Evolution always made sense to me and I still find it to be true. However, I quite recently found a comment online that gave me some doubts and made me curious on the subject. Although a student of biology, I don't really know genetics all that much (I'm more of an ecology type), so I'm asking here - I hope there's somebody who can help. Without further ado, how would you respond to this comment (fyi the original post was on the subject of a woman denying evolution, then talking about her new short-eared dog breed):

"The woman was probably demonstrating that changes that we see in dogs (variation within one kind) is NOT Evolution because it cannot create new genetic info (so it cannot explain the origin of organs). It causes CHANGE with what is already there, and these changes are only NEGATIVE or NEUTRAL (but often negative, that's why our dogs are degenerate from wolves). I used to make a living out of Selective Breeding so I know that you can only change a fish's color and size but you can never add feathers or wings or limbs to it since the codes for those doesn't exist in a fish, nor can we create one just by random mutation. That's like trying to create Windows10 OS by relying on random bit-rot/data corruption -- death of program is ensured. The word "engineering" in Genetic Engineering isn't there for no reason. Coding genetic programs requires more intellect than coding binaries. Literally, we're all digital programs (but very intelligently coded). Welcome to modern science.

Having said that, you do realize that the reason why you grow old is because of mutations, right? I will be neutral here (neither Evolutionist nor Creationist) but let's be realistic. If mutations can improve us, why do we grow old and die from it even though our body undergoes "selection" too? And you do know that our genome as a population is also getting older, right? Let's math this out: Let's say you're Adam with no mutations yet. Your offspring will inherit an average of 50 mutations from you (you generated this mutations as you grow old). Let's say that we die when reaching 10,000 mutations (Natural Selection). Your offspring started his life on earth a little bit older than you. And he shall add your 50 mutation, plus his own 50 mutation to his offspring. The 3rd generation will now start his life with 100 mutations. Some may mutate faster, but since ALL organism mutates and pass it down, it's easy to see where all of us will end up. Think of your last PC. :)"

closed as unclear what you're asking by Remi.b, March Ho, kmm, MattDMo, Chris Jul 27 '16 at 8:12

Please clarify your specific problem or add additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it’s hard to tell exactly what you're asking. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • Welcome to Biology.SE. I read only the first paragraph which can be summarized into "Consider the following claim:". I am too lazy to read what follows. You should try to drastically shorten your post if you want the attention of people who can answer. Also, I am sure you can make a title that at least specify a little bit the subfield within the field of evolutionary biology. – Remi.b Jul 26 '16 at 0:25
  • Also if you have a quotation, please indicate the link and use the quote format (start the line with >) – Remi.b Jul 26 '16 at 0:27
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    This question rambles a lot, has lots of misconceptions, and I don't see what exactly it is that is being asked. VTC. – March Ho Jul 26 '16 at 7:12
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    @Remi.b Vote to close, I would guess. – AlexDeLarge Jul 26 '16 at 17:25
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    "The woman was probably demonstrating that changes that we see in dogs (variation within one kind) is NOT Evolution because it cannot create new genetic info (so it cannot explain the origin of organs)." ... Simple answer, the woman is an idiot. – ELL Jul 26 '16 at 20:39

Introduction

Welcome to Biology.SE. Please see my comment for issues relating the form of your question. Below my answers are very short as it would take too long to give complete answer. I just redirect you toward a source of information.

Questions

Having said that, you do realize that the reason why you grow old is because of mutations, right?

No, that's wrong!

I will be neutral here (neither Evolutionist nor Creationist) but let's be realistic. If mutations can improve us, why do we grow old and die from it even though our body undergoes "selection" too?

Nope, our body does not undergo "selection". (At least not in any way you may have meant it!)

And you do know that our genome as a population is also getting older, right?

No, that's wrong!

Let's math this out: Let's say you're Adam with no mutations yet.

There was no such thing as a first human and no perfect human free of any deleterious mutations. Adam and Eve are characters from the christian mythology (kind like the equivalent of the first unnamed man Epimetheus and Prometheus created and Pandora (first woman) that Zeus created to punish men).

Your offspring will inherit an average of 50 mutations from you (you generated this mutations as you grow old).

Good job, this is a relatively realistic number (although a bit too high) of new mutations a human baby inherits. Note that these new mutations occur in the ovaries and in the testis either during mitosis or during the meiosis (mutation rate is much higher during meiosis).

Let's say that we die when reaching 10,000 mutations (Natural Selection). Your offspring started his life on earth a little bit older than you. And he shall add your 50 mutation, plus his own 50 mutation to his offspring. The 3rd generation will now start his life with 100 mutations. Some may mutate faster, but since ALL organism mutates and pass it down, it's easy to see where all of us will end up. Think of your last PC. :)"

Most mutations are neutral. Those that are deleterious are (most often) washed out by selection and therefore do not accumulate in the way you describe.

Source of information

I cannot provide complete answers as it would unfortunately be too much for a single post. Instead I redirect you to an online source of information.

There are great (free) online courses. Consider for example having a look at Understanding Evolution (by UC Berkeley). It is a very introductory source of information on evolutionary biology. It is quite short and you will quickly learn a lot!

  • In addition, the "change" argument of OP could be addressed by Glassford et al. 2015 ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26343453 and the "engineering" for circuits by the existence and results of a full research field (dedicated to evolvable hardware) – tsttst Jul 26 '16 at 2:44
  • I like that you gave the OP a heads up with the "Good job". However, the approx. 50 mutations in a newborn are not really introduced in the aging process of the parents, but rather emerge due to error prone DNA replication. The actual number of mutations might be higher in case of older parents (increasing replication error with age), but that is not what the OP is suggesting. – AlexDeLarge Jul 26 '16 at 17:16
  • Yes, you are right. I added a small comment. I did not want to go too technical. I had to use the terms mitosis and meiosis that the OP likely don't know though. Feel free to edit if you can avoid that the OP misunderstand the answer while remaining short. Thanks – Remi.b Jul 26 '16 at 17:24
  • Interesting, but growing old and mutation has nothing to do I guess. it's a common sense. but the starting arguments are quite convincing. What do evolutionists says to the argument that 'genetic engineering' can only turn switch on or off the current DNA and cannot make something new? This 'genetic engineering' is a form of what natural selection can do the creatures I guess. – Chan Kim Jul 27 '16 at 8:16
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    Thank you a lot for answering! The part of the post in quotation marks was not actually mine, I just saw that comment on a site and wanted someone with better knowledge than I have to explain what might be wrong with it. I decided to copy-paste it because I thought I might leave out something important otherwise. Also, please forgive my lack of knowledge, when my teachers got to the subject of evolution they (I guess?) were required to keep it very neutral while teaching, supporting neither side. I hope to learn more in uni now :) – G_G Jul 27 '16 at 9:37

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