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Ready, Steady, Evolve

Hemos posted more than 11 years ago | from the breakout-battles dept.

Science 911

Stront writes "New Scientist is reporting that plants and animals can 'bottle up' evolution until they need it. A certain protein 'hides away' mutated genes acting like a genetic valet, however in extreme environments, such as high temperature or noxious chemicals, the cleaning process breaks down and the mutations are released all at once. This goes some way to explaining examples that are considered to defy standard evolutionary theory, such as the Bombardier Beetle."

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911 comments

Hmm... (3, Interesting)

Drunken Coward (574991) | more than 11 years ago | (#4342947)

Doesn't this kind of go against the theory of natural selection? I mean, if the mutated gene is hidden, then there really isn't a difference between the inferior and superior versions, so the gene pool won't be improved.

Re:Hmm... (1)

David Fontanella (149231) | more than 11 years ago | (#4342964)

Mutated genes could theoretically be covered during hundreds of years. They will be crossed with other genes mutated or not. They will produce new ones.

One day a branch of human evolution will not cover these genes anymore and they will appear.

This IS evolution.

d

Re:Hmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4342984)

Is this how telepathy will eventually emerge?

If so, the future will be truly exciting! Imagine being able to feel your significant one's love for you, the relief of not having to fear deception or crime.

Re:Hmm... (1)

David Fontanella (149231) | more than 11 years ago | (#4343047)

Mmmmh you don't wish telepathy to be mainly available.

How would that be to feel the huge sexual desire that Robert, the truck driver, has for you and your tight little butt ?

How would that be to feel that everyone at your work hates you ?

How would that be to know that all your beloved think you look ugly early in the morning ? ..

I want to be alone in my head. Thanks.

d

Re:Hmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4343070)

You must be a very sad individual to have such a negative view on life! Not only is there a right to be happy, there is a duty to be happy. So much sadness exists in the world that we are all under obligation to contribute as much joy as lies within our powers!

Can you even imagine how much more peaceful the world would be if people had to have their minds open to the joy (and suffering) of their fellow human beings?

Re:Hmm... (2, Insightful)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 11 years ago | (#4343013)

While natural selection makes some sense, and can clearly describe extreme survival abilities (for instance the common example is bacteria and antibacterial agents, and the eventually immunity thereof), in a lot of natural cases it doesn't offer a complete explanation. I'm not a man of religion myself, but I do find there to be some giant "leaps of faith" in the belief of the current explanation of evolution, and many of those who fervently put it forth as the one-true-way are no different than cultists.

Mind you this "pent up evoloution" really doesn't make sense for non-reducable systems: If evolution is trial and error, then how would evolution know what to queue up? It could be a queued up sequence of disastrous changes. Or are we to believe that evolution queued up random delta logs in every creature, and an infinite number of changes leads to the Bombardier Beetles defensive system as one random lucky draw?

Re:Hmm... (4, Insightful)

sgage (109086) | more than 11 years ago | (#4343080)

" If evolution is trial and error, then how would evolution know what to queue up? It could be a queued up sequence of disastrous changes."

Evolution most definitely does NOT know what to queue up. And yes, it might queue up disastrous changes. A lot of natural selection takes place very early in embryonic development, and the real disastrous changes are eliminated right then and there (reabsorption, miscarriages, spontaneous abortions).

That said, as an ardent evolutionist with an MS in population genetics, I sometimes have to wonder about things like the bombardier beetle. The genome has its own "grammar", and the simple model, while a decent big picture, doesn't (yet) cover the incredible complexity and subtlety of what's going on.

Re:Hmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4343015)

It's rather like neutral (not neural) networks... the genome can change while the fitness stays the same. Hopefully (from the species point of view) that allows them to reach areas of higher fitness.

Re:Hmm... (2, Informative)

theduck (101668) | more than 11 years ago | (#4343020)

Doesn't this kind of go against the theory of natural selection? I mean, if the mutated gene is hidden, then there really isn't a difference between the inferior and superior versions, so the gene pool won't be improved.

Not really. Suddenly hostile environment would probably kill off a large proportion of the population in a short time (evolutionarily speaking). If any hidden combination of genes expressed themselves then and even slightly affected the odds of survival then the resulting population would be replete with this set of genes.

Re:Hmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4343083)

Doesn't this kind of go against the theory of natural selection? I mean, if the mutated gene is hidden, then there really isn't a difference between the inferior and superior versions, so the gene pool won't be improved.

Not really. Suddenly hostile environment would probably kill off a large proportion of the population in a short time (evolutionarily speaking). If any hidden combination of genes expressed themselves then and even slightly affected the odds of survival then the resulting population would be replete with this set of genes.


And one of these hidden combinations of genes results in the Bombadier Beetle? Now THAT is a leap of faith if I ever heard one...

Re:Hmm... (5, Insightful)

sgage (109086) | more than 11 years ago | (#4343059)

Natural selection doesn't work on genes, it works on phenotypes - the expression of those genes. If a bunch of mutations are "hidden" for a time, but then suddenly expressed in a time of "need" (i.e., rapidly changing environment), selection can then do its thing.

This finding in no way goes against natural selection.

A+ Certification! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4342951)

Yeah baby!

Re:A+ Certification! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4342979)

nah baby

Re:A+ Certification! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4343050)

make baby. kill baby.

abortion is wrong.

