Should evolution be taught in high school?

Feb 24, 2008 | Posted by: Cash | Full story: www.scientificblogging.com

Microbiologist Carl Woese is well known as an iconoclast. At 79 years of age, Woese is still shaking things up. Most recently, he stated in an interview with Wired that...

"My feeling is that evolution shouldn't be taught at the lower grades. You don't teach quantum mechanics in the grade schools. One has to be quite educated to work with these concepts; what they pass on as evolution in high schools is nothing but repetitious tripe that teachers don't understand."
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#113009
Dec 30, 2012
 
Human DNA has some 3 billion base pairs of nucleotides consisting of the 4 letters of the genetic code A, C, G, & T which are arranged in 3 letter groups which translate into the 20 amino acids.

Amino acids are grouped according to their ionic form, pH, and charge. They are nonpolar, polar, electrically charged, acidic and basic. Some are also hydrophilic and others hydrophobic. So each one is uniquely designed so that when the amino acid sequence is folded, it forms the 3D shape and binds and conforms according to the characteristics called for such as enzymatic, structural, storage, transport, hormonal, receptor, etc. In addition, there are a few which serve dual purposes as start or stop signals.

So again, the code consists of 4 letters grouped into 3 letter words that translate into the 20 amino acids. The number of words per gene can vary greatly but can be 10,000 or more. The number of genes in the human body is about 25,000 and the number of types of proteins is estimated at 2 million but its true value is not yet known. Because the 20 amino acids can be connected up arbitrarily, theoretically there are, for all practical purposes (20^50,000), an unlimited number of combinations to construct the millions of different types of proteins.

Now it is easy to lose sight of the scales involved but the human body has some 200 trillion cells, each of which contain DNA which contains 3 billion base pairs of nucleotides. But the derivation of all these base pairs (200 trillion x 3 billion) is boiled down to just the 4 bases and their arrangement into triplets and translation into proteins, which this whole system happens to be the same for all plant and animal species on Earth.

Just 4 bases is needed to define what you look like, your entire body, how to make a heart, a kidney, a lung, a brain, eyes, ears, arms and legs. It not only has to construct the correct protein for the job but also has to know where to put it (x,y,z), when to make it, how long it lives; every conceivable bit of information regarding its manufacturing specifications, transport, maintenance and repair.

All types of programs for example, you cut your finger. Initiate the blood clot cascade at location (x, y, z) for the specified duration without over or under clotting and simultaneously build some new proteins for repair of the cut but stop when finished, etc. Invading virus or bacteria, all hands on deck. These are the result of specialized proteins that were assembled with the same 4 bases.

These 4 letters, A, C, G, & T must also be responsible for inherited traits and innate behaviors in animals, for example, such as mating rituals and bird and fish migration abilities, insect social structures, beneficial symbiotic relationships between plants and animals, etc. The ability of a young bird to fly 5,000 miles across an ocean hes never seen and arrive at the exact spot where his parents came from the year before must be programmed into the code with those same 4 letter triplets. So innate behaviors such as the navigation capabilities of a modern piloted airplane must lie coded into the genetic software.

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#113010
Dec 30, 2012
 
Chimney1 wrote:
Its not "other parts", its radiation of complexity from a base, a foundation. You are talking about the innermost basic parts of living anatomy, down to the metabolic cycle, the amino acids that happen to be "coded" and employed, the composition of cell walls, etc. Having reached a local optimum, there may have been no alternative that provided a better solution proceeding from existing forms.
There are numerous possible solutions. The code could have any number of letters and any number of word length. The words could have been variable length or overlapping. There are numerous possibilities. But no other plan was used anywhere.

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#113011
Dec 30, 2012
 
Igor Trip wrote:
<quoted text>
Life can only evolve to the limits of the physicals and chemistry. Unless you know of a better system then that limit was reached for dna billions of years ago. It hasn't changed because no more beneficial changes are possible (at least not by the small steps evolution demands).
Dna and Atp work fine so there's no reason for any alternative system to evolve. Natural selection prevents them from deteriorating.
So what you are saying is that "nature" superbly optimized the genetic code first, out of millions of possible solutions, and then set about screwing up everything else for a billion years, yes?

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#113012
Dec 30, 2012
 
Urban Cowboy wrote:
Human DNA has some 3 billion base pairs of nucleotides consisting of the 4 letters of the genetic code A, C, G, & T which are arranged in 3 letter groups which translate into the 20 amino acids.
.....
Cropped for space. But wow, you REALLY don't know biology at all. Not to mention how 3D algorithms work. You also missed a TON of chemistry.

