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Science

Predicting Evolution: A Beginner's Model 84

Silance writes "According to ScienceDaily , Scientists have developed a method of accelerating evolution in the lab that accurately mimics natural evolution. Drug-resistant E.coli strains from the 1940's that were subjected to the evolutionary speed-up process indeed followed the same evolutionary path as their natural bretheren. It is believed that the process could be used to predict the future monkey-wrenches that evolution might lob our way. Neat-o!"
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Predicting Evolution: A Beginner's Model

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  • Then we can have viruses and plagues that are more evolved than us.

    I also wonder what evolution we would have "naturally" gone through.
  • by cp99 ( 559733 ) <clem_21NO@SPAMhotmail.com> on Thursday March 21, 2002 @05:34AM (#3199119)
    With every paper like this one, the case for evolution gets stronger (not that it needed it), whereas the pesudoscientists falls apart (not that it hasn't already).
    • You see, not all creationists take the view that the universe was created as we know it, in seven days = 168 hours.

      There has been a view that the Bible talks about God's days (periods of creation), each of which could take millions of years. AFAIK this view is that of God-assisted evolution. He gives the right impulses and the monkeys move off the trees.

      This is not ridiculous, there are still some missing links in the known evolution and it does indeed seem that in a few moments in the history evolution sped up like hell.

      In fact, this may be a pure chance as well as an act of God, and this cannot be resolved until God manifests Himself, like a face in the sky speaking everyone's language at once telling us to finally shut up and be good to each other.

      (Personally, I believe this is possible, as much as the pure-chance scenario. No difference to me, really.)

      • by Anonymous Coward
        but which is the more perfect God?

        The One who builds a grand machine starts it running and enjoys the show?

        Or the One who continually needs to tune it up?

        Did God create the universe? Is solely a question of of religion. How does the universe work? Is the domain of science, but most importantly, not answered by the first question. A fact lost on most creationists.
        • Did God create the universe? Is solely a question of of religion. How does the universe work? Is the domain of science, but most importantly, not answered by the first question. A fact lost on most creationists.

          True, the answer to the second question does not necessarily follow from that to the first, but this is not the sole argument of the creationists. IANAC (well, actually I am, but not in the way they are), but I'm pretty sure they would quote a scripture or two to support their views of how the universe works beyond "b'reishit bara elohim et ha'shamiim v'et ha'aretz" (--'cause if you're not going to cite His words the way He said them, your citation can't be taken for Gospel). Let us take the example of Adam as representative: that God created the universe does not mean that He took from the earth and molded Adam, breathing into him; we need another line of scripture to show that. Creationists would argue that we have that line, and thus is the root of their belief.

          • The kooky literalists aren't the ones who pain me. They've lost, they've been voted out of the mainstream and may recieve their consolation prizes in the event of a Jehova approved Armaggedon.

            Personally, I have a little bit more of a problem with the "intelligent design" brand of kook. It's pretty clear their only motivation is to wedge their God into other people lives under the guise of empirical truth. Funny how similar people legislated God into the pledge of allegiance in a naive and embarisingly futile attempt to push back the clock to a Ward Cleaver ideal that never really existed. Maybe such pledges for children too young to understand them are the fine line between nationalism and fascism. Maybe it's even a good thing that people who invested too much faith in a magic guy in the sky, rather than personal responsability, added those little words that didn't belong and got it kicked out of schools. Although, perhaps not all. But I think there is some value giving kids a sense of national identity. These are the people affecting change. And never for the better. The people trying to find Noah's Ark, they might make the news, but never a difference, and as such, they're pretty harmless.

            I would bet that every state has its properly apportioned share of state representatives that are trying to get a mandatory intelligent design curriculum state wide. Enough time is wasted in our schools as it is. We don't need to be inventing worthless garbage that will be competing with the little bit of useful information our educational system disseminates.

            In short I find the AC +2 insightful as well :)

            And at least you're a professional karma whore, I'm still an unranked amature.
      • I agree that my use of the term creationist, isn't the best. There are many Christians who believe in a old earth, with God using evolution as a tool to create life's diversity who would call themselves creationists.

        However, the term creationist, is more commonly used to describe those who disbelieve the theory of evolution, and it is these people, who my comment was aimed at.

        And one minor point, on evolution speeding up, often it appears that way in the fossil record, however, none of the speeding up is beyond the theoretical rates of genetic change determined by lab based experiments.
        • However, the term creationist, is more commonly used to describe those who disbelieve the theory of evolution, and it is these people, who my comment was aimed at.

          Evolution is fine for people who do not believe in a God. However, to those who do, it simply does not hold water. At least to me. There are major problems with evolution despite your original post's claim that it didn't need any help.

          * The fossil record is not complete, indeed it is far from complete.
          * Radiometric dating is inaccurate. Hardened lava from Mt. St. Helens that is known to be 8 years old tested, using the same equipment as archeologists to be 350,000 to 3,500,000 years old. It's theory relies on the even distribution of isotopes within the tested material. Since this simply is not the case, all radiometric dating is suspect.

          So as a scientist I find big problems with evolution (these are just a couple). As a person who believes in a God, I cannot subscribe to the understanding of man as a trump the supremecy of God.

          There are many Christians who believe in a old earth, with God using evolution as a tool to create life's diversity who would call themselves creationists.

          I believe that the materials the earth is made of is old but not the earth itself (relatively speaking). While micro evolution may take place, Man did not evolve from anything and will not evolve to anything. This simply goes against the basic teachings of Christianity. At least the Christianity I believe in.
          • I'm sorry - but by making it clear that your religion is at stake, and is in serious danger should 'macro' (your term) evolution be real, you have made your argument very weak. Scientific data is meant to be examined objectively, without influence from personal agendas. It is sadly true that sometimes scientists (being only as human as the rest of us) do fail in this regard; it is one of the strengths of science that the data can be re-examined and better (more objective and explanatory) hypotheses reached.
            • I'm sorry - but by making it clear that your religion is at stake, and is in serious danger should 'macro' (your term) evolution be real, you have made your argument very weak.

              On the contrary, part of my religion is that all truth comes from God. Just because I don't understand it or know about it does not make it any less than true. Despite my scepticism, I am not without humility in accepting truth when I know it to be so. So far, I have not found anything to contradict my beliefs.
              • Mr.Intel (#165870) wrote:
                On the contrary, part of my religion is that all truth comes from God. Just because I don't understand it or know about it does not make it any less than true. Despite my scepticism, I am not without humility in accepting truth when I know it to be so. So far, I have not found anything to contradict my beliefs.

                I reply:
                The premise that all truth comes from God, is - as you observe - part of your religion. This presents several (well, at least two) problems: it assumes the truth of your religion at the start - rendering it impossible you to acknowledge the truth of anything contrary to your religion; and it implies that true things are 'given' to man by your God alone - wouldn't this imply that those affliated with other belief structures would not be capable of finding true things?
                I can certainly understand and empathize with your humility with regard to knowledge; I agree that things can be understandable, and still not be understood yet (especially by me). However, wouldn't this humility require that you admit to uncertainty about the assumptions your religion is based upon?
                I know, I know - probably coulda been phrased better; sorry, hope the points were clear enough without offending.
                • The premise that all truth comes from God, is - as you observe - part of your religion. This presents several (well, at least two) problems: it assumes the truth of your religion at the start - rendering it impossible you to acknowledge the truth of anything contrary to your religion; and it implies that true things are 'given' to man by your God alone - wouldn't this imply that those affliated with other belief structures would not be capable of finding true things?