This means ... (-1)

Lolaine (262966) | more than 11 years ago | (#4342958)

that we can know now what our next evolutionary step will be? Or only if we will evolutionate? AFAIK evolution is individual, and if that evolution is succesful, the individual will have descendants.

Other thing I must say; On the world we live now, any human can have descendants, even if he/she cant walk, have an abnormal mutation ,etc etc ... there is no tiger pursuing us, there is no feat to us now in the way it used to be in the old world. so "bad evolution" doesnt apply to humans, right?

Re:This means ... (0)

plarsen (579155) | more than 11 years ago | (#4342968)

Well, I think the Woman - Man thing has a deal with it. But money has a great deal with it too :)

Re:This means ... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4343002)

Hey! I resent your omission of Man-Man and Womyn-Womyn relationships!

Re:This means ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4343089)

and man-boy relationships!

bigot.

Slashdot requires you to wait 20 seconds between hitting 'reply' and submitting a comment.

It's been 19 seconds since you hit 'reply'!

That's why... (2, Funny)

koh (124962) | more than 11 years ago | (#4342959)

--however in extreme environments, such as high temperature or noxious chemicals, the cleaning process breaks down and the mutations are released all at once.

So that's why reading slashdot made me evolve so fast ! Thanks again guys, I like my new body (too bad I turn to stone at night now...)

Re:That's why... (0)

djb6 (158779) | more than 11 years ago | (#4343090)

Are you saying that slashdot is an extreme environment then? I can see how the noxious chemicals bit fits, it's the waste products produced by all the trolls :)

"thinking" (4, Funny)

squaretorus (459130) | more than 11 years ago | (#4342965)

According to evolutionary "thinking" there must have been thousands of generations of beetles improperly mixing these hazardous chemicals in fatal evolutionary experiments, blowing themselves to pieces. Eventually. we are assured, they arrived at the magic formula, but what about the development of the inhibitor?

Never trust any arguement that has to resort to putting thinking in quotes! Especially if the word 'god' is on the same page!

Re:"thinking" (5, Interesting)

aug24 (38229) | more than 11 years ago | (#4343075)

It's a crappy argument anyway. The substances are unstable, not explosive (see later in the article), and the evolution order could easily be:
  • Develop nasty chemical as poison
    and
    Develop inhibitor in other tissues so as not to poison self
  • Develop squirty technique for nasty chemical
  • Develop another nasty chemical as poison.
  • Add second nasty chemical at squirt time which makes it nastier
  • Develop anti-inhibitor as some of the inhibitor will leak into the nasty chemicals


Did I miss anything? Oh yeah, anyone who thinks postulating God is a smaller step than postulating evolution is fooling themselves big time.


My copy of NS is back at home, so I can't comment on the new stuff, just the old rubbish about 'The bombadier beetle couldn't have evolved' <sigh>


Justin.

Re:"thinking" (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4343118)

I particularly liked "Everything in evolution is supposed to make perfect sense and have a logical purpose" Says who? The whole freaking point of evolution is that it is a choatic process with an ordered outcome. I expect there were lots of little beetles blowing themselves up at some point. Guess what? Those beetles didn't produce any offspring, and thats why you don't see any. The ones that didn't blow themselves up produced offspring. Oh look, more beetles.

The fear of evolution is partly based on the idea that man is perfect, and then from that the fear that a perfect being could have evolved from chaos.

The flaw is believing that man is perfect.

Re:"thinking" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4343108)

he's probably one of those types who think that evolution isn't real, and what the bible says is the absolute truth.. Close mindedness like that really irritates me.

It's a theory... (4, Insightful)

Mwongozi (176765) | more than 11 years ago | (#4342967)

You can't "defy" a theory. That's why it's called a theory. Theorys "evolve" (heh) until they finally fit all the available facts, and then we can be fairly sure that that is what is really happening.

Re:It's a theory... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4343025)

Wrong.
When that happens you can be sure the theory fits the available facts. You cannot necessarily assume that is what is really happening.

Re:It's a theory... (1)

croftj (2359) | more than 11 years ago | (#4343091)

You may not be able to defy a theory but you can refute it.

It sounds like what you're saying is that either the theory of evelution (without Creator) will one day become the theory of creation (with Creator), or visa versa, or maybe they will end up the somewhere in the middle (A creator that doesn't create).

They are both considered theories! They both cannot evolve to fit the evidence and remain as they are in substance, therefore one of them must be wrong and can be refuted.

Re:It's a theory... (1)

pyrrhos (227998) | more than 11 years ago | (#4343110)

What you are refering to is called a hypothesis. In science the word "thoery" is more than just a speculation. For instance, the "theory of relativity" is a theory and you can certainly defy it if you manage to pass the speed of light.

Such a subtle mechanism (1, Funny)

gowen (141411) | more than 11 years ago | (#4342969)

This mechanism is so subtle, it is surely proof of an intelligent designer. That being the case, there is no need for evolution at all, so the mechanism itself clearly doesn't exist...

Damn, I appear to be trapped in a maze of circular logic.

Re:Such a subtle mechanism (5, Funny)

Yokaze (70883) | more than 11 years ago | (#4343006)

> This mechanism is so subtle, it is surely proof of an intelligent designer

OTOH, we are so dumb, this is surely a proof that there is no designer.

Furthermore, people are so dumb, that the universe must be a bad dream I'm having, and other people are just an imagination or representations of myself.

