Adding stuff on!

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Discussion by: sheepcat
It seems that creationism’s big hitter these days is “Well, there is no known mechanism for an increase in the amount of information held  within a creature’s DNA so animals can’t get more complex”.

I have no problem shooting holes in most of this argument but is there a good reason why they keep returning to it or is it just a bit of clever semantics that makes the question seem unanswerable? 

Is this something that we really aren’t sure about yet? 

I am keen to know because I have always found evolution very easy to explain and understand without getting at all technical and this rather throws a spanner in the non-technical workings!

59 COMMENTS

  1. This is just a nonsense assertion with no basis in fact. It’s a common technique: to make something up out of the blue, and then when scientists object to it they have another “controversy” about evolution! Notice that they give no examples or explanation of why this should be true.

  2. The important distinction to remember is that for all the time it’s not actively being used to produce proteins, DNA isn’t information it’s data. Simply tacking two bits of the same data onto each other doesn’t create any new data, but when interpreted (which gives the data a context) you have new information. That’s the simplest method, and not the only one, but it’s an example of how it can happen.

    O.

  3.  “There is no mechanism, therefore Gawd.”

    Errors in duplication and recombination do not qualify as a ‘mechanism’ in my nondeterminist opinion, but  that is how it happens. The only way to attribute change like that to a creator is to imply that the creator is an embodiment of dumb random chance.

  4. The problem is the way most people view DNA, as some stagnant pieces of information ” istructions” but in reality it is more like computer learning software, when DNA is introduced to a new stimulus it generally synthesizes a protein accordingly, but, some times the stimulus actually changes the way the DNA acts toward future stimuli. There is a whole study dedicated to this affect, Epigenetics. It is very interesting, another thing to note is that inside DNA is very basic code that creates the complex structure of the brain, this is possible not because DNA contains a map of what a brain looks like, but because it hold general parameters the brain should fit according to environmental inputs. This mechanism is what makes evolution so powerfull, and makes it so that animals do not have to rely soley on random mutation to evolve but can actually actively change themselves in tiny ways that can eventually accumulate over time.

  5. creationists have a very anthropocentric view of the word “complex”. If we ask them to define complexity they’ll no doubt discuss how very clever people are with their “perfect” eyes and clever little banana grippers etc. complexity=clever

    how much information (as has been correctly pointed out, should read “data”) can be added must simply be a case of size, i.e. number of base pairs. There are plenty of worms with more than a human.

    Dispite this, mechanisms are available to add data, Down’s Syndrome being an obvious example where a 3rd copy of a chromosome is created. The problem with this as an answer is that such a mutation is disadvantageous for many obvious reasons, not least the lack of fertility and if you use it as an argument a creationist will see it as their win since the adding od data has not “improved”the speicies. However, 2 things need to be considered, 1; no one ever claimed copy mistakes were a good thing, from Darwin onwards we have always known the magority of mutations are bad, evolution acts on the very few that offer some advantage. 2; it’s a classic creationist ploy to jump from one postion to another, so while they may be correct that the example of Down’s Syndrome does in no way prove evolution, it does very effectively disprove the argument that there is no known mechanism to increase the amount of data held. clearly, any organism with a mutation that increases the number of chromosomes they have, has increased the amount of data in their genome.

    Therefore it’s a good time to point out that drawing a direct line from “amount of data/information in a genome” to “ability to hold and peel a banana” is just another falacy that can be filed under “not even wrong”

  6. I thought about it for a while and I think I get the confusion that Creationists have. I think they are getting confused between medium and information. I am a computer engineer, so I find it easier to explain with computer analogy:

    You have “floppy/CD/hard disk” of lets say 1Gb storage capacity and it is completely full. You can add no further data into it.  Now, the disk is the medium on which data is stored. However data is nothing but combination of binary bits (zeroes and ones). These zeroes and ones can be rearranged to form new information (even though total number of bits will remain same).

    I don’t know much of biology but I think similar principle probably applies to DNA. Even if new genetic code cannot be “added” (it may be, I don’t know), rearrangement of existing code can produce new information. No “physical” changes are necessarily required in the medium to create new (and complex) information.

  7. I thought about it for a while and I think I get the confusion that
    Creationists have. I think they are getting confused between medium and
    information. I am a computer engineer, so I find it easier to explain
    with computer analogy:

    You have “floppy/CD/hard disk” of lets say 1Gb storage capacity and it
    is completely full. You can add no further data into it.  Now, the disk
    is the medium on which data is stored. However data is nothing but
    combination of binary bits (zeroes and ones). These zeroes and ones can
    be rearranged to form new information (even though total number of bits
    will remain same).

    I don’t know much of biology but I think similar principle probably
    applies to DNA. Even if new genetic code cannot be “added” (it may be, I
    don’t know), rearrangement of existing code can produce new
    information. No “physical” changes are necessarily required in the
    medium to create new (and complex) information.

     

  8. I think studying information whether it is genetic or computational has to be by far the best approach to determining the success or failure of mutations and natural selection as a reasonable means to increasing complexity from simplicity.

    To me one of the best examples is the adding of complexity for extendability or innovation. 

    Do not forget of course that mutations and natural selection have no program or direction to predict necessary or innovative qualities.

    Take the time to review this article.
    http://tronweb.super-nova.co.j

    I imagine that evolution requires ancient molecular life to have significant limitations (e.g. uni-directionality, 5 bit encoding, single char set) and over time (lots and lots and lots) we see an increasing amount of capabilities (bi-directionality, 16 bit encoding, multi char sets). 

    As the above references the maturity or historicity from Morse code to TRON or Unicode we can easily recognize that innovations come from innovators. 

    What percentage of the success of these encoding methods were perfected or improved on via the introduction of mutations?

    I believe that it would have to be possible to demonstrate how a simple source of content could mature or rather involve into something far more complex using computer simulations.

    Any example would do.

    From S.O.S to Война и миръ (War and Peace)?

    I believe as a creationist that evolution advocates will continue to avoid information science because it is difficult or rather impossible to demonstrate computationally how something simple (i do not even know what simple means when it comes to life) can evolve into something complex (multiple body plans in a single genome).

    Consider adding Information Theory, Evolution and the Origin of Life and The Biotec Message to your reading list.

  9. Creationists assume (to use the thumbdrive analogy another started with) that there is a set amount of genetic data and that you have to delete information to make room for new.  This is a false assumption and analogy.  Duplication errors in mitosis & meiosis can result in extra whole chromosomes being present in a cell.  Downs syndrome (an extra chromosome 21 I believe) or the XXY (extra copy of the X sex chromosome) run with 49 chromosomes compared to the standard 48. The inverse is also true and instead of receiving the extra chromosome, you could get shorted.  This is like ordering 48 1gb thumb drives (one for each chromosome) and finding that a packaging error gives you extra or not enough.

    Also, our sex cells (gamettes) usually only recieve 1 copy of each chromosome and during their generation (meiosis) there is a ‘crossing over’/exchange of information between the chromosome pairs to provide the potential for more genetic diversity.  This is not exact and sometimes you can wind up with more DNA in one of the pairs than the other; there is also the potential that a genetic sequence could migrate to a different chromosome entirely. As above, the potential is that you got the short end of the chromosome.  This is like ordering 48 1gb thumb drives and someone botching up and one (or more) are 1.5gb drives, or maybe you got screwed and one is only a 500mb drive.

    DNA replication is amazingly complex and there is no intelligence operating the quality control.  Errors creep in and not all of them are healthy; gross errors like those mentioned above may predominantly be lethal. Thing is that creationists obsessed in the “creation of information” and do not pay attention to the potential loss of genetic information. Either way you look at it, their argument falls flat and there is creation/loss of genetic material in the system. But knowledge of this would require some education in Biology and Genetics which I doubt any of the Creationists possess or aspire to.

  10. There is no problem with adding complexity (though there is occasional doubt expressed by mathematicians, engineers or physicists that Darwinian mechanisms are adequate to produce the total amount of genetic information currently observed with the available time and respurces).

    See the latter part of the earlier discussion re “Occam’s Razor” for much more debate on this topic.

  11. @OP:disqus
    It seems that creationism’s big hitter these days is “Well, there is no known mechanism for an increase in the amount of information held within a creature’s DNA so animals can’t get more complex”.

    Ha! ha! ha! Creationism’s big twitters!!!!! -  Cluesslessness personified!!
    They have never heard of doubling, tripling, quadrupling etc chromosome numbers in polyploid offspring!????

    Parade of Polyploids – http://polyploidy.org/index.ph

    Perhaps they should ask “Banana-Man” ?  http://polyploidy.org/index.ph… – (This supermarket banana is most likely the common variety Cavendish, an autotriploid of Musa acuminata.)

