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Dischorran
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Wow. Um. Where to begin.

I guess with the argument about the heterogeneous population. Bacteria don't work that way. If the gene's present in even a single cell in the population, and you take the population and grow it in citrate, you wind up with a full culture of citrate-metabolizing bacteria overnight. Not after years upon years, not millenia, not even weeks. Overnight - straightforward application of exponential growth.

This isn't highly specialized knowledge, or a tricky "gotcha" interpretation - it's something one typically does for oneself on the second day of one's first lab course in college (the first day is spent learning how to use your tools correctly). I absolutely encourage coming to one's own conclusions about just about anything, but seriously, you need to at least look into something a little before trying to ground your argument on it. And unfortunately, if we're still working on these rudimentary points, going into genome duplications, selective pressure, and the seemingly quite solid parallels to the second law of thermodynamics is probably not going to be productive for a while yet.

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04-07-2011 at 05:54 AM
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I'm getting the strong impression that at this point the concept of evolution is becoming a ever moving goalpost.

Someone Else, could you define what you mean by evolution, and what it would take to prove it?





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04-07-2011 at 06:42 AM
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Reading over your arguments, I realized that I got some things clearly wrong. It's not about information per se, but about useful information. If you have a gene that is just useless DNA, not coding for a protein (or coding for a useless protein), then in what I wrote that is classified as "not information". Because random mutations should produce a ridiculous number of these, especially if there were no correcting factors.

You are also right that in this case, my point was badly made. It doesn't really apply to genes that have a huge difference in survivability. However, it does (or can) explain quite a bit of the genetic shift in the populations.

What the real point I was trying to make is: that while there are definitely experiments whose results support evolution, if those same experiments were performed by someone with a bias against evolution it would definitely be possible to interpret the results in a way unfavourable to evolution. Please don't try to say that the scientists are neutral on the topic, as it is made quite clear by the title of the experiment that they have a bias towards evolution.
04-07-2011 at 07:00 AM
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NiroZ
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quote:
Someone Else wrote:
What the real point I was trying to make is: that while there are definitely experiments whose results support evolution, if those same experiments were performed by someone with a bias against evolution it would definitely be possible to interpret the results in a way unfavourable to evolution. Please don't try to say that the scientists are neutral on the topic, as it is made quite clear by the title of the experiment that they have a bias towards evolution.

Just because scientists have a bias doesn't mean they're fudging things. Best case example I can think of is in physics where for ~40 years, physicists (including Einstein) were dragged kicking and screaming until finally in the 1960's they were forced to accept that quantum mechanics was real, despite its counter-intuitive nature.

You're perfectly welcome to go over the evidence and find the flaws, but bear in mind that most of the 'disbelievers' doing experiments would probably be back in the 1850's - 1900's. If you want to introduce an additional claim that scientists are biased, can you please provide some evidence of this?

(And in the case that you missed my previous post, could you answer my question?)

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[Last edited by NiroZ at 04-07-2011 07:37 AM : spacing]
04-07-2011 at 07:37 AM
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We do have a fair bit of non-coding DNA and that is freer to genetically drift about.

--

Scientists are biased - they're only human, but part of the process of science is eliminating and minimising those biases.

I'm not sure exactly what you mean by interpreting results in different ways - do you have an example?
People can draw their own conclusions from a set of data, but if you're not logical then you're not going to be very convincing.
(And if you've got two sides that both seem to be logical, then you can design an experiment to determine who is right. yay!)
04-07-2011 at 09:09 AM
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The spitemaster
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There is one thing that would prove that evolution could be possible. It's one tenant is that over time information is added to the DNA structure by mutations. So this needs to be proved. Also, that in this period of time that it will not gain a large number of harmful mutations. And lastly, that this is possible without the scientist doing the work of natural selection.

When I say harmful I mean something that will not affect the breeding chances of the organism. ie colour blindness, baldness. A lame, short sighted, deaf person can still have children. And they are passed on. Each trait will be retained in the pool but each individually will not kill off the carrier.

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04-07-2011 at 09:18 AM
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Rabscuttle
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Lenski's e coli experiment is evidence that mutations occur naturally over time.
Natural selection ensures that harmful mutations are weeded out.

