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What is meant by 'individuals do not evolve, populations do'?


My university professor stated that "individuals do not evolve, populations do". But aren't populations made up of individuals? That's like saying when a compound changes in stability, none of the elements' properties change. If someone could clear this up, that would be great.


The statementindividuals do not evolve, populations dois rooted in the (classical population genetic) definition of evolution. Here is this definition:

Evolution is a change of allele frequency through time in a population

Evolution is defined for a population, it is not defined for an individual. And it makes intuitive sense once you get more used to how evolution works. For example, the so-called fundamental principle of natural selection states that at any given time, the rate of increase in the population mean fitness is exactly equal to the variance in fitness.

Indeed, evolution is all about phenotypic and genetic variance (for fitness or other phenotypic traits) and without a population to observe, there is no variance. It is within this framework that people sayindividuals do not evolve, populations dobut you are correct that as populations evolve its constituents (the individuals) changes. The sentence has the advantage to reinforce the concept that evolution happens at the level of the population.


Evolution itself is a term that describes populations changing over time.

As Remi.b pointed out, if you take evolution to be genetic changes in a population over time, then it doesn't make sense for an individual to evolve. Evolution can only occur as genetic changes are inherited from parents to their offspring.

A given individual in a population can be subject to natural selection, but the individual itself cannot 'evolve' in the biological sense of the word. They can only contribute to the evolution of a population by affecting the allele frequencies in that population.

As an analogy,

The evolution of a population can be thought of as a motion picture of that population.

At any given moment, the genetic structure of a population can be thought of as a screenshot, and one person (or organism) can be thought of as a pixel.

Evolution is like watching a video of a population change through time.

So you might say:

"pixels do not play, videos do".


Evolution is about children differing from their parents. You are not identical to your parents.

  • Your cells' DNA does change (a little, through new random mutations from time to time, most of it being repaired but not always correctly), but incoherently through cells, and these mutations are not transmissible if they are not happening in your gametes (sex cells).
  • Non-lethal changes in your gametes are transmitted. Besides, errors in chromosome duplication is a way more efficient and fast way of evolving (mixing sentences makes sense more easily than mixing letters).

What are Random and Non-Random Mating?

He Random mating Is one that happens when individuals choose the companions they want for mating. Non-random mating is one that occurs with individuals who have a closer relationship.

Non-random mating causes a non-random distribution of alleles in an individual. If there are two alleles (A and a) in an individual with frequencies p and q, the frequency of the three possible genotypes (AA, Aa and aa) will be p 2, 2pq and q 2, respectively. This is known as the Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium.

The Hardy-Weinberg principle states that there are no significant changes in large populations of individuals, demonstrating genetic stability.

It predicts what is expected when a population does not evolve and why dominant genotypes are not always more common than recessive.

For the Hardy-Weinberg principle to happen, random mating needs to occur. In this way every individual has the possibility to mate. This possibility is proportional to the frequencies found in the population.

In the same way, mutations can not occur so that the allelic frequencies do not change. It is also necessary that the population is large in size and isolated. And for this phenomenon to occur, it is necessary that there is no natural selection

In a population that is in equilibrium, mating must be randomized. In non-random mating, individuals tend to choose companions more like themselves. Although this does not alter allelic frequencies, less heterozygous individuals are produced than in random mating.

In order to cause a deviation from the Hardy-Weinberg distribution, the mating of the species must be selective. If you look at the example of humans, mating is selective but focusing on a breed, since there is more likely to mating with someone closer.

If mating is not random, new generations of individuals will have fewer heterozygotes than other breeds than if they maintained random mating.

So we can deduce that if new generations of individuals of a species have less heterozygotes in their DNA, it may be because it is a species that uses selective mating.

Most organisms have a limited dispersal capacity, so they will choose their partner from the local population. In many populations, mating with nearby members is more common than with more distant members of the population.

That's why neighbors tend to be more related. Mating with individuals of genetic similarities is known as inbreeding.

Homozygosity increases with each next generation of inbreeding. This happens in population groups such as plants where in many cases self-fertilization occurs.

Endogamy is not always harmful, but there are cases that in some populations can lead to an inbreeding depression, where the individuals have less aptitude than the non-inbreeding.

But in non-random mating, the partner with which to procreate for its phenotype is chosen. This causes phenotypic frequencies to change and causes populations to evolve.


What is a Species

Species is a taxonomic level of organisms, ranking below a genus. It consists of similar individuals who can interbreed with each other. A species comprises the biggest possible gene pool. The application of the definition of species is difficult for organisms who mainly reproduce asexually as well as for most plants and animals who form hybrids. In addition, the boundaries of the ring species are difficult to distinguish. Therefore, other parameters such as DNA, ecological niche, and morphology are used to identify a species.