    Polyploidy: the condition of having three, four, or more sets of chromosomes instead of the two present in ancestral diploid parents.

    Many of the species are not exactly rare!!!!

    Seeds of bread wheat. Wheat is a allohexaploid. Its genome consists of three ancestral parental genomes.

    http://polyploidy.org/index.ph

    ..AND that’s only ONE very quick way of increasing the genetic information in a new species.

    http://polyploidy.org/images/t

  12. mj.mohitjoshi

    I am a computer engineer, so I find it easier to explain with computer analogy:

    You have “floppy/CD/hard disk” of lets say 1Gb storage capacity and it is completely full. You can add no further data into it.  Now, the disk is the medium on which data is stored.

    The comical creationist cluelessness (taking your computer analogy) is that in addition to the other methods of adding additional information, polyploidy effectively means that there are commonly up to six spare drive-bays into which additional hard-drives, can be, and sometimes are, slotted, providing new storage capacity! 

    These sorts of  creationist claims are just the clueless making up rubbish! -  (“No  mechanism known” to the ignorant who have not bothered to study the subject! )

      Even if new genetic code cannot be “added” (it may be, I don’t know), rearrangement of existing code can produce new information.

    You are indeed correct.  The splicing of broken pieces of DNA into new positions, is a common form of mutation, providing new coding patterns and another form of new information, from which natural selection can choose and reproduce beneficial variants.

  13. The issue of polyploidy is not really relevant to sheepcat’s question, which related to animals, presumably to Biblical Creationist insistence that humans did not evolve from animals. Polyploid individuals are not viable in our part of the family tree. There are viable vertebrate polyploid types, but they reproduce parthenogenetically, shut off from sexual recombination and therefore unable to evolve.

    The same is true of the oriental Cavendish banana, and equally true of its commercial predecessor, the West Indian Gros Michel banana. That is tne great attraction – no undesirable seeds in the edible flesh of the fruit. The famous atheist geneticist, J.B.S.Haldane, wrote an article in the Daily Worker in 1938 on the subject: “The roots of Gros Michel are attacked by… ‘Panama disease.’ …But Gros Michel is sterile… It is, in fact, very nearly a dead end so far as breeding is concerned… It is no joke trying to breed for sterility.” Hence the Cavendish banana – Gros Michel coud not be selected for immunity.

    The general idea that polyploidy is a “very quick way” of increasing genetic information is over optimistic. Multiple copies are not extra information, any more than accidentally printing 100 copies of a handout instead of 10 constitutes extra information. A further example is the presence of highly repetitive sequences in, for example, human DNA. These sequences may repeat thousands of times in a row. Like an endless repetition of white pixels in a printout, they are merely background structure, with virtually no information.

    If you want to dispute with Christian fundamentalists on genetic grounds, Haldane (a New Atheist long before New Atheism was named) had a far better example. Jesus was haploid, and thus not viable; or else a freak parthenogenetic clone of his mother. Either way he was a she, unless the evangelists forgot to mention that the Holy Spirit also contributed a Holy Sperm. (Vaguely reminds me of “The Life of Brian”: “Suppose you agree that he can’t actually have babies, not having a womb – which is nobody’s fault, not even the Romans’ – but that he can have the right to have babies.” “What’s the point of fighting for his right to have babies, when he can’t have babies?” “It is symbolic of our struggle against oppression.” “It’s symbolic of his struggle against reality.”)

  14. logicophilosophicus
    The issue of polyploidy is not really relevant to sheepcat’s question,
    which related to animals, presumably to Biblical Creationist insistence that humans did not evolve from animals.

    That is simply a wrong presumption!  The claim was:

     

    @OP there is no known mechanism for an increase in the amount of information held  within a creature’s DNA so animals can’t get more complex”.

     

    This claim is ludicrous not only because multicellular animals can become more complex by various means, but because organisms were getting more complex, long before they were multicellular or “animals”.

    While polyploidy is best known in plants it is also known in fish a and amphibians, where cross breeding can occur.

    Polyploid individuals are not
    viable in our part of the family tree.

    Irrelevant – The tree of evolution does not begin with the  primate branch or the chordate branch.

    There are viable vertebrate polyploid types, but they reproduce parthenogenetically, shut off from sexual recombination and therefore unable to evolve.

    This is simply wrong.  Some can breed with each other, or hybridize with relations.  It only takes rare exceptions for new species to arise. There is no reason to focus on vertebrates.

    The same is true of the oriental Cavendish banana, and equally true of its commercial predecessor, the West Indian Gros Michel banana. That is tne great attraction – no undesirable seeds in the edible flesh of the fruit.

     

    Yes the commercial banana is a tripoid sterile hybrid bread to be seedless.

    The general idea that polyploidy is a “very quick way” of increasing genetic information is over optimistic.

    No it isn’t !  Various new species with increased numbers of chromosomes have arisen in short time scales – particularly in plants.

    Multiple copies are not extra
    information, any more than accidentally printing 100 copies of a handout instead of 10 constitutes extra information. 

    Because of variations within populations, the various copies of genes within a gene pool are not identical copies, so particularly with hybrid polyploids, the offspring have more genetic information than their parents, and have the capacity to retain more information than their parents.  (See Wheat)

    A further example is the
    presence of highly repetitive sequences in, for example, human DNA.
    These sequences may repeat thousands of times in a row. Like an endless repetition of white pixels in a printout, they are merely background structure, with virtually no information.

    This is just wild speculation.  DNA biochemical code is NOTHING like computer code.

    Evolution is about producing rare unusual  innovative developments as well as routine reproduction and selection.

      http://polyploidy.org/index.ph

    -  These and other recent studies suggest that genetic and epigenetic changes contribute to the potentially dynamic nature of polyploids
    (Soltis and Soltis 1995). Studies of recent natural polyploids are now revealing the link between these epigenetic changes and the evolutionarily success of polyploid speciation. 

    - Polyploid speciation – is the evolution of new (mainly plant) species through the polyploid & hybrid processes causing phenotypic changes.

  15. ” [Creationists claim that] ‘…there is no known mechanism for an increase in the amount of information held  within a creature’s DNA so animals can’t get more complex.’ [Me: If 'get more complex' means 'evolve into humans' then polyploidy is irrelevant - no polyploidy in primates]. This claim is ludicrous… because… organisms were getting more complex, long before they were… ‘animals’.”

    I don’t think the claim is ludicrous. Where is there an example of polyploidy in the lineage leading to genus Homo? Is there any hint in the chromosome complement? Don’t mistake me – I have already posted in this thread support for the view that complexity increases via evolution; I don’t support creationism, but as far as human evolution is concerned, polyploidy is not relevant.

    “While polyploidy is best known in plants it is also known in fish a and amphibians, where cross breeding can occur.” I knew that.

    “Me: ‘There are viable vertebrate polyploid types, but they reproduce parthenogenetically, shut off from sexual recombination and therefore unable to evolve.’ This is simply wrong.  Some can breed with each other, or hybridize with relations.” Thank you – I didn’t know that. If you can refer me to examples/sources I’ll take them on board.

    “There is no reason to focus on vertebrates.” I assumed – and made this clear – that creationists are denying human evolution from animals, rather than insisting on some biblical prohibition on industrial melanism in peppered moths. What do you think creationists are really getting at?

    ” [Me:] ‘The general idea that polyploidy is a “very quick way” of increasing genetic information is over optimistic.’ No it isn’t !  Various new species with increased numbers of chromosomes have arisen in short time scales – particularly in plants. [Me:] ‘Multiple copies are not extra information, any more than accidentally printing 100 copies of a handout instead of 10 constitutes extra information.” Asked and answered.
     
    “Because of variations within populations, the various copies of genes within a gene pool are not identical copies, so particularly with hybrid polyploids, the offspring have more genetic information than their parents, and have the capacity to retain more information than their parents. (See Wheat)” This is an interesting one, and you may well be able to set me right. I was aware of the genetic nature of bread wheat (another Haldane essay from the 1930′s, by the way!) But there are two situations here – I think… (1) Where polyploidy occurs in general, i.e. as a copying error, there is no extra information in the daughter genome (despite your contrary claim) – all the genes are (pairs of) copies of the genes in the mother genome (though, of course, there are now extra gene COPIES available for mutation). (2) Bread wheat is a HYBRID, with a normal (diploid) chromosome complement from each of three DIFFERENT ancestral lines – so the new species has extra genetic information, but not by the route of polyploidy as such. (“Polyploidy may occur due to abnormal cell division, either during mitosis, or commonly during metaphase I in meiosis.” The dreaded Wikipedia.)

