did, but it led the way to complex evolution. Not by chance.

Evolution: origin of eukaryotes: Archaea

by David Turell @, Wednesday, May 15, 2019, 17:52 (455 days ago) @ David Turell

Another review of the origin of eukaryotes, possibly from archaea:

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-01496-w?utm_source=Nature+Briefing&utm_c...

"a group of microbes — the Lokiarchaeota — that is rewriting a fundamental story about life’s early roots.

"These unruly microbes belong to a category of single-celled organisms called archaea, which resemble bacteria under a microscope but are as distinct from them in some respects as humans are. The Lokis, as they are sometimes known, were discovered by sequencing DNA from sea-floor muck collected near Greenland1. Together with some related microbes, they are prodding biologists to reconsider one of the greatest events in the history of life on Earth — the appearance of the eukaryotes, the group of organisms that includes all plants, animals, fungi and more.

"The discovery of archaea in the late 1970s led scientists to propose that the tree of life diverged long ago into three main trunks, or ‘domains’. One trunk gave rise to modern bacteria; one to archaea. And the third produced eukaryotes. But debates soon erupted over the structure of these trunks. A leading ‘three-domain’ model held that archaea and eukaryotes diverged from a common ancestor. But a two-domain scenario suggested that eukaryotes diverged directly from a subgroup of archaea.

***

"These newly discovered archaea have genes that are considered hallmarks of eukaryotes. And deep analysis of the organisms’ DNA suggests that modern eukaryotes belong to the same archaeal group. If that’s the case, essentially all complex life — everything from green algae to blue whales — originally came from archaea.

"But many scientists remain unconvinced. Evolutionary tree building is messy, contentious work. And no one has yet published evidence to show that these organisms can be grown in the lab, which makes them difficult to study. The debate is still rancorous. Stalwarts on both sides are “very hostile to each other, and 100% believe there’s nothing correct in the other camp”, Hugenholtz says. Some decline to voice an opinion, for fear of offending senior colleagues.

***

"Today, the argument over where eukaryotes came from has matured. Many on both sides agree that the origin of eukaryotes probably involved a step known as endosymbiosis. This theory, championed by the late biologist Lynn Margulis, holds that a simple host cell living eons ago somehow swallowed a bacterium, and the two struck up a mutually beneficial relationship. These captive bacteria eventually evolved into mitochondria — the cellular substructures that produce energy — and the hybrid cells became what are now known as eukaryotes.

"The nature of the engulfing cell is where the two camps diverge. As the three-domain adherents tell it, the engulfer was an ancestral microbe, now extinct. According to Forterre, it was a “proto-eukaryote” — “neither a modern archaeon nor a modern eukaryote”. In this model, there were several major splits in early evolution. The first happened billions of years ago, when primeval organisms gave rise to both bacteria and an extinct group of microbes. This latter group diverged into archaea and the group that became eukaryotes.

***

"Like their namesake, Lokiarchaeota and their kin evade easy description. They are unquestionably archaea, but their genomes include a smorgasbord of genes that are similar to some found in eukaryotes. Loki DNA, for example, contains genetic instructions for actins, proteins that form a skeleton-like framework in eukaryotic cells. The genes seemed so out of place that the researcher who spotted them initially worried that contamination was to blame.

***

"researchers are turning to other lines of evidence that might support a two-domain tree. Bacteria and eukaryotes have one set of lipids in their cell membranes, whereas archaeal membranes contain a different set. A mixture of the two was thought to be unstable. This ‘lipid divide’ has been a sore spot for the two-domain proponents, because it implies that if eukaryotes came from archaea, they would have had to switch from using archaeal lipids to producing bacterial versions.

***

"The overall picture is still unclear. In Norse legends, Loki often sows mayhem — and then sets everything right again. As the Lokiarchaeota and their relatives emerge from the shadows, two-domain supporters would like them to settle the long-standing debate over the origin of complex life. But that could take a while. “When we discovered the Asgard archaea, we thought that would convince everybody,” says Spang with a laugh. “That wasn’t the case.'”

Comment: Where did eukaryotes come from? A giant step, still unknown.

Evolution: origin of eukaryotes: Archaea

by dhw, Thursday, May 16, 2019, 08:24 (454 days ago) @ David Turell

QUOTE: "Today, the argument over where eukaryotes came from has matured. Many on both sides agree that the origin of eukaryotes probably involved a step known as endosymbiosis. This theory, championed by the late biologist Lynn Margulis, holds that a simple host cell living eons ago somehow swallowed a bacterium, and the two struck up a mutually beneficial relationship. These captive bacteria eventually evolved into mitochondria — the cellular substructures that produce energy — and the hybrid cells became what are now known as eukaryotes."

Just in passing, it is worth noting that Lynn Margulis regarded cooperation as a major factor in evolution, and championed the cause of cellular intelligence.

Evolution: origin of eukaryotes: Archaea

by David Turell @, Thursday, May 16, 2019, 15:27 (454 days ago) @ dhw

QUOTE: "Today, the argument over where eukaryotes came from has matured. Many on both sides agree that the origin of eukaryotes probably involved a step known as endosymbiosis. This theory, championed by the late biologist Lynn Margulis, holds that a simple host cell living eons ago somehow swallowed a bacterium, and the two struck up a mutually beneficial relationship. These captive bacteria eventually evolved into mitochondria — the cellular substructures that produce energy — and the hybrid cells became what are now known as eukaryotes."

dhw: Just in passing, it is worth noting that Lynn Margulis regarded cooperation as a major factor in evolution, and championed the cause of cellular intelligence.

Lynn Margulis was a brilliant scientist. She was married to Carl Sagan.

Evolution: origin of eukaryotes: ? first fungi?

by David Turell @, Thursday, May 23, 2019, 23:45 (446 days ago) @ David Turell

Fossil fungi from one billion years ago:

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/fossil-discovery-pushes-back-origin-fungi...

"For years scientists have tried to reconcile the fungal fossil record with estimates from analyses of fungal DNA. But some of their key morphological characters – that is, the shapes they take – can only be established via microscopic and chemical analyses. That includes the complex networks of microscopic thread-like filaments and cell walls made of chitin, which are also not visible to the naked eye. The effort seemed hopeless, until now.

"Corentin Loron, a graduate student at the University of Liege in Belgium and colleagues, discovered microscopic, fossilized specimens of a fungus called Ourasphaira giraldae in shale rock from the Grassy Bay Formation in the Northwest Territories of Canada. Given that Ourasphaira is found on 1,000- to 900-million-year-old rocks, the new fossil pushes back the origin of fungi by half a billion years.

"But how did Loron deduce that these fossils are fungi? While most of us are quite familiar with the large reproductive structures of some fungi, such as mushrooms, most of us are less familiar with the fungal network of microscopic thread-like filaments that makes up their “bodies.”

"Microscopical analyses of Ourasphaira show that it formed a network just like those made by modern fungi; and chemical analyses show that the cell walls of these microfossils contain chitin, again just like modern fungi.

"The implications of this discovery are twofold.

"First, the fossil singlehandedly reconciles DNA-based and paleontological estimates of fungal origins, pushing back the origin of Opisthokonta, a supergroup comprising fungi, animals and their single-celled relatives to at least a billion years ago. And second, the fossil gives us clues about the environments where the first fungi lived. Ourasphaira was found in a shale, a type of rock that forms at the muddy bottom of lakes and rivers. Since this particular shale appears to have been formed as a result of sedimentation from a shallow-water estuary, it may be the first fungi evolved where rivers met the seas a billion years ago.

"It’s one more clue that helps fill in the picture on how life on earth evolved and one more step toward bringing this fascinating group of organisms to the limelight."

comment: Filling in the gaps, but not the Cambrian gap.

Evolution: origin of eukaryotes: ? first fungi?

by dhw, Friday, May 24, 2019, 10:12 (446 days ago) @ David Turell

QUOTE: "It’s one more clue that helps fill in the picture on how life on earth evolved and one more step toward bringing this fascinating group of organisms to the limelight."

DAVID: Filling in the gaps, but not the Cambrian gap.

Research is ongoing, and more and more gaps are being filled. So far, so good. Who knows what will emerge during the next thousand years?

Evolution: origin of eukaryotes: ? first fungi?

by David Turell @, Friday, May 24, 2019, 16:07 (446 days ago) @ dhw

QUOTE: "It’s one more clue that helps fill in the picture on how life on earth evolved and one more step toward bringing this fascinating group of organisms to the limelight."

DAVID: Filling in the gaps, but not the Cambrian gap.

dhw: Research is ongoing, and more and more gaps are being filled. So far, so good. Who knows what will emerge during the next thousand years?

Scientists recognizing God because of their findings?

Evolution of Earth: first fungi?

by David Turell @, Friday, May 31, 2019, 15:00 (439 days ago) @ David Turell

Newly found fungi fossils support a theory that early fungi helped start plants on land:

https://theconversation.com/complex-life-may-only-exist-because-of-millions-of-years-of...

"Extracted from Arctic Canadian shales, the newly discovered billion-year-old fossilised fungal spores and hyphae (long thin tubes) plug the gap in the fossil record and suggest that fungi may have occupied land well before plants.

***

"As you might imagine from their ancient origins, fungi have played a critical role in shaping Earth’s terrestrial biosphere over the last billion years. The first plants to emerge onto land 500m years ago formed intimate partnerships with fungi. Lacking roots, these early plants relied on their fungal partners to grow inside them and spread outwards into the primordial mineral soil. In a process known as biological weathering, fungal hyphae would secrete organic acids to dissolve rocks and extract nutrients held within. In return, the plants would transfer nutrients produced through photosynthesis to the fungi.

"This exchange of resources between early plants and fungi powered the growth, evolution and diversification of Earth’s flora into ever more complex species, communities and ecosystems, and remains the norm today. Over 90% of land plants associate with a fungal partner of one type or another, and some are entirely dependent on fungal assistance to survive.

"The symbiotic rise of land plants and their fungal partners also had dramatic effects on our atmosphere. Now with abundant access to mineral-based energy building blocks, plants evolved more efficient mechanisms for photosynthesis to capture this energy, for example through better control of the movement of carbon dioxide and water into and out of leaves. Over millions of years, this increased absorption of carbon dioxide produced a massive rise in oxygen concentrations, supporting the emergence of much larger, more complex animal life than the tiny insect-like life forms that previous oxygen levels could support.

"From there, the evolutionary story is clear. But in showing that fungi probably arrived on land 500m years before plants, the new fossil evidence raises fundamental questions about the start of this symbiotic journey.

***

"... the new discovery opens up the possibility that Earth’s lands may have been already being prepared for successful plant life for hundreds of millions of years. Dissolving mineral-rich rocks and secreting carbon-based organic acids, we know that fungi were extremely important in converting barren lands into the fertile, carbon-rich soils we know today. It could be that the emergence of plant life was only made possible by aeons of groundwork by ancient fungal forefathers.

***

"What is already clear is that without fungi, we would not exist. Playing a vital role in the maintenance of healthy ecosystems across the planet, from the Antarctic deserts to the tropical rainforests, fungi underpin all life on Earth today. Now, it appears we may have another 500m years to thank them for."

Comment: A clear example of how the Earth evolved to support life. God creates by evolution: the universe, the Earth and life are certain examples.

Evolution of Earth: finding new genes

by David Turell @, Tuesday, June 04, 2019, 21:03 (434 days ago) @ David Turell

Fun and games in the lab. Using intelligent design to see how new genes might be made in DNA:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/06/190604131214.htm

"One key question in evolutionary biology is how novel genes arise and develop. Swedish researchers now show how new genes and functions that are advantageous to bacteria can be selected from random DNA sequences.

