Evolution 101- part 11: Gene Flow and the Arch Duke of Hearts

Remember, normal text is copied from Evolution 101 by the Understanding Evolution team! (Ironic Mascot: Ken Ham) http://evolution.berkeley.edu/

BOLD font is me, Rent A Friend 2000, being Bold.

The causes of mutationsMutations happen for several reasons.

  1. DNA fails to copy accurately
    Most of the mutations that we think matter to evolution are “naturally-occurring.” For example, when a cell divides, it makes a copy of its DNA — and sometimes the copy is not quite perfect. That small difference from the original DNA sequence is a mutation.DNA Copies
Did I mention that an average functional protein needs 300 amino acids in the right order? That means 900 of those DNA letters in the right order. You know how having one number wrong in a telephone number means you can’t make your call? It can be a lot like that.
  1. External influences can create mutations
    Mutations can also be caused by exposure to specific chemicals or radiation. These agents cause the DNA to break down. This is not necessarily unnatural — even in the most isolated and pristine environments, DNA breaks down. Nevertheless, when the cell repairs the DNA, it might not do a perfect job of the repair. So the cell would end up with DNA slightly different than the original DNA and hence, a mutation.Radio ACTIVE

Now they’re just TAUNTING the TMNT fans. Radioactive waste COULD cause mutations in a turtle, but not THOSE mutations. Way to harsh our Ninja Turtle buzz, man. And again, remember that these misspellings and breakdowns have to 1. Create new information that 2. produces new structures, functions and behaviors which are 3. To the benefit of the organism and 4. Increases not only their chance of survival but of reproduction and 5. Occurs in the reproductive cells so they can be passed on, otherwise, while interesting, all of this would have nothing to do with evolution. And keep in mind, this information will not actually help the survival of the parent who originally carries it, because it doesn’t change the DNA which makes them, only the DNA they donate to the next generation. How easy is that? Not very.

Gene flow

Gene flow — also called migration — is any movement of genes from one population to another.

I’m going to edit out most of this and just cut to the chase: Gene flow may be interesting, but it, again, has nothing to do with evolution. Selling books distributes them, but it does not write them. Evolution needs to account for the writing of VAST amounts of genetic information. Sending it somewhere else can’t account for that.

Sex can introduce new gene combinations into a population and is an important source of genetic variation.

You probably know from experience that siblings are not genetically identical to their parents or to each other (except, of course, for identical twins). That’s because when organisms reproduce sexually, some genetic “shuffling” occurs, bringing together new combinations of genes.

Once again I’ll chop out the lengthy “For example” and just point out the not obvious enough: “Shuffling” is not “creating.” The genes being shuffled ALREADY EXIST. New genes are not created only new arrangements of already existing genes. Shuffle a deck of cards for a thousand years and you’ll never wind up with an Arch Duke of hearts.

This shuffling is important for evolution because it can introduce new combinations of genes every generation. However, it can also break up “good” combinations of genes.

That they want to cite actual, presently observed facts is to their credit, for it is what science is supposed to be based on. That they slip these facts in as having anything to do with Evolution is either ignorant or deceptive. When shown the queen of hearts, they say, “This card did not have a designer, it arose by unguided natural processes.” When asked for proof, they shuffle the deck, deal a few hands and say, “See how the five card hands are all different? Look at what shuffling can create!” They take the deck to a new table, they shuffle some more, and even play 52 card pick up. (This is a game where one person takes the deck, tosses it high into the air and says, “Pick it up!”) After a few rounds of that, you may notice that some of the cards are damaged and discolored, or that you no longer have all 52 cards. At this point they victoriously declare, “See! The deck has changed suit frequency! Clear evidence that the queen of hearts had no designer, but came about through random, accidental changes.”

And then they mock the creationists.

Development is the process through which an embryo becomes an adult organism and eventually dies. Through development, an organism’s genotype is expressed as a phenotype, exposing genes to the action of natural selection.

First off, anyone else find it morbid that they include death as a stage of development? I’d say death is a giant step away from developing anything, but maybe I’ve stumbled upon a deeper issue- the inability to tell decay from creation. Kinda makes a little more sense of that last section where getting stepped on was part of evolving. And again to translate: “Genotype” is the information in the DNA of the organism, and “phenotype” is the resulting physical characteristics. So, Genotype-blueprints, Phenotype- red, four door sedan built using those blueprints.

