Evolution micro debate

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Evolution micro debate

Postby HMS Sophia » 2010-12-19 01:33pm

Okay, so you guys have probably gone over this a million times, but I wan't to make sure I'm not just being really thick.
I'm semi-debating this guy on the subject of evolution (it come's from a debate on ESP) and... well, i'll copy paste

There is a big differance between evolution and adaptation, they've mutated fruit flies and got countless varieties but they are still fruit flies and after several generations they revert back to their origional form, Darwin "saw" evolution in finches in his travels because differant islands had differant types of beak again not evolution just adaptation to an enviroment, they were still finches they wern't turning into anything else. Mice who lived in a butchers freezers grew fur coats but were still mice

He said that. I replied with:

Adaptation is evolution. Evolution is natural selection in order to find the best adaptation for an environment. SO those finches were evolving, as were those fruit flies. You have just made a basic result in debating evolution, and that is believing that evolution=new species.

Am I right? Am I being stupid?
He came back with something seemingly moronic about a cat turning into a dog being evolution.
What I'm also worried about: Is this guy debating like a creationist?
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Re: Evolution micro debate

Postby SilverWingedSeraph » 2010-12-19 01:44pm

and after several generations they revert back to their origional form
I'd challenge him to provide evidence for this claim. He won't be able to.

Evolution is adaptation through random mutation and natural selection. In the short term, this typically only results in changes within a species. That's how you get different breeds of dogs, which are still dogs. Over longer periods of time, it does result in speciation, however. This is proven. A house-cat is a cat, but so is an ocelot, or a jaguar. They're all cats, yet they obviously can't interbreed. Is he going to argue that they aren't different species? Or that they aren't related?

A cat turning into a dog is not evolution. The population of a species changing incrementally, over time, is evolution. Yes, this guy is debating like a creationist. He has no idea what he's talking about. Your arguments are more or less accurate.
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Re: Evolution micro debate

Postby HMS Sophia » 2010-12-19 01:48pm

K, thanks :)

Okay, He just officially became a fuckwit.

Love is also the single greatest argument against evolution, evolution is a selfish process of survival of the fittest, animals manage without it quite well and have done for millions of years. Love is selfless and would cause you to sacrifice your life for the one you love going completely against the grain of the barest essentials of evolutionary processes


Yeah... apparently love conquers evolution...
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Re: Evolution micro debate

Postby SilverWingedSeraph » 2010-12-19 01:50pm

barnest2 wrote:
Love is also the single greatest argument against evolution, evolution is a selfish process of survival of the fittest, animals manage without it quite well and have done for millions of years. Love is selfless and would cause you to sacrifice your life for the one you love going completely against the grain of the barest essentials of evolutionary processes

Yeah... apparently love conquers evolution...
Ahaha that's hilarious. He has no fucking idea how evolution works.
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Re: Evolution micro debate

Postby HMS Sophia » 2010-12-19 01:51pm

I don't actually know how to reply too that...
Anyone have any ideas?
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Re: Evolution micro debate

Postby Serafina » 2010-12-19 01:56pm

Of course, such debates are mostly futile, but here we go:

Love is also the single greatest argument against evolution, evolution is a selfish process of survival of the fittest, animals manage without it quite well and have done for millions of years. Love is selfless and would cause you to sacrifice your life for the one you love going completely against the grain of the barest essentials of evolutionary processes
In fact, this is ludicrously easy to debunk:
Cooperation pays off. It is a giant evolutionary advantage - many species would be hardly able to survive if they were not cooperating in some way. This starts with simple herd behavior and goes all the way up to complicated group interactions.
Love is an outgrowth of that - it pays off to care greatly for those close to you, and it can be beneficial from an evolutionary POV to be willing to ignore self-preservation instincts in order to save a loved one. The most direct example is a parent risking his/her life for his/her child: Even if the parent dies, the DNA has already been passed on, so saving the child is quite important.