"Initiate the blood clot cascade at location (x, y, z)" seriously? There is a chemical in the plasma, which is the result of chemicals that result from the reactions of DNA. When the plasma dries, the clotting agent reacts to the oxygen creating a new chemical that's larger and more solid than the original. There is no "initiate clotting" garbage, clotting is a trait of our blood, not a response to anything.

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#113013
Dec 30, 2012
 
Urban Cowboy wrote:
<quoted text>
So what you are saying is that "nature" superbly optimized the genetic code first, out of millions of possible solutions, and then set about screwing up everything else for a billion years, yes?
Vestigial organs say otherwise.
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#113014
Dec 30, 2012
 
Urban Cowboy wrote:
<quoted text>
So what you are saying is that "nature" superbly optimized the genetic code first, out of millions of possible solutions, and then set about screwing up everything else for a billion years, yes?
How'd it get there? How'd it get there?

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#113015
Dec 30, 2012
 
Chimney1 wrote:
<quoted text>
Its not "other parts", its radiation of complexity from a base, a foundation. You are talking about the innermost basic parts of living anatomy, down to the metabolic cycle, the amino acids that happen to be "coded" and employed, the composition of cell walls, etc. Having reached a local optimum, there may have been no alternative that provided a better solution proceeding from existing forms.
Increasing complexity would then proceed, if advantageous, at higher level effects. But these would depend on a base, a foundation, that is stabilised. Plasticity at the lower level DECREASES as complexity at the higher level INCREASES.
As complexity increases at the top end, there is less opportunity for change at the bottom end that would not be wholly destructive.
As a simple analogy, in the earliest days of cars, the world could have agreed on a standard side of the road. Electric plugs and voltages could have been standardised too, without a lot of pain. But now it would be a gargantuan task and no modern economy wants to be the one that changes for the sake of the others...its too disadvantageous.
Evolution proceeds in small steps. In a simple proto-cell, the addition of a novel amino acid or changes to the metabolic cycle might cause a small difference in functioning. But as cellular and then organism complexity increased, the cascade effects of any change in the core processes would be too severe.
We might say, evolution has to proceed at the edges, and plasticity diminishes in the core systems over time. Most of the evolution of the last 400 million years has been little more than tinkering with already successful body plans.
Most evolutionists believe that God created living beings only that time evolves their creation down the ages.

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#113016
Dec 30, 2012
 
the dark lord wrote:
<quoted text>
Most evolutionists believe that God created living beings only that time evolves their creation down the ages.
English, M-Fer, do you speak it?

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#113017
Dec 30, 2012
 
And that i took a grand gesture by the Gods in the first place to "get the ball going" as it were in the first place then nature kicks in and takes over.

Evolutionary theory is lousy of "created modulations" lets not pretend otherwise. But the whole point nature being a non thinking animal, and evolution being semi-robotic in origin as evolutionary automata.

A lot of religious communities have realised the benefits of evolution in their thinking methods:-

It is my belief that we Carthar Jews were once magnificent dragons in which we evolutionary regress through time as man, bull, then worms.

Though i know God created dragons
God created man
God created bulls
God created worms

I also see evolutionary regression overall.

- And that i think it long overtime that scientist saw more symbiosis between science and religion.

Like and acceptance that they both coexist in reality of fact. And that religion and science withhold many truths they do not share in common.

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#113018
Dec 30, 2012
 
One way or another wrote:
<quoted text>
Copy and paste your claim, according to science, because you show no evidence, moron.
I cannot copy and paste it, Moron, because there is no source. I am thinking about the actual consequences of evolution, using my BRAIN, and offering my conclusions. Its a deduction of the consequences of evolving complexity.

Feel free to argue and discuss the actual substance of my argument, if you can. But then, we all know you are incapable of that.

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#113019
Dec 30, 2012
 
Dogen wrote:
<quoted text>
"Code" =/= code.
Its a code until someone breaks it - consider the genome project here.

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#113020
Dec 30, 2012
 
Urban Cowboy wrote:
<quoted text>
So what you are saying is that "nature" superbly optimized the genetic code first, out of millions of possible solutions, and then set about screwing up everything else for a billion years, yes?
I would give that better odds, than a being or force that cannot be observed or known did it with magical powers the nature of which cannot be observed or known. Where has design science taken us, except down the road to religion?

What you say boils down to belief. Just because it looks designed, you have to have a designer to feel comfortable that you are not the result of observable natural phenomena.