***

"Two different types of mechanism have been proposed: (1) new genes with novel functions arise from existing genes, and (2) new genes and proteins evolve from random DNA sequences with no similarity to existing genes and proteins.

***

"The raw material for the experiment was an big library of some 500 million randomised gene sequences, from which peptide sequences with a biological function were identified. In the experiment, random gene sequences were placed on a plasmid and overexpressed. The scientists then investigated whether they could give bacteria a specific, defined property. Were they, for example, able to give the bacteria antibiotic resistance? They identified several short peptides (22-25 amino acids long) that could give the bacteria a high degree of resistance to aminoglycosides, an important class of antibiotics used for severe infections.


***

"Through a combination of genetic and functional experiments, the scientists were able to demonstrate that the peptides cause resistance by attaching themselves to bacterial cell membranes and affecting the proton potential across the membrane. The disruption of the proton potential causes a decrease in antibiotic uptake, rendering the bacteria resistant.

"'This study is important because it shows that completely random sequences of amino acids can give rise to new, advantageous functions, and that this process of de novo evolution can be studied experimentally in the laboratory," says Dan I. Andersson, Professor of Medical Bacteriology, who is chiefly responsible for the study."

Comment: Just life origin of life designs in the lab, proving nothing about how evolution itself can find new genes for new functions.

Evolution of Earth: life's contribution

by David Turell @, Saturday, July 06, 2019, 21:29 (402 days ago) @ David Turell

Many life forms contribute to the environment on Earth. The role of shelled forms to the oceans:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/07/190701143804.htm

"The ocean as we understand it today was shaped by a global evolutionary regime shift around 170 million years ago, according to new research.

"Until that point, the success of organisms living within the marine environment had been strongly controlled by non-biological factors, including ocean chemistry and climate.

"However, from the middle of the Jurassic period onwards (some 170 million years ago), biological factors such as predator-prey relationships became increasingly important.

"Writing in Nature Geoscience, scientists say this change coincided with the proliferation of calcium carbonate-secreting plankton and their subsequent deposition on the ocean floor.

"They believe the rise of this plankton stabilised the chemical composition of the ocean and provided the conditions for one of the most prominent diversifications of marine life in Earth's history.

***

"'Today, huge areas of the ocean floor are covered with the equivalent of chalk, made up of microscopic organisms that rose to dominance in the middle of the Jurassic period. The chalky mass helps to balance out the acidity of the ocean and, with that balance in place, organisms are less at the mercy of short-term perturbations of ocean chemistry than they might have been previously. It is easier to secrete a shell, regardless of its mineralogy, if the ocean chemistry is stable."

***

"Since its emergence more than 540 million years ago, multicellular life evolved under the influence of both the non-biological and the biological environment, but how the balance between these factors changed remained largely unknown.

"Calcified seashells provide an ideal test to answer this question, as aragonite and calcite -- the minerals making up seashells -- also form non-biologically in the ocean.

***

"The results show that up until the middle of the Jurassic period, around 170 million years ago, the ecological success of shell-secreting marine organisms was tightly coupled to their shell composition: organisms that secreted the mineral that was environmentally favoured had an evolutionary advantage.

"However, the Earth-Life system was revolutionised forever by the rise of calcifying plankton, which expanded the production of calcium carbonate from continental shelves to the open ocean.

"This ensured that the evolutionary impact of episodes of severe climate changes, and resulting ocean acidification, was less severe than comparable events earlier in Earth history.

***

"'During the Earth's history there have been several major events that shaped the evolution of life on our planet, such as the five big mass extinctions or the radiation of complex animals during the 'Cambrian Explosion'. Our research identifies a previously overlooked event of this magnitude around 170 million years ago when the emergence of calcium carbonate-secreting plankton lifted constraints on the evolution of other marine organisms that we did not know existed. As a result, life in the ocean has diversified to levels far beyond what existed before.'"

Comment: The evolution of the Earth was influenced by the life that developed upon it. It is a two way street: a special planet is built for life, and with life Earth was changed to safer more balanced environment.Only design does this, realizing how special the Earth is by design.

Evolution of Earth: life's contribution

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Sunday, July 07, 2019, 14:43 (402 days ago) @ David Turell

Many life forms contribute to the environment on Earth. The role of shelled forms to the oceans:

...

"'During the Earth's history there have been several major events that shaped the evolution of life on our planet, such as the five big mass extinctions or the radiation of complex animals during the 'Cambrian Explosion'. Our research identifies a previously overlooked event of this magnitude around 170 million years ago when the emergence of calcium carbonate-secreting plankton lifted constraints on the evolution of other marine organisms that we did not know existed. As a result, life in the ocean has diversified to levels far beyond what existed before.'"

Comment: The evolution of the Earth was influenced by the life that developed upon it. It is a two way street: a special planet is built for life, and with life Earth was changed to safer more balanced environment.Only design does this, realizing how special the Earth is by design.

This sounds very much like confirmation of my old speculation that God used the stages of evolution to prepare the earth.

--
What is the purpose of living? How about, 'to reduce needless suffering. It seems to me to be a worthy purpose.

Evolution of Earth: life's contribution

by David Turell @, Sunday, July 07, 2019, 15:16 (402 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

Many life forms contribute to the environment on Earth. The role of shelled forms to the oceans:

...

"'During the Earth's history there have been several major events that shaped the evolution of life on our planet, such as the five big mass extinctions or the radiation of complex animals during the 'Cambrian Explosion'. Our research identifies a previously overlooked event of this magnitude around 170 million years ago when the emergence of calcium carbonate-secreting plankton lifted constraints on the evolution of other marine organisms that we did not know existed. As a result, life in the ocean has diversified to levels far beyond what existed before.'"

David Comment: The evolution of the Earth was influenced by the life that developed upon it. It is a two way street: a special planet is built for life, and with life Earth was changed to safer more balanced environment.Only design does this, realizing how special the Earth is by design.


Tony: This sounds very much like confirmation of my old speculation that God used the stages of evolution to prepare the earth.

Sure fits

Evolution: driven by environment

by David Turell @, Sunday, June 09, 2019, 19:07 (430 days ago) @ David Turell

Some lizards after Marie hold on stronger:

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/2018/07/hurricane-lizards-evolution-survival/

"The researchers first determined that lizards would outlast storms by grasping onto trees. Storm surge, they said, would make hiding in tree roots too dangerous.

***

“'Using a leaf blower to simulate hurricane-force winds was very creative, clever, and resourceful,” says Amber Wright, an ecology professor at the University of Hawaii at Mānoa. Wright was not involved in the research.

“'What makes the study interesting to me is that it links traits to survival through a specific mechanism: Ability to cling to a perch and to be a small target,” Wright continues. This helps biologists predict what will give lizards a leg up in surviving a storm—and ultimately what traits are most likely to be passed on through natural selection.

"Donihue and his colleagues thought larger toepads and longer limbs would help the lizards grasp the dowel. They were partially right—the surviving lizards had larger toepads and longer forelimbs, but their hind legs were shorter than their front legs.

***

"After analyzing video from the experiment, the researchers noticed that the lizards lost grip of the dowel with their back legs before their longer front legs gave way.

So shouldn’t lizards with longer legs in both front and back be able to hang on even tighter? Donihue says that’s not clear, but there could be tradeoffs to growing larger overall.

***

“Donihue’s study is one of the first to provide evidence that extreme weather events could impose rapid selection on species,” Langkilde continues. “It provides incentive for others to test for these effects on other species.”

“'Larger lizards are stronger, but they also run the risk of catching more wind,” he says."

Comment: The storm obviously picked the best equipped to survive.

Evolution: driven by environment

by dhw, Monday, June 10, 2019, 10:45 (429 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID's comment: The storm obviously picked the best equipped to survive.

Yes indeed. The experiment simply confirms that natural selection doesn’t create anything, but decides what survives and what doesn’t survive. Nothing new in that!

Evolution: driven by environment

by David Turell @, Monday, June 10, 2019, 15:20 (429 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID's comment: The storm obviously picked the best equipped to survive.

dhw: Yes indeed. The experiment simply confirms that natural selection doesn’t create anything, but decides what survives and what doesn’t survive. Nothing new in that!

A neat demonstration of how a species is forced to adapt by the environment to favor certain species types, but never creates a new species.

Evolution: how plants on land got leaves

by David Turell @, Tuesday, August 06, 2019, 19:28 (372 days ago) @ David Turell

Pre-existing genes did the job:

https://phys.org/news/2019-08-genes-enabled-scientists.html

"The genes that first enabled plants to grow shoots and conquer the land have been identified by University of Bristol researchers. The findings, published in Current Biology, explain how a 450-million years ago a switch enabled plants to delay reproduction and grow shoots, leaves and buds.

"Over the course of half a billion years of evolution, plants have evolved from tiny and simple ground-hugging forms into diverse and complex varieties that abound the Earth today, from the garden rose to the 100-metre tall redwood tree. An international research team from the Universities of Bristol (UK), Lyon (France) and Palacký (Czech Republic) has now discovered the secrets of shoot evolution.

"The team discovered that around 450-million years ago a switch enabled plants to delay reproduction and displace new cells downwards from the shoot tips, paving the way to plant diversification. Using cutting-edge developmental and genetic techniques, the team studied the swollen reproductive structures at the tips of the small stems of mosses. These plants, which represent a starting point for plant evolution, are raised upwards by new cells generated in the middle of the stem. Despite their different patterns of growth, similar genes are responsible for elongating the stems of mosses and plants with more elaborate shoots.

"Contrary to prior work, the results demonstrate a nascent mechanism for shoot development as plants first emerged on land and suggest that a change in the timing and location of gene activity triggered the radiation of shooting forms.

"Dr. Jill Harrison, the study's lead author and Senior Lecturer from Bristol's School of Biological Sciences, explains: "By comparing our new findings from a moss with previous findings, we can see that a pre-existing genetic network was remodelled to allow shoot systems to arise in plant evolution."

"This discovery furthers our basic understanding of how genes regulate plant shape, which could inform efforts to engineer shape and improve the yield of future crops."

Comment: Looks like pre-planning to me. Not by chance. The changes are too complex for that.

Evolution: origin of eukaryotes: Archaea hard to grow

by David Turell @, Monday, August 12, 2019, 15:07 (366 days ago) @ David Turell

An organism that took 12 years in the lab to grow offers new insight on eukaryote/Archaea possible relationship:

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2019/08/tentacled-microbe-could-be-missing-link-between...

"Patience proved the key ingredient to what researchers are saying may be an important discovery about how complex life evolved. After 12 years of trying, a team in Japan has grown an organism from mud on the seabed that they say could explain how simple microbes evolved into more sophisticated eukaryotes. Eukaryotes are the group that includes humans, other animals, plants, and many single-celled organisms. The microbe can produce branched appendages, which may have helped it corral and envelop bacteria that helped it—and, eventually, all eukaryotes—thrive in a world full of oxygen.

***

"The prevailing thinking is that roughly 2 billion years ago, a microbe belonging to a group called the Asgard archaea absorbed a bacterium called an alphaproteobacterium, which settled inside and became mitochondria, producing power for its host by consuming oxygen as fuel. But isolating and growing Asgard archaea has proved a challenge, as they tend to live in inhospitable environments such as deep-sea mud. They also grow very slowly, so they are hard to detect. Most evidence of their existence so far has been fragments of DNA with distinctive sequences.

***

"DNA analyses of samples from the tube indicated it included an Asgard archaeon, the microbe they were hoping to grow. It took about 20 days for the numbers of this microbe to double—bacteria commonly double in less than an hour—but eventually, they got enough of the organism to study it. “It was really a gargantuan task,” says David Baum, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, who was not involved with the work.