Figure 1: Gasteria species

Species are scientifically named by a binomial name the first part of it is the genus to which the organism belongs to and the second part is the specific name. For example, humans are scientifically named as Homo sapiens Homo is the genus to which humans belong to, and sapiens is the specific name of humans. The origination of species by natural selection is described by Charles Darwin in 1859. Genes can be transferred between species by horizontal gene transfer. Several Gasteria species are shown in figure 1.


Also called functionalism.

The Darwinian view that many or most physiological and behavioral traits of organisms are adaptations that have evolved for specific functions or for specific reasons (as opposed to being byproducts of the evolution of other traits, consequences of biological constraints , or the result of random variation). The simultaneous or near-simultaneous evolutionary divergence of multiple members of a single phylogenetic lineage into a variety of different forms with different adaptations , especially a diversification in the use of resources or habitats. [1] A species that does not reproduce sexually but rather by cloning. [2] Agamospecies are sometimes represented by species complexes that contain some diploid individuals and other apomictic forms—in particular, plant species that can reproduce via agamospermy. [3] The isolation of two populations of a species due to a change in breeding periods. This isolation acts as a precursor to allochronic speciation, a type of speciation which results when two populations of a species become isolated due to differences in reproductive timing. An example is the periodical 13- and 17-year Magicicada species. [3] A mode of speciation where divergence occurs in allopatry and is completed upon secondary contact of the populations--effectively a form of reinforcement. [4] [3] The comparative study of the relationship between the size of an organism's body (or of a specific organ, e.g. the brain) and various other biological characteristics, such as body shape, anatomy, physiology, or behavior.

Also called geographic speciation, vicariance, vicariant speciation, and dichopatric speciation.

A mode of speciation where the evolution of reproductive isolation is caused by the geographic separation of two or more populations of a single species. [5] Specific species that are allopatrically distributed. The phenomenon by which two or more populations of a single species exist in geographic isolation from one another. A polyploid cell or organism in which the several sets of chromosomes originate from more than one species , as in an intraspecific hybrid . [1] A mode of speciation where divergence occurs in allopatry and is completed upon secondary contact of the populations–effectively a form of reinforcement . [6] [3] Evolutionary change that occurs within a species lineage as opposed to lineage splitting ( cladogenesis ). [7]

Also called an ancestral character, primitive character, or primitive trait.

For a given clade , any trait or feature (e.g. a specific phenotype ) that appears in the clade's common ancestor the same trait may also appear in some or all of the lineal descendants included within the clade, indicating that it has undergone little or no significant change during the clade's evolutionary history and thus retained its "primitive" condition. Some but not all subgroups within the clade may contain derived traits , in which the ancestral trait has changed significantly over evolutionary time such that the original ancestral condition no longer exists. Both terms are relative: an ancestral trait for one clade may be a derived trait for a different clade. The term "ancestral trait" is often used interchangeably with the more technical term plesiomorphy .

Also called positive assortative mating and homogamy.

A mating system in which individuals with similar phenotypes mate with each other more frequently than would be expected in a completely random mating system. Assortative mating usually has the effect of increasing genetic relatedness between members of the mating population. Contrast disassortative mating .

Also simply called the Dobzhansky–Muller model.

An evolutionary model of the genetic incompatibility that occurs as a result of negative epistatic interactions between two or more genes or alleles with different evolutionary histories, which may meet when distinct populations hybridize . The incompatible genes or alleles themselves, referred to as Dobzhansky–Muller incompatibilities, may be the result of random or neutral mutations, or they may be specific adaptations driven by natural selection . By preventing populations from successfully interbreeding, these incompatibilities can reinforce reproductive isolation and thereby increase the chance of speciation . The scientific study of the spatial distributions of biological organisms, populations, and species. It includes the study of both extinct and extant organisms. [8] See population bottleneck .

Also called a monophyletic group.

A phylogenetic grouping of organisms that consists of a single common ancestor and all of its lineal descendants , and which by definition is monophyletic . The common ancestor may be an individual organism, a population , a species , or any other taxon any and all members of a clade may be extant or extinct . Clades can be visualized with cladograms and are the basis of cladistics . An approach to biological classification in which organisms are grouped in clades defined by shared ancestry hypothesized relationships between organisms are typically based on shared derived characters which can be traced to the most recent common ancestor and are not present in more distant ancestors or unrelated groups. The splitting of a single species lineage within a phylogeny into multiple lineages. [7] A measurable spatial gradient in a single biological character or trait of a species or population across its geographic range. The nature of a cline may be genotypic (e.g. variation in allele frequency ) or phenotypic (e.g. variation in body size or pigmentation), and may show smooth, continuous gradation or abrupt changes between different geographic regions. The process by which two or more distinct populations , species , or other groups of organisms, or two or more distinct traits within a species, reciprocally affect each other's evolution through natural selection . Each party in a coevolutionary relationship exerts selective pressures upon the other, leading to the evolution of separate traits in each party. The spread of a population to a new area. An organism or taxon (e.g. a species ) which is hypothesized to be the lineal progenitor of two or more organisms or taxa which exist at a later point in evolutionary time. The concept of common descent is fundamental to the study of evolution , phylogenetics , and cladistics for instance, all clades , by definition, are rooted in a common ancestor. See also most recent common ancestor . A type of speciation in which more than two species speciate concurrently due to their ecological associations (e.g. host-parasite interactions). [10]

Also called Darwinian theory or Darwinian evolution.