I must stop talking to myself.

Re:Such a subtle mechanism (1)

Spazholio (314843) | more than 11 years ago | (#4343126)

"Oh dear," says God, "I hadn't thought of that," and promptly vanishes in a puff of logic.

[/blatant Douglas Adams ripoff]

What a Joke (0, Flamebait)

skubalon (579506) | more than 11 years ago | (#4342970)

This is ludicrous. Bottle up? This goes nowhere toward explaining troublesome spots for evolution. The bombardier beetle clearly had an excellent designer.

Re:What a Joke (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4343106)

I agree. It took me like 3 weeks to finish putting that fucker together.

Your mother only took me ~45 seconds to do.
Of course, by "do", I mean "fuck".

Re:What a Joke (1)

benzapp (464105) | more than 11 years ago | (#4343112)

Yeah, God makes a beetle with an explosive means of self defense, but makes my neighbor so goddamn fat he can't even walk 20 feet to his mailbox. Excellent designer, this foul humans... Beetles have built in explosive chemicals, humans should have been designed with adrenaline levels that rise in proportion to weight, so you never get fat.

btw the structural similarities between adrenalin and amphetamine are apparent even to the person with no knowledge of chemistry. check Chem Finder.com [chemfinder.com] and search for both.

How bout... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4342972)

a link to the freakin article?

Article? (1)

UCRowerG (523510) | more than 11 years ago | (#4342973)

Is there a link to the direct article? It's not on the homepage.

Re:Article? (2, Informative)

inputsprocket (585963) | more than 11 years ago | (#4342988)

it's the 'features' cover story, and requires a paid subscription to the magazine to view it. Wayda go /.

More info please! (3, Informative)

inputsprocket (585963) | more than 11 years ago | (#4342974)

It's a bit difficult to comment on a story, when the story requires subscription to the print edition of a magazine to view it! That, or wait a week until the story is released to the masses.

Inluded (0)

plarsen (579155) | more than 11 years ago | (#4342985)

This certain protein and hidden mutation is also created because of evolution, and it is as we now know a cruicidal thing in all life to survive a longer time.

Evolution (4, Informative)

e8johan (605347) | more than 11 years ago | (#4342989)

A simple proof of evolution is to look at genetic programming (for example here [genetic-programming.org] , here [genetic-programming.com] and here [geneticprogramming.com] ).
Just look at the classic example of ants collection food. It is beautifully described in John R. Koza's [genetic-programming.com] great books (1 [amazon.com] , 2 [amazon.com] and 3 [amazon.com] ) on the subject.
Just imagine adding a fermone layer to freeciv [freeciv.org] and let the random search for a superior player begin.

Re:Evolution (2, Insightful)

skubalon (579506) | more than 11 years ago | (#4343003)

Programming itself implies, no, requires a programmer. So I ask you, who did the genetic programming?

Re:Evolution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4343026)

His name is Matt. I used to work in the same office as him. Different company, but he does a lot of genetic programming for Koza himself. He's a nice guy. He's set up a lot of stuff regarding evolving circuits, etc.

Re:Evolution (3, Insightful)

e8johan (605347) | more than 11 years ago | (#4343049)

The basic process of producing enzymes from the DNA/RNA is just a simple chemical process, i.e. the laws of the nature (which are due to quantum effects if you want to go all the way, as far as we know it today anyway).
As for genetic programming, you are right, someone has to provide a set of common rules, building blocks, whatever, but a random process actually reaches a solution through selection of the fitest, which I find nice...

Re:Evolution (2, Insightful)

jone1941 (516270) | more than 11 years ago | (#4343084)

We've all heard that a million monkeys, banging on a million typewriters, would eventually reproduce the entire works of Shakespeare.

So, as soon as you throw a moderator on that equation (survival) all of a sudden you have a learning algorithm that throws away anything that isn't any good.

Sorry I couldn't help myself. =)

Re:Evolution (0)

danbeck (5706) | more than 11 years ago | (#4343121)

We've all heard that a million monkeys, banging on a million typewriters, would eventually reproduce the entire works of Shakespeare

This has been disproven time and time again. Please stop saying this. It's stupid. The word "Eventualy" implies forever, but the evolutionary process as many scientist believe has not been taking place forever.

Seriously.. stop say that stupid statment.

Re:Evolution (2, Troll)

CaptainAlbert (162776) | more than 11 years ago | (#4343041)

Come on moderators, this is a blatant troll!

Genetic algorithms are not proof of evolutionary theory. They merely demonstrate that, under very controlled conditions, the application of "survival of the fittest" and random mutations in a "gene pool" can allow solutions to develop in a way analogous to natural selection.

You can't make a jump from that to proving the theory of evolution by natural selection. Indeed, it's highly unlikely that that theory will ever be proved beyond doubt, and many people (not just loonies) expect it to be debunked sooner rather than later. (Personally, I don't hold that view.)
Genetic algorithms are interesting - I've had fun with them myself. But they *prove* exactly nothing.

Re:Evolution (2)

e8johan (605347) | more than 11 years ago | (#4343062)

Ok, it is not a proof, sorry for using such a provocative word - I did not mean to start a flame war. However, I feel that it shows that a random process, with a selection of the fittest can provide good solutions to problems.

Re:Evolution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4343105)

Um, more than random mutations. The combination of fit individuals as well.

