Thursday, May 15, 2008

Rapid evolution in fish

A small fish now provides a great example of rapid evolution, thanks to an accidental experiment.

Pollution control turned Seattle's murky Lake Washington into a beautiful clear lake. Good for us, but the lake's threespine stickleback was suddenly visible to hungry trout. They had to do something quickly if they wanted to survive...evolve. And they did.

Threespine sticklebacks in Lake Washington lost their armor, made up of bony plates, when the lake got dirty and the water got cloudy up until about the mid 1900s. Then, an expensive cleanup in the 1960s made the water clear and sticklebacks because trout food again. The response? Sticklebacks regrew their armor of bony plates.

No sign of intelligent design in this case, just genetic changes that confer a survival advantage.


C. David Parsons said...

This was not evidence of evolution.

For example, a trout, when placed in a dark lake inside of a cave, will no longer require sight and will go blind. If the blind trout were to be released into the wild and spawns, the new trout will have eyes once again. This is not evidence of evolution, but active and inactive genes at work.

Be it known that, in procreation, many genes in man and animal may be active and inactive at different periods of growth. There are genes that control the development of embryos during different stages and then become inactive in the adult as other genes become active. The phenomenon could be compared to the numerous programs stored on a disk drive in a computer. When one program is in operation, many others are inactive; each, in turn, may be called upon as needed. Your effort to promote evolution has failed.


The reason is elementary: the Discovery Institute and other ID proponents leave out the Triune God, Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Hence, Richard Dawkins can make the case for “aliens” seeding the earth.


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Mark Powell said...

Wow, I've got my very own silly comment disputing evolution. You found me quickly, c david parsons! Now I'm just like the big evolution bloggers who get these every day.

First, turning genes on and off can be part of evolution. Just because something doesn't require a whole new gene doesn't mean it's not evolution. In fact, making do with existing genes, sometimes slightly modified, is a key mechanism of evolution.

Second, you couldn't pay me to read The Quest for Right. From your description, I'm not interested. It sounds like metaphysical self-gratification.

David J. Hirsh said...

Marc--I noticed the news piece on this research in the Seattle PI this morning and found it interesting. Regardless of the rambling, robo-comment above, the data at least show rapid adaptation to changed environment, in support of a survival trait, rapidly but over the course of several generations. It's fascinating.

And that the researcher's out of Fred Hutchison, and not the UW School of Fisheries or the NOAA Science center makes it all the more exciting because the research probably probes medical tangents related to adaptation rather than the utterly polluted Darwin vs the True Believers, um, debate.

I think anyone who looks at this and feels the need to jump into some sort of a "read my Intelligent Design book Mr. Science appreciator guy, you'll really like it!" comment to an article like your post is pobably part of the ID industry. They have dedicated functionaries (see his own reference to the utterly wrong-headed Discovery Institute). The true believers makes it their full time mission to bring the "absolute truth" to those we might characterize as appropriately skeptical.

While we're on the tangent, IMHO, those who cast their lot with notions of things like the "right" or "absolute truth" do little more than evince a flaw in human biology related to reasoning that causes them to fear what they can't explain.

Enjoy the weather, bro'