Should evolution be taught in high sc...

Should evolution be taught in high school?

There are 180369 comments on the www.scientificblogging.com story from Feb 24, 2008, titled Should evolution be taught in high school?. In it, www.scientificblogging.com reports that:

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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Level 6

Since: Mar 12

Location hidden

#117758 Feb 18, 2013
Russell wrote:
<quoted text>
I agree with Feynman and just based on THAT alone
Evolutionary wishful thinking should be relegated the significance it deserves...
INTO THE DUST BIN OF FAILED PSEUDOSCIENCE
Same authors as you have referenced in your post, however a more recent paper:
"Here, we expand this approach to demonstrate that when replicate lineages are initiated from the ...
SAME MUTANT GENOTYPE....
same mutant genotype, phenotypic evolution is only sometimes repeatable.
...and why would we expect a new sequence of random mutations along with natural selection of those mutations to produce the SAME phenotypic result again? Is this your flawed understanding of "repeatable"?

How about this: Its a repeatable experiment that a fair coin tossed 1000 times will produce approximately 500 heads and 500 tails. However, you could do the experiment 100 times and its exceedingly unlikely that you would ever have the SAME sequence (e.g. HHTHHTTTTH etc) repeated twice.

WHAT is repeatable? Recovery.
WHAT is unique? The particular random sequence of mutations available for selection, that drive each recovery event.

...and any significant degree of recovery AT ONCE falsifies Sanford's hypothesis that genetic entropy is a one-way street that natural selection cannot reverse.
MA genotypes -------Russell here: read wild type------ that recovered ancestral fitness in the previous experiment did not always do so here.
They would not HAVE to ALWAYS recover fitness to falsify Sanford. That they should do so EVER, is enough to falsify Sanford's genetic entropy hypothesis as laid out in his book.
Further, the pattern of adaptive evolution in independently evolved replicates was contingent upon the MA genotype and varied among fitness-related traits.
And the problem is?
Our findings suggest that new beneficial mutations can drive rapid fitness evolution, but that the adaptive process is rendered somewhat unpredictable by its susceptibility to chance events and sensitivity to the evolutionary history of the starting population."
The very first sentence there completely falsifies Sanford. The rest is exactly what you would expect in a process where the source of new variation is random and of course the previous "historical loss of fitness", the starting point, is unique too.
Not quite so cut and dried as you may like...
Actually, EXACTLY as I like. Because IF the process yielded exactly the same results every time, it would be evidence AGAINST non-directed, randomly sourced evolutionary change. In fact if the response was the same every time, we would then suspect that the driving force was a pre-programmed adaptive response, NOT evolutionary adaptation.

So thanks, you have merely offered further confirmation that both

1. Sanford was falsified and

2. Evolution is a process driven by random genetic change, not pre-programmed adaptation.

And I am even bothering to argue with a YEC nutcase because? Until you get over that bit of Santa Clausery, I cannot even see the point of arguing any other SCIENCE with you.
HTS

Mandan, ND

#117759 Feb 18, 2013
Chimney1 wrote:
<quoted text>
I asked for a prediction that junk DNA was somehow essential to evolutionary theory, and you gave me a good response here. Broken genes are a likely corollary of evolution.
But, considering that only 1.5% of the genome is for actively coding gene sequences, what would an evolutionary prediction of pseudogenes be? As many pseudo- as active genes? You still are nowhere near to justifying your claim that a massive proportion of the DNA being junk was ever a NECESSARY prediction of evolution.
There are many examples of pseudogenes. Of the 1000 or so olfactory receptor genes, at least 300 are useless in humans, and all 1000 are useless in whales. It still looks pretty weird from a design perspective.
You claim most geneticists now believe that all of DNA is useful?
Even the claims of ENCODE only KNOW of 8% necessary function, and predict 20% necessary function, possibly rising to 50%. Most of the "biological activity of any kind" they reported as occurring in 80% of the genome was considered to be useless activity.
So I just take this whole approach of yours as typical of creationist distortions.
Find one or two ERVs that do something vaguely useful, and you claim that all tens of thousands of ERVs, constituting about 8% of the genome, are necessary!
Find one residual function in some pseudogene, and suddenly all pseudogenes are necessary!
The mythical notion that biologists simply assumed that all non-coding DNA was completely functionless - was NEVER true. Over the last 30 years, a great deal of research was conducted by those biologists (not by "creation scientists", of course)on what possible functions could be residing in portions of the genome outside the genes themselves.
The whole thing is a veritable army of straw men all attacking the air and each other, a series of compound distortions...but it wont work. 10 years from now, we will have a picture of the genome that shows a great deal more function than the active gene coding areas, and a whole lot of junk that is well established as junk by then.
But being the straw man argument that it all is, your brand of hyperbole will blow around ID/creation circles like a whirlwind, get them all writing blogs on the evo conspiracy, etc, and continue to be ignored by real scientists as deserved.
Why do you assume a nucleotide sequence is useless just because a function hasn't been measured? Many "useless" pseudogenes not have been proven to have functionality. Do you just expect me to believe the current estimated percentage of functional DNA is accurate, while that percentage is changing literally every week?
HTS

