General Question

spresto's avatar

What are the gaps in evolution?

Asked by spresto (898points) April 28th, 2009

Are there gaps in evolution?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

83 Answers

nikipedia's avatar

Dude, if there were gaps, it wouldn’t be evolution. It would be spontaneously bursting into existence.

KatawaGrey's avatar

Are you talking about forced evolution? I think whenever a huge natural climate change happens, a number of species die out or come very close and the ones who survive are the ones who breed. During ice ages, whoever can can adapt quickly does and whoever can’t dies out. I would say those would be considered gaps in evolution because certain qualities and species would have otherwise survived.

warpling's avatar

I’m pretty sure what you’re speaking of are the fallacies with the evolutionary model that pretty well support the theory of intelligent design…

…jk, but really, I have heard of these apparent “gaps,” and I think they are from these forced natural changes, spontaneous large genetic changes, and bad data collection (ie. new species that resembles an old line is discovered creating a gap).

syz's avatar

Are you talking about gaps in the fossil record? When you consider the exact sequence of events required to create a fossil, it’s not wonder the record is spotty.

GAMBIT's avatar

If we evolved from apes why are apes still on the planet?

syz's avatar

Oh, good lord. We did not “evolve from apes”, we evolved from from the same ancestors that apes evolved from.

GAMBIT's avatar

@syz – only if you believe in evolution.

syz's avatar

@GAMBIT Only if you have a functioning intellect.

GAMBIT's avatar

@syz – and this is how you show yours I suppose?

nikipedia's avatar

@GAMBIT: When you look at a tree, do you wonder why it has multiple branches?

Evolution works the same way.

spresto's avatar

Well I am new in the studies of evolution. I studied it some in high school, but honestly I could have cared less. I had to worry about girls and other junk like that at the time. lol. But I am intrigued by it and was curious to know if there were, so called gaps, or is it a fact?

syz's avatar

Is what a fact? What gaps are you talking about?

spresto's avatar

Thats what I am asking the fluther. I don’t know what the gaps are. Is evolution a fact?

GAMBIT's avatar

@nikipedia – are we talking about man’s evolution or trees and plants?

spresto's avatar

@GAMBIT Does it matter?

syz's avatar

Read this.

If you truly want to understand evolution, I would recommend that you do some reading/research rather than talking to laypersons who are merely expressing an opinion.

GAMBIT's avatar

@spresto – yes to me it does. I believe in creation. Shoot me but I do.

nikipedia's avatar

@spresto: The word “fact” is a tricky one in science. What makes anything a fact? Most good scientists will tell you that gravity isn’t even a fact, but a very well-supported theory. I would put evolution in this category—a theory that is so well-supported that it might as well be a fact—because so much data backs it up, and no data that I know of undermines it.

@GAMBIT: I also would not differentiate between the evolution of plants versus man versus any other living organism. Not going to shoot you, but I invite you to present any evidence you have that plants and man came into being through different mechanisms.

GAMBIT's avatar

@nikipedia – yes both made by a creator.

KatawaGrey's avatar

@spresto: That is a matter of some debate. There are some people on here who will tell you that evolution is a fact and there are some people on here who will tell you that evolution is preposterous.

To answer your question, I do not think there are necessarily gaps, but there are leaps, as in the example I gave I above. Evolution is a very slow process but if you accept it as true, there cannot be gaps. New attributes will pop up and so will mutations, but there have to be genes already there and ready to be combined before these can happen.

Personally, I believe some divine being, god, deity, whatever, started things off and then let them go as they would. I see no reason why creationism and evolution have to be mutually exclusive.

nikipedia's avatar

@GAMBIT:

1. I asked for evidence you have that they came into being by different mechanisms, so I think you mean “no, they were both made by a creator.”

2. I asked for evidence you have that they came into being by different mechanisms, so any evidence you have of this is welcome.

Lupin's avatar

Oh please. It’s like asking what gaps there are in my meter stick. Centimeters? Millimeters? Do I really know that millimeter #763 is there. Come on. .... Or is this question from the Kansas school district?

KatawaGrey's avatar

@Lupin: I don’t think there is any call for that kind of nastiness. What if this question is from someone who honestly doesn’t know about evolution and wants to learn? If that is the case, determining if there are gaps or not seems perfectly legitimate.

spresto's avatar

@syz Thank you for the link. The mechanism debate was particularly what I was addressing. I just could not put the words out. lol.

spresto's avatar

@Lupin No need to be a dick, dude. I am trying to learn.

GAMBIT's avatar

@nikipedia – Look out your window there is the EVIDENCE. I see a world of creation. What more evidence do you need?