The understanding of biological evolution as developed by the English naturalist Charles Darwin and others, which states that all biological organisms arise and develop through the natural selection of small, inherited variations that increase the individual's ability to compete, survive, and reproduce. Colloquially, the term is sometimes used to refer more broadly to modern evolutionary theory as a whole, though in scientific circles distinctions are usually made between Darwin's ideas and later additions to evolutionary biology.

Also called a derived character, advanced character, or advanced trait.

For a given clade , any trait or feature (e.g. a specific phenotype ) that is present within one or more subgroups of the clade but not in the clade's common ancestor . Derived traits show significant differences from the original "primitive" condition of an ancestral trait found in the common ancestor, implying that the trait has undergone extensive adaptation during the clade's evolutionary history to reach its derivative condition. Both terms are relative: a derived trait for one clade may be an ancestral trait for a different clade. The term "derived trait" is often used interchangeably with the more technical term apomorphy .

Also called negative assortative mating and heterogamy.

A mating system in which individuals with dissimilar phenotypes mate with each other more frequently than would be expected in a completely random mating system. Disassortative mating usually has the effect of decreasing genetic relatedness between members of the mating population. Contrast assortative mating .

Also called diversifying selection.

The process by which any phenotypic or genotypic distinction emerges between two different populations or evolutionary lineages . Divergence may occur by any of a variety of mechanisms but is often especially noticeable after the two lineages have been reproductively isolated for many generations. [7] See Bateson–Dobzhansky–Muller model .

Also called allelic drift or the Sewall Wright effect.

A change in the frequency with which an existing allele occurs in a population due to random variation in the distribution of alleles from one generation to the next. It is often interpreted as the role that random chance plays in determining whether a given allele becomes more or less common with each generation, irrespective of the influence of natural selection . Genetic drift may cause certain alleles, even otherwise advantageous ones, to disappear completely from the gene pool , thereby reducing genetic variation , or it may cause initially rare alleles, even neutral or deleterious ones, to become much more frequent or even fixed . Any reduction in the mean fitness of a population owing to the existence of one or more genotypes with lower fitness than that of the most fit genotype. [1] The genetic differences both within and between populations , species , or other groups of organisms. It is often visualized as the variety of different alleles in the gene pools of different populations. A type of natural selection that occurs at the level of individual genes or alleles, in which the frequency of an allele within a breeding population is determined by its fitness averaged over the variety of genotypes in which it occurs the differential propagation of different alleles within a population as a consequence of properties borne by the alleles themselves, rather than by the genotypes in which they are found. [1] Continuous evolutionary change within a species lineage. [7] See also phyletic gradualism .


Largest brain cavities

The largest brain cavities came from Scandinavia, while the smallest were from Micronesia.

Eiluned Pearce said: "Both the amount of light hitting the Earth's surface and winter day-lengths get shorter as you go further north or south from the equator.

"We found that as light levels decrease, humans are getting bigger eye sockets, which suggests that their eyeballs are getting bigger.

"They are also getting bigger brains, because we found this increase in cranial capacity as well.

"In the paper, we argue that having bigger brains doesn't mean that high-latitude humans are necessarily smarter. It's just they need bigger eyes and brains to be able to see well where they live."

The work indicates that humans are subject to the same evolutionary trends that give relatively large eyes to birds that sing first during the dawn chorus, or species such as owls that forage at night.

Co author Prof Robin Dunbar said: "Humans have only lived at high latitudes in Europe and Asia for a few tens of thousands of years, yet they seem to have adapted their visual systems surprisingly rapidly to the cloudy skies, dull weather and long winters we experience at these latitudes."

The team took into account the overall body size of each individual by measuring the foramen magnum - the hole in the base of the skull that attaches to the spinal column.

They also controlled for the possibility that the larger eye sockets were needed for extra fat around the eyeball to insulate them from freezing temperatures.

The team intends to do more work on establishing a firm link between eyeball size and enhanced visual processing areas in the brain, and to replicate the link found in the 55 original skulls with further study on specimens from other museums.


Abstract

Population health is a relatively new term that has not yet been precisely defined. Is it a concept of health or a field of study of health determinants?

We propose that the definition be “the health outcomes of a group of individuals, including the distribution of such outcomes within the group,” and we argue that the field of population health includes health outcomes, patterns of health determinants, and policies and interventions that link these two.