We are on the path to get the real answers that you are giving up to an alledged designer. In the end, with every piece of new knowledge, you will still be able to worship as you choose.

See ya.

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#113021
Dec 30, 2012
 
KittenKoder wrote:
<quoted text>
Science doesn't make assumptions, it dispels them. But I do verify the evidence I can when presented, find if there is other supporting evidence when I am unable to test is myself. You are assuming that your double standard is shared by skeptics, skeptics do not make excuses to one type of evidence, that's just religious people.
Perhaps you need to look a little more closely.

Science makes the assumption that induction (making generalisations from particulars)is a useful way to learn about how the universe works. There is no way this assumption can be logically supported. All we can say it, it seems to have worked until now.

Science also assumes that what has been observationally consistent in the past will be so in the future.

Scientific realists assume there is a real, objective world out there that we can actually understand. Scientific non-realists think that our models are never more than representations of something intrinsically unknowable, and that the little "maps" or models we build can not be the territory itself. At best they can provide partial predictions about an ultimately unknowable universe.

These might sound like philosophical musings but they do have a practical and real dimension. It is one of the chief failings of humans, including scientists, to be too quick to theorise the general from the particular. Sometimes the errors of prediction that this causes can have large consequences. Two classic examples are the Iraq war (they will love democracy, it will be over in months!) to the financial crash of 2007-8, events that took the USA from high confidence to low in less than a decade.

On the plus side, most physicists in 1880 thought the field was just about complete, and the tiny anomalies that they found would be sorted out with a tweak or two. Then - relativity and quantum mechanics revolutionised not only physics but the whole way in which we think about time, space, and more deeply, the notion of causality itself.

I have no double standard here. I am a great fan of science as you should know by now. To paraphrase Churchill, its the worst way to know anything except for all the others. But we must remember our own limits and assumptions, and not pretend they do not exist.

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#113022
Dec 30, 2012
 
Chimney1 wrote:
<quoted text>
Perhaps you need to look a little more closely.
Science makes the assumption that induction (making generalisations from particulars)is a useful way to learn about how the universe works. There is no way this assumption can be logically supported. All we can say it, it seems to have worked until now.
Science also assumes that what has been observationally consistent in the past will be so in the future.
Scientific realists assume there is a real, objective world out there that we can actually understand. Scientific non-realists think that our models are never more than representations of something intrinsically unknowable, and that the little "maps" or models we build can not be the territory itself. At best they can provide partial predictions about an ultimately unknowable universe.
These might sound like philosophical musings but they do have a practical and real dimension. It is one of the chief failings of humans, including scientists, to be too quick to theorise the general from the particular. Sometimes the errors of prediction that this causes can have large consequences. Two classic examples are the Iraq war (they will love democracy, it will be over in months!) to the financial crash of 2007-8, events that took the USA from high confidence to low in less than a decade.
On the plus side, most physicists in 1880 thought the field was just about complete, and the tiny anomalies that they found would be sorted out with a tweak or two. Then - relativity and quantum mechanics revolutionised not only physics but the whole way in which we think about time, space, and more deeply, the notion of causality itself.
I have no double standard here. I am a great fan of science as you should know by now. To paraphrase Churchill, its the worst way to know anything except for all the others. But we must remember our own limits and assumptions, and not pretend they do not exist.
So ... you don't think all those christian scientists are scientists?

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#113023
Dec 30, 2012
 
the dark lord wrote:
<quoted text>
Most evolutionists believe that God created living beings only that time evolves their creation down the ages.
Whatever they think, the point is that the theory of evolution makes such "beliefs" unnecessary. The theory first posited by Darwin is an alternative to the notion that "Goddidit by Design". It shows how the simplest can evolve to the most complex by a natural method.

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#113024
Dec 30, 2012
 
Urban Cowboy wrote:
<quoted text>
There are numerous possible solutions. The code could have any number of letters and any number of word length. The words could have been variable length or overlapping. There are numerous possibilities. But no other plan was used anywhere.
And who knows, in the simple early days of life there may have been such variations. But once optimised, the life form with the best working series of reactions dominated.

After that, further complexity arose at above the level of these fundamental reactions. Once that complexity existed, the ability to change the fundamentals would be far less plastic (flexible).

If this does not make sense, then consider the complex ATP cycle.

