Home > life, Science/Medicine > 10.15.2009 – Honest Questions About Evolution

10.15.2009 – Honest Questions About Evolution

Let me first start by saying that I believe Evolutionary Theory. I believe that the brilliant Scientists that have done the hard work of researching and testing the theory over the many years have done good work. I can see no reason that they would have to mislead people intentionally. I do trust that they are honest in their findings and in the way it is presented to the general public. 

That being said, I have a few questions. 

I have just started reading Richard Dawkins ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’. And as usual with his writing, I am enjoying it tremendously. In the first part of the book, he uses the topic of the various breeds of Dogs to support the theory of ‘artificial selection’ (since humans were the ones to develop and domesticate the various breeds of dogs). He states that it’s been determined that all dog breeds lead back and tie into the genetics of Wolfs. Not foxes, hyenas, etc like originally thought. 

Here is where things get foggy for me. I did a bit of digging separate from the book to see if I could find more information on how this actually occurred. I found one idea where it said that larger wolves would be bred with smaller, more pointy eared wolves, and would end up with a slightly smaller version. And that process was repeated to eventually develop the various breeds. I’m having trouble with this. Isn’t it correct that if you breed a large wolf, with one that may be smaller and look slightly different that you would still have a wolf? At least throughout the much smaller span of time that humans have been doing this as compared to the EONS of time that natural selection works in. This is an honest question. I am really looking to find how the process actually works and actual evidence that supports it. If anyone reads this and has links to articles or books that would explain the process, PLEASE post it in the comments. I would appreciate it greatly. 

Another thing that has been nagging me lately is this. It is theorized that all life formed in the water (or Primordial Soup if you will). Single cell life forms eventually developed into more complex life forms over billions of years. And eventually some of those life forms moved onto land. Well, how does this happen? If a creature lives in water, it has gills. If a creature lives on land, it has lungs. How do the very FIRST creatures to do this, move from water to land? I mean, a fish that wanders on to land, and maybe lays eggs, doesn’t have babies that all of a sudden are born able to breathe air. Believe me when I say, I am not trying to over-simplify the process or claim that this is a flaw in the theory. I just can’t seem to figure out in my head, how this would happen. So, as with the other question, if there’s any information out there to explain this, I would LOVE to read it. 

Maybe Dawkins will discuss this later in the book, and I’m just jumping the gun, but like I said, it’s just something that’s been nagging me and I’m curious to see what’s out there to explain these questions. 

-eoe-

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  1. October 17, 2009 at 10:13 am

    Awesome blog!

    I thought about starting my own blog too but I’m just too lazy so, I guess Ill just have to keep checking yours out.
    LOL,

  2. adoubtersramblings
    October 19, 2009 at 8:43 am

    Thanks Savannah! I just have to get this stuff out of my head and I like to have a pathway to look back and chart progress.

    thanks again!

    ADR

  3. January 19, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    You should look at the silver fox experiment that has been going on in Russia for the past 50 years or so. What they did is breed silver foxes for tameness and a whole whack of unintentional traits came along with it, like curly tails, coat coloration and pattern differentiation, etc. This is very much what happened with dogs. And that’s a mere 50 years!

    I mean, a fish that wanders on to land, and maybe lays eggs, doesn’t have babies that all of a sudden are born able to breathe air.

    Not all fish have only gills (Ray Comfort apparently counts this as one of the many, many things he does not know). There are other organs which were modified from serving other purposes to breathing air. The labyrinth fishes (gouramis for instance), for example, need to gulp air in addition to using gills. Lungfish have rudimentary, well, lungs. The lungfish are of greater interest because they are representative of the lobe-finned fishes that did first start take short sojourns onto dry land. It’s hypothesized that a fish like Tiktaalik (see Neil Shubin’s Your Inner Fish) would move onto land temporarily to escape predators. Eventually, these excursions would get longer and longer as limbs and improved breathing ability evolved.

    Hope this helps!

  4. adoubtersramblings
    January 19, 2010 at 6:05 pm

    Thanks a ton for that info.

    I probably should have updated this after I finished “The Greatest Show on Earth”. It really did answer a lot of those questions.

    Me, my wife, and daughter watched a PBS Nova show on Darwin just the other night and they covered in great detail the Tiktaalik and then a TON of information on the actual genetic processes that lead to and cause evolution!

    Some things still don’t totally set in my mind yet, but I’m a lot further along now than I was when I posted this. Like, the Tiktaalik for instance. I get that he was evading predators, but the whole breathing air thing just escapes me. I’ll definitely be diggin more into that topic her soon!

    thanks again!

  5. January 20, 2010 at 11:14 am

    I wonder if that was the Nova program based on Sean B. Carroll’s (not to be confused with physicist Sean Carroll…) books Endless Forms Most Beautiful and The Making of the Fittest? I highly recommend these books, but they are more technical as they get into the nitty-gritty of molecular genetics and Evo/Devo. The Making of the Fittest is probably the more accessible of the two. I’ve read both twice.

    If you liked The Greatest Show on Earth, you should pick up a copy of Jerry Coyne’s Why Evolution is True (Dawkins himself highly recommends it). He also has a good blog of the same name that I follow, though not as closely as I follow Pharyngula.

  6. January 30, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    Human embryo’s have gills that eventually turn into our inner ear.

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