***

"Experiments with this single-cell organism suggest it usually—if not always—grows in association with another microbe that makes methane, Imachi, Takai, and colleagues report today in a preprint on bioRxiv. The researchers further discovered that Prometheoarchaeum breaks down amino acids for food and releases hydrogen, which feeds its partner. That methanemaker in turn helps Prometheoarchaeum thrive by chewing through the hydrogen, the researchers say; a buildup of hydrogen could otherwise cause even slower growth of Prometheoarchaeum. The complex partnership is another reason why the Asgard arcahaea are so hard to grow in the lab.

***

"Having grown the microbe, the researchers used an electron microscope to image it, revealing multiple branched appendages. The team hypothesizes that, eons ago, an archaeon encircled the protomitochondrion and put it to work. The researchers propose that as the concentration of oxygen increased on early Earth, archaea like Prometheoarchaeum took in oxygen-using partners and did better than other microbes.

***

"Ettema cautions that the archaeal ancestor to eukaryotic cells that lived 2 billion years ago may not have looked and acted just like Prometheoarchaeum. Moreover, DNA studies indicate that other archaea are more closely related to eukaryotes than this one. He expects, however, that the 12 years the Japanese team devoted to culturing this microbe will help him and others isolate and grow related archaea in the lab: “I’m sure it will not take 12 years to get the next Asgard into culture.'”

Comment: Still not well understood, but an amazing advance in studying descendants of early life

Evolution: more deep Earth life found

by David Turell @, Monday, August 26, 2019, 17:58 (352 days ago) @ David Turell

Over three kilometers deep in a mine, using sulfates in their metabolism:

https://email.labxmediagroup.com/e2t/c/*N5LN8FBnm5FNW7_KrL92C9NMW0/*W3S-c0R1XLDBFV_2yBZ...

"Researchers have uncovered the first direct evidence of resident microbes in Kidd Creek Mine, a 3-kilometer-deep copper and zinc mine in Ontario. The findings, published last month (July 18) in Geomicrobiology Journal, confirm previous work indicating that ancient, sulfate-rich water in the region could support what researchers call “deep microbial life,” and add to growing evidence that there’s a vast biosphere thriving in the Earth’s crust that has little or no interaction with the surface.

“'This paper is groundbreaking, so to speak,” says John Spear, a microbial ecologist at the Colorado School of Mines who was not involved in the work. “They were able to get an idea of the amount of native microbial biomass . . . and they were able to confirm that the waters that the microbes are living in are host waters—they’re not contaminated or impacted by water coming from the surface.”

"Studies of deep mines and boreholes over the last decade have documented signs of microbes in several areas of the Earth’s continental crust—a hot and dark environment traditionally thought to be inhospitable to life.

***

"Compared to service water—water supplied to the mine from a nearby lake on the surface—the density of microbial organisms in the fracture water was low, the team found: approximately 1,000 to 10,000 cells/ml, as opposed to the 100,000 cells/ml in the water coming from above ground.

"The researchers also analyzed the metabolic activity of microbes in the sample, by incubating cells with various food sources and then recording whether or not that food was metabolized. This type of analysis can’t directly provide taxonomic information or detect microbes that aren’t active. But it did show, as Sherwood Lollar and her colleagues had predicted, that the active microbial community consisted almost entirely of sulfate reducers.

“'Sulfate reducers are using sulfate and some reduced carbon compound . . . to fix carbon in the subsurface,” notes Spear, “meaning that these sulfate reducers could be primary producers in the subsurface of the Kidd Creek Mine. And if it’s true there, over a mile deep, you wonder if this is true all around the Earth.”

***

“'The more we continue to show that life shows up in all of these different places, the more we understand that these are generalizable to the planet,” she says. “What it means, I would expect, is [that] we are likely to find these organisms almost anywhere we go look in these kinds of settings around the world.'”

Comment: The Earth is the perfect planet to support life everywhere. And it shows how diverse are the metabolic systems used.

Evolution: origin of eukaryotes:Archaea DNA similar to human

by David Turell @, Thursday, September 19, 2019, 20:55 (328 days ago) @ David Turell

A new study compares Archaea DNA to eukaryote DNA in humans:

https://phys.org/news/2019-09-key-similarities-human-archaea-chromosomes.html

"The similar clustering of DNA in humans and archaeal chromosomes is significant because certain genes activate or deactivate based upon how they're folded.

"'The inaccurate bundling, or 'folding,' of DNA can lead to the wrong gene being switched on or off," Bell said. "Studies have shown that switching the wrong genes on or off during cellular growth in humans can lead to changes in gene expression that can ultimately be carcinogenic."

"Archaea are simple single-celled organisms that comprise one of the three domains of life on Earth. Although found in every type of environment, including the human body, archaea are poorly understood compared to the other two domains: bacteria and eukaryotes, which include mammals such as humans. They're also more similar to eukaryotes on the genetic level than bacteria.

"The IU study is the first to visualize the organization of DNA in archaeal chromosomes. The key similarity is the way in which the DNA is arranged into clusters—or "discrete compartmentalizations"—based upon their function.

"'When we first saw the interaction patterns of the archaea's DNA, we were shocked," Bell said. "It looked just like what has been seen with human DNA."

"The study is also the first to describe the protein used to assemble archaeal DNA during cellular growth. The researchers dubbed this large protein complex as "coalescin" due to its similarities to a protein in eukaryotes called "condensin."

The advantages to the use of archaea as a model for studying the organization of DNA during cellular growth in humans—and the relationship between that organization and the activation of genes that may trigger cancers—is their relative simplicity.

"'Human cells are horrifyingly complex, and understanding the rules that govern DNA folding is extremely challenging," Bell said. "The simplicity of archaea means that they've got the potential to be a terrific model to help understand the fundamentally related—but much more complicated—cellular processes in humans.'"

Comment: It was previously found that eukaryotes were more closely related to Archaea. Does that make bacteria a side branch?

Evolution: complexity of mammalian backbones

by David Turell @, Thursday, November 07, 2019, 23:31 (278 days ago) @ David Turell

Highly complex and related to large energy use:

https://cosmosmagazine.com/biology/why-mammals-have-such-complex-backbones?utm_source=C...

"Compared to other vertebrate animals such as reptiles, mammals have complex and unexpectedly weird backbones.

"Their spines are essentially differently shaped bones arranged into sections, which is a key to their ability to move in so many different ways – as diverse as a cheetah running, a human walking, a bat flying and a whale swimming.

"A new study in the journal Nature Communications looks at how and why mammals’ backbones became so complex, and how this complexity changed through time.

***

"Co-author Ken Angielczyk, from the Field Museum of Natural History, US, says the study focuses on how mammals evolved from ancient relatives with simple spines to the complex structures we see now.

“'It looks like it’s not just a gradual accumulation of little changes over time – it's more discrete changes,” he says. “And one of these big changes may be related to changes in how mammals are able to move and breathe that let us be so active."

***

“'Basically, big step-wise jumps in evolution mean that the changes that were happening made a big difference in the organisms’ lives, making them better able to survive and pass on their genes.”

"Increasingly complex spines were such a good thing for mammal ancestors, the researchers argue, because they were among the changes related to higher activity levels.

"Compared to reptiles, modern mammals have very high metabolisms – we have more chemical reactions happening to keep our bodies going – and we’re more active.

In general, mammals can move more efficiently and have more stamina, but those benefits come with a cost: mammals have to breathe more than reptiles do, eat more, and need fur to keep their bodies warm enough to keep their systems going.

“'As part of our study, we found that modern mammals with the most complex backbones also usually have the highest activity levels,” says co-author Stephanie Pierce, also from Harvard.

“'And some changes in backbone complexity evolved at about the same time that other features associated with a more active lifestyle evolved, like fur or specialised muscles for breathing.”

“We’re interested in the big picture of how backbones evolve, and there are these long-standing ideas about it being related to the evolution of mammals’ respiration, locomotion, and high activity levels,” says Angielczyk.

“'We're trying to test and refine those hypotheses, and to use them to better understand the broader question of how complexity increases through evolution.”

“This study helps us answer an age-old question – how did life become so complex?” says Jones.

“'By looking at this example system, we show that discreet changes, when added up over the millennia, can produce what seems at first glance to be a long-term trend. The evolution of complexity is, dare I say it, complex!'"

Comment: this article certainly shows my theory that there is a drive to increased complexity that controls evolution. The authors are using Darwin-think but there is no evidence in their study as to how it happened or why it happened. They just assumed it naturally happened, and chance nature simply chose to be more complex. The need for design is obvious. As God controlled evolution, these were necessary steps to create humans.

Evolution: earliest mammals

by David Turell @, Monday, November 18, 2019, 01:13 (268 days ago) @ David Turell

When the characteristics appeared dinosaurs were still around:

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-03170-7

"Mammals first appeared at least 178 million years ago, and scampered amid the dinosaurs until the majority of those beasts, with the exception of the birds, were wiped out 66 million years ago. But mammals didn’t have to wait for that extinction to diversify into many forms and species. “These new discoveries document a huge, hitherto-undreamed-of ecological diversity,” says Richard Cifelli, a palaeontologist at the University of Oklahoma in Norman.

***

"The latest finds are also offering clues to the evolution of key mammal features. For instance, the keen hearing of mammals is partly down to tiny bones in the middle ear — the malleus, incus and ectotympanic. But in the reptilian ancestors of mammals, these bones were part of the jaw, and were used for chewing instead of hearing. Mammal forerunners, such as shrew-like Morganucodon from 205 million years ago, sported a prototype of the mammal arrangement that allowed for both functions.

***

"Another unique trait of mammals is the sophisticated way they chew and ingest food in small parcels, rather than swallowing things whole as snakes and alligators do. To make that possible, mammals evolved a wide variety of complex teeth for biting and grinding food.

"But as babies, mammals are nourished another way — by suckling from their mother’s mammary glands. “Our whole group is named after this incredible biological innovation,” says Luo. Drinking milk is made possible by the ability to suck and swallow, aided by the hyoid bones in the throat and muscles that support them. This apparatus also forms the voice box.


"In July, Luo published a paper revealing a 165-million-year-old vole-sized docodont — a close relative of true mammals — that had the hyoid bones of its throat preserved14. Microdocodon gracilis is the earliest animal known to have been able to suckle like a modern mammal.

***

"Much of the constellation of features we think of as defining mammals — complex teeth, excellent senses, lactation, small litter size — might actually have evolved before true mammals, and quite quickly. “More and more it looks like it all came out in a very short burst of evolutionary experimentation,” Luo says. By the time mammal-like creatures were roaming around in the Mesozoic, he says, “the lineage has already acquired its modern look and modern biological adaptations”."

Comment: the same problems that surround the evolution of live birth, the accommodation of skull and pelvic size while a brain is enlarging as evolution goes forward, apply to suckling milk with special arrangements in the infant throat involving the special hyoid bone shape and function to allow suckling without drowning. The problem is designing at the same time changes in two separate individuals, mother and infants. Only design by a designer can accomplish this contemporaneous set of alterations. Darwin theory cannot answer this problem.

Evolution: earliest mammals

by dhw, Monday, November 18, 2019, 08:24 (268 days ago) @ David Turell

QUOTE: "Much of the constellation of features we think of as defining mammals — complex teeth, excellent senses, lactation, small litter size — might actually have evolved before true mammals, and quite quickly. “More and more it looks like it all came out in a very short burst of evolutionary experimentation,” Luo says. By the time mammal-like creatures were roaming around in the Mesozoic, he says, “the lineage has already acquired its modern look and modern biological adaptations”."

DAVID: the same problems that surround the evolution of live birth, the accommodation of skull and pelvic size while a brain is enlarging as evolution goes forward, apply to suckling milk with special arrangements in the infant throat involving the special hyoid bone shape and function to allow suckling without drowning. The problem is designing at the same time changes in two separate individuals, mother and infants. Only design by a designer can accomplish this contemporaneous set of alterations. Darwin theory cannot answer this problem.