Lupin's avatar

I thought this was just going to be another rant on the same argument that has been on this site over and over. He said… no he said… no this scientist said.
If the questioner was really interested in learning about evolution he/she should not be consulting Fluther. That’s my point.

nikipedia's avatar

@GAMBIT: I see no evidence that it was brought into being by a creator versus by arbitrary, stochastic mechanisms. That is the evidence I was asking for.

GAMBIT's avatar

@nikipedia – then we are at a stand still. Nothing I can say can make you believe and nothing you say can make me not.

Enjoy your day.

KatawaGrey's avatar

@GAMBIT: I gave you a GA for knowing when it’s pointless to start a shouting match about beliefs that don’t intersect at all. Thank you.

spresto's avatar

@Lupin A good point to bring up. How right you are. I have consulted many sources before I decided to come to fluther and get chewed out by the all knowing Lupin. But thats okay, Lupin. I accept your apology.

spresto's avatar

So the general consensus is there is evidence, materials, etc. but no mechanism has been officially established.

Lupin's avatar

I like that…“The all knowing Lupin.” Thanks

nikipedia's avatar

@spresto: I am not sure I would say that. I took a class in college called “Mechanisms of Evolution.” Evolution doesn’t have a single mechanism; a lot of things come into play.

The general model is that completely random mutations occur in your DNA constantly, and when they benefit your ability to survive to the point of reproduction, they get passed on, and when they don’t, you die and the mutation is lost. This is a huge oversimplification; for more check out the wikipedia page on evolution.

spresto's avatar

@nikipedia Thank you for your insight.

seVen's avatar

Yes, there are HUGE gaps. Like how does one creature supposebly transforms itself into another , where are the fossils of that? I don’t mean the fossils that the scientists found of some misformed skull that could have been a human/ape with bone disformation illness and classified it as evolving human, or hoaxes as purposely transforming some skull an burrying it to make a hoax shot.
Please , where’s the Legit evidence because all I see is a deceit of the masses.

syz's avatar

This is why I have NO respect for religious institutions.

nikipedia's avatar

@seVen: A single creature doesn’t transform itself into another. Its offspring are slightly different from it. Incremental changes like that (from parent to offspring, not within a single organism) eventually lead to what we classify as a new species.

Do you have much background in biology? I would be happy to talk to you about how genetics work.

delirium's avatar

Is it okay if I almost started crying, both from laughter and from the sheer pathetic-ness of GAMBIT’s responses?

Spresto, there are mechanisms… primarily called genetics.

Look at the variation that occurs in humans… we all look exceptionally different. We have far less genetic variability than most other species. (Simply said: Two of the same species may look the same to us, but they have more difference between them than between me (caucasian, short, curvy, half hungarian girl with a rare genetic mutation) and Yoko Ono.)

The inherent randomness of change is countered by the fact that only the best individuals are able to reproduce for many reasons including attractiveness to a mate, health, ability to spare the resources to have young, safety and strength, and so on.

We can see this change-by-very-small-steps everywhere around us. If there is a creator, he’s a moron. Species are SO incredibly flawed that it is honestly absurd to presume there was any intelligence in our ‘design’. For example, our eyes have reversed retinas (so our brains have to flip everything we see over because the info comes in upsidown), blind spots, and awful eyesight because information has to go through an insane number of cells before it reaches our brain where its processed… which all have hte potential to mess it up (like lens irregularity causing an astigmatism). People choke because our trachea (‘breathing pipe’) is right where our food goes down too! The male prostate gland and the bladder occupy the same general space, so if one expands, the other can’t. We have blood clots, heart attacks, cataracts, arthritis, and one of the worst birthing processes in the entire animal kingdom. If humans were intelligently designed, we would have our birth canal where our bellybutton is, so it doesn’t have to go through the absurdly narrow pelvic girdle (which actually breaks when a woman gives birth because the infants head can’t fit, otherwise). That’s actually what a cesarian section does… it takes the infant out where it would make sense for it to come out, instead of through something potentially more narrow than a persons neck.

We end up with a question of the reason that we have similar species and relatives of such. There are tons of ways this happens, but a simple one is a population of animals getting split by geography. When a population is split down the middle, they evolve according to their environment. They gradually (or sometimes more quickly, and I can explain that too if you’d like) then evolve.