Bombardier Beetle (4, Insightful)

spakka (606417) | more than 11 years ago | (#4342990)

...examples that are considered to defy standard evolutionary theory, such as the Bombardier Beetle.

Only if you're a creationist.

debunking [talkorigins.org]

Re:Bombardier Beetle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4343028)

Nothing I saw on that page you linked to "debunks" the creationist arguments. To me, as a scientist, it sounded more like a badly written essay by a wanna-be layman scientist. Lots of difficult and obscure words meant to confuse and distract people with no formal training in sciences.

If evolution is so self evident and clear cut case as you think, then why is it so hard to explain it in simple layman's terms?

Re:Bombardier Beetle (0)

netphilter (549954) | more than 11 years ago | (#4343046)

What? So evolutionists ignore the facts? That doesn't seem to be a very good statement to make. The facts are that the Bombardier Beetle defies all evolutionist theories. It's no big deal...just keep waiting around for your "missing link" (read: any evidence at all). I'm sure someday you'll come up with SOMETHING believable :)

Re:Bombardier Beetle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4343109)

read the damn article!

Re:Bombardier Beetle (1)

job0 (134689) | more than 11 years ago | (#4343054)

So could you please explain using standard evolutionary theory
how an ordinary beetle, through a series of random, accidental mutations, acted upon by natural selection, could gradually change into a bombardier beetle.

Re:Bombardier Beetle (5, Insightful)

Latent IT (121513) | more than 11 years ago | (#4343077)

Well, since you don't want to (can't?) read the article linked to above before criticizing, I'll quote it for you.

Quinones are produced by epidermal cells for tanning the cuticle. This exists commonly in arthropods. [Dettner, 1987]

Some of the quinones don't get used up, but sit on the epidermis, making the arthropod distasteful. (Quinones are used as defensive secretions in a variety of modern arthropods, from beetles to millipedes. [Eisner, 1970])

Small invaginations develop in the epidermis between sclerites (plates of cuticle). By wiggling, the insect can squeeze more quinones onto its surface when they're needed.

The invaginations deepen. Muscles are moved around slightly, allowing them to help expel the quinones from some of them. (Many ants have glands similar to this near the end of their abdomen. [Holldobler & Wilson, 1990, pp. 233-237])

Some invaginations (now reservoirs) become so deep that the others are inconsequential by comparison. Those gradually revert to the original epidermis.

In various insects, different defensive chemicals besides quinones appear. (See Eisner, 1970, for a review.) This helps those insects defend against predators which have evolved resistance to quinones. One of the new defensive chemicals is hydroquinone.

Cells that secrete the hydroquinones develop in multiple layers over part of the reservoir, allowing more hydroquinones to be produced. Channels between cells allow hydroquinones from all layers to reach the reservoir.

The channels become a duct, specialized for transporting the chemicals. The secretory cells withdraw from the reservoir surface, ultimately becoming a separate organ.
This stage -- secretory glands connected by ducts to reservoirs -- exists in many beetles. The particular configuration of glands and reservoirs that bombardier beetles have is common to the other beetles in their suborder. [Forsyth, 1970]

Muscles adapt which close off the reservoir, thus preventing the chemicals from leaking out when they're not needed.

Hydrogen peroxide, which is a common by-product of cellular metabolism, becomes mixed with the hydroquinones. The two react slowly, so a mixture of quinones and hydroquinones gets used for defense.

Cells secreting a small amount of catalases and peroxidases appear along the output passage of the reservoir, outside the valve which closes it off from the outside. These ensure that more quinones appear in the defensive secretions. Catalases exist in almost all cells, and peroxidases are also common in plants, animals, and bacteria, so those chemicals needn't be developed from scratch but merely concentrated in one location.

More catalases and peroxidases are produced, so the discharge is warmer and is expelled faster by the oxygen generated by the reaction.

The walls of that part of the output passage become firmer, allowing them to better withstand the heat and pressure generated by the reaction.

Still more catalases and peroxidases are produced, and the walls toughen and shape into a reaction chamber. Gradually they become the mechanism of today's bombardier beetles.

The tip of the beetle's abdomen becomes somewhat elongated and more flexible, allowing the beetle to aim its discharge in various directions.


Why, that sounds like a series of random... oh, forget it. You'll probably ignore this too.

The story is only in the print edition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4343093)

Do any of us read anything not online anymore? Next slashdot poll: How many (print) magazine subscriptions in your home?

Pokemon/TMNT (3, Funny)

jeek (37349) | more than 11 years ago | (#4342992)

Of course, the mutations are also released when your Pokemon hits a certain level (depending on the Pokemon), or is exposed one of several rare stones, or even becomes extremely attached to its trainer.

Shredder has many vials of a substance called "Mutagen" that can also release these mutations.

the faith of fake science (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4343004)

centuries later, people will look back at the stupid talking monkeys known as humans that attacked the issues of development and species differentiation with a blind illogical fervor that matched the most heinous Jihad terrorist. It is amazing how these 'explanations' pop up not as a trully scientific discovery, but as a sort of putty to fill in the gaping holes of the current theories. Sad...

Yes bob, today I mutated my genes in a way that makes me incompatable with the human species. However, don't you fret, because as luck has it there is a woman close by that happened to have the exact same mutation and is in a breeding age, plus is single and attracted to me. Now lets all throw up our computers and flowcharts and they will land as a super powerful cluster that defies any computing power known to this date!

