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fc2821
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« Reply #25 on: January 17, 2010, 10:59:30 AM »

Oh, was that last night?  Sorry, I thought it was on for tonight.  Again my error.   :bow;   I gues I am running behind on things.    :banghead;
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« Reply #26 on: January 17, 2010, 11:02:13 AM »

   Headed to the showers, this game is done for th day.  Have fun folks and play nice.   :2thumbsup;
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« Reply #27 on: January 17, 2010, 12:43:20 PM »

Dan.......I am just a regular person like you ........  we have different interest, you have music and  I have fish aquriums, for instance,  you have a certain passion for music and have spent time learning music ...... I have too with fish..... I think people learn what interest them....   and you may not care about the behavors of different types of fish in aquriums..... So those Scientist that study  things that we are not interested we just dont care about what they learned....and yet they are so passionate about their subject.....   Why they study it   is because they like it.....Some things I just dont get  while others I can not figure out why everyone doesnt like it like me......I  like evolution, nature, forest, fish........  I dont care about music, fashion, and some Art....... even thow I am finding some Art very interesting as I get older........    I guess having a open mind about all kinds of things  is a plus...... I am trying to do that more now in life.....
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« Reply #28 on: January 17, 2010, 02:30:22 PM »

Just saying I enjoyed the PBS special on Darwin. That somewhat simplifies what Darwin was doing and how modern science has caught up with some of the things he couldn't explain or truely grasp. Which also goes into what rocker also pointed out about the Churches belief and peoples belief through over time.
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     -cataract surgery twice on same eye (2000 - 2002). another one growing in good eye
     - vitrectomy in good eye post tx November 2003, totally blind for 4 months due to complications with meds and infection

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« Reply #29 on: January 17, 2010, 02:52:14 PM »

Rocker, I honestly don't know about embryonic loss. I will pull out my genetics text and see if I can find that answer for you later. I suspect that with evolution, it would only refer to genes that make it into the pool, so to speak, and so mutations that are incompatible with life would only figure into the equation under specific circumstances. But I should probably just stop speculating and resolve to find out. :2thumbsup;

I have no doubt that introns serve a function, in fact I believe that studies done without the introns showed that the exons were not transcribed properly? Something like that. Maybe I'll just reread the whole genetics text, although I didn't understand most of it the first time, so why should now be any different? :rofl; The term "junk DNA" from the other thread is a term I have never heard, and sends up red flags of pseudoscience to my ears. The y-chromosome was once thought to be almost genetically inactive. Not surprisingly, scientists continue to find more than they bargained for in that particular DNA section, although now I am talking way over my own head.

My field of study was physical anthro "the bridge between anthropology and biology". The foundation of physical anthro is evolution, but it is a vast field that can take one in dozens of different directions. I do not see myself as an expert or even a scholar since I rarely delve into these discussions anymore thanks in large part to kidney failure (the two kids don't help, though!) I am not well-versed in Dawkins, though these discussions have inspired me to go familiarize myself with his writings. I understand the concept of the 'selfish gene', I just don't understand what the innovation is there. Is it coining the term, or am I missing something?

The work of Dawkins and others who examine individual choices based on genetics goes a long way, I think, to answering why we should care. Here's an unfortunate stat from the world of physical anthro: children who live with step-fathers have an alarmingly high mortality rate. The question is why, and the answer is believed to be because a step-father shares no genes with a step-child, and therefore has no evolutionary stake in this child's welfare. A step-child (from a purely evolutionary point of view) is a drain on resources while offering no evolutionary benefit to the step-father. That child cannot reproduce and pass on that man's genes to future generations. As much as we have culture to override our genetics, this data suggest that genetics and evolution continue to influence human behavior.

One central evolutionary question is "have humans stopped evolving?" Most scientists seem to believe so. We so control our environment that it has stopped influencing our genetic make-up. And if we have stopped evolving, what does that mean for our future?

I am so with you, Glitter. This thread makes me feel like I can still stay intellectually active despite kidney failure. Thanks again for starting it, rocker.







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« Reply #30 on: January 17, 2010, 02:54:44 PM »

I understand about us regular people, tye but I was asking about high leve scientist who devote so much of their live to it.  I wasn't being facitious.  I just am curious because I know they must have a greater purpose.  Seems like I may be dropped another bomb.
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« Reply #31 on: January 17, 2010, 03:20:41 PM »

  Seems like I may be dropped another bomb.