Example: The Uromastyx Lizard (I study these adorable guys, and they’re common in the pet trade, now) is an excellent example of evolution. They live in the outskirts of the Sahara desert, and the populations of them are continually split because of ongoing desertification (the Sahara is expanding). Once these populations are split, they gradually change based on reproductive success. These lizards exist in all these slight variations depending on very minimal numeric distances, but are blocked by areas that they cannot survive (get eaten, can’t find food, etc). If you look, around Mali in Africa, you find them with bright yellow backs, black bodies, lots of gender variation, and maxing out at about 13 inches long, with medium length spikey tails… (wait, I’m posting this because I need to dig up some pictures of these guys as an example).

spresto's avatar

@delirium Wow, girl! Way to type! lol. It is a concievable process. I can understand the randomness and how a process of billions of years can result in the way we are. It is an a most excellent argument. Oh, definately show me these lizards. lol.

syz's avatar

Look at any domesticated species. We selectively breed for traits that we like (passivity, milk production, lap dogs) and over time we change that species. Think of what how we’ve gotten both Chihuahuas and Great Danes out of the same distant lineage.

It’s the same exact process as evolution, except the great overriding determiner of success is survival and reproduction, not some breeder that wants a hairless dog. If you survive long enough to breed and you produce lots of offspring, you change the resultant population to be more like you (forgive the gross oversimplification). What’s not to believe?

Ivan's avatar

Don’t attempt to learn evolution by asking random people on a website. The majority of people in the US don’t understand evolution. You will just get a lot of strawman arguments and false dichotomies.

To answer the question: There aren’t really any gaps in evolution.

I highly recommend this series of videos: http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=126AFB53A6F002CC&search_query=foundational+falsehood+of+creationism

GAMBIT's avatar

@delirium – I hope knowone calls you pathetic because of what you believe in.

spresto's avatar

Hey guys. I didn’t ask for a theological debate. I will come to my own conclusion of God and an after life on my own. I was asking specifically about evolution. Let stick to the subject. I don’t need help finding evidence to debunk what another person thinks and believes.

GAMBIT's avatar

@spresto – I find it funny that when someone stands up to say I do not go along with what someone else is saying they immediately are labeled to have “no intellect” or they are called silly names like “pathetic”. I gave an honest answer and got attacked by the insecure.

I believe in creation and I am proud that I do.

spresto's avatar

@GAMBIT Again, I hope you don’t think I am trying to pass judgement. I embarked on this study I am doing for more understanding and to learn to keep an open mind no matter what the situation. I feel I am reaching it. But I do not presume to say who is right or wrong. Since the beginning of existance there has been battle and confrontation. If faith in God and religion did not exist men would find something else to argue and debate over. That I am certain of. So, in conclusion thank you for your thoughts.

delirium's avatar

Okay, here’s a handy dandy map of africa with the (VERY VAGUE) area where they’re found highlighted…. Map.

You can see, however, that where they currently exist is in this huuuuge band across africa and part of hte arabian peninsula.

I’m going to show you a progression of these lizards moving… to the right. (Note, this is a very very simplified view of what’s going on and the variations I am showing you are just a few… but it should suffice.)
GOLD MAP DOT
Mali

ORANGE MAP DOT
Nigerian
Next Nigerian
Next Nigerian
Next Nigerian
(We call these different ‘phases’ of Nigerian Uros.)

GREY DOT
Ornate
MoreOrnate
(This is a different species that is slightly broken off from the Macfedyeni Ornate Uro…)
Sudanese Oscillated

BLUE DOT
Yemen Benti
Female malemimic

GREY DOT
Egyptian

The differences you see aren’t just color. There’s changes in tail length, temperment, care required, foods enjoyed, and size. (For example, the Oscillated is really quite small, whereas the Egyptian can end up being 3’ long).

The closer related of these could interbreed, but you couldn’t likely breed an Egyptian to a Mali (or something).
—If you’re interested, here are more uro species and color and so on….

Fascinating, isn’t it?!

GAMBIT's avatar

@spresto – yes I understand and you have conducted this well. It is others who have reversed to name calling. I bowed out of this discussion and came back only to find I was put down because I had enough guts to answer your question honestly.

delirium's avatar

No, we laugh when people ask the classic “ape” question because it is honestly funny.

delirium's avatar

I reserve the right to laugh. You posted publicly in a debate style with non-debate statements. I can publicly laugh.

GAMBIT's avatar

@delirium – laughter is good but you should not have to call someone pathetic. That goes a little beyond laughter don’t you think?

spresto's avatar

@delirium It actually is really fun. Oh, and they are adorable. lol. One question though. You said you couldn’t likely interbreed the Mali and the Egyptian. Has it been tested?

ragingloli's avatar

Asking the “Ape-question” just serves to show that you know nothing about evolution, yet try to argue against it, while claiming to know what evolution is about. If that is not pathetic, then what is?

spresto's avatar

Okay okay okay. I have a suggestion to all. Lets all open our minds to new ideas and experiences. @GAMBIT do some research on evolution…@ragingloli do a little digging on faith and religion and keep it open to sprituality since that is what it deals with. : D

GAMBIT's avatar

@ragingloli – what is pathetic is that I am getting ganged up on for answering a question. Anyone else want a shot. I’ll be your Huckleberry.