                  Problem 1 as you state it, is that if I assume all truth comes from God (specifically the God I worship) then truth cannot come from other sources (other religons). I definately hold to my statement that truth can only come from God. However, let me clarify myself. Truth originates from God but can be manifested in many ways. The industrial revolution was categorized by many inventions that changed the way humans communicated, sheltered themselves, travelled and did business. Certainly the science behind these inventions can be considered truth. However, a precious few of these came about as a result of members of my religion. Therefore, just because a man or woman recieved a flash of inspiration to create invention X or cure for disease Y, does not mean the truth came from something other than God. In fact I would submit to you that indeed that is exactly where that inspiration/revelation/insight came from. I believe that we are all literal children of God and that He has a vested interest in us. That means that He wants us to learn and grow (just like we do for our own children). The point is, that we learn from Him directly and indirectly but it all comes from God.

                  However, wouldn't this humility require that you admit to uncertainty about the assumptions your religion is based upon?

                  Good question! I try to never assume anything. However, the basic tenents of any beleif in a Supreme Being tend to revolve around faith. This can be a tricky subject to understand, at least it was for me at first. To believe in something requires faith. I have faith that Russia exists though I have never seen it directly. I have seen pictures and even spoken to people from there. But in the end, I have to make a decision as to whether I believe in such a place. The same is true for believing God. I have never seen Him and don't remember being in heaven where He lives. But I have heard of people seeing Him (Moses/Mohammed/Peter) and so I have to make a choice. If you are really trying to have faith, then you need a desire to have it. This desire can then find a place to grow into faith. After a time the faith becomes knowledge. My religion makes very few assumptions and is pretty much founded on very basic principles. So I don't need to make any allowances for it. By definition, if I believe in a religion then there is no doubt. There was at one time, but I have had them satisfied enough for me.

                  hope the points were clear enough without offending.

                  It takes a lot to offend me so don't worry about it.
          • Let's see the independantly-verified study on Mt. St. Helens lava. You know what's interesting? After a fairly exhaustive search (after a creationist that I know brought up this very point) both online and in the real world, I could find nothing on this study anywhere EXCEPT within Creationist writings. Nowhere in any of them were sources cited (other than unqualified fellow creationists). This is the most common rule of Creationism: Anything a fellow creationist comes up with, that fits what you want to believe, is accepted as fact without question.

            Now, I'm willing to accept that qualifications aren't everything. If you'd like to claim that earning a Masters of Archeology prejudices a person to believe in radiocarbon dating's accuracy, fine. It doesn't matter to me who presents the proof. Proof is proof. Perform a double-blind test here; publish your results.

            The advantage to science is this; the biggest way to make a name for yourself is to disprove or enhance a long-standing theory. If you can prove that radiocarbon dating is inaccurate, you may not be popular at first, but you will be famous. But if you and your fellow creationists wish to be taken seriously, present proof based on facts. Speeches by other creationists (one of Kent Hovind's favorite sources) and "the bible says so" does not count as fact.
            • The testing of the Mt. St. Helens lava dome rocks was done using the exact same labs as other scientists use; please don't suggest that the labs knew the philosophy of the submitters of the rocks and altered data based on that... The fact that orthodox publications wouldn't accept it for publication tells more about their prejudice than the veracity of the facts.

              But let's look at other problems with age issues: pleochroic halos [halos.com] of Polonium in granite. Don't bother trying to cite Brawley's weak counter to it on talkorigins, that is so full of already experimentally closed holes that it isn't worth the bandwidth to send people to look at it. Gentry experimentally proved, in a set of peer reviewed publications (Science, Nature, Geophysical Letters) that the halos could only have come from primordial Po.

              And that means that the bedrock granite of the continents formed in seconds or minutes, not in millions of years. Gentry has repeatedly issued a challenge, a way to falsify his model, but no one has been willing to publish results of trying.

              And then let's consider the issue of Helium; if the world were as old as evolutionists need it to be in order to believe in abiogenesis and "goo to you" evolution, then the amount of Helium in the atmosphere would be way higher than it is. And the amount of He in bedrock deposits would be a lot less, it would have diffused out millions or billions of years ago. But it hasn't, it's still in the rocks.

              Radiometric dating, whenever an object of known age (Hawaiian volcanoes, Mt. Etna, Mt. St. Helens) is tested, comes up with big errors. By any reasonable standard, that shows that method is broken or falsified. Certainly not that it's reliable enough to base your belief system on, unless you are willing to make a leap of faith much greater than I would be willing to make.
              • Gentry did rule out long half-life isomers of polonium as a cause of the halos. However, his theory was supplanted in 1989 (Odom, L.A., and Rink; "Giant Radiation-Induced Color Halos in Quartz: Solution to a Riddle" Science 246: 107-109). This new theory completely accounts for all apparent violation of physical laws in a logical manner; thus, it in no way provides evidence for a near-instantaneous creation. Gentry has yet to publish a rebuttal, more than a decade after these new findings came to light. As for his "challenge", it has not appeared in any peer-reviewed scientific literature, which may account for no one bothering to rise to it. More information on this subject may be found here [skepticfriends.org].

                Of course, I've made no mention here of Gentry's notoriously sloppy methods and faulty assumptions (nice summary of these, with references, here [geocities.com]), as I wouldn't want you to think I'm attacking him personally, rather than his conclusions.

                As for the helium, a creationist named Roger Lenard recently re-presented this tired old argument. Unfortunately, he, like most creation "scientists", presented no evidence for this theory. He did state that "a prestigious university" found that the amount of hydrogen in biotite is "too high", but no one ever comes clear on what "too high" is. Nor will he tell anyone where these measurements were performed, the name of the university, or even provide the data he cites as his sole reference. The paper many creationists look to for support here is actually by our good friend Gentry; however, even his statements do more to prove that the levels of helium currently present are exactly right for an evolutionary timescale. The "too-much-helium" argument has been discredited for years. Science cannot help it if creationists choose to ignore this.

                However, none of this has anything to do with my original post. You've employed another common Creationist trick, which is to dodge the question by supplying more "proof" that other unrelated evolutionary methods/theories are faulty. So allow me to get back to the subject at hand...

                You use inaccuracies in dating Hawaiian volcanic rock as proof that all radiometric dating is flawed. And you are absolutely correct, I find, in stating that wildly inaccurate dates are determined from potassium-argon analysis of this rock. However, you've neglected to mention that geologists already thought that rocks formed under those particular conditions would give unreliable K-Ar ages because they would trap argon before it could escape. The studies in question were performed to confirm this under controlled conditions, and thus to confirm to the scientific community that this particular type of rock (and, by extension, most rock of seabed origin) is unsuitable for radiometric dating.