That's ok, I have Lysol spray  :rofl; :rofl; :rofl; :shy;

Some have explained why they do it when watching Discovery or The History Channel. Some just want to know, they feel like they are solving a puzzle. It's not an exact quote, more like two into one.
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   -glaucoma and surgery for that
     -cataract surgery twice on same eye (2000 - 2002). another one growing in good eye
     - vitrectomy in good eye post tx November 2003, totally blind for 4 months due to complications with meds and infection

Diagnosed with ESRD June 29, 1999
1st Dialysis - July 4, 1999
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Next eye surgery late 2012 or 2013 if I feel like it
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« Reply #32 on: January 17, 2010, 03:25:58 PM »

I had a friend who was a true, honest to goodness genius and he got a phd in philosophy.  He worked as a file clerk in our company library.
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« Reply #33 on: January 17, 2010, 08:26:05 PM »

But in all truth, scientific understand is not done by majority rule. Likewise the statistics of 72% God thread members who believe in god vs. 24% who don't in no way proves who is correct.

The statistics of the number of people in the US who accept the theory of evolution is most likely a result of the dismal state of science education in the US. That state is the result of a vocal minority pushing an agenda through school boards.

I completely agree. Here the state controls the curiculum. I went to a Catholic school, relgion and science were kept completely seperate. In science there was NO mention of intelligent design, creationist theory, higher power. It was straight science. For our year 12 finals (and the marks went 100% to our uni entrance marks) we had to sit 1 unti of religion and at least 2 units of science. But also at that time there was  a huge push for everyone to attend uni as the Govt wanted an educated population (the result... too many IT people and NO Plumbers.... ).

I believe in God, i don't go to church and i'm one of the 72% thread members but I 100% beleive in evolution. I don't believe that Genesis is a factual account of how the world started and i don't believe people lived for 900 years. I beleive in natural selection as a mechanism of evolution. Random mutations in genes provide a  specimen of a species that is better suited to its environment, that one reproduces, passes on it's unique DNA and off we go, the species evolves.
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« Reply #34 on: January 17, 2010, 10:09:16 PM »

Just a thought because I can't remember which catagory this fits under. The example is cat or dog breeding to create a new breed (since it can be done at a faster pace). This considered Mechanical selection since it is not random?

The stuff I think of at night when I have nothing to do but ponder random thoughts! :urcrazy;
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   -glaucoma and surgery for that
     -cataract surgery twice on same eye (2000 - 2002). another one growing in good eye
     - vitrectomy in good eye post tx November 2003, totally blind for 4 months due to complications with meds and infection

Diagnosed with ESRD June 29, 1999
1st Dialysis - July 4, 1999
Last Dialysis - December 2, 2000

Kidney and Pancreas Transplant - December 3, 2000

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Knee Surgery 2010
2011/2012 in process of getting a guide dog
Guide Dog Training begins July 2, 2012 in NY
Guide Dog by end of July 2012
Next eye surgery late 2012 or 2013 if I feel like it
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« Reply #35 on: January 18, 2010, 06:34:08 AM »

My view on all this is that religion and evolution sort of go hand in hand.  I think there is a power higher than us somewhere in the universe whether it is God or some other being or alien or whatever.  Maybe God  (or a higher power) did create the world in the beginning but it had to start somewhere , even if it was with a big bang.  There is too much scientific evidence of life on earth millions of years ago to think that the world is only a few thousand years old. We know that dinosaurs and other animals lived on earth  billions of years ago.  The bible is a book that was written a long time ago. Time and the calendar may have been different then. I really don't think anyone lived for 900 of what we cal years even back then!!  I really enjoy watching scientic documentaries on how the earth became as it is.  Just my  :twocents;
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« Reply #36 on: January 18, 2010, 01:53:55 PM »

(motivation) — I was asking about high leve scientist who devote so much of their live to it.  I wasn't being facitious. 

Same thing that motivates everyone else in this world. Money. Perhaps Fame, since Fame = Money. That's why you also got cheats who "found" missing links etc.

You can see the same thing happening today with the current "in" science, Climate Change. There's money being pro-climate change, but rarely anything in being a CC denier. You get the CC cheats too, fiddling the temperature data and inventing melting glaciers in the Himalayas.

What was Christopher Columbus doing when he happened on America? Trying to make money by finding a cheaper route to the East of course. And so on with most others.


I suppose it's a bit cynical to say money motivates everyone. But I'm sure it's the vast majority.
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« Reply #37 on: January 18, 2010, 02:25:52 PM »

The concept that through successive random mutations which are then acted upon by evolutionary mechanisms such as genetic drift for example, the mathematical possibility of these being by chance alone is simply beyond the realm of possibility.  Science has designated anything with a chance smaller than 10 to the minus 50th as impossible by convention.

The cell has many such machines that do all of the work inside of the cell.  Ribosomes, Golgi apparatus, etc.  All working together in an amazing choreography all of which are programmed by DNA.

It's about time this idea, that the simplest single cell is so complex that the earth is not old enough for random mutations to have achieved its synthesis, were put to bed.