Thank you for another thought-provoking article. I agree with you that Darwin theory cannot answer the problem. We do not have any theory that can answer the problem. We only have speculative hypotheses. “Evolutionary experimentation” is an interesting phrase which would fit in equally with the concept of an experimenting God (as opposed to an always-in-charge God with a single purpose and the knowledge of how to achieve that purpose), or of cell communities finding different ways to enhance their chances of survival.

Evolution: earliest mammals

by David Turell @, Monday, November 18, 2019, 15:28 (268 days ago) @ dhw

QUOTE: "Much of the constellation of features we think of as defining mammals — complex teeth, excellent senses, lactation, small litter size — might actually have evolved before true mammals, and quite quickly. “More and more it looks like it all came out in a very short burst of evolutionary experimentation,” Luo says. By the time mammal-like creatures were roaming around in the Mesozoic, he says, “the lineage has already acquired its modern look and modern biological adaptations”."

DAVID: the same problems that surround the evolution of live birth, the accommodation of skull and pelvic size while a brain is enlarging as evolution goes forward, apply to suckling milk with special arrangements in the infant throat involving the special hyoid bone shape and function to allow suckling without drowning. The problem is designing at the same time changes in two separate individuals, mother and infants. Only design by a designer can accomplish this contemporaneous set of alterations. Darwin theory cannot answer this problem.

dhw: Thank you for another thought-provoking article. I agree with you that Darwin theory cannot answer the problem. We do not have any theory that can answer the problem. We only have speculative hypotheses. “Evolutionary experimentation” is an interesting phrase which would fit in equally with the concept of an experimenting God (as opposed to an always-in-charge God with a single purpose and the knowledge of how to achieve that purpose), or of cell communities finding different ways to enhance their chances of survival.

Your answer neatly avoids the issue of an obvious need for a designer.

Evolution: earliest mammals

by dhw, Tuesday, November 19, 2019, 13:05 (267 days ago) @ David Turell

QUOTE: "Much of the constellation of features we think of as defining mammals — complex teeth, excellent senses, lactation, small litter size — might actually have evolved before true mammals, and quite quickly. “More and more it looks like it all came out in a very short burst of evolutionary experimentation,” Luo says. By the time mammal-like creatures were roaming around in the Mesozoic, he says, “the lineage has already acquired its modern look and modern biological adaptations”."

DAVID: the same problems that surround the evolution of live birth, the accommodation of skull and pelvic size while a brain is enlarging as evolution goes forward, apply to suckling milk with special arrangements in the infant throat involving the special hyoid bone shape and function to allow suckling without drowning. The problem is designing at the same time changes in two separate individuals, mother and infants. Only design by a designer can accomplish this contemporaneous set of alterations. Darwin theory cannot answer this problem.

dhw: Thank you for another thought-provoking article. I agree with you that Darwin theory cannot answer the problem. We do not have any theory that can answer the problem. We only have speculative hypotheses. “Evolutionary experimentation” is an interesting phrase which would fit in equally with the concept of an experimenting God (as opposed to an always-in-charge God with a single purpose and the knowledge of how to achieve that purpose), or of cell communities finding different ways to enhance their chances of survival.

DAVID: Your answer neatly avoids the issue of an obvious need for a designer.

Your comment neatly avoids my proposal that the article could be used to support the theory of an experimenting designer as opposed to a designer with a single purpose and the knowledge to achieve that purpose. It also neatly avoids the proposal that all the changes might be designed through the (possibly God-given) intelligence of the cell communities of which all organisms are composed.

Evolution: earliest mammals

by David Turell @, Tuesday, November 19, 2019, 14:33 (267 days ago) @ dhw

QUOTE: "Much of the constellation of features we think of as defining mammals — complex teeth, excellent senses, lactation, small litter size — might actually have evolved before true mammals, and quite quickly. “More and more it looks like it all came out in a very short burst of evolutionary experimentation,” Luo says. By the time mammal-like creatures were roaming around in the Mesozoic, he says, “the lineage has already acquired its modern look and modern biological adaptations”."

DAVID: the same problems that surround the evolution of live birth, the accommodation of skull and pelvic size while a brain is enlarging as evolution goes forward, apply to suckling milk with special arrangements in the infant throat involving the special hyoid bone shape and function to allow suckling without drowning. The problem is designing at the same time changes in two separate individuals, mother and infants. Only design by a designer can accomplish this contemporaneous set of alterations. Darwin theory cannot answer this problem.

dhw: Thank you for another thought-provoking article. I agree with you that Darwin theory cannot answer the problem. We do not have any theory that can answer the problem. We only have speculative hypotheses. “Evolutionary experimentation” is an interesting phrase which would fit in equally with the concept of an experimenting God (as opposed to an always-in-charge God with a single purpose and the knowledge of how to achieve that purpose), or of cell communities finding different ways to enhance their chances of survival.

DAVID: Your answer neatly avoids the issue of an obvious need for a designer.

dhw: Your comment neatly avoids my proposal that the article could be used to support the theory of an experimenting designer as opposed to a designer with a single purpose and the knowledge to achieve that purpose. It also neatly avoids the proposal that all the changes might be designed through the (possibly God-given) intelligence of the cell communities of which all organisms are composed.

Again you revert to a 'possible' designer, when the evidence is clear a designer is required. How can there be obvious design without an actual designer?

Evolution: earliest mammals

by dhw, Wednesday, November 20, 2019, 11:30 (266 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Thank you for another thought-provoking article. I agree with you that Darwin theory cannot answer the problem. We do not have any theory that can answer the problem. We only have speculative hypotheses. “Evolutionary experimentation” is an interesting phrase which would fit in equally with the concept of an experimenting God (as opposed to an always-in-charge God with a single purpose and the knowledge of how to achieve that purpose), or of cell communities finding different ways to enhance their chances of survival.

DAVID: Your answer neatly avoids the issue of an obvious need for a designer.

dhw: Your comment neatly avoids my proposal that the article could be used to support the theory of an experimenting designer as opposed to a designer with a single purpose and the knowledge to achieve that purpose. It also neatly avoids the proposal that all the changes might be designed through the (possibly God-given) intelligence of the cell communities of which all organisms are composed.

DAVID: Again you revert to a 'possible' designer, when the evidence is clear a designer is required. How can there be obvious design without an actual designer?

You have again neatly avoided my proposal that the article supports the concept of an experimenting designer (as opposed to one who has a single purpose in mind and knows exactly how to achieve it), and after all these years, you still haven’t grasped the concept of multiple designers (possibly with God-given intelligence) in the form of the cells/cell communities of which all organisms are composed.

Evolution: earliest mammals

by David Turell @, Wednesday, November 20, 2019, 19:25 (266 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: Thank you for another thought-provoking article. I agree with you that Darwin theory cannot answer the problem. We do not have any theory that can answer the problem. We only have speculative hypotheses. “Evolutionary experimentation” is an interesting phrase which would fit in equally with the concept of an experimenting God (as opposed to an always-in-charge God with a single purpose and the knowledge of how to achieve that purpose), or of cell communities finding different ways to enhance their chances of survival.

DAVID: Your answer neatly avoids the issue of an obvious need for a designer.

dhw: Your comment neatly avoids my proposal that the article could be used to support the theory of an experimenting designer as opposed to a designer with a single purpose and the knowledge to achieve that purpose. It also neatly avoids the proposal that all the changes might be designed through the (possibly God-given) intelligence of the cell communities of which all organisms are composed.

DAVID: Again you revert to a 'possible' designer, when the evidence is clear a designer is required. How can there be obvious design without an actual designer?

dhw: You have again neatly avoided my proposal that the article supports the concept of an experimenting designer (as opposed to one who has a single purpose in mind and knows exactly how to achieve it), and after all these years, you still haven’t grasped the concept of multiple designers (possibly with God-given intelligence) in the form of the cells/cell communities of which all organisms are composed.

My avoidance comes from my knowledge of your knowledge of my thoughts. I'll bother to repeat: Since we do not know God intimately, we cannot know if He experiments with His designs. My own feeling is that He is too knowledgeable and purposeful for that. I have totally grasped your theory that there are multiple designers and I have totally rejected that approach. For me God is the sole designer, and cells in a multicellular organism do not have any such capacity to design a species for the future.

Evolution: earliest mammals

by dhw, Thursday, November 21, 2019, 10:33 (265 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Your answer neatly avoids the issue of an obvious need for a designer.

dhw: Your comment neatly avoids my proposal that the article could be used to support the theory of an experimenting designer as opposed to a designer with a single purpose and the knowledge to achieve that purpose. It also neatly avoids the proposal that all the changes might be designed through the (possibly God-given) intelligence of the cell communities of which all organisms are composed.

DAVID: Again you revert to a 'possible' designer, when the evidence is clear a designer is required. How can there be obvious design without an actual designer?

dhw: You have again neatly avoided my proposal that the article supports the concept of an experimenting designer (as opposed to one who has a single purpose in mind and knows exactly how to achieve it), and after all these years, you still haven’t grasped the concept of multiple designers (possibly with God-given intelligence) in the form of the cells/cell communities of which all organisms are composed.

DAVID: My avoidance comes from my knowledge of your knowledge of my thoughts. I'll bother to repeat: Since we do not know God intimately, we cannot know if He experiments with His designs. My own feeling is that He is too knowledgeable and purposeful for that. I have totally grasped your theory that there are multiple designers and I have totally rejected that approach. For me God is the sole designer, and cells in a multicellular organism do not have any such capacity to design a species for the future.

You had accused me of avoiding the issue of the need for a designer. I did not avoid the issue, and offered two different hypotheses concerning design. The article could support the experimenting designer, but you have a fixed belief in a designer who knows everything in advance. The article also fits in with the hypothesis of cellular design, but you have a fixed belief that cells are incapable of “evolutionary novelty” (Shapiro). But it is pleasing to note your acknowledgement that we cannot know. All the more reason why we should keep an open mind.

Evolution: earliest mammals

by David Turell @, Thursday, November 21, 2019, 19:55 (265 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Your answer neatly avoids the issue of an obvious need for a designer.

dhw: Your comment neatly avoids my proposal that the article could be used to support the theory of an experimenting designer as opposed to a designer with a single purpose and the knowledge to achieve that purpose. It also neatly avoids the proposal that all the changes might be designed through the (possibly God-given) intelligence of the cell communities of which all organisms are composed.

DAVID: Again you revert to a 'possible' designer, when the evidence is clear a designer is required. How can there be obvious design without an actual designer?

dhw: You have again neatly avoided my proposal that the article supports the concept of an experimenting designer (as opposed to one who has a single purpose in mind and knows exactly how to achieve it), and after all these years, you still haven’t grasped the concept of multiple designers (possibly with God-given intelligence) in the form of the cells/cell communities of which all organisms are composed.

DAVID: My avoidance comes from my knowledge of your knowledge of my thoughts. I'll bother to repeat: Since we do not know God intimately, we cannot know if He experiments with His designs. My own feeling is that He is too knowledgeable and purposeful for that. I have totally grasped your theory that there are multiple designers and I have totally rejected that approach. For me God is the sole designer, and cells in a multicellular organism do not have any such capacity to design a species for the future.

dhw: You had accused me of avoiding the issue of the need for a designer. I did not avoid the issue, and offered two different hypotheses concerning design. The article could support the experimenting designer, but you have a fixed belief in a designer who knows everything in advance. The article also fits in with the hypothesis of cellular design, but you have a fixed belief that cells are incapable of “evolutionary novelty” (Shapiro). But it is pleasing to note your acknowledgement that we cannot know. All the more reason why we should keep an open mind.