Love doesn't require a supernatural explanation, and neither do other morals. They either evolved, or were created by humans so recently that we can trace their origins quite well.
Again, put simply: Love is just a strong emotional attachment, and such emotional attachments are necessary for cooperation - which is a giant benefit for any specias that has it.
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Re: Evolution micro debate

Postby HMS Sophia » 2010-12-19 01:58pm

Thank you kindly
I did manage to reply, along much the same lines.
it's just a shame that someone I knew as relatively intelligent (if slightly unhinged) believes this bullshit :(
Last edited by HMS Sophia on 2010-12-19 02:00pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Evolution micro debate

Postby SilverWingedSeraph » 2010-12-19 01:58pm

"Survival of the fittest" is often misinterpreted. It does not refer to individuals. Evolution does not affect individuals at all. It affects populations. A population which evolves love and morality will survive and thrive, as those things make us want to take care of our own offspring, and the rest of our 'tribe' resulting in more people surviving to reproduce. Where-as a population where mothers pop out babies and don't care about them, and people kill each other recklessly because they feel like it, will obviously not survive, or at the very least will not thrive. If anything, the existence of love stongly supports evolution. Emotional attachments means we're more likely to protect members of our own species, thus ensuring its survival.

So basically, this guy is an idiot.

EDIT: Damn, Serafina beat me to the punch. Oh well.
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Re: Evolution micro debate

Postby HMS Sophia » 2010-12-19 02:10pm

Ok, got replies.

Read my religious bit again I said. "I'm not religious BUT I hate those who spread christian falsehoods" not "AND I hate" you should get your finger out of quantum mechanics and clockwork science and start exploring what it means to be a human in your heart and mind or your going to be a very cynical, deprived and uninlightened individal. My life is full of magic and wonder and appreciation not deprecation and negativity.

He goes yakkity-yak about me being deprived because I'm a cynic.

Ah, I see. No reply too the evolution bit. I'll assume concession.

As for the rest: I'm insanely happy where I am in life right now. The fact that I like to question things, does not mean I don't find wonder. my thought process essentially goes:
"OOOh..... Wow... thats cool... now how does it work?"
So sod off Jim-bob.
Also, I never said you were a creationist. Just that you use the same arguments. Not the same things.

My reply

So... yeah... I think I won :wtf:

P.s. names changed because we were posting on a social networking site.
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Re: Evolution micro debate

Postby SilverWingedSeraph » 2010-12-19 02:21pm

you should get your finger out of quantum mechanics and clockwork science and start exploring what it means to be a human in your heart and mind or your going to be a very cynical, deprived and uninlightened individal. My life is full of magic and wonder and appreciation not deprecation and negativity.
Typical anti-intellectual rhetoric. "Oh gosh there's magic everywhere and you people who try to study and quantify and explain things are HORRIBLE and you take the MAGIC out of everything! Look into your heart and mind instead of trying to understand things! Evidence doesn't matter! Go with your GUT!"

Quite amusing. And completely unenlightened.
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Re: Evolution micro debate

Postby Serafina » 2010-12-19 02:35pm

The universe is fascinating, yes. It's even MORE fascinating that we can understand it - us tiny, human beings, living on a pare blue dot, can grasp the intricate mechanism of existence itself! (well, at least some of it).
I would suggest exposing him to some of the works of Carl Sagan if you can do so - at the very least you'll be able to find some good clips on YouTube.
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Re: Evolution micro debate

Postby HMS Sophia » 2010-12-19 02:39pm

He wouldn't watch/read it. No chance
This is the man who calls himself a wolfarian (thinks he was a wolf in a past life), has an online pack, and thinks everything is magic. He also thinks waking up because his phone went off is ESP. There is no way he would listen to Sagan :P
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Re: Evolution micro debate

Postby Serafina » 2010-12-19 03:28pm

Well, you'll always meet some people who believe in a lot of crazy stuff. It's mostly not that difficult to believe something like that if you already believe something else like that. Or in other words: If you already believe in reincarnation, it's not a big leap to believe in souls, or to deny evolution - you are rejecting reality already anyway.
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Re: Evolution micro debate

Postby Paula42 » 2010-12-19 04:14pm

barnest2 wrote:K, thanks :)

Okay, He just officially became a fuckwit.

Love is also the single greatest argument against evolution, evolution is a selfish process of survival of the fittest, animals manage without it quite well and have done for millions of years. Love is selfless and would cause you to sacrifice your life for the one you love going completely against the grain of the barest essentials of evolutionary processes


Yeah... apparently love conquers evolution...


Yea after that comment his fuckwit status is confirmed, he obviously needs to look at herd and pack animals and notice that in fact their are many species that group together for mutual defence along and other reasons.

He has chosen a belief and like most morons he will keep presenting retarded argument after retarded argement to support it rather than be swayed by reasonable facts.

