Why do people believe in evolution when there is no proof for it?
??? We see evolution taking place all around us. It is a VERY well established fact, starting perhaps with a new strain of the flu virus every year. Or the bananas in S. America that can no longer reproduce without human help. Or the wheat we grow.
Evolution is everywhere we look - species DO mutate and change.
??? The flu virus was the only example you have for evolution. The rest would be selective breeding and, in some cases, genetically modified by humans. Neither would be a classic example of evolution.
Do you mean natural selection? The others are still valid (if not classic) examples of evolution.
Selective breeding, environmental change, radiation or cosmic rays resulting in mutations - all result in a change to a species. Whether that change comes from nature in the form of radiation or from another of natures creatures (from a virus to a predator to a human being) doesn't matter. The species changes, sometimes splitting into two distinctly different animals.
And after all, evolution depends on selective breeding - it's called "survival of the fittest" whether that "fittest" is determined by weather, predators, climate or, yes, human beings. We are a major part of the environment, after all!
Survival of the fittest, in a natural environment, is not akin to purposeful manipulation. Dog breeds are not the product of evolution any more than the banana is.
What would you call the gradual changes in dog breeds if not evolution?
Don't get tied up in terminology - physical adaption is evolution. The gene structure of the species, or a significant portion of it, changes - it adapts - and that is evolution.
Well I looked up adaptation and since Wiki is a good starting point:
"In biology, adaptation has three related meanings. Firstly it is the dynamic evolutionary process that fits organisms to their environment, enhancing their evolutionary fitness. Secondly, it is a state reached by the population during that process. Thirdly, it is a phenotypic or adaptive trait, with a functional role in each individual organism, that is maintained and has been evolved by natural selection."
All three meanings have something to do with evolution, you're almost opting for a synonym.
But you are the environment for the dog and the banana tree. The environment (you) apply forces that define what the "fittest" is and the organism adapts accordingly.
Can't see that it makes one whit of difference whether it is a human being deciding to kill all dogs that are not white or the polar bears in the arctic circle that can find the colored ones easier than white ones.
That seems very odd to me. By your definition, whatever humanity does would be a natural part of the process. Hunting a species to extinction? Evolution. Causing a species to go extinct because of urban encroachment? Evolution. Genetic experimentation to combine two breeds artificially? Evolution.
The problem with your definition,in my mind, is we create no boundaries. No moral imperatives. Why would we object to anything, no matter how potentially dangerous? It is after all, simply evolution.
No. Man's manipulation of the environment and man's genetic experiments do not fall into the classic category of evolution. To me, they fall into the category of creation. We are creating an environment which pleases us. We have, for some yet undiscovered reason, an advantage that puts us outside the natural order. Time will tell if evolution, on the natural scale, will allow this to continue.
But man is part of nature! We are not some kind of extra-universal ET, come from outside nature to mold nature into what it is. We evolved right here on earth, subject to the forces of nature just as all other creatures are, and are as much a part of it as a lion or a salmon. And just as other animals do, we do have an effect on other organisms around us.
When the wolves were re-introduced into Yellowstone, they "created" a new environment, different from what it had been, just as man does. Yes, we have an advantage in that our machinations are generally much quicker and much stronger, but they are still very much a part of nature - we cannot separate ourselves from nature. We cannot operate outside of nature, doing the physically impossible or using magic to meet our goals; we can only do what nature - the universe and it's laws - allow to be done. Just like every other organism.
When you talk of creating an environment which pleases us, isn't that what termites do with their giant anthills do? Or prairie dogs with their vast underground network of tunnels? Isn't that what gorillas do when they chase away (or kill) any gorillas not of their liking - create an environment they like better? When coral builds a thousand miles of reef, aren't they making what they "like"? Some animals use what they find, but most do at least some modification to their environment, and some do it quite consciously and intentionally, not simply eating their way to a change.
I would argue that it is the degree of manipulation we can achieve which moves it outside of the 'natural'. Plus, our manipulation is artificial to the environment we are manipulating. So, although it is natural for humanity to desire to manipulate, it still equates to unnatural manipulation to the environment in question.
How can that be? We evolved, quite naturally, to be able to do those things; how can it be outside "natural"? Same thing for our manipulation as opposed to the manipulation of other animals that evolved just as we did - why is one "unnatural" and one "natural"?
This seems more a matter of definition (not one I necessarily disagree with, depending on context and topic) rather than actual fact, for the reailty is that we are all "natural" organisms, performing "natural" changes to our environment. Ants, bacteria/virus, birds, even fish. We all evolved from the same thing, just taking different paths and having different abilities. You could never make a home high on the wall of a cave using nothing but your saliva but swiflets can. That they can't cut down trees to make their home on the ground doesn't seem to make that lumber home any more "unnatural" than their saliva homes are!