Studies of development are important to evolutionary biology for several reasons:

Explaining major evolutionary change
Changes in the genes controlling development can have major effects on the morphology of the adult organism. Because these effects are so significant, scientists suspect that changes in developmental genes have helped bring about large-scale evolutionary transformations. Developmental changes may help explain, for example, how some hoofed mammals evolved into ocean-dwellers, how water plants invaded the land, and how small, armored invertebrates evolved wings.

You read that right- they think hoofed mammals- who evolved from rodents, who evolved from lizards who evolved from fish- went back into the ocean. And then, lost all of their hooves and developed the kind of lungs it takes to swim a lot and stay underwater for a long time. And may I suggest that the journey from hooves to flippers is a rocky path?

The process of going from one cell to many many millions of them, of many different kinds and many different locations is like the space shuttle building itself from recycled car parts. If any of these instructions go wrong, you almost certainly lose the entire creature. The idea that a tweek here and a misspelling there could change the outcome by adding new features is a piece of hopeful optimism which no cheerleader in the NFL could hope to compete with.

While I understand this path of reasoning for someone who already has an evolutionary bias, this is mainly the same logical fallacy made in the section above- they hope that errors will result in more genetic information. The problem is, the most likely outcome with an error in development is the death of the organism (or as they’d say, the development of the organism toward increasing entropy and molecular disassociation). The example they give below is one where the antennae are replaced with legs. All this is, is another shuffling of preexisting information. The fly already had the genes for legs, but now he’s lost the information to keep them off of his face. What this proves is how much information is needed to even get a fruit fly to work properly. Information only comes from an intelligent source, and thus data like this cannot be used to show the likelihood of evolution, but the need for an intelligent designer.

 fly red  legg face
Mutations in the genes that control fruit fly development can cause major morphology changes, such as two pairs of wings instead of one. Another developmental gene mutation can cause fruit flies to have legs where the antennae normally are, as shown in the fly on the right.

Learning about evolutionary history
An organism’s development may contain clues about its history that biologists can use to build evolutionary trees.

 embryos
Characters displayed by embryos such as these may help untangle patterns of relationship among the lineages.

What’s this? A chart of embryo development with no crediting the originator of using embryos to show the evolutionary stages living things go through as they develop, Ernst Hackel#? Could it be these guys did enough homework to discover that Hackel- whose work is still found in biology textbooks all over the country to this day- was shown to be a fraud more than a century ago? While he did not admit to fraud, he did admit to taking ‘artistic license’ to create images that could be used as evidence in support of evolution. The biggest difference between Hackles drawings and photographs like the ones above is, in the photographs, you can see how very quickly the embryos become distinguishably different, where as Hackle basically used the 1800’s version of cut and paste instead of drawing each animal differently.

And if you think that is the only example of fraud in the history of “evolutionary science,” think again.

And to cap this thought off, the one thing you will see over and over in textbooks is the claim that humans pass through a fish stage, as evidenced by the fact that human embryos have gill slits. Seriously, go flip through a few textbooks and you will see mention and sometimes drawings of these gill slits. The problem is, those folds in the skin they point to are not used for respiration at any stage, and thus are not gills, and they are not openings into the embryo, but merely folds in the skin, and thus not slits. So why is a feature which is not gills or slits called gill slits? Because it gives them a reason to say we pass through a fish stage as we, for some inexplicable reason, pass through our evolutionary history as we develop in the womb.

Limiting evolutionary change
Developmental processes may constrain evolution, preventing certain characters from evolving in certain lineages. For example, development may help explain why there are no truly six-fingered tetrapods.

So… evolution has a feature which stops evolution from happening? You can get legs on your face, but not six fingers unless you’re one of the villains from The Princess Bride? And no ninja turtles. Evolution sucks!

Join me next week for part 12

Rentafriend2000@hotmail.com

#these photos are probably the work of Dr Michael K. Richardson. Read more about it here at CMI’s website.

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About rentafriend2000
Rocking my 40's with a heart full of love and muffins, science and technology. Jesus loves me and wants me to totally rock! And I am here to help.

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