Evolution does not start with a single cell. Indeed the simplest single cell with DNA is a long way down the evolutionary road. Each step along the road was easily accomplished in the time available with evolution that favored life that best fitted the environment. The remains of the initial (and simpler) life coding is still contained within cells in the form of RNA.
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« Reply #38 on: January 18, 2010, 05:00:57 PM »

(motivation) — I was asking about high leve scientist who devote so much of their live to it.  I wasn't being facitious. 

Same thing that motivates everyone else in this world. Money. Perhaps Fame, since Fame = Money.

Heh, wow.  I've never met a scientist who was "in it for the money".  Those people usually end up on Wall St (for a while, the hottest major on Wall St was Physics....something similar in the math between calculating particle data and concocting financial scams, I guess). 

As for me....as a child, I had a million questions.  Why.  How.  When.  When I got to school, I was overjoyed to find that other people had asked the same questions, and that there were answers.  Someone knew why, someone knew when.  And eventually, you start to ask questions, and you can't find any answers.  And there's just a drive to know, and a joy in finding out.

Quote
That's why you also got cheats who "found" missing links etc.

Maybe.  But you get lots of people who lie on the Internet, too, and I don't think there's a lot of money in that.  It may just be an ego thing - everyone look look look at me!!!

Quote
You can see the same thing happening today with the current "in" science, Climate Change. There's money being pro-climate change, but rarely anything in being a CC denier. You get the CC cheats too, fiddling the temperature data and inventing melting glaciers in the Himalayas.

Heh.  I've heard this story before, and I find it utterly baffling.  No money in being a climate change denier??  That is...not the case.  At all.

Who benefits from casting doubt about the overwhelming evidence for climate change?  Poor, nobody companies like....Exxon.  Shell.  Koch Industries.  Companies that make billions in profits each month.  And they're too dumb to throw a few dimes at the greatest PR bonanza they've had in a long time?

I don't think they're that dumb.  They didn't get where they are by being dumb.

Quote
What was Christopher Columbus doing when he happened on America? Trying to make money by finding a cheaper route to the East of course. And so on with most others.

I suppose it's a bit cynical to say money motivates everyone. But I'm sure it's the vast majority.

I would say that yes, that is cynical.  And it certainly doesn't square with my own experience.  Every researcher I know is motivated first by the joy of discovery.  Sure, ya gotta pay the bills.  But I don't know anyone who has gone into basic science because "that's where the money is."

 -rocker
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« Reply #39 on: January 18, 2010, 05:12:09 PM »

I don't want people to try and answer my question anymore.  Not only was it poorly phrased but it is very vague.  Perhaps if we could speak in person I could get my thought accross but it really didn't worked here.  heh...With all due respect I should have stayied in the "What's for Supper" thread.  Certainly I'm not qualified to talk of god or evolution.  No problem except I really do think both threads to stay on topic!   :rofl; :rofl; :rofl; :rofl; :rofl;
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« Reply #40 on: January 18, 2010, 08:08:52 PM »

The concept that through successive random mutations which are then acted upon by evolutionary mechanisms such as genetic drift for example, the mathematical possibility of these being by chance alone is simply beyond the realm of possibility.  Science has designated anything with a chance smaller than 10 to the minus 50th as impossible by convention.

The cell has many such machines that do all of the work inside of the cell.  Ribosomes, Golgi apparatus, etc.  All working together in an amazing choreography all of which are programmed by DNA.

It's about time this idea, that the simplest single cell is so complex that the earth is not old enough for random mutations to have achieved its synthesis, were put to bed.

Evolution does not start with a single cell. Indeed the simplest single cell with DNA is a long way down the evolutionary road. Each step along the road was easily accomplished in the time available with evolution that favored life that best fitted the environment. The remains of the initial (and simpler) life coding is still contained within cells in the form of RNA.

Dear Stoday, where were you when I was taking my undergrad and grad level courses on cell theory if it is so simple as you claim.

You state that evolution does not start with a single cell because by the time we get to a cell with DNA we are a long way down the evolutionary road.  That is a contradictory statement.

Please tell us when and where evolution starts in your understanding?  Not debating, simply trying to understand your concept of evolution since you continually state that I am incorrect in my understanding.

