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Gray
99659.  Thu Oct 05, 2006 10:21 am Reply with quote

Bunter assured me that a new species of mosquito had evolved on the London Underground. I was, like you, naturally skeptical of anything that issues forth from his own self, so I was bemused to discover:

http://www.gene.ch/gentech/1998/Jul-Sep/msg00188.html

Quote:
The team, whose findings are reported in BBC Wildlife magazine today, have also found genetic differences between mosquitoes on different Tube lines. They believe this is due to the draughts dispersing the insects along but not between lines.

 
Frederick The Monk
103985.  Tue Oct 17, 2006 1:56 pm Reply with quote

There's plenty of time to evolve when you're waiting for a tube train.

 
Flash
154804.  Thu Mar 08, 2007 4:50 am Reply with quote

Nothing to do with mosquitos, but the In Our Time ep which just broadcast on Radio 4 said that microbes don't 'evolve' as such, ie they don't develop in a way which is analogous to a tree, with different species 'branching' off it - their pattern of development is more analogous to a web.

Don't ask me what that means.

 
MatC
154829.  Thu Mar 08, 2007 5:38 am Reply with quote

Well, what the hell does that mean?

 
MatC
154832.  Thu Mar 08, 2007 5:41 am Reply with quote

Gray wrote:
Bunter assured me that a new species of mosquito had evolved on the London Underground. I was, like you, naturally skeptical of anything that issues forth from his own self, so I was bemused to discover:

http://www.gene.ch/gentech/1998/Jul-Sep/msg00188.html

Quote:
The team, whose findings are reported in BBC Wildlife magazine today, have also found genetic differences between mosquitoes on different Tube lines. They believe this is due to the draughts dispersing the insects along but not between lines.


I could have sworn we’d had this before - or something similar, about evolution and the underground - but I can’t find it. Does it sound familiar to anyone else?

 
Flash
154856.  Thu Mar 08, 2007 6:25 am Reply with quote

The London Underground is quite analogous to a web, as well.

 
Molly Cule
154866.  Thu Mar 08, 2007 6:40 am Reply with quote

Culex pipiens in London Underground tunnels: differentiation between surface and subterranean populations

* Katharine Byrne * &
* Richard A. Nichols
1 Queen Mary and Westfield College, University of London, Mile End Road, London E1 4NS, U.K.

Two people have written an entire paper about these mosquitos, much to the interest of a creation vs evolution website where i saw the reference.


Last edited by Molly Cule on Thu Mar 08, 2007 10:34 am; edited 1 time in total

 
Flash
154955.  Thu Mar 08, 2007 9:22 am Reply with quote

I've re-named this thread so that it's about Evolution in general.

This is what Garrick sent me, but I don't think it's been posted anywhere:

Quote:
Q: Does evolution break the second law of thermodynamics?
(Background: 2LTD states that systems become more disorganised, tending towards entropy, as time progresses. Whereas in evolution, things become more organised and less chaotic as time progresses)

A: There isn't really an answer to this one, it's more a point to begin a general chat. The claim that evolution might break the 2LTD was first made by a man who is generally agreed to be one of the greatest intellects ever born on earth. So it might be true ... or is it?

William James Sidis
* started feeding himself with a spoon at eight months;
* said his first word aged six months (on a personal note, my first word was uttered at five months. Make of that what you will :);
* pointed to Earth's moon and called it "moon" at seven months;
* learned to spell efficiently by one year old;
* started reading The New York Times at 18 months; started typing at three, using his highchair to reach a typewriter (first composed letter was an order for toys from Macy's);
* read Caesar's Gallic Wars, in Latin (self-taught), as a present to his father on his fourth birthday;
* learned Greek alphabet and read Homer in Greek in his fourth year;
* learned Aristotelian logic in his sixth year; learned Russian, French, German, and Hebrew by the age of six (followed by Turkish and Armenian soon after);
* could calculate mentally the day any date in history would fall, at age six;
* started grammar school at six.
* In three days he was moved to the third grade, and he graduated from grammar school in seven months; wrote four books between ages of four and eight (two on anatomy and astronomy are lost);
* passed Harvard Medical School anatomy exam at age seven;
* passed Massachusetts Institute of Technology entrance examinations at age eight unofficially, scoring a perfect 100 on the mathematics and physics sections, and officially at age ten

But he was a crap violinist. And smelt. Probably.

S: Biographical sketch of Sidis (Rice University archives)
http://ricehistoricalsociety.org/cornerstone/issues/RiceCornerstoneWinter2003.pdf

The other way of doing it...
Q: Who was the most intelligent man ever?
(Insert your own forfeits)
A: There's no official answer, but possibly the best claim to the title belonged to William James Sidis, who blah blah blah ... and was the first person to suggest that evolution was a breach of the 2TLD, in his book The Animate and the Inanimate (explanation follows)

BACKGROUND: Sidis's theory has since been taken up by Creationists, who use it as "proof" that evolution is physically impossible (since you can't break the 2TLD - they can be very fond of science when the mood takes them, can't they?). Sidis's original claim (as far as I understand it) was that evolution 'travels' along a time-stream that goes backwards relative to ours. The implications of this are fascinating and there might be more questions to be wrung out of it. Someone else might like to cast their eye over Sidis's text online: http://www.sidis.net/ANIMContents.htm


As far as the 2LTD issue concerned, I think it'll be too complex for Stephen to explain in a single sentence, so whatever other merits the idea might or might not have I can't see it as a question in itself. It is one of those ideas which people like to bat about on the internet, but I've never heard anyone discuss it anywhere else and even on the internet no-one seems to argue it seriously as far as I can make out.

