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Level 1

Since: Feb 13

San Francisco, CA

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#1
Feb 28, 2013
 
I strongly believe that evolution is the best explanation we have for the diversity of life on the planet,(the hierarchical DNA evidence is sure compelling) but I have a few lingering questions that trouble me.

I'm sure these thoughts I've had are all well considered as they seem to me to be obvious problems with evolution. But I would like someone to help me understand, please.

1. How can evolution produce such amazingly complex physical strictures and biochemic processes, yet hasn't eliminated obviously detrimental effects to natural selection that should have been elected out such as homosexuality, depression, schizophrenia, etc.

2. Is 4 billion years really enough time to go from a primordial lifeless soup to the amazing diversity we see today?

3. How did consciousness develop? Did the first mutated conscious being reproduce sexually with a not conscious unmutated living being? Perhaps consciousness evolved while reproduction was asexual?

4. When looking at species that have billions of living beings today with very short lifespans such as various insects, why don't we see knew species developing out of them, with all the many billions of opportunities for positively selected mutations

5. Why is the human orgasm so strong? If even half as pleasurable as it is on average now, wouldn't that have been enough to encourage people to have lots and lots of sex?

6. Why does menopause exist? Perhaps the risk of having deformed babies rises so high after a certain age that it is surely a protective effect. But this gives rise to another question:

7. In the first woman that had the gene that selected for menopause, how did having that gene make either her offspring more likely to thrive or that she would produce more children? Shouldn't a non-menopausal woman have had more children?

Level 7

Since: Sep 07

Valley Village, CA

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#2
Feb 28, 2013
 

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derekj72 wrote:
1. How can evolution produce such amazingly complex physical strictures and biochemic processes, yet hasn't eliminated obviously detrimental effects to natural selection that should have been elected out such as homosexuality, depression, schizophrenia, etc.
The simply answer to your question is that humans have culture and that our culture exempts certain detrimental effects from being selected against. Prior to culture, the blind wouldn't last long. Now, they do.

The more complex answer is that not all of these things are detrimental. There are advantages to things which are not obvious up front.
2. Is 4 billion years really enough time to go from a primordial lifeless soup to the amazing diversity we see today?
Yes. Humans aren't particularly good at recognizing the actual size of big numbers. 4 billion years is a VERY VERY VERY VERY VERY long time. It's an AMAZINGLY long time.
3. How did consciousness develop? Did the first mutated conscious being reproduce sexually with a not conscious unmutated living being? Perhaps consciousness evolved while reproduction was asexual?
Consciousness is not an on/off switch. It's an amorphous description of what we think we understand about how we understand the world. Are gorillas conscious? Do we know for certain?
4. When looking at species that have billions of living beings today with very short lifespans such as various insects, why don't we see knew species developing out of them, with all the many billions of opportunities for positively selected mutations
We see lots of new insect species. We see even more new bacteria species. The problem is that the vast majority of people can't distinguish between various species of any given group. How many species of ants live in your yard? Any idea?
5. Why is the human orgasm so strong? If even half as pleasurable as it is on average now, wouldn't that have been enough to encourage people to have lots and lots of sex?
More is better.
6. Why does menopause exist? Perhaps the risk of having deformed babies rises so high after a certain age that it is surely a protective effect. But this gives rise to another question:
7. In the first woman that had the gene that selected for menopause, how did having that gene make either her offspring more likely to thrive or that she would produce more children? Shouldn't a non-menopausal woman have had more children?
There isn't a gene for menopause, just like there isn't a gene for arthritis. People age, systems break down.

In humans, the vast majority of the time we've existed, very very few people made it to 40. There was never a need to select for or against menopause.

However, there was a strong reason to select for getting busy at 15ish, but that was about the halfway point.

So, when puberty hits our sex drive goes absolutely bonkers. 16 year old girls can get pregnant at a glance. 16 year old boys can (disgustingly graphic reference about the amount of baby juice they can make).