Thank you,

Peter
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« Reply #41 on: January 18, 2010, 08:52:35 PM »

I don't want people to try and answer my question anymore.  Not only was it poorly phrased but it is very vague.  Perhaps if we could speak in person I could get my thought accross but it really didn't worked here.  heh...With all due respect I should have stayied in the "What's for Supper" thread.  Certainly I'm not qualified to talk of god or evolution.  No problem except I really do think both threads to stay on topic!   :rofl; :rofl; :rofl; :rofl; :rofl;

I get what you mean dan. It is not always easy to type what yur trying to convey unlike talking face to face where expressions can be seen.
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Diabetes -  age 7

Neuropathy in legs age 10

Eye impairments and blindness in one eye began in 95, major one during visit to the Indy 500 race of that year
   -glaucoma and surgery for that
     -cataract surgery twice on same eye (2000 - 2002). another one growing in good eye
     - vitrectomy in good eye post tx November 2003, totally blind for 4 months due to complications with meds and infection

Diagnosed with ESRD June 29, 1999
1st Dialysis - July 4, 1999
Last Dialysis - December 2, 2000

Kidney and Pancreas Transplant - December 3, 2000

Cataract Surgery on good eye - June 24, 2009
Knee Surgery 2010
2011/2012 in process of getting a guide dog
Guide Dog Training begins July 2, 2012 in NY
Guide Dog by end of July 2012
Next eye surgery late 2012 or 2013 if I feel like it
Home with Guide dog - July 27, 2012
Knee Surgery #2 - Oct 15, 2012
Eye Surgery - Nov 2012
Lifes Adventures -  Priceless

No two day's are the same, are they?
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« Reply #42 on: January 19, 2010, 06:56:53 AM »

I really do undersand intellectual curiosity -- really I do.   :thumbup;  At the moment when I wrote my rather insipid question I was trying to reconcile the passion in this and your companion thread with perceived apathy about the earthquake.  Time has passed (though there is still massive suffering) and it now seems so silly ---  not unlike a lot of posts of mine.

This and the topic of the companion thread are both quite interesting.  Hmmm, so is reincarnation.  But rather than believe or not believe, I'm more interested in what I'm going to be next.   :beer1;  A bartender?  Or maybe a glass of beer which then turns into (oh my, lets forget about that).

Gosh Rocker, you and Gail are both really smart  --  for girls I mean. 
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« Reply #43 on: January 19, 2010, 10:24:14 AM »

One note on the previous quotes

Quote
Science has designated anything with a chance smaller than 10 to the minus 50th as impossible by convention.

No, "science" has not done that.  Science designates anything with a chance of E-50 as having a chance of E-50.  "Impossible" means the chance is 0 - and I don't know any scientist who will say that anything has a chance of 0.  Other than jokingly.


Dear Stoday, where were you when I was taking my undergrad and grad level courses on cell theory if it is so simple as you claim.

That's ok, I'm sure we all had trouble with some undergraduate courses. The first time I took Differential Equations, I had a terrible teacher.  It was completely baffling.  When I took it again with a better teacher, it was all totally simple.  I kept thinking "Why didn't the first guy just say this?"

Quote
You state that evolution does not start with a single cell because by the time we get to a cell with DNA we are a long way down the evolutionary road.  That is a contradictory statement.

I don't see a contradiction there.  Could you elaborate? 

Quote
Please tell us when and where evolution starts in your understanding?  Not debating, simply trying to understand your concept of evolution since you continually state that I am incorrect in my understanding.

Thank you,

Peter

Well, we certainly don't have space for an introductory class, but one popular hypothesis is "RNA World".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RNA_world_hypothesis

We do know that amino acids are fairly common (they've been found in comets, for example).  As I understand it, some of the early amino acids that stuck together eventually formed RNA.  RNA can replicate itself, so now you have a replicating molecule.  That is the first step.
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« Reply #44 on: January 19, 2010, 10:45:47 AM »

The concept that through successive random mutations which are then acted upon by evolutionary mechanisms such as genetic drift for example, the mathematical possibility of these being by chance alone is simply beyond the realm of possibility.  Science has designated anything with a chance smaller than 10 to the minus 50th as impossible by convention.

The cell has many such machines that do all of the work inside of the cell.  Ribosomes, Golgi apparatus, etc.  All working together in an amazing choreography all of which are programmed by DNA.  A single celled organism is much more complex than the space shuttle.  Of a truth, no one would see the space shuttle and believe it was anything but complex engineering and deliberate design.  Not only is the bacterial flagellum incredibly complex, but it is all regulated by information contained in the DNA. Where did that information come from?  That is a very simple question that I do not is possible without an intelligent designer.

I don't know where you are getting this "chance of 10 to the minus 50th" statistic from, but would be interested to see these numbers and know which statistical methods and data were used. Are you saying that this is the probability of life on earth starting up by "chance"? Chance is a misleading term here. The environment would be putting pressure on the essential elements of life (nucleotides, amino acids) and the laws of chemistry - the natural attraction between the four nucleotides (thymine, adenine, guanine, cytosine) - would facilitate early DNA synthesis. DNA is made up of only a few elements in the periodic table. Carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, phosphorous, and nitrogen - and these elements interact with each other in predictable ways. I have no information to judge that particular statistic by, but we are talking about a process that may well have had billions of years to develop. Given enough time, even unlikely events can take place, and it only takes one self-replicating DNA strand to kick off the process. I'm sure everyone has heard the analogy that if you put 1000 monkeys with 1000 typewriters in a room for 1000 years, one of them will write Hamlet. This is one (silly) way to illustrate a basic statistical rule.

