Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 16 of 23

Thread: Evolution question.

  1. #1
    LUSE Galant's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Gibraltar
    Posts
    2,929
    Thanks
    420
    Thanked
    463 times in 277 posts

    Evolution question.

    Okay, I was flicking through some web pages yesterday and I came across a quote which brought to mind an interesting question.

    That question is, what has the theory of evolution, or the acceptance of evolution done for the progress of science?

    That is, many other scientific disciplines have lead to great discoveries leading to useful technologies, medicine or further discoveries which became useful. What about evolution?

    Just curious.
    No trees were harmed in the creation of this message. However, many electrons were displaced and terribly inconvenienced.

  2. #2
    Vive le pants! directhex's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    /dev/urandom
    Posts
    17,074
    Thanks
    228
    Thanked
    1,027 times in 678 posts
    • directhex's system
      • Motherboard:
      • MSI X99A Gaming 7
      • CPU:
      • Intel Core i7 5280k
      • Memory:
      • 32GiB ADATA DDR4
      • Storage:
      • Corsair Neutron XT 960GB
      • Graphics card(s):
      • MSI GTX 980 Gaming 4G Twin Frozr 5
      • PSU:
      • Corsair AX860i
      • Case:
      • NZXT H440
      • Operating System:
      • Ubuntu 17.10, Windows 10
      • Monitor(s):
      • Dell U2713HM
      • Internet:
      • FIOS
    the entire science of genetics? & all progress towards understanding & curing things such as cancers based on it?

  3. #3
    LUSE Galant's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Gibraltar
    Posts
    2,929
    Thanks
    420
    Thanked
    463 times in 277 posts
    No, I don't believe so. I believe genetics was something that was adopted into evolution rather than arising out of it.

    Will try to confirm.

    EDIT: Taking a quick look it appears that G.J. Mendel is hailed as the father of genetics, and whilst Darwins work was contemporary, it seems The theory of evolution did not inform genetics, rather, genetics was used to inform evolution later on.
    Last edited by Galant; 08-09-2004 at 09:12 PM.
    No trees were harmed in the creation of this message. However, many electrons were displaced and terribly inconvenienced.

  4. #4
    Now with added sobriety Rave's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    SE London
    Posts
    9,948
    Thanks
    501
    Thanked
    399 times in 255 posts
    Well, as one example off the top of my head, I'd contend that the theory of eveolution is a precursor to understanding how drug resistant strains of bacteria can evolve. When you're dealing with organisms that have a lifespan of a few days major evolution can occur in the space of a couple of years.

    I also want to know why you ask the question. Are you trying to discredit the theory of evolution by proving that nothing actually useful has become of it? We now know that, unless we can find a way of generating wormholes, Human travel beyond the reaches of our own solar system is in practical terms impossible. Does that mean that astronomy is therefore worthless? I'd say not.

    Rich :¬)

  5. #5
    LUSE Galant's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Gibraltar
    Posts
    2,929
    Thanks
    420
    Thanked
    463 times in 277 posts
    Quote Originally Posted by Rave
    Well, as one example off the top of my head, I'd contend that the theory of eveolution is a precursor to understanding how drug resistant strains of bacteria can evolve. When you're dealing with organisms that have a lifespan of a few days major evolution can occur in the space of a couple of years.
    Not quite sure what you're saying.

    As far as I am aware, the development of resistant strains is not an example of the evolution of new species, but rather simple natural selection. And natural selection is not evolution. Resistant strains develop because when a disease comes the non-resistant strains die off. They remain however the same species, and the genetic material was there in the first place. So that would not be major evolution in the sense of macro-evolution.

    Perhaps I should clarify, I was looking at 'evolution' in terms of natural selection/mutation leading to the existance of new species.

    Why am I asking the question? Well, I'm not trying to kick-off the usual creation vs. evolution debate. It was just that the quote I came across brought my question to mind. In many ways evolution is touted as a wonderful and marvellous discovery. As a major breakthrough and an absolutely vital understanding. Reading the quote simply made me think, '"Why?" What's so vital about it? What's so wonderful? What's the big break-through?

