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BuddyFerris

Life, The Universe, And Everything

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... joining a conversation already in progress between alanh and Buddy Ferris ...

 

 

alanh said...

 

Buddy:

 

You (or perhaps someone at the Discovery Institute) quote-mined this sentence out of an article by N. J. White in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, which discusses drug resistance in the malarial parasite Plasmodium falciparum:

 

"This suggests that the per-parasite probability of developing resistance de novo is on the order of 1 in 10^20 parasite multiplications."

 

You used this sentence to declare that the entire theory of evolution is too improbable and not "reasonable." You conveniently ignored the author's discussion of why this one specific organism has difficulty developing resistance to one specific chemical, and that there can be as many as 10^12 of these parasites living in a single human host. You also missed the fact that Plasmodium falciparum has already become resistant to chloroquine, first noted in East Africa in 1979 according to the World Health Organization.

 

Trying to weasel out of this by falling back on the old argument that no one has seen a cat turn into a dog isn't going to work, nor is complaining about the tone of the discussion. If you can't admit an error then we have to assume that your religious beliefs are preventing you from doing do, and if that is the case, what good are they?

 

July 30, 2007

 

 

Dear alanh,

You might look before you leap, pal.

 

Quote mining may be common; my interest in malarial resistance to modern medications is personal. You may have missed in recent posts that I work and have friends in Africa where malaria still kills thousands of children each year.

 

I'm aware of the article's context and content. The citation supports my generalization regarding the number of replications required to achieve significant change by random mutation/variation. That is specifically the point addressed.

 

It is precisely the parasite's resistance to chloroquine that is troublesome; it has occurred spontaneously several times in the last 50 years. The mechanics of that resistance are simplistic, although impressive, adaptations that amount to less change than beagle to basset. It's still the same parasite. The disappointing news is that resistance to several more effective drugs has occurred rapidly due to a simpler mechanism.

 

Don't dismiss the numbers in such a cavalier manner;

10^12 = the number of parasites in one infected host

10^20 = the number of parasite replications required to stumble upon chloroquine resistance

10^30 = the total number of bacterial cell replications on earth in a given year

10^40 = the total number of bacterial cells produced in the history of the planet; also the total number of bacterial replications required to produce any two sequential changes of a similar complexity to chloroquine resistance.

The number of changes required for the transition from single cell to multi-cell - perhaps hundreds to thousands.

The number of changes required for the transition from non-differentiated multi-cell to cellular differentiation in type and function - perhaps thousands to tens of thousands.

Moving on to the distinguishable variations in body part function... the cumulative requirement exceeds the total number of living organisms in the history of life on earth by several orders of magnitude.

 

The issue troubles me not at all; it seems to provoke emotional responses here, though. I suspect we'll both be interested in the answers; you perhaps more than I.

 

Buddy

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And? I'm not sure what the subject is?

 

Are you arguing that evolution doesn't work, because the there's only 1 in 10^20 chance for a parasite to evolve chloriquine resistance? But what are the chances to win in lotto? The chances there are also low, but people win, and lotto exists... Please expand on your topic to clarify where you're going with this.

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I read this before and didn't get what exactly was being addressed. Hans is one of our better thinkers on the board and has no idea either, so it's not just me.

 

Though, yet another person who reads emotion where there is none.

 

Buddy,

 

This section of the board is our idea of a playground. Christians have a hard time figuring this out, but toying with Christians is our idea of fun and games. It is the Christians who cry "no fair" and take their ball and go home in a huff, not us. Get it?

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Taph, you're too kind. :wub: There's a lot of love in the air today.

 

I was thinking, how many times do we hear that such and such has so low probability that it is impossible? And it confuses me, because low probability doesn't mean no probability. It's a kind of dishonesty to neglect a number in probability for these things, especially considering that the calcuations usually are based on some assumptions. What are the probability that my parents are my parents? Or what are the probability that I met my wife, got married and had five kids? If one goes back all those Biblical years, and add up all the chances of me to exist, I shouldn't exist according to the statistics. Consider that I could have married billions of other women in the the world, but I picked one, and somehow the chances of my kids to exist is 1 in billions. So multiply that with some odd hundred generations and the chances of my kids to exist are extremely low. But yet, here they are...

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[holier-than-thou-patronizing-tone]But Han, you're the product of a loving Creator who made you special! How can you say the odds of your existence is so low! God knew you'd be born the moment he made the world! It's so hopeless to believe that you're just a statistic.[/holier-than-thou-patronizing-tone]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BTW, great reasoning, Han... :woohoo:

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Hans,

 

Happy Birthday!