It's not that we've selected for menopause, it's that we've selected for "running the engine at full speed" which means it breaks down sooner.
LowellGuy

Washington, IN

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#3
Mar 1, 2013
 

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derekj72 wrote:
I strongly believe that evolution is the best explanation we have for the diversity of life on the planet,(the hierarchical DNA evidence is sure compelling) but I have a few lingering questions that trouble me.
I'm sure these thoughts I've had are all well considered as they seem to me to be obvious problems with evolution. But I would like someone to help me understand, please.
1. How can evolution produce such amazingly complex physical strictures and biochemic processes, yet hasn't eliminated obviously detrimental effects to natural selection that should have been elected out such as homosexuality, depression, schizophrenia, etc.
2. Is 4 billion years really enough time to go from a primordial lifeless soup to the amazing diversity we see today?
3. How did consciousness develop? Did the first mutated conscious being reproduce sexually with a not conscious unmutated living being? Perhaps consciousness evolved while reproduction was asexual?
4. When looking at species that have billions of living beings today with very short lifespans such as various insects, why don't we see knew species developing out of them, with all the many billions of opportunities for positively selected mutations
5. Why is the human orgasm so strong? If even half as pleasurable as it is on average now, wouldn't that have been enough to encourage people to have lots and lots of sex?
6. Why does menopause exist? Perhaps the risk of having deformed babies rises so high after a certain age that it is surely a protective effect. But this gives rise to another question:
7. In the first woman that had the gene that selected for menopause, how did having that gene make either her offspring more likely to thrive or that she would produce more children? Shouldn't a non-menopausal woman have had more children?
Do you attend Liberty University?

Level 1

Since: Feb 13

San Francisco, CA

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#4
Mar 1, 2013
 
LowellGuy wrote:
<quoted text>
Do you attend Liberty University?
Why would you ask such a sarcastic question?

These were serious questions to which I wanted serious answers. Did you not read my first paragraph?

Level 9

Since: Sep 08

Everett, WA

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#5
Mar 1, 2013
 

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Look at your first question. It shows a strong anti-gay bias and a lack of understanding about evolution. That was why LowellGuy asked you the question that he did.

Try asking better questions and you won't get such a sarcastic one in return.

Level 1

Since: Feb 13

Brentwood, CA

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#6
Mar 1, 2013
 
Oh so that is what this is about. Questioning why a condition that is very highly corrrelated with not reproducing wasn't selected out over millenia of generations shows an anti gay bias? Stop being so reflexively bigoted. I made no value judgment on homosexuality.

No doubt I have a lack of understanding of some aspects of evolution, WHICH IS WHY I ASKED THE QUESTIONS!

Level 1

Since: Feb 13

Brentwood, CA

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#7
Mar 1, 2013
 
Thank you Nuggin for these well considered and clear answers.
Nuggin wrote:
<quoted text>
The simply answer to your question is that humans have culture and that our culture exempts certain detrimental effects from being selected against. Prior to culture, the blind wouldn't last long. Now, they do.
The more complex answer is that not all of these things are detrimental. There are advantages to things which are not obvious up front.
<quoted text>
Yes. Humans aren't particularly good at recognizing the actual size of big numbers. 4 billion years is a VERY VERY VERY VERY VERY long time. It's an AMAZINGLY long time.
<quoted text>
Consciousness is not an on/off switch. It's an amorphous description of what we think we understand about how we understand the world. Are gorillas conscious? Do we know for certain?
<quoted text>
We see lots of new insect species. We see even more new bacteria species. The problem is that the vast majority of people can't distinguish between various species of any given group. How many species of ants live in your yard? Any idea?
<quoted text>
More is better.
<quoted text>
There isn't a gene for menopause, just like there isn't a gene for arthritis. People age, systems break down.
In humans, the vast majority of the time we've existed, very very few people made it to 40. There was never a need to select for or against menopause.
However, there was a strong reason to select for getting busy at 15ish, but that was about the halfway point.
So, when puberty hits our sex drive goes absolutely bonkers. 16 year old girls can get pregnant at a glance. 16 year old boys can (disgustingly graphic reference about the amount of baby juice they can make).
It's not that we've selected for menopause, it's that we've selected for "running the engine at full speed" which means it breaks down sooner.

Level 9

Since: Sep 08

Everett, WA

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#8
Mar 1, 2013
 
derekj72 wrote:
Oh so that is what this is about. Questioning why a condition that is very highly corrrelated with not reproducing wasn't selected out over millenia of generations shows an anti gay bias? Stop being so reflexively bigoted. I made no value judgment on homosexuality.
No doubt I have a lack of understanding of some aspects of evolution, WHICH IS WHY I ASKED THE QUESTIONS!
Your questions are asked as if they came from some sort of lying creatard site.

I will answer one of your questions. There probably is not a "gay" gene. It is probably a combination of several genes. One gene may make the odds higher that someone is gay, but it would also have other pluses that made up for the breeders lost to homosexuality.

For example it seems that on average most homosexuals are fairly intelligent. Intelligence can be a positive factor when you are looking for a mate. If being extra smart raised your odds of being gay to one out of ten, a large population could still pass on that gene preferentially.

To think that there is one gay gene is really oversimplifying the question.