    That was all.
    No trees were harmed in the creation of this message. However, many electrons were displaced and terribly inconvenienced.

  6. #6
    Now with added sobriety Rave's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    SE London
    Posts
    9,948
    Thanks
    501
    Thanked
    399 times in 255 posts
    Quote Originally Posted by Galant
    As far as I am aware, the development of resistant strains is not an example of the evolution of new species, but rather simple natural selection. And natural selection is not evolution. Resistant strains develop because when a disease comes the non-resistant strains die off. They remain however the same species, and the genetic material was there in the first place.
    Well, I thought that in all evolution the genetic material was there in the first place? The only way new genetic material can be created is through mutation, and drug resistant strains can also (IIRC) develop as a result of mutations.

    In many ways evolution is touted as a wonderful and marvellous discovery. As a major breakthrough and an absolutely vital understanding. Reading the quote simply made me think, '"Why?" What's so vital about it? What's so wonderful? What's the big break-through?

    That was all.
    Well a lot of science is like that mate. Just because something is relatively easy for the average man to understand, doesn't mean that it didn't take a very clever man to figure it out in the first place. Do I understand gravity? Pretty much, yes. Would I have come up with it if Newton hadn't beaten me to it? Probably not.

    Rich :¬)

  7. #7
    Pink & Fluffy! Elmo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Glarsgow
    Posts
    3,234
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked
    6 times in 6 posts
    Quote Originally Posted by Galant
    Not quite sure what you're saying.

    As far as I am aware, the development of resistant strains is not an example of the evolution of new species, but rather simple natural selection. And natural selection is not evolution. Resistant strains develop because when a disease comes the non-resistant strains die off. They remain however the same species, and the genetic material was there in the first place. So that would not be major evolution in the sense of macro-evolution.

    Perhaps I should clarify, I was looking at 'evolution' in terms of natural selection/mutation leading to the existance of new species.

    Why am I asking the question? Well, I'm not trying to kick-off the usual creation vs. evolution debate. It was just that the quote I came across brought my question to mind. In many ways evolution is touted as a wonderful and marvellous discovery. As a major breakthrough and an absolutely vital understanding. Reading the quote simply made me think, '"Why?" What's so vital about it? What's so wonderful? What's the big break-through?

    That was all.

    ofcourse natural selection is evolution! survival of the fittest and all that, it's all evolution. A bacteria evolves to survive an attack of an anti-biotic. How can you say that natural selection and evolution are seperate?!

    You've heard of Darwin's finches i assume? One species is blown off course and ends up on the galapogus islands and on each different island there evolves a different species from this one species. They evolved as a direct result of natural selection. If one offspring has a mutation in its genes that makes it more able to survive in a particular environment, then it will survive better and longer than that of the original species. Evolution into a different species is just a series of mutations over hundreds of generations.

  8. #8
    LUSE Galant's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Gibraltar
    Posts
    2,929
    Thanks
    420
    Thanked
    463 times in 277 posts
    Evolution suggests you start with less information and then you gain more. Not in every sense, but that's how you go from algae to people - gaining genetic information. That then would have ot be mutation, and yes, while some bacteria have mutations which give them resistance, in all accounts and all the many generations of bacteria there have been no new species. Just variations within the species. What's more, whilst some bacteria have benefitted from a 'resistance mutation' it's not all happy days - the mutation makes them less stable, and therefore less likely to reproduce - the mutation does not give a full advantage in survival, it gives an advantage in one area, but removes them in others. The big thing is, despite all the idea of mutation and evolution, mutation occurs, but the evolution of species doesn't.


    I wasn't referring to Evolution not being complex enough - but that evolution is in no way a discovery or idea as with gravity or whatever. Those theories and discoveries lead to further breakthrough and developments. Evolution doesn't seemed to have lead to anything beyond allowing conjecture regarding the unsearchable past. That was the whole point of my question.

    I'm really not trying to attack evolution, I'm just trying to question areas of it.

    Would still love some ideas.
    No trees were harmed in the creation of this message. However, many electrons were displaced and terribly inconvenienced.

  9. #9
    Junior Senior Member Aaron's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    London, England
    Posts
    1,516
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked
    1 time in 1 post
    Do a google search of "genetic algorithms".

