Darwinism and genetics

Started by TheBadger, July 19, 2013, 08:23:53 pm

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Quote from: TheBadger on July 25, 2013, 05:34:43 pm
Just wanted clarification on the animals part. I love nature. I have two Sandhill cranes that come to my yard everyday. I cant tell you the pleasure it gives me. But there is also this movement where people want animals to have the same rights under the law as humans, and I find that insane. So I just wanted to make sure Im not listening to a crazy person here ;)

I am with you on that one. The animal rights people are very often in direct conflict with biodiversity conservation efforts. I remember a case where, in the USA, some wildlife officials were distressed that a population of mute swans introduced from Europe were aggressively taking over the habitat of native whooper swans. The animals rights @$$'s were angry because the wildlife officials were being mean to the only swans that they wanted to recognize; the ones with the curvy necks from their childhood European fairy tales. The American Beaver is also replacing the European Beaver on the east side of the Atlantic. We should preserve our native biodiversity even if it means killing the invasive species. Another case was a population explosion of white tail deer in Florida. The animals rights @$$'s were up in arms about culling the deer population to keep them from having a famin crash. On the Miami side of the Everglades where there was patrolling by AR activists, the game wardens didn't want to start a riot so they only managed the population on the west side where the AR activists were not patrolling. The east side population crashed and the massive starvation and death was horrible. Of course the AR people had nothing to say about that. On the other side where the population had been culled, the deer and vegetation remained healthy and intact.

You and I both ask these @$$'s, how are they going to manage keeping these swans and deer in line at the voting booths if they are given voting rights? Also, how will you prevent ballot stuffing and will the Grizzly Bears be polite when they know they are outnumbered by the billions of ants that will outvote all of us. What will it be like to have a bacterium for president? Where do you draw the lines after you open this Pandora's box? Seriously, I think these people must not have complete brains.

But I am distressed that hunting is a poor substitute for native predators which kill the weak and sick. Hunters always seem to (want to) kill off the biggest and strongest (i.e. "trophy hunting") leaving the weak and sick to survive and produce the next generation. Indeed, this artificial selection is grossly inferior to the natural selection that we have eliminated. The "management" that is going on to counter this only seems to promote inbreeding and limit genetic diversity. The problem is really bad in fisheries where a handful of adults are used to produce the next generation of millions. We are setting them up for extinction.

I don't remember how I found this video. I am on board with them but I wonder how these people plan to cope with ever shrinking habitat: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fgBgDCIk1LY


July 28, 2013, 08:40:12 am #31 Last Edit: July 28, 2013, 08:46:12 am by efflux
"efflux said "The human species is the most highly evolved species". While this may be true for our brain development, it is certainly false when it comes to our body plan."

Yes, but the point is, taken a a whole we are more highly developed. In fact a totally unique species because of our willful creativity.

I did a quick check on speciesism. Of course I absolutely knew beforehand that this would be coined by a Brit and sure enough it is because it ties in with the fact that the standard British Elite aim is to eventually give many animal species rights above humans unless you are part of the elite of course. Many conservation, animal rights organisations etc came out of eugenics. World Wild Life fund and such like headed up by Duke Of Edinburgh and his ex nazi friend Prince Bernhard. They couldn't go into the eugenics genocide type stuff after world war two so they turned to conservation of environment for cover. They want to clear humans off the land and move them into cities. A kind of Pol Pot mass extermination and re-wilding thing. That's the plans for America. You'll find stuff on the net about how they plan to re-wild the countryside but that's after the people have been cleared off. The UN Biodiversity treaty already puts you into criminal class if you stand up for humans above other species environmental needs. Eventually humans will have less rights than a rat because that is exactly how the elites view the rest of the population.

As for humans simply considering themselves superior to the extent that other life doesn't matter. That would be a mistake. We should cause the least harm possible no matter the life form.


Yes, it's celebrating the birth of the royal baby by lighting up the falls.

Humans create art because art is metaphor which helps us to understand and think about things. Make connections between things.


This is a fun topic.  In the spirit of pleasure and fun (driven by my DNA) I add these feeble thoughts.

1). Stink bugs are doing well.

2).  People and animals think by having synapses fire and knowledge is remembered.

3).  Computer programs use electricity and memory states are modified and formula are applied.

4).  Individuals are born, and they have sex, and they die.  And life remembers what works and what does not work in the memory space called DNA.