Level 7

Since: Sep 07

Valley Village, CA

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#9
Mar 1, 2013
 
derekj72 wrote:
Oh so that is what this is about. Questioning why a condition that is very highly corrrelated with not reproducing wasn't selected out over millenia of generations shows an anti gay bias? Stop being so reflexively bigoted. I made no value judgment on homosexuality.
No doubt I have a lack of understanding of some aspects of evolution, WHICH IS WHY I ASKED THE QUESTIONS!
On the gay thing...

I think it's important to separate homosexual men vs women. Though there are exceptions, the majority of gay men are gay from birth to death, whereas there are many cases of women moving in and out of lesbianism.

Further, its easier for a gay woman to reproduce successfully than a gay man.

So, let's talk about male homosexuality and being selected for, vs female sexuality which may have difference causes altogether.

Homosexuality in men is chiefly caused by the mother's biology in reaction to the additional testosterone of the male fetus. It's not a genetic condition in the male, it's epigenetic. They are born gay but can not pass along a "gay gene" because it's a condition of their birth, not a condition of their DNA.

However, there very well could be a gay gene (or a gene that doesn't cause homosexuality in the individuals but rather in the offspring) in women.

By the way, we know about the causes by some rather extensive work showing that the more male children a female produces, the more likely the later children are to be gay. This is true even among children which were adopted as infants and grew up in different homes without siblings.

Here's a link:
http://articles.latimes.com/2006/jun/27/scien...

Anyway, let's talk adaptation.

For tens of thousands of years, humans lived in small hunter gatherer groups. In those groups, though women provide the majority of calories, the men are needed for protection from other groups, for procuring meat, etc.

However, reproductively speaking, one man is sufficient to keep 20 women pregnant all the time. So, even an equal balance of men and women is, reproductively speaking, wasteful.

So, how does nature balance the need for more men for protection with the lack of need for men for reproduction. And how does it prevent needless internal strife between men trying to compete for women. Well, as more men are produced, they are less likely to compete for the women.

Meanwhile, the genes which keep this alive are well protected as the men produced are still protecting the females carrying the genes, they just aren't interested in mating with them. Their older brothers take care of that.

Level 7

Since: Sep 07

Valley Village, CA

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#10
Mar 1, 2013
 
Subduction Zone wrote:
For example it seems that on average most homosexuals are fairly intelligent.
This is cultural bias. The intelligent homosexuals are seen because they speak out and are open.

There are as many, if not more, closeted homosexuals with average intelligence that you just don't recognize.

Additionally, to a large degree intelligence in appearance is linked to certain stereotypes of the "educated man". At least one subgroup of homosexuals readily embraces the cultural appearance and behavior of that stereotype. fastidious, erudite, more than a little fem

Meanwhile, it's just as possible that some farmer in Kentucky happens to be the smartest man in the world, but because of where he lives and what he does, he's mistaken for unintelligent due to overalls and a trucker cap.

Level 1

Since: Feb 13

Brentwood, CA

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#11
Mar 1, 2013
 
Thank you both. This is the level of discussion for which I was hoping.

But I do take exception to the suggestion that my questions were lifted from a (sic) Creatard website. The questions are my own. Perhaps asked with faulty premises due to my admitted ignorance on evolution, but I have no bias otherwise. To suggest otherwise, even after I state that the evidence for evolution is compelling is disingenuous, and creates a chilling effect for those seeking the truth.

I follow the evidence and will never be cautious about asking questions that are unpopular or risk my looking stupid! That is the true scientific legacy of the scientific method.

I
Nuggin wrote:
<quoted text>
This is cultural bias. The intelligent homosexuals are seen because they speak out and are open.
There are as many, if not more, closeted homosexuals with average intelligence that you just don't recognize.
Additionally, to a large degree intelligence in appearance is linked to certain stereotypes of the "educated man". At least one subgroup of homosexuals readily embraces the cultural appearance and behavior of that stereotype. fastidious, erudite, more than a little fem
Meanwhile, it's just as possible that some farmer in Kentucky happens to be the smartest man in the world, but because of where he lives and what he does, he's mistaken for unintelligent due to overalls and a trucker cap.

