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Thread: If you have half an hour to spare, here is an interesting interview with Ben Carson

  1. #41
    Originally posted by Wise Young:

    I posed the following question to my students after showing them the Ben Carson interview. I asked them if they could think of five ways that the theory of evolution plays a role in their current spinal cord injury research. I said that if they cannot think of anything, then the evolutionary theory is irrelevant and we should stop talking about it. The deep silence that followed my question astounded me. Perhaps I should ask the membership of the CareCure this question.

    Well, assuming evolution is true, we should look to our closest evolutionary "relatives" to perform experiments on to have the best guess of what will happen in humans. By the same token, are these "relatives" too close? Would experimenting on them be considered inhumane? Is inhumane even the right word to use?

    That's just one quick line of thought. Another is the relevance of gene therapy and gene mutations.

    ...and frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called, Honalee

  2. #42
    Originally posted by Wise Young:

    I posed the following question to my students after showing them the Ben Carson interview. I asked them if they could think of five ways that the theory of evolution plays a role in their current spinal cord injury research. I said that if they cannot think of anything, then the evolutionary theory is irrelevant and we should stop talking about it. The deep silence that followed my question astounded me. Perhaps I should ask the membership of the CareCure this question.

    what a great question. i'd never really questioned the idea of evolution because opposing arguments had always been framed within the context of religion. however, i think ben carson's idea of an intelligent creator is fantastic! as for the question, i'm not sure how well i understand the theory of evolution. it's difficult to apply to everyday life because, if it is true, it is a very gradual process that occurs over milleniums, well outside the span of human life. one thing i can say though is that all life appears to be very adaptable to its environment. for this reason it would not surprise me that biological evolution could occur and did occur. perhaps it isn't one or the other at all but a combination of the two? maybe it's something undiscovered? a "one or the other" attitude seems very limiting.

  3. #43
    Wise, it would be great to have a discussion/debate with Carson on the subject. Would be interesting to hear him expound on his beliefs. On tape please

    I can't give a more thoughtful reply to the question posed, at the moment, but I just quickly wanted to say that as I listened to Carson comment on evolution, I didn't really hear him deny evolution per se, but acknowledge the process of change - change that was organized, systematic and purposeful(meaningful). This is consistent with science, if "purpose/meaning" isn't value laden or with moral reasoning and judgement.

    In my earlier post, I was thinking of evolution by design, as I listened to the interview, something I don't find too original nor unique, in concept.

    "do not be too moral. you may cheat yourself out of much life. aim above morality. be simply not good; be good for something."

  4. #44
    I may not be smart enough to answer this. Five ways huh, sci related, hmmm... Ok, off the top of my head:

    1. Evolution allows for differentiated research study such as limb regeneration - i.e. salamanders, etc.

    2. The review and study of muscular control and movement. As simplistic as a snake - no legs, as complicated as a millipede - many legs.

    3. Compensation of function as it relates to survival. For example the theory that rats, due to survival extincts re-learn how to ambulate / walk from necessity whereas for humans learned non-use is compensated for alternatively. Rats don't know they have a choice but humans do.

    4. Bladder and bowel function research. Guy Ritchie's research study and surgical experimentation on goats due to their similarity to humans.

    5. Dextrous function and sensory sensitivity research such as is reflected in large spider species, i.e. tarantula who relys on sense of touch to make its way through life. Paras and quads as well as stroke, MS, ALS, victims could benefit.

    Do these make any sense or am I totally off base?

    To me, these, among many others, are some of the reasons fundamental evolutionary research should continue in relation to sci.

  5. #45
    Banned Faye's Avatar
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    I can only think of one or two ways evolutionary theory plays a role in sci research, but I am sure there are many more.

    Somehow evolution has made the primitive parts of the CNS more and more hard-wired. If we figure out what caused this to happen we can figure out ways to revert back so SCI can be fixed.

    ESC can develop into any of the three germ layers that all mammals start off with. Yet ASC can not. In all mammals the spinal cord is one of the first things formed, including the primitive brain (brainstem). As a human embryo we traverse all the steps of evolution. During that process possibility of repair of the CNS diminishes progressively.

