DailyDirt: You Tell Me That It's Evolution...

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

The number of zombie apocalypse movies has been growing over the last few years, introducing "fast-moving" zombies and new kinds of swarming behaviors for the undead. The causes of the zombie apocalypse range from viral to supernatural, but the general awareness of biotechnology's ability to create monsters is undeniable. Meanwhile, Mother Nature herself is creating her own deadly diseases (ahem, ebola) and is making them more difficult to eradicate. Here are just a few observations of evolution that we can hopefully learn from and use to prevent an extinction event. If you'd like to read more awesome and interesting stuff, check out this unrelated (but not entirely random!) Techdirt post via StumbleUpon.

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  1.  
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    orbitalinsertion (profile), Jul 3rd, 2014 @ 5:34pm

    Predictable blah blah blah

    Ah, no, mutation is always random. Selection isn't. The fact that the same mutation arises independently and is selected for is still random on the mutation end. But the populations have a shared genome to work with, so it isn't terribly surprising that they would all independently evolve a suite of advantages.

    The novel observation is cool, but still as poorly presented as the rest of the article. The only way mutations could only occur in a specific order is if it is a secondary mutation on a mutated gene. It almost certainly could occur in a different order, but may not have a selective advantage, or be outright selected against if it breaks things without the prior mutation in place.

    I looked for some comment on this rather old article, and even searched Jerry Coyne's blog, but couldn't find anything. But it is a case of rather atrocious science journalism. An interesting fact written up mostly wrong. In fact, the actual interesting novel discovery is barely addressed, either specifically or in a generalized fashion such as to provide a basis for the strangely worded claim in the title.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous, Jul 4th, 2014 @ 6:35am

    The latest theory on extinction is that it was caused by spaceships flown by transforming robots.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 4th, 2014 @ 9:18pm

    I am sick an tired of evolution being confused with adaptation. Adaptation is a fact. Evolution may, in reality, be a myth. Or maybe not. But what we are seeing in our lifetimes is definitely adaptation, not evolution.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 5th, 2014 @ 5:50am

    Re:

    No.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 5th, 2014 @ 12:28pm

    Re:

    And where can I buy your new book?

     

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    Anonymous, Jul 5th, 2014 @ 3:41pm

    Some believe that birds evolved from dinosaurs. But how can that be, if all the dinosaurs were killed?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 5th, 2014 @ 4:52pm

    Re:

    Some believe humans and dinosaurs coexisted, how can that be if you review the available data?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 5th, 2014 @ 4:54pm

    Re:

    Oh sure, try to refute a well accepted hypothesis with semantics - nice. And your field of expertise is?

     

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    That One Guy (profile), Jul 5th, 2014 @ 9:59pm

    Re:

    That's like saying 'I am sick an tired of water turning into a solid state being confused with water freezing. Water turning into a solid state if cold enough is a fact. Water freezing, may, in reality, be a myth.'

    No, as a matter of fact, evolution is not a myth, no matter how much some people might wish it to be. Evolution, that is species changing over time to better 'fit' their environment via random mutations is, as much as anything can be with science, a fact. The only real debate is the details of 'How?', with the theory of evolution being the current 'winner' there.

     

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    Brendon Ross, Jul 6th, 2014 @ 10:12pm

    Our Imminent Demise

    I fail to see societies infatuation with our imminent, apocolyptical (not sure if that's a word) death. Conspiracy theories, Armageddon, etc. While I know that some enjoy talking about it, it gives me anxiety to be honest. Let's hope nothing crazy happens in the next 20 years:)

    -B

     

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