And I have interpreted Shapiro for you, so you can realize he has only studied free-living bacteria looking for possible speciation mechanisms. Bacteria have reasonable change options so they can survive.

Evolution: Haeckels fake news

by David Turell @, Thursday, December 26, 2019, 15:33 (230 days ago) @ David Turell

Alteration of facts in drawings:

https://quillette.com/2019/12/21/the-many-faces-of-scientific-fraud/

In the second half of the nineteenth century, the German biologist Ernst Haeckel was convinced that, according to his famous maxim, “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny”—in other words, that over the course of its embryonic development, an animal passes through different stages comparable to those of the previous species in its evolutionary lineage. In Anthropogenie oder Entwicklungsgeschichte des Menschen (1874), Haeckel published a plate of his drawings showing the three successive stages of the embryonic development of the fish, salamander, turtle, chicken, rabbit, pig, and human being. A single glance at the drawings reveals that the embryos are very similar at an early stage in development.

As soon as the book was published, these illustrations met with serious criticism from some of Haeckel’s colleagues and rival embryologists. Yet it would take a full century and the comparison of Haeckel’s drawings with photographs of embryos of the same species for it to become clear that the former were far closer to works of art than scientific observation. Today, we know that ontogeny does not recapitulate phylogeny, and that the highly talented artist Ernst Haeckel drew these plates of embryos to illustrate perfectly a theory to which he was deeply attached.

Comment: I am so old, I was taught in school that “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny”. Is it possible it is taught today?

Evolution: Haeckels fake news

by dhw, Friday, December 27, 2019, 12:34 (229 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: I am so old, I was taught in school that “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny”. Is it possible it is taught today?

I am almost as old as you, and have certainly grown up and old with the impression that this was true. Some websites say it is true of the very early stages of the embryo, and if it is, that’s good enough for me. It has to diverge sooner rather than later, since there are such vast differences between, say, elephants, cats and humans.

Evolution: Haeckels fake news

by David Turell @, Friday, December 27, 2019, 15:19 (229 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: I am so old, I was taught in school that “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny”. Is it possible it is taught today?

dhw: I am almost as old as you, and have certainly grown up and old with the impression that this was true. Some websites say it is true of the very early stages of the embryo, and if it is, that’s good enough for me. It has to diverge sooner rather than later, since there are such vast differences between, say, elephants, cats and humans.

Since all embryos start as spheres of cells before differentiation hey will be similar. Once differentiation has progressed, they all differ. What current websites still support this out dated idea?

Evolution: Haeckels fake news

by dhw, Saturday, December 28, 2019, 10:59 (228 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: I am so old, I was taught in school that “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny”. Is it possible it is taught today?

dhw: I am almost as old as you, and have certainly grown up and old with the impression that this was true. Some websites say it is true of the very early stages of the embryo, and if it is, that’s good enough for me. It has to diverge sooner rather than later, since there are such vast differences between, say, elephants, cats and humans.

DAVID: Since all embryos start as spheres of cells before differentiation they will be similar. Once differentiation has progressed, they all differ. What current websites still support this out dated idea?

Of course things differ once differentiation progresses! Here are some websites for you:


How Embryonic Homologies Support Evolution
https://www.learnreligions.com/how-embryonic-homologies-support-evolution-249886

How does embryology provide evidence for evolution - Answers
https://www.answers.com/Q/How_does_embryology_provide_evidence_for_evolution

8 Scientific Discoveries That Prove Evolution is Real
https://io9.gizmodo.com/8-scientific-discoveries-that-prove-evolution-is-real-1729902558

Evolution: Haeckels fake news

by David Turell @, Saturday, December 28, 2019, 16:13 (228 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: I am so old, I was taught in school that “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny”. Is it possible it is taught today?

dhw: I am almost as old as you, and have certainly grown up and old with the impression that this was true. Some websites say it is true of the very early stages of the embryo, and if it is, that’s good enough for me. It has to diverge sooner rather than later, since there are such vast differences between, say, elephants, cats and humans.

DAVID: Since all embryos start as spheres of cells before differentiation they will be similar. Once differentiation has progressed, they all differ. What current websites still support this out dated idea?

dhw: Of course things differ once differentiation progresses! Here are some websites for you:


How Embryonic Homologies Support Evolution
https://www.learnreligions.com/how-embryonic-homologies-support-evolution-249886

How does embryology provide evidence for evolution - Answers
https://www.answers.com/Q/How_does_embryology_provide_evidence_for_evolution

8 Scientific Discoveries That Prove Evolution is Real
https://io9.gizmodo.com/8-scientific-discoveries-that-prove-evolution-is-real-1729902558

Thank you. Ah yes, homologies fit evolution, but Haeckels drawings are not correct.

Evolution: Haeckels fake news

by dhw, Sunday, December 29, 2019, 10:40 (227 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: I am so old, I was taught in school that “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny”. Is it possible it is taught today?

dhw: I am almost as old as you, and have certainly grown up and old with the impression that this was true. Some websites say it is true of the very early stages of the embryo, and if it is, that’s good enough for me. It has to diverge sooner rather than later, since there are such vast differences between, say, elephants, cats and humans.

DAVID: Since all embryos start as spheres of cells before differentiation they will be similar. Once differentiation has progressed, they all differ. What current websites still support this out dated idea?

dhw: Of course things differ once differentiation progresses! Here are some websites for you:

How Embryonic Homologies Support Evolution
https://www.learnreligions.com/how-embryonic-homologies-support-evolution-249886

How does embryology provide evidence for evolution - Answers
https://www.answers.com/Q/How_does_embryology_provide_evidence_for_evolution

8 Scientific Discoveries That Prove Evolution is Real
https://io9.gizmodo.com/8-scientific-discoveries-that-prove-evolution-is-real-1729902558

DAVID: Thank you. Ah yes, homologies fit evolution, but Haeckels drawings are not correct.

That does not invalidate his theory, and “not correct” is very different from “fake”. But I don’t know enough about the case to settle on the correct vocabulary!

Evolution: Haeckels fake news

by David Turell @, Sunday, December 29, 2019, 15:40 (227 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: I am so old, I was taught in school that “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny”. Is it possible it is taught today?

dhw: I am almost as old as you, and have certainly grown up and old with the impression that this was true. Some websites say it is true of the very early stages of the embryo, and if it is, that’s good enough for me. It has to diverge sooner rather than later, since there are such vast differences between, say, elephants, cats and humans.

DAVID: Since all embryos start as spheres of cells before differentiation they will be similar. Once differentiation has progressed, they all differ. What current websites still support this out dated idea?

dhw: Of course things differ once differentiation progresses! Here are some websites for you:

How Embryonic Homologies Support Evolution
https://www.learnreligions.com/how-embryonic-homologies-support-evolution-249886

How does embryology provide evidence for evolution - Answers
https://www.answers.com/Q/How_does_embryology_provide_evidence_for_evolution

8 Scientific Discoveries That Prove Evolution is Real
https://io9.gizmodo.com/8-scientific-discoveries-that-prove-evolution-is-real-1729902558

DAVID: Thank you. Ah yes, homologies fit evolution, but Haeckels drawings are not correct.

dhw: That does not invalidate his theory, and “not correct” is very different from “fake”. But I don’t know enough about the case to settle on the correct vocabulary!

We do simply know we come from past forms.

Evolution: origin of eukaryotes: Archaea candidate found

by David Turell @, Thursday, January 16, 2020, 00:24 (209 days ago) @ David Turell

Finally cultured:

https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/01/microbes-found-that-are-the-closest-living-rela...

"Last year, a hydrothermal vent in the Arctic named Loki's Castle yielded organisms that picked up the name Lokiarchaea. Now, researchers have used Lokiarchaea's genome to find a large group of related species that they are naming the Asgard superphylum. Genetically, these organisms are the closest relatives of complex cells. The relationship is so close that all organisms with complex cells may simply be one branch of this group.

***

"So, what sort of genes do the residents of Asgard have? Lots of things that we had thought were unique to eukaryotes. The proteins made from these genes do things like managing membranes internal to the cell, constructing a skeleton-like network of fibers within the cell, and shifting other proteins to specific locations within the cell. They also make specialized proteins that destroy defective proteins and repair damaged DNA.

"Given these findings, we shouldn't be surprised that a larger tree-building exercise grouped all eukaryotes with the Asgard archaea—hence the argument that there are only two domains of life. At this point, it's not possible to tell whether they are separate branches or if eukaryotes are an offshoot of a specific phylum, like Heimdallarchaeota.

"All of this, the authors argue, make the case that some of the basic features of eukaryotes existed before they swallowed a bacteria for energy production. And these same features still exist today in the archaea.

"That idea, they point out, isn't as radical as it once was. Far from being featureless, uniform collections of proteins and other molecules, we've begun to discover many examples of structure inside bacteria and archaea, from internal membranes to skeleton-like structures. It just appears that the Asgardians put together a more complete package—and the one that happened to produce eukaryotes.

"Obviously, we'd like to take a closer look at these organisms and get a better sense of their internals. But the prospects aren't great. Most of them are very rare in their environment, and the Odinarcheota seem to only be present in extreme high-temperature environments. And, aside from the fact that they only grow in environments that lack oxygen, we have no idea of the sort of conditions they do like. So, while we're sure they're out there, it may be a while before we can appreciate how they might have given rise to complex cells—and, ultimately, us."

Comment: thank goodness for Carl Woese who found Archaea. We appear to be direct descendants of these bugs, while bacteria are kept around to facilitate our lives

Evolution: complexify or not

by David Turell @, Saturday, January 18, 2020, 20:15 (206 days ago) @ David Turell

It is interesting that some animals appear and do not change to any real degree and others make enormous changes. Scorpions show very little change from the earliest ones found:

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/worlds-oldest-scorpions-437-million-year-...

"...new research is pushing the scorpion timeline further back than ever before and may help pinpoint the traits that helped these pint-sized predators make a living on land. Today in Scientific Reports, paleontologists announce the discovery of the oldest known scorpions to date: a pristinely preserved pair of 437-million-year-old fossils, complete with what seem to be venom-packed tails.

***

"Together with other, younger fossils from the same geologic period, the ancient arachnids suggest that scorpions have looked and acted in much the same way ever since they first appeared on Earth.

***

"Early scorpions could blur the line between sea- and land-dwellers. Something had to crawl out of the water first, perhaps adopting an amphibian-like lifestyle. Parioscorpio’s physique, a mashup of marine and terrestrial traits, hints it was a good candidate for this double life.

"The heads of more recent scorpion species are adorned with multiple rows of beady, pinprick eyes. But Parioscorpio saw the world through bulbous, front-facing compound eyes, similar to the ones still found on today’s insects and crustaceans, as well as its ocean-based ancestors.

"Most of Parioscorpio’s other body parts, however, looked more contemporary. Like the scorpions that plague us today, this ancient animal boasted clawed pincers and a tail that likely tapered into a venomous stinger (though the actual tip, if it existed, has been lost to time). Even its insides were a match: The fossils were so exquisitely entombed that Wendruff could still see the delicate outlines of a simple tube-like gut and a series of hourglass-shaped structures that might have housed their hearts—all of which resembled the innards of modern land-dwelling scorpions.

“'The amazing preservation of the internal anatomy … reiterates how the [scorpion] ground plan has stayed the same, not just on the outside, but the inside, too,” says Lorenzo Prendini, a scorpion evolution expert at the American Museum of Natural History who helped uncover another batch of Silurian fossils from this lineage, but wasn’t involved in the new study. “It’s an ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ mentality.'”

