Saturday, August 20, 2005

Evolution Defined

The Tree of Life, a.k.a. the nested hierarchy of common descent "Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution." — Theodosius Dobzhansky

Darwin's original Theory of Evolution has been constantly refined in the light of new knowledge. That's how science works! However, the basic concepts of variation, natural selection and common descent are very strongly explanative concerning the millions of data points across multiple fields of study, including biology, paleontology, chemistry, and even geology.

Archaeopteryx retained many dinosaurian characters which are not found in modern birds, whilst having certain characters found in birds but not in dinosaurs.
Evolution is the observed change in allele frequencies in populations over time. The Theory of Evolution explains the mechanisms of evolution, including mutation, variation, natural selection, sexual selection, genetic drift, speciation, hybridization, contingency, common descent, etc. The primary areas of evidence are as follows:

* The nested hierarchy of extant life.
* The nested hierarchy in time of extinct life.
* The nested hierarchy of embryonic development.
* The nested hierarchy of biochemistry.
* The nested hierarchy of biogeography.
* The discovery that heredity is chemistry (Watson & Crick, 1953).
* Observation of genetic mutation.
* Observation of natural and artificial selection and their effects.
* Observation of genetic drift and fixation.
* Observation of speciation in the wild and in the lab.
* Observation of hybridization in the wild and in the lab.
* The recently discovered nested hierarchy of genomes (including endogenous retroviruses and pseudo-genes).
* Direct manipulation of the genomes.

The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) is an honorific society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific research.
NATIONAL ACADEMY of SCIENCES: "The theory of evolution has become the central unifying concept of biology and is a critical component of many related scientific disciplines. In contrast, the claims of creation science lack empirical support and cannot be meaningfully tested."



At 8/28/2005 3:10 PM , Blogger Zachriel said...

Intelligent Design is not merely wrong, but is patently untrue. It claims a scientific basis where none exists. Indeed, a valid scientific statement of Intelligent Design does not exist, but bits-and-pieces of various pseudo-sciences are strung together willy-nilly.

At 8/28/2005 3:14 PM , Blogger Zachriel said...

Project Steve is a tongue-in-cheek parody of a long-standing creationist tradition of amassing lists of “scientists who doubt evolution” or “scientists who dissent from Darwinism… Project Steve mocks this practice with a bit of humor, and because “Steves” are only about 1% of scientists, it incidentally makes the point that tens of thousands of scientists support evolution. And it honors the late Stephen Jay Gould, NCSE supporter and friend.

Not only Steves, but also Stephens, Stevens, Stephanies, Stefans, Etiennes, Estebans, and so forth.

At 8/28/2005 3:17 PM , Blogger Zachriel said...

There is no complete theory of abiogenesis. The general hypothesis is that chemicals can form primitive replicators.

Abiogenesis is not a component of the Theory of Evolution, or Germ Theory for that matter. The first life form on Earth may have been a lucky accident, a natural property of carbon and liquid water, a unique circumstance, seeded by comets, or even a Divine Miracle. The Theory of Evolution concerns the diversification of life, not its origin. However, it is known that life did not always exist on Earth, but that once it began, it diversified into a variety of forms.

So, you can hide God in a Gap of human knowledge. Concerning abiogenesis, the Gap should hold for a few more years, at least. But why you would want to hide God in ever-shrinking scientific ignorance is beyond me. Seems like a rather small god.

At 8/28/2005 3:27 PM , Blogger Zachriel said...

Genetics is the study of heredity. The Journal of Genetics is one of the most important peer-reviewed scientific journals in the study of heredity.

* Journal of Genetics for “evolution", 14900 articles.
* Journal of Genetics for “intelligent design", 0 articles

Nature is one of the most important peer-reviewed scientific journals in the study of nature.

* The journal Nature on “evolution", 190000 articles
* The journal Nature on “Intelligent Design", 85 articles (the majority if not all having to do with the politics of Intelligent Design and the political pressure being exerted on public schools).

And so on. There is real work in biology being done within the context of evolution. There is no work being done within the context of Intelligent Design.

At 8/28/2005 3:42 PM , Blogger Zachriel said...

Some sample titles from recent scientific literature:

* Adaptive Evolution of the T-Cell and Natural Killer Cell-Surface
* Chromosomes Consist of Retroelements and Tandemly Repeated DNA and Are Structurally and Evolutionarily Labile
* On the Evolutionary Stability of Mendelian Segregation
* Evolutionary Capacitance May Be Favored by Natural Selection
* The Rate of Compensatory Mutation in the DNA Bacteriophage X174
* Epistasis and the Adaptability of an RNA Virus
* Repeat-Induced Point Mutation and the Population Structure of Transposable Elements in Microbotryum violaceum

* Fossil Horses–Evidence for Evolution
* Parallel Evolution Is in the Genes
* Molecular Evolution of Influenza
* Independent Origins and Rapid Evolution of the Placenta in the Fish Genus Poeciliopsis
* Concerted Evolution in an Egg Receptor for a Rapidly Evolving Abalone Sperm Protein
* Dynamics of Mammalian Chromosome Evolution Inferred from Multispecies Comparative Maps
* Behavioral Evolution: Mutual Benefits at All Levels of Life

* Towards the evolution of ribozymes
* Anthropology: Improved timing of hominoid evolution with a DNA clock
* Evolution and fisheries
* Evolution and environment in the Hominoidea
* Molecular evolution meets the genomics revolution
* Phylogenomics and the reconstruction of the tree of life
* More on anthropoid origins

* Structural Elements, Mechanism, and Evolutionary Convergence of Rho Protein-Guanine Nucleotide Exchange Factor Complexes
* Evolution of Photosynthesis: Time-Independent Structure of the Cytochrome b6f Complex
* Decrease in Protein Solubility and Cataract Formation Caused by the Pro23 to Thr Mutation in Human D-Crystallin
* Ecology, Genetics, and Evolution of Metapopulations
* The Evolution of Chemical Synthesis

* Selective calcareous nannoplankton survivorship at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary
* Extinction of a fast-growing oyster and changing ocean circulation in Pliocene tropical America
* Dining in the Pleistocene—Who’s on the menu

At 5/19/2007 12:45 PM , Blogger Thought Provoker said...

I notice you are posting to Telic Thoughts a lot. I hope you continue to do so. I think it adds some balance and intelligence to the consideration of "Intelligent Design".


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