5).  Posts are read and remembered and counted and forgotten and some of them are very enjoyable.

6).  And the sun sets and the son rises.  And one day the sun is cold -

and the small pitiful me wonders if I will ever BE... again.    ...  watching a render makes me think I am the beginning of God.  I wonder what TG thinks.  Or what the sun thinks as it gets old.

7) Hell is for stink bugs where they will burn forever.


July 28, 2013, 11:48:30 pm #33 Last Edit: July 28, 2013, 11:54:21 pm by TheBadger
To tell you the truth, thats about how I feel about things at this point too.

Even so. I would still like someone to explain to me how you get DNA without a cell membrane? And how do you get a cell membrane without a DNA? And how does all this come together from a piece of primordial jelly?

Also, I get that you can make matter from chaos ( ok, really I don't, it sounds like immaculate conception for atheists) but I understand the story. So what I don't understand is how you get life from chaos. Some rocks and gasses ok. But how do you get life?

Also, lets just admit at this point that the whole Chaos thing is imaginary. People just made that up the same way the "holy roaman empire" invented the Pope. We all understand its the same thing right?
It has been eaten.


QuoteSo what I don't understand is how you get life from chaos.

In 1953 there was a (then) student Stanley Miller, who conducted some (now famous) experiments with some simple ingredients (basic molecules present on earth: methane, ammonia and water) and external forces (lightning/electrical charges and UV light). His discovery was that the molecules disassembled and reassembled again to form organic molecules (amino-acids like glycine, alanine, asparagine (basic ingredients for life)). The circumstances on earth 4.5 billion years ago were thus that this change from an-organic to organic was possible, and his experiments were successfully repeated many times.


Well that is a very brilliant science experiment. But it has more to do with Einsteins statement that "once an object is created it cannot be destroyed, only change form" (or a quote similar to that), than how you get humans 50 billion years (or some number) after chaos.
The fact is, all Mr. Miller did was take something that already existed and manipulated the structure of it into something else that already existed. He created nothing. He surly did not create life or demonstrate how life came into being.

We know with out a doubt that everything is made of atoms and the rest. And theoretically all things can be re-ordered into anything else. with an exception; The "basic ingredients of life, are not life. Something that is "un alive" cannot be made to live. A protein is not alive.
If you want to talk about microevolution thats fine, but I wont argue. As far as I understand things microevolution is settled.

If a hundred million trillion years past, you would still not get something from nothing.
How do you get DNA without a cell membrane? And how do you get a cell membrane without a DNA?
You cant. You never will. It has never happened.... By the way, this is the part where Richard Dawkins starts talking about space aliens and (what I call) the atheists immaculate conception. The point where some power (anything but "God") "created" life/evolution.

No one alive today, or ever before, has ever created anything. And no one ever will. Any claim otherwise is fundamentally spiritual/religious/faith, and not "science".

It has been eaten.


QuoteHe surly did not create life or demonstrate how life came into being.

But that's just what he did; demonstrate how life can come into existence from basic molecules by atmospheric circumstances..... and from then on these very basic organic molecules changed and reassembled into more complex organic forms.... etc.


That is not at all what he did. Come on, Ulco, Play fair.
You cannot go from a protein to a man in any amount of time. You cannot get DNA, ever, from the process you described in that post.
All you have done is taken a lab experiment and said "eureka". And then said well everything in the middle is evolution.
It is a HUGE leap of faith.
It has been eaten.



So I've briefly skimmed this thread and it would normally be the kind of thing I'd keep out of. What I would like to say is that science does not pretend to have all the answers. In some circles that is seen as a flaw but what scientists do is try and find the answers. As time goes by more and more things are found out. Often that poses more questions. This discussion is largely about DNA. Look at the history of DNA Research:


First glimmers about it where in 1869. Molecular biology as such didn't really start until the late 1950s. Look how far we've come since then in understanding some of the basic building blocks of life. Look how far we've come in the last decade or so since computing has enabled much more detailed analysis of genetics. Compare that amount of time to human existence. Even if you believe in creation and a young Earth it's still a very short time. Even modern medicine is a very recent thing really.

I don't think any questions are being ignored, the problem is more that some people are unable to accept that we don't know the answers yet. Or if someone says "We don't know yet" it's taken as some kind of indication that there is no basis for something. Not having all the answers doesn't mean that something is invalid. Some things are well enough understood to be accepted as fact though. For example the structure of DNA has been proven via observation. We've only known that for 60 years, less than a lifetime. Not everything is understood about how it works, but that doesn't mean that what is known isn't true. It's also not really reasonable to dismiss it because we don't know everything there is to know about it.