Simpler ones must have existed (such as ADP) but once this efficient cycle was in place, further evolutionary changes would be compounded on the basis of ATP being there. Look at any eukaryote with mitochondria optimised for ATP, and any multi-cellular animal that has developed increasingly complex energy management systems (our own glucose, lipid system with its cohort of controlling hormones etc). If the core ATP system mutated into something else, everything above it would be screwed!

Therefore future changes are at the "edges", not the core.

Flexibility at the core is diminished. That is why we have seen increasing elaboration of body plans established hundreds of millions of years ago, rather than radically different body plans appearing continually through evolution.

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#113025
Dec 30, 2012
 
KittenKoder wrote:
<quoted text>
So ... you don't think all those christian scientists are scientists?
Do you mean that cult called "Christian Science" or do you mean scientists who still regard themselves as Christian?

I don't care if a scientist is Christian (or Muslim or Buddhist) so long as when he does science, he uses the scientific method and is honest in that. However, these YEC fundy types. No, I could never call them scientists.

The honest approach for a Christian scientist would have to be to accept large parts of the Bible are allegorical and its an imperfect record, a chronicle of a people getting to understand the and codify rules of good living over time perhaps. To me the Bible is one of those repositories of proverbial knowledge, like Aesop's Fables though far more sophisticated, a series of lessons in "good living" that humans built up over centuries. Ignore the supernatural aspects, and the lessons may still be valid.

And by the way - the groping, meandering, gradual emergence of this "traditional wisdom", is a source of knowledge that has stood the test of time that radical social experiments have not. Scientists or buffoons calling themselves scientific, like the Marxists, can suffer from arrogance too. And the consequences can be horrific.

Perhaps one who calls himself a "christian scientist" is one who intuitively respects traditions that he cannot fully justify rationally, because he knows that through the millennia long competition of ideas, these are the ones, like say the Confucian tradition in the East, that have endured through a rigorous process of cultural natural selection.

Perhaps the dramatically falling birthrates of modern social democratic societies and the internal gradual replacement of their populations in Europe with Muslim immigrants, should be a warning to us. Its a bad state of affairs, and it may be telling us that the rational skeptical approach may be rather fragile in societal terms!

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#113026
Dec 30, 2012
 
Chimney1 wrote:
<quoted text>
Do you mean that cult called "Christian Science" or do you mean scientists who still regard themselves as Christian?
I don't care if a scientist is Christian (or Muslim or Buddhist) so long as when he does science, he uses the scientific method and is honest in that. However, these YEC fundy types. No, I could never call them scientists.
The honest approach for a Christian scientist would have to be to accept large parts of the Bible are allegorical and its an imperfect record, a chronicle of a people getting to understand the and codify rules of good living over time perhaps. To me the Bible is one of those repositories of proverbial knowledge, like Aesop's Fables though far more sophisticated, a series of lessons in "good living" that humans built up over centuries. Ignore the supernatural aspects, and the lessons may still be valid.
And by the way - the groping, meandering, gradual emergence of this "traditional wisdom", is a source of knowledge that has stood the test of time that radical social experiments have not. Scientists or buffoons calling themselves scientific, like the Marxists, can suffer from arrogance too. And the consequences can be horrific.
Perhaps one who calls himself a "christian scientist" is one who intuitively respects traditions that he cannot fully justify rationally, because he knows that through the millennia long competition of ideas, these are the ones, like say the Confucian tradition in the East, that have endured through a rigorous process of cultural natural selection.
Perhaps the dramatically falling birthrates of modern social democratic societies and the internal gradual replacement of their populations in Europe with Muslim immigrants, should be a warning to us. Its a bad state of affairs, and it may be telling us that the rational skeptical approach may be rather fragile in societal terms!
Nice long post to say that you only think people who agree with your beliefs are christian.

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#113027
Dec 31, 2012
 
KittenKoder wrote:
<quoted text>
Nice long post to say that you only think people who agree with your beliefs are christian.
What? Either I am not writing clearly, or you are not reading with comprehension.

1. I am not a Christian nor religious at all.

2. Anyone can call themselves a Christian. Makes no difference to me.

3. However, not anybody can rightly call themselves a scientist or a skeptic.

A scientist adheres to the scientific method when deciding what is true, or probably true.

So does a Skeptic, but he goes one step further and divests himself of the need to believe what he cannot know, and instead to think in terms of likelihoods and probabilities rather than certainties.

But to return to my original point, better that you know and understand the assumptions science makes, because it surely does make them.

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#113028
Dec 31, 2012
 
the dark lord wrote:
God created bulls
And the Dark Lord creates bullshit!

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