 

First of all, stating fact is not being kind.

 

I think a lot of people have problems with the randomness of life. Perhaps, it's a need for controling the uncontrolable.

 

The odds stacked against us makes life a life a lot more precious. The only life we can prove is this one and the fact that we even exist is such an infinate miniscule possibilty but here we are.

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We're just ships, lost on the chaotic ocean called life.

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Buddy

 

Your numbers are off. Mutation rates are generally on the order of 1 in 10^4 to 1 in 10^8 per gene. Different genes can mutate simultaneously in one organism. Mutation rates can vary due to environmental factors.

 

Article by Stanley Maloy, San Diego State University:

http://www.sci.sdsu.edu/~smaloy/MicrobialG...luctuation.html

 

"Bacteria, Archae, and Eukaryotic microbes produce about one mutation per 300 chromosome replications. For E. coli this works out to be between 10^-6 and 10^-7 mutations per gene per generation, however it is important to note that there are certain "hot spots" or "cold spots" for spontaneous mutations. (A "hot spot" is a site that has a higher rate of mutations than predicted from a normal distribution, and a "cold spot" is a site with a lower rate of mutations than predicted from a normal distribution.) Higher eukaryotes have the same rate of spontaneous mutation, so that rates per sexual generation are about one mutation per gamete (close to the maximum compatible with life). RNA viruses have much higher mutation rates -- about one mutation per genome per chromosome replication -- and even small increases in their mutation rates are lethal.

 

 

John W. Drake, Rates of Spontaneous Mutation, Genetics, Vol. 148:

http://www.genetics.org/cgi/content/full/148/4/1667#top

 

"Mutation rates in microbes with DNA-based chromosomes are close to 1/300 per genome per replication..."

 

"Mutation rates in higher eukaryotes are roughly 0.1–100 per genome per sexual generation..."

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Is this some new kind of trolling? Bringing some debate from another forum and span (spam) them to other forums? Both of you guys have neither presented yourself or started any topic in such a way that it makes any sense?!

 

And really, does it matter if there is a rate of 10^X or 10^Y? After all, a lot of these estimates are based on some fundamental assumptions.

 

If you two really want to discuss this minor detail in Biology, then at least start with some kind of presentation of who you are, and then we'll let you loose in the Science section to debate.

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Should not this thread be moved to that forum, does not seem to fit in this one....unless you count potential multiple personality issues that I have a funny feeling may exist with these "two".

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For those of you scratching your heads, Buddy was trying to demonstrate that evolution is mathematically impossible. The webmaster moved the conversation here as one thread was at the end of an article with over 400 comments, and this exchange started on an article by Stronger Now with over 200 comments.

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Sorry HanSolo, I didn't mean to barge in. I've been hanging out on the blog side, Dave the webmaster moved this thread here, partly I assume to save bandwidth, and partly because Buddy keeps posting but not presenting much in the way of evidence.

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Alanh says:

Buddy

 

Your numbers are off. Mutation rates are generally on the order of 1 in 10^4 to 1 in 10^8 per gene. Different genes can mutate simultaneously in one organism. Mutation rates can vary due to environmental factors.

 

Article by Stanley Maloy, San Diego State University:

http://www.sci.sdsu.edu/~smaloy/MicrobialG...luctuation.html

 

"Bacteria, Archae, and Eukaryotic microbes produce about one mutation per 300 chromosome replications. For E. coli this works out to be between 10^-6 and 10^-7 mutations per gene per generation....

 

Buddy says:

 

Thanks, pal. Your numbers are more conservative than mine.

 

And for the rest of the crowd:

We wandered far afield from the nature of evidence to personal experience and science solutions. This was an aside between alanh and buddy originating Here. On one side, we have an ex-c supporting random mutation/variation and on the other we have an ex-c supporting absolute determinism and the absence of any randomness. I dropped the initial-design element into the evolving mix. Feel free to join in.

 

Buddy

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Sorry HanSolo, I didn't mean to barge in. I've been hanging out on the blog side, Dave the webmaster moved this thread here, partly I assume to save bandwidth, and partly because Buddy keeps posting but not presenting much in the way of evidence.