GAMBIT's avatar

@spresto – I do not deny evolution. I just believe that all was created. Thanks spresto.

spresto's avatar

@GAMBIT Tombstone was such a good movie huh?

GAMBIT's avatar

@spresto – yep, and I think if anyone else wants to take a good poke at me now is the best time.

spresto's avatar

@GAMBIT I hope you dont think I was poking. I meant this question to be friendly. I am sorry if you got the impression I was trying to shame your beliefs.

GAMBIT's avatar

@spresto – not at all and I am sorry if I have upset your topic it was not my intention. I am going to let some of the pro-evolution people continue. I hope when I check back I wont have to answer to the sly comments aimed at me again but if they are I’ll just have to take them and defend myself again. I don’t really mind standing up for what I believe in. It was how I was taught.

Hope you find the information you are seeking.

spresto's avatar

@GAMBIT Well, since we are on the subject. What do you base your arguments on? Granted, I know the Bible of course…or the Koran, etc., but do you have other literature or sources that you can name? Or, is it purely a walk of faith for you?

GAMBIT's avatar

@spresto – Anything I say can and will be used against me on this board but like I said previously I believe in a creator.

Many people call him by many different names.

Now I have to duck because the tomatoes will be thrown at me. You better duck to spresto. You wouldn’t want any of my talk to rub off on you.

Thanks for being civil with me.

spresto's avatar

@Gambit will you rocommend it to me on a private comment then?

AstroChuck's avatar

I believe in the tooth fairy and I’m proud I do.

spresto's avatar

@AstroChuck Did you read the question? I don’t really care. I am not interest in your beliefs. I want to know about evolution.

AstroChuck's avatar

@spresto- Relax. My comment wasn’t addressing your question. It was sarcasm regarding one of the responses on this thread.

GAMBIT's avatar

@AstroChuck – yes mine. I’m surprised you couldn’t do better if you were trying to get a laugh. Usually your a little bit more witty than that.

MrMeltedCrayon's avatar

When I was younger… say, in middle school, I tried to work faith and science (particularly evolution) into two harmonious little piece of the same puzzle. Then I realized that was an even bigger bastardization then out right claiming evolution isn’t real. Darwin wasn’t special because he proposed evolution; there had been many, many people before him that had the same basic thought and wrote their ideas down on the paper. The reason Darwin is special is because he propose the mechanism for evolution: Natural Selection.

As I said earlier, people had been noticing that species change for quite some time before Darwin was even born, and the scientific community at the time really wasn’t as adverse to the idea as many people nowadays seem to be. Natural Selection is what pissed people off. Richard Dawkins is quoted as saying “This is one of the hardest lessons for humans to learn. We cannot admit that things might be neither good nor evil, neither cruel nor kind, but simply callous—indifferent to all suffering, lacking all purpose.” That’s generally what squeezed people’s undergarments into a bunch, the idea that what worked worked, what didn’t didn’t, and that there isn’t a grand scheme or design or plan. We are simply the result of myriad accidents, freak occurrences and sheer dumb luck.

I have to agree with @delirium (mucho lurve for using uros as an example, by the way. <3), if we have a creator, they’re down right terrible at what they do and should find another career ASAP. Look at the platypus – males of the species have a small barb on their hind legs that produces a venom powerful to kill small animals. This is rather inconvenient during the mating season.

AstroChuck's avatar

@GAMBIT- First off, I wasn’t really going for guffaws. I was just sarcastically pointing out how silly it seems to me that one could be “proud” of a belief. To me belief is based on something which has merit through observation and/or example. What I believe is based on evidence and intellect and not blind faith. I don’t find pride in believing life evolved, and continues to evolve, on this planet. I just happen to be a free thinker.
Now, I could be wrong. That’s the difference between us.

cookieman's avatar

kinda sad that the new guy is the voice of reason. Nicely stated @spresto and welcome to Fluther.

GAMBIT's avatar

@AstroChuck – the difference between us is you hide behind sarcasm and I say what I believe.

AstroChuck's avatar

@GAMBIT- No. The difference is that your beliefs can’t be wrong. You said so yourself earlier on this thread when you said, “nothing you say can make me not (believe).”

delirium's avatar

Gambit, if you can’t laugh at yourself, it’s a sign that you’re taking things too seriously.