    They're a branch of mathematics used for solving complex problems using Darwin's theory of evolution. They're extremely powerful and used in mathematics, physics, chemistry, engineering and finance.

    I did my final year project on them.

  10. #10
    Cute & Fluffy GreenPiggy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Cardiff
    Posts
    1,196
    Thanks
    5
    Thanked
    9 times in 8 posts
    here goes,
    1.Many vaccines are made using evolutionary principles, a virus is mutated into an out of body form, thus lowering its resistance to the defence mechanisms of the human body.
    2.Most modern agricultural techniques are based on Darwinian principles such as selective breeding etc..
    3.Evolutionary trees can be mapped to trace a source of infection, for example it can be used to trace a HIV infection from a rapist using source material from the victim or a similar situation.
    4.Enzymes are being evolved to work in detergents (which they don't normally do). And as the stuff of futuristic novels, molecules are being developed to bind anthrax spores, ricin molecules, and other potential bioterrorism agents. All of these developments take advantage of one or more forms of test-tube evolution.
    Knight 1: We are now no longer the Knights who say Ni.
    Knight 2: NI.
    Other Knights: Shh...
    Knight 1: We are now the Knights who say..."Ekki-Ekki-Ekki-Ekki-PTANG. Zoom-Boing. Z'nourrwringmm.

  11. #11
    LUSE Galant's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Gibraltar
    Posts
    2,929
    Thanks
    420
    Thanked
    463 times in 277 posts
    Quote Originally Posted by Elmo
    ofcourse natural selection is evolution! survival of the fittest and all that, it's all evolution. A bacteria evolves to survive an attack of an anti-biotic. How can you say that natural selection and evolution are seperate?!
    I was saying that whilst natural selection is a part of evolution, the two terms are not equal. One can have natural selection, with 'fitter' members of the same species out-living/producing 'less fit' members, without producing any new species. Evolution is concerned with that development of new species.

    On that note, whilst Darwin's Finches are widely regarded as 'set in stone' example of the evolutionary process, they are not totally clear or reasonable questioning.

    There were studies in the 1980's showing the successful breeding of two different 'species' of Finches, and those offspring were themselves fertile. They were not, therefore, different species. This would give rise to a question of whether the 13 different species are indeed different species, or just different variations. Just as many different types of dogs are of the same species, are able to produce fertile young, even though they would not normally do so.

    The Finches are circumstanital evidence, not proof.

    But I'm getting off the point - I was asking what evolution has done for the progression of science etc. That's what I'm curious about.
    No trees were harmed in the creation of this message. However, many electrons were displaced and terribly inconvenienced.

  12. #12
    LUSE Galant's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Gibraltar
    Posts
    2,929
    Thanks
    420
    Thanked
    463 times in 277 posts
    Quote Originally Posted by GreenPiggy
    here goes,
    1.Many vaccines are made using evolutionary principles, a virus is mutated into an out of body form, thus lowering its resistance to the defence mechanisms of the human body.
    2.Most modern agricultural techniques are based on Darwinian principles such as selective breeding etc..
    3.Evolutionary trees can be mapped to trace a source of infection, for example it can be used to trace a HIV infection from a rapist using source material from the victim or a similar situation.
    4.Enzymes are being evolved to work in detergents (which they don't normally do). And as the stuff of futuristic novels, molecules are being developed to bind anthrax spores, ricin molecules, and other potential bioterrorism agents. All of these developments take advantage of one or more forms of test-tube evolution.
    In all of these it seems we are talking about the progressions of science due to genetics - Mendel - not evolution - Darwin.

    I'm looking at the theory of evolution - the production of entirely new species out of older one. Microevolution is accepted, Darwin's observations were that microevolution leads to macroevolution - and that is what I'm asking. What have we gained from the acceptance of macro-evolution?


    EDIT:
    Aaron - it also seems genetice algorithms follow Mendel's work on genetics rather than Darwin's. I think people look back to Darwin because Mendel's ideas and genetics are used to explain how Darwin's idea of developing new species can work. Streamlining economies etc. relates more to microevolution than macro.
    Last edited by Galant; 08-09-2004 at 10:49 PM.
    No trees were harmed in the creation of this message. However, many electrons were displaced and terribly inconvenienced.