I have serious doubt. (2, Troll)

Krapangor (533950) | more than 11 years ago | (#4343016)

All these examples where the standard theory failed showed the basic flaws of the evolution theory. Now they bring up a extremely complicated theory to get the "standard theory" right. Ironically it contradicts itself the evolutionary theory by such plants and animals with "hidden genes" are more prone to get gene-defect diseases like cancer etc. So that's basically a huge evolutionary drawback which should have eliminated by evolution.
Sorry pals. The standard evolution theory by Darwin is basically flawed. I'm not one of these air-heads who doubt carbon dating etc. But we have record in all older human of a superior alien power interfering which life on this planet. Why should this be in fact wrong ? The acients surely saw something and misinterpreted it, without having much knowledge about the world. However humans are not cracked up such much as they seem to be so it's very unlikely that this is all made up.
You guy defending the evolution theory so keenly are in fact a new kind of religious zealot - you just replaced the trinity with natural sciences.
I wonder when the first fires will burn and the whitchhunts start.

Re:I have serious doubt. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4343066)

Modded "insightful"??? Ancient superior alien powers? You have *evidence*? Phew!

Re:I have serious doubt. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4343101)

Of course, creationists were the same sort of people who refused to believe bacteria existed in the first place.

Re:I have serious doubt. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4343111)

Well, have you ever seen bacteria? How do you know it exists? And no, the consequences attributed to bacteria do not qualify as evidence.

Re:I have serious doubt. (4, Informative)

sgage (109086) | more than 11 years ago | (#4343122)

"Ironically it contradicts itself the evolutionary theory by such plants and animals with "hidden genes" are more prone to get gene-defect diseases like cancer etc. So that's basically a huge evolutionary drawback which should have eliminated by evolution."

No, because there is nothing evolutionarily "bad" about cancer, so long as you don't get it until you've had offspring.

"But we have record in all older human of a superior alien power interfering which life on this planet."

So aliens came and jiggered with life on earth - cool. One then simply wonders... how did this superior alien lifeform come about? Infinite regress...

"You guy defending the evolution theory so keenly are in fact a new kind of religious zealot - you just replaced the trinity with natural sciences.
I wonder when the first fires will burn and the whitchhunts start."

Total sensationalist bullshit. There are many, many excellent popular books on the subject. Why not educate yourself? Or wait for the aliens to take you away...

Re:I have serious doubt. (1)

unapersson (38207) | more than 11 years ago | (#4343123)

Have you seriously ever actually looked closely enough at evolutionary theory to understand it? Your understanding of the theory seems more than a little flawed.

The theory itself is just going through a standard scientific process, through which such theories evolve into something which more closely describes exactly what is happening.

Your alien theory though nice, doesn't really explain the evolutionary processes that are going on now. It's really just a replacement god theory, where the amorphous god is replaced by aliens in space chariots. It's still just a version of creationism in the end though, as without evolution, how did the aliens involved into a species that could affect another's evolution?

I don't know where you get your religious zealotry ideas from. Science is a process where theories are constantly improved or disproved. All you have to do to slam dunk evolution is come up with a theory that more closely fits the facts.

So your witch hunt is little more than a straw man, an ironic one as well considering that's the kind of treatment given to philosophers and scientists by actual zealots in the past.

Question for creationists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4343018)

How do creationists explain the existence of fossils which carbon dating show to be older than the supposed age of the Earth? Were these placed by [Gg]od also, to trick us? Is carbon dating a joke? How do they explain it?

(I don't usually get in these debates with creationists because my blatent atheism often offends them.)

Re:Question for creationists (1)

skubalon (579506) | more than 11 years ago | (#4343073)

First, you need to learn about carbon dating [answersingenesis.org] . Carbon dating is incredibly inacurate, plus anything over about 50,000 years old, should theoretically have no detectable 14C left.

After that read these articles.

Article 1 [answersingenesis.org]
Article 2 [answersingenesis.org]
Article 3 [answersingenesis.org]

And man created god.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4343021)

It never fails to amaze me that otherwise intelligent, rational people use a belief in fairies at the bottom of the garden to address a serious scientific issue.

I prefer to keep my feet on the ground, and my head in reality.

how does one hide a gene? (1)

inputsprocket (585963) | more than 11 years ago | (#4343029)

Not being able to read the article in question, but it seems a bit nigh impossible for a cell to 'hide' a mutated gene from it's unmutated counterpart - we only have one set of genes. If a gene becomes mutated, how can the cell 'hide' it? Mechanisms like methylation, acetylation, ubiquitination and stuff regulate gene expression to enable the controlled expression of genes in different tissues. If a gene becomes mutated, the article is suggesting that that gene becomes switched off until it is advantagious for expression. Inappropriate expression of genes is how cancers arise - the cell can't just decide to switch off a gene because it has a mutation. Further, it's impossible to 'mask' the mutation in the expressed gene, since the genetic code is strict. This whole story is mute, since we are not able to gather the facts to draw any sort of opinion....

Sounds like a good argument for creation! (0, Troll)

croftj (2359) | more than 11 years ago | (#4343033)

Due to the lack of an actual article to read. One can only read the article link they did link to. That about the Bombardier Beetle. That little guy sounds like a good argument for creation!