    “[Me:] ‘…highly repetitive sequences in… human DNA… may repeat thousands of times in a row… they are merely background structure, with virtually no information.’ This is just wild speculation.” Well, I’m thinking about the 500,000 copies of Alu in the hman genome. I am going on what I have read: it seems to me that genetic orhodoxy judges such sequences to be at best structural, at worst junk. If it’s “wild seculation” it’s not my spculation. Could you explain why it is “wild speculation”? What do you think might e the function of Alu?

    I didn’t deny that polyploidy exists. I suggested that it is irrelevant to the OP (creationist claims about animal evolution – presumably w.r.t. the Descent of Man). I think you need to justify your “ludicrous”/”no it isn’t!”/”wild speculation” remarks.

  16. (1) Where polyploidy occurs in general, i.e. as a copying error, there is no extra information in the daughter genome (despite your contrary claim) – all the genes are (pairs of) copies of the genes in the mother genome (though, of course, there are now extra gene COPIES available for mutation). 

    They are also from the male side and in polyploids, the “spare copies” are not “spare”. Many are active and in conjunction with others, influence development, causing differences from the diploid form.

    (2) Bread wheat is a HYBRID, with a normal (diploid) chromosome complement from each of three DIFFERENT ancestral lines

    Hybridization is also part of the process of speciation via polyploids.   It combines the chromsomes from both species in one organism.  Particularly if say two independently arisen tetraploids then breed, a whole lot of  DNA from different sources is included in the gene-pool and the individuals of one new organism. 

    In the case of wheat, there was further hybridization.  Because of different numbers of chromosomes,  polyploids are often (but not always) back-sterile, so cannot produce offspring (or fertile offspring) with their parent species.  They have then formed a new independent species within very few generations. 

    Thinking needs to be in terms of populations rather than the creationist concept of “fixed standardised life-forms”!  “Species” are interbreeding populations containing genetic diversity, not just individuals containing a limited selection of this.

    - so
    the new species has extra genetic information, but not by the route of polyploidy as such.

    It is by polyploidy and hybridization.  Even in normal sexual reproduction half the parental DNA is not passed on.   Polyploidy multiplies up the capacity.

    (2) Bread wheat is a HYBRID, with a normal (diploid) chromosome complement from each of three DIFFERENT ancestral lines

    The term “diploid” simply refers to the normal pair of chromosomes for a particular species.  Once (let’s say a tetraploid) new species is established the doubled set of chromosomes will be the  normal “diploid” number for that species.

    This is an interesting one, and you may well be able to set me right.

    Because of media use of terms like “THE human genome”, there are widespread misconceptions about the diversity of genetic material in the GENE-POOL of POPULATIONS over and above that in any one individual.  (Humans, dogs plant species etc) come in a huge range of colours, shapes sizes etc) 

    These diverse genes are being constantly mixed and selected for in normal reproductive processes.

    Evolution is opportunist with random explorations of possibilities which are then selected for competitiveness.

    Because of life spans and low reproductive rates, humans are a very poor evolutionary example for humans to observe. 
    Insects and plants which produce millions of eggs/seeds are much better for observing rare events or big trends in populations. 
    Polyploidy is commoner in plants, and so easier to observe in real time, in the lifetime of scientists.  There is no reason to believe it has not been involved in changes in chromosome numbers in species in the past. (although it is not the only method for this)

    Look at classifications of species, subspecies, varieties, forms, cultivars etc.

    Once you go from sexually reproducing organisms to other organisms (eg bacteria) where horizontal gene exchange happens, things become very complex, (but raise issues such as the transfer of antibiotic resistance in pathogens). 

    DNA can also be carried from one organism to another by viruses.

    The point I was making, was that there is no “fixed number of chromosomes” (or information on those chromosomes) as creationists are trying to ludicrously  suggest.

    Polyploidy is the big, quick, readily available, example of this!

  17.  BTW;  If you type <blockxquote> at the beginning of quotes and </blockxquote> at the end of them, (missing out the X’s I have included to prevent the system using these as formatting and hiding them from you), it makes reading comments easier.

  18. logicophilosophicus

      I don’t think the claim is ludicrous. Where is there an example of
    polyploidy in the lineage leading to genus Homo? Is there any hint in
    the chromosome complement?

    All species on Earth are descended from LUCA – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L

    We share around 98% of our DNA with Chimps and about 40% with cauliflowers. 
    There is no reason to believe that chromosomes are radically different in human ancestry.

  19. (1) Your suggestion that I ignored paternal genetic contribution is a bit of a cheap shot? You know better than I that when a cell divides (in either mitosis or meiosis) the original nucleus and the derived nuclei are referred to as “mother” and “daughter”. There’s no call to imply ignorance on my part. Likewise, you criticise the view that the duplicate chromosomes are “spare” – but I didn’t use the word or express such an idea.

    (2) Me: “Bread wheat is a HYBRID, with a normal (diploid) chromosome complement from each of three DIFFERENT ancestral lines… the new species has extra genetic information, but not by the route of polyploidy as such”.
    You: “It is by polyploidy and hybridization.”
    Or, as I wrote, not by “polyploidy as such”.

    (3) Me: “There are viable vertebrate polyploid types, but they reproduce parthenogenetically, shut off from sexual recombination and therefore unable to evolve.”
    You: “This is simply wrong.  Some can breed with each other, or hybridize with relations.” Me: “Thank you – I didn’t know that. If you can refer me to examples/sources I’ll take them on board.”
    You: “Because of life spans and low reproductive rates, humans are a very poor evolutionary example… Insects and plants… are much better… Polyploidy is commoner in plants, and so easier to observe in real time, in the lifetime of scientists.”
    So, if no vertebrate example is forthcoming, maybe I shouldn’t have thanked you for telling me I was “simply wrong”?

    (4) Me: “…highly repetitive sequences in… human DNA… may repeat thousands of times in a row… they are merely background structure, with virtually no information.”
    You: “This is just wild speculation.”
    Me: “I’m thinking about the 500,000 copies of Alu in the human genome… it seems to me that genetic orthodoxy judges such sequences to be at best structural, at worst junk… Could you explain why it is ‘wild speculation’?”
    You don’t respond, which is rather cavalier after the “wild speculation” remark.

    (5) Me: “Where is there an example of polyploidy in the lineage leading to genus Homo? Is there any hint in the chromosome complement?”
    You: “All species on Earth are descended from LUCA…”
    I don’t take your point – archaea, including LUCA, are not polyploid? Anyway, I was writing
    about vertebrates, so this is all a couple of billion years short of being relevant. I’m well aware that human (or other vertebrate) chromosomes are not special. My comment was that polyploidy is irrelevant (non-contributory) in the evolution of that lineage.

  20. Thanks everyone! As usual some lucid explanations. I think I can see why this argument is so significant to creationism now, it is just word play, they imply that evolution is getting something for nothing so therefore must be wrong. 

  21. I see that you are still learning nothing from my comments, – Including this one:- http://richarddawkins.net/disc

    logicophilosophicus

      You: “All species on Earth are descended from LUCA…”

    I’m well aware that human (or other vertebrate) chromosomes are not special.

    You claim to “well aware of”  many things, but persistently show no understanding of answers I give you about information which is readily available from reference material,  persistently sidetrack onto irrelevant issues, and ask numerous questions to which informed people would already know the answers, hip-hopping all over the place.

    I don’t take your point – archaea, including LUCA, are not polyploid?

    This illustrates the above points. – Anyone with any understanding of biology would know that polyploidy is about sexual reproduction in multicellular organisms.

     They would know that the human lineage had millions of years as multicellular organisms, before they even became Chordates, and would not therefore focus on the MOST IRRELEVANT EVOLUTIONARY AREAS!  They would also know that most of the complexity in the human organism was evolved before they became human, and some before they became vertebrates. 

    Even at a most basic level, I would expect people who profess knowledge, to know that fish and amphibians were part of human ancestry!

    Furthermore, they would  know that gene splicing,virus transfer, and  horizontal exchange of genetic material is a usual method of exchanging and increasing genetic material in single celled organisms, as was explained earlier in this discussion.  Your comment that you
    ” don’t think the [creationist] claim is ludicrous”, simply illustrates your profound ignorance of the subject.

    Anyone who knows anything about polyploidy, knows that triploids have a whole EXTRA strand of DNA more than their parents, and that these single strands can double up with the two separate strands pairing off in hexaploid offspring.

    You keep making up nonsense  and then asking me for evidence to refute it – often after it has already been given!!  There are all sorts of complicated genetic exchanges, with back crossing.  Your simplistic views simply do not take into account the complexities involved in biological processes, or exchanges in  gene-pools.

    Where is your evidence for YOUR CLAIMS?

    Anyway, I was writing  about
    vertebrates, so this is all a couple of billion years short of being relevant.

