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jerrywickey

A video proving evolution?

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Evolution proponents have a nice video that is bouncing around FrostCloud.Com right now. It does very good job of proving that when random mutations are introduced into an organism and adverse mutations are selected out, the advantageous mutations alter the organism advantageously. Did we need software to prove that?

 

Now, just to be a little sciencey here, You know, ask questions and all.

 

The software makes assumptions about the ratio of advantageous mutations to disadvantageous mutations. Are these assumptions empirically derived?

 

Simple math tells us that if fatal mutations occur at even a slightly higher rate than advantageous mutations then even organisms which gain advantage will eventually fall prey to a fatal mutation and ultimately any life based on this mutation, natural selection model will cease after some time.

 

It seems that recent genetic studies show that the likelihood of an advantageous random mutation is ridiculously low. A single base pair random mutation in the sixth codon of hemoglobin causes Sickle-cell anemia. Can anyone demonstrate a single base pair mutation that was advantageous?

 

The video says that advantageous mutations have been observed. Are these single base pair mutations or are they relatively large chunks of genetic material that were spliced by some yet unknown RNA polymerase regulatory mechanisms?

 

I suspect the author of the video is unable to answer that question. But the answer tells us if the assumption of advantageous mutation made by the software in the video is justified or not. I do know the answer to this question.

 

What I do know is that an RNA polymerase splicing regulatory mechanism is responsible for observed advantageous mutations in intestinal microflora.

 

But this solves nothing. It only serves to open the evolution question again. Is such a complex regulatory system irreducibly complex or can it be constructed by random mutation and natural selection?

 

I observe just as much if not slightly more irrationality in evolution proponents as I do in creation proponents.

 

The author of the video is also quick to point out the difference between abiogenesis and evolution. Which raises the important question: Why can't evolution proponents demonstrate a plausible first replicator? What is so difficult? If evolution had an organism to begin with, then a first replicator must not have been too difficult to arise.

 

The notion of some creature which existed long ago and which gave birth to all life but is now long gone and impossible to replicate, smacks very strongly of a creation mythology.

 

Are evolution proponents suggesting a negative proof? "Since no other explanation is possible, a first replicator must have arisen by chance."

 

If anyone responds to this post, please try to address the three questions instead of just puking derogatory remarks. I understand the questions. I know they are essential questions required to prove the theory of evolution. It is still a theory for an important reason. It remains unproven scientifically.

 

Q1: Why does a first replicator prove so elusive?

 

Q2: Can anyone demonstrate an adventitious single base pair mutation?

 

Q3: Is the RNA polymerase spliceosome mechanism irreducibly complex? If so, we have an answer, ToE is dead as a theory.

 

If not then while we still have a working theory, we continue with out positive proof. Negative proof is not acceptable for scientific justification. i.e. "There is no other explanation, so a first replicator must have arise and it must have mutated." Is simply not acceptable from an empirically scientific point of view.

 

Jerry

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Jerry, from the get go you appear to have a misunderstanding about some basic scientific concepts - mainly, the difference between proof and support. Logically, it is impossible to 100% prove anything. There is disproof, and there is support. Scientific hypotheses do not reach the level of theory until they have been repeatedly and substantially supported and have failed to be disproved. Evolution by natural selection is such a theory and is one of the most well supported theories in science.

 

Along those same lines, a computer simulation is not proof. It is support - it demonstrates that, based on parameters observed in nature, it is possible for such a system to occur. You are right to question how accurate those parameters are, since that is ultimately what determines how accurately a computer model can represent reality. I'm not very familiar with the subject matter in the video so I can't say myself - probably Lucaspa or someone else better versed in these things can weigh in on that subject. However, I'd like to point out that the single base pair mutation that causes sickle cell anemia is, when heterozygous, advantageous. Individuals heterozygous for this single base pair mutation are more resistant to malaria, and this advantage has been so great that the mutation has persisted in the population despite the obvious disadvantage suffered by individuals homozygous for the mutation. So there is your example of an advantageous single base pair mutation. You offered it yourself.

 

To address your three questions as best I can:

 

Q1: if we're only talking in terms of what may support or disprove evolution, then abiogenesis has no relevance to the topic. Evolutionary theory only addresses the changing generations of life, not what came before it. A problem with abiogenesis does not present a problem with evolutionary theory. It's definitely a difficult topic, and researchers have yet to come to a solid consensus. However, I wouldn't necessarily say they are working on "negative proof," as you call it. We don't yet understand it, so - we don't yet understand it. And we're working on finding ways to understand it. That's all. There's no implicit suggestion that it MUST have been one way or another. We just have yet to figure it out.

 

Q2:Yes, you did.

 

Q3: Irreducibly complex arguments never stand up. Time and time again, they have been disproved. I do not know much about this specific mechanism myself, and unfortunately do not have time right now to research it, but I will later and post again.

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These are not "essential questions required to prove the theory of evolution", they are questions which will allow us to more fully understand certain evolutionary processes.

 

As you most likely well know, the evolutionary sciences are vastly broader than just the area you have touched on. What you seem to be questioning is natural selection alone (albeit from a genetic angle, which in itself is laudable).

There are few on this site who would be convinced that finding problems with that mechanism is any reason to write off all of evolutionary science. Mainly because it is not the case that all areas of the science are fully interdependent, but also because newly identified problems are simply something else to investigate, which is hardly a bump in the road for scientific progress.

 

Before anyone has a crack at answering your questions, I suggest that you plainly and honestly state your agenda. You clearly have one; getting it out in the open now will probably be a good idea. Be mindful that at present we do not allow religious discussion on this site, nor do we allow creationist or intelligent design agenda-pushing. But we are of course delighted to discuss biology!

 

For Q1, I was rather under the impression that we had a good idea of what the first replicators were like. IIRC there are people here better qualified to answer that particular question though.

 

Should Q2 read "adventitious", or "advantageous"?

 

It is my opinion that Q3 is fatally flawed. Like most questions which rely on irreducible complexity as a limiter, it ignores functional mobility.

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Keep in mind that a proof by "irreducible complexity" is a type of proof by ignorance. Hence, it only means anything if we know what we are talking about. For example, I might say, mathematicians have been trying to find an easy way to find prime numbers for a thousand years but still haven't -- hence, there probably is no easy way to find prime numbers. If I said instead, "My 12 year old brother spent 5 minutes trying to find an easy way to find prime numbers but couldn't, hence, there probably is no easy way to find prime numbers," it just wouldn't be as convincing. At this point, we are just beginning to understand genetics, so an argument from ignorance based on genetics isn't very convincing.

 

Also, the people arguing irreducible complexity have been moving the goal posts every time that someone found an answer to one of their irreducibly complex arguments, so don't be surprised if that happens again.

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The web-page has been taken down on, but there is a family of six-fingered people somewhere that has interbred in order to maintain this trait, though the advantage of it is trivial.

 

Here are two links describing potential self-replicating precursors.

 

http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/tt/1990/may09/23124.html 1990!

 

http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/full/99/20/12733

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I understand your comments. But the flaws to the software are still glaring.

 

Help me fix this. Look at my thread Software model of early evolution.

 

Dont be so quick to decide which side I am on.

 

I could really use your help in pinning down the criteria

 

Jerry

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The flaws in the software, if any exist, owe nothing to evolutionary theory, so there is no reason why this thread should be in the Evolution section.

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