Come on folks, now evolution know's what it needs before it's needed? Or maybe all combinations of genes are ever present and those needed at the time are turned on by the conditions!

I'll stick with my creationist beliefs thankyou. They still make much more sense than any evolution theory.

Re:Sounds like a good argument for creation! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4343057)

Quite agree.

The theory that someone waved a magic wand is far more sensible than the theory that nature might actually know what it's doing !

Isn't it ?

Nice timing (0)

Arecibe (456453) | more than 11 years ago | (#4343037)

I find it pretty cool that this is released now, considering the recent contoversies over teaching Evolution in Georgia and Ohio. I wonder how The extreme Baptists who live near me will explain this new discovery into their 6,000 year old Earth?

HEY SLASHBOTS (0, Troll)

chainrust (610064) | more than 11 years ago | (#4343038)

Go here [slashdot.org] and try creating a discussion. You will have comments in your user profile with no discussion, on sid 0! look in my user profile for proof!

Ready, Steady, Evolve (2, Interesting)

unixfan (571579) | more than 11 years ago | (#4343045)

Well, this was demonstrated already in the 50's. So it's nice to see that someone is picking up on it.

Science now confirms: Creationism is dying. (-1, Flamebait)

TROLLMAGEDDON (547333) | more than 11 years ago | (#4343053)

Yet another crippling bombshell hit the beleaguered Creationism community when recently IDC confirmed that Creationism accounts for less than a fraction of 1 percent of all theories of existance. Coming on the heels of the latest Science survey which plainly states that Creationism has lost more market share, this news serves to reinforce what we've known all along. Creationism is collapsing in complete disarray, as further exemplified by failing dead last [samag.org] in the recent science comprehensive evolution test.

You don't need to be a Kreskin [amdest.com] to predict Creationism's future. The hand writing is on the wall: Creationism faces a bleak future. In fact there won't be any future at all for Creationism because Creationism is dying. Things are looking very bad for Creationism. As many of us are already aware, Creationism continues to lose market share. Red ink flows like a river of blood. Big Bang is the most endangered of them all, having lost 93% of its core developers.

Let's keep to the facts and look at the numbers.

Creationism leader Theo states that there are 7000 users of Creationism. How many users of Scientology are there? Let's see. The number of Creationism versus Scientology posts on Usenet is roughly in ratio of 5 to 1. Therefore there are about 7000/5 = 1400 Scientology users. Evolution posts on Usenet are about half of the volume of Scientology posts. Therefore there are about 700 users of Evolution. A recent article put Big Bang at about 80 percent of the Creationism market. Therefore there are (7000+1400+700)*4 = 36400 Big Bang users. This is consistent with the number of Big Bang Usenet posts.

Due to the troubles of Christian Scientists, abysmal sales and so on, Big Bang went out of business and was taken over by New Scientist who sell another troubled theory. Now New Scientist is also dead, its corpse turned over to yet another charnel house. All major surveys show that Creationism has steadily declined in market share. Creationism is very sick and its long term survival prospects are very dim. If Creationism is to survive at all it will be among OS hobbyist dabblers. Creationism continues to decay. Nothing short of a miracle could save it at this point in time. For all practical purposes, Creationism is dead.

Fact: Creationism is dead

Less potent (1)

tylerdave (58777) | more than 11 years ago | (#4343056)

Has anyone considered that the Bombardier Beetle could have slowly developed a more and more potent defense system. Surely in low enough levels the chemicals wouldn't have killed the beetle. Over time, through tweaking the mixture, the defense becomes more effective and the more effective variants get to reproduce. Why did the article have to link to such a non-scientific account of the Bombardier Beetle 'problem'? I would like to see a more even handed discussion of the issue, not just the account of a creationist with a message to spread.

Re:Less potent (1)

CaptainAlbert (162776) | more than 11 years ago | (#4343099)

The link you need was posted above; if you haven't seen it, here it is again:

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/bombardier.html

Re:Less potent (3, Informative)

Mugs (551377) | more than 11 years ago | (#4343114)

There's a good account of such a possible route here [talkorigins.org]

The steps listed are not claimed to be the route, just a possible route.

