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Are we all mutants?

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Are we all mutants?

Postby mmmmmm » Mon Oct 27, 2008 4:18 am

What are some widespread malformations that are now considered normal for humans?
I mean not like limbs or anything but something smaller, maybe internal?
mmmmmm
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Postby AstusAleator » Mon Oct 27, 2008 6:30 am

Yes, yes we are.

People with white skin.
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Postby biohazard » Mon Oct 27, 2008 7:32 am

Yes, we indeed are.

For example, the ability of many (Western) people to produce lactase beyond early childhood is due to a mutation in the mechanism that shuts down the lactase production.
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Postby supersport » Mon Oct 27, 2008 9:05 pm

human beings were not built up via mutations, so I'd say no. Mutations only take away, defect, degenerate or otherwise cause malfunction, disease, or death....no mutation is known to add a new structure or a new part to an existing structure, so common descent from a one-celled organism would be impossible. You can draw your own conclusions from there.
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Re: Are we all mutants?

Postby Darwin420 » Mon Oct 27, 2008 9:57 pm

supersport wrote:human beings were not built up via mutations, so I'd say no. Mutations only take away, defect, degenerate or otherwise cause malfunction, disease, or death....no mutation is known to add a new structure or a new part to an existing structure, so common descent from a one-celled organism would be impossible. You can draw your own conclusions from there.


Hmmm, Supersport, I think you should be careful when you say "Human beings were not built up via mutations." Yes, mutation isn't the strongest evolutionary tool and yes most mutations have a negative or no effect at all. HOWEVER, mutations fuel natural selection. If there were no mutations then their would be little or no variance. It is due to millions to billions of years of mutation and natural selection (and of course other mechanisms) that have caused humans and all other organisms to evolve.

Mutations cause variance, without this, natural selection would not occur (However, there are other mechanisms that cause variance, BUT, mutation is very important when it comes to natural selection).
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Postby mith » Mon Oct 27, 2008 10:32 pm

Disclosure: supersport is a creationist who refuses to look at lenski's experiments.
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Postby Darwin420 » Mon Oct 27, 2008 11:25 pm

Come on supersport, let us here the rebuttal!!
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Postby AstusAleator » Tue Oct 28, 2008 12:26 am

Uh-oh. An e-gauntlet
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Postby biohazard » Tue Oct 28, 2008 6:53 am

Didn't take long from some creationist to kick in, but I guess that was to be expected. Pale skin and lactase production are two-way things, which is typical for mutations that have prevailed among species: they're clearly detrimental in some circumstances, and beneficial in others.

E.g. pale skin causes poor UV tolerance and would be disadvantageous in sunny regions, where dark skin is common. However, in the north, pale skin suddenly turned out to be useful, as it enhances the production of vitamin D, which is difficult for human body to produce in areas of little sunlight. And sunburns aren't such a problem there. I don't know how you can claim that e.g. increased ability to produce vitamin D is a loss of function, a bad thing or causes death, Supersport?

Similarly, ability to produce lactase after weaning from breast feeding would've probably been disadvantageous for the species, because older siblings might've competed for mother's limited ability to produce milk, thus causing death or malnutrition of younger siblings. But suddenly, when milk from domestical animals was available, on those regions production of lactase suddenly became a very important trait.

So, when conditions stay the same, mutations often have little to offer, but when there's a selection pressure, or the conditions change (loss of sunlight in the north, milk available in diet etc.), some mutations suddenly give that decicive edge.
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Postby mith » Tue Oct 28, 2008 3:07 pm

@biohazard

Like when Will Smith turned out to be one of the few guys who are still human after this virus wipes out new york and the rest of the world turning everyone into flesh eating zombies?
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Re: Are we all mutants?

Postby enarees » Wed Oct 29, 2008 6:22 am

mmmmmm wrote:What are some widespread malformations that are now considered normal for humans?
I mean not like limbs or anything but something smaller, maybe internal?


No - of course.
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Re:

Postby biohazard » Wed Oct 29, 2008 7:05 am

mith wrote:@biohazard

Like when Will Smith turned out to be one of the few guys who are still human after this virus wipes out new york and the rest of the world turning everyone into flesh eating zombies?


Hell yeah. Mutations probably saved the mankind there! :))
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