Comment: There are many sorts of examples of change or no change: it seems scorpions never evolved much from their start. Mammals jumped into the water and became whales. Humans quickly evolved from apes. We can look for circumstances that pushed the changes but the reason we find as guesses and at times the changes are unreasonable. Mammal did not need to enter the water, as most mammals have survived just as they are. Apes have remained just fine over eight million years. Human appearance was not required. Which raises the observation that evolution could be following a drive by a designer.

Evolution: a virus with unrelated new genes

by David Turell @, Friday, February 14, 2020, 14:46 (180 days ago) @ David Turell

Can this virus be part of common descent?:

https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.01.28.923185v1

"Abstract
Here we report the discovery of Yaravirus, a new lineage of amoebal virus with a puzzling origin and phylogeny. Yaravirus presents 80 nm-sized particles and a 44,924 bp dsDNA genome encoding for 74 predicted proteins. More than 90% (68) of Yaravirus predicted genes have never been described before, representing ORFans. Only six genes had distant homologs in public databases: an exonuclease/recombinase, a packaging-ATPase, a bifunctional DNA primase/polymerase and three hypothetical proteins. Furthermore, we were not able to retrieve viral genomes closely related to Yaravirus in 8,535 publicly available metagenomes spanning diverse habitats around the globe. The Yaravirus genome also contained six types of tRNAs that did not match commonly used codons. Proteomics revealed that Yaravirus particles contain 26 viral proteins, one of which potentially representing a novel capsid protein with no significant homology with NCLDV major capsid proteins but with a predicted double-jelly roll domain. Yaravirus expands our knowledge of the diversity of DNA viruses. The phylogenetic distance between Yaravirus and all other viruses highlights our still preliminary assessment of the genomic diversity of eukaryotic viruses, reinforcing the need for the isolation of new viruses of protists.

"Significance statement Most of the known viruses of amoeba have been seen to share many features that eventually prompted authors to classify them into common evolutionary groups. Here we describe Yaravirus, an entity that could represent either the first isolated virus of Acanthamoeba spp. out of the group of NCLDVs or, in alternative evolutive scenario, it is a distant and extremely reduced virus of this group. Contrary to what is observed in other isolated viruses of amoeba, Yaravirus is not represented by a large/giant particle and a complex genome, but at the same time carries an important number of previously undescribed genes, including one encoding a novel major capsid protein. Metagenomic approaches also testified for the rarity of Yaravirus in the environment."

comment: over 90% of genes are entirely new, and the remainder only distantly related to known genes. Where did this come from? Did it invent itself or was it designed. Evolution gets stranger and stranger.

Evolution: origin of eukaryotes: dinosaur body temperature

by David Turell @, Sunday, February 16, 2020, 20:18 (177 days ago) @ David Turell

Poikilothermic or homeothermic? Study says probably homeothermic based on fossil egg shells:

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2233396-75-million-year-old-eggshells-suggest-most...

"An analysis of fossil eggshells may have settled a long-running debate about dinosaurs, suggesting that all species were warm-blooded.

"This also means the ancestors of dinosaurs must have been warm-blooded too, says Robin Dawson at Yale University, who led the research.

"It is now mostly agreed that the feathered dinosaurs called theropods that gave rise to birds were warm-blooded, but there is still a debate about whether other groups of dinosaurs were too. Until recently, we had only indirect methods of working out the body temperature of ancient animals, so there was no way to be sure.

"There is a way to work out the temperature at which organic matter forms inside bodies based on carbon and oxygen isotopes. This technique can be applied to eggshells to reveal the body temperature of the mother when the shells formed.

"One belonged to a theropod called Troodon formosus, and another to a duck-billed dinosaur called Maiasaura peeblesorum. The researchers are confident the third eggshell belonged to a sauropod known as a dwarf titanosaur, although the dinosaur hasn’t yet been definitively identified.

"The team’s analysis suggests the duck-billed dinosaur had a body temperature of 44°C, the troodon had a temperature up to 38°C and the dwarf titanosaur 36°C – all warmer than the environments they lived in.

"Crucially, duck-billed dinosaurs belonged to a different group of dinosaurs from theropods and sauropods, which are more closely related to each other. This group includes animals such as triceratops and stegosaurs. It is much less likely that warm-bloodedness evolved independently in each of these three major types of dinosaur, says Dawson, which implies all dinosaur groups would have shared this trait, pointing to an ancestral origin.

“'If these three major groups had the capacity to use their metabolism to raise body temperature, that is something that stands for them all,” she says.

"However, it appears the troodon’s body temperature sometimes dropped as low as 28°C, says Dawson. So it may have been heterothermic: able to lower its body temperature to save energy, as many present-day birds and mammals can. (my bold)

"What these findings don’t tell us is why dinosaurs’ ancestors evolved to be warm-blooded, something that is still hotly debated."

Comment: Note my bold. All life needs to eat for the energy to survive, so part of the decision about body temperature has to be concerned with availability of food supply. From the standpoint of survival fitness, poikilothermic should survive more easily, so what is the evolutionary advantage of homeothermic body temperature? The animal can live anywhere in extreme environmental temperatures . Raising body temperature with fever fights infections. And finally higher temperatures means enzymatic reactions run at higher speed,

Evolution: reintroduction shows econiche importance

by David Turell @, Monday, February 17, 2020, 20:17 (176 days ago) @ David Turell

Just as reintroducing wolves in Yellowstone has changed the local ecology, bison are doing it in Banff National Park in Canada:

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/banff-bison-reintroduction-project-1.5458896?utm...

"Parks Canada is at the halfway point of a five-year pilot project, which aims to test the reintroduction of wild plains bison to the park's ecosystem.

"The project began in February 2017, when 16 bison were relocated from Elk Island National Park, east of Edmonton. The large ungulates were moved to a fenced pasture in the remote Panther River Valley, about 40 kilometres north of the Banff townsite.

"The animals now number 36 and are roaming free in a 1,200-square-kilometre reintroduction zone. The herd population is expected to surpass 300 by 2031.

"'They're revisiting many of the areas their ancestors did and as they're literally grazing down the grasses in places, they're revealing old wallow spots that would have been there from hundreds, or even thousands, of years ago and in fact they're reactivating them," said Karsten Heuer, the manager of the bison reintroduction project.

"Heuer said the wallows are reactivating the ecosystem by tempting birds back to the meadows, and creating itinerant habitats for amphibians that love the puddles created by the imprints left as bison roll in the grass.

***

"Bison used to be abundant on the Great Plains, which stretch from north of Edmonton down to Texas. Small numbers roamed what is now Banff National Park for 10,000 years until they were nearly driven to extinction by human activity prior to the park's creation in 1885.

"'This is kind of neat to learn our lessons, to reverse a historic wrong on a small scale … and then hopefully inspire other similar projects," Heuer said.

"Heuer told council it's been powerful to witness their return, both for ecological reasons and for the cultural significance the bison have for Indigenous people.

"'A large impetus for this project is to inspire people, and to inspire people with the message and the hope of reconciliation and reintroduction and renewal," he said.

"'It's hard to explain without maybe sounding a bit cliché, but bison are to the First Nations cultures around here what the salmon were to the coastal and caribou were to the northern cultures … to witness that hope and sense of rejuvenation is pretty powerful."

"Heuer said it's too early to say for sure, but his personal opinion is that the experiment is going well. The animals are largely healthy, and just one calf has died from what's believed to be natural causes.

"Wolves have largely left the bison alone as well."

Comment: Makes the same point as always. Econiches are extremely important for life to exist in diverse proportions. Wolves can only take down a sickly old bison or an unguarded calf.

Evolution: a multicellular animal needs no oxygen

by David Turell @, Monday, February 24, 2020, 21:50 (169 days ago) @ David Turell

Newly found, with no explanation as to why it is different:

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2235009-animal-that-doesnt-need-oxygen-to-survive-...

“'It has lost the ability to breathe oxygen,” says Dorothee Huchon at Tel Aviv University in Israel. It remains a mystery how this animal, a parasite that infects salmon, gets the energy it needs without oxygen, she says, but it most likely steals it from its host.

***

"Each mitochondrion has its own tiny genome in addition to the main genome in the cell nucleus. But when Huchon’s team sequenced the DNA of Henneguya salminicola, which is related to jellyfish, they thought they had made a mistake because they found no mitochondrial DNA at all.

"Further studies confirmed the finding. When the team stained H. salminicola with a blue fluorescent dye that binds to DNA, no DNA was visible in cells outside the nucleus. By contrast, when they stained a closely related parasite, blue dots corresponding to mitochondrial genomes were visible outside the nucleus.

"So while the cells of H. salminicola have structures that look like mitochondria, they cannot make the enzymes needed to use oxygen to produce ATP. “These are not true mitochondria,” says Huchon.

"This means H. salminicola is a multicellular animal that can survive entirely without oxygen. “There are plenty that can go for extended periods without, but nothing that can get through the whole life cycle,” says Nick Lane of University College London.

"We don’t know why H. salminicola has lost this ability while all of its immediate relatives that we have identified use oxygen. As these parasites move through their life cycle, they may also live inside a worm host where they would have to make do with virtually no oxygen, as well. The worm host of H. salminicola has never been identified, but it too may live in sediments with very low oxygen levels, Huchon says.

"Although the parasite is harmless to humans, it is a major problem for fish farmers because it creates unsightly white spots in the flesh of infected fish."

Comment: Very unusual branch of evolution. Perhaps the host worm gives it a little oxygen. But it fits into its necessary econiche

Evolution: eyes are as complex as the human brain

by David Turell @, Thursday, February 27, 2020, 05:53 (167 days ago) @ David Turell

The evolution of the eye is highly specific in what is required:

https://evolutionnews.org/2020/02/the-evolution-of-the-eye-demystified/

"I wish to emphasize the irreducible complexity of the visual cycle, on top of the sheer anatomical complexity of the human eye with its over two million working parts, second only to the human brain in complexity.

***

"Eyespots are the simplest eyes found in nature. They are composed of rhodopsins, which are light-sensitive proteins, and orange-red colored pigment granules, which have their color by selectively absorbing or reflecting light. The color spectrum, which is reflected, is the one that becomes visible to our eyes.

***

"As an interdependent system, this visual system requires certain essential components, including rhodopsin proteins, a pigment spot, and ion flux. If one part is missing, the organism cannot move by phototaxis. Natural selection will not select any intermediate evolutionary step, since the system, with any of the required elements missing, would confer no function, and thus no survival advantage.

***

"There is no vision without rhodopsin proteins. Unless rhodopsin transforms light into a signal, and that signal is used by a signal transduction pathway to promote phototaxis, neither rhodopsins nor eyespots would have a function on their own.

"Rhodopsins themselves are complex. They are composed of two parts: opsin proteins, which are made of seven α-helices forming a circle, and retinal, which is a light-absorbing chromophore. Retinal is covalently linked to the opsins and horizontally positioned in the pocket inside the opsin tunnel. When a single photon hits retinal, a small conformational change is triggered in the opsin, and that triggers a cascade of several chemical reactions and biochemical transformations, ultimatively leading to sight.

"the following is required:

"A Schiff base, which is a chemical compound where carbon and nitrogen atoms are bound together by a double bond, involving four, instead of two electrons, binding retinal to a side chain of a lysine amino acid.

"A side chain of the amino acid Lys296 (lysine) where retinal covalently binds. Each of the seven transmembrane helices is composed of a specific number of amino acids. Bovine rhodopsin, for example, has 342 amino acids. The number 296 in Lys296 stands for the 296th amino acid in the chain. There is a pivotal role for the covalent bond between retinal and the lysine residue at position 296 in the activation pathway of rhodopsin.

"An essential amino acid residue called “counterion.” The counterion, a negatively charged amino acid residue that stabilizes a positive charge on the retinal, is crucial for rhodopsin to receive visible light.