Mandan, ND

#117760 Feb 18, 2013
LowellGuy wrote:
<quoted text>
Is mass what determines a thing's gravitational pull?
That's what I was taught in physics.
HTS

Mandan, ND

#117761 Feb 18, 2013
Chimney1 wrote:
<quoted text>
...and why would we expect a new sequence of random mutations along with natural selection of those mutations to produce the SAME phenotypic result again? Is this your flawed understanding of "repeatable"?
How about this: Its a repeatable experiment that a fair coin tossed 1000 times will produce approximately 500 heads and 500 tails. However, you could do the experiment 100 times and its exceedingly unlikely that you would ever have the SAME sequence (e.g. HHTHHTTTTH etc) repeated twice.
WHAT is repeatable? Recovery.
WHAT is unique? The particular random sequence of mutations available for selection, that drive each recovery too.
<quoted text>
Actually, EXACTLY as I like. Because IF the process yielded exactly the same results every time, it would be evidence AGAINST non-directed, randomly sourced evolutionary change. In fact if the response was the same every time, we would then suspect that the driving force was a pre-programmed adaptive response, NOT evolutionary adaptation.
Please explain according to your logic how evolution can result in convergence. How do similar endpoints ( such as complex image -forming eyes) evolve independently multiple times in divergent species based on your coin toss analogy?

Level 6

Since: Mar 12

Location hidden

#117762 Feb 18, 2013
HTS wrote:
<quoted text>
Sanford's observations are a death blow to Darwinism, and his scientific credentials are impeccable. He started out as an atheist. After over two decades of research in plant breeding, he concluded that NDT is utter BS.
According to Sanford: Loss of fitness is a one-way ratchet (Muller's Ratchet) and lost fitness cannot be recovered through natural selection.

Sanford hypothesised that mildly deleterious mutations would be too numerous for natural selection to ever counteract, leading to a gradual and irreversible reduction in the fitness of the genome and the organisms carrying them.

This precision alone puts him ahead of the vast majority of ID / Creationists because at least he predicted something testable! Hooray - it just might be science!

Sanford's prediction:

Natural Selection cannot restore lost fitness. At best it can slow the rate of decline.

He made numerous errors in his thesis and these have been discussed at length in the past. But they are all irrelevant now anyway because Sanford's hypothesis has been directly and inarguably falsified in experiments were population fitness DOES recover in a state of natural selection...something Sanford's theory ruled out as impossible.

Sorry HTS, but no matter how much you love Sanford, claim his "impeccable record" etc, or think his hypothesis is a "deathblow to Darwinism" he was wrong about this, as experiments show. Back to the drawing board for you.
Level 6

Since: Aug 07

Miami, FL

#117763 Feb 18, 2013
Chimney1 wrote:
<quoted text>
And falsified by experiment.
Fitness is restored when natural selection is reintroduced. This is impossible under Sanford's theory - a fundamental, testable prediction.
So Sanford is falsified. Not only for the many logical reasons already given to you for the last two years, repeatedly, but by the true and final arbiter of all real science: observation does not match his predictions. Not even close.
RAPID FITNESS RECOVERY IN MUTATIONALLY DEGRADED LINES OF
CAENORHABDITIS ELEGANS
SUZANNE ESTES
1,2
AND MICHAEL LYNCH
3
1
Department of Biology, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon 97
http://www.ecologia.unam.mx/laboratorios/evol...
These worms were subject to rapid fitness loss of 1-3% per generation by the elimination of natural selection over many generations. So far for Sanford, no problem, but...
Then, still within this isolated population, natural selection was allowed to reassert itself. Fitness recovered fully in about 80 generations. Utterly impossible, according to Sanford!
He, and you, should heed these words...
"It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are. If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong."
Richard P. Feynman
(So far, of course, evolution has been confirmed in every experiment and observation recorded. A 150 year track record of success)
Estes and Lynch did not set out to falsify Sanford, and their work can in no way be interpreted as such. The accumulated deleterious mutatations are still in their genomes and all they accomplished was delay the inevitable. Genetic diseases aren't going away and people aren't going to start having babies with their sisters. Sure, as in the case of the Florida Panther, we introduce species to increase the population they can recover, but the basic theory is still intact; the deleterious mutations are still accumulating.
Level 6