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Re: Evolution micro debate

Postby Lord of the Abyss » 2010-12-19 04:55pm

SilverWingedSeraph wrote:
and after several generations they revert back to their origional form
I'd challenge him to provide evidence for this claim. He won't be able to.

Assuming he didn't just make that all up on the spot, it sounds like a (convenient) misinterpretation of a common phenomenon that's occasionally used by anti-evolution types. If you look at a species like dogs, we've bred them into all sorts of exotic shapes but if they get loose and breed uncontrolled they "revert" to being mutts, a sort of generic dog shape. The anti-evolutionists try to claim that's because you can't really change a species and that they are reverting to some kind of innate and unchangeable type. In actuality what happens is that if you drop a few unusual animals into a much larger population the rare variations tend to get swamped; over time any particular lineage is going to tend towards the average.

So yes, if you took those altered fruit flies and released them into the world and if they lasted they'd probably produce normal fruit flies in a few generations - because there are so many natural fruit flies and a minuscule number of altered ones. But if you keep them reproductively isolated, they won't. That after all is one of the ways new species & subspecies start; they somehow end up isolated from the rest of the population, and any rare genetic genetic characteristics of the founding population have the opportunity to take over and become the norm instead of being swamped.
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Re: Evolution micro debate

Postby Serafina » 2010-12-19 05:20pm

Actually, it's interesting to contemplate about what Lord of the Abyss just described - and scientists have done just that.

What he has described is a now well-known effect: It takes quite long for any change to spread trought a large population, even more so if there is no strong selective pressure. On the other hand, if we have a small population, even slight selective pressures can cause significant changes, and strong ones tend to produce new species quickly (i think we have observed speciation in only a few years in fish).
This is a part of evolution that was originally advanced as "punctuated equilibirum" We normally have large, relatively well-adapted populations. Evolution only happens very gradually here. If one part of the group get's seperated or pushed into territory it's not well adapted to, then the process is speed up a lot. This explains quite well why we often observe more radical cuts in the fossil record, and long phases of little change at the same time.

Conclusion: Yet again, scientists have figured out something before the creationists actually claim that scientists have no answer to it :lol:
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Re: Evolution micro debate

Postby SilverWingedSeraph » 2010-12-19 06:22pm

Assuming he didn't just make that all up on the spot, it sounds like a (convenient) misinterpretation of a common phenomenon that's occasionally used by anti-evolution types. If you look at a species like dogs, we've bred them into all sorts of exotic shapes but if they get loose and breed uncontrolled they "revert" to being mutts, a sort of generic dog shape. The anti-evolutionists try to claim that's because you can't really change a species and that they are reverting to some kind of innate and unchangeable type. In actuality what happens is that if you drop a few unusual animals into a much larger population the rare variations tend to get swamped; over time any particular lineage is going to tend towards the average.
Oh yeah, I'm entirely familiar with that phenomenon, but that's not even close to "reverting back to their original form after a few generations" with no other qualifiers. The way he said it is completely false, but yes, I thought of what you're describing a little bit after I made my post, and wondered if that is what he might be refering to.
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Re: Evolution micro debate

Postby Lagmonster » 2010-12-20 08:36am

I'm going to move this to the "Debating Help" forum, where it really ought to be.

On topic, oftentimes anti-science types, particularly religious ones and especially young ones, are unsinkable ducks. If you are arguing one on one with him, save your energy. If you're arguing with him in public, such as on a forum, have at him. You won't beat him - he'll give up, deny everything, or simply slander you into submission - but your performance will be evaluated by onlookers, and they're the ones who you stand to convince.
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Re: Evolution micro debate

Postby Simon_Jester » 2010-12-20 11:26am

SilverWingedSeraph wrote:"Survival of the fittest" is often misinterpreted. It does not refer to individuals. Evolution does not affect individuals at all. It affects populations. A population which evolves love and morality will survive and thrive, as those things make us want to take care of our own offspring, and the rest of our 'tribe' resulting in more people surviving to reproduce. Where-as a population where mothers pop out babies and don't care about them, and people kill each other recklessly because they feel like it, will obviously not survive, or at the very least will not thrive. If anything, the existence of love stongly supports evolution. Emotional attachments means we're more likely to protect members of our own species, thus ensuring its survival.
Nitpick: actually, both those strategies are viable.

There are plenty of organisms that breed very quickly but put practically no effort into caring for individual offspring. Most of them have enormous infant mortality rates... but your species can do quite well with 80% infant mortality if each female has twenty or thirty young during her lifespan.

The exceptions are mostly found among species where it isn't practical to do this: where having one child is a large enough burden on the mother that she can't afford to turn out dozens of them and accept that most of them will get eaten by wild animals. Humans are an example, as are most of the higher mammals, with rodents and such being a bit more of a borderline case. Birds are an example too, probably because baby birds can't fend for themselves on account of not being able to fly; if their parents didn't care for them they'd all die.

But look at amphibians, insects, and fish and you will see all kinds of species whose evolutionary strategy is to produce enormous numbers of children and then not care for them.

barnest2 wrote:He wouldn't watch/read it. No chance
This is the man who calls himself a wolfarian (thinks he was a wolf in a past life), has an online pack, and thinks everything is magic. He also thinks waking up because his phone went off is ESP. There is no way he would listen to Sagan :P
My preferred reply to that sort of thing is "Science is magic-that-works. Call me when your brand of the stuff can stop buildings from getting burned down by bolts of lightning."

It's a bit silly of me perhaps, but I'm willing to respect belief in magic commensurate with its contribution to the life of the person in question... so long as they're willing to do the same for me, and commensurate with the relative success rate of sorcery versus physics.

Since electrical engineering has a much better success rate at deflecting lightning bolts than prayers to the thunder-gods, I don't feel that "I will agree to respect your art so long as you agree to respect mine, judged purely by the standards of which one produces more miracles" is an unreasonable concession to make.

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Re: Evolution micro debate

Postby SilverWingedSeraph » 2010-12-20 12:07pm

Simon_Jester wrote:Nitpick: actually, both those strategies are viable.

There are plenty of organisms that breed very quickly but put practically no effort into caring for individual offspring. Most of them have enormous infant mortality rates... but your species can do quite well with 80% infant mortality if each female has twenty or thirty young during her lifespan.

The exceptions are mostly found among species where it isn't practical to do this: where having one child is a large enough burden on the mother that she can't afford to turn out dozens of them and accept that most of them will get eaten by wild animals. Humans are an example, as are most of the higher mammals, with rodents and such being a bit more of a borderline case. Birds are an example too, probably because baby birds can't fend for themselves on account of not being able to fly; if their parents didn't care for them they'd all die.

But look at amphibians, insects, and fish and you will see all kinds of species whose evolutionary strategy is to produce enormous numbers of children and then not care for them.
Ah, you got me there. :lol: I knew I didn't think that whole bit through enough. I was, largely, refering you mammals and primates in general, rather than all species, but yes, you're right, and I should have elaborated or been more specific.

Refering to science as "magic that works", while an entertaining idea, will most likely just be distorted and used as a strawman by anti-science types.
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Re: Evolution micro debate

Postby Simon_Jester » 2010-12-20 01:14pm

SilverWingedSeraph wrote:Ah, you got me there. :lol: I knew I didn't think that whole bit through enough. I was, largely, refering you mammals and primates in general, rather than all species, but yes, you're right, and I should have elaborated or been more specific.
If anything it strengthens the position: not only is there a very obvious and logical evolutionary logic that explains why parental love evolves in the animals similar to us, but in other species for which that path does not exist, we don't see parental love.

It's easy enough to construct a quasi-scientific* explanation for something that justifies its existence. It's rather more difficult and impressive to both explain why the phenomenon happens and explain why it doesn't happen in other situations.

*This is not to mean that the explanation is bad science, only that it is 'of the form of' a scientific explanation without necessarily being hard scientific fact. That's a common problem in evolutionary biology, and one the field has only managed to shake itself free of in the past few decades.

Refering to science as "magic that works", while an entertaining idea, will most likely just be distorted and used as a strawman by anti-science types.
Eh, true. It has to be done very carefully, I think, and I'm not seriously advocating it.
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Re: Evolution micro debate

Postby PainRack » 2010-12-20 10:58pm

Of course, there is the time tested tactic of bogging down the thread with so many tangent/post, then jumping back and forth and switching back to original tangents so that the "crowd" is essentially turned off.
Case in point.
http://forums.hardwarezone.com.sg/showt ... ?t=2925630

The other classic thread which spawned this troll was shut down, other having reached more than several thousand pages. While there were message spam from other posters, the sheer bulk of the postage means that nobody is going to get bogged down reading the posts and we have essentially other observers saying this is a leap of faith or as above, message spam.

As it is, the sheer trollishness of the poster means that everyone else is simply trolling back with him.

Any ideas for what to do apart from "don't feed the troll?"
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Re: Evolution micro debate

Postby someone_else » 2010-12-23 04:25pm

Lord of the Abyss wrote:That after all is one of the ways new species & subspecies start; they somehow end up isolated from the rest of the population, and any rare genetic genetic characteristics of the founding population have the opportunity to take over and become the norm instead of being swamped.
No, that's just a population with different traits, not a new species.
The dogs are not different "species" any more than us pink-skinned humans are a different species than black/red/yellow/brown-skinned humans.
Even if they look pretty different in shape and size and colour.

What makes a new species is losing the ability to breed true with your ancestor's species and have fertile offspring.

Like the horse and the donkey. Common ancestor, but their offspring is not fertile (the mule). So they are two different races even if they are much more similar to each other than a cihuahua is to a newfoundland (both dogs, both can interbreed with some assistence and have fertile although somewhat weird offspring).

Simon_Jester wrote:My preferred reply to that sort of thing is "Science is magic-that-works. Call me when your brand of the stuff can stop buildings from getting burned down by bolts of lightning."
I generally answer them with this:Image
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Simon_Jester wrote:But look at amphibians, insects, and fish and you will see all kinds of species whose evolutionary strategy is to produce enormous numbers of children and then not care for them.
Sure that both strategies are viable, my friend. But there is a trade-off. I've read papers that claim the species brain size is proportional to the amount of maternal care. That means they are smarter.
So, if you want your children to rule the world, be a good parent. :mrgreen:
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Re: Evolution micro debate

Postby Alyrium Denryle » 2010-12-25 08:12am

No, that's just a population with different traits, not a new species.
The dogs are not different "species" any more than us pink-skinned humans are a different species than black/red/yellow/brown-skinned humans.
Even if they look pretty different in shape and size and colour.

What makes a new species is losing the ability to breed true with your ancestor's species and have fertile offspring.


Actually, it is neither. Strictly speaking a new species is defined as a distinct lineage which is separate from other closely related lineages. This can be because they are infertile, because they breed at different times or places, or because one ends up isolated on an island and genetically diverges. Think of it like this. The physical ability to interbreed(eg your gametes can successfully combine) is constrained by a relatively small number of genes. If those genes are under no selection to diverge from eachother, or if they are conserved due to specific pressures keeping them in place the rest of the genome is free to evolve, but unless it gets REALLY distant, they can still breed successfully.

This is really really common among reptiles and amphibians. Toad species which have been distinct lineages for millions of years can still interbreed. Species of python, distinct from eachother since the supercontinent of Gondwana split up, can still interbreed. I know. I have seen hybrids between african pythons, and australian pythons. I have also seen hybrid toads, and hybrid turtles. Not at all difficult. It is not at all difficult to do.

Sure that both strategies are viable, my friend. But there is a trade-off. I've read papers that claim the species brain size is proportional to the amount of maternal care. That means they are smarter.


That is not a real trade off. That is just auto-correlation, there is no functional link between the two. Octopus have hundreds of thousands of offspring, but once they hatch, mom dies. Octopus are amazingly intelligent. Turtles, once you correct for their lack of speed, are better problem solvers than mice, and monitor lizards can count, which is something most birds cant do.

The only reason there is a correlation is because of a few very odd lineages of intelligent social mammal, and birds who have been doing the parental care thing since before they were birds, and evolved from intelligent predators.

Now, you can make a case for social intelligence requiring parental care. However even that does not really hold water, because an organism COULD spawn en masse and then meet up into social groups later. There is nothing at all stopping that from happening.



Like the horse and the donkey. Common ancestor, but their offspring is not fertile (the mule). So they are two different races even if they are much more similar to each other than a cihuahua is to a newfoundland (both dogs, both can interbreed with some assistence and have fertile although somewhat weird offspring).
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Re: Evolution micro debate

Postby PainRack » 2011-01-07 11:50pm

Hi. Need help again on a topic regarding Chinese words proving Noah ark and Christianity bit again. Apparently, he been reading up on some... more recent literature than the Discovery in Genesis book which started this trend.


Anyone can point me to better resources than the talkorigins archive?
Let him land on any Lyran world to taste firsthand the wrath of peace loving people thwarted by the myopic greed of a few miserly old farts- Katrina Steiner


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