                Oops.

                In addition, I'd like to know how this disproves the accuracy of other dating methods (uranium-lead and rubidium-strontium, for example), since these methods will all produce the same results in rocks with well-understood geological context. Confidence in radiometric dating techniques comes from years of careful comparisons to other radiometric techniques and to relative age determinations from biostratigraphy (fossils in layered rocks). In some cases, there are multiple isotope systems that may be analyzed in the same sample. Since these different systems react differently to the processes that disturb age recording, if the systems disagree with one another the age significance of the data is suspect. If they all agree, then there is phenomal evidence for the accuracy of the dating.

                As for the accuracy potassium-argon dating having any bearing on carbon-14 dating (the kind used to date organic artifacts up to 50,000 years old), this is ludicrous. The two methods have very little in common, and carbon-14 dating is known to depend on variations in atmospheric conditions.

                So where's the leap of faith? The only one I've seen so far is the one that leads to your ghetto of scientific illiteracy.

                For more references, information, and general illumination, read this very helpful document: The General Anti-Creationism FAQ [talkorigins.org]
                Here are rebuttals, with evidence and references, to all of the arguments you've thus far presented, as well as all of the other major creationist arguments.
                • It seems the citations you offer, particularly about Gentry, are quite easily refuted if you just look into the source material.

                  First, you claim that Gentry has never published a rebuttal. That is an inaccurate claim. He did not publish in the same journal as the source materials for his refutation, the same journal as published Odom and Rink, Science.

                  If you read Gentry's book, you can see (pages 327-330) the letters from Science where they refused to publish either of rebuttal papers Gentry offered to Odom and Rink's 1989 paper, despite the fact that the rebuttal was based on papers previously published in Science. The anti-creationist bias in their refusals is clear.

                  Gentry's answer, which was refused publication for clearly specious reasons, was based on his 1968, 1971, and 1974 papers in the exact same journal. He had already foreseen that counterpoint and had experimentally disproven it. Of course when the originating journal (Science) refused to allow him to answer, he chose to publish in an alternative. The answer had to be made - it was certainly not his choice to do it in an alternate.

                  In addition Odom's letter to Gentry (which you can also read in Gentry's book), dated 10/27/89, clearly states that he did not have a Po halo. Odom additionally mentions that he has only two Al halos. So you're basing your counter-argument to Gentry's decades of exhaustive research on the interpretations of someone who has not even observed what Gentry's research is all about! That is far from, to use your word, Gentry's theory being "supplanted". If you are open to investigating this for yourself, I suggest you read Gentry's articles or his book for yourself, don't rely on the summaries done by others such as the link you provided.

                  Why did Science refuse to allow the rebuttal to be made in their pages (they as a rule do allow an author to answer a counter-paper)? Can you say "bias"??? When Gentry wrote in Science and Nature in the 60s through early 80s, he did not advertise his data as supporting a creationist view. Once he started to do so, the journals started shutting him out.

                  Your statement that you weren't attacking him personally, but then including a link to a site which does so, does raise some issues, left as an exercise for the reader to interpret.

                  As to excess He (not hydrogen as you stated), the issue again is thoroughly dealt with in Gentry's published research. It was published in Geophysical Research Letters, Vol 9, No. 10, Pages 1129-1130, October 1982, and was co-written with Glish and McBay, scientists at the analytical chemistry division of ORNL. A paper was also published in Science about it. Your bold assertion that he did no more that show the levels were "just right" for evolution doesn't make it so; the amount of He in deep zircons is far higher than billions of years allow. Again I suggest you read the original papers.

                  Now to K-Ar dating. Let's just ignore the seabed case - there are still the Mt. St. Helens and the Mt. Etna data to look at. Those two provide hard evidence that in at least those two cases that K-Ar does not work as a reliable dating method when the age of the rock is known. I'm sure lots of theories could be advanced as to why (and may have been), but the bottom line has to be: when the age of a rock is known, the results aren't what was predicted. So why then accept the results when the age is unknown? What unforeseen events could make dating anything else with K-Ar magically more accurate?

                  I find it so interesting to see you cite index fossils as proof of radiometric dating. Particularly since if you ask geologists, you'll usually get an answer that dating is done in a layer by looking at the fossils. Then ask a biologist and he/she will tell you that the dating is done by the rocks in the strata. Round and round we go, where we stop, nobody knows - circular reasoning, anyone?

                  As for the U-Pb, Ru-Sr, and isochron dating methods, if you are really interested, I suggest the book "Mythology of Modern Dating Methods". It's a ponderous read, but does a far better job of addressing your concerns than I could ever do in a /. comment.

                  So I stand by my comment that it takes more faith to believe in radiometric dating, index fossils determining age, and billions of years than it does to accept the hard, unrefuted evidence of things like Po halos and admit the earth is young, not old. Believing something in the face of contrary facts, such as thinking that K-Ar is reliable as a dating method, has to take a huge amount of faith. I don't say there's anything wrong with faith; I just wish it would be admitted that evolutionism is as much a religious viewpoint (look at the vehemence of its defenders!) as creationism.

                  May you be as happy in your faith as I am in mine.
                  • The bare minium requirments of a scientific publication are too differcult for Gentry to achieve so his going to take his toys and go home.

                    To which I can only add; don't forget to shut the door on your way out.
                    • Gentry has published [halos.com] in Science, in Nature, in Geophysical Research Letters, in Physics Today, and other presitigious, evolutionist first-tier publications on the subject of pleochroic halos. Only when his non-establishment views were widely publicized did he get shut out by closed-minded editors. His papers were peer reviewed and accepted for decades. He was a scientist at Oak Ridge National Labs.

                      What further qualifications are you suggesting he should have?
                    • What further qualifications are you suggesting he should have?

                      The ability to form conclusions that are fully consistent with the scientific method, ie. not saying that there is irrefutable proof of god in a particular phenomenon, when natural explanations do exist.
                    • you said "when natural explanations do exist".

                      The above long post of mine showed that every counter to Gentry has been experimentally disproven in peer-reviewed journals.

                      So what natural explanations, held to the same level of scrutiny and peer review, do you have to cite to explain the halos?
                    • The above long post of mine showed that every counter to Gentry has been experimentally disproven in peer-reviewed journals.

                      I couldn't find the citation (in a peer reviewed journal) where Gentry rebutes Odium. Just a whole lot of excuses as too why Science didn't publish him. Also, just because Gentry and yourself don't believe that a natural explanation exists, doesn't mean that other geologists believe it. Given that all crediable geological societies support a old earth that cooled over a timescan significantly longer than Gentry's research would allow, I don't find it unresonable to suggest that geological community finds Gentrys conclusions to be weak and unsupported.
                    • sigh... I wish you'd actually read my above post, where I cited the fact that Gentry's counter-evidence of Odom and Rink's 1989 article was done prior to their publication. Gentry, in experiments reported in Science in 1968, 1971, and 1974 dealt with all the issues that Odom and Rink presented in 1989. All his rebuttal in 1989 would have done was to draw attention to the particular points in those experimental reports to show how they disproved Odom and Rink's questions about Po halos.

