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Ch. 7: Adventures in Bodybuilding 
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Post Ch. 7: Adventures in Bodybuilding
Ch. 7: Adventures in Bodybuilding

Please use this thread for discussing Ch. 7: Adventures in Bodybuilding.



Sat Apr 26, 2008 6:52 pm
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Read Shakespeare before it was cool

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When predators develop new ways of eating, prey develop new ways of avoiding that fate. ... Some microbes can actually communicate with each other by making compounds that influence the behavior of other microbes.

...We could speculate on this ad infinitum, but more exciting would be some tangible experimental evidence that shows how predation could bring about bodies. That is essentially what Martin Boraas and his colleagues provided. They took an alga that is normally single-celled and let it live in the lab for over a thousand generations. Then they introduced a predator: a single-celled creature with a flagellum that engulfs other microbes to ingest them. In less than two hundred generations, the alga responded by becoming a clump of hundreds of cells; over time, the number of cells dropped until there were only eight in each clump. Eight turned out to be the optimum because it made clumps large enough to avoid being eaten but small enough so that each cell could pick up the light to survive. The most surprising thing happened when the predator was removed: the algae continued to reproduce and form individuals with eight cells. In short, a simple version of a multicellular form had arisen from a no-body.

If an experiment can produce a simple body-like organization from a no-body in several years, imagine what could happen in billions of years.

pgs 136 - 137

This is one of the most interesting passages in the book. It reminded me of The Global Brain, which we read a few years ago. I think if the general public was more aware of information like this, there would be fewer objections to "descent with modification"...



Mon Jun 23, 2008 8:00 pm
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LanDroid wrote:
I think if the general public was more aware of information like this, there would be fewer objections to "descent with modification"...


I agree the experiment was exciting and if the general public was more aware of this research they might more accepting of evolution, but my experience with die hard creationists is that they are extremely resistant to critical thinking and the scientific method. I doubt this knowledge would influence them at all. I also suspect that if the Templeton Foundation research had managed to prove that prayer improves medical outcomes for hospital patients then suddenly the scientists would have been the good guys

Jeanette

PS I love this site.



Tue Jun 24, 2008 7:44 pm
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Landroid, you make a great point about descent with modification which highlights the political dimension of Your Inner Fish. Examples such as this experiment which showed that algae respond to predation by evolving to an optimum eight cell group provide clear proof for the operation of the evolutionary mechanism .

The fact is, those who disagree with evolution are wrong and dangerous. In terms of the gospel parable, fundamentalists are building their house upon the sand rather than the rock. Evolution is the Rock of Ages, in Stephen Jay Gould's term. The opposition to the understanding of evolution is a maladaptive toxic pathology in human culture. However, this maladaptation is imbedded with a range of adaptive traits, notably the ability of traditional Christian doctrine to support successful social models. My worry is that the success of traditional models contains a cancer, in the form of its incorrect fundamentalist ideas, and that this cancer presents a high risk of turning malignant.



Tue Jun 24, 2008 9:01 pm
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PS I love this site.


I love to hear that, Jeanette. :smile:



Wed Jun 25, 2008 12:05 am
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I agree hard core creationists won't be impressed with the algae experiment, they'll just dismiss it as "micro" evolution whatever that is. But I think there are a lot more people opposed to evolution mainly because they don't know much about it. They're unaware of transitional fossils like Tiktaalik. Their conviction appears to be based merely on a calculation that it's much "easier" to believe that "Gawd dun it" than to believe we're all descended from earlier forms of life. So if these folks learned of experiments like this and just how overwhelming the consensus for evolution is among scientists, they might come around. Oh well, probably wishful thinking on my part.

Here's an amusing story. Several of us were admiring a neighbor's poster that showed 26 closeup photos of butterfly wings, each strongly resembling a letter in the alphabet. After a moment someone intoned "And some say God doesn't exist." I was stunned into silence as it dawned on me that he must believe God put those patterns into butterfly wings as a sign to users of the English alphabet that he exists...



Wed Jun 25, 2008 10:36 pm
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