If something doesn't affect breeding chances, then by definition it isn't harmful. It's not beneficial either. It's just neutral.
It won't be eliminated, but there's no pressure for it to fill up the gene pool either. So you could get everyone bald, or everyone Cousin It, but I think you'd probably end up with a population with a varying amount of hair per individual.

--

If you mean things where the combination is harmful but individually it isn't, then we already have those in recessive diseases. They are diseases where if you have one bad copy of the gene, you are fine, but if you have two bad copies then it's bad for you.
GG - fine
GB - fine, carrier
BB - symptoms

You can work out probability of how their kids will work out
GG x GG => 100% GG
GB x GG => 50% GG, 50% GB
GB x GB => 25% GG, 50% GB, 25% BB

The end result is that there is still some pressure against carriers - how much depends on how many carriers there are in the population. More means that chance of GB x GB among your descendants is greater, so you'll end up with fewer grandchildren or great grandchildren etc
But if there's fewer then there's less chance of your carrier kids meeting another carrier.

I think there's an equilibium point that is reached depending on how big your population is, and the average number of babies each couple has. But I'm going home now, so I'm not working it out now :P
The population won't fill up with carriers though.

check out more stuff on recessive genetic diseases here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetic_disorder#Autosomal_recessive

[Last edited by Rabscuttle at 04-07-2011 10:11 AM]
04-07-2011 at 10:10 AM
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I think the best example by far is huntingtons. You can't beat loosing your sanity and dying by the time you're 50. Which, conveniently enough, when a woman has hit menopause and most men aren't producing children.

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04-07-2011 at 01:29 PM
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*Banjooie-esque post incoming*

Gosh.

If I had more modpoints, I would mod /each and every one of you/ up by like, five points because everyone here is acting awesome.

Too bad Rat Man (or his father) is not here to see this because dang!

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04-07-2011 at 01:40 PM
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Can you prove that the universe wasn't created 2 seconds ago? That god (any god) with his omnipotency made the world (with a SINGLE mouse gesture!) as it is today, with everything calculated, even our memories, travelling light and old as world fossils?

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04-07-2011 at 02:17 PM
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The spitemaster
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That isn't a science question Skell.

The problem is that your population will fill with carriers. Carriers of something, not just Huntingtons but whatever produces autism and others. Have you noticed that in the past fifty years there has been an exponential growth in the number of autistic people born? As things like this add to a population the population as a whole becomes less viable. And it doesn't matter about selection because this applies to all populations. It's just a factor of time and mutant causing factors.

My idea is this. If you believe that evolution is possible, then make sure that you get a certain radioactive dose before having children. The method that produces good mutations has to be the same as the bad mutations. Therefore, you want to pass on good mutations to your children. No one will do this.

Lastly, non-coding DNA. There is actually a Creationist reason for it. As information is lost, the system is not going to produce shorter DNA. It's an added benefit that the loss of the first information helps prevent the loss of further information.

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04-07-2011 at 04:42 PM
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skell
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quote:
The spitemaster wrote:
That isn't a science question Skell.



I realize that. I included this question only because the whole topic started as a philosophical dispute.

quote:
If you believe that evolution is possible, then make sure that you get a certain radioactive dose before having children. The method that produces good mutations has to be the same as the bad mutations. Therefore, you want to pass on good mutations to your children. No one will do this.


I don't see any logic behind this statement. Let's assume that radiation is the cause of both positive and negative mutations. The problem with it is that it is harmful, and you don't know what is this "certain" dose. You are most likely to overdose, in the end hurting yourself, your ability to have children AND your children.
If you believe in evolution you don't have to force the process to speed up. It would be different if you believed that rapid evolution is the only right thing. Then enjoy.

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04-07-2011 at 05:18 PM
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I love when people tell me about this shocking increase in autism diagnosis, as if anyone actually gave a living damn about autism before the 1950s /anyway/.

Since up until I'd say the 1990s for the most part autistic kids were just 'weird retarded kids'.

Anyway, if you really need proof that evolution is /possible/, go look at your goddamn dogs. It's pretty clear that /selective/ breeding can cause immense changes in the size, shape, etc of a species in the matter of maybe a thousand, ten thousand years.

I'd simply have to ask anti-evolution people 'at which point do you think the ability to breed changes stops'.