Since: Aug 07

Miami, FL

#117764 Feb 18, 2013
Chimney1 wrote:
According to Sanford: Loss of fitness is a one-way ratchet (Muller's Ratchet) and lost fitness cannot be recovered through natural selection.
I don't recall Sanford saying that. It's common sense that fitness can recover if the population is increased. But this only delays the inevitable as resources are limited.

Level 6

Since: Mar 12

Location hidden

#117765 Feb 18, 2013
HTS wrote:
<quoted text> Why do you assume a nucleotide sequence is useless just because a function hasn't been measured? Many "useless" pseudogenes not have been proven to have functionality. Do you just expect me to believe the current estimated percentage of functional DNA is accurate, while that percentage is changing literally every week?
Good point. It is premature to assume no function just because none has been identified. Yet in many cases, its easier than that. Obviously broken genes. Parasitical ERVs. Massive useless repeat sequences. In many cases they point the way to the conclusion that they are useless.

The current ENCODE estimate takes that into account when, to repeat, they say that 8% is clearly usefully functional, and that they expect that figure to rise to 20%...possibly even higher. I DO expect the estimates to change every week...but that does not concern me.

The need for massive amounts of junk is NOT a necessary prediction of evolution. Never was, and to represent it as a core and necessary prediction of evolution is false. And no, a small percentage of the genome predicted to be pseudogenes is not even close.

However, obviously, the more junk is found, the tougher that might be for Designists to explain. Even Darwinists will have the burden of explaining why so much useless material with its accompanying metabolic cost was not selected away by natural selection, all else being equal.
One way or another

United States

#117766 Feb 18, 2013
Chimney1 wrote:
<quoted text>
And falsified by experiment.
Fitness is restored when natural selection is reintroduced. This is impossible under Sanford's theory - a fundamental, testable prediction.
So Sanford is falsified. Not only for the many logical reasons already given to you for the last two years, repeatedly, but by the true and final arbiter of all real science: observation does not match his predictions. Not even close.
RAPID FITNESS RECOVERY IN MUTATIONALLY DEGRADED LINES OF
CAENORHABDITIS ELEGANS
SUZANNE ESTES
1,2
AND MICHAEL LYNCH
3
1
Department of Biology, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon 97
http://www.ecologia.unam.mx/laboratorios/evol...
These worms were subject to rapid fitness loss of 1-3% per generation by the elimination of natural selection over many generations. So far for Sanford, no problem, but...
Then, still within this isolated population, natural selection was allowed to reassert itself. Fitness recovered fully in about 80 generations. Utterly impossible, according to Sanford!
He, and you, should heed these words...
"It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are. If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong."
Richard P. Feynman
(So far, of course, evolution has been confirmed in every experiment and observation recorded. A 150 year track record of success)
Try to defend the words,"natural selection", because I see nothing in nature that is naturally selected and by the way, humans aren't worms.

Have you seen many people that are inbred? Have the scientists sought out people like that and tracked them, proving what they claim? Only 80 generations? They cannot make such a prediction for people, because like twins, inbreeding could skip generations and resurface anywhere in the lineage.

Level 6

Since: Mar 12

Location hidden

#117767 Feb 18, 2013
Urban Cowboy wrote:
<quoted text>
Estes and Lynch did not set out to falsify Sanford, and their work can in no way be interpreted as such. The accumulated deleterious mutatations are still in their genomes and all they accomplished was delay the inevitable. Genetic diseases aren't going away and people aren't going to start having babies with their sisters. Sure, as in the case of the Florida Panther, we introduce species to increase the population they can recover, but the basic theory is still intact; the deleterious mutations are still accumulating.
Of course not. Very few biologists waste their time setting out deliberately to falsify the silly claims of creationists. It just happens anyway. Their results DO falsify Sanford.

However, I note that you have tripped on two of Sanford's core false assumptions in your claim that the deleterious mutations "are still there". Sanford, you see, STARTED with an assumption of a perfect genome. By definition, any change to a perfect genome will have to be deleterious!!!