                      Again, why Gentry did not get to publish in Science was covered in the above post. To repeat - Science flat refused to publish either of his defenses. You seem to ignore the fact that Odom wrote a letter to Gentry after the article was published, a letter in which he not only stated that he had no Po halos, but in which he also stated that Science had dictated that he remove portions of his article that mentioned instantaneous creation as an alternate explanation. Science censored Odom's article, so what were the odds that they'd allow Gentry a fair chance to rebut? Also in the letter from Odom to Gentry is: "Jack and I would be very happy to see you investigate these halos, and if possible test our model."

                      Gee, doesn't sound like Odom thought poorly of Gentry does it. In fact it sounds like Odom is looking to Gentry as the acknowledged expert in the field (which he certainly is).

                      I understand that it's disturbing to see hard evidence against something that you believe strongly; are you willing to possibly consider looking into it rather than just throwing words around?
                    • I did read your post, and it doesn't make sense.

                      Ok, let me get this straight, Odom (who respects Gentry, and see's him as "the acknowledged expert in the field") publishs a natural explanation of the Po halos, despite knowing that Gentry (who he respects etc etc) has already rebutted his findings in early papers (there is no way that Odom can't have read Gentry's earlier papers). Sorry, but that means that eith Odom and the reviewers of his article have no crediablity, or Gentry is full of it.

                      Giving his replies (I have read a webpage (which I can't quite remember where it is) which stated (and I'm assuming that it is based on Gentry's rebuttal to Brewley's work) which claimed that Po halo's couldn't be due Rn, because of the lack of cracks for Rn to diffuse through, and the lack of Po path's formed from decaying Rn) to people such as John Brawley's Rn theory, ignores several important parts of Brawley's theory (that Rn can travel through very very spaces, such as gaps in the xtal lattice, and that it U decay's into Rn at a very small rate), I'll would suspect that Gentry is full of it.

                      I understand that it's disturbing to see hard evidence against something that you believe strongly; are you willing to possibly consider looking into it rather than just throwing words around?

                      Perhaps you should ask yourself the same question, remeber that even if no natural explaination can explain Po halo's (which I doubt very much), you still have to ignore all of modern geology to get a young earth (have you ever wondering why the vast vast majority of earth scientists believe in a old earth? - it's not because of the a great evolution conspiracy, nor because they are stupid). From what I've seen of your posts over the last few days, you seem like a intelligent person, but one who has been duped by a bunch of frauds and liers (I'm talking more about Steve Austin and co, rather than Gentry - who I have a lot more respect for). Perhaps you should check out some of the online work that provides a Christian perspective of evolution?
              • The testing of the Mt. St. Helens lava dome rocks was done using the exact same labs as other scientists use; please don't suggest that the labs knew the philosophy of the submitters of the rocks and altered data based on that...

                While Steve Austin may have used the same techniques as other researchers, he didn't use the same techniques. Lava is completely liquid, it often contains solid lumps (which are much much older). Austin claims to have removed the gabbro xenoliths, but doesn't mention removing other older artifacts. His own pictures of the rocks show the presence of zoned feldspars. The zoned appearance indicates a very slow cooling history (hundreds of thousands to millions of years). My source [geocities.com] for this information concludes with this statement on the Mt. St. Helen's dating:

                "His glass and feldspar fraction is probably a mixture of young glass, old Ca-feldspars, and sodium-rich feldspars that have an intermediate age. Not surprisingly, this mixture gave a younger age of about 340,000 years, but still much older than 1986 AD. His whole rock age was no doubt affected by a mixture of young glass, older feldspar and pyroxene phenocrysts and some possibly ancient xenocrysts or lightly colored (hard to see) xenoliths. In conclusion, Austin's results do NOTHING to refute the validity of K/Ar dating."

                Also, the labs which Steve Austin used carry disclaimers about the accuracy of technique when used on young rocks. He ignored this.

                The fact that orthodox publications wouldn't accept it for publication tells more about their prejudice than the veracity of the facts.

                No, the fact that scientific publications didn't accept it is that it isn't science, rather it is propaganda for those who beliefs are threatened by reality.
            • Let's see the independantly-verified study on Mt. St. Helens lava.

              I will be the first to admit that I don't know where to find it. However, why would you ask me this when you go on to say in this thread, "The studies in question were performed to confirm this under controlled conditions, and thus to confirm to the scientific community that this particular type of rock (and, by extension, most rock of seabed origin) is unsuitable for radiometric dating."

              So it sounds like bait to me and I won't waste time replying, which young-earth was kind enough to do.

              Anything a fellow creationist comes up with, that fits what you want to believe, is accepted as fact without question.

              What a load of crap. Of course you say yourself that qualifications aren't everything and can even prejudice a person. I don't claim to have all the definitive proof for Creation. But I do claim to believe in a God who has children that look just like Him and do so for a very good reason. I also claim that the earth was made (by divinity or not) by materials that themselves are very old. I also believe that those materials did not exist in an elemental state as those who hold to the stellar disk model would have you believe.

              But if you and your fellow creationists wish to be taken seriously, present proof based on facts.

              That's the problem. I don't seek to change your mind. I seek to gain understanding. I don't want to convince you that you are wrong or to necessarily be taken seriously by you. I have come to believe in God from a very personal set of experiences and I don't expect you or anyone else to do so because of anything I say. As for fact, that is a very elusive and subjective thing in my opinion. Else why would science continue to change over the years if it was based on fact from the beginning?
        • I agree, cp99, I just called the in-range speedups "pure chance". 8-)
    • The case for micro-evolution (variations within a species) is well founded. But "micro-evolution is true, therefore macro-evolution is true", just doesn't follow. Hall's e-coli bacteria have developed resistance to different antibiotics, but they're still e-coli bacteria.
      • Actually micro- and macro- evolution are one and the same. The difference is in degree.

        Biologists recognise no fundamental differences between micro- and macro- evolution. However, if it's a speciation event that you want you could look at this page [talkorigins.org] which contains many links to speciation events in the scientific lit.
      • But"micro-evolution is true, therefore macro-evolution is true", just doesn't follow.

        The problem with reasoning like this is its naivety. Changes are cumulative, they do not go away automatically, magically, or because you wish they would. The second law of thermodynamics forbids it. There is no simple means to differentiate between "micro" and "macro" evolution when there is only a continuum of variation. Even saying that "they are still E. coli" is simplistic on a drastic scale. Recent evidence shows that bacteria exchange genetic information across species boundaries. So, given that they may be meandering around the petri dish with genes acquired from S. aureus as well other fun neighbors, what makes you certain that they ever were, much less still are E. coli. Its possible that the concept of "species" has been reified beyond any utility it ever had. Think about it.

    • Why the hell are you looking to pick a fight on the off chance that someone who believes in creation is reading this story?