Level 7

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Valley Village, CA

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#12
Mar 1, 2013
 

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derekj72 wrote:
Thank you both. This is the level of discussion for which I was hoping.
But I do take exception to the suggestion that my questions were lifted from a (sic) Creatard website. The questions are my own. Perhaps asked with faulty premises due to my admitted ignorance on evolution, but I have no bias otherwise. To suggest otherwise, even after I state that the evidence for evolution is compelling is disingenuous, and creates a chilling effect for those seeking the truth.
I follow the evidence and will never be cautious about asking questions that are unpopular or risk my looking stupid! That is the true scientific legacy of the scientific method.
I
<quoted text>
In defense of the other poster, many of the questions you have asked are questions which have been asked (though with different, clumbsier and more offensive wording) from people who've tried to shoot holes in evolutionary theory.

I took you on your word, and continued to believe you because your questions are not unreasonable at first blush and were not accompanied by the other sorts of questions we typically hear from Creationists such as: "Why are there still monkeys?"

There are a lot of Creationists who come on the forums and re-post arguments they pick up from other sites having done none of the research and with no grasp of evolution.

I don't believe that is the case here. I think you have a grasp of evolution though not a particularly sophisticated one (which unfortunately you can't obtain through the normal course of education) which inevitably leads to the sort of questions you asked.

The knee jerk reaction you received is the result of most of us having to deal with 99 creationists for every 1 honestly questioning person.

Level 1

Since: Feb 13

Brentwood, CA

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#13
Mar 1, 2013
 
Yes, all valid points. I am a 40 year old man living in San Francisco with 2 master's degrees (one in engineering discipline), and immensely intellectually curious.

I do my own research and understand evolution far more than most but far less than those on this site. That is why I am here.
Nuggin wrote:
<quoted text>
In defense of the other poster, many of the questions you have asked are questions which have been asked (though with different, clumbsier and more offensive wording) from people who've tried to shoot holes in evolutionary theory.
I took you on your word, and continued to believe you because your questions are not unreasonable at first blush and were not accompanied by the other sorts of questions we typically hear from Creationists such as: "Why are there still monkeys?"
There are a lot of Creationists who come on the forums and re-post arguments they pick up from other sites having done none of the research and with no grasp of evolution.
I don't believe that is the case here. I think you have a grasp of evolution though not a particularly sophisticated one (which unfortunately you can't obtain through the normal course of education) which inevitably leads to the sort of questions you asked.
The knee jerk reaction you received is the result of most of us having to deal with 99 creationists for every 1 honestly questioning person.

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Since: Sep 08

Everett, WA

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#14
Mar 1, 2013
 
Nuggin wrote:
<quoted text>
This is cultural bias. The intelligent homosexuals are seen because they speak out and are open.
There are as many, if not more, closeted homosexuals with average intelligence that you just don't recognize.
Additionally, to a large degree intelligence in appearance is linked to certain stereotypes of the "educated man". At least one subgroup of homosexuals readily embraces the cultural appearance and behavior of that stereotype. fastidious, erudite, more than a little fem
Meanwhile, it's just as possible that some farmer in Kentucky happens to be the smartest man in the world, but because of where he lives and what he does, he's mistaken for unintelligent due to overalls and a trucker cap.
Please note that I said "seemed" and then went into an explanation of a hypothetical case how a mutation that increased intelligence but gave a chance of being gay could improve the chance of that gene being passed on. I did not say anything about who was or was not intelligent in the real world.

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#15
Mar 1, 2013
 

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derekj72 wrote:
Yes, all valid points. I am a 40 year old man living in San Francisco with 2 master's degrees (one in engineering discipline), and immensely intellectually curious.
I do my own research and understand evolution far more than most but far less than those on this site. That is why I am here.
<quoted text>
Okay, fair enough. We see so many attacks from people who only get their science from creationist sites that many of us do get a bit touchy about questions.

I will be happy to help on serious questions about evolution. Let me tell you first that evolution has been proven far beyond any reasonable doubt. One fact that even honest creationists will admit, and there are extremely few honest creationists is that all scientific evidence to date that applies to evolution supports the theory of evolution. There is no scientific evidence at all for creation. That is an undeniable fact if you understand scientific evidence.

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Since: Feb 13

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#16
Mar 1, 2013
 
Oh, I don't doubt that at all. I just find it stimulating to ponder the apparent contradictions or difficulties and seek the answers. I have zero expectation that any of the questions I have come up with will disprove evolution. That would be absurd.