On the other hand, in evolution, there was no time ever when a "perfect genome" existed. But consider what happens when you mutate a "highly fit" genome - virtually ALL mutations will be bad. What about a "less fit" genome? Then a higher percentage will be beneficial. Automatically!

There is a mathematical process, a Markov Chain, than can describe the equilibrium achieved where fitness will find its long term level...

Its not at, nor ever was, perfection.

While those deleterious mutations you mentioned are STILL THERE, then if fitness recovered, OBVIOUSLY the improvement had to come from NEW beneficial mutations elsewhere!. Or there could be no fitness improvement. New fit state is not identical to old fit state. Some genes are worse than before. Some genes are better...and the net result is a restoration of the NORMAL equilibrium overall fitness level.

Oh yeah, Sanford's other error, was the assumption of a perfect state, meaning that once a mutation occurred, the only way back to recovery was a specific reversal of that particular mutation. That is not what happens, nor what needs to happen.

If you are wondering where this ongoing loss of fitness in one area...being made up for in improved fitness in another area...well I bet that is quite disturbing because it shows WHY species change and evolve and drift over time, and why "species" are NOT immutable.
LowellGuy

United States

#117768 Feb 18, 2013
HTS wrote:
<quoted text>That's what I was taught in physics.
Is there any rational and demonstrable, evidence-backed reason to suppose that something other than mass, or rotational speed in particular, determine the gravitational pull of a thing?
LowellGuy

United States

#117769 Feb 18, 2013
HTS wrote:
<quoted text>
Please explain according to your logic how evolution can result in convergence. How do similar endpoints ( such as complex image -forming eyes) evolve independently multiple times in divergent species based on your coin toss analogy?
Selection. Nobody but creationists suppose that evolution is a purely chance-driven phenomenon.
Level 6

Since: Aug 07

Miami, FL

#117770 Feb 18, 2013
Chimney1 wrote:
<quoted text>
Good point. It is premature to assume no function just because none has been identified. Yet in many cases, its easier than that. Obviously broken genes. Parasitical ERVs. Massive useless repeat sequences. In many cases they point the way to the conclusion that they are useless.
The current ENCODE estimate takes that into account when, to repeat, they say that 8% is clearly usefully functional, and that they expect that figure to rise to 20%...possibly even higher. I DO expect the estimates to change every week...but that does not concern me.
The need for massive amounts of junk is NOT a necessary prediction of evolution. Never was, and to represent it as a core and necessary prediction of evolution is false. And no, a small percentage of the genome predicted to be pseudogenes is not even close.
However, obviously, the more junk is found, the tougher that might be for Designists to explain. Even Darwinists will have the burden of explaining why so much useless material with its accompanying metabolic cost was not selected away by natural selection, all else being equal.
There are numerous examples of repeated sequences in nature and in the arts and music. For example, most music has a beat and tempo that is repeated throughout the composition. Without that beat, the music wouldn't make any sense. Perhaps it is the same with genetics. Maybe the long repeats act as a counter for timing of development stages. The pattern has been for scientists to discover new function where they previously did not believe any to exist. The latest research suggests that the genome is 99% functional. Very little for protein coding and the rest for all sorts of controls.
One way or another

United States

#117771 Feb 18, 2013
Chimney1 wrote:
<quoted text>
I asked for a prediction that junk DNA was somehow essential to evolutionary theory, and you gave me a good response here. Broken genes are a likely corollary of evolution.
But, considering that only 1.5% of the genome is for actively coding gene sequences, what would an evolutionary prediction of pseudogenes be? As many pseudo- as active genes? You still are nowhere near to justifying your claim that a massive proportion of the DNA being junk was ever a NECESSARY prediction of evolution.
There are many examples of pseudogenes. Of the 1000 or so olfactory receptor genes, at least 300 are useless in humans, and all 1000 are useless in whales. It still looks pretty weird from a design perspective.
You claim most geneticists now believe that all of DNA is useful?
Even the claims of ENCODE only KNOW of 8% necessary function, and predict 20% necessary function, possibly rising to 50%. Most of the "biological activity of any kind" they reported as occurring in 80% of the genome was considered to be useless activity.
So I just take this whole approach of yours as typical of creationist distortions.
Find one or two ERVs that do something vaguely useful, and you claim that all tens of thousands of ERVs, constituting about 8% of the genome, are necessary!
Find one residual function in some pseudogene, and suddenly all pseudogenes are necessary!
The mythical notion that biologists simply assumed that all non-coding DNA was completely functionless - was NEVER true. Over the last 30 years, a great deal of research was conducted by those biologists (not by "creation scientists", of course)on what possible functions could be residing in portions of the genome outside the genes themselves.
The whole thing is a veritable army of straw men all attacking the air and each other, a series of compound distortions...but it wont work. 10 years from now, we will have a picture of the genome that shows a great deal more function than the active gene coding areas, and a whole lot of junk that is well established as junk by then.
But being the straw man argument that it all is, your brand of hyperbole will blow around ID/creation circles like a whirlwind, get them all writing blogs on the evo conspiracy, etc, and continue to be ignored by real scientists as deserved.
Just because science can't make some genes work, doesn't mean they are broken. As with anything, it just takes the right set of factors to come into play.
LowellGuy