"Unless all of these specific points are right from the beginning, rhodopsin will not be functional. A coordinated and finely tuned interplay and precise orchestration between opsin and retinal right from the start is thus indispensible.

"Hundreds of rhodopsins are embedded in the lipid bilayer of the membrane of Chlamydomonas, each using seven protein transmembrane domains, forming a pocket where retinal chromophores are inserted.

The precision with which opsins must fold into their seven-transmembrane configuration is staggering,

***

"E]ven as far back as the prokaryotes the complex seven transmembrane domain arrangement of opsin molecules seems to prevail without simpler photoreceptors existing concurrently. Darwin’s original puzzle over ocular evolution seems still to be with us but now at a molecular level.

"The precision with which opsins must fold into their seven-transmembrane configuration is staggering, as JILA (formerly the Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics) reported:
Biophysicists at JILA have measured protein folding in more detail than ever before, revealing behavior that is surprisingly more complex than previously known….

"[T]he JILA team identified 14 intermediate states — seven times as many as previously observed — in just one part of bacteriorhodopsin, a protein in microbes that converts light to chemical energy and is widely studied in research.

“The increased complexity was stunning,” said project leader Tom Perkins, a National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) biophysicist… “Better instruments revealed all sorts of hidden dynamics that were obscured over the last 17 years when using conventional technology.”

“'If you miss most of the intermediate states, then you don’t really understand the system,” he said.

"Knowledge of protein folding is important because proteins must assume the correct 3-D structure to function properly. Misfolding may inactivate a protein or make it toxic. Several neurodegenerative and other diseases are attributed to incorrect folding of certain proteins."

comment: A highly complex system requiring so many precisely specific interacting parts can only be the result of design.

Evolution: reintroduction shows econiche importance

by David Turell @, Thursday, May 28, 2020, 20:01 (76 days ago) @ David Turell

Same result. Wolves must be present as top predators:

https://phys.org/news/2020-05-reintroduction-wolves-tied-tall-willows.html

"The reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone National Park is tied to the recovery of tall willows in the park, according to a new Oregon State University-led study.

"Wolves were reintroduced to the park in 1995. The new study shows their predation on elk is a major reason for an increase in the height of willows in northern Yellowstone, said Luke Painter, a wildlife ecologist at Oregon State University and lead author on the study.

***

"'Our results demonstrate that the reduction of elk browsing over the last two decades in northern Yellowstone has allowed willows to grow taller in many places, despite a warming and drying climate," Painter said, adding that willows aren't recovering in some areas due to continued browsing by increased numbers of bison.

***

"Painter and co-author Michael Tercek of Walking Shadow Ecology in Montana found a strong contrast between sites along streams compared to wet meadows. Willows in meadow sites did not increase in height, but willows in stream sites increased significantly, exceeding 200 centimeters, or 6 feet—a height accessible to elk—in the summers of 2001-04 and in the spring of 2016.

"They also found a significant change in willow thickets at least 200 centimeters in height along streams, with thickets occupying about 80% of willow patches in some sites, but as little as 22% in others. Tall willow thickets are an important habitat feature and an indicator of willow recovery, Painter said.

"Thus, passive restoration through the return of predators has begun to reverse the loss of willows, something active culling of elk in the past was unable to accomplish, he said.

"'Wolves didn't do it all by themselves," Painter said. "Other predators and hunters also affected elk, but this would not have happened without the wolves.

"'This does not mean a wider expanse of willow habitat has been restored as existed in the early days of the park when beavers created large wetland expanses. This may eventually happen as beavers return but could take a long time to develop."

"This is the latest OSU study led by Painter that examines the effects of wolf reintroduction to Yellowstone on trees. In 2018, he published a study that showed that aspen is recovering in areas around the park, as well as inside the park boundary."

Comment: Same view. Econiches are absolutely necessary for all of living organisms food supply. The vast diversity of the bush of life allows this to happen naturally, until humans step in to change things.

Evolution: origin of eukaryotes: Archaea preplanning

by David Turell @, Saturday, April 11, 2020, 17:42 (123 days ago) @ David Turell

A new discovery in Archaea sows an early form of rhodopsin:

https://phys.org/news/2020-04-driven-proton-distant-relative.html

"Researchers investigated the group of microorganisms classified as Asgard archaea, and found a protein in their membrane which acts as a miniature light-activated pump. The schizorhodopsin protein draws protons into the organisms' body.

***

"...their team chose to study a feature of Asgard archaea that although not unique to them, is especially interesting in their case, and that is light-sensitive or photoreceptive proteins called rhodopsins. The organisms live at the bottom of oceans and lakes so it's surprising they need any kind of sensitivity to light.

"'We explored the molecular function of special rhodopsins in Asgard archaea called schizorhodopsins and found that they acted as light-activated microscopic pumps," explained Inoue. "Schizorhodopsin uses sunlight energy to take up a proton into the cell along a pathway inside the protein. Many prokaryotes such as bacteria and other archaea use rhodopsins to pump protons out, but we find this newly characterized form in Asgard archaea particularly interesting.'"

Comment: These ancient bugs are our direct ancestors. Why did they have precursors of the proteins our eyes use for vision? Easy answer: God knows full well how to evolve toward the future and pre-planned for real vision as it became necessary.

Evolution: origin of bats unknown

by David Turell @, Wednesday, April 22, 2020, 00:17 (112 days ago) @ David Turell

We've figured out whales series and turtles are being uncovered, but the source ob bats so far is a dead end:

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/bats-evolution-history-180974610/?utm_sou...

"...bats are the only mammals to have evolved powered flight, and they’ve been flapping around for tens of millions of years. Where, then, did these flying oddities come from?

***


"There are some differences between the oldest bats and their modern relatives. Based upon the ear anatomy of the better-preserved specimens, for example, scientists know that the first bats couldn’t echolocate. They relied on sight, smell and touch to find their meals. While modern bats have a claw only on the equivalent of our thumb, earlier bats kept some of the additional finger claws inherited from their ancestors. A fossil bat dating to about 52 million years ago, dubbed Onychonycteris finneryi in 2008, had claws on all five of its fingers. New technology has added a few details to the early bat story, too. A recent study of coloration in the fossil record found that two 48 million-year-old bats found in Germany were mostly brown.

***

"The bats that modern scientists know best lived in places where rapid and delicate preservation entombed the tiny mammals. Some of the bones of Icaronycteris index, one of the earliest known bats and a neighbor of Onychonycteris, are as thin as a human hair. The only reason we know about these bats is that they lived around lakes that favored exceptional preservation; the fine sediment and oxygen-depleted water on the lake bottoms allowed fossils to be buried quickly in an environment scavengers and other decomposers couldn’t reach.

***

"Refining our sense of what an early proto-bat might look like is also essential. The current record doesn’t offer many hints. Consider Onychonycteris, one of the oldest known bats featuring some of the most complete remains. While this mammal has more primitive limb proportions and claws on its fingers, says Royal Ontario Museum paleontologist Kevin Seymour, “it is still a bat.” The closest paleontologists can get to understanding this animal is looking at living mouse-tailed bats, Seymour notes, which use a combination of fluttering and gliding to move through the air.

"What came before is only speculative. Bats are mammals, and so the earliest bats were certainly furry. Based on finds such as Onychonycteris, it’s reasonable to propose that bats went through a gliding stage before powered flight, Seymour says, and the first bats probably were insectivores. But that’s about all scientists can say with confidence without a relatively complete fossil to fill in the gap “It will certainly require articulated material,” Seymour says, relatively complete fossils acting as keystones to the tiny fossils of Paleocene and Eocene mammals that may already be resting in museums drawers.

"While experts search for the relevant fossils, other mammals may offer a rough guide of what to expect. Bats may be the only mammals to evolve powered flapping flight, but other mammal species from flying squirrels to a lemur-like creature called the colugo can glide through the air on expanded membranes. The earliest bats probably evolved along a similar route, with some extra skin allowing them to move from tree to tree."

Comment: Probably came from gliding animals, but didn't require the changes whales had to have created. Whals stil defy reasonable Darwinian survival explanations.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Tuesday, February 20, 2018, 07:50 (904 days ago) @ dhw

Sometimes I think we zoom to far in when we are looking at the subject. In this case, what looks like fierce competition when viewed closely appears as wonderful harmony when we step back and look at the ecosystems as a whole. Perhaps the 'competitive' element is there as a product to prevent the degradation of the species through laziness and glut.

In this sense, it is little different than the idea of Capitalism. Through competition we improve both quality and efficiency of what we have to offer. Some businesses fail, some thrive, but in the end, it there is a net gain to the larger society.

If that is true, it would make sense that God would preprogram that concept, as it would cover a multitude of behaviors and provide multiple benefits both to the species and the ecosystem.

--
What is the purpose of living? How about, 'to reduce needless suffering. It seems to me to be a worthy purpose.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by dhw, Tuesday, February 20, 2018, 12:04 (904 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

TONY: Sometimes I think we zoom to far in when we are looking at the subject. In this case, what looks like fierce competition when viewed closely appears as wonderful harmony when we step back and look at the ecosystems as a whole. Perhaps the 'competitive' element is there as a product to prevent the degradation of the species through laziness and glut.

In this sense, it is little different than the idea of Capitalism. Through competition we improve both quality and efficiency of what we have to offer. Some businesses fail, some thrive, but in the end, it there is a net gain to the larger society.

If that is true, it would make sense that God would preprogram that concept, as it would cover a multitude of behaviors and provide multiple benefits both to the species and the ecosystem.

Delighted to have you contributing again, and once more my thanks for your New Year message.

The above, as usual, is a thought-provoking argument, but (also as usual) it leads to a lot of questions. Which species and which ecosystems are you looking at as a whole? Ecosystems have come and gone throughout the history of life, and although I know you dispute the figure of 99%, you will not dispute that vast numbers of species have gone extinct - the most extreme form of “degradation”! So net gain for which species and which ecosystem?

You might apply the same argument to capitalism. Which “larger society” are you thinking of? And one might even ask which form of capitalism? In most societies and under most systems it seems that the rich get richer, whether they are capitalist industrialists or socialist government officials, while the poor get poorer. Theoretically (that word needs huge emphasis) the socialist ideal, whereby those in power take good care of the rest of us, should “result in a net gain to the larger society”, shouldn’t it? Whereas capitalism focuses firmly on the wealth of the individual. But typically, I’m not taking sides. There are good and bad ramifications with both systems, and as I see it, all systems are only as humanitarian and as ecologically efficient as the people who run them.

If God exists, I would hesitate to guess what system he would favour. If he is all-powerful, as many religious people assume, I guess a benign dictatorship would be his preferred option!

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Tuesday, February 20, 2018, 14:54 (904 days ago) @ dhw

We don't know how many have gone extinct, but it isn't the number I would argue about. What's worth arguing about is WHY they went extinct.

Let's categorize these into three groups: those that went extinct naturally, those that went extinct through natural cataclysm, and those that went extinct due to human activity.

The latter category we can scratch from this discussion entirely, because their extinction was enacted by an intelligent (and I use the word loosely) enemy. We may also scratch catastrophies, as they would bypass the 'evolutionary' mechanism.

That leaves the category of those that went extinct naturally, without unnatural excessive interference. This is generally the province of natural selection with it's survival of the fittest. If we examine each biological niche and role, we could likely determine a biological TODO list of events that must happen for the continuation of life. We would also likely find that those organisms which best fill that todo list are the ones that survive, much as happens to business when exposed to free market forces.

At any rate,the point was, what if we examine organisms through the lens of an ecological roles, and their efficacy at filling that role, instead of looking first at the individual organism.

--
What is the purpose of living? How about, 'to reduce needless suffering. It seems to me to be a worthy purpose.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by dhw, Wednesday, February 21, 2018, 13:17 (903 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

TONY: We don't know how many have gone extinct, but it isn't the number I would argue about. What's worth arguing about is WHY they went extinct.