    I have already pointed out that human evolution did not begin with vertebrates, that steps in evolution can be rare events, and that polyploidy is known in more than one genera of vertebrates. 

    My comment was that polyploidy is irrelevant (non-contributory) in the evolution of that lineage.

    You have absolutely no evidence for this assertion and no idea what you are talking about.  There are considerable differences in chromosome numbers in various species and various ways (including polyploidy) by which these can come about.

    You seem to think that Wheat – a polyploid with 3 parent species is not dependent on polyploidy for extra genetic information beyond that of each of its 3 parents! A non-polyploid hybrid would not be able to retain these extra genes in an individual.

    I pointed out in an early comment that the OP is talking about animals not specifically humans.

    You don’t respond, which is rather cavalier after the “wild speculation” remark.

    The volume of your unevidenced assertions, ignored answers and irrelevant diversions, makes responding to all of them difficult. 
    I am aware there are areas of science yet to be investigated in detail, and I am not going to speculate about them.  This does not mean I will accept your enevidenced generalised speculations.

    You claimed earlier to be an atheist, but persistently argue like a creationist!  Are you a Poe? – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P

  22. logicophilosophicus 

    My comment was that polyploidy is irrelevant
    (non-contributory) in the evolution of that lineage. [humans/vertebrates]

     
     
    The question is, ” Are you being disingenuous, or do you really have no idea about reproductive genetics”?

    The discussion of polyploids, is about variations in chromosome numbers in sexually reproducing multicellular organisms.

     

    I don’t take your point – archaea, including LUCA, are not polyploid?

    You have ignored the multicellular organisms, fish and amphibians, and picked out single celled organisms which do not reproduce sexually, and so obviously are not involved in the polyploidy I have described!

    but as far as human evolution is concerned, polyploidy is not relevant.

    Another unevidenced assertion based on humans. 
    The number of chromosomes in normal human individuals has not changed since human evolution branched from chimps, so anyone who understood this, should not be looking there for polyploidy, or other changes in chromosome numbers, which would be involved earlier in evolutionary history.
     - Second strawman argument.

    Anyway, I was writing about
    vertebrates, so this is all a couple of billion years short of being relevant.

    You seem to have missed out the relevant couple of billion years and the more recent millions of years of multicellular & vertebrate evolution, along with my examples of related modern vertebrate polyploids.

    I’m well aware that human (or other vertebrate) chromosomes
    are not special.

    This is not indicated in your posts, which here, and on the “Occam discussion” seem to be vacuous assertions, incredulity and strawmen, hidden in a smoke-screen of side-tracking complexity.

    As you show little understanding of the science, I have to ask, “are you getting your information from some creationist ‘science cannot answer’ list”?

    I have already indicated a possible explanation for your strange claims and determined inability to understand and address scientific answers, on the Occam discussion.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D

  23. OK, one at a time:

    (4) Me: “…highly repetitive sequences in… human DNA… may repeat thousands of times in a row… they are merely background structure, with virtually no information.”
    You: “This is just wild speculation.”
    Me: “I’m thinking about the 500,000 copies of Alu in the human genome… it seems to me that genetic orthodoxy judges such sequences to be at best structural, at worst junk… Could you explain why it is ‘wild speculation’?”
    You don’t respond, which is rather cavalier after the “wild speculation” remark.

    The supposed “wild speculation” was about the nature of highly repetitive DNA sequences. I claimed that the interpretation above was “genetic orthodoxy”.

    Which is it?

  24. logicophilosophicus -  The supposed “wild speculation” was about the nature of highly repetitive DNA sequences. I claimed that the interpretation above was “genetic orthodoxy”.

    It was never established as valid “orthodoxy” and is now being reviewed. Speculation on this clarifies nothing.  It is an irrelevant distraction from the issue of chromosome numbers.

    Speaking of which, you have nothing to say on the issues of variations in chromosome numbers in multicellular organisms! , or why you choose to look for polyploidy and other chromosome variations in places and times  it is known not to exist – ignoring the hundreds of millions of years when the complexity actually developed.

    Still no evidence for your assertions?

    BTW:  Despite all your comments on “organised complexity”, I see you have still not picked up on this comment! – http://richarddawkins.net/disc

  25. Ah! Valid orthodoxy. Like Newtonian mechanics – not “valid” orthodoxy because an Einstein might come along.

    But I only said “orthodoxy” and the issue was not chromosome number but multiple copies of information. I’m well aware of, e.g.

    http://old.richarddawkins.net/

    - which I thought you might cite, but that is an incidental outcome from an overwhelmingly deleterious process:

    “The hypothesis that transposable elements are molecular parasites was originally designed to explain the apparently excessive DNA baggage of eukaryotes. A number of contemporary observations support this view. Transposon-derived sequences are rare close to transcription start sites and inside coding regions, suggesting that insertions are usually deleterious. Moreover, the four human HOX clusters and other highly regulated genomic regions contain very few transposable elements. Direct deletion of megabase-sized regions devoid of known genes also seems to have no effect on mice, even though these regions contain elements that have been conserved since the emergence of mammals. There is no contradiction between these observations and the fact that occasionally transposable elements can give rise to beneficial structures including novel gene regulatory regions and the V(D)J recombination mechanism that generates the antibody diversity expressed by vertebrate B cells.” (Hobauld and Wiehe, 2006)

    That hypothesis was orthodox for over 40 years. Alu copying and insertion is an example par excellence of The Selfish Gene in action. “Alu elements are amplifying at a rate of one new insert approximately every 15-20 births… Thus it is not surprising that recent Alu retrotramsposition events have given rise to a number of human diseases. Alu elements are known to create genetic instability and disease in a number of different ways.” (Callinan and Batzer, 2006)

    Note that “every 15-20 births” are just a fraction of the affected embryos – many will abort because of changes incompatible with life. And that’s where we started. True Polyploidy in humans is always incompatible with life.

    Anyway, Alu is a genetic parasite, extremely successful because it is relatively inactive – except in propagating itself. Where it has an effect, it is rarely “beneficial”. That’s just orthodox.

    (I did Google “valid orthodoxy” in case it was something you biologists say, but the only hits are theological, mainly disputes between different orthodox traditions in Judaism. Where did you pick it up from? Are you a Poe??? In answer to your own similar question, absolutely not, and you should know that: you won’t find the depth of technical mainstream science sources I’ve cited in the nutball creationist community. And I don’t cite what I don’t understand.)

  26. P.S. I just assumed that when creationists argue about animals they refer to animals in a Biblical sort of a way. You seem to think that the fact that there was LUCA implies that humans have polyploid ancestors. Not at all, since the LUCA wasn’t polyploid; you’d need to establish polyploidy in the line to humans. I am aware of the Hox cluster argument, though it only implies at best the duplication of one or two chromosomes, and it is in any case universal among vertebrates. So I reckon that you couldn’t find even a hint of polyploidy in the human lineage in the last half a billion years, roughly.

    I have said nothing inconsistent with that view re “humans/vertebrates” to which you replied that I had “no idea about reproductive genetics”. Well, where is that polyploid vertebrate in the human lineage? Or do I, after all, know what I’m talking about?

  27. logicophilosophicus

    Ah! Valid orthodoxy. Like Newtonian mechanics – not “valid” orthodoxy because an Einstein might come along.

    This is comical!  Various creationists have tried that one on me in the past!  I usually ask them to test Newton out of a 10th floor window and see if any “new physics” turns up before ground impact!

    But I only said “orthodoxy” and the issue was not chromosome number but multiple copies of information. I’m well aware of, e.g.

    http://old.richarddawkins.net/

     The newly identified mechanism involves Alu elements, repetitive DNA elements that spread throughout the genome as primates evolved. While scientists have known about the existence of Alu elements for many years, their function, if any, was largely unknown.

    You have just linked to an explanation of the “multiple copies issue” you raised, answering your own question!  It seems this just another side-track.

    As I said, the matter has been recently reviewed so speculation is pointless. It is irrelevant to the issue of chromosome numbers.

  28. logicophilosophicus 

    You really like to persist in missing the point.

    You seem to think that the fact that there was LUCA implies that humans have polyploid ancestors.

    LUCA implies a long line of evolved ancestors to ANIMALS as I have already explained.

    Not at all, since the LUCA wasn’t polyploid;

    I have also explained that polyploidy is a feature which increases chromosome numbers in sexually reproducing multicellular organisms.  Why would single celled LUCA prior to the evolution of sex be polyploid?

      You seem to love looking in the wrong places.

    you’d need to establish polyploidy in the line to humans.

    The OP says ANIMALS.  I have already explained that the human chromosome number has been unchanged since the split with chimps.  http://richarddawkins.net/disc… – “You seem to have missed out the relevant couple of billion years and the more recent millions of years of multicellular & vertebrate evolution, along with my examples of related modern vertebrate polyploids.” 

