What would disprove evolution?

Evolution: A scientific theory that is merely a theory, at least according to a worrying amount of people.

I haven’t touched this topic so far because I’m a biologist and this is basic knowledge for me. After learning the theory and all the supporting facts there was no room left in my mind for doubt.

But I do realize there is a huge conflict out there, especially with creationists. So I decided to add my voice to those supporting evolution. In case you’re interested for some evidence that if found could disprove evolution read on (re-blogged from this wonderful post):

…In my general talk on the evidence for evolution, I give a list of seven observations that, if repeated and confirmed, would disprove parts of the theory of evolution described above. This shows that it is a scientific theory in the Popperian sense of being falsifiable. Here are some of those conceivable observations:

  • Fossils in the wrong place (e.g., mammals in the Devonian). If the fossil record were all out of order like this (a single anomalous fossil might not overturn everything, of course, since it could be in the wrong place for other reasons), we’d have to seriously question the occurrence of evolution.
  • Adaptations in one species good only for a second species. There are plenty of adaptations in species that are good for other species, but also help members of the first species: these are the basis of mutualisms. (Cleaner fish, for example, remove parasites and dead tissue from other marine fish, but thereby gain a meal.) But we don’t expect to see—and don’t see—adaptations in one species that evolved solely for the benefit of another species.
  • A general lack of genetic variation in species. Evolution depends on genetic variation. If most species had none, they couldn’t evolve. However, the universal efficacy of artificial selection (I’m aware of only three lab experiments that failed to show a response to such breeding experiments), shows that genetic variation is ubiquitous in nearly all species.
  • Adaptations that could not have evolved by a step-by-step process of ever-increasing fitness. This is of course the contention of advocates of Intelligent Design like Michael Behe. But adaptations like the flagellum, which Behe and other IDers cite as features that couldn’t have arisen by a step-by-step process of increasing adaptation, have been shown to plausibly arise by just that process. We don’t need to completely reconstruct the evolution of things like flagella, but simply show that their evolution by a stepwise adaptive process was plausible.
  • The observation that most adaptations of individuals are inimical for individuals or their genes but good for populations/species. Such adaptations aren’t expected to evolve often because they would require the inefficient process of group or species selection rather than genic, individual, or kin selection. And indeed, we see very few features of organisms that seem inimical to organisms or their genes but useful for the population or species. One possible exception is sexual reproduction.
  • Evolved “true” altruistic behavior among non-relatives in non-social animals. What I mean by “true” altruistic behavior is the observation of an individual sacrificing its reproductive output for the benefit of individuals to which it is either unrelated or from whom it does not expect to receive return benefits. In this “true” altruism your genes give benefits to others and get nothing back, and this shouldn’t evolve under natural selection. And, indeed, we don’t see such altruism in nature. There are reports that vampire bats regurgitate blood to other individuals in the colony to whom they’re unrelated, but those need confirmation, and there may also be reciprocal altruism, so that individuals regurgitate blood to those from whom, one day, they expect a return meal. Such cooperation can evolve by normal natural selection.
  • Complete discordance between phylogenies based on morphology/fossils and on DNA. While individual genes can show discordance by lateral transfer—rotifers, for example, have incorporated into their genome from DNA from very unrelated organisms, and this is also common for bacteria. But lateral transfer of genes, as opposed to their direct descent from parent to offspring, is relatively uncommon. So, for example, if we sequenced the genome of a blue whale and found that on the whole the species was more closely related to fish than to mammals, we’d have a serious problem for the theory of evolution.

    We don’t see any of these anomalies, and so the theory of evolution is on solid ground. As I say in my book, “Despite a million chances to be wrong, evolution always comes up right. That’s as close to a scientific truth as we can get…”
  • This is only part of the post. For more scientific information on evolution and stimulating discussions you can visit the blog: Why evolution is true.

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    Berlin Holi Open Air Festival

    Holi: Festival of colors..
    Just by the name of it you feel that it would be an amazingly awesome event!

    Unfortunately I can’t go this year, but it won a spot on the ‘to do’ list of my life. Right next to the Burning man festival 😀

    Many many thanks to Stephan and Jim for telling me about these events and spreading the joy 🙂

    Avant Hard

    Holiis an ancient festival of India and was originally known as ‘Holika’. The festival finds a detailed description in early religious works such as Jaimini’s Purvamimamsa-Sutras and Kathaka-Grhya-Sutras. Historians also believe that Holi was celebrated by all Aryans but more so in the Eastern part of India.

    Days before the festival people start gathering wood for the lighting of the bonfire called Holika at the major crossroads of the city.