      Fine. damn there all of Slashdot agrees with you. This means your comment had to have been ment for flamebait.
      • Given that there are a number of posters on slashdot who seem to willing to jump in and discuss evolution and creationism on much more unrelated topics (such as ice sheets melting), it doesn't strike me as unresonable that a story on evolution can be followed by a discussion on creationism. One person's flamebait mod, is another person's interesting mod.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Notes:
    1. I have to rant about Darwinism only pertaining to microevolution. There's not been much evidence where ecological diversity (large scale speciation) is caused by Darwinism. In fact, Stephen J. Gould's punctuated equilibrium theory breaks neo-Darwinism as the principle mechanism for macroevolution.

    2. This sort of discovery however, is interesting in that this sort of technique can be termed 2nd order GM. Where GM as we normally see it is usually mimicking rapid breeding by horizontal gene transfer instead of waiting for the organism to acquire them through generational breeding, this discovery allows us to use the patterns developed from accelerated breeding (or GM) to create new things.

    3. "In the quest to create the cure-all of the 21st century, a nemesis was created" MI:2 anyone? :)

    4. "Unknown to the public and even its employees, the Umbrella corporation primarily conducts research for the military in areas such as genetic engineering and viral warfare...." ResEvil anyone? :)
  • sounds inherently... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Zarf ( 5735 )
    sadistic.

    "You can introduce a lot of mutations in the lab," explains Hall. "In effect, you can take millions of copies of this gene and give each one a different mutation." Those mutated genes are introduced back into the cells, "and then you ask, can you grow on lactose now?"

    So basically you screw 'em up somehow and then torture them. I know that they're just microbes but it still... if you prick them do they not bleed? The process is still, "Ooh, you still alive, *zap* how 'bout now? Still kickin'? *zap* how 'bout now? Nope? *zap* how 'bout now?" Perhaps I have too much imagination but just picture this with fuzzy animals... not funny "ha ha" funny strange.
    • Yeah we sell all this bleech that is ment to only kill these little microbes. WHERE THE HELL IS PETA on this. =]
    • umm..these things don't even have more than a few slight instincts..not like they can feel pain in the least bit..if these had at the least a ganglea it might be considered cruel..but come on..they can't fell anything..learn about organisms before you critisize science..you are no doubt religious so they teach to to do that..but still
      • you are no doubt religious so they teach to to do that..but still

        *LOL* it's spelled J-O-K-E. You make too many assumptions! I used to do experiments on lab rats and flies when I was a biology student just like everybody else... Inherently any experimentation on emergent systems requires the use of a selector or predation algorithm. This guy happens to be applying the same principles I used when developing evolutionary models inside a computer (using EA or evolutionary algorithms [uni-erlangen.de]), only he's applying them to living organisms. A better title for the article would be Principa Evolvica in a Petri Dish

        But I do think it's funny that the researcher is sitting in his lab frying little organisms and performing an EA step by step essentially by hand. Which is to say he generates a population, runs predation or selectors, reproduces and mutates, runs predation, reproduce and mutate, predate, mutate, ... ect. put that way it doesn't sound funny but if you put it this way: "You guys alive? *zap* You guys still alive? *zap* Still alive? *zap* Not dead yet? *zap*" I personally think it's funny as hell. I certainly wouldn't want to have to sit and run an EA by hand anyhow. BTW: They're called Tropisms not instincts when you're dealing with non-cephalized creatures.
  • I'm not sure if this [ultranet.com] source is accurate, but if the e-coli bacterium has more than 4 million base pairs... damn, isn't that a lot of combinations? a lot of possibilities for mutatiions? How can you simulate such mutations if each mutation occurs within the next day (maybe even hours) or so??? I don't know where my logic failed, but this seems to me as an awful lot of computation and experimenting if you want to look at the development over a period of 40 years...
    i reccon that must amount to at least 40*365.25=15 thousand reproductions, multiply this with 4*3 million if you want to change (not cut one out, add one or anything) just 1 base pair per reproduction and it starts to become a mind boggling big project.
    And sure, there are a lot of paths that won't result in viable bacteria, but still..

    can someone tell me how they do this and where my calculations go wrong?

    else it is a very interesting idea, researching all possibililities... i wonder when we will be able to do this with human genes... just to find out what kind of creatures may evolve from our genome in due time.
    • Not really, they just made a bunch of random mutations and then sequenced the DNA of the bacteria that survived. So you do not need to worry about irrelevant mutations to the DNA - which reduces the sample size. The bacteria that do survive will do so to varying degrees - some will barely make it, while others do very well. Take 25-50 of the really good survivors, sequence the gene required for survival (which is automated and cheap to do) - then compare to naturally occurring mutations that confer the same level of resistance.

      The key point here is the selection pressure will tend to result in the same types of mutations regardless of how the genes are mutated - you don't get a whole host of weird mutations to enable the bacteria to survive, only a few key protein changes are beneficial.

  • Artificial societies (Score:4, Interesting)

    by babbage ( 61057 ) <(cdevers) (at) (cis.usouthal.edu)> on Thursday March 21, 2002 @10:38AM (#3199856) Homepage Journal
    I seriously doubt that any complex system such as evolution could ever be simulated with perfect accuracy. More likely, we can get to the point where likely outcomes can be guessed but the paths that lead to them will probably always be a surprise to us.

    Check out the article on artificial societies [theatlantic.com] from the current (April 2002) issue of Atlantic Monthly [theatlantic.com]. I was thinking of submitting it to Slashdot anyway, but it particularly relates to this discussion too. The header blurb is:

    The new science of artificial societies suggests that real ones are both more predictable and more surprising than we thought. Growing long-vanished civilizations and modern-day genocides on computers will probably never enable us to foresee the future in detail--but we might learn to anticipate the kinds of events that lie ahead, and where to look for interventions that might work

    The article goes on to discuss many applications of this technique. None of them are specifically about genetic evolution, though one does analyze the settlement patterns of a pre-Columbian society in the American southwest, and the computed simulation, given information about climate patterns and so on, does roughly mimic what the archaeological record suggests really happened to the Anasazi.

    The interesting thing is that the simulations, including this one, are really not much more sophisticated than Conway's famous "life" AI experiments -- they take a couple of crude populations and set up trivial rules, and then run with them until a pattern emerges. In spite of how crude these simulations are, the parallels to the observed world can be striking, suggesting that such simulations can be used to understand evolution, historical trends, racism, genocide, economics, etc.

    • Does this remind anyone else of Assimov's "Psycho-History" of the Foundation series? Freaky.
  • We all know that micro evolution occurs, quite often sometimes.... No debate there. However... as for macro evolution, thats a completely different story.

    "...Evolutionists don't want the weaknesses of evolutionary theory to be known to the public. In fact the negative effects of engaging in a debate with a Creation Scientist is so bad that evolutionist, Eugenie Scott, Executive Director of the National Center for Science Education, Berkeley, California, says, "Avoid Debates. If your local campus Christian fellowship asks you to 'defend evolution,' please decline....you probably will get beaten" [creationists.org]

    Don't get me wrong, creationists' theory seem a little strange... but I still find the lack of evidence for macro evolution quite compelling.

    Just my $0.02
    • but I still find the lack of evidence for macro evolution quite compelling.