The only thing here remotely being questioned is not 'can you breed species into other species', because you p. much can. The thing here being questioned is 'Can you do it just by changing the environment of a species'.
04-07-2011 at 05:18 PM
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The spitemaster wrote:

My idea is this. If you believe that evolution is possible, then make sure that you get a certain radioactive dose before having children. The method that produces good mutations has to be the same as the bad mutations. Therefore, you want to pass on good mutations to your children. No one will do this.



Exposing yourself to energy that rips electrons from their shells will only cause DNA to fall apart. Mutations of the not bad kind only happen when DNA is misreplicated, slightly changing what it does. Hey, it could be many generations and mutations before a change is notciable, or has an effect.

Oh also 2nd Law of Thermodynamics doesn't apply on Earth. If it's day, look up. See the Sun? Energy is getting added to Earth constantly.

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[Last edited by hyperme at 04-07-2011 05:41 PM]
04-07-2011 at 05:40 PM
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The problem is that your population will fill with carriers. Carriers of something, not just Huntingtons but whatever produces autism and others. Have you noticed that in the past fifty years there has been an exponential growth in the number of autistic people born? As things like this add to a population the population as a whole becomes less viable. And it doesn't matter about selection because this applies to all populations. It's just a factor of time and mutant causing factors.
Ignoring the statement that has already been addressed, this doesn't make much sense either. Your population won't fill with carriers. Sure, these carriers will exist, but only in the straight descending line from the individual who first developed the mutation. These bad genes are in some cases not a big disadvantage when it comes to breeding and therefore a certain level of bad mutations will always exist within a population. However, as soon as different bad genes start to stack up in a certain branch of the population this branch will be greatly disadvantaged. And thus the offspring with no bad genes will be favored in the long term.

It's a very strange thing to be discussing evolution with people who never studies it, and never intends to study it throughly. But simply decides they don't believe it because some several thousands year old book says things are otherwise...

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04-07-2011 at 05:43 PM
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One real-life way among many to expand a genome. Or, if you prefer, "add information".

Also, mutations occur at an (environment-dependent) fixed rate per nucleotide, not per genome. From that, it's a straightforward exercise in probability to show that adding junk DNA onto a given gene isn't going to change the mutation rate of that gene.

I'm using Wikipedia instead of the primary literature here, but you can trace down the links from Wikipedia easily enough if you care to.

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04-07-2011 at 08:11 PM
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The spitemaster
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I'd like to address the thought that the thing that I think cannot be based on science. This is near to what I think. Under ten thousand years ago everything began. Afterwards, there was somewhere between 1000 and 5000 land or bird type species. The genetic complexity was very large. Human DNA would have had twice the information complexity that it does today.

As time progressed, animals separated into different environments would have become inbred to certain conditions. Natural selection in reverse. Bears that maintained large fat deposits would not do well in the warmer climates. So it gets bred out. Separating your black bear from your polar bear. Two species from one parent source.

Now people who ask me specific questions I will answer. But there is a large number who think otherwise very strongly and I can't satisfy you. So deal with it.

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04-07-2011 at 09:58 PM
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The spitemaster
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Also: Dischorran copying information is not new information. A easy comparison is the SETI search. It involves looking for a complex message. Or pi. All of the numbers in it are random but it is very dense in information. This is because each number belongs in the place that it is. I believe the phrase is Specific information density.

Do you realize the actual amount of information in each strand of DNA? There is aprox 12*10^9 bits, or 12GB. Factoring in junk DNA brings you to 10GB. Not only is the actual information huge but it has to be assembled in order. For example, the blood clotting process. There is a whole cycle that cannot be missing for the system to work. Something starts the production of the clotting process, limits it to the target area, clots, stops and cleans up afterwards. If any of those is not in the process it not only doesn't work but is harmful to the organism.

Banj: You don't like Autistic kids? Well how about cancer. How many more times is cancer in todays society than from fifty years ago?

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04-07-2011 at 10:18 PM
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Back in the day, cancer was usually put down as "natural causes", which used to be an actual valid entry for a death certificate. So it's kind of like autism that way.

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04-07-2011 at 10:24 PM
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The spitemaster
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I disbelieved to on that one, so I looked it up. They have reliable stats to '75 and it peaked in the '90s.

