Saturday, September 25, 2010

Christine O'Donnell - Does Ignorance Sell?

Christine O'Donnell asks: "Why aren't monkeys still evolving into humans?"

I guess I can forgive this ignorant question because we (scientists) just don't do a good enough job explaining evolution to the general public. At its simplest, evolution is a change in gene frequencies over time. A couple of points. First, humans did not evolve from monkeys. Humans and monkeys are thought to have evolved from a common ancestor. Second, evolution takes millions of years, but yes, we are still evolving as is everything else. Modern Tibetans underwent genetic changes, that enabled them to survive at high altitudes, very rapidly. It's much easier to see evolution in action when a population is reproductively (genetically) isolated.

BTW, evolution is a fact, not a myth. But, we still don't understand many of the details of how evolution occurs.


Brian F said...

You may be interested in this.

Anonymous said...

actually o'donnel is on to something, evolution may not be a myth but it has been restrained. What I think she meant, is that de-evolution has been happening, with thoughtful people becoming mindless monkeys, like her self.
"Well, I hope we're not too messianic
Or a trifle too satanic
We love to play the blues

Well I am just a monkey man
I'm glad you are a monkey, monkey woman
Monkey woman too, babe!

I'm a monkey! I'm a monkey!
I'm a monkey man! I'm a monkey man!
I'm a monkey! I'm a monkey! I'm a monkey! I'm a monkey!
Monkey! monkey! monkey!......."
(M. Jagger/K. Richards)

Jared said...

A fact as much as the photon theory of light in a fact. When are you elites going to learn that science doesn't have it all figured out and in fact conspires to suppress alternative facts!

I'll take my aether and breathe easier any day of the week.

PCS said...

Jared, I'm sorry your science teachers have failed you. Evolution is basically a change in gene frequency. I guess meiosis and sex is not a fact either. But, I really am interested in your alternative facts about evolution. You forgot to include those.

Jared said...

@PCS, it was a joke. I tried to pick a pretty well-accepted truth that wasn't gravity or cell theory, which have been used over and over again as an analogy.
Take heart, not only have I never believed in creationism, but I've never seen any decent evidence that caused me to question evolution.

PCS said...

Wait, you actually believe in the photon theory of light?

Jared said...

I pondered for a while on how to turn this into a witty, clever joke. but my mind could not get one Q'ed up.
So, instead, I'm going to plead ignorance here. I know that photons are theorized to exist as an elementary particle in the standard model, and that they're integral in how we perceive light. Apparnetly, from what I'm reading now, the Photon Theory of Light is not simply this.

From what I can gather offline and from cosmology books lying around my house, that theory would state that light is made up solely of particles, photons, etc., which was an assumption made by Einstein in his early papers on the Photoelectric Effect, and also based on Newton's early particle theories of light, somewhat.

This would not be the case as reality is currently understood.

We've now moved on to the notion that light has a dual nature of a wave and particle, which Quantum Electrodynamics explains in a way I do not have the necessary background to understand in any sort of depth. This would definintly not be the photon theory of light.

So, now I completely understand your intitial reaction. I will abstrain from all further discussions on physics of any modern sort.
On the plus side, this whole conversation did redefine the limit of f(thread) = Tan(O'Donnell - evolution).