Though this is certainly way outside of my studies of primate evolution, I believe that the theory is that DNA began outside of a cell environment, and that organelles and cell membranes were acquired over time. One extremely well-studied and oft-mentioned organelle in evolutionary study is mitochondria - the energy producers of the cell. The most commonly-accepted theory is that mitochondria were once independent organisms, but entered into a mutually-beneficial relationship with animal cells. The mitochondria provide energy to the animal cells, and the cells provide a safe environment in return (endosymbiosis). Evidence for the theory that mitochondria were once independent includes the fact that mitochondria contain their own DNA, which is double-stranded and circular like bacterial DNA.

I did say that I would further investigate my statement that the majority of DNA mutations are neutral, and I have: According to my text Human Evolutionary Genetics: Origins People and Disease by Jobling, Hurles, and Tyler-Smith (2004) 98.5% of human DNA is non-coding and only roughly 30% of our DNA is transcribed. A quote from the text: "The function of most of this nongenetic material is not known, but some of it certainly does play essential roles in cells." (p. 30) Oh, and they state very clearly that it is not possible to take out the introns and see how the exons fare, so I don't know what I was thinking with my prior speculation.

The most common type of mutation is called a base-substitution, and it means what it says - that the wrong nucleotide is placed during the copying phase. The cell also contains "proofreaders" and there is redundancy in the genetic code which allows for mistakes without affecting amino acid production. As for whether there are more positive than negative mutations in DNA, the writers state that there are more ways to ruin a gene than enhance it, but they also consider that negative mutations are much more easily spotted within populations. (We know certain diseases are genetic and we study them, but positive mutations may be overlooked or attributed to good environment.)

No real info on embryonic loss, but I think this is a difficult area to study, since I assume the stat on 75% embryonic loss includes embryos that fail to implant and other instances where the loss is so early that usable data is not generally available. Again, not my area, so this is pure conjecture. :)
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« Reply #45 on: January 19, 2010, 11:35:06 AM »

   I am really enjoying this thread!  :2thumbsup; :2thumbsup;  Picking so much new information.  :clap; :clap;  Though the scientific discussion has, at times, gone beyong "my pay grade"  I for one am enjoying seeing intalectual discussion. Thanks. Keep up the good work, and rember to keep playing nice.  Just my  :twocents;  Now I'm off to the "other" thread. Afraid what I'll find there.
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« Reply #46 on: January 19, 2010, 01:25:10 PM »

One note on the previous quotes

Quote
Science has designated anything with a chance smaller than 10 to the minus 50th as impossible by convention.

No, "science" has not done that.  Science designates anything with a chance of E-50 as having a chance of E-50.  "Impossible" means the chance is 0 - and I don't know any scientist who will say that anything has a chance of 0.  Other than jokingly.


Dear Stoday, where were you when I was taking my undergrad and grad level courses on cell theory if it is so simple as you claim.

That's ok, I'm sure we all had trouble with some undergraduate courses. The first time I took Differential Equations, I had a terrible teacher.  It was completely baffling.  When I took it again with a better teacher, it was all totally simple.  I kept thinking "Why didn't the first guy just say this?"

Quote
You state that evolution does not start with a single cell because by the time we get to a cell with DNA we are a long way down the evolutionary road.  That is a contradictory statement.

I don't see a contradiction there.  Could you elaborate? 

Quote
Please tell us when and where evolution starts in your understanding?  Not debating, simply trying to understand your concept of evolution since you continually state that I am incorrect in my understanding.

Thank you,

Peter

Well, we certainly don't have space for an introductory class, but one popular hypothesis is "RNA World".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RNA_world_hypothesis

We do know that amino acids are fairly common (they've been found in comets, for example).  As I understand it, some of the early amino acids that stuck together eventually formed RNA.  RNA can replicate itself, so now you have a replicating molecule.  That is the first step.

Dear Rocker, your statement is contradictory because of your own statements that abiogenesis has nothing to do with evolution.  I have used the current abiogenesis terms in all of my posts making note of the current political correct manner in which origins and evolutionary change are artificially separated which is a change from my training in the 1980s.  Yet, when I ask you to tell us when evolution started, you go and quote theories from abiogenesis of which the RNA world is one of the theories.  You also go back to amino acids. 

Rocker, it is contradictory to tell me not to conflate abiogenesis with evolution, yet you went right to it as the start of your evolution beginnings.  Yet, that is not surprising at all since EVERY book by evolution advocates does the same thing.  So, if you want to talk about abiogenesis, then please start a new thread since it is off topic.

