View Full Version : Bizarre Human Ev. question

7th June 2000, 12:53
In my Human Evolution textbook, it says, "Every trait results from the interaction of some genetic program with the environment. Thus, genes are more like recipes in the hands of a creative cook, sets of instructions for the construction of an organism using materials available in the environment."

Am I correct in assuming that if I were raised as I have been I would turn out as a 5 foot 10 inch, 142lb white dude with big hair (as I am now). Then later on (if this was possible), I could be "re-raised" (for example, re-born through some sort of genetic engineering or something) in a different environment (say in Somalia for example) and turn out to be a 6 foot tall, 200 lb black dude!?! Obviously this theory would be hard to test http://forums.murc.ws/ubb/wink.gif and would depend much on the traits of my parents, but it would be possible through the interaction of the invironment for this to occur, right?


Dimitri - Hey, I figure if Patrick could ask real questions, I could too, right? http://forums.murc.ws/ubb/smile.gif

whoops, forgot to end my italics... http://forums.murc.ws/ubb/frown.gif

[This message has been edited by Muad'Dib (edited 07 June 2000).]

7th June 2000, 13:45
I think it is talking about evolution, survival of the fittest and all that stuff. The type of animal living in a certain environment is 'cooked' through generations of random mutations and eventually becomes the top 'pudding' of there enviromental 'menu'. If you get my drift.
How the hell do cucumbers exsist????????mmmm

7th June 2000, 13:59
Bacon, as you knew how to edit the second post of the doubles, did you notice the delete this post box in the upper left corner of the edit box?

You can use that a next time as well... Easier http://forums.murc.ws/ubb/wink.gif


7th June 2000, 14:09
Thank you Jorden, don't take muck notice of my monitor much of the time.

7th June 2000, 19:45
Fine, so if you stick me and a couple "hot cucumbers" in a (I don't know, what do you stick cucumbers in?), then in a few generations, I will be all green and picklely (???)? hehehe



8th June 2000, 05:46
No, see it doesn't work that way.

One of the major flaws in evolution is that it fails to explain how entirely new traits occur. One of the fundamental things we're learning about genetics is that you can't, for example, make a gene to give a giraffe an elephant-like trunk, because there just isn't any way to code for that in the giraffe's DNA.

And yes, I understand the concept of random mutations. However, 99% of the time such mutations are detrimental to the organism's survival, not beneficial.

So one of the problems with evolution is that if you do the math, you would require a period of time substantially longer than the estimated age of the universe to obtain any useful results.

Now, some types of evolution we know to actually happen - for example, several hundred years ago the average height for adult males was 5 feet. Look at the suits of armor in museums, and beds from the Napoleonic era (not counting the short dude himself... heh). So we know that humans are "evolving". However, the kind of evolution that would produce a human with, say, flippers... remains almost impossible to actually prove.

Human evolution (aka the "Descent of Man" as described by Darwin) is in and of itself pretty much bunk. If we were descended from monkeys, we would be able to find the missing link. And I'm not talking about one or two of them.

If we were descended from apes, we'd be SWIMMING in the remains of the "missing link". And not just one type, but THOUSANDS of generations worth of missing links. Not only that, but if that sort of evolution happened, we'd be able to find the missing link between cats and dogs, the missing link between canaries and goldfish, and the missing link between sea cucumbers and impalas.

In fact, with the sheer numbers of organisms that such evolution would require (remember we're talking about thousands or millions of generations here), the earth would be nothing but one big pile of "missing links". The fact that we have found almost none of these indicates a major problem with the theory as it stands.

What do I advocate? I don't know. My personal belief is in some sort of a creation, simply because it's more plausible than some type of random evolution which is not supported by the facts. I'd rather believe in a miracle than in bad science.

- Gurm

Listen up, you primitive screwheads! See this? This is my BOOMSTICK! Etc. etc.

8th June 2000, 07:37
Gurm, what is an impala? I know it's a POS shit car that should not have been reintroduced into the production line, but I don't think that's what you're referring too....


8th June 2000, 07:47
Gurm, do you believe in (a) GOD?

(WooPS, post number 100!, I am now a man!)

[This message has been edited by FaRaN (edited 08 June 2000).]

8th June 2000, 08:36
Faran: Yes.