    Then on the eve of Holi, Holika Dahan takes place. Effigy of Holika, the devil minded sister of demon King Hiranyakashyap is placed in the wood and burnt. For, Holika tried to kill Hiranyakashyap’s son Prahlad, an ardent devotee of Lord Naarayana. The ritual symbolises the victory of good over evil and also the triumph of a true devotee.

    Next day, is of course the main day of Holi celebrations. The day is called Dhuleti
    and it is on…

    View original post 378 more words

    The letter

    My mother sent me a package a few days before the second round of the greek elections and in it there was a note:

    We hope that when you receive the package, we’ll have a government that will make sure the children of GREECE come back.

     
    We love you very much.
    We miss you very very much.
    Kisses

    This song that I really love, popped right into my mind after reading her note. You can listen it here if you want: The Letter – Haris Aleksiou, Thanos Mikroutsikos

    “The letter”
    I received your letter, I’m sending you a couple of words mother.
    If I get the chance, I’ll come to visit you some day.
    I got a little homesick, and this town suffocates me,
    Humans are alone and me, alone, always alone.

    Thousands of people, you don’t have someone to talk to.
    My last company, two-three childhood memories.
    I stare at my smile in the picture,
    This cannot be wiped away by any state.

    You’re asking me to write back because I’ve been silent lately.
    And I, that still don’t know whether I’m living or dying,
    I roam the streets looking for myself.
    No one has found me yet, not even in my dream.

    Advertisements, marches, traitors, banners, protests,
    Dealers sell hopes in installments.
    And you’re asking me if I met happiness,
    I saw it written on a neighborhood’s wall.

    I never made any comment on the note. What was I to say, “It’s ok mum, it’s not like I’m an immigrant in Germany”?
    I understand where she comes from and how much she misses me, especially after everything we’ve been through. And we both know that the “new” government will not speed up my return.

    At least there was hazelnut filter coffee in the package and I really wanted a cup. The note made me think of my past, my mother, our recent conversations, our society. Scattered thoughts and they needed sorting out.
    So many memories of how she sacrificed her personal life so I’ll have a better future and how satisfied she is that she made it. The bitterness and disappointment I see nowadays in her eyes.  “We had so many dreams when we were young, we believed in them and they took advantage of our dreams”. She now realizes all the blatant lies that politicians said, all the mockery and she feels betrayed. “Greece’s situation, it hurts me…”,  “We fucked up!” she said. She blames the politicians, she blames her generation, she blames herself.

    I don’t want to apologize to my child, or any child for the world I’ve left them.

    I’ll continue talking and struggling for love, solidarity, compassion, understanding, conversation, responsibility, honesty, self-criticism, respect, kindness, justice, courage. Simple words, with tremendous impact if turned into actions, first by us and then by helping those around us to act on these words. Maybe then we can ‘trust’, be ‘all together’ and finally start building a society where one would want to participate and create. A society that makes you happy to be alive, not jump off a balcony. Utopia? Perhaps… If we aim for the stars, we may not reach them, but reaching the moon isn’t too bad either.

    So I’ll keep trying for a brighter world, because if my mother ever asks me “If I met happiness” I don’t want to reply “I saw it written on a neighborhood’s wall”.

    Imagine… the ideal state

    The translation is under the sketch

    The ideal state is the one:

    “Where laws have no superiors” Bias of Priene

    “Whose inhabitants are neither too poor, nor too rich” Thales of Miletus

    “Where virtue is honored and malice is hated” Periander of Corinth

    “Where offices are always given to the virtuous and never to the evil” Pittacus of Mytilene

    “Where citizens are more afraid of the accusation than the punishment” Cleobulus of Rhodes

    “Where the laws are honored more than the rhetoricians” Chilon of Sparta

    “Where an offense against a citizen is perceived as an offense against the entire state” Solon of Athens

    [in the bubble: ‘I am ashamed for today…’]

    *****

    These and many other great men have told us how we can coexist peacefully and happily. They’ve been telling us since probably forever.

    The problem is not enough people are listening.

    The problem is we still promote (even celebrate) violence, despite knowing that violence brings forth more violence, resulting in a vicious cycle.

    “When it gets down to having to use violence, then you are playing the system’s game. The establishment will irritate you: pull your beard, flick your face to make you fight. Because once they’ve got you violent, then they know how to handle you. The only thing they don’t know how to handle is non-violence and humor.”
    John Lennon

    You may say I’m a dreamer… I say I’m human.

    Journalism at its best!

    In the following video the Irish journalist Vincent Browne ‘exposes’ the ECB banker Klaus Masuch. This is how journalism should be. The pursuit of truth, not serving political and/or financial interests.

    And it’s sad that we’ve reached a point where this behavior is an exception and not the norm.

    The video is dubbed in English and subbed in Greek.