      Relax. there is plenty of evidence for macro evolution. Speciation events (that is the creation of new species) have been observed directly, plus the fossil record has plenty examples (human evolution is a great example of this).
      • Speciation events (that is the creation of new species) have been observed directly.

        Really?!? I would love a link or reference on this one! Seeing as how my wife is a biologist and I frequently speak with University professors on this topic and have *never* heard of this, it would be quite a surprise. I anxiously await your reply.
        • I stole this link off of a previous post but here you go: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/speciation.html. There's four speciation events listed, although the fourth one (actually a group of 4 events) occurred within the last 4000 years, and probably wasn't 'observed' in the sense that people were paying attention at the time. The strongest case is the first, where two Drosophila paulistorum strains developed hybrid infertility in the lab. Hybrid infertility is the basic 'litmus test' for speciation. If the flies in group A can't successfully mate with the flies in group B, they are probably different species. The link gives a lit cite for each event, so if there's a good university library around, you should be able to look them up and check out the info for yourself. Are the professors you ask actually evolutionary biologists, or are they molecular/cellular folks? Asking the molecular people about specific speciation events is like asking evolutionary biologists about specific enzymatic mechanisms - it's biology, but not the kind they know the guts of.
          • The strongest case is the first, where two Drosophila paulistorum strains developed hybrid infertility in the lab. Hybrid infertility is the basic 'litmus test' for speciation. If the flies in group A can't successfully mate with the flies in group B, they are probably different species.

            I will look them up. However, from the description, it seems that they are more closely related to 'micro' than 'macro' evolution. One has to decide where to draw the line and science makes it convenient with standard definitions. I don't see how interbreeding (or lack thereof) in and of itself makes it an evolutionary change.

            Are the professors you ask actually evolutionary biologists, or are they molecular/cellular folks? Asking the molecular people about specific speciation events is like asking evolutionary biologists about specific enzymatic mechanisms - it's biology, but not the kind they know the guts of.

            One evolutionary biologist and two paleontologists. I am focusing my efforts now on the human evolution side because this seems much more pertinent to my beliefs. There happens to be a great deal of information on human evolution studies so it is taking me quite some time to go through it. So far, nothing that satisfies the scientific community's own standards for fact has been found by me.
            • Why does one have to draw a line between micro and macro?
              • Why does one have to draw a line between micro and macro?

                Good question. I don't if we *have* to, but it seems convenient to a lot scientists to categorize things. For me, it is simply this: to say that one organism changes into another is quite different from saying that it simply changes. Genetically speaking, the organisms are different that is true, but some of the differences are so miniscule that it is only noticeable to the very keen minded researcher.
                • Genetically speaking, the organisms are different that is true, but some of the differences are so miniscule that it is only noticeable to the very keen minded researcher.

                  Come on... chimps and humans are genetically very similar, but hopefully it's not just the keen mined researchers that can tell the difference between the two.
                  • Come on... chimps and humans are genetically very similar, but hopefully it's not just the keen mined researchers that can tell the difference between the two. Precicely my point. In the article, the organisms used were only identifiable via genetic tests. Obviously humans and chimps are different beings, these organisms were not.
                    • In the article, the organisms used were only identifiable via genetic tests. Obviously humans and chimps are different beings, these organisms were not.

                      You have misread the article [talkorigins.org] in question. While some of the species required genetic tests to tell the difference between them. Many others didn't.
      • Speciation as far as loss of genetic information due to damaging mutatations is indeed common, and does lead to non-interfertile sub-populations. For example, in the London subway, after one hundred years the mosquitos could no longer interbreed with surface mosquitos. But you know what - they were still mosquitos. No new genetic information had been created, they had just mutated in a way to lose the ability to interbreed with the surface mosquitos.

        And observe the fact that for many decades, fruit flies have been bombarded with gamma and other radiation in the lab. Tons of mutations have been observed. Every one was the result of a loss of information - as the four-winged one shows, it was a loss of three crucial genes that turned the counterbalance limbs into wings. No movement toward a new species has been seen yet. The number of generations and the amount of induced mutations indicate that evolution is not happening in situations where that was the goal. It's not possible to prove a negative, but the evidence is piling up on poor Darwin.

        Remember that Darwin himself said that if the cell was found to be anything but a very simple object, his theory would be disproved. Every year we hear of more and more amazing complex things inside bacteria, from flaggela motors to ion pumps that it's very hard to look and and not see DESIGN stamped on them.

        And please, don't bring up the peppered moths (faked by Kettlewell et al.), nor horse fossils (seeing as Hyrax is still alive, and that in places the "descendants" were found in layers below their "ancestors").

        And since the earth has been shown to have formed rapidly, the evidence [halos.com] being published in several prestigious peer-reviewed scientific journals and never refuted in the peer-reviewed journals (don't bother citing the talkorigins article by Brawley, Gentry disproved that objection experimentally many years ago), there wasn't time for macro-evolution anyway.
    • The quote you provide from the Creationists.org site could be construed as a misrepresentation. The quote is:

      "...Evolutionists don't want the weaknesses of evolutionary theory to be known to the public. In fact the negative effects of engaging in a debate with a Creation Scientist is so bad that evolutionist, Eugenie Scott, Executive Director of the National Center for Science Education, Berkeley, California, says, ?Avoid Debates. If your local campus Christian fellowship asks you to ?defend evolution,? please decline....you probably will get beaten" [creationists.org]

      The quote from Eugenie Scott is probably accurate, and as a student of molecular biology and biology enthusiast I have encountered the same advice on several occassions. In fact, a similar observation is early in the preamble to the excellent "Abusing Science: The case against creationism" by Philip Kitcher. Humorously enough though, it isn't the weakness of Evolution that prompt this advice, but the weaknesses of "Creation Science".
      Virtually every old, threadworn, thoroughly debunked fallacy from a hundred years or more ago is still part of the "Creation Science" arsenal vs Evolution - just because a claim has been closely inspected and soundly refuted doesn't mean that a "Creation Science" advocate won't trot it out. As a result, it is easily possible to embarass Evolutionists by simple "Crapflooding" - a "Creation Science" advocate can trot out more shoddy thinking in thirty seconds than can be cleaned up by even the best prepared Evolutionists careful scholarship in thirty hours. The result? The audiences attention wanders off, and the lesson carried home by everyone is 'Well, the Evolutionist couldn't refute everything...'
      The evidence against "Creation Science" is out there, it is thourough, complete, and utterly ignored by "Creation Science" advocates (the talk-origins faq is probably a good starting point)- because they are only trying to promote an agenda. Solution? Don't try to argue - it is impossible to move them from their position, even if you did manage to convince them - denying them a forum is the one of the only ways to keep the pseudo-science from spreading. The other is a good education, complete with scientific literacy and critical thinking skills; a seemingly impossible dream for public schools here in the US.
      More of a rant than I really intended - hope I didn't offend, but this is one of my pet peeves...

  • Natural selection is obvious, it's visible to all. And micro-evolution is the clear outcome of it, things like antibiotic resistance. But in most cases that's due to a loss of genetic information. Think about it - if you have your limbs removed you're resistant to handcuffs. But you lost something to achieve that.