So, I withdraw that comment.

But I will submit this. The reason that I am insistent on the growing rate of genetic problems is because of the life expectancies of the past. (Try looking at life expectancies of people who pass a certain age. To take out the infant mortality) I find it hard to believe that people of those times could survive these problems without advanced medicine.

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04-07-2011 at 10:50 PM
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Dischorran
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quote:
The spitemaster wrote:
Do you realize the actual amount of information in each strand of DNA? There is aprox 12*10^9 bits, or 12GB. Factoring in junk DNA brings you to 10GB. Not only is the actual information huge but it has to be assembled in order. For example, the blood clotting process. There is a whole cycle that cannot be missing for the system to work. Something starts the production of the clotting process, limits it to the target area, clots, stops and cleans up afterwards. If any of those is not in the process it not only doesn't work but is harmful to the organism.
You're off by an order of magnitude. EDIT: OK, you said bits, not bytes, so that stands. And your noncoding DNA estimate isn't even close. And how does either even fit into an argument?

Here's what SETI is actually looking for. Basically, it's not a complex message in the slightest - it's just a highly regular one that's above noise. Took about five minutes to find this.

With genome duplication, you wind up with a pair of a given gene, now free of restraints to evolve new functions. If you have a way to get access to Nature via a library, here's a paper describing how baker's yeast did exactly that. Interestingly enough, here's a paper citing work done back in 1993 on how the coagulation cascade likely came from gene duplication and parallel divergence.

Heck of a lot better than argument by assertion, no?

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[Last edited by Dischorran at 04-07-2011 11:18 PM]
04-07-2011 at 11:12 PM
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quote:
The spitemaster wrote:
But I will submit this. The reason that I am insistent on the growing rate of genetic problems is because of the life expectancies of the past. (Try looking at life expectancies of people who pass a certain age. To take out the infant mortality) I find it hard to believe that people of those times could survive these problems without advanced medicine.


What figures are you using? Taking a look at the life expectancy on wikipedia, a young adult could expect to live until 52 in Roman times, 64-71 for English aristocracy from 1200-1550. And now the world-wide life expectancy from birth is 67 (and that's including infant and childhood mortality).

addendum: 2006, a 20 year old in the US can expect to live until 78.6
source

[Last edited by Rabscuttle at 04-08-2011 02:47 AM]
04-08-2011 at 02:40 AM
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I know this has been dealt with, but it deserves pointing out there are no inherently good or inherently bad mutations. Best example is what happened with tamiflu. This drug attacked flu viruses but attacking a specific genetically encoded behaviour within viruses(I'm paraphrasing). Now, drugs like this have been found before, but people don't bother producing them because viruses evolve so fast that they develop resistance pretty quickly. This wasn't thought to be the case with tamiflu, because if a flu virus mutated resistance to this drug, it would cripple itself.

However, the flu virus did develop resistance. How? Well it turns out that there are 2 other mutations that a flu virus can have which by themselves are benign, I'm not sure if they would be defined as junk DNA, but they didn't do anything. However, if a virus had those to mutations, they could then develop a mutation to resist tamiflu, and not be crippled.

This is an important point of the genetic algorithm that evolution uses. It is blind. In fact, in programming and some kinds of electronics people have used the genetic algorithm to solve problems faster than by random chance.

And so I'm going to repeat again, spitemaster and Someone Else, can you please define what you think is evolution. At the moment, you raise a point, we knock it down, then you find another point, we knock it down, and then so on. This could go on for a very long time.

There are quite a few good books explaining evolution, The Greatest Show On Earth springs to mind, but if you don't like Richard Dawkins, there are others, and I'm sure there's one in your library. I suspect they'd be able to answer a lot of your questions a lot quicker.

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04-08-2011 at 03:08 AM
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Nobody likes Richard Dawkins. Not even Richard Dawkins likes Richard Dawkins.
04-08-2011 at 04:08 AM
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It's true. No matter what you think of the message he spreads, you have to admit he's too antagonistic about how he does it.

I liked the time when he suggested atheist kids ought to have a coming-out thing with their parents. Because if there's one thing conservative religious folk can relate to, it's the struggles of homosexuals.

Also, hymns to gravity. I don't even.