The RNA world hypothesis places RNA at center-stage when life originated. This has been accompanied by many studies in the last ten years demonstrating important aspects of RNA function that were not previously known, and support the idea of a critical role for RNA in the functionality of life.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RNA_world_hypothesis

"Genes first" models: the RNA world

Main article: RNA world hypothesis

The RNA world hypothesis describes an early Earth with self-replicating and catalytic RNA but no DNA or proteins. This has spurred scientists to try to determine if relatively short RNA molecules could have spontaneously formed that were capable of catalyzing their own continuing replication.[53] A number of hypotheses of modes of formation have been put forward. Early cell membranes could have formed spontaneously from proteinoids, protein-like molecules that are produced when amino acid solutions are heated–when present at the correct concentration in aqueous solution, these form microspheres which are observed to behave similarly to membrane-enclosed compartments.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abiogenesis
« Last Edit: January 19, 2010, 01:26:52 PM by Hemodoc » Logged

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« Reply #47 on: January 19, 2010, 01:53:01 PM »

The concept that through successive random mutations which are then acted upon by evolutionary mechanisms such as genetic drift for example, the mathematical possibility of these being by chance alone is simply beyond the realm of possibility.  Science has designated anything with a chance smaller than 10 to the minus 50th as impossible by convention.

The cell has many such machines that do all of the work inside of the cell.  Ribosomes, Golgi apparatus, etc.  All working together in an amazing choreography all of which are programmed by DNA.  A single celled organism is much more complex than the space shuttle.  Of a truth, no one would see the space shuttle and believe it was anything but complex engineering and deliberate design.  Not only is the bacterial flagellum incredibly complex, but it is all regulated by information contained in the DNA. Where did that information come from?  That is a very simple question that I do not is possible without an intelligent designer.

I don't know where you are getting this "chance of 10 to the minus 50th" statistic from, but would be interested to see these numbers and know which statistical methods and data were used. Are you saying that this is the probability of life on earth starting up by "chance"? Chance is a misleading term here. The environment would be putting pressure on the essential elements of life (nucleotides, amino acids) and the laws of chemistry - the natural attraction between the four nucleotides (thymine, adenine, guanine, cytosine) - would facilitate early DNA synthesis. DNA is made up of only a few elements in the periodic table. Carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, phosphorous, and nitrogen - and these elements interact with each other in predictable ways. I have no information to judge that particular statistic by, but we are talking about a process that may well have had billions of years to develop. Given enough time, even unlikely events can take place, and it only takes one self-replicating DNA strand to kick off the process. I'm sure everyone has heard the analogy that if you put 1000 monkeys with 1000 typewriters in a room for 1000 years, one of them will write Hamlet. This is one (silly) way to illustrate a basic statistical rule.

Though this is certainly way outside of my studies of primate evolution, I believe that the theory is that DNA began outside of a cell environment, and that organelles and cell membranes were acquired over time. One extremely well-studied and oft-mentioned organelle in evolutionary study is mitochondria - the energy producers of the cell. The most commonly-accepted theory is that mitochondria were once independent organisms, but entered into a mutually-beneficial relationship with animal cells. The mitochondria provide energy to the animal cells, and the cells provide a safe environment in return (endosymbiosis). Evidence for the theory that mitochondria were once independent includes the fact that mitochondria contain their own DNA, which is double-stranded and circular like bacterial DNA.

I did say that I would further investigate my statement that the majority of DNA mutations are neutral, and I have: According to my text Human Evolutionary Genetics: Origins People and Disease by Jobling, Hurles, and Tyler-Smith (2004) 98.5% of human DNA is non-coding and only roughly 30% of our DNA is transcribed. A quote from the text: "The function of most of this nongenetic material is not known, but some of it certainly does play essential roles in cells." (p. 30) Oh, and they state very clearly that it is not possible to take out the introns and see how the exons fare, so I don't know what I was thinking with my prior speculation.

The most common type of mutation is called a base-substitution, and it means what it says - that the wrong nucleotide is placed during the copying phase. The cell also contains "proofreaders" and there is redundancy in the genetic code which allows for mistakes without affecting amino acid production. As for whether there are more positive than negative mutations in DNA, the writers state that there are more ways to ruin a gene than enhance it, but they also consider that negative mutations are much more easily spotted within populations. (We know certain diseases are genetic and we study them, but positive mutations may be overlooked or attributed to good environment.)