Dimitri: The Impala was a horrible boat. It's early 90's reincarnation was as a killer vehicle that combined a caprice body (boat-ish, but roomy and cushy) with a Cadillac-ish interior and the engine from a Corvette ZR-1. The Impala SS was a beautiful car. The new Impala, like all Chevrolet vehicles, is a front-wheel-drive piece-of-doggie-dung.

- Gurm

Listen up, you primitive screwheads! See this? This is my BOOMSTICK! Etc. etc.

8th June 2000, 09:06
Instant creation by some 'higher force' is more plausible then (random) evolution?

Like in *poof*: man, *poof*: woman?
Lets create children, and let our children create children.

I have to disagree with you.
And miracles ARE supported by facts?
I could go on. But this will develop in some kind of Nvidea vs. 3Dfx war. http://forums.murc.ws/ubb/smile.gif
(yes, I have no life)

8th June 2000, 09:11
The Impala that does not have an obvious evolutionary step between it and sea cucumbers (that's gotta be a crazy mutation) is a kind of gazelle.

African I think, jumps very very high.

Gurm - Surely to look for a missing link between cats and dogs would be rediculous. They have common genetic heritage, but it's never been suggested that cats evolved from dogs, or vice versa.

That would be lunacy.

There is a missing link between canaries and goldfish btw, Dinosaurs.


8 out of 10 women say they would feel no qualms about hitting a man.
5 out of ten referred to me by name.

8th June 2000, 10:29
The other thing that causes evolution problems is the idea that it is a number of small jumps that cause the new organ/thingy to form. An eye is a very useful thing to have. A number of complimentary pieces, however, would have to result at the same time in order to for an eye to have any advantage, and mature in to the organs we know of now. The biggest kick in the teeth though is the idea of consciousness. Nobody can figure out where it would have come from, how it could have evolved, and what sort of intermediate steps would a developing consciousness have.

8th June 2000, 14:20
you can't, for example, make a gene to give a giraffe an elephant-like trunk, because there just isn't any way to code for that in the giraffe's DNA

I would have to disagree with you Gurm. (My fiancee has just finnished a degree in genetics)
To the best of my knowledge....

My functional genes are almost identical to yours. We can look for genes that code for eye colour or hair ears etc.. but most of our physical differences come from the untranslated, so called 'junk' regions.
In fact Drosophila DNA is almost identical to ours!

It shows that a single gene, or even a cluster of them dont code for one characteristic, but it is how all of them interact with each other and the environment that counts.

Dimitri, people can be born 'predisposed'to certain characteristics, but the efect on the environment determines our eventual fate.

All gene analysis can do is to say that:

we predict that you have a DNA configuration that could suggest that you might possibly go on tho develop certain characteristics, but then again you might not...

Of course there are some clear cut examples such as cystic fibrosis and other 'single-gene disorders', but the majority of physical differences are the result of many many genes.

Why should there be a missing link between goldfish and cats? They aren't even remotely similar.

Imagine this:
in a world populated by bipedal humans, what would happen if tomorrow a child was born with three legs?
Imagine if this child was a social outcast, and lived in a cave in isolation. There the child married and had children, and gave birth to a small community of tripeds.

Now imagine that a disaster happen on Earth and all the bipeds died out.
The tripeds who no longer live in fear could leave their caves and repopulate the earth.

This would be seen as a sudden transformation into a new species.

what do you think?

8th June 2000, 16:41
I think that it's a manufactured case. You would have to have had a million of these disasters, and they would have had to have selectively wiped out only certain geographic populations, because the original species, in many cases, still existed!

And when I say the link between cats and goldfish, I mean this:

Cats and Dogs are similar, right? Therefore they must have a common ancestor. We should be able to find BOATLOADS of remains of creatures that are increasingly coglike (or datlike, if you prefer) as we go back in time. But we can't. We find different cats and different dogs, dating back thousands of years. But no convergence.

Same thing with people. We should be able to find LOTS of remains of shorter and shorter and more and more apelike people. Instead we have found fragments of a handful of remains. Peking Man, for example, consists of a jawbone fragment, two teeth, and something that COULD be part of an arm. From there, it's just conjecture.

If evolution happened that way, we'd be SWIMMING in remains of precursors. But we aren't, which proves fairly categorically that evolution as the "we all evolved from slugs" folk see it is bunk.

- Gurm

Listen up, you primitive screwheads! See this? This is my BOOMSTICK! Etc. etc.

8th June 2000, 16:44
Instant creation by some 'higher force' is more plausible then (random) evolution?
Like in *poof*: man, *poof*: woman?
Lets create children, and let our children create children.