As time moves on we understand more and more about how things work. Think of the things we know now compared to what our parents knew, or grandparents. My great grandparents were born into a world where phones had only recently been invented. My grandparents were born when powered flight was in its infancy. The fact that we don't understand everything about life and how it started is not really an issue for me.




Then I probably don't understand what this discussion is about, and I might take Jo's way; not taking part. But I graduated as a scientist, and my education learned me stuff that I respect and understand. By the way, don't forget that 4.5 billion years is not the same as a few centuries, it is a HUGE timespan in which tiny changes accumulate, chances of things happening have all the time in the world, so to speak.
Back to TG now, sorry Michael, but with respect.


Thats fine guys. And I do respect and value your views. And mostly I understand and agree with what people have said.

But you cannot get DNA without a cell membrane, and you cannot get a cell membrane without DNA . It is a physical impossibility.
It is not a question of billions or even trillions of years. Or of learning things in the future... In order for it to work we have to rewrite the laws of physics.

There is a gigantic gaping whole in the process.

But for the record I do accept that evolution can occur in nature, to some greater or lessor degree.
I just can't except it as the means for the initial creation of life. It just does not work.


It has been eaten.


I wasn't going to post again, but I saw this today which is very apposite:


Amongst other interesting things is that it says "Under the right conditions, fatty acids naturally form into bag-like structures similar to today's cell membranes."




Now that is interesting Jo. Thanks for finding it.
It has been eaten.


July 31, 2013, 06:29:34 pm #43 Last Edit: August 02, 2013, 03:22:38 pm by PabloMack
Quote from: TheBadger on July 29, 2013, 04:39:18 amHow do you get DNA without a cell membrane? And how do you get a cell membrane without a DNA?You cant. You never will. It has never happened....

I had written an answer for this question and I lost it. This time I am going to write it in an editor and then copy it to the browser.

Don't confuse the words "random" and "chaos". Really, very little (if any) truly random things happen. We only call them random because we can't explain why or how they happened when they did. Chaos is a better word for what we are talking about. But let's not misunderstand that idea either.
For example, say a creationist tells you that someone pours two substances into a jar and mixes them up. Then he asks "What are the chances that they will, by random chance, separate themselves so that one substance goes to the top and the other goes to the bottom. He does it, and within seconds, this very unlikely thing happens within seconds before his very eyes! "Uh never mind" he says and walks away embarrassed. You see the two substances that were mixed are oil and water. No this "random" separation doesn't seem like such a miracle now, does it? We then have to conclude that what is happening in the jar does have some chaos going on but the separation of the two substances was caused by something other than random chance or chaos but under the control of the environment and by the substances' physical properties.

Now let's ask what are the chances that we will get a membrane if we pour a substance into some water. If you have a bunch of molecules that are polar at one end and non-polar at the other, they automatically line themselves up so that the polar ends are together and the non-polar ends are together. They spontaneously form a membrane! Yes, it has been done many times in the lab. For an example that you should be familiar with from your childhood, what is the chance that if you dip a loop into some soapy water and pull it out and blow that you will get a bubble? Pretty darn good. So good in fact that you can get one almost every time with the right soap concentration and mechanical motion. This is basically a membrane in air. The same kind of thing happens in water, believe it or not. So it turns out that, with the right chemicals in solution (no life) membranes form all by themselves easily and quickly. So your membrane forming probabilities are way off reality.

So your question has boiled down to "How likely is DNA to form?". The cell membrane part is a non-issue. Let's take a look at BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy). This is a very interesting disorder that comes from eating raw mammal brain. It is not an infection because the agent is only a protein that can't behave in such a way that you would call it "life". A virus is somewhere in between and we will only talk about that if need be. So how does the BSE protein work? As you may already know, proteins are long chains of amino acids much in the same way that DNA is (except that DNA is long chains of nucleic acids). After they are produced in ribosomes, they don't have their normal activity until they fold a certain way (often with the help of enzymes that are there to do this) and have their necessary inclusions such as iron or other ions that are dissolved in the solution. When they are folded in a specific way (hydrated with water), they take on their special activity. The BSE protein is the same one that you have lots of in your brain, except those are folded differently than the BSE protein. So what is the BSE's activity? It basically goes around and finds the proteins in your brain that are folded correctly and it refolds them to be like itself. Now ask yourself, "Did this protein reproduce?" Certainly not, it just converted something similar into something just like itself.