Aah. Okay. Then at least I have some frame of reference for what this came from. Then I'll sit back and just listen to the debate. :)

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Buddy,

I think you mistook me in the Dear Believer blog! My son is a "literal bible" beater. I was being sarcastic with you and the creationist aspect of the debate. I will not get into the randomness aspect of mutations because I do believe that it occurs spontaneously and randomly. So, to say that it will only occur x number of times in a generation or per x replications of DNA is being overly simplistic.

 

Buddy, my main beef with you has been the following.

I have a degree in Biology, and I know people who do research. When doing research, we can honestly say, "We don't know". Then more research is conducted. It seems that you continually say, "I don't know, therefore some intelligent design did it!" That is taking the "easy" way out and which illicted my calling you "lazy"!

 

I am a deist by nature with a major qualification. The creator was a force called the big bang and the eventual collapse only to be repeated over and over with all possible radom combinations being played out without any interference from the original force IMHO.

 

Again, I would like to discover new things that had not be observed before by mankind. I yearn for reading exciting breakthroughs in science. Learning something new is the only thing that matters, otherwise we should shrivel up and die!

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Some additional thoughts on my pal Buddy's post:

 

"10^20 = the number of parasite replications required to stumble upon chloroquine resistance"

The figure given is a suggested probability of a not-fully-understood phenomenon reported in a single paper, you might want to consider some corroboration before you declare evolution dead.

 

"10^30 = the total number of bacterial cell replications on earth in a given year"

 

That figure doesn't seem right in light of William Whitman's estimate of 5 x 10^30 prokaryotes currently living on Earth. According to my back-of-the-envelope calculations I came up with 4.4 x 10^34 replications per year, assuming one replication per hour, as most bacteria reproduce in somewhere between 15 minutes and an hour.

 

"10^40 = the total number of bacterial cells produced in the history of the planet; also the total number of bacterial replications required to produce any two sequential changes..."

 

Mutations don't have to occur sequentially, you keep ignoring that (as does Henry Morris.)

 

Does your alternative explanation for such things as multi-cellular organisms and complex body parts involve the supernatural?

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Oh goody. Some big kids to play in the park! I'm going to sit back and enjoy. Welcome guys.

 

One thought from a non-biologist here, doesn't it seem that Buddy is hoping to find some single silver bullet to unseat the deeply established Theory of Evolution? I can see disputing debating particulars in the findings of research, but it seems there is an underlying motive driving this, which has a conclusion already in mind. Not exactly following the scientific method, is it?

 

Carry on... :grin:

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I still don't understand why low probability would equal no probability. That seems like faulty logic to me.

 

Regardless of of how large or small chance there is for a bacteria to mutate, still the resistance to certain medication must come from somewhere. If they didn't have it before the medication, then where the heck did it come from? Does God still create new bacteria? Genesis never stopped, and God is still making evil diseases? Or did some bacteria have the resistance already, and God created all the kinds of bacteria in the beginning, even the ones with resistance? Well, it can't be the devil, since I assume it's only God that is omniscient and would know that we'd develop medicine one day. Or is it that the devil does have the ability to see the future and foresee human ingenuity, and it was him that created this little critters? Ah... I think I know... devil did know, since medicine is from the devil too of course. Anything that helps and heal people must be from the evil one, and it's in God's plan to harm humanity. Obvious isn't it?

 

Evolution is the only answer if you want to keep God benevolent.

 

Now, back to the professionals to deal with the topic. :)

 

Alanh and Freeman, I hope you stay a while in our forum and partake in our journey of life and quest to understand it.

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Buddy,

I think you mistook me in the Dear Believer blog! My son is a "literal bible" beater. I was being sarcastic with you and the creationist aspect of the debate. ... Again, I would like to discover new things that had not be observed before by mankind. I yearn for reading exciting breakthroughs in science. Learning something new is the only thing that matters, otherwise we should shrivel up and die!

 

Thanks for clarifying things. I'm not overly concerned about the issue that began the most recent eruption of emotion-laden criticism, but I share your annoyance at the simplistic answers offered in the face of contradictory evidence. I didn't mention design; everyone just assumed an end run when I laid out some of the problem. I've heard no reasonable explanation offered for the statistical difficulty, though, and semi-hoped a thought might have emerged from the primordial goo on the subject. As you point out, we can in good conscience say we don't know on many issues. I'm bored with hearing the simplistic brush-off from ex-thinkers. It goes something like, "I may not know the answer, but what ever it is, I'm sure you're wrong."

 

I enjoy with you the new frontiers in science and the challenges presented to reasonable thought by emerging ideas. Feel free to offer whatever insights you have here; I'll try to respond honestly and without childish defensiveness.