    This, in part, is due to the meyelination of the CNS. The spinal cord is fully myelinated at birth. De brainstem takes some years after birth to fully myelinate, and further myelination of the axons of the cerebral cortex continues beyond that. As more myelination takes place, the possibility for repair decreases. Things become more hard-wired. So did evolution introduce myelin?

    I wonder if I'll say "off course", when you list five, Dr. Young. Unfortunately I cannot think more creatively than the above for now.

    "Together we stand, divided we fall..."

  6. #46
    Chris and others, what great answers! Most of the examples given boil down to the first and most important influence of evolution on our research: our use of lower animals to model diseases in humans is based on the assumption that we have similar physiological and metabolic mechanisms, morphology, genes, and even responses to and reparative mechanisms after injury. If animals were created by God separately, why should they be models for human disease? All right, a smart creationist might say that God didn't want to reinvent the wheel and therefore He/She used similar mechanisms in all species. But this is a subterfuge because, as I pointed out below, the wealth of similarities between us and lower animals is more than just superficial. We share over 90% of our genome with the rat. While there are some differences, almost every one of our anatomical structures have an analog in rats, ranging from muscle to bone, and to trivial details of our nervous and immune system. If God really wanted to fool us, I guess that He/She could have by making such a detailed body of evidence that we evolved from animals. I can't imagine why. Let me, however, give several principles of evolution that have important consequences for our current research; each of these principles then can be used to generate many examples of why evolution is important for our research today.

    Second, ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny. This is short-hand for saying that our fetal development reflects our evolution. If you compared the embryo of a rat with a human embryo, you will see that there are even closer resemblance of structures and function at earlier stages of development than later stages. For example, the blastocyst of a human and a rat probably cannot be readily distinguished even by very experienced scientists. The similarities do not end with just the appearance of the embryos and fetuses but details of brain development. For example, the first structures that develop are in the spinal cord, the brainstem, and the subcortical structures. The cortical (and phylogenetically later structures) occur later during development. Although the time-scale may not be the same, it is possible to equate various stages of development of lower animals to human development. That is why we can infer from the development of the mouse to development of the human.

    Third, the history of our evolution is apparent in our genes. The further we are phylogentically from a species, the greater the difference is in our genes. So, for example, the roundworm C. Elegans has about 19,099 protein-coding genes, The number of genes is more than 3 times that found in yeast and 4 times the number of genes in bacteria. In 1998, before the human genome was completed, people thought that the C. Elegans had only a third to a fifth of the genes that humans had. But, when the human genome was completed, it became apparent that the C. Elegans actually may have as many as 74% of human genes. Even more convincingly, the non-gene portions of our genome, i.e. those that don't code for proteins and are not expressed, have a remarkable number of similarities. Thus, even in discarded sequences that are not part of expressed genes, we have a lot of homologies. The closer we are in evolution, the closer the genetic similarities. We are closely related to other organisms and this relationship on the genetic level allows us to draw inferences from the genetics of lower animals to humans. For example, the receptor for netrin (the molecule that attracts axonal growth to the midline for decussation) was first discovered found in C. Elegans and then a homolog was found in humans.

    Fourth, unidirectional evolution. One of the most important developments in evolutionary theory, which Darwin did not predict, is the concept of forward evolution. Once we have evolved in a given direction, evolution apparently does not go backward. Thus, for example, during the evolution of insects, there were many "insects" that had 4 legs, 12 legs, etc. rather than 6 legs. However, once the insect settled down on six legs, all insects had 6 legs. Similarly, it is striking that all mammals have similar number of cervical, thoracic, and lumbar vertebrae despite very large differences in size. For example, the human has the same number of cervical vertebrae as the giraffe and whale, despite the 10-100 fold difference in size. This is in part it is harder to change genes that are already working rather than add genes to change the behavior of existing genes. Thus, evolution proceeded to add desirable functions and suppress some undesirable functions, rather than engage in wholesale re-design of the organism. So, we as humans have elements of the worm, rat, and other animals before us incorporated into our design. We just kept adding features on top. It is like a very complex software program. Rather than rewrite the genetic code, evolution simply added new modules. The most important mechanisms of life, such as death, growth, differentiation, injury responses, regeneration, immune responses, aging and procreation are evolutionarily conserved. The fact that many lower animals can regenerate while the human cannot should be viewed in the context of forward evolution. For example, it suggests that humans do possess the ability to regenerate but something was superimposed to prevent this ability from manifesting.