    Why do you keep looking in the wrong places after I have pointed out where developments took place??

    I am aware of the Hox cluster argument, though it only implies at best the duplication of one or two chromosomes, and it is in any case universal among vertebrates.

    So where do you think all the diverse different numbers of chromosomes in animal/plant  kingdoms came from during the last hundreds of million years?

    So I reckon that you couldn’t find even a hint of polyploidy in the human lineage in the last half a billion years, roughly.

    You keep moving the goalposts by flipping back to humans from the OP ANIMALS. 

      http://richarddawkins.net/disc…“You seem to have missed out the relevant couple of billion years and the more recent millions of years of multicellular & vertebrate evolution, along with my examples of related modern vertebrate polyploids.” 

    [Edit by author] Timeline of evolutionary history of life: – – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T

    - 3500 Ma Lifetime of the last universal ancestor; (LUCA)

    - By 1850 Million yr ago – Eukaryotic cells appear. Eukaryotes contain membrane-bound organelles with diverse functions, probably derived from prokaryotes engulfing each other via phagocytosis. (See Endosymbiosis)

    - By 1200 Ma Sexual reproduction first appears, increasing the rate of evolution.

    1200 Ma Simple multicellular organisms evolve, mostly consisting of cell colonies of limited complexity.

    - 485 Million years ago First vertebrates with true bones (jawless fishes).
    340 M yr ago Diversification of amphibians.
    225 Ma Earliest dinosaurs
    170 Ma Earliest salamanders, newts, cryptoclidid & elasmosaurid plesiosaurs, and cladotherian mammals.
    20 Ma First giraffes, hyenas, bears and giant anteaters,
    1.2 Ma Evolution of Homo antecessor.

    I have explained that big steps in evolution are rare, and have given  polyploid examples of modern vertebrate species, showing the potential for such genetic multiplication to arise. 
    You still do not seem to have taken on board the concept of gene-pools of breeding of diverse  individuals within a species, or close-species hybrids.

    The trout on the link, have tetraploids crossing with diploids to produce sterile triploids,  but there is a large chance (in terms of evolutionary probabilities) of such mixing producing mutations leading to new species and new chromsome numbers.  The fact that eggs can be shocked into becoming tetraploid means that there are several tetraploid individuals of mixed parentage which have potential to breed with each other, with the diploids and with the triploids.  

    The fact that vertebrates as distantly related as fish and frogs, share this ability, means it is deeply rooted in vertebrate ancestry.

    The example of Brassicas on the link shows just how flexible shuffling of chromosome numbers can be and that chromosomes can be discarded as well as acquired.
    (As also illustrate in the human/chimp case)

    The linked polyploids, – http://richarddawkins.net/disc… – have, been and are,  arising in recent history.  Hundreds of millions of years have so much more potential.

    As you may well know, DNA does not fossilise to last beyond  a few thousand years, so there is no fossil record of this.

    Much of evolution is illustrated in modern species and in their DNA.

    So I reckon that you couldn’t find even a hint of polyploidy in the human [ANIMAL?] lineage in the last half a billion years, roughly.

    I have said nothing inconsistent with that view re
    “humans/vertebrates” to which you replied that I had “no idea about reproductive genetics”.

    You would have to have no idea to make that statement when we are discussing ANIMALS and I have provided living examples of VERTEBRATE ANIMALS exhibiting that feature, and when similar ancestral lines of ANIMALS show diverse numbers of chromosomes.

    You really like your strawman argument and love avoiding  seeing polyploids by determinedly looking in the wrong places! - 

    Or do I, after all, know what I’m talking about?

    Ha! ha! ha!

  29. Did you see the video in which Dr. Dawkins was asked if he knew of any situation in which information was added to genes/DNA? Dr. Dawkins could not think of any event that added information. It would be very interesting if we could find one.

  30. Me: “Newtonian mechanics… [was] orthodoxy… [only until] Einstein.”

    A4D: “This is comical!  Various creationists have tried that one on me in the past!  I usually ask them to test Newton out of a 10th floor window and see if any ‘new physics’ turns up before ground impact!”

    Yeah, right. I’m sure you’ve had conversations with creationists, and if they jumped I’m sure the General Relativity that would have killed them just switched off, and Newtonian action-at-a-distance killed them instead. Much like all those phlogiston deniers who burn to death every year.

    “…multiple copies of information [in particular polyploidy and highly repetitive gene sequences notably Alu]” – I claimed these were a) not extra/new information b) not useful c) often dangerous. I acknowledged that Alu can be useful (introducing an RDF link) but it is clearly parasitic, a classic Selfish “Gene”, since half a million (and growing steadily!) copies in “highly repetitive” sequences are unnecessary. In exactly the same way, only much more dangerously, a full extra set of chromosome information (polyploidy) is unnecessary (obviously) and highly dangerous.

    You: “You have just linked to an explanation of the ‘multiple copies issue’ you raised, answering your own question!”

    The link had NOTHING to do with “highly repetitive” sequences of Alu. [A lady was referred to a psychiatrist by her doctor. "What's the problem?" asked the shrink. "I like pancakes." "Nothing wrong with that - so do I." "Then you must come to see me - I've got cupboards full of them..." The issue was sheer quantity, not pancakes as such.] There are over a million copies of Alu in the human genome, but most are not in “highly repetitive” sequences; I specifically argued only about highly repetitive sequences.

    Actually your argument is exactly the same as Stephen Meyer’s. Francisco Ayala (another one of those dubious “authorities” I like to quote) criticised Meyer’s ID claims, giving the evidence that an intelligent designer would not have been so liberal with junk DNA: “Would a function ever be found for these one million nearly identical Alu sequences? It seems most unlikely.” Meyer counters: “Alu sequences… perform many… functions.” He lists a few. They don’t account for hundreds of thousands of copies in highly repetitive sequences, and that’s what’s wrong with his argument AND WITH YOURS. (Actually Alu is very often worse than useless. It has been implicated in a number of camcers and genetic illnesses.) You must have picked this up in one of those conversations.

    When I mentioned lack of polyploidy in humans’ ancestry you replied that we are all descended from LUCA. Well, I did my homework and I can find nothing all the way back to the early vertebrates, and two “speculated” events near the chordate/vertebrate divide. (You say: “You seem to love looking in the wrong places.” You chose the place.) They are “speculated” to account for the fact that hemichordata have one cluster of Hox genes, Cephalochordata have two and vertebrata, suggestively, have four. That could have been caused by polyploidy, but in animals polyploidy is normally lethal.
     
    You ask: “So where do you think all the diverse different numbers of chromosomes in animal/plant  kingdoms came from during the last hundreds of million years?” I think they more likely came from less drastic changes: chromosome fusion, translocation events, trisomy and hybridization.

    An example of fusion is that two chimp/human ancestor chromosomes fused to make human chromosome #2. In chimps they are still separate. (You: “…chromosomes can be discarded… As… in the human/chimp case.” Well, no, not in the human/chimp case. No chromosome was discarded.)

    Trisomy is common, e.g. Down’s Syndrome (trisomy 21), but trisomy for large chromosomes in humans is always lethal. The more duplicated information in general, the greater the danger. Patau syndrome (trisomy 13) is barely compatible with life. An extra Y chromosome, the smallest, has negligible effects.

    Hybridization can lead to abnormal chromosome numbers. A really good example is Brassica. Three related species with 8, 9 and 10 chromosomes hybridized in the three possible ways. The daughter species are “polyploid” in having 17 (8+9), 18 (8+10) or 19 (9+10) chromosomes. (“The example of Brassicas on the link shows just how flexible shuffling of chromosome numbers can be and that chromosomes can be discarded…” Well, no again. No chromosome discarded.) The “polyploidy” isn’t really polyloidy – no chromosome has a matched partner so mitosis is impossible.

    Thank you for all the irrelevant stuff about dinosaurs and giraffes. And hyenas… Ha! ha! ha!

  31. logicophilosophicus   When I mentioned lack of polyploidy in humans’ ancestry you replied that we are all descended from LUCA. Well, I did my homework and I can find nothing all the way back to the early vertebrates, and two “speculated” events near the chordate/vertebrate divide.

    (You say: “You seem to love
    looking in the wrong places.”
    You chose the place.)

    YEP!!! – Still looking in the wrong places ???????????????  OH!!! That difficult research!!!!!!!  – 2 minutes on Wiki !!!!

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P
    Paleopolyploidy

    Main article: Paleopolyploidy

    Ancient genome duplications probably occurred in the evolutionary history of all life. 