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[Last edited by Jatopian at 04-08-2011 05:33 AM]
04-08-2011 at 05:32 AM
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The spitemaster
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Evolution:

That in billions of years something can go from soup to humans and animals. That something can be created from nothing with no cause. Natural selection in addition to mutations will be able to increase the information contained in DNA. Random processes can make amino acids.

That is what I see evolution as.

Will someone explain how you can randomly make amino acids in a chemical soup? You can't have them floating by themselves because they quickly degrade in that kind of environment.

Will someone explain how you get proteins folded the right way? Especially, when you need a biological process that uses the said folded proteins to make more folded proteins of the same type.

I have a question. Does something else have to be proven right for evolution to be wrong? Not just, it needs extra clarification, but the whole theory to be wrong?

Here is a good quote that explains evolution
"Darwin's Law [2] of Evolution by Natural Selection (traditionally referred to as a "theory" to honor Darwin's original treatise, but now confirmed through observation and experiment) consists of five main tenets. First, he describes how species can change in shape and character through selective breeding. No reasonable person, whether creationist or scientist, doubts selective breeding can morph a wolf into a pony-sized mastiff. Or evolve the same wild animal into a comically shrunk, rat-sized Chihuahua. Second, he describes how species are neither completely uniform nor immutable, and how these natural variations are the grist upon which human selective breeding grinds. Once a new characteristic is established, these variations persist from generation to generation, and are systematically and predictably passed from parent to child. Again, all but the most radical creationists accepts these facts, widely employed since the birth of animal husbandry and agriculture [3] . Third, he recognized that Nature, through selective pressures like environmental shifts or changes in predation, can play the role of humans in selective breeding. Whether man selects a long-haired dog for its appearance, or colder winters favor the survival of thick furred over short-haired canines, the result is identical. Again, the power of evolution by Natural Selection is confirmed though field work (such as Darwin's finches), genetic mapping, and the experience of anyone who chooses to listen openly to nature."
http://www.genuineideas.com/ArticlesIndex/Darwin.htm

Problem is that I have no problem with any of this. I have a problem with the thought that one species could become another. That a bat could become a mouse. (Or the other way around, I don't actually know what it said to be)

Lastly, are you including switches as mutations? Because that is not actually changing the information that is actually there. It just changes what the cell uses.

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04-08-2011 at 06:05 AM
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Schik
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quote:
Banjooie wrote:
Nobody likes Richard Dawkins. Not even Richard Dawkins likes Richard Dawkins.
What, because of the excessive kissing of the female contestants?

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04-08-2011 at 06:31 AM
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Someone Else
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You're right, of course, NiroZ. I'm not very good at explaining myself, so I'm going to not say anything for a little bit while I take some time to actually write something well written, well reasoned out, and well explained. Then, if interest hasn't died down, I'll post it.
04-08-2011 at 06:41 AM
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Jatopian
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quote:
The spitemaster wrote:
That something can be created from nothing with no cause.
You're doing that thing, that fallacy that's the opposite of a strawman. I forget what it's called. But you need to stop it.

Either that or you're referring to the thermodynamics thing that was already shot down.

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04-08-2011 at 06:42 AM
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Dischorran
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This is getting into "Let me Google that for you" territory now.

Massive morphological changes are surprisingly easy - look into the homeobox, or "HOX", genes. Among the most striking is the gene Antennapedia, in which single mutations were identified in fruit flies that made legs grow where their antennae should be, or vice versa. As for bats, all mammals are very, very similar - see here for a summary genes involved in precisely bat vs. mouse forelimb development. I'm giving you those links free because HOX genes aren't necessarily obvious to look for ab initio.

As for protein folding, well, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protein_folding. The topic's actually very closely aligned to my own field of study, so I can almost certainly answer detailed questions, but I see no reason to duplicate what you could find with a quick Google search if you were so inclined.

I'll note that you're conflating origins of life with evolution here; I've addressed this in this thread already, I think.

Amino acids are quite stable; I assume you're referring to hydrolysis of the peptide bonds joining amino acids into a protein? Anyway, if you are, you're barking up the wrong tree; go Google RNA World.

And I have no clue whatsoever what you mean by "switches". Hopefully you do.

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04-08-2011 at 06:48 AM
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