    Fifth, many organisms have a much richer evolutionary history than humans. For example, certain plants have been around much longer than mammals. It is therefore not particularly surprising that several modern day plants have much larger genomes than the human. I remember when the human genome was first completed and the number of protein-encoding genes was estimated to be somewhere in the range of 33000. This number was viewed with some chagrin because the lowly rice plant has 40,000-56,000 genes. The wheat plant may have even more. But, humans (mammals) have evolved an extra level of complexity called alternative splicing where two or more genes can be spliced together to form additional proteins. Some scientists console themselves that human, with alternative splicing, actually produce well over 100,000 proteins with 33,000 genes. But, the fact remains that the rice plant has a more complex genome than the human. However, the rice plant has only 12 chromosomes compared to 23 pairs in human. But, the number of chromosomes does not necessarily mean greater evolutionary history or complexity. For example, apes have 24 pairs and horses have 64-66 pairs. While the number of chromosomes may seem unimportant from a genetic point of view (because the genes are still present but located on different chromosomes), the number of chromosomes is critical for mating. A difference in chromosome number would lead to a higher likelihood of an infertile offspring.

    So, there is an extraordinary wealth of information that creationism simply does not explain well. It is possible for us to contort the creationist or intelligent design theory to fit the data but evolutionary theory explains the data so much more and better. This doesn't mean that the current evolutionary theory explains or will explain all the phenomenology that has been or will be discovered. It is currently the most parsimonious explanation of available knowledge.


    [This message was edited by Wise Young on 05-02-04 at 10:49 PM.]

  7. #47
    Senior Member gettinup's Avatar
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    [QUOTE]Originally posted by Wise Young:

    If animals were created by God separately, why should they be models for human disease?

    Conversly, since God did create animals why shouldn't they be models for human disease? Moreover, since the essence of all life is water why should not all life be model for human disease?

    "All right, a smart creationist might say that God didn't want to reinvent the wheel and therefore He/She used similar mechanisms in all species."

    I'm not so sure a "smart" creationist would say this...seems like a pretty infantile argument.

    Further, the remainder of your thesis seems to support the belief in "creationism" (your term). Whereas evolution is a constant in our God created world.

  8. #48
    Why does evolution and creation have to be
    exclusive of each other?

    We read the first book of the Bible..and that
    was written by men. The seven days don't necessarily mean the same as our concept of time.

    A human can take a glob of clay..and perform
    functions to it that let's it evolve into
    a most beautiful sculpture.

    Anything man CREATES...evolves. Look at the
    computer systems.

    In my heart..someone had to start this evolution..and in our language we call that
    someone God.

    We are why is it so hard to
    realize our creator is one too?

    Might explain why we can't verbally communicate with the lower animals.
    I feel they instinctively know the secret
    of their creator in ways we are too mentally
    evolved to understand..or even willing too..
    so the secret will remain as such.

    [This message was edited by Lindox on 05-03-04 at 03:58 PM.]

  9. #49
    Lindox, there is nothing wrong with creationism, as long as it does not deny the existence of evolution. I find nothing objectionable with your version of creationism. It is open-minded, thoughtful, and flexible. The problem with most creationism, however, is that it is phrased as a matter of faith rather than as a provable theory. A theory is as good as its ability to explain the facts. If one ignores the facts and say that the only relevant facts are written in the Bible, then we might as well discard science and all the knowledge that we have gained since the Bible was written. Wise.

  10. #50
    It was all so simple, God just placed Adam and Eve here on earth and thats how it all got started. This explains why monkeys are still monkeys and apes are still apes. The main thing God messed up with is he forgot to allow central nerves the ability to regenerate, or at least not in an efficient way.

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