We present a rationale for this definition and note its differentiation from public health, health promotion, and social epidemiology. We invite critiques and discussion that may lead to some consensus on this emerging concept.

ALTHOUGH THE TERM “population health” has been much more commonly used in Canada than in the United States, a precise definition has not been agreed upon even in Canada, where the concept it denotes has gained some prominence. Probably the most influential contribution to the development of the population health approach is Evans, Barer, and Marmor’s Why Are Some People Healthy and Others Not? The Determinants of Health of Populations,1 which grew out of the work of the Population Health Program of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research. No concise definition of the term appears in this volume, although its authors state the concept’s “linking thread [to be] the common focus on trying to understand the determinants of health of populations.𠇑(p29)

The idea that population health is a field of study or a research approach focused on determinants seems to have evolved from this work. Early discussions at the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research also considered the definition and measurement of health and the processes of health policymaking, but the dominant emphasis evolved to the determinants themselves, particularly the nonmedical determinants. John Frank, the scientific director of the recently created Canadian Institute of Population and Public Health, has similarly called population health 𠇊 newer research strategy for understanding the health of populations.𠇒 T. K. Young’s recent book Population Health also tends in this direction he states that in Canada and the United Kingdom in the 1990s, the term has taken on the connotation of a 𠇌onceptual framework for thinking about why some populations are healthier than others as well as the policy development, research agenda, and resource allocation that flow from this framework.𠇓(p4)

However, Young also indicates that in the past, the term has been used as a “less cumbersome substitute for the health of populations,” which is of course its literal meaning. Evans and Stoddart, while supporting an emphasis on “understanding of the determinants of population health,” have also stated, however, that 𠇍ifferent concepts [of health] are neither right or wrong, they simply have different purposes and applications. . . . [W]hatever the level of definition of health being employed, however, it is important to distinguish this from the question of the determinants of that definition of health.𠇑(p28) The Health Promotion and Programs Branch of Health Canada has recently stated that “the overall goal of a population health approach is to maintain and improve the health of the entire population and to reduce inequalities in health between population groups.𠇔(p1) They indicate that one guiding principle of a population health approach is 𠇊n increased focus on health outcomes (as opposed to inputs, processes, and products) and on determining the degree of change that can actually be attributed to our work.” (p11)

Dunn and Hayes, quoting the definition of the Canadian Federal/Provincial/Territorial Advisory Committee on Population Health, write that “population health refers to the health of a population as measured by health status indicators and as influenced by social, economic, and physical environments, personal health practices, individual capacity and coping skills, human biology, early childhood development, and health services. As an approach, population health focuses on interrelated conditions and factors that influence the health of populations over the life course, identifies systematic variations in their patterns of occurrence, and applies the resulting knowledge to develop and implement policies and actions to improve the health and well being of those populations.𠇕(p57) Kindig has suggested a similarly broad definition: population health is “the aggregate health outcome of health adjusted life expectancy (quantity and quality) of a group of individuals, in an economic framework that balances the relative marginal returns from the multiple determinants of health.𠇖(p47) This definition proposes a specific unit of measure of population health and also includes consideration of the relative cost-effectiveness of resource allocation to multiple determinants.

Recently, even in the United States, the term is being more widely used, but often without clarification of its meaning and definition. While this development might be seen as a useful movement in a new and positive direction, increased use without precision of meaning could threaten to render the term more confusing than helpful, as may already be the case with 𠇌ommunity health” or “quality of medical care.” For this reason, we propose a definition that may have a more precise meaning for policymakers and academics alike our purpose is to stimulate active critiques and debate that may lead to further clarification and uniformity of use.


Evolution, religion, and why it’s not just about lack of scientific reasoning ability

Despite overwhelming evidence for evolution, many people still choose to reject it as an explanation for how humans and other organisms evolved and developed. This attitude seems to be especially common amongst religious people. But why is that, and what can we do to reconcile these two opposing worldviews? A new study published in Evolution: Education and Outreach tries to explain.

Why reject evolution?

Humans have long wondered and debated the scientific and theological explanations for our world and the life upon it. Scriptural accounts describe the creation as a series of events by a creator resulting in earth’s current diversity (including humans), whereas, science suggests descent with modification from a common ancestor over long periods of time (evolution), resulting in the vast diversity we see today (again, including humans).

Despite overwhelming evidence for evolution, a large portion of the US (and the world) continues to reject the theory. The question becomes why, in the face of so much convincing evidence, do people still not accept evolution as a process that occurs to shape the existence of life on this planet?

Hypotheses about causes of rejection

The second deficit model based hypothesis is that people reject evolution because they lack scientific reasoning ability. This hypothesis is the basis of our current study.

The research literature demonstrates that religion is a major barrier to the acceptance of the theory of evolution. What is it exactly about ‘religious’ individuals that causes rejection of scientific evidence?