    That's why once the antibiotic is removed the population drifts back to the norm - the un-selected bacteria are more fit, have more diversity to draw on, in other situations..

    Yet another headline that is a bit over the top
    • Natural selection is obvious, it's visible to all. And micro-evolution is the clear outcome of it, things like antibiotic resistance. But in most cases that's due to a loss of genetic information. Think about it - if you have your limbs removed you're resistant to handcuffs. But you lost something to achieve that.

      There is no fundamental difference between micro- and macro- evolution. Since we are into analogies, believing in microevolution but not macroevolution, is like saying 1 + 1 = 2, but 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 doesn't equal 5.

      That's why once the antibiotic is removed the population drifts back to the norm - the un-selected bacteria are more fit, have more diversity to draw on, in other situations..

      Likewise any population which has a evolution pressure removed, will no longer evolve in response to the pressure. Quite elementary, and hardly a critism of evolution.

      Yet another headline that is a bit over the top

      Given that evolution is the action of natural selection on random mutation, antibiotic resistance in bacteria, is a excellent example of it.
      • Addition is addition; changing the terms only shows that it is symbolic in nature. Wrangling words to make micro-evolution the same as macro-evolution is not going to happen just because that's the orthodox, establishment viewpoint. One is easily observed, the other is speculation. One is easily proven, the other is not. Selective breeding in dogs makes it pretty unlikely that a Chihuahua will interbreed with a Great Dane, although it is biologically possible, it's not awfully realistic. Both breeds have lost some genetic information to get into that situation.

        But that is not evolution; it's a loss of genetic diversity and information that happened.
        • Please explain what the fundamental difference between macro- and micro- evolution?

          Macroevolution is simply micro- evolution with a bit more time.

          One is easily proven, the other is not.

          Wrong. Both are easily proven to the satifisation of the scientific community. It's just that one is harder for pseudoscientists to deny.
          • Proven because it's the establishment, orthodox position?

            A proven scientific theorem, which it appears you are claiming macro-evolution is, has by convention a requirement that it provide not only predictions of outcomes of repeatable experiments, but also a parameter or set of parameters by which it could be falsified. For example, Einstein stated in his relativity papers that if light were not bent by gravity, that his theory would be shown false. But of course the eclipse of the sun showed that light was bent by gravity.

            So what are the repeatable experiments you can cite for macro-evolution?

            What are the falsifiablility criteria?
            • So what are the repeatable experiments you can cite for macro-evolution?

              Given that macro- evolution is evolutin above the species level, all that I need to show are experiments which have been repeated which show speciation events. You could try Newton and Pellew (Genetics, 1929, 20:405-467) or perhaps Rice and Salt (Evolution, 1990, 44:1140-1152).

              What are the falsifiablility criteria?

              * Had DNA studies not found close relationships between humans and great apes, with these relationships falling off with a greater age of common ancestors, it would have been falsified.

              * Likewise for other related species.

              * A lack of vestigial structures would harm the theory of evolution.

              * If human biochemistry was substantial different to the biochemistry of other animals (in particular, the great apes), evolution would come a cropper.

              * If evolution failed to explain modern biochemisty, then likewise evolution would fall apart.

              * If young fossils (by this, I mean species that were thought to have evolved recently) were found in old rocks without a logical means of them getting there, then evolution would be falsified.
              * If the dominant theory had of inheritance in Darwin's time stood the test of time (ie. no Mendel), then Darwin's theory of evolution (not evolution itself) would run into trouble.

              * Evidence for a young earth wouldn't falsify Darwin's theory (it could still occur, but just hasn't been given the time to interact in a meaningful way.

              * If a series of proto-human's fossils hadn't been found, the theory of evolution would have to be considerable revised to account for the lack of fossils.
              * If the rate of genetic change observed in the lab was less than what it appears to be in the fossil record, then evolution would be wrong.

              * If the creationist misintrepetation of the 2nd law of thermodynamics was correct, then evolution, along with life would be falsified.

              Can you do the same for creationism? That is provide references to repeatable experiments and falsifiable criteria?
              • DNA studies are really fascinating. You cite them as evidence, but counter-examples are rife. If you would like I can produce them (I'm not where I can get them at the moment). Amusing things like humans are closer to flowers in some things than to apes. And there are cases of similar homology (forearms/forelegs) that look quite closely related that are actually on completely different genes in different species.

                Vestigial structures - yes a lack of them does harm the theory of evolution. Did you know that 186 vestigial structures were thought to be in the human body in the late 1800's - and that every one of them has now been shown to have a significant role in life. The appendix, for example, the classic case cited by evolutionists in time past, is now known to be a major help to the immune system. Yes you can live without it, but you can also live without your eyes. Doesn't mean they're not real useful.

                Of course biochemistry is compatible across species - if it weren't, we couldn't all eat the same foods, live in the same world, breath the same air.

                As to fossils - how about frozen, unfossilized dinosaur bones? They should not exist, millions of years or not. Yet they do, in Alaska and Siberia.

                I think you may be mixing neo-Darwinian (Mendelian genetics mixed with natural selection) with pure Darwinism. I can't parse the rest of your statement about Darwin; could you rephrase?

                True, neo-Darwinism could indeed still work with a young earth, point well taken. However nothing much would have happened in the short time frame, so it wouldn't matter a whole lot.

                Proto-humans. Ignoring the mass amounts of fakes (Piltdown, Nebraska, Java, etc.), we get to things like Neandertals. Did you know that they are just heavily arthritic, very old people? An orthodondist examined the fossils and found that their maxillofacial development is just an extended version of what happens to us now. Kind of like humans that lived to be hundreds of years old. Not proven but interesting.

                The rate of genetic change in the lab is, sadly for evolution, only in the negative direction. No new organs, enzymes, or structures have come forth - only damaged genes.

                I don't hold to the second law of thermo way of saying evolution doesn't happen, I personally think that's a weak argument. I don't disagree with you on that.

                Realize one thing please - I don't ask you to believe in creationism; I just ask that you consider that evolution is broken as a theory. Something better needs to replace it. Time to move on and admit it's over. Science has done that in the past, always after a long period of denial. It was 50 years after the speed of light was measured as roughly correct (by timing Io's eclipsing around Jupiter) before it was accepted. If something as easily repeated as that took that long, then evolution will take longer I fear.
                • Could you please produce evidence (peer reviewed, of course) for these claims.

                  You seem to be using a whole heap of selective evidence. Perhaps you show check out this post [talkorigins.org] from talk origins, from a ex-creationist on his use of selective evidence.