Just for fun, applying Gurm's process to that idea, if brothers and sisters mate today, they have a high tendency towards birth defects, if their children were to mate it would be almost guaranteed they would either be born dead or severely impacted. The odds of Nth generational survival are nil. Considering the typical life span of extremely primitive societies being at max 30 years, if they are very lucky, and even given births every year starting at 13 for females, (assuming they survive the first few, btw, how old were Adam and Eve when they started out having kids?)and having to produce quantities of viable male and female offspring, I think a non mythical answer is the more likely. http://forums.murc.ws/ubb/smile.gif It doesn't get much better with a dozen people starting off, let alone two, you'd want thousands for an adequate gene pool really.

Hmm, It could be that all the "neanderthal" fossils were those birth defects, kind of a nasty way to start a species for a devine being though, but about on par for the course I guess, creating floods and whatnot. http://forums.murc.ws/ubb/smile.gif

8th June 2000, 17:30
you continued my statement perfectly, and that is why the adam/eve thing just makes less sense than Darwins theory. I just don't have the ability to translate my thoughts in english language (I'm Dutch and this is the best I can do) and therefore kept it short. Thanks http://forums.murc.ws/ubb/smile.gif

8th June 2000, 20:02
Why does it have to be "God or Evolution"?

Is there some kind of contradiction in thinking that "God, Creator of the <u>entire, incredibly diverse Universe</u> (much of which we don't even know about or understand)" errrr...created "evolution" (and that the morning and the evening were the third, or fourth, or fifth day-- whichever one would be relevant)?

Is it just me?


9th June 2000, 00:07
I'm not going to claim to be an expert on this, so I googled (http://www.google.com/search?q=evolution+vs+creation) around a bit.

The "I'm feeling lucky" button took me right to the Frequently Encountered Criticisms in Evolution vs. Creationism (http://icarus.cc.uic.edu/~vuletic/cefec.html) page. Also, be sure to read the Talk Origins Archive (http://www.talkorigins.org/), especially their extensive FAQ collection.

For another opinion, visit Creation vs. Evolution (http://www.ultranet.com/~wiebe/e.htm).

Of course, everybody decides for themselves what they believe in, but I know what side of the argument I'm on.


9th June 2000, 07:29
This is the kind of creationist argument that drives me crazy!
Gurm, I am very surprised you would say this. http://forums.murc.ws/ubb/frown.gif
1. "Cats and Dogs are similar, right?" - OK

2. "Therefore they must have a common ancestor." - Why? Sharks & Tuna are similar and haven't had a common ancestor for hundreds of millions of years.

3. "We should be able to find BOATLOADS of remains of creatures that are increasingly coglike (or datlike, if you prefer) as we go back in time." - The fossil record only contains a tiny fraction of the history of life.

4."But we can't. We find different cats and different dogs, dating back thousands of years. But no convergence." - This is simply not true from first to last. Unless, of course, you insist on limiting your search to a couple of thousand years.

The problem with arguing about it is that the creationists fill their statements with so much drivel that it has to be disputed line by line. It's very discouraging.


(Maybe I'm overly sensitive after teaching in a school where the administrators wanted me to inject their religious beliefs into my science lessons.)

PS http://www.straightdope.com/mailbag/mevolutionreply.html
and http://books.nap.edu/html/creationism/

[This message has been edited by cjolley (edited 10 June 2000).]

9th June 2000, 16:34
Holly, you've actually hit where I stand a bit closer than I was willing to go...

No, I don't think that you just had one man and one woman and kapowie!

Obviously that doesn't work, genetically - unless the same almighty being suspended the laws of genetics for a few thousand years, which is unlikely.

- Gurm

Listen up, you primitive screwheads! See this? This is my BOOMSTICK! Etc. etc.

9th June 2000, 16:38
I can see your point Gurm,
apparently humans are much more closely related to monkeys, than lions are to tigers. - and they are still cat species.

I would question the link between dog/cat though?

9th June 2000, 16:41
hey! did they tell you?