Two prominent hypotheses stem from a ‘deficit model’. The first supports the idea that a deficiency of knowledge is to blame for rejecting evolution and that people reject evolution out of simple ignorance of the facts, the evidence, and the mechanisms. However, the literature demonstrates that in most cases, a simple education in the facts is not enough to change people’s minds.

The second deficit model based hypothesis is that people reject evolution because they lack scientific reasoning ability. This hypothesis is the basis of our current study. If true it presents a pedagogical impediment because the challenge becomes more than just teaching students the facts, but teaching them scientific reasoning skills (a much harder feat, according to research).

Our Study

To test for a relationship between underlying scientific reasoning ability and acceptance of evolution, we specifically targeted religious individuals based on the fact that religion seems to be the underlying deterrent to evolution acceptance. Participants were asked to respond to a survey to rate their religiosity, complete a measure of their scientific reasoning ability, and to respond with their degree of agreement with various creationist and evolutionary statements.

We produced a model of the relationships between these factors where we hypothesized that scientific reasoning ability would predict both religiosity and agreement or disagreement with evolutionary statements. We were intrigued (yet not surprised) that there appears to be no relationship between the scientific reasoning ability of religious people and their acceptance of evolution. Nor was there a relationship between scientific reasoning ability and religiosity among our study group. Not surprising, however, is that religiosity is a negative predictor of the acceptance of evolution (a finding that has been thoroughly verified in the literature).

What does the data mean?

There is not a deficit in an underlying ability to reason that causes religious people to reject evolution. Our data clearly shows that individuals can be highly adept at scientific reasoning and still reject evolution (most likely on religious grounds). Our data also shows that one can be severely lacking in scientific reasoning ability and still accept evolution. It appears from this study that worldview (or religion), not intelligence, is the main driver of this decision.

What does this mean for education?

Our data clearly shows that individuals can be highly adept at scientific reasoning and still reject evolution (most likely on religious grounds).

In a recent editorial in Science Magazine, Dr. Katherine Hayhoe discusses an eerily similar dilemma in the realm of public acceptance of Climate Change. She argues that most scientists assume that providing more data to individuals will change their minds but research is showing this doesn’t work! Why? Because it has “much more to do with identity and ideology than data and facts”. This parallels what we are finding in evolution education. Data and facts are not enough. It is a worldview issue.

A likely solution is to offer students pathways that allow them to maintain their worldview while accepting the scientific facts. In our current research, we propose the use of a ‘Reconciliatory Model Approach’, one in which students are encouraged to find a bridge between the science and their religious beliefs. And this approach, at least preliminarily, appears to be working. The goal is to still cover the facts and encourage sound scientific reasoning, but approach it with a goal of reconciliation rather than assuming a deficit model and suggesting that their lack of acceptance is due to ignorance.

Why is it important?

Our goal is to show that scientific reasoning ability is not predictive of evolution acceptance among religious individuals and that science and religion do not have to be mutually exclusive, as they are so often portrayed to be. We hope to expand our efforts to include a religious as well as other religious denominations to continue to investigate the barriers to evolution acceptance with the end-goal being to create pedagogical implementations that successfully teach evolution such that the public is more educated and accepting of the foundational theory of biology, a theory that has profound implications for human health, conservation, and the preservation of our biodiversity.

Liked the blog? Now read the research:

Scientific reasoning ability does not predict scientific views on evolution among religious individuals

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13 Comments

“But why is that, and what can we do to reconcile these two opposing worldviews?” Probably because ‘religious’ thought most often begins with the idea that ‘we’ arre made in the ‘image and likeness’ of a creator God. Even though the I&L remains undefinable. And as the religious project ideas of morality and spiritiuality onto that I&L and thus themselves, it sits badly with assumptions and observations of human nature that come with evolutionary theory. Being made in the I&L of a creator God is a comforting thought. But probably a self deception because it’s easier to hold to that idea than confront the unholy truth of human nature itself.

It’s good you did the study to confirm, but this should not be a surprise. Your implicit postulate was wrong. Humans are not rational animals. There’s tons of research on this. See Kahneman & Tversky, Leonard Mlodinow, Antonio Damasio, V.S. Ramachandran, Timothy Wilson @ UoVirginia, Dan Ariely for popular accounts. There’s plenty more. It doesn’t matter if subjects are liberal or conservative, religious or not (as you point out). Decision-making and thinking is derives from cognitive biases, which, once set, are held onto tenaciously. Most people who accept evolution don’t understand it very well. Their adherence to scientific ideas isn’t generally based on empirical understanding, but is rather the fortunate bias towards science (good for us!). Well, maybe just a little bit of rationality…

Evolution and fundamentalist religion are incompatible. Evolution says that humans are not a special creation of God but evolved from simpler forms of life and are just part of the animal kingdom. Fundamentalist believers cannot accept this because it would destroy their whole world view. Life would be nothing for them. Reason and evidence and education have no effect on them.