Whatever life does is a natural part of the process, and humans are living creatures. Why would anything we do be unnatural?
Natural for us is not necessarily natural for the environment. You have to admit our ability to manipulate so far exceeds any other animal, or plant, as to throw is into a completely different category.
I'll ask you this. If the Borg arrived and turned us all into half human,half machine, would that be evidence of evolutionary change?
What would be examples of natural (normal) or unnatural (abnormal) changes to the environment? By my understanding, the environment is not an entity that has conditions of natural (normal) or unnatural (abnormal). An environment is the surroundings for an organism. Wherever an organism inhabits is the environment, therefore the definition is contingent on the organism. The question isn't what is natural for the environment; the question is what is the natural (normal) environment for an organism.
I can agree that the human ability to manipulate our environment is unnatural (abnormal), but it is still natural (part of nature).
I think that would be a great example of evolution of the Borg species and the human species. Our species would effectively be extinct and the Borg would assimilate us into their collective. I can imagine that they could incorporate human DNA sequences that they found most valuable into the collective.
Going back to your previous comment - I am curious why you think that merely describing evolutionary processes is enough justification to be able to do whatever we want. What I'm hearing is "humans can create selection forces, therefore we can do whatever we want" and I just can't see the logic in that.
The environment,to me, is natural forces. A species pitted against these and vying with other creatures for resources and space. Evolution being the process of adapting and changing due to this process. A bird species lives too long in one environment where its natural food source is more readily gained by birds with the shortest beaks would see shorter beaked birds within that species having an advantage so could more successfully mate and reproduce; thus, slowly, their longer beaked brothers would slowly disappear from the gene pool.
Natural would imply the environment was the chief impetus to change. I don't think test tubes, gene manipulation or selective breeding imposed by another species gotta that model.
Yes, we are part of nature but it does not follow that our manipulation of it is natural. Nor is the idea that one species purposefully forced to extinction by another is evolution. Were the Borg to assimilate humanity, that would not constitute evolution. We didn't cease to exist due to natural causes. A concerted effort would have been made to change the course of natural events.
I think it is dangerous to equate human manipulation of the environment to evolution chiefly because of how we collectively define it. We see evolution as natural and inevitable. We accept that as fact, unquestioningly. To assume that all ideas we come up with of how we could manipulate the environment are natural products of evolution implies to act on them is inevitable and should not be seriously questioned, to the passing glance.
And I see the environment as everything around an organism. My cat's environment is my house, my wife and I. Sometimes visitors. And the "forces" coming from that environment determines the cat's habits. When man paves over the forest the raccoon lives in, his environment changes from trees to buildings and lots of those peculiar animals called "man".
That puts man squarely inside nature, a part of it instead of somehow being outside looking in. We learn to build our homes on stilts on coastlines, we learn to build on mountain tops there and we learn how to survive in the desert if that's our environment. In every case, we modify the environment just as all other animals do, if nothing else just by being there.
And that in turn means that the effects of our efforts, that force other organisms to change and evolve, is most definitely a part of their environment. To call it anything but evolution is simply trying to re-define what the word means in order to extract the forces due to man out of nature, but whether we play the game or not we ARE a part of nature. More important to other organisms in most of the world than any volcanoes, hurricanes or even climate.
Hmm. Your cat is a domesticated species. So, it's environment is not natural. Let it go feral and I'll agree it is part of a natural process. Even if that natural process involves over turning my trash can.
?? Of course it's environment is "natural". Many species live in homes built by another species - I recall one bird that even lays it's eggs in another species home and lets the homeowner raise the chicks!
You're still tied up with the thought that man, evolved just as other species, made of the same thing as other species, competing for food and space just as every other species, changing the environment just as other species do, isn't "natural" somehow.
If it's just about the degree of change, what about coral with it's thousand mile "cities"? What what about the wolves of Yellowstone, or the deer that will strip vegetation until they can no longer survive? Or plants - the honey fungus in Oregon that has grown so large it's killing the trees there, or the quacking Aspen in Utah where one organism covers 106 acres (it's dying because of overgrazing from deer)? These animals, just like man, have made definite, large changes in their environment.
Did any of these collectively, as a species, work together and collaborate, to find ways to manipulate?
Society has evolved. If you want to use the word to denote Darwinian evolution, so be it.
It's kind of like my new job. They have a position labeled coach. The responsibilities do not mirror any classic definition of the word. Those who hold the positions do not perform their jobs by any standard one would equate to coaching. But,it is their job title so it is not wrong to say they are coaches. That said, I get your point.