                  For example, your paragraph on proto-humans is extremely misleading. You when you ignore the fakes (incidently both Java and Nebraska men weren't fakes), you don't get to Neandertals. The source of your information is being highly dishonest. Perhaps you are unaware of Ardipithecus ramidus, Australopithecus anamensis, Australopithecus afarensis, Kenyanthropus platyops, Australopithecus africanus, Australopithecus garhi, Australopithecus aethiopicus, Australopithecus robustus, Australopithecus boisei, Homo habilis, Homo erectus, Homo ergaster, Homo antecessor, and Homo heidelbergensis. For a very good reference source check out this page [talkorigins.org]. As for your orthodondist (could you also please supply a citation to his peer reviewed report), my girlfriend has studied archeology and biology under both Colin Groves (very famous evolutionary biologist) and Alan Thorne (discoverer of the Mungo Man), and from her, I am well aware that the researchers take into account bone diseases. Plus your claim that Neandertals are just heavily arthritic old people is proved false by mitochondria DNA studies, which show them to be very far removed genetically removed from "mainstream" humanity (Check out here [nature.com] and here [nature.com], as well as Krings M., Capelli C., Tschentscher F., Geisert H., Meyer S., von Haeseler A. et al (Nature Genetics, 2000, 26:144-6) for more information).

                  Your other points are just as weak as the human evolution one detailed above. If you want, I can go into detail on them.

                  As for rephrasing the Medal and Darwin comments; when Darwin first proposed his theory, the common held view about genetics (that traits where blended, ie, the child of a small person and a tall person would be of a medium height) provide a theoretical barrier to evolution (at least of the theoretical model of evolution provided by Darwin), this lead to the Darwin's predicting that the genetics was wrong. The answer to this problem came from Medel's work on peas, while this was done in Darwin's time, it was largely unknown (ironically, Darwin had a large book on genetics which included Medel's work, but never made the connection between Medel's peas and his own theoretical problem). This problem was solved by a variety of researchers who combined Darwin's theory with Mendel's, the synthesis of the two being call neodarwinism, which is the currently accepted view of how evolution occurs.

                  • Oh please, this has gone on far enough. Nebraska man was a figment; starting from a tooth an entire fantasy was concocted. Only it turned out it was an extinct pig's tooth. Even your favorite site admits that [talkorigins.org]. If you're going to be that sloppy, it's not worthwhile to continue this.

                    If you're going to continue, let's get back to Gentry, the topic that started this thread. Otherwise it's not going to get anywhere.
                    • Wow, completely ignoring my post... Morton's demon seems to be in more than one place.

                      Nebraska man was a misintrepreted bone. You stated that it was a fake. This is totally incorrect.
                      If your going to dismiss reality because it doens't fit with your worldview, that nice, but I've never lost so much respect for a person so fast. I agree, there is no point carrying on these posts. Have a good day.
  • by Cenam ( 567580 )
    isn't evolution dependent upon what can survive..therefore unless it is all pre-determined this experiment is bs..no way they can make more evolved stuff because the way things evolve depends upon thier surroundings..so unless u get a time machine and send these things into the future, then bring then up to date this is usless..
  • re: Ummm... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by silance ( 568105 ) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @05:52PM (#3203492)
    Actually, it's not a BS experiment. If you can see how bacteria can evolve around potential treatments for them, you can see how long they will be suceptable to the treatment, and by what evolved mechanism they are able to survive. You could then use that information to develope a drug that delivers an initial punch while also preventing the predicted evolutionary escape route.
  • Can we use this to find out new information about the human race? Obviously the technology can only operate on bacteria right now, but can it be adapted to work on organisms? We could see how long it would take for monkeys or dolphins to gain sentience; we could see how long it takes for pigs to be able to fly :) ; we could see how long it takes for humans to be able to fly, or have some kind of telepathic powers. That could really bring some ethics questions into the equation...
  • As far as i can see, this has nothing to do with real evolution. You can compare it with lifestock: if you select ie cows for reproduction on the amount of milk produced per individual, you can say that the physiology of the offspring favors a high milk-yield somehow. The somehow consists of a slightly different gene somehow influencing milk production. For Antibiotics its even easier. For many of them, the effect on the microbe is known, degrading specific cell wall proteins for instance. It's not hard to conclude where the 'evolution' should take place to overcome the antibiotics effect.. To predict the exact location of a mutation to have effect is a little bit more difficult, but because most antibiotics have been studied extensively, the exact place shouldn't be too hard to find.

    Conclusion: yes, it's a sort of evolution predicted, but it doesn't shed any light on predicting 'normal' evolution. That's a random process resulting in possible advantages spanning (thousands of) years, not an overnight process to overcome a factor that, until now, wasn't limiting for the survival of the species at all.

    The important issue here is that pharmacologists have ways now to predict certain strategies by microbes to overcome the potential danger of an antibiotic.
  • Evolution is not pre-programmed, at least not according to the commonly held theory. The claims at the top of the page would require this to be so and would be a huge leap in evolution theory---a leap down the drainpipe disproving it. Evolution represent adaptation to the environment by individuals based on random mutation, pre-programming would be a sure indicator of a Grand Plan.
    I suggest the poster misunderstood the article.
    • you are absolutely correct. there may be patterns to evolution in some ways, but they are certainly far from predictable. evolution, by definition is completely random. you cannot predict it by something that seems "pre-programmed" in one species of bacteria. the test may have shown evolution in those test subjects, because the did the same thing that was seen in the natural environment (surprise surprise, same species, same time, same changes). evolution or "de-evolution" (since i've seen that poor term used on slashdot before) is completely random and will never be truly predictable. (an aside... de-evolution is really evolution... the changes from evolution are not necessarily bad or good, they could be either...)
  • first off I saw a couple different conversations pop off from the original about a e.coli lab culturing/testing. Religion was one that I don't see how it got tied in. I guess some people equate evolution as anti judeochristian when really religion is a tool to explain things which cannot be explained or a replacement to that part of blind faith. Humans and human thought are based upon logic noone I know personally can explain the roots to human your and mine or just my existance which always leaves the door open for people that want religion. It is faith just like science nothing is 100% provable except for the selfs existance no matter what.(other than some human logics but that is dependant on social concepts that are just confusing but still denialble and improvable due to lack of solid base i.e. logic concepts such as math and language... iconical thought blah blah blah)anywho that was one thing I saw from the evolution stem just wondering isn't evololution the result of phyisical and psychological enviroments.. aswell as social stems from thost physical and psychological enviroments... if this is so wouldn't you have to reproduce the effects and affects of these conditions.. since the future is for the most part inpradictable? (more so as able as past is known)then wouldn't the ability to map future such happenings be imposible or atleast improvable unless of course we can map the state of timespace at several points and find a pattern. So with the bacteria having the physical changes mapped ... is it posible to map more complex species or have other baterial cultures been tested aswell or is this one a fluke that under all conditions supporting survival it will have the same changes. Well I got bored of writing and its getting late hopefully someone found something in this productive. Anyway I think its neat that they recorded the state of bacteria back then down to a cell makeup level... maybe they made e. coli back then to set up the argument today...... someone also said something about maybe everything was designed or something like that.. the whole creationistic thing... duh! take a look in the mirror either yur mind or someone else..(ultimately your mind)made you...! funnel it back as far as it goes or till your head hurts and hopefully you'll either relize I don't want to take responsibility for this or you'll relize I think there for I am regardless you and I are both here just like the rest of the world I'm going to bed...

"Home life as we understand it is no more natural to us than a cage is to a cockatoo." -- George Bernard Shaw

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