I’d also suggest the 2 meanings of “Theory” causes confusion as most people do not understand the scientific meaning.

Nice article, but, as a writing teacher, I would have failed your last sentence. It is a disaster of prepositional phrases. This makes your conclusions unclear. If you wish to reach a larger audience effectively, I suggest revision of this sentence. Good luck, Jane

science and religion must be contradictive in the matter of evolution, namely because of a controversial soul that can not be evolving. Evolutionary theory proves its non-existence, and thus breaks the source of livelihood for the churches, and the possibility of its rule over the people doctrines the afterlife. By the way, Jesus did not acknowledge Plato’s concept of the immaterial soul and only proclaimed the bodily resurrection

It absolutely has to do with identity and ideology. The scientific establishment initially approached evolution as a refutation of religious views and was therefore regarded by many to be based less on fact than antagonism toward religion. It has taken many years to undo the damage so that people can see beyond the fact that many scientists are hostile toward religion and evaluate the evidence for themselves. In the same way, Climate Change has been paraded in front of the public in the guise of sweeping changes to taxation and heavy modification of lifestyle choices without a strong rationale for their positive impact. . Instead the approach should be on mitigation of risks associated with Climate Change such as discouraging settlement in coastal areas and shoring up threatened areas. The mantra that there is a consensus of support for this view from the very people most likely to benefit from sweeping changes makes he argument less than persuasive.

Many people are surely SMART enough to, upon accepting evolution – it’s mindless and un-directed (godless) implications and other worldview-altering, science-given realizations (as our insignificant position on a spect of cosmic dust in an unimaginably vast universe) wind up at a terminus of non-belief or atheism. However, it seems to me that, in order to make the leap to such a terminus, most people are just not BRAVE enough.

“Despite overwhelming evidence for evolution”

I guess we get to play the dishonest Darwinian game of semantics…. Before we continue… YOU need to clarify what you mean SPECIFICALLY when you use the duplicitous and purposely vague term “Evolution”.. DO YOU MEAN.. Variation, Adaptation, Speciation or ….De-volution. i.e. ..Finches beaks, Cave fish going blind, Moth colors, Weak bacteria lacking enzymes targeted by antibiotics, Dog ears, Mutated fruit flies with 2 WORTHLESS extra wings, Bear coats, Dog Ears and Squirrel tails? OR DO YOU MEAN Slow Microbe to Microbiologist (UCA for all flora and fauna) You will be required to put your cards on the table here in this classroom.

YOU HAVE NO EVIDENCE.. YOU HAVE ONLY WISHFUL SPECULATION, UNVERIFIED HYPOTHESIS, HOPEFUL GUESSES AND JUST SO STORIES… IF YOU THINK I AM WRONG, JUST TRY POSTING SOME OF THIS SO CALLED “EVIDENCE” FOR UCA FOR ALL FLORA AND FAUNA (TOE) AND SEE WHAT HAPPENS TO IT… WHAT HAVE YOU GOT TO WORRY ABOUT? YOU SHOULD HAVE NO TROUBLE PROVIDING EMPIRICAL SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT SLOW MICROBE TO MICROBIOLOGIST EVOLUTION OVER 𔄛 BILLION YEARS””

What is the “overwhelming evidence” for evolution? Googled: “A scientific theory is an explanation of an aspect of the natural world that can be repeatedly tested and verified in accordance with the scientific method, using accepted protocols of observation, measurement, and evaluation of results.” The evidence is that there are varieties of life today… and then there are fossils. Setting aside DNA for now as the estimated half life for DNA (which is not a constant) is approx 521 yrs, so very likely there is no reliable DNA connections that can be made from fossils (further, DNA similarity in living creatures today does not automatically equate to an evolutionary relationship–it just means similar coding for similar function… sorry if your PhD taught you otherwise). What’s left is primarily a study of the geologic column and morphology of the fossils themselves. Fossils form by rapid burial and are, at best, an approximation of the location of the plant/animal at the time it was buried. This gives little assurance though as to the time of death, and less assurance still as to the time the creature (and other creatures like it) lived–it may have existed for a long time until later one was buried rapidly and fossilized. Morphology is a bit of a guessing game as most fossils are incomplete, and when multiple fossils of the same animal can be brought together to get a complete skeletal structure, that’s what you have… a skeleton (ta-da). This will give a general sense of the size, structure and mass of a creature but nobody knows how it really looked, behaved, etc… this is done by analogy, by inferences, by likening the fossil to the skeletal structure of living creatures today. By it’s nature then, this process is going to lead to assumptions and making connections between life forms alive today and those that are now extinct, but in reality (going back to scientific theory), no real measurable, repeatable, observable connection has actually been made. Moving past fossils, let’s look at the present – evolution can be said to be occurring here in the present and we see variability in life today (think of all the variations of canines, for example). That is true, observable, measurable, and repeatable, right? Yes, and that is good (real) science. Unfortunately, all varieties of canines are still canines (we don’t, for example, see them developing feathers, or flukes and flippers… nothing significant leading to the kinds of major evolutionary changes that Darwinian evolution relies upon). In fact, every experiment (think of Darwin’s finches of the Galapagos, or the long-term experiment of E.Coli) only supports minor variations – the finches adapted to the environment with varying beak sizes and the E.Coli was able to survive on citrate… but the finches remain finches and E.Coli remains E.Coli–natural selection and random mutation only carry organisms so far. From what is observable, conducting real scientific study here in the present, is that there is no tree of life, there are more like “bushes of life”. Going back the alleged hundreds of millions of years in the fossil record, we still see the same basic kinds of creatures that are still alive today. Where the fossil record is no friend to Darwinian evolution is that instead of a branching out tree of life, the tree is upside down – the fossils show there was once greater variety of life, but over time, that variety has lessened as creatures have gone extinct. Further, the fossil record gives the sudden appearance of life (ex. the Cambrian explosion) which also does nothing to support the notion of a progressive development from a single-celled amoeba to eventually what became a human being. So I come back to my original question, what is the “overwhelming evidence” again?? Evolution IS A faith-based religion: faith is defined as the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. This fits very well for those who insist we all evolved from bacteria from billions of years ago.