    Duplication events that occurred long ago in the history of various evolutionary lineages can be difficult to detect because of subsequent diploidization ……..
    (such that a polyploid starts to behave cytogenetically as a diploid over time) as mutations and gene translations gradually make one copy of each chromosome unlike its other copy.

    In many cases, these events can be inferred only through comparing sequenced genomes. Examples of unexpected but recently confirmed ancient genome duplications include baker’s yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae), mustard weed/thale cress (Arabidopsis thaliana), rice (Oryza sativa),

    *******  and an early evolutionary ancestor of the vertebrates (which includes the human lineage) ******

    and another near the origin of the teleost fishes. Angiosperms (flowering plants) have paleopolyploidy in their ancestry.

    ******* All eukaryotes probably have experienced a polyploidy event at some point in their evolutionary history. ******

    I have already covered many of these points, but I suppose it really needs to be spelt out!

    Polyploidy really does spoil the Noah hypothesis of animal diversity, and the creationists OP claim. (“No mechanism known” to the ignorant who have not bothered to study the subject! )

    Are you really trying to totally destroy your credibility with these series of silly assertions?

    This phylogenetic tree shows the relationship between the best-documented instances of paleopolyploidy in eukaryotes.

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wi

  32.   > I
    think studying information whether it is genetic or computational has
    to be by far the best approach to determining the success or failure of
    mutations and natural selection as a reasonable means to increasing
    complexity from simplicity.

    I think you need a definition of “complexity” and explain how information theory relates to life

    > To me one of the best examples is the adding of complexity for extendability or innovation. 

    Do not forget of course that mutations and natural selection have no
    program or direction to predict necessary or innovative qualities.

    quite. Evolution is always prepared to fight the previous war. Or rather it is adapting to its current circumstances. Sudden environmental changes lead to extinctions.

    could you give examples of “extendability” in life?

    > Take the time to review this article.http://tronweb.super-nova.co.j

    I imagine that evolution requires ancient molecular life to have
    significant limitations (e.g. uni-directionality, 5 bit encoding, single
    char set) and over time (lots and lots and lots) we see an increasing
    amount of capabilities (bi-directionality, 16 bit encoding, multi char
    sets).

    yuk. I can see no resemblance of life to 5-unit tape. pretty much alllife uses the same genetic code. They are all using “ASCII”.

    > As the above references the maturity or historicity from Morse code
    to TRON or Unicode we can easily recognize that innovations come from
    innovators.

    I’ll give you that in computer technology (though I’m doubtful that Morse Code is “simple”- technological inovation often relies on finding an underlying simplicity- consider FORTRAN and Ruby)

    > What percentage of the success of these encoding methods were perfected or improved on via the introduction of mutations?

    none.  They were designed. We don’t have millions of years to wait.

    > I believe that it would have to be possible to demonstrate how a
    simple source of content could mature or rather involve into something
    far more complex using computer simulations.

    Any example would do.

    I believe this has been done with the eye

    > From S.O.S to Война и миръ (War and Peace)?

    > I believe as a creationist that evolution advocates will continue to
    avoid information science because it is difficult or rather impossible
    to demonstrate computationally how something simple (i do not even know
    what simple means when it comes to life) 

    this inability of yours to explain what complexity means is rather a problem (for you)

    > can evolve into something
    complex (multiple body plans in a single genome).

    insects?

    > Consider adding Information Theory, Evolution and the Origin of Life and The Biotec Message to your reading list.

    you have failed to explain its relevance.

    what is your alternative? You call yourself a creationist.
    - how many creation events were there?
    - when did they happen?
    - what was created?

    why is my DNA so like a chimpanzees, less like a duck billed platypus and even less like an oak tree?

    did any evolution occur? Are rats and mice in some sense “related” and if so what does this mean?

  33.  

    Did you see the video in which Dr. Dawkins was asked if he knew of any
    situation in which information was added to genes/DNA? Dr. Dawkins could
    not think of any event that added information. It would be very
    interesting if we could find one.

    define “information”.  Do the women who can see a fourth colour (someone jokingly suggested it was “tope”) have extra information in the genome? People without wisdom teeth? People immune to HIV? People who win a zillion gold medals for swimming? Do humans have more information in their genome than chimps? Than fish?

  34. So; To sum up on polyploidy:

      Wiki link – All eukaryotes probably have experienced a polyploidy event at some point in their evolutionary history.

    It is widespread on the present day and on the Paleopolyploidy evolutionary tree.

    It still occurs in vertebrates and humans, but because large complex animals with active metabolisms take many generations to adapt to sizing up and metabolic changes, this usually results in deformities, sterility, or aborting of deformed embryos. 

    Nevertheless, as I linked  http://richarddawkins.net/disc… ,  the ancestral trait keeps turning up, with living examples in fish, frogs, one mammal, and numerous plants and  ferns, where evolution has coped with these problems.  Informed evolutionary opinion, would expect many mutant changes to be damaging, and only a very few to provide on-going improvement.

    The specific times and places on the evolutionary tree from the distant past, have only been confirmed by genome analysis in a few cases, but we can expect more as further genomes are sequenced.  http://mediacdn.disqus.com/134

    There are of course MANY examples of this in modern organisms including many plants, and even in human muscles, – again reflecting the evolutionary ancestral history.

    In organisms with eukaryote ancestry, diploid chromosome numbers vary enormously:  With an apparent bell-curve distribution.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L

    Jack jumper ant
     Myrmecia pilosula
          2 for females, males are haploid and thus have 1; smallest number possible. Other ant species have more chromosomes

    Adders-tongue
     Ophioglossum reticulatum
      1440This fern has the highest known chromosome number.

    Aquatic Rat
        Anotomys leander       
    92 Tied for highest number in mammals with Ichthyomys pittieri.

  35. @nick keighley

    If you type <blockxquote> at the beginning of quotes and </blockxquote> at the end  

    is this documented anywhere?

    There was a tutorial when the new site was set up, but I have not looked for it since.

    For the benefit of other readers you need to miss out the “X”s

  36. logicophilosophicus  – Thank you for all the irrelevant stuff about dinosaurs and giraffes. And hyenas… Ha! ha! ha!

    I’ll carry on refuting the creationist flood myth about animals including those hyenas and giraffes – all of eukaryote ancestry, – along with the refuting of the OP claim about the inability of evolution to add genetic material.

    You can fill in your own details on them here, until you have worked out their relevance to that argument: –

    http://janbrett.com/mural/on_n

  37.  
    logicophilosophicus

    Me: “Newtonian mechanics… [was] orthodoxy… [only until] Einstein.”

    A4D: “This is comical! Various creationists have tried that one on me in the past! I usually ask them to test Newton out of a 10th floor window and see if any ‘new physics’ turns up before ground impact!”

    Yeah, right. I’m sure you’ve had conversations with creationists, and if
    they jumped I’m sure the General Relativity that would have killed them just switched off, and Newtonian action-at-a-distance killed them instead. 

    AS I EXPLAINED EARLIER: quoting misunderstood science in an attempt to blind others with science, is very different to actually understanding the science!

     ═╬═╬═╬═╬═   ■ ² ≡ ± ≥ ≤ ∞ √ µ ≈  ‰ ═╬═╬═╬═╬═

    In calculating the impact velocity of someone jumping from a 10th floor window, Newton is accurate to more decimal places than you can count.

    The terminal velocity is so far from the speed of light, that the effects of relativity do not need to  “switch off”, as they are so infinitely tiny, that they can be disregarded for all practical purposes.

    This is a science site!  Bluffing nonsense to “blind others with science” and side-track issues, does not work here!

  38. @A4D

    Your Wikipedia evidence of two events of palaeopolyploidy in early vertebrates is exactly the evidence I had already cited. Look carefully at the chart – you will see that both events are “Speculated” exactly as I stated. They may well never have happened. I think they may, but if so, with a high level of certainty, they will have been cases of “allopolyploidy” which, again as characterized earlier by myself, is actually a hybridization event between closely related species where subsequent meiosis fails precisely because the homologous chromosomes are not similar enough to conjugate, which is an essential part of sexual reproduction.

    Some biologists believe that autopolyploidy – simple doubling of the genome within a species – could give rise to a new species, but finding examples is a problem. The potato is cited as an example in your “expert” source (the Wikipedia article on polyploidy). I think this refers to a deduced event 67 million years ago. A better example is Tolmiea, which is regarded as a single species but exists in diploid and tetraploid forms. (It’s no coincidence that S. petota and Tolmiea polyploids propagate vegetatively – by tubers and plantlets respectively; indeed, that is the attractive feature of both to humans, the edible potato tuber and the ornamental “piggy-back-plant” plantlet.)