Back 2 Billion years ago, the Earth's environment was vastly different than it is today. Thanks to photosynthetic plants, our atmosphere is an oxidiizing atmosphere. But before these became common, the Earth's atmosphere and oceans were highly reducing environments. In an oxidizing environment, oxygen is common and "free" while organic molecules are rare and "costly". They are food and bacteria scarf them up. But in 3 Billion BC Earth, organic molecules were "free" (i.e. everywhere) and oxygen was rare. There were no bacteria to scarf them up and no oxygen to burn them anyway. This "Promordial Soup" was very different from what we see today. And just because there was no life as you would recognize it doesn't mean that they weren't all mixed in together, reacting with each other and the sunlight. This soup had untold competing reactions going on with predominant proteins converting other proteins and reacting with other chemicals on a massive scale. When resources are used up to produce a substance those resources are taken away from other processes that would convert them to something else. Yes, this is competition and we don't even have life yet!!!!!!!

So chemical systems that didn't even need DNA were competing with one another. Certain proteins (and even certain groups of proteins) could isolate themselves in the membranes we talked about that are so easily formed. This isolated them from other processes that promoting their own chemical systems. One chemical system won out over another chemical system and there was extinction and there wasn't even life yet! It is well known that ribosomes can replicate RNA and produce proteins from RNA so DNA is not even necessary. In our BSE example, all we needed was one protein and the right resources and it could make more of itself. The simplest forms of life you would never have recognized as life, yet, with the fairly sophisticated resources that were plentiful at their disposal, they could make more of themselves.
Keep in mind that the life as we know it has only been around for half a billion years. The Earth is four billion years older than this. And with an environment of primordial soup, reproduction, competition, consumption of resources and the building of complex systems can happen without life. Also, keep in mind, because modern life did not exist, there were no bacteria to consume the sugars and other molecules that don't last very long in present day Earth because some organism consumes them. But since there weren't any in primordial Earth, these molecules were all over the place. The competing complex chemical processes evolved into more sophisticated ones even before they could be considered to be life. Perhaps trillions (and many more) changes took place in the competing systems as they got to be more sophisticated. After tens of millions of years, the systems got so sophisticated that some people might even call them life forms while others would not. It was the same way with the evolution of species later on. When did life begin? I don't know. It depends on your definition. The line between life and primordial soup is a very broad one indeed.

The common perception that chemicals (both organic and otherwise) just sit around and do nothing until an organism finds them and eats them is completely wrong. Think of the chemicals like people where a government organizes them and encourages them to work toward some common goal. Even without a government, people do things on their own. But what they do or the way they do it can be greatly influenced by a system that we call organization or a government. Indeed, government systems do compete, reproduce and go extinct. Some people counter the government and often the government finds a way to eliminate them.

Related to this is, it is common knowledge, that higher life forms (eukaryotes) are actually an obligate commensalism between a host and an invading organism, that at one time was a parasite. But the two (or more) species have become so dependent on eachother that they will die without their symbiotic relationship. Our cells have organelles that came from different species invading our ancestors' cells. There are mitochondria (that have their own DNA by the way), chloroplasts (in higher green plants) etc.

So it turns out that the DNA in the nucleus of your own cells does not completely describe how to make another human in two major ways. First, your body needs complex molecules that were built by the enzymes and associated processing of other organisms such as plants. Your nuclear DNA certainly doesn't know how to make those from scratch. That is why you have to consume them. "Vitamins" and proteins among others are prime examples. So, in a way, we could claim that corn DNA (just as an example) is also human DNA because we eat the products of corn and incorporate its complex structures into our bodies. For the same token, other herbivores and predators that eat those herbivores could also claim that corn is part of their genome. Second, your nuclear DNA does not contain information on how to make many of the organelles in your body. They have to reproduce themselves with their own DNA or RNA (or yet to be discovered mechanism of self replication).  So when you hear someone in a documentary tell you that your nuclear DNA knows how to build everything in your body you can smile and know they are ignorant.


Now this is an essay! I was just reading a book about the formation of deserts (by a German scientist), in which the same principles were explained. I know of course from my studies (ages ago), but it's very nice to read again and so well written. Thanks PabloMack.