What is the overwhelming evidence for evolution? My understanding is that neo-Darwinian theory does a very good job of explaining the subtle/small changes in living organisms, but lacks the explanatory power to support the sudden arrival of new novel information in DNA, new biological systems, and new body plans. It is also my understanding that no scientific experiment has ever reproduced the kind of evolution that creates new novel information in DNA, new biological systems, or new body plans… but rather has only sometimes produced mutations (sometimes to the extent of irreparably damaging the DNA), has not produced a new biological system (such as a nervous system where one did not exist at all previously), and has not produced a new body plan (only modified slightly in response to environmental pressures… ex. Darwin’s finches). Being that we cannot reproduce taking a one-celled bacterium and through the unguided process of random mutations being acted upon by natural selection, and ending up with a multi-celled complex organism that no longer functions on the same order as the original (whether in a single leap or a succession of many incremental steps – reference the E.Coli experiment – after 60,000+ generations E.Coli is still just E.Coli, just adapted to survive on citrate [which resulted from a loss of function that previously existed]), I’m having trouble finding this fits with what I would consider “overwhelming” evidence. On strictly scientific grounds alone, I am not convinced that all life had a universal common ancestor… that the microbe that made you and me also made an oak tree.

Evolution and religion differ widely on the question of origins evolution of universe is based on empirical evidence in the lab while the creationist have scared book the holywrite where it contents where conveyed through advocates by higher being God


Early Humans Probably Didn't Evolve from a Single Population in Africa

Homo sapiens are incredibly diverse — we live in wildly different societies, follow different rules and love and fear different gods.

Despite that awesome diversity, mounting evidence suggests the first humans were even more different from one another than we are today.

In a new commentary published online on Wednesday (July 11) in the journal Trends in Ecology & Evolution, an interdisciplinary group that includes geneticists, bioanthropologists, and archaeologists argues that we didn't evolve from a single population in a single region of Africa, but rather from separate populations across Africa that fully mixed only much later. [Image Gallery: Our Closest Human Ancestor]

Evidence is showing that "human ancestors were already scattered across Africa," said Eleanor Scerri, a research fellow at Oxford University and lead author of the paper. And "the combination of behavioral and physical and cognitive features that define us today started to slowly emerge within the occasional mixing of these different ancestral groups," she added. (Scerri is also a research associate for the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Germany.)

To draw this conclusion, Scerri and her team not only looked at the available fossil evidence, but also at genetic, archaeological and paleoenvironmental data.

About half a million years ago, Neanderthals and Homo sapiens began to diverge from a common ancestor, according to Scerri. But only around 300,000 years ago did early people actually begin to have features that made them look like humans, she said.

Even then, "all the fossils between 300,000 years ago and about 100,000 years ago don't really look like anyone living today," Scerri told Live Science. The features that define us today, such as a small face, prominent chins, a globular skull and small teeth, were indeed present back then, but not all in a single person, she said.

"These features tend to be distributed across the early fossils in different combinations with different, what we call, more primitive or archaic features that we don't see in anyone living today," Scerri said. So, someone in Eastern Africa may have had the small teeth, whereas someone in southern Africa may have had a globular skull while the rest of their features remained primitive.

And these groups remained separate for a long time, because the dense forests and deserts in Africa served as formidable barriers, according to Scerri. But with the occasional mixing of different groups, between 100,000 and 40,000 years ago, fossils that combine all the modern features in a single individual begin to appear, Scerri said.