    The issue in this thread is whether polyploidy is a quick way to increase information. (Logico: “The general idea that polyploidy is a ‘very quick way’ of increasing genetic information is over optimistic.” A4D: “No it isn’t!”) In cases of alloploidy the extra genetic information already existed – in fact, it was the cause, rather than the result, of the “polyploidy”. In the only good example of supposed autopolyploidy, the similarity of the information is such that the diploid and tetraploid are classified as a single species! Of course – as we have both pointed out – the extra chromosomes will gradually allow the addition of extra information via mutation/miscopying, the normal method; your expert source again (Wikipedia) says that, “In general, the mutation rate in unicellular eukaryotes and bacteria is roughly 0.003 mutations per genome per generation.” That is a very slow process, and polyploidy cannot make it a “very quick way” to increase information. And the thread, of course, concerns ANIMALS, not plants in any case.

    Finally, note that the very best case for viable autopolyploidy, Tolmiea, has been evidenced by showing that some chromosomes behave tetrasomically – they can conjugate AB and CD or AC and BD, for example. That indicates either that there was a failure of meiosis in a normal individual (as Jerry Coyne has argued, I think, in “Why Evolution is True”), or that there were two parent individuals closely enough related that at least some chromosomes were able to conjugate. Either way the is no new information, of course, and further recombination is compromised too… but, for interest’s sake, it is worth noting that this has been discussed for almost a hundred years. I first read about it in Darlington 1966, who cited Winge 1916. Winge considered that polyploidy was always linked with hybridization – in particular, a failure of chromosomes to pair at (attempted) meiosis. But he also considered a case where two individuals of the same species could lead to a polyloid offspring if they were drawn from populations with sufficient non-matching elements, i.e. incipient species. That would be “autopolyploidy” in a sense, but actually speciation with its necessary new information would be well on the way.

    To sum up: polyploidy is not a “very quick way” of increasing genetic information.

    P.S. I note that you accuse me of avoiding animal discussion by considering humans. That would be as opposed to cabbages and King Edwards? You mention the viscacha (though not by name) – I suggest you carefully reread the relevant paragraph in your Wikipedia polyploidy article. Viscacha evolution is conjectural, but the living creature is clearly diploid without the near analogues to be expected from relatively recent palaeopolyploidy. The conjecture is that an ancestral species with 56 chromosomes gave rise to viscacha with 102 via tetraploidy. Since chromosomes, according to you, can be discarded, that should be no problem… except that, of course, chromosomes are not discarded – not in your examples anyway, hominidae and brassicae, though you have yet to acknowledge that error.

  39. “I’ll carry on refuting the creationist flood myth…”

    What you do in the privacy of your own brain is entirely your business. But why show me? I’m a card-carrying atheist, I think Noah is a garbled version of the Greek Deucalion, and (unlike your strange defence of essential function for “junk DNA” – Stephen Meyer’s creationist line) I have never expressed any doubt of random mutation and the Selfish Gene.

    BTW I think it was J.B.S.Haldane who pointed out that Noah is described in Genesis in terms that make it clear he was an albino. Simple genetics suggests that you or I should have a 25% chance of being albino. Where are they all? Unless maybe, they suffered the fate of the Amalekites: “And the Lord said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua: for I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven. Oh yeah. Albinos too. Apart from Roy Orbison.”

  40. Newtonian mechanics was orthodox, but not since Einstein. You describe this view as “comical” and “misunderstood” because at low velocities and accelerations the calculation is good enough. (Probably not, in your example, to 10 decimal places at a guess; and I can count to 10.)

    But we were discussing orthodoxy. I don’t care about low velocity approximations. Newton thought two masses exerted a force on one another at a distance, mysteriously and instantaneously. Einstein thought that there was no mysterious action at a distance, and that – totally different theory!!! – the shape of space was defined by the masses in the space. An orbiting satellite or a defenestrated creationist travels along a geodesic in curved space (strictly speaking, space-time). Newtonian action at a distance is dead as a dodo. It was orthodox. Now it isn’t.

    Your concept of “valid orthodoxy” is amusing in this context. Einstein’s General Relativity almost certainly cannot be the final word. Some form of quantum gravity will very probably be required. Where does “valid orthodoxy” fit into a world devoid (so far) of final answers? It was a silly rhetorical ploy, and – as I discovered – only theologians, who think they KNOW the final answer, use the term. Oh, and you.

    However, since you think a 10 storey building in earth’s (surface) gravity is a valid test, let’s give it a whirl. The Jefferson Tower at Harvard. It’s 74 feet tall, and it is across that short vertical distance that Pound and Rebka measured the gravitational redshift in 1960, specifically to confirm General Relativity. But that’s irrelevant. General Relativity is true (current orthodoxy) on all scales. Newtonian gravity, once orthodox, is now known to be an approximation. will fairly accurately tell that falling creationist WHEN he will die, but it absolutely will NOT tell him WHY.

    And that’s not “bluffing nonsense”, not “comical”, not “misunderstood”, just physics. Insults don’t replace reason.

  41.   logicophilosophicus Newtonian mechanics was orthodox, but not since Einstein. You describe this view as “comical” and “misunderstood” because at low velocities and accelerations the calculation is good enough.

    Newtonian mechanics is not comparable with tentative views on areas not properly investigated.

    Newtonian mechanics was well evidenced and validated.  It has a vast range of applications on Earth.  The suggestion that it is replaced by the influence of relativity in these calculations IS  incompetent to the stage of being comical.  It was in any case a sidetracking issue.

    (Probably not, in your example, to 10 decimal places at a guess; and I can count to 10.)

    This is called “making stuff up to construct a circular argument”!

    will fairly accurately tell that falling creationist WHEN he will die, but it absolutely will NOT tell him WHY.

    You can ask “WHY”, but science will always tell you “HOW”! ≈ 99.9999999999999999999999999999999999999999% of “HOW” will be Newton.

  42. logicophilosophicus

    Alan – “I’ll carry on refuting the creationist flood myth…”

    What you do in the privacy of your own brain is entirely your business. But why show me? I’m a card-carrying atheist,

    That would be because the OP creationist claim is about ANIMALS, and despite reminders, you persist in sidetracking the issue on to HUMANS, missing the main area of their claim!

    You really do persist in wandering off topic and missing the point!

  43. logicophilosophicus
    @A4D

    Your Wikipedia evidence of two events of palaeopolyploidy in early
    vertebrates is exactly the evidence I had already cited. Look carefully
    at the chart – you will see that both events are “Speculated” exactly as
    I stated. They may well never have happened.

    I was aware of the two speculations as WHERE and WHEN events happened.  It was the fact that you had kept looking in the wrong place and missed the rest of the WHOLE EUKARYOTE  BRANCH  of the evolutionary tree, I was pointing out.

    I think they may, but if
    so, with a high level of certainty, they will have been cases of “allopolyploidy” which, again as characterized earlier by myself, is actually a hybridization event between closely related species where subsequent meiosis fails precisely because the homologous chromosomes are not similar enough to conjugate, which is an essential part of sexual reproduction. 

    As I pointed out earlier, you seem to think that “species” and “hybrids” are set in separate boxes.  There is a range of variation in gene-pools, leading to speciation where parts separate.  Nevertheless there is often a continuity of progressive genetic variation.  Numerous “hybrids” between subspecies are fertile.
    The earlier Wiki article suggests and explains much polyploidy in early Eukaryotes and why evolved diploidization has made this difficult to detect.

    My claims about “quick results” were in comparison with usual evolutionary/geological time scales.

    While polyploids can give rise to new species in 3 or 4 generations, stabilising species usually takes longer.

    The progressive gene-pool diversity and “hybridization” is explained in “Ring Species”

    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/R

  44. “…polyploids can give rise to new species in 3 or 4 generations…”

    In animals (which excludes Brassica, bread wheat, and – bizarrely, coming from a biologist – humans)? That was the issue.

    But it’s irrelevant anyway – ALL the new information arises from mutation (including miscopying).

  45. “…10 decimal places at a guess…”
    “That is called ‘making stuff up to construct a circular argument’… 99.9999999999999999999999… [my finger got tired there]“

    What circular argument would that be? Anyway, I just did a rough calculation. Relativistic effects are evident in the seventh decimal place. Good (informed) guess. Your accusation of fabrication is as wrong as it is insulting.

    Re “why” and “how”. I know how a person falling from a tower block dies. I have unfortunately witnessed it close up. But the “why” question is “By what purpose, reason or cause.” (Check a dictionary.) It’s not a metaphysical question. The cause includes curved space. It does not include Newtonian action-at-a-distance.

    But who gives a damn. Your train of abusive rhetoric is aimed at rubbishing the incidental statement that the transition from the Newtonion to the Einsteinian paradigm demonstrates a change in orthodoxy. Why did we get there? Because you felt compelled to rubbish the idea that orthodoxy can change. Etc, etc.