Approximately 10 million years ago, an alien civilisation discovered this planet. It perfectly fullfilled their requirements for a world-wide genetical test-lab/zoo. As an experiment, they cloned a few million numbers of each species, which they collected from many differents planets they visited, and set them out on this planet. They wanted to prove some kind of theory that they themselves evolved from other species, being more close to humans than to themselves. Now, this experiment has been going on since then, and they visited the earth to inspect progress, they dissected animals, conduced experiments, etc... At a certain point they saw that the human species was developing different civilisations. At first, they tried to make contact, to direct the evolution of those civilisations into their own. Later on, the humans became very xenophobe, and through advances in their civilisation, what we call science and stuff, they became even vulnerable to the alien visitors. So they (the alien species) gave up, and only visited places where they were sure of no human would harm them. Then they saw the human species almost completely destroying each other civilisations, with no much reason to do that. They conducted from that fact, that the human species was not a smart as they hoped; they did stupid things all the time, and tghe visitors concluded that humans would never reach the level of the alien civilisation, not now, not in a million years. At that point the alien visitors gave up the experiment.

Hell, was I bored.... like the story?

9th June 2000, 18:34

I say what all skeptics say...


Show me a single skeleton of a progenitor to man. Just one. There aren't any.

Honestly. Go check. All the so-called "skeletons" turn out to be fragments from what is most likely a deformed person.

And if it takes "millions of years", then you quickly outstrip life on earth! Go check the numbers, they don't match. If it takes a few million years to evolve a dog and a cat from a common ancestor, and the earth is only X million years old (X could be large but it wouldn't matter, since we're talking about exponential time to evolve from a single-celled organism)... then you don't have enough time.

Do the math. It doesn't work.

- Gurm

Listen up, you primitive screwheads! See this? This is my BOOMSTICK! Etc. etc.

9th June 2000, 19:07
I've had a complaint from the original poster of this thread... why has it become so serious, he asked me http://forums.murc.ws/ubb/wink.gif

So why has it become so serious??

Jord, unable to sleep through this Thunderstorm... Holly, by Golly, you're missing something http://forums.murc.ws/ubb/smile.gif

9th June 2000, 19:34
Sleep tight Jorden,
It got serious because it is such an interesting and fundamental question.
Discussions about such things are good.
Besides which, having been out of college for 20 years I don't get to do it much any more.

And Dimitri, I don't think you're in much danger of waking up a different color tomorow, whatever color you are today. http://forums.murc.ws/ubb/wink.gif


PS The Day the Earth Stood Still starts in a couple of minutes. We're going to watch it.
My wife says it is the origin of the sixties! http://forums.murc.ws/ubb/biggrin.gif

9th June 2000, 20:00
I've always went along with Holly actually, if there was a devine intervention it would be in sparking life not hiring actors and giving them scripts while posting 120MPH signs in front of brick walls with paintings of tunnels on them. http://forums.murc.ws/ubb/smile.gif Beep! Beep! http://forums.murc.ws/ubb/smile.gif

Existance is kinda recursive, go back far enough and you have to assume there was something that started it all, if you want to call that a God, I guess you could. Not sure why you have to call it anything or worry about it until you have to, or if you have to. http://forums.murc.ws/ubb/smile.gif

I think people are confusing the soap box with the pulpit, lot of religious stuff here lately. http://forums.murc.ws/ubb/smile.gif

9th June 2000, 22:07
I'm not worried about changing colors Chuck, just worried I'll become a cucumber... http://forums.murc.ws/ubb/wink.gif

It would be nice though to wake up and have hair that is not quite so "big" .... http://forums.murc.ws/ubb/biggrin.gif


P.S.: Jord, thanks for relaying the message.... http://forums.murc.ws/ubb/wink.gif

9th June 2000, 22:43
Well then be sure you don't stand in one place with your feet burried in the dirt too long.
Lamark may have been right after all, who knows http://forums.murc.ws/ubb/wink.gif

10th June 2000, 13:13
Shit! I'm already starting to change names. I need to move my computer so I'm not in the damn dirt anymore!!! http://forums.murc.ws/ubb/frown.gif

I posted under my roommates name, sorry. Quite the moron I am lately....

Eatin my munch now too in case you cared. Sourdough toast (sorry, it's not dry... http://forums.murc.ws/ubb/wink.gif) with grape juice. Got to find something green to eat too....



10th June 2000, 16:11
To answer your original question, genes provide a basis for your growth/aging/traits, but not all of these are "turned on".
Example: I went to high school with a set of identical twins (therefore, same genes). Both were marijuana smokers in their early teens, but one started about 1-1/2 earlier than the other. That stunted her growth, and she's noticably shorter than her twin sister.

12th June 2000, 02:16
I would say that the physical increase in size of humans more to do with better living conditions and medical care than gentics.