 

Buddy

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Oh goody. Some big kids to play in the park! I'm going to sit back and enjoy. Welcome guys.

... doesn't it seem that Buddy is hoping to find some single silver bullet to unseat the deeply established Theory of Evolution? ...

 

Carry on... :grin:

 

Well, good morning! Another glorious day on the beach. Hope I'm not the only one on vacation.

Thanks for the observation, Antlerman (where DO you guys come up with these names?). Silver bullets abound on every front, but little is accomplished by way of persuasion.

 

For instance: if I were to tell you that my grandmother won the powerball everyday last week, you'd say (and rightly so) show me some proof. I'd say here's a million dollars in her bank account. You'd say (and rightly so) not enough money, and the likelihood of her winning that way are just to remote. The chances are around 1 in 10^40. You're gonna have to do better than "it's possible, statistically speaking, therefore I believe it happened randomly."

 

You see my point. Statistical possibility doesn't equate to proof any more than a 60% chance of rain causes the flowers to bloom.

 

OK for an opening?

 

Thanks for joining in; I'm fair game, apparently, and an easy target of opportunity. Preferences - common sense, reasonably adult level conversation, minimal whining.

 

 

Buddy

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I still don't understand why low probability would equal no probability. That seems like faulty logic to me.

 

Good observation. Drug resistance is real and occurrs naturally. Break it down a bit; you're trying to guess the combination to a lock which is a thousand numbers long, and the numbers have to be in right order. It's a sloppy lock, so you can make a lot of substitutions but one particular slot has to be filled exactly right. Chance of guessing right and getting the lock open on the first try; one in a thousand. If two slots are required to be correct? One in a million. If you tried one combination per minute, etc., etc.

 

Low probability isn't a problem. One in a million million is low. Problems arise when the same person has to hit that powerball every time without a miss. In order to be believable, it has to be reasonable. The difficulty is that the required attempts exceed the time and sample set available to pull it off.

 

Drug resistance in single-cell bacteria is a good illustration. It's natural selection at its' best. A couple of amino acid changes are required to offset the effects of a drug. A few billion trillion creatures are required for random mutation to hit on drug resistance; natural selection gives that one a boost and it replicates ahead of the rest as a drug resistant strain.

 

Now consider the number of amino acid changes required to become a multi-celled creature, a swimmer, a carnivore, an amphibian, etc. The changes require more creature generations than the earth has produced. The size of the sample set required exceeds the historic population. By a lot. It's a problem for science; we'll know more as the years pass.

 

I only poke at the issue because the reaction I get will be reasoned or unreasoned; I keep hoping for a reasoned response. Yours was OK, by the way. You might easily have web-searched for an answer not your own and fired it off here. Thanks,

Buddy

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Oh goody. Some big kids to play in the park! I'm going to sit back and enjoy. Welcome guys.

... doesn't it seem that Buddy is hoping to find some single silver bullet to unseat the deeply established Theory of Evolution? ...

 

Carry on... :grin:

 

Well, good morning! Another glorious day on the beach. Hope I'm not the only one on vacation.

Thanks for the observation, Antlerman (where DO you guys come up with these names?). Silver bullets abound on every front, but little is accomplished by way of persuasion.

 

For instance: if I were to tell you that my grandmother won the powerball everyday last week, you'd say (and rightly so) show me some proof. I'd say here's a million dollars in her bank account. You'd say (and rightly so) not enough money, and the likelihood of her winning that way are just to remote. The chances are around 1 in 10^40. You're gonna have to do better than "it's possible, statistically speaking, therefore I believe it happened randomly."

 

You see my point. Statistical possibility doesn't equate to proof any more than a 60% chance of rain causes the flowers to bloom.

 

OK for an opening?

 

Thanks for joining in; I'm fair game, apparently, and an easy target of opportunity. Preferences - common sense, reasonably adult level conversation, minimal whining.

 

 

Buddy

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I'm not overly concerned about the [...] eruption of emotion-laden criticism. I'm bored with [...] ex-thinkers.

 

I'll try to respond [...] without childish defensiveness.

Buddy

 

Ironic.

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Hi Buddy!

I couldn't resist!

Dano

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Buddy said in Dear Believer,

"Yet still, there are mysteries whose simplest likely cause points to a design which cannot be achieved within this universe by random mutation and natural selection."

 

What is meant by this statement Buddy? :shrug:

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