  1. Quinones are produced by epidermal cells for tanning the cuticle. This exists commonly in arthropods. [Dettner, 1987]
  2. Some of the quinones don't get used up, but sit on the epidermis, making the arthropod distasteful. (Quinones are used as defensive secretions in a variety of modern arthropods, from beetles to millipedes. [Eisner, 1970])
  3. Small invaginations develop in the epidermis between sclerites (plates of cuticle). By wiggling, the insect can squeeze more quinones onto its surface when they're needed.
  4. The invaginations deepen. Muscles are moved around slightly, allowing them to help expel the quinones from some of them. (Many ants have glands similar to this near the end of their abdomen. [Holldobler & Wilson, 1990, pp. 233-237])
  5. Some invaginations (now reservoirs) become so deep that the others are inconsequential by comparison. Those gradually revert to the original epidermis.
  6. In various insects, different defensive chemicals besides quinones appear. (See Eisner, 1970, for a review.) This helps those insects defend against predators which have evolved resistance to quinones. One of the new defensive chemicals is hydroquinone.
  7. Cells that secrete the hydroquinones develop in multiple layers over part of the reservoir, allowing more hydroquinones to be produced. Channels between cells allow hydroquinones from all layers to reach the reservoir.
  8. The channels become a duct, specialized for transporting the chemicals. The secretory cells withdraw from the reservoir surface, ultimately becoming a separate organ. This stage -- secretory glands connected by ducts to reservoirs -- exists in many beetles. The particular configuration of glands and reservoirs that bombardier beetles have is common to the other beetles in their suborder. [Forsyth, 1970]
  9. Muscles adapt which close off the reservoir, thus preventing the chemicals from leaking out when they're not needed.
  10. Hydrogen peroxide, which is a common by-product of cellular metabolism, becomes mixed with the hydroquinones. The two react slowly, so a mixture of quinones and hydroquinones gets used for defense.
  11. Cells secreting a small amount of catalases and peroxidases appear along the output passage of the reservoir, outside the valve which closes it off from the outside. These ensure that more quinones appear in the defensive secretions. Catalases exist in almost all cells, and peroxidases are also common in plants, animals, and bacteria, so those chemicals needn't be developed from scratch but merely concentrated in one location.
  12. More catalases and peroxidases are produced, so the discharge is warmer and is expelled faster by the oxygen generated by the reaction.
  13. The walls of that part of the output passage become firmer, allowing them to better withstand the heat and pressure generated by the reaction.
  14. Still more catalases and peroxidases are produced, and the walls toughen and shape into a reaction chamber. Gradually they become the mechanism of today's bombardier beetles.
  15. The tip of the beetle's abdomen becomes somewhat elongated and more flexible, allowing the beetle to aim its discharge in various directions.

Bombadier. (1)

burbledrone (605693) | more than 11 years ago | (#4343060)

Decent refutation of creationist nonsense here [talkorigins.org] .

Re:Bombadier. (1)

burbledrone (605693) | more than 11 years ago | (#4343115)

And if anyone thinks that hydrogen peroxide is a strange thing to find in an organism, they're wrong. You yourself have peroxide excreting cells in your immune system.

Evolution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4343064)

Evolution does not require thought. It merely requires a situation, a solution to the situation, and the ability to survive the solution.

When the creationist argues that the Bombardier Beetle must 'be smart enough' to store his chemicals in separate containers, he ignores the workings of thousands, perhaps millions, of years of circumstance.

I guess the fact that Bombardier Beetle 'never misses' is proof that some all powerful intelligence has his guiding hand on each little Beetle. Bombardier Beetles - The Chosen Ones.

There must have been (0)

Haxx (314221) | more than 11 years ago | (#4343065)

-- "According to evolutionary "thinking" there must have been thousands of generations of beetles improperly mixing these hazardous chemicals in fatal evolutionary experiments, blowing themselves to pieces. Eventually. we are assured, they arrived at the magic formula

either that or they got it right the first time.

If you dont believe in any religion than you must be satanic!

Trilobyte (2, Funny)

nmg196 (184961) | more than 11 years ago | (#4343071)

Ok it's experiment time:

I'm going to get a fish tank, some water, air, soil etc and then sterilise the whole lot while it's sealed in the tank, so there can't possibly be any life in there whatsoever.

I'm then going to watch the tank and wait to see how long it takes until I get a Trilobyte.

It might take a while longer to get a bombadier beetle or a Neanderthal man though...

Obviously I'll set up a web cam pointing at the tank so you guys can watch too...

Nick... ...from the Insitute of people-who-have-way-too-much-free-time-on-their-ha nds.

Re:Trilobyte (0)

djb6 (158779) | more than 11 years ago | (#4343127)

Make sure you send us the url. I for one would love to see a Trilobyte evolve

Imagine... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4343079)

...a Beowulf cluster of these things!!1!

Reminds me of... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4343082)

The whole concept of emergent behaviour.

Greg Bear's Darwin's Radio [gregbear.com] makes for a good introduction on that subject...

Bombadier Beetle faq link (5, Informative)

WolfWithoutAClause (162946) | more than 11 years ago | (#4343085)

Bombadier Beetle FAQ [talkorigins.org]

There's no great mystery; all of the chemicals are common, other beetles exist that excrete them separately; and the temperatures and pressures are not really that great (only just above boiling). So what?

As Darwin himself once said, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4343087)

"Rock and roll your balls."

Interesting (3, Interesting)

interstellar_donkey (200782) | more than 11 years ago | (#4343088)

Ignoring all the people who want to get into a creationist vs. evolution debate, I find this very interesting. (For the record, I'm a Christian who is interested in science.)

I've always been curious about evolution, but have found a problem in it that I havn't been able to get around.

We can see natural selection at work withen a species before our eyes in a matter of generations, but have yet to see any dramatic jump that evolutionary theory supports.

Could this be the answer? Could these stored up Genes have enough in side of them to not only modify a breed of species, but create an entirly new one? I'd love to see more research on this.

If so, we have discovered the final missing link in evolutionary theory.

Re:Interesting (1)

glh (14273) | more than 11 years ago | (#4343130)

Missing link? There are TONS of missing links. What about "how did we go from nothing to something". This new "theory" (actually it's not a theory, but a hypothesis) doesn't explain that. I think it's just another attempt at making the evolution hypothesis "work". There is no science involved, only guesswork. There is more faith required in evolution (ie, faith in MANY unprovable things as opposed to the creation science view, which is faith in ONE thing- God) .