No real info on embryonic loss, but I think this is a difficult area to study, since I assume the stat on 75% embryonic loss includes embryos that fail to implant and other instances where the loss is so early that usable data is not generally available. Again, not my area, so this is pure conjecture. :)

Dear Cariad, great post.  Sir Fred Hoyle, and astronomer/mathematician who weighed in on the issue of origins which is in line with your post, as well as Rocker's shows that math involved.  Take a look at one of their papers on this issue:

Evolution of Life: A Cosmic Perspective
N. Chandra Wickramasinghe and Fred Hoyle
An ActionBioscience.org original paper


12. Improbability of life’s origins: cosmic evolution

Our hypothesis is that viable bacteria are of cosmic origin. They were present already in the material from which the solar system condensed and their number was then topped up substantially by replication in cometary material. Thus the impacts of cometary material would have brought them to Earth. The interiors of large enough impactors are known to remain cool and relatively undisturbed in such impacts. The wiping out of resident cultures was then of no overall consequence because the destroyed cultures were replaced by new arrivals.

The hypothesis questions the viability of chemical processes in a warm little pond. Would these processes yield the molecular arrangements of such observed biological structures as DNA and RNA, or at the enzymes for which such structures code? A typical enzyme is a chain with about 300 links; each link being an amino acid of which there are 20 different types used in biology. Detailed work on a number of particular enzymes has shown that about a third of the links must have an explicit amino acid from the 20 possibilities, while the remaining 200 links can have any amino acid taken from a subset of about four possibilities from the bag of 20. This means that with a supply of all the amino acids supposedly given, the probability of a random linking of 300 of them yielding a particular enzyme is as little as


The bacteria present on Earth in its early days required about 2000 such enzymes, and the chance that a random shuffling of already-available amino acids happens to combine so as to yield all the required 2000 enzymes is

2000! [10-250]2000
which works out at odds of one part in about 10500,000 , with the factorial hardly making any difference, large as it might seem.

A probability as small as this cannot be contemplated. So to a believer in the paradigm of the warm little pond there has to be a mistake in the argument. So although it is known that the bacteria present on Earth, almost from the beginning, were ordinary bacteria, everyday bacteria as one might say, it is argued that the first organisms managed to be viable with considerably fewer than 2000 enzymes31.

The number has been reduced from 2000 to 256 (an amazing but illusory degree of accuracy). Additionally one can reduce the lengths of required chains of amino acids. Suppose, for example, one reduces the length as much as tenfold, to only 30 links. Then the chance of obtaining such a severely sawndown enzyme is

256! [10-25]276.
Neglecting the effect of the factorial, this amounts only to one part in 106900, still not a bet one would advise a friend to take. For comparison, there are about 1079 atoms in the whole visible universe, in all the galaxies visible in the largest telescopes. This comparison shows in our opinion that life must be a cosmological phenomenon, not at all something which originated in a warm little terrestrial pond.

In a spatially infinite universe, a universe that ranges far beyond the largest telescopes, there is the very small chance that a replicative primitive cell will bear fruit somewhere and, when it does, replication will cause an enormous number of the first cells to be produced, as we have shown in the example of cometary interiors in section 7. It is here that the immense replicative power of biology shows to great advantage, particularly since we can distribute the products of such replication over millions of galaxies. Each minute innovative step in the development of life — every gene — can generate and disperse enough copies of itself the over a cosmic scale for a second highly improbable event to occur somewhere in one of the profusion of offspring. And so, by an extension of the argument to the third, fourth, fifth improbable events. Indeed to a whole chain of improbable occurrences, which result at last in the magnificent range and variety of genes we have today, the genes that were already present at the formation of Earth.

With the genetic components of life distributed widely throughout the universe, it is a matter for each local environment to pick out arrangements that best fit the particular circumstances. In a case like Earth, a complicated fitting together of the components occurred over the last several hundred million years, by a process which biologists refer to as evolution32.

On this view of the origin of life there would be little variation in the forms to which the process gives rise, at least so far as basic genes are concerned, over the whole of our galaxy. Or indeed, over all nearby galaxies. The rest of the story concerns the many ways in which the same basic genes can combine to produce rich varieties of living forms from one environment to another, always remembering that because of the large numbers involved — large numbers of stars, large numbers of planets and large numbers of galaxies, the system can afford many failures.

http://www.actionbioscience.org/newfrontiers/wick_hoyle.html

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« Reply #48 on: January 19, 2010, 02:21:16 PM »



Rocker, it is contradictory to tell me not to conflate abiogenesis with evolution, yet you went right to it as the start of your evolution beginnings.  Yet, that is not surprising at all since EVERY book by evolution advocates does the same thing.  So, if you want to talk about abiogenesis, then please start a new thread since it is off topic.