United States

#117772 Feb 18, 2013
Urban Cowboy wrote:
<quoted text>
Estes and Lynch did not set out to falsify Sanford, and their work can in no way be interpreted as such. The accumulated deleterious mutatations are still in their genomes and all they accomplished was delay the inevitable. Genetic diseases aren't going away and people aren't going to start having babies with their sisters. Sure, as in the case of the Florida Panther, we introduce species to increase the population they can recover, but the basic theory is still intact; the deleterious mutations are still accumulating.
Wait...something can only be falsified by expressly seeking to do so? Really? That's how science works? Or, is that another one of your made-up bullshit "principles?"

You know, replace "principle" with "hypothesis" and you become indistinguishable from Ol' Jimbo.
Level 6

Since: Aug 07

Miami, FL

#117773 Feb 18, 2013
Chimney1 wrote:
However, I note that you have tripped on two of Sanford's core false assumptions in your claim that the deleterious mutations "are still there". Sanford, you see, STARTED with an assumption of a perfect genome. By definition, any change to a perfect genome will have to be deleterious!!!
I didn't slip. I agree with Sanford. We started out perfect and have been slowly deteriorating over time with the accumulating deleterious mutations. Are you confused?
One way or another

United States

#117774 Feb 18, 2013
The Dude wrote:
<quoted text>
Abio is still not relevant to the validity of evolution. However this man's theistic opinions are his own. As is his opinion re abio. So while we're at it, one of the few creationists who has a level of intellectual honesty, here's what YEC Todd C Wood has to say:
"Evolution is NOT a theory in crisis. It is NOT teetering on the verge of collapse. It has NOT failed as a scientific explanation. There IS evidence for evolution, gobs and gobs of it. It is NOT just speculation or a faith choice or an assumption or a religion. It IS a productive framework for lots of biological research, and it has amazing explanatory power. There is NO conspiracy to hide the truth about the failure of evolution. There has really been NO failure of evolution as a scientific theory. It works, and it works well."
Todd, like you evos, can't prove it.

Level 6

Since: Mar 12

Location hidden

#117775 Feb 18, 2013
HTS wrote:
<quoted text>
Please explain according to your logic how evolution can result in convergence. How do similar endpoints ( such as complex image -forming eyes) evolve independently multiple times in divergent species based on your coin toss analogy?
Convergence occurs when there are a limited number of optimal solutions to a "problem". Fish, sharks, icthyosaurs, and whales all independently converged on a shape that works well for a bilateral vertebrate body plan in water...would we be surprised if the specific order and timing of development towards that body shape varied among these groups during evolutionary development?

After all, the earliest Ichthys are long skinny things, and the ancestors of whales more chunky like a seal or similar. But they converged, each through its unique series of "coin tosses", so long as natural selection reinforced the coin tosses that worked.

Likewise the eye or any other convergent phenomenon. Why not?
LowellGuy

United States

#117776 Feb 18, 2013
Urban Cowboy wrote:
<quoted text>
I don't recall Sanford saying that. It's common sense that fitness can recover if the population is increased. But this only delays the inevitable as resources are limited.
It's also common sense that bigger things are heavier than smaller things (cue the witch hunt scene from Holy Grail) yet we now know this to be wrong. That's why "common sense" isn't a part of the scientific method.
LowellGuy

United States

#117777 Feb 18, 2013
One way or another wrote:
<quoted text>
Try to defend the words,"natural selection", because I see nothing in nature that is naturally selected and by the way, humans aren't worms.
Have you seen many people that are inbred? Have the scientists sought out people like that and tracked them, proving what they claim? Only 80 generations? They cannot make such a prediction for people, because like twins, inbreeding could skip generations and resurface anywhere in the lineage.
There isn't a single coherent thought in that entire post.

Why do we bother doing tests on other animals before we test things on humans?

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