"Which means, of course, that evolution probably progressed at a different speed and tempo in different regions of Africa as different groups came into contact with each other at different times," Scerri said. Though it's not clear when most humans on the planet had these modern features, by about 12,000 years ago, when hunting and gathering gradually shifted to agriculture, archaic features such as an elongated head and large robust faces had all but disappeared in humans, Scerri said. (In any case, these archaic features, it should be noted, don't correspond to how "culturally backward" a culture was, Scerri added.)

Ancient tools also buttress this theory, Scerri said.

For about two million years, hominins made "somewhat crude" handheld tools like hand axes or large cutting tools, Scerri said. About 300,000 years ago, "there's really an explosion of different and specialized stone tool forms," she added. These tools, that often used different bindings, different glues, and different designs, took hold in different places across the continent.

"I think there are just a handful of people who are really, really strong proponents of the idea that modern people came from one very restricted region," said Rebecca Ackermann, a biological anthropologist at the University of Cape Town in South Africa who was not an author of the commentary. So "I don't think the conclusions themselves were particularly novel." [Top 10 Mysteries of the First Humans]

However, "it's good to see [these ideas] being considered in kind of a holistic way," she added.

"Who was arguing the contrary?" said Jon Marks, a professor of anthropology at University of North Carolina, Charlotte, who was also not part of the study. Though the findings didn't come as a shock to Marks, he thinks they point to an important problem in the field — we might be using the wrong metaphors to describe evolution, namely, Darwin's branching tree.

"What we're seeing is a tree is not necessarily the most appropriate metaphor to apply to recent human ancestry," Marks told Live Science. The more appropriate metaphors would be something that branches and then comes back together, rather than branches on a tree, he said.

These could include the roots of a tree, braided streams or capillary systems, he said.


ELI5:Why don't Horseshoe Crabs evolve?

I've read that Horseshoe Crabs have been around just as they are for 450 Million years. Why have they not gained new traits or evolved into new species in all that time? Birds evolved from Dinosaurs in less time right?

Most every question about evolution is rooted in the assumption that evolution is a never ending quest towards what's best. But it's actually just a movement towards what's good enough. If it's already good enough, there isn't going to be much change, same thing with sharks.

They, like everything else, are evolving continuously. However, their current form is efficient enough for their current niche that no obvious physiological changes have arisen and out-competed it.

Species that do not change much physically over the course of millions of years are still evolving. There is no such thing as no evolution.

The species of horseshoe crabs living today are most certainly not the same species that were alive hundreds of millions of years ago. While they may have not changed much physically, this does not mean they are the same species. "Modern molecular biology has shown that genetic rates of change are relatively uniform and not well related to morphological change rates. So from a more molecular basis of interbreeding capabilities there are essentially no such thing as species that lived through a long geological time."

Most species only persist for about 2-3 million or so years before evolving into another species or becoming extinct. "The average species turnover time (the time a species lasts before it is replaced) varies widely among the phyla, but averages about 2–3 million years."

"Lastly, the term "living fossil" misleadingly appears to suggest that the organism has somehow "stopped evolving". Tadpole shrimp (Triops) are often presented as "living fossils", though a genetic study released in 2013 demonstrated the radiating diversity of notostracans in the genera Triops and Lepidurus: "Our work shows that organisms with conservative body plans are constantly radiating, and presumably, adapting to novel conditions. I would favor retiring the term ‘living fossil’ altogether, as it is generally misleading,"


Explore fur color of the deer mouse population

  1. Start by adjusting the various controls to become comfortable with the simulation. (Click Reset to start over.)
  2. Now explore a population of deer mice in two environments: beach and field.

Use the following questions to stimulate explorations and observations:

What is happening to the mice over time?
Students should notice the frequent mouse births and deaths, evidence of the many generations of mice, which is critical for recognizing that the fur color of the population changes.

How long does a mouse live?
Deer mice live about 2 or 3 years (both in the simulation and in the wild). This is another way to focus on the population and help students to see the passing of generations.

Does the fur color of the population change over time when hawks are present?
Over 5 to 10 simulated years, the population's fur color changes to match the environment (Figure 2). This observation can elicit the alternate conceptions above, and it is important to get them out in the open at this stage. Some students think that individual mice protect themselves by rolling in the dirt on fields, or that fur becomes bleached in the sun. Resist correcting them. Instead, help students investigate their ideas.

What about when hawks are not present?
Invite students to start over without hawks, tracking the data with the graph. Compare the fluctuations in fur colors to the changes when hawks were present.

What do the data tell you?
To compare any changes quantitatively, have students record their data from three trials of each experiment. This worksheet can support student data collection: short.concord.org/lm5.

Wrap up with a discussion about the fur color changing in the population over time. Remind students that offspring are not duplicates of their parents there is natural variation. Such variation in offspring allows species to adapt to changes in the environment. To test this, use the hawks on the beach environment until all the mice have light fur, then compare with "Mutation" on vs. off. Try more levels of the ConnectedBio MLS at short.concord.org/lm0.