The real issues I see are related to:

1. Origin of life itself
2. If the "spark of life" did happen via a lightning strike in the primordial soup or whatever, why wasn't it quickly snuffed? Maybe it wasn't a onetime event?
3. It seems to me that evolution requires both time and a sufficiently large gene pool upon which to operate. When considering how small the breeding populations of homo habilis or homo erectus must have been, do any serious scientists consider this an open question?
4. I used to have questions about fossils but reading Dawkins has satisified me on that topic.
5. The classic objection over the dependent structures of the eye still is troubling me. I have no doubt it was accomplished through evolution, but it is still difficult to understand the mechanisn over time.
6. What do scientists have to say about certain species that apparently havent evolved at all over many millions of years such as the horseshoe crab?
7. What is the latest consensus on punctuated evolution? Why does evolution seem to take a break over eons? Is the answer probably related to the relative rarity in the fossill record so we only get very rare snapshots in time?
8. Do scientists generally believe evolution is gradual over time or goes in fits and stops?
9. Why does religion exist? Does it perhaps confer a societal, cooperative benefit that can outcompete others without it? It sure appears to be a universal aspect of extant cultures.
10. Why does it appear that certain moral truths are "written on the hearts of men" such as being against murder, the incest taboo, the westermark effect, and many others? Perhaps as you suggested before, and demonstrated with male homosexuality, there need not always be an evolutionary reason.

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#17
Mar 1, 2013
 
1. That is abiogensis and not evolution. It really does not matter what the original source of life was for the theory of evolution.

If you want to discuss this it is a different topic. It is currently in the hypothesis stage and is not a fully developed theory yet.

2. Abiogenesis is thought to be a one time event because even early life consumed things. Once life starts it will consume the sources of life. It is a one at a time type of event. The very very first life may have died out and it may have happened more than once. Only one would ultimately survive.

3. No. Why do you think there were very small numbers?

4.

5.I am sure you can find explanations on line. One suggestion, go to YouTube and type "eye evolution" in the search bar.

6. They have evolved. They just have not evolved much. If the environment that an animal inhabits does not change over the years there is very little pressure to evolve. The most obvious evolution we have is on land. Land environments are much less stable than ocean environments.

7. Once again, stable environments have very low evolutionary pressure. Changing environments have high evolutionary pressure.

8. Most seem to take the punctuated equilibrium fits and starts approach. Again, it makes perfect sense when you look at what causes evolutionary pressure.

9. Because man is a social animal and is intelligent enough to ask questions. Sometimes the answers we get are wrong.

10. Most "good morals" are also good for the species. What is good for the species as a whole is passed on genetically if at all possible.

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#18
Mar 1, 2013
 
On topic of population size of early hominids, I assumed it was small due to evidence such as the following:

1. Lack of discoveries outside of east Africa
2. Genetic evidence such as "mitochondrial eve"
3. Skepticism that large populations could have been supported without advanced farming techniques, where we would very likely have seen evidence of.

Is there anyone in the field that doubts all early hominids were hunter gatherers?
Subduction Zone wrote:
1. That is abiogensis and not evolution. It really does not matter what the original source of life was for the theory of evolution.
If you want to discuss this it is a different topic. It is currently in the hypothesis stage and is not a fully developed theory yet.
2. Abiogenesis is thought to be a one time event because even early life consumed things. Once life starts it will consume the sources of life. It is a one at a time type of event. The very very first life may have died out and it may have happened more than once. Only one would ultimately survive.
3. No. Why do you think there were very small numbers?
4.
5.I am sure you can find explanations on line. One suggestion, go to YouTube and type "eye evolution" in the search bar.
6. They have evolved. They just have not evolved much. If the environment that an animal inhabits does not change over the years there is very little pressure to evolve. The most obvious evolution we have is on land. Land environments are much less stable than ocean environments.
7. Once again, stable environments have very low evolutionary pressure. Changing environments have high evolutionary pressure.
8. Most seem to take the punctuated equilibrium fits and starts approach. Again, it makes perfect sense when you look at what causes evolutionary pressure.
9. Because man is a social animal and is intelligent enough to ask questions. Sometimes the answers we get are wrong.
10. Most "good morals" are also good for the species. What is good for the species as a whole is passed on genetically if at all possible.

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#19
Mar 1, 2013
 
Homo erectus has been found in quite a few places outside of Africa. Google search Java Man, Peking Man, or Homo erectus in general. Homo habilis I am not as familiar with.

Even when mitochondrial Eve was alive there were supposedly thousands of men. And that was during the age of Homo sapiens. There have been genetic or population bottlenecks. That is another interesting topic to Google search.

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#20
Mar 1, 2013
 
Thank you
Subduction Zone wrote:
Homo erectus has been found in quite a few places outside of Africa. Google search Java Man, Peking Man, or Homo erectus in general. Homo habilis I am not as familiar with.
Even when mitochondrial Eve was alive there were supposedly thousands of men. And that was during the age of Homo sapiens. There have been genetic or population bottlenecks. That is another interesting topic to Google search.

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