 
Flash
154956.  Thu Mar 08, 2007 9:24 am Reply with quote

More from Garrick:

Quote:
Q: What was Darwin's biggest failure?
A: "Origin of the Species" does not explain the origin of species. It goes into great lengths about everything else, but not that.

BACKGROUND: Ernst Mayr (I'll let Chris explain) said that Darwin “failed to solve the problem indicated by the title to his work. Although he demonstrated the modification of species in the time dimension, he never seriously attempted a rigorous analysis of the problem of the multiplication of species.”
In 1964, George Simpson wrote that “the book called The Origin of Species is not really on that subject.”
(Both quotes are reproduced in The Neck of the Giraffe: Where Darwin Went Wrong, Francis Hitching, Macmillan, 1982.)

 
dr.bob
154972.  Thu Mar 08, 2007 9:44 am Reply with quote

Flash wrote:
As far as the 2LTD issue concerned, I think it'll be too complex for Stephen to explain in a single sentence, so whatever other merits the idea might or might not have I can't see it as a question in itself. It is one of those ideas which people like to bat about on the internet, but I've never heard anyone discuss it anywhere else and even on the internet no-one seems to argue it seriously as far as I can make out.


Sounds nonsense to me. The second law of thermodynamics states that entropy must always increase in a closed system.

Of course it's entirely possible to make things more ordered without breaking the second law. If you take some wood pulp, form it into pages, dry it out, write some Shakespeare on it and bind it in a leather binding, you've created a nice, ordered Complete Works of Shakespeare. This does not, however, violate the second law because, if you consider the entire system involved, it's taken you a lot of energy to perform this task. This energy will doubtless be derived by burning coal (e.g. to power the machinery) or metabolising food (to power yourself). If you add it all up, you'll find that the total entropy for the entire system will have increased.

Given that evolution creates structures by means of having organisms reproduce, live, and die in vast numbers, I don't think it'd be too hard to prove that, despite an insect evolving a slightly more efficient compound eye (or something), the total entropy for the entire system will still have increased.

 
Flash
154975.  Thu Mar 08, 2007 9:52 am Reply with quote

Yes, that's the thrust of what people say - and also that the world as a whole isn't a closed system because it receives energy from the Sun. If this guy Sidis is as bright as Garrick says it may be that his argument is more sophisticated than the executive summary implies, but even so I can't see this idea inspiring the panel.

 
dr.bob
154976.  Thu Mar 08, 2007 9:56 am Reply with quote

No, entropy is always a bit of a bugger to try and explain to the layman.

 
Gray
155008.  Thu Mar 08, 2007 10:53 am Reply with quote

Re: Mayr, Darwin and his book's title, this is a bit of a read, but I think clears the misunderstanding up neatly:

http://www.nature.com/hdy/journal/v95/n1/full/6800686a.html

Quote:
All Darwin is really saying here is that there is no theoretical barrier for 'varieties' to evolve into 'species', since they are the same kinds of things. At root, all evolutionary biologists agree with this position, surely!

and
Quote:
'To sum up, I believe that species come to be tolerably well-defined objects, and do not at any one period present an inextricable chaos of varying and intermediate links' (Darwin, 1859, p 177). Darwin was, after all, a taxonomist, and had to face practicalities of species delimitation as well as to develop an evolutionary species concept. As I explain above, he was really arguing against creationists for what is today a relatively uncontroversial potential of geographic races and other 'varieties' to evolve into species; as a naturalist, he didn't try to argue that species didn't exist or were completely continuous in sympatry. In fact, his theory of speciation hinged on the extinction of intermediates between species; this was how, to Darwin, species came to be 'tolerably well-defined' morphological clusters.

Which is how general theory goes even today, IIUIC.

It's a language thing, as much as anything, in that 'variety' and 'species' were new concepts as applied to animals in those days, and this makes them easy to confuse.

Not many good gags to be had from this...

 
Gray
155012.  Thu Mar 08, 2007 10:58 am Reply with quote

Also, Mayr made that quote in a 1942 book (Systematics and the Origin of Species) which I think he might well retract now, were he not pushing up the daisies.

 
Molly Cule
156647.  Wed Mar 14, 2007 7:14 pm Reply with quote

Bacteria use "wheels" to get around; they employ what is known as bacterium flagellum, a rotating mechanism that drives them along. Half of all known bacteria have at least one flagellum, which works by attaching itself to a "wheel" in the cell membrane. This wheel generates electricity by rotating at huge speeds (up to 100 times per second), and causing fluctuating charges in a ring of proteins that is attached to the cell membrane. Sounds sophisticated, because it is - and bacteria got there first. Flagellums (flagella?) are used to refute the idea of evolution - the design is so perfect that it must have come into being all of a piece.


Last edited by Molly Cule on Wed Mar 14, 2007 7:17 pm; edited 1 time in total

 

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