    “Thou wilt quarrel with a man for cracking nuts, having no other reason but because thou hast hazel eyes.”

    I’m tired of cracking nuts.

  46.   OP  “Well, there is no known mechanism for an increase in the amount of information held  within a creature’s DNA so animals can’t get more complex”.

    You really must work on understanding OPs.

    @logicophilosophicus  But it’s irrelevant anyway – ALL the new information arises from mutation (including miscopying).

     

    When the OP  says”
    information held  within a creature’s DNA”, it is talking about a particular animal.  Nobody is disputing that new information arises from mutations. 
    Polyploidy is about assembling that information in new individuals (creatures) and a new species, collecting it from a wider gene pool, as well as increasing the chromosome capacity to carry genes and future mutations.  It also generates new interactions between genes.

    Evolutionary ancestry does not mean its grandmother!  It means ANY of its EUKARYOTE  ancestors.

    http://richarddawkins.net/disc

    logicophilosophicus
    Yeah, right. I’m sure you’ve had conversations withcreationists, and if they jumped I’m sure the General Relativity that would have killed them just switched off, and Newtonian action-at-a-distance killed them instead.

    So you make a ridiculous statement that a relativistic effect with a fraction of one percent influence can kill falling people on Earth unless it is “switched off”, – and then argue about size of the fraction, without correcting the silly statement! -

      logicophilosophicus  – Relativistic effects are evident in the seventh decimal place. Good (informed) guess. Your accusation of fabrication is as wrong as it is
    insulting.

     “

      logicophilosophicus  – Thou wilt quarrel with a man for cracking nuts, having no other reason but because thou hast hazel eyes.” 

    I’m tired of cracking nuts.

    Gazoinggggg!  Another irony meter gone!

    Still can’t see the big picture while preoccupied with disputing tiny isolated (irrelevant) details.

    Gap-ology 101 !

  47.   logicophilosophicus  – Relativistic effects are evident in the seventh decimal place. Good (informed) guess.
    Your accusation of fabrication is as wrong as it is insulting. 

    Nice misleading try, but my statement was about ACCURACY, and relevance to the calculated velocity and impact of falling to Earth, not trace  detectability! 

    Oh dear! – Playing the “insult card” again, when bluff and bluster is called out as wrong??

    The 7th decimal place in the ratio between terminal velocities on Earth and light speed, is the tiny number where Newton does not round up to 100%, and the effects of relativity (O.0000001) round  to more than zero. 

    Still, I suppose when we are discussing genetics, one erroneous, complex,  irrelevant diversion, is pretty much as good as any other in missing the point!

    As I said earlier, the sheer volume of your unevidenced erroneous, assertions and side-tracks, makes trying to have an on-topic discussion difficult.  You still can’t see the major branches for the twiglets.

  48. So coming back to my original points which may have been buried in obfuscation, gapology, and side-tracking diversions:

    http://richarddawkins.net/disc…  -Alan’s first comment:

    Ha! ha! ha! Creationism’s big twitters!!!!! -  Cluesslessness personified!! They have never heard of doubling, tripling, quadrupling etc chromosome numbers in polyploid offspring!????

    Parade of Polyploids – http://polyploidy.org/index.ph

    Polyploidy: the condition of having three, four, or more sets of chromosomes instead of the two present in ancestral diploid parents.

     

    I gave  clear linked evidence of the big picture on the Eukaryote evolutionary tree, (see image below) which  led to animals, plants and fungi, but also suggested POLYPLOIDY PROBABLY OCCURRED IN ALL LIFE:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P
    Paleopolyploidy

    Ancient genome duplications probably occurred in the evolutionary history of all life.

    Duplication events that occurred long ago in the history of various evolutionary lineages can be difficult to detect because of subsequent diploidization ……..(such that a polyploid starts to behave cytogenetically as a diploid over time) as mutations and gene translations gradually make one copy of each chromosome unlike its other copy. –   
    http://richarddawkins.net/disc

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wi

  49. I thought I’d check the importance of polyploidy in accounting for complexity in a relevant source: Richard Dawkins’s “Climbing Mount Improbable”.

    It is mentioned precisely never. That rounds to zero.

    The nice wikipedia chart has only two polyploid events in the lineage of the vast majority of animals (remember the OP). Both are labelled “speculated” and the speculation is based on the fact that Hox genes are found in clusters on four chromosomes and these can be divided roughly into two pairs with frequent similarities. When you see the number 2, goes the theory, why not suspect chromosome duplication? I agree – but polyploidy is a huge leap. Trisomy is much less disruptive (though still usually lethal in animals).

    However:

    Speculated is not the same as probable.

    Polyploidy does not add information. (Nor does trisomy.)

    If it did, Richard Dawkins strangely ignored this “very quick way” of adding information to enable evolution to Climb Mount Improbable. He does, of course, look closely at sexual recombination and hybridization. He uses a particular word a few timesin discussing the rarity or improbability of events (mutations etc) that provide the inputs for evolution: “trillion”. Since an event with a chance of one in a trillion has a 0.000000000001 likelihood of occurring, I suppose that emphatically rounds to zero and, like General Relativity, is not worthy of your consideration.

  50.  
    logicophilosophicus
    I thought I’d check the importance of polyploidy in accounting for complexity in a relevant source: Richard Dawkins’s “Climbing Mount Improbable”.

    It is mentioned precisely never. That rounds to zero.

    Polyploidy is a rapid evolutionary step change.

    Perhaps you missed the theme of the key point in “Climbing Mount Improbable”??

    Looking in the wrong place again!!!!

  51. The theme of “Climbing Mount Improbable” is to challenge the view that evolution is too improbable (e.g. without God’s help). Not, I think, to emphasise the improbability – that would be counterproductive.

    What do you think the “theme of the key point” was?

  52.  

    logicophilosophicus

    What do you think the “theme of the key point” was?

    The key point in “Climbing Mount Improbable”, is that evolutionary development can climb to complexity and diversity, by taking small steps (always) up the gentle slope of the mountain over a long period.

    It therefore concentrates on small steps up a gentle slope while creationists gawp at the towering heights  viewed from the other side.

    Building bridges between (small) pinnacles of development as in polyploid hybrids, runs counter to this theme.  It is a special case and a side-tracking distraction from it, so it should be no surprise that it does not feature in a book with this focus. 

    As I said, you do not seem to have noticed this and persistently don’t or won’t see the evidence because you keep looking in the wrong places and then declare there is none to be seen.  

    The overview of the big picture of the Eukaryote tree is quite clear, including some of the near misses and partially failed mutations.  

    Clearly there are problems with adding further complexity to already complex organisms, but that in no way detracts from the earlier increases in chromosome numbers which generated and facilitated some of that complexity.

    Evolution is opportunist.  If something can be tried and works, random exploration of millions of possibilities is likely to find one that does work.

  53. What RD actually wrote was that Darwinism solves the problem of “astronomic improbability… inch by million year inch. Only God would essay the mad task of leaping up the precipice in a single bound.” If you think RD withheld the information that evolution does leap – godlike – from pinnacle to pinnacle, then you have a low opinion of his scholarship in my view.

    However, the issue was always very simple: the importance/occurrence of autopolyploidy in animals. I suggested that hybridization, which sometimes produces allopolyloid offspring, is much more likely though still rare: polyploidy is lethal in higher vertebrates. I suggested that even those rare polyploid vertebrates would typically be sterile or perhaps parthenogenetic, thus evolutionary dead ends. I cited some sources, and I stick by those points.

    And, particularly, I note that the only clear evolutionary advantage of autopolyploidy is gene redundancy – the blank canvas for future “inch by million year inch” additional complexity – which of itself provides NO extra information/complexity, and which (by enabling “inch by…” etc) is NOT a “very quick way” (your words) of adding comlexity.

    Final issue: the two speculated polyploid events in our chordate ancestry, which are the ONLY events in the lineage leading to the higher vertebrates in your Wikipedia soure. That speculation has implications, signatures which should be detectable in vertebrate genomes. This was investigated by A.P.Martin in 1999, with the conclusion that only more limited duplication, not whole genome duplication (polyploidy) was involved – exactly as I said.

    http://darwin.zoology.gla.ac.u

    So where ARE the right places to look?

  54. Well because many species are diploid (have two copies of the genome) and recombination is something that is relatively frequent the accidental transfer of too many base pairs could happen. Another potentiality with Diploid cells is that the cell gets the same chromosome twice from the same parent thus giving them an extra copy, The origin of separate chromosomes may be even from the first diploid cells copying too many of the segments of DNA giving the cell many more copies of the Genome, then on individual genome sequences there could be isolated mutations that would lead to the extra copy of an existing chromosome turn in to its own new genetic sequence. 

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