Thursday, September 22, 2016

Ten adaptationist stories about recent human evolution

Does this video contribute to the general understanding and appreciation of science?

  2. Lactose tolerance: PROBABLY A TRUE ADAPTATION
  4. Losing wisdom teeth: PROBABLY FALSE ADAPTATION
  5. Smaller brains: LIKELY FALSE ADAPATION
  6. Getting shorter: ALMOST CERTAINLY FALSE
  7. Malaria resistance: CERTAINLY TRUE
  8. HIV Resistance: TRUE BUT TRIVIAL


  1. I wish they had used the resistance to Plasmodium vivax in much of Africa as the malarial example and not Plasmodium falciparum.
    Regardless, sad they didn't spend one minute at the beginning defining evolution as a change in allele frequencies in a population and noting these changes generally don't do anything (are neutral) but sometimes can provide a selective advantage to the organism and that new alleles arise by mutation. Then saying here are 10 examples of mutations in humans that may or may not give some populations a selective advantage.
    Ok maybe that would take two minutes.

  2. Hair color shows troubling complexities. For example, in her later years my mother's hair went from gray to blue. Then after that it mysteriously changed to light gray with dark gray streaks.

    We need an adaptationist explanation, or else we will have to accept Larry's explanation: neutral mutation.

  3. Creationist response.
    We never evolved and are not evolving.
    Actually after Reading Stephen Goulds essay on evolution human evolution is not about gradualism but would only be about a sudden action that is selected positively.

    Blond hair was not from selection. it is a reaction to the loss of pigment in the skin. Likewise redhair is a reaction. It would of been whole populations that were blond back in the day. Only later did blond mix with brown and red and eventually black.
    So everyone was blond and so no sexual selection. They are guessing.

    Npbody knows when lactose toerance came. i think its more likely it only came when north west europe became more rich relative to others. Just the last few hundred years. not thousands of years ago. Lots of mankind herded cows and in greater numbers. It was a sudden adaptation and not a evolving thing.

    Wisdom teeth , from a YEC stance, came after the flood when we newly started to eat flesh. Before the flood we didn't. Probably the meat eating interfered with the jaw and the teeth started to be pushed too far.

    The thing that is likely to change is human colour and body type. this because of such massive interbreeding.
    However thats not evolution either.

    1. The ridiculous is strong in this one. I could take the time to rebut these claims with sources, but since Robert can make them without evidence, I can dismiss them without evidence.

    2. Pick one and show why I'm in error. i listen. None of the list/video had evidence. They just asserted things.

    3. "It was a sudden adaptation and not a evolving thing."

      Words mean things. You can look up the definitions and find your own error.

  4. Robert, can you explain why the I think it is more likely, coming from an ignoramus like you always beats the scientists with a professional career based on research and understanding of the facts?

    Now please present your credentials. Without that, I insist you are not credible.

    But by all means, let the show go on. You are living evidence and warning of what damage creationism does to the human brain.

    1. its the essence of investigation. observation, hypothesis, reasoning, examining other options and criticism.
      People like me came first in science and then methodology, if applied right, was to demonstrate the accuracy of hypothesis.
      your claim SCIENTIST is just denying the public this right of intellectual ferment.
      Scientists just do what i do .
      In these cases they are wrong. or the tiny number that thought about them. These are obscure points mostly.
      did you think one of my points was wrong?
      The thread was about some of the list being wrong or misplaced in importance.

  5. I notice that all true adaptations in the list are molecular. I am more interested in real evolution than just adaptation, and one kind of real evolution is the creation of new genes. Such creation takes place all the time, and for humans more than 90% of the created genes are for use in the testicles. Even though this is evolution and not just adaptation, it should maybe have been in the list? More than 600 new genes have been created only in the 6 million years since we departed from the chimpanzees.

    1. The actual number of confirmed new genes is less than ten.

    2. The actual number of confirmed new genes is less than ten.

      That was interesting. Actually, I found the number through a reference in your blog:

      According to your reference there has been identified 634 new genes in humans, and 94% have been localized to the testes. Do you have a reference for the confirmed number?

    3. Read my post more carefully. I said there were 634 human-specific transcribed regions found mostly in testes. The whole point of the post was to try and figure out how many of those transcripts were spurious junk RNA and how many represented real de novo genes. The fact that the transcripts were found in testes suggest they are spurious.

      The conclusion is that only a handful of these POTENTIAL genes have been shown to be real protein-coding genes.

      The take-home message is that transcripts do not always come from genes and it's wrong to assume that every detectable transcript identifies a gene. I thought that message was pretty clear in my post.

      Here are some other posts on the same topic.

      How many lncRNAs are functional: can sequence comparisons tell us the answer?

      How many proteins in the human proteome?

  6. Thank you for the clarification. I will be careful to differentiate between transcribed regions and genes. But as the post also says: "These newly expressed transcripts would form the substrate for the evolution of new genes with novel functions." That is very important in order to understand some important mechanisms of evolution.