Belief is making a virtue out of not thinking, ergo it’s not a very strong debate tactic.

delirium's avatar

@spresto No one has tried breeding a mali and an egyptian (that I know of) because the Mali is 13” long, and the egyptian is 3’ long (and extremely aggressive). It’s likely it would eat (hyperbole, as they are herbivorous) the mali before any mating went on.

@mrmeltedcrayon Andrew, I still have to so meet your little guy (and you have to meet Littlefoot!) We need to arrange that one of these days. You can meet the snakies too… (as long as I can make faces at and coo over your gecko).

delirium's avatar

Also, back to the original point… The gap explanation against evolution is pretty absurd. Ever heard of Zeno’s Paradox?

AstroChuck's avatar

@GAMBIT- After rereading my first posting I apologize. It comes off as if I’m ridiculing your faith. I really don’t wish to criticize what you believe. My problem is that I have trouble understanding how creationists and fundamentalists (whether they be Christian, Muslim, or any other) think. Blind faith confuses me.

Critter38's avatar

@spresto

I think one way of approaching the evolution creation debate (a debate in the public arena only…there is NO debate in the scientific literature because there is no scientific evidence for creation) is to consider what each of them would require to be true, versus the evidence available.

Evolutionary theory (remember that a scientific theory is not the same as a guess, or a hypothesis (as used in common language), but a body of knowledge based on repeatedly demonstrated scientific facts) makes very specific predictions.

The world must be very old. 10000 years just doesn’t cut.

The fossils that we find cannot appear anywhere in geological history, but must conform to a pattern. In other words we do not find birds appearing in the fossil records prior to the appearance of reptiles. We do not find reptiles in the fossil record prior to the appearance of fish.

We would expect that some species would go extinct. Remember that originally this wasn’t an obvious concept…and it suggests if you believe creation, that the number of species on this planet must be reducing through time with all species created at one time. No new species being added (unless someone thinks species are plonked down onto earth every once in a while), some species going extinct…presents a consistent downward spiral in diversity that isn’t supported by the fossil record.

transitional forms…google whale evolution. No need for this in creation.

Vestigial traits.. evolution is blind and works on the materials available. We are not optimised but adequate. So as mentioned by Delirium, once we go down a path of eye design you can’t backtrack and rebuild a better design. Also we retain features which previously served a purpose (were selected for) which no longer do much. Greatly reduced limbs in some legless lizards.
Furthermore, the patterns match the evolutionary pathway.. for instance nerves branch off from the spine to the organ. But in the recurrent laryngeal nerve it branches off from the spine then travels down under the aorta and then back up to the larynx. Makes sense in ancestral body plans, but in a giraffe you end up with 10–15 feet of extra wiring as it travels all the way down and then back up again.

Homologies in vertebrate limbs…once again google it.the pictures do it better justice.

Then of course there is the fact that our genomes provide modern support for the taxonomic arguments of Darwin’s age…when they didn’t know the mechanism but they predicted its qualities.

And then their is biogeography. The length of isolation and the extent of isolation is supported by the types of species we find places. We can either believe that god just wanted all those marsupials in Australia instead of putting them anywhere he wanted, or we can accept that this is entirely consistent with evolutionary theory.

The fact of the matter is that the gaps in evolutionary theory are the extent to which different mechanisms account for rates of change in specis through time. There is no gap relating to whether or not species evolve. Species evolve, that is a fact. Species share common ancestors. That is a fact. As said before, the scientific evidence for evolution is overwhelming.

The only arguments against this being true are ideological, not scientific. They are the true gaps. Gaps in the willingness of people to accept the possibility that the creation myths of several thousand years ago are just that, myths.

You may want to check out these pages.

http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/search/topicbrowse2.php?topic_id=46

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/

GAMBIT's avatar

@AstroChuck – thank you AstroChuck and I want to apologize to you and everyone else on this board for my comments yesterday. I came to this discussion unprepared and made a mockery of myself and added very little to the discussion. I’m sorry.

Critter38's avatar

Although due to time differences I tend to come in late to discussions, looking back on things I think your honest statements significantly added to the discussion.

Making statements about why you don’t agree with evolution can reveal a misunderstanding as to what evolution actually entails. That’s good for you to hear why that is incorrect, and its good for all those other readers who also believe something similar etc…(you’re not the first to ask the question about apes…in fact I think over the last couple of years I’ve come across it close to a dozen times).

I would also add there is nothing in accepting process of evolution that prevents people from believing in god. They are by no means mutually incompatible.

spresto's avatar

As man lives he learns and observes. He asks questions that can never be answered in his life time and then he dies. It can be a tough world in that set of mind. Thank you for your thoughts everybody. I feel more educated now. : )

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