Every book by evolution advocates? I have in front of me some of my texts from my physical anthropology masters, and they do no such thing. No mention of abiogenesis. I had never heard that term until I began reading these threads. Evolution starts with the universal common ancestor. According to the particular text I cited above (Human Evolutionary Genetics, a widely-used foundation text for graduate level study in various aspects of anthropology, biology, and genetics): "The common ancestor of humans and Escherichia coli may also be the last universal common ancestor." (Escherichia coli = E. coli, quote from p. 11)

We seem stuck on this idea of asking where that universal ancestor came from, and it is clear to me that no one here is going to be able to answer that question to your satisfaction, Hemodoc, since we are attempting (at least in my case, since I hasten to admit that this is NOT my field of study) to use science and not theology to tackle it. There are actually many fascinating debates within the field of evolution. Many. Perhaps we will work our way around to those, or perhaps not.

I actually do have a question for you, Peter, since I am hearing conflicting ideas from your posts. What exactly are your beliefs with respect to Intelligent Design? Do you believe that a "designer" created these mechanisms and evolution moves on from there, or do you literally believe that no evolution is taking place on earth? Or something else entirely?

I will take a look at the article that you posted.
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« Reply #49 on: January 19, 2010, 02:56:23 PM »



Rocker, it is contradictory to tell me not to conflate abiogenesis with evolution, yet you went right to it as the start of your evolution beginnings.  Yet, that is not surprising at all since EVERY book by evolution advocates does the same thing.  So, if you want to talk about abiogenesis, then please start a new thread since it is off topic.


Every book by evolution advocates? I have in front of me some of my texts from my physical anthropology masters, and they do no such thing. No mention of abiogenesis. I had never heard that term until I began reading these threads. Evolution starts with the universal common ancestor. According to the particular text I cited above (Human Evolutionary Genetics, a widely-used foundation text for graduate level study in various aspects of anthropology, biology, and genetics): "The common ancestor of humans and Escherichia coli may also be the last universal common ancestor." (Escherichia coli = E. coli, quote from p. 11)

We seem stuck on this idea of asking where that universal ancestor came from, and it is clear to me that no one here is going to be able to answer that question to your satisfaction, Hemodoc, since we are attempting (at least in my case, since I hasten to admit that this is NOT my field of study) to use science and not theology to tackle it. There are actually many fascinating debates within the field of evolution. Many. Perhaps we will work our way around to those, or perhaps not.

I actually do have a question for you, Peter, since I am hearing conflicting ideas from your posts. What exactly are your beliefs with respect to Intelligent Design? Do you believe that a "designer" created these mechanisms and evolution moves on from there, or do you literally believe that no evolution is taking place on earth? Or something else entirely?

I will take a look at the article that you posted.

Fair enough Cariad, I should state that every book on evolution that I have read in the last few years has this in it as a separate topic, but it is still dealt with anyway.  Those books are at home, so forgive my poor memory at present, but if you will give me 3 months, I will quote those books once i get home.  I should note that Sir Fred Hoyle stated is well in the title of the article I quoted above, the "Evolution of Life"  My training nearly 30 years ago was in a continuum of evolution of the universe to evolution of chemicals, to evolution of life to evolution of higher orders of life.  I suspect that despite the pleas to the contrary such as the example by Rocker, that that is the continuum that is still present but under the surface so to speak.

In fact, the current definition of evolution given by Rocker, "Evolution" is a change in the genetic makeup of a population over time. is only observed at the species and subspecies level.  We studied population genetics by genetic drift and other evolutionary methods.  These are observed to occur leading to variations within the same kinds of animals.  What is not observed today or in the fossil record is animals changing from one kind of animal to another kind.  Natural selection is actually not a creative force but a stabilizing force.  Everyone talks about beneficial mutations, but examples are quite difficult to bring into discussion.  Beneficial mutations are a fleeting part of the theory of evolution that are quite difficult to demonstrate.  The real impact of natural selection is to weed out those individuals who have harmful mutations that we in the medical field called birth defects.

I believe that God spoke the creation into existence as the Bible states.  We never really got very far on the issue of language in DNA, but in fact, you are what you are based on the language of your own individual DNA that determines many of your phenotypic attributes, hair color, etc. I believe that God created a perfect creation which was corrupted by the sin of man which is a literal interpretation of the Bible.  We see that by some reports 99% of all creatures known to date have become extinct.  We see stasis in the fossil record which lead Stephen J. Gould to his punctuated equilibrium theory based on the lack of evidence found showing it must have happened quickly.  I see nothing happening with random mutations over time but corruption of the original code given leading to more diseases and impurities over time. 

Many have coined microevolution which has been observed within species and macroevolution which has not been observed of changing from one species to another.  Are there many varieties of the same kinds of animals? Absolutely and genetic drift and other aspects such as natural selection have been observed, but they have not been observed to change into different kinds of animals.

I come back to the issue of change in gene frequencies over time, but the issue of increasing information over time goes against many principles of science through random mutations.  I just don't buy that as a plausible scientific explanation.  As I joked with my sister years before I became a creationist, creationism has the best fit to what we find in the fossil record.
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