And I get yours (I think) - it's all in the definition and you do not view yourself as being outside nature, some kind of "unnatural" creature from the great beyond.
I don't even disagree, in most areas. It is a convenient, easy, method of denoting environmental changes originating from man and from all other events/causes - something that can be quite concerning, such as pollution or (possibly) global warming.
But this area - "evolution does not happen because most of the cases we can see in a few years or a lifetime originate with one specific species, man, and therefore isn't evolution because man isn't a 'natural' event or a part of nature." is not one of them.
What would you consider to be natural causes of extinction? If a predator hunts a prey to extinction, is that unnatural?
Evolution is change and change happens all the time. That doesn't say how that change should manifest itself, so I still can't follow your trail of "change is inevitable, therefore we can do any change we want / should not question the changes that are happening".
I think it is, you disagree. Is there really anything to discuss about that? It's not like you really want to understand that difference. If you did your question would have been phrased rather differently.
Do species change, adapting to an environmental change? That's evolution in action. Do animals ever mutate? If they then reproduce, that's evolution in action. These things happen, ergo evolution is a fact. Animals (including human beings) and plants change.
I think any kind of change that takes place in a species naturally without the involvement of artificial conditions is evolution.
What is an "artificial condition"? If an animal changes the environment, is that "natural"? If one builds giant homes and another develops a tongue to reach in and grab the ants, is that "natural"? If one animal selects which plant will reproduce (eating the rest) is that a "natural condition"?
Given that man is an animal just like the rest of them, that man is a part of the environment other plants and animals live in, do the changes forced by man count as natural, or is it artificial when the one animal does it but not the others?
By the word change, I meant the gradual development towards some betterment or improvement that affects vast members of the species throughout ages. Not any one particular case of an exception. Just like a man's evolution from an ape that took place naturally.
This back and forth between "natural" and "unnatural,' (human manipulation), evolutionary processes is an interesting one.
Jumping in with the advantage of only speaking from a "first thoughts" position - not an informed position, my first thoughts are that Live to Learn's perspective seems most logical.
Following mrpopo's "adaptation" comment, I know it seems counterproductive to say, but I wonder if there should be defined lines between mutation, adaptation, and evolution.
My recall is that when speaking of evolution; as in the process of apes to man, or feathered dinosaurs to birds, and even less dramatic changes like flight to flightless birds, the period of change is hundreds, or thousands or even hundreds of thousands of generations. With one small minor mutation, (like a slightly longer beak, or more colorful exterior, than your buddies), leading through successive generations, to major species mutations that can end with the extinction of one form of a species and the ascendancy of another form - without the radical distinction of a new species, it seems that is the model for a proper view of the evolutionary process. Somehow the thought that man's forced adaptations, (evolution?), in a span of only a few generations fits more the description of mutation than evolution.
It will take a bit more thought, but my gut says Live to Learn's perspective is right, and the thought that any mutation, no matter how prompted, or how quickly promoted, still qualifies as evolution is wrong.
mrpopo's thought that as creatures of nature, nothing humans do can be unnatural is too big a bite for me. I can see where his logic would go to defend that thought, but I don't agree with it.
I am thinking part of the confusion is the two uses of natural as "normal" and "part of nature." There is value in distinguishing intentional evolutionary mechanisms (i.e. by humans) vs. unintentional evolutionary mechanisms (i.e. by nature). But the discussion has been touching on topics like whether the development of dog breeds by humans is not part of evolution. That seems to be conflating the "normal" dichotomy with the "part of nature" dichotomy.
Looking at these links:
I don't see how we can conclude that human selection is not an evolutionary mechanism. It quite literally an analogue to natural selection, which is itself an evolutionary mechanism.
If selecting for certain traits in dogs (like dog breeders do) is not an example of evolution, what is it an example of?
It doesn't matter how few generations it happens in - if there's a change from one generation to the next (as is often the case with viruses and bacteria), it's evolution, by its definition.
To clarify, my comment was in the context of evolutionary processes. I don't see how human activity affecting other species' evolution is unnatural unless you are defining unnatural as "being done by humans."
I would also add that I didn't see any comment that stated any mutation qualifies as evolution. It has to be a change from one generation to the next. Mutations are one mechanism for that change, but they are not the only one. Since not all mutations are passed on to the next generation, not all mutations cause evolutionary changes.
by CC 7 years ago
Some people, like Richard Dawkins call evolution a "fact". What do you think? Is evolution a fact or a theory?
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by A Troubled Man 11 years ago
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