  13. #13
    MAS
    MAS is offline
    When I say rice...
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Posts
    808
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked
    0 times in 0 posts
    There are whole areas of human learning and research, both within and outside of science, to which you can apply that argument. In practice, it's rare that something doesn't contribute to our progress. Whether that progress is worth the resources that it demands is another question entirely.

    I think the suggestion that evolution isnt progress sounds more like someone to trying to discredit the theory on non-scientific grounds rather than the result of objective reasoning.

  14. #14
    Junior Senior Member Aaron's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    London, England
    Posts
    1,516
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked
    1 time in 1 post
    Aaron - it also seems genetice algorithms follow Mendel's work on genetics rather than Darwin's.
    Darwin popularised the phrase "survival of the fittest", observed that there is variation within species and observed variations can be inhertited. Whilst it could be considered that a lot of genetic algorithm theory is based on Mednel's work, Darwin certainly laid the foundations.

    If you're really interested in the subject then I recommend "Genetic Algorithms in Search, Optimisation and Machine Learning" by David E. Goldberg. I personally used genetic algorithms to solve nucleon-nucleon interactions. The results were pretty stunning - an order of magnitude more precise than any previously published figures.

  15. #15
    Flower Child stytagm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    London
    Posts
    754
    Thanks
    47
    Thanked
    23 times in 18 posts
    What I want to do is pick holes in the semantic argument about weather evolution has to reach the point of speciation to be "proper" evolution, but I'm trying to stick to the question and think of a way that Darwins theories have helped us that can't be attributed to Mendelian genetics instead.

    Ummm...

    As a theory that can be applied to a problem to provide a usefull solution, I think it is a little lacking. But an understanding of the idea that evolution occurs for, or because of, the change towards a 'fitter' individual is importnant to understanding the why's and wherefores of a lot of biology, including genetics, be it molecular or mendelian.

    Mendel's theories only really covered the way that inheritance worked, if you like the 'mathematics' of it. His big breakthrough was figuring of the idea that species are diploid (at least the ones he studied) ie they have two copies of a gene, that can be different, which can lead to recessive / dominant traits. He worked this the probabilities of obvious, easy to mesure, traits being inherited.

    Mendel didn't really touch on the idea of inheritance and mutation providing variation, and selection then resulting in a fitter population, that is Darwins ideas. So for example I imagine a genetic algorithm can only be attributed to Mendel if it implements a sort of diploid (or other polyploid) 'doubling up' of information, which I gather some do, but they don't necesarily need to. And the mutation, selection ideas are based on Darwin.

    Maybe Aaron could confirm this but Imagine it would be possible to produce a genetic algorithy that has only one copy of each 'gene' (code fragments? functions? I'm not sure how they work), apply some variation, possibly millions of times, test the next generation for fitness, and continue from your new, better code. Mendel not included.

    PS Sorry for rambling and producing an incomprehensible post, only 4 hours sleep ZZzzzz
    They told me I was gullible ... and I believed them.

  16. #16
    LUSE Galant's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Gibraltar
    Posts
    2,929
    Thanks
    420
    Thanked
    463 times in 277 posts
    Are you mutation was one of Darwin's thoughts? I was under the impression that was a later thought added to his work.
    No trees were harmed in the creation of this message. However, many electrons were displaced and terribly inconvenienced.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. police application form question
    By psalliss in forum General Discussion
    Replies: 14
    Last Post: 27-06-2008, 01:50 PM
  2. The 78th Annual Hexus Quiz!
    By Stewart in forum General Discussion
    Replies: 19
    Last Post: 23-01-2005, 02:05 PM
  3. Fan Controller Question
    By NuShuttle in forum PC Hardware and Components
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 02-08-2004, 06:32 PM
  4. Fans - newbie question (hides in embarrassment)
    By spindle in forum Chassis and Mods
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: 28-04-2004, 02:20 PM
  5. eBay question
    By Allen in forum General Discussion
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 01-03-2004, 10:08 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •