Interesting Topics on Evolution

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healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Jan 4, 2013 - 07:26pm PT
On the brain size front:

Scientists breed big-brained guppies to demonstrate evolution's trade-offs
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Jan 4, 2013 - 08:46pm PT
So nerds and geeks have more children?
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Jan 4, 2013 - 08:49pm PT
BWA HA hahahaaa!!!
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
Jan 4, 2013 - 09:21pm PT
Hey Moosedrool,

I left next door to a famous biologist. He has been working with all sorts of psychoactive drugs, mainly hallucinogens. He got a big grant and had a huge number of them assayed for which receptor they hit. He knows all of the receptor sites, such as you mentioned.

He worked with hallucinogens, because with those, they generally hit one or two receptors really hard, like a spotlight. He can correlate them with behaviour and experience. So it is more or less a way to see what each receptor does. Pretty fascinating.

If you like, PM me and I will hook you up with him. He has a lot of unpublished material that he might let you read. Some of it is amazing, because all of these pschotropic legal drugs have also been assayed.

Even though the drug companies state the mechanism of action is unknown, that is not accurate. They know which receptors get hit, but they don't know why they work. Also, some drugs work with some people and others don't. You can have ten people with the same psychiatric diagnosis and sometimes this person needs this one and that person needs another. Point being, mental illness is very complicated.

Those drugs are also not to be taken lightly. It is a bad idea to go see your family doc, say you are depressed, and have him put you on a drug. Your brain will adjust to this drug and it changes the entire chemistry sometimes. When you stop the drug, you get sick.
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
Jan 4, 2013 - 09:33pm PT
BB, you posted all of this matrix stuff on another thread. I can't understand it. Why don't you get your hands dirty and talk about biology and chemistry.

The core of H.L. Menkin's social philosophy was rather simple. He believed that it is the nature of the human species to reject what is true but unpleasant, and to embrace what is obviously false but comforting.

Galileo said,

I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect, has intended for us to forego their use.

I see this in your posts, and it is really kind of sad to watch.

You post a convoluted mess describing the world in odd terms while choosing to ignore simple science that has stood up to a hundred years of scrutiny, as well as being consistent with many other theories discovered later.

Why don't you just come out and say it? It isn't like we will like you less or anything. It won't make you look any less intelligent. It just means that you are uncomfortable with things that conflict with your faith. That's fine. Dr. F is the only one that will rag on you, and this ain't his thread.
MH2

climber
Jan 4, 2013 - 10:59pm PT
So nerds and geeks have more children?


Not if you are a nerd/geek guppy. For them it's the opposite.


(Nice story, healyje)
moosedrool

Trad climber
lost, far away from Poland
Jan 5, 2013 - 12:35am PT
Hey Base, thank you for the offer. I am just a biochemist with too much time in my hands, so I read all kinds of publications. I am afraid that your friend is too much ahead of me to have a meaningful conversation.

As the evolution goes, I vote for a human-computer hybrid, then a complete transfer of a human mind into a computer. The artificial intelligence is pretty close. Of course, if we survive long enough. And I donít think that nuclear wars are the biggest threat. We have global warming, overpopulation, pandemics, depleting resources, supervolcanos, asteroids, and who knows what else to wary about. So it is very likely that most of humanity will be will be wiped out at some point. Then, it depends whether the remaining population can carry on. Maybe that is the cure for our problems?
Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
Jan 5, 2013 - 01:18am PT
BB, when you take a quote from somebody else, you should provide a citation that you are doing that, and not give the impression that those are your words.

http://www.gty.org/resources/print/sermons/90-326
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Jan 5, 2013 - 01:48am PT
God was obviously incredibly bored on the eighth day...

Rock climbing fish (go to 3:45)...

Jim Clipper

climber
from: forests to tree farms
Jan 5, 2013 - 01:57am PT
Gotcha covered for #1 and #2

Credit: Jim Clipper

now, back on topic

Tony Bird

climber
Northridge, CA
Jan 5, 2013 - 09:29am PT
bruce, we used to go to an elderly, world-traveling accountant to have our taxes done. this guy had a collection of formidable, scary-looking weapons from a certain south sea island on his wall, but he had an interesting story to go along with them.

this particular tribe, he said, when there was a dispute with the tribe next door, would arm themselves to the teeth, as would their enemy du jour. they would square off against each other, fiercely engaging in battle--to the point where someone drew first blood. then the battle was called off, and the dispute settled in favor of the blood-drawing tribe while the "victim" got patched up and everyone went home.

"now i ask you," our accountant said, "who is more civilized, them or us?"

war is essentially a ritual activity, as with every religion. healyje had a not very negative experience in the military, so he closes his eyes to this aspect of humanity, while fretting about the ridiculousness of religion and human sacrifice. as an aside, catholics "celebrate" human sacrifice every day and eat the body of their "victim". they use these very words. their sterilized ritual embodies the identical myth, if you can even call it a myth.
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Jan 6, 2013 - 08:07am PT
healyje had a not very negative experience in the military
On exactly what basis would you come to that brilliant conclusion?
eeyonkee

Trad climber
Golden, CO
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 6, 2013 - 10:13am PT
In thinking about topic one a little more, I'm basically sticking with my original answer but with a little clarification. First off, I'll bet that evolution has been slowing down in humans during the last 5,000 years ago or so. Why? Because death is the engine of natural selection and, through time, humans survival rates have increased. I think Jan hit it on the head. Most of the significant evolving right now is going on in Africa and Asia, where third world living conditions keep the "culling rate" high.

That link of McCreel's early on indicating that there are strong signs of very recent evolution is perfectly consistent with my thinking on this subject. The life expectancy and low infant mortality rates that we see now in the first world are a very recent phenomenon. To the extent that the whole world could have them, I think classical evolution would come to a near screeching halt in the human race. What would continue to happen is that our genetic diversity would continue to increase. And this is always a good thing as an insurance against future culling events.

Of course there is still sexual selection, which doesn't require death for new genes to proliferate. But even more than that, technology will alter the equation. Some technologies will undoubtedly be selection pressures thesmselves. So, yes, I believe humans will ultimately evolve significantly. But it won't be because of "classical evolution".
Tony Bird

climber
Northridge, CA
Jan 6, 2013 - 10:17am PT
healyje, seems like the last time the subject came up you had been spending your time writing press releases for the navy based on the usual prevarications from your surfer pad in hawaii, fighting off maitai-armed wahinis, no? sorry if i got the wrong impression. tell us about the gore you dipped with and i'll tell you a few war stories of my own.

yonkers, i read in arctic dreams, which i think had some pretty good scientific reporting, that the polar bear has evolved from the grizzly bear since the last ice age, over about 10,000 years. among the remarkable adaptations are its webbed feet, and hair which, even though it appears white, directs light and heat into the bear's body rather than reflecting it away. pretty sophisticated optic fiber there.

if you don't think evolution can happen fast, just look at all the breeds of canis familiaris--all members of the same "species".

if you think "natural selection" is the only important thing in evolution, you need to get a bit more sophisticated than charles darwin's 19th-century thinking. life has a built-in propensity to experiment, and it can experiment wildly and rapidly. none of the gene-splicing idiots tampering with it have the beginning of an appreciation of that.
eeyonkee

Trad climber
Golden, CO
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 6, 2013 - 10:41am PT
Tony, I'm well aware that there are two parts to evolution. The first part is all about random mutations leading to new, heritable traits. Basically, if the mutation doesn't kill you before you have a child or two, it gets into the breeding population. That's why large, long-breeding populations will have a lot of genetic diversity.

But it takes a selection pressure (or isolation of a population) to allow these new genes to proliferate over and above their competitors. It's a zero sum game, afterall with respect to each individual. The only way a whole population moves in some novel direction is through selection pressure.

By the way, you are missing the point entirely when you refer to evolution in polar bears and such. I've said nothing about not believing that evolution can be fast. My POINT is that, with humans, our civization is responsible for the slowing down of evolution. Except that we will utlimately, vastly speed it up.
Tony Bird

climber
Northridge, CA
Jan 6, 2013 - 10:48am PT
i think you've got it wrong, yonkers. the experimentation takes place in the reproductive cells themselves, not, somehow, throughout the body of an individual, then going into the reproductive cells. there are too many cells in the body of a grizzly bear for it to get the beginnings of webbed feet. as the species moves into a polar environment--or as the polar environment develops--the hunting of seals becomes something important. i don't think you know how the experimentation takes place, which is my point. the scientific fairy tale we get is that a gene gets zapped from a cosmic ray from outer space. might as well have some divinity making mudpies and breathing life into them.

this is borne out by the standard teaching i got on the subject at the university. the development of sexuality resulted in very rapid evolution because of the combinant factor. offspring became the shake of two dice, not the "daughtering" of existing individuals. the experimentation takes place in the gonads. and the fact that it seems to be so well directed ought to be a clue. how come we get grizzly bears "experimenting" with webbed feet, instead of green feathers like a quetzal? a lot of people will suggest "intelligent design," but i don't think they've got it right either. but if random cosmic rays were the "agent", we'd have a lot more green feathers on grizzly bears.
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
-A race of corn eaters
Jan 6, 2013 - 11:55am PT
TB, just curious, are you clear on the distinction and relationship between genotype and phenotype? or how about the role of repair mechanisms in replication and transcription even to the extent that these repair enzymatic performances are regulated themselves by natural selection? or how about simply gene regulation? there are whole courses in colleges now covering just this subject. Your posts suggest you are out of your league here, but maybe it's more your writing style than your experiences in the field.


Eeyonkee, nice to see you're reading Better Angels. It is a hopeful message. (Esp against such a historical backdrop of barbaric savagery.)

.....

As far as interesting evolutionary topics go, one of mine is yours and others I think - the largely unpredictable interplay between cultural evo and bio-genetic evo. Cultural evolution is such a powerful force on the species - it's created mind-blowing change to our environs, it's wed us to tech of every sort and made us dependent on it to such an overwhelming extent it's bound to steer if not careen the gene pool into brand new unprecedented territory - and pretty quickly, relatively speaking, I would think, thanks to entropy always at work - and certainly piquing my interest and concern - along some directions not a few of us, given our values, would probably judge weaker and disappointing rather than stronger and encouraging.

As a hint to this, no longer are poor eyesight or hernias being selected against, let alone conditions like autism. No longer are the slow or lazy being selected against. No longer are cheaters or freeloaders being selected against. Seems to me if these characteristics ever are selected against again esp to the extent they were in the past (leading to robustness), it's going to have to wait another (less environmentally friendly) era or epoch. It's quite a predicament. About all I'm confident about in this regard is that in the end, or rather, at the end of each of the cyclic eras or epochs to come, one way or another it sorts out.

On the hopeful side, our cultural evolution has led to a vast amount of knowledge about ourselves in the universe (which hopefully intelligent beings, communities and such far in the future will be able to employ); also to a vast amount of different kinds of freedoms as well as abilities esp for the current generations and also us climbers. :)

.....

Lately, I've been contemplating / cultivating an alternative lifeskill as part of living-in-the-now strategy: the ability to not dwell on things in the abysmal depths of evolutionary theory, evolutionary psych or even general thought - esp those that point to unresolvable life predicaments (just as a long long time ago I learned it was an ability, a lifeskill, to not dwell on our death or our mortality) -In the interest of continued health and wellbeing.

Or maybe I'm just getting old. :)


An "allelic" expression...
"Evolutionary output is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose."
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
-A race of corn eaters
Jan 6, 2013 - 12:06pm PT
gene-splicing idiots... the scientific fairy tale we get is that a gene gets zapped from a cosmic ray.... we get grizzly bears "experimenting" with webbed feet, instead of green feathers like a quetzal?

It seems to me if life experience in science education were more like life experience in climbing with respect to a show of skills being readily observable where the rubber meets the rock (for better or worse, at the risk of reputation if not life) all the talk - the talking it up- wouldn't be so unreserved.

.....

if you think "natural selection" is the only important thing in evolution, you need to get a bit more sophisticated than charles darwin's 19th-century thinking

It's the only "important" (EDIT: push or pressure or) creative force identified that leads to an accumulated buildup of complex functionality in living systems that yields ongoing (EDIT: adaptation) adaptability. This isn't just the claim of 19th century, it's the modern claim of the 21st century as well as taught in modern evolution courses in all the world's top colleges and universities.
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Jan 8, 2013 - 04:38am PT
Kepler survey analysis pegs an extrapolated number of earth-size planets in the Milkyway at '17 billion'. About twenty percent of galaxies are large spirals like the Milkyway which would be about 100 billion of such galaxies. Do the math of 17bn * 100bn and you get like 1.7 sextillion.

From that you can pick some percentage you think might be in hospitable galaxies, in a star's habitable zone and have water, that have life, and then intelligent life. Even if you came up with one form of intelligent life per galaxy that's still a lot. The problem is that's still a ridiculously sparse distribution of intelligent life - far too sparse for there to ever have been, or for there ever to be, contact between them or UFOs here.

Even if you decided there were a million planets with intelligent life in the Milkyway, at a 100 lightyears across (light year = 6 trillion miles), those are still unbelievable distances such that for there to be any contact you'd be talking time travel or some other real trick up your sleeve to accomplish it. That makes the idea of even a single UFO contact outlandishly implausible, let alone the idea of Earth as a regular 'hub' for alien visits the UFO crowd would have you believe.
Borut

Mountain climber
Ljubljana, Slovenia
Jan 8, 2013 - 06:02am PT
I like the idea that birds are dinosaurs
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