Let's categorize these into three groups: those that went extinct naturally, those that went extinct through natural cataclysm, and those that went extinct due to human activity.

The latter category we can scratch from this discussion entirely, because their extinction was enacted by an intelligent (and I use the word loosely) enemy. We may also scratch catastrophies, as they would bypass the 'evolutionary' mechanism.

That leaves the category of those that went extinct naturally, without unnatural excessive interference. This is generally the province of natural selection with it's survival of the fittest. If we examine each biological niche and role, we could likely determine a biological TODO list of events that must happen for the continuation of life. We would also likely find that those organisms which best fill that todo list are the ones that survive, much as happens to business when exposed to free market forces.

At any rate, the point was, what if we examine organisms through the lens of an ecological roles, and their efficacy at filling that role, instead of looking first at the individual organism.

I’m afraid I’m not quite sure what your point is. In your original post, you suggested that competition engendered harmony which prevented “degradation of the species through laziness and glut”, and it made sense for God to have programmed it because it provided a “multitude of benefits both to the species and the ecosystem”. I pointed out that vast numbers of species have gone extinct, and the ecosystem both local and global has been subjected to constant change. If God exists, I don’t have a problem with him setting up a system of competition – it fits in perfectly with my proposal that he gave organisms the means with which to follow their own evolutionary path. You also seem to be implying that natural extinction (probably through changes in living conditions) and natural catastrophes are not controlled by God, so all in all I can only see your post as supporting my own concept of evolution as a free-for-all. It benefited lots of different species and ecosystems in the past. Clearly the human species are current beneficiaries (while some do their best to wreck it all for others), and bacteria have never stopped benefiting.

Evolution, driven by dark DNA and hot spots?

by David Turell @, Thursday, March 08, 2018, 19:53 (888 days ago) @ dhw

The sand rat is opening up a whole hidden area of DNA that may drive evolution, and it does not follow Darwin's theory:

https://phys.org/news/2017-08-dark-dnathe-phenomenon-evolution.html

"Some animal genomes seem to be missing certain genes, ones that appear in other similar species and must be present to keep the animals alive. These apparently missing genes have been dubbed "dark DNA". And its existence could change the way we think about evolution.

"My colleagues and I first encountered this phenomenon when sequencing the genome of the sand rat (Psammomys obesus), a species of gerbil that lives in deserts. In particular we wanted to study the gerbil's genes related to the production of insulin, to understand why this animal is particularly susceptible to type 2 diabetes.

"But when we looked for a gene called Pdx1 that controls the secretion of insulin, we found it was missing, as were 87 other genes surrounding it. Some of these missing genes, including Pdx1, are essential and without them an animal cannot survive. So where are they?

"The first clue was that, in several of the sand rat's body tissues, we found the chemical products that the instructions from the "missing" genes would create. This would only be possible if the genes were present somewhere in the genome, indicating that they weren't really missing but just hidden.

"The DNA sequences of these genes are very rich in G and C molecules, two of the four "base" molecules that make up DNA. We know GC-rich sequences cause problems for certain DNA-sequencing technologies. This makes it more likely that the genes we were looking for were hard to detect rather than missing. For this reason, we call the hidden sequence "dark DNA" as a reference to dark matter, the stuff that we think makes up about 25% of the universe but that we can't actually detect.

"By studying the sand rat genome further, we found that one part of it in particular had many more mutations than are found in other rodent genomes. All the genes within this mutation hotspot now have very GC-rich DNA, and have mutated to such a degree that they are hard to detect using standard methods. Excessive mutation will often stop a gene from working, yet somehow the sand rat's genes manage to still fulfil their roles despite radical change to the DNA sequence. This is a very difficult task for genes.

"Most textbook definitions of evolution state that it occurs in two stages: mutation followed by natural selection. DNA mutation is a common and continuous process, and occurs completely at random. Natural selection then acts to determine whether mutations are kept and passed on or not, usually depending on whether they result in higher reproductive success. In short, mutation creates the variation in an organism's DNA, natural selection decides whether it stays or if it goes, and so biases the direction of evolution.

"But hotspots of high mutation within a genome mean genes in certain locations have a higher chance of mutating than others. This means that such hotspots could be an underappreciated mechanism that could also bias the direction of evolution, meaning natural selection may not be the sole driving force.

"So far, dark DNA seems to be present in two very diverse and distinct types of animal. But it's still not clear how widespread it could be. Could all animal genomes contain dark DNA and, if not, what makes gerbils and birds so unique? The most exciting puzzle to solve will be working out what effect dark DNA has had on animal evolution.

"In the example of the sand rat, the mutation hotspot may have made the animal's adaptation to desert life possible. But on the other hand, the mutation may have occurred so quickly that natural selection hasn't been able to act fast enough to remove anything detrimental in the DNA. If true, this would mean that the detrimental mutations could prevent the sand rat from surviving outside its current desert environment.

"The discovery of such a weird phenomenon certainly raises questions about how genomes evolve, and what could have been missed from existing genome sequencing projects. Perhaps we need to go back and take a closer look."

Comment: There are also reported hot spots in the human genome which are thought to have driven human evolution. Perhaps these are God's control points. We have much to still discover.

Evolution: a yeast translates DNA two ways

by David Turell @, Friday, June 15, 2018, 19:06 (789 days ago) @ David Turell

DNA is supposed to have one mode of translating bases. This yest has two ways:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/06/180614213814.htm

"DNA is often referred to as the blueprint for life, however scientists have for the first time discovered a microbe that uses two different translations of the DNA code at random. This unexpected finding breaks what was thought to be a universal rule, since the proteins from this microbe cannot be fully predicted from the DNA sequence.

***

"It was originally thought that any given codon always results in the same amino acid -- just as dot dot dot always means S in morse code. GGA in the DNA for example translates as the amino acid glycine.

"However a collaboration between Dr Stefanie Mühlhausen and Professor Laurence Hurst at the Milner Centre for Evolution at the University of Bath, and Martin Kollmar and colleagues at the Max-Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen, Germany have now described the first -- and unexpected -- exception to this rule in a natural code.

"The group examined an unusual group of yeasts in which some species have evolved an unusual non-universal code. While humans (and just about everything else) translate the codon CTG as the amino acid leucine, some of the species of yeast instead translate this as the amino acid serine whilst others translate it as alanine.

"This is odd enough in itself. But the team was even more surprised to find one species, Ascoidea asiatica, randomly translated this codon as serine or leucine. Every time this codon is translated the cell tosses a chemical coin: heads for leucine, tails it's serine.

***

"'This is the first time we've seen this in any species.

"'We were surprised to find that about 50 per cent of the time that CTG is translated as serine, the remainder of the time it is leucine.

"'The last rule of genetics codes, that translation is deterministic, has been broken. This makes this genome unique -- you cannot work out the proteins if you know the DNA."

***

"Dr Martin Kollmar, from the Max-Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen said: "We found that Ascoidea asiatica, is unusual in having two sorts of tRNAs for CTG -- one which bridges with leucine and one which bridges with serine.

"'So when CTG comes to be translated, it randomly picks one of the two tRNAs and hence randomly picks between serine and leucine."

"Dr Stefanie Mühlhausen from The Milner Centre for Evolution at the University of Bath added: "Swapping a serine for leucine could cause serious problems in a protein as they have quite different properties -- serine is often found on the surface of the protein whereas leucine is hydrophobic and often buried inside the protein.

"'We looked at how this strange yeast copes with this randomness and found that A. asiatica has evolved to use the CTG codon very rarely and especially avoids key parts of proteins."
The researchers estimate that the random encoding is 100 million years old, but other closely related species evolved to lose this potentially problematic trait.

"Dr Martin Kollmar said: "It's unclear why A. asiatica should have retained this stochastic encoding for so long. Perhaps there are rare occasions when this sort of randomness can be beneficial.'"

Comment: This article suggests DNA had more than one way of translation 100 million years ago. Perhaps that variability helped drive evolution.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by David Turell @, Tuesday, June 11, 2019, 18:44 (428 days ago) @ dhw

Current plant extinction rates worry environmentalists:

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-01810-6?utm_source=Nature+Briefing&utm_c...

"The world’s seed-bearing plants have been disappearing at a rate of nearly 3 species a year since 1900 ― which is up to 500 times higher than would be expected as a result of natural forces alone, according to the largest survey yet of plant extinctions.

"The project looked at more than 330,000 species and found that plants on islands and in the tropics were the most likely to be declared extinct. Trees, shrubs and other woody perennials had the highest probability of disappearing regardless of where they were located.

***

"Govaerts started the database in 1988 to track the status of every known plant species. As part of that project, he mined the scientific literature and created a list of seed-bearing plant species that were ruled extinct, and noted which species scientists had deemed to be extinct but were later rediscovered.

"In 2015, Govaerts teamed up with plant evolutionary biologist Aelys Humphreys at Stockholm University in Sweden and others to analyse the data. They compared extinction rates across different regions and characteristics such as whether the plants were annuals that regrow from seed each year or perennials that endure year after year.

"The researchers found that about 1,234 species had been reported extinct since the publication of Carl Linnaeus’s compendium of plant species, Species Plantarum, in 1753. But more than half of those species were either rediscovered or reclassified as another living species, meaning 571 are still presumed extinct. (my bold)

"A map of plant extinctions produced by the team shows that flora in areas of high biodiversity and burgeoning human populations, such as Madagascar, the Brazilian rainforests, India and South Africa, are most at risk (see ‘Extinction pattern’). Humphreys says that the rates of extinction in the tropics is beyond what researchers expect, even when they account for the increased diversity of species in those habitats. And islands are particularly sensitive because they are likely to contain species found nowhere else in the world and are especially susceptible to environmental changes, says Humphreys."

Comment: Note the bolded paragraph. How do they really know what the extinction rate really is? We know 99% of all species are extinct as evolution progresses. Alarmism or possibly fake news

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by dhw, Wednesday, June 12, 2019, 09:11 (427 days ago) @ David Turell

QUOTE: "The researchers found that about 1,234 species had been reported extinct since the publication of Carl Linnaeus’s compendium of plant species, Species Plantarum, in 1753. But more than half of those species were either rediscovered or reclassified as another living species, meaning 571 are still presumed extinct.(David's bold)

DAVID: Note the bolded paragraph. How do they really know what the extinction rate really is? We know 99% of all species are extinct as evolution progresses. Alarmism or possibly fake news

I don’t care about the accuracy of the statistics. The fact of the matter is that large numbers of species are going extinct, countless numbers of humans are dying or suffering because of pollution, human interference is causing many environmental catastrophes, and if the world’s politicians and industrialists don’t get their act together, the situation will simply get worse. I can only applaud all those young people who are demonstrating in the streets, demanding action.

Evolution, survival and adaptation

by David Turell @, Wednesday, June 12, 2019, 15:28 (427 days ago) @ dhw

QUOTE: "The researchers found that about 1,234 species had been reported extinct since the publication of Carl Linnaeus’s compendium of plant species, Species Plantarum, in 1753. But more than half of those species were either rediscovered or reclassified as another living species, meaning 571 are still presumed extinct.(David's bold)

DAVID: Note the bolded paragraph. How do they really know what the extinction rate really is? We know 99% of all species are extinct as evolution progresses. Alarmism or possibly fake news

dhw: I don’t care about the accuracy of the statistics. The fact of the matter is that large numbers of species are going extinct, countless numbers of humans are dying or suffering because of pollution, human interference is causing many environmental catastrophes, and if the world’s politicians and industrialists don’t get their act together, the situation will simply get worse. I can only applaud all those young people who are demonstrating in the streets, demanding action.

I don't kn ow if politicians can get their acts. together.

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