The Bible says that everything God created will reproduce after its own KIND. Therefore, to have a new breed of species, that will NEVER happen. You can have a racoon and a cat (raccat), but that "hybrid" species can't reproduce itself. There has never been and never will be a case where we will have a new "kind" produced by genetic mutation that can itself reproduce.

Could this be a new business plan?!?!?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4343092)

  1. Click here [mtree.com] .
  2. ???
  3. Profit! [hick.org]

Defensive Mechanism? (2, Insightful)

Dunhausen (455277) | more than 11 years ago | (#4343094)

To date, there has been no observed beneficial mutation. Clearly then, organisms that receive a mutation are less likely to survive than (already healthy) organisms that don't, so perhaps this is just a mechanism to protect the organism against mutations.

And I think the protein breaksdown under the conditions stated simply because not many creatures have evolved to live in volcanos or toxic waste dumps.

Evolutionist side of bombardier beetle (0)

jimshep (30670) | more than 11 years ago | (#4343102)

Here is a link to the talkorigins.org discussion on the bombardier beetle.

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/bombardier.html [talkorigins.org]

Mutated genes = scientific precision? Come on... (0)

danbeck (5706) | more than 11 years ago | (#4343103)

Two points here:

Even if the destruction of the proteins that help restrict gene mutations were all destroyed. Is it really possible for a mutated gene or even one million randomly mutated genes to have the scientific precision to create the kind of defensive system that the Bombardier Beetle has? I seriously doubt it. It looks more to me that a scientist of sorts has created this insect.

Second point: Isn't it strange that in a world governed by evolution that the fauna here actually have developed proteins to restrict the mutation of genes? It would seem that evolutionary process would revel in the mutation of genes since it advances life?

Sometimes it feels like evolutionists are the Emporer and His New Clothes.

Creationism (2, Funny)

pubjames (468013) | more than 11 years ago | (#4343104)


This type of topic on Slashdot always creates lots of posts bashing Creationists. Because of this, I would like to give you a rational, logical expanation about the beliefs of Creationists, to dispel the ignorance displayed here on Slashdot.

What is a Creationist?
A Creationist believes that living things were designed and created by God, rather than a process such as evolution.

So God is a designer and creator?
Yes, this is fundamental to the beliefs of Creationists.

What is God? An old man with a big white beard?
That's just silly. God is everywhere, he is a spirit. You can't see him.

You said God was a designer and creator. Why?
Sorry?

What's he do it for?
Erm. What? Oh I know this one! You mustn't question the doings of God, they are unexplainable by mere mortals?

So this invisible and unexplainable thing you call God created all living creatures, but you can't explain why?
You must have faith.

And you think that's a more sensible explanation of life on Earth than evoluton?
I've got my faith. I don't have to question it.

So what about the fossil record? Did God create that?
[Hands on ears] La la la la la la la la...

Where's the article? (1)

Zogg (238055) | more than 11 years ago | (#4343113)

I've sifted through their site and been unable to turn up anything. If the article isn't online... is it really all that fruitful for us to discuss the plausibility of a theory we can't get more than a 2 line explanation of?

Where's the beef?

fp!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4343119)

I claim this frosty post on behalf of Tux and all his friends at the South Pole. Please mod me up, pleeeeeeease! Won't you do it for the penguins? Please, think of the penguins and mod this up! NOW!

Recommended Reading (1)

derfell (611337) | more than 11 years ago | (#4343120)

I'd recommend the creationists and those who have their reservations about evolutionary theory as it stands to read the editorial in that issue of new scientist...you might have to wait a week though

that darned beetle (3, Informative)

ChrisJones (23624) | more than 11 years ago | (#4343124)

I'm not entirely convinced that the Bombadier Beetle is a good argument against evolution, even before this theory.
There are many organisms that use what would be lethal chemicals to disorient, disable and/or kill their prey and/or predators. If you think of the squillions of beetles in the world (and there really are billions and billions of them), then look at the amount of time they've existed (a very very long time), is it really that surprising that such a feature could evolve?
Something as advantageous as being able to secrete chemicals that predators don't like gives you such a massive advantage over your defenseless peers that natural selection is going to promote that feature very aggressively, then one beetle arrives that has slightly too powerful secretion methods that squirt the chemical rather than simple secreting it onto their exoskeleton. Now you have an even bigger advantage, you can deter your predator before it has you in it's mouth. Again, natural selection is going to promote that quite aggressively because you're less likely to be injured and unable to reproduce further.
I admit that the leap from there to squirting two different chemicals so they meet at a precise point and react is a little greater, but it only has to happen by random chance once, after that natural selection (less other random chances of death) will take care of making it the predominant feature.
Given the incredible amount of specialisation nature displays elsewhere, the bombadier beetle doesn't seem to be too out of the ordinary. I would suggest that something like bioluminesence is equally impressive/unlikely.

Okay, this is weird -- (2)

Saint Aardvark (159009) | more than 11 years ago | (#4343128)

I'm just finishing up Darwin's Radio [gregbear.com] by Greg Bear, which starts from a pretty similar proposition: that evolution happens (or at least can happen) in big leaps, regulated by the genes themselves and triggered by stress.

The story deals with what happens to the human race when those genes come out for the first time since we took over from the Neandertals. (Probably not the best summary, but God it's early.)

Not a bad book -- I wasn't too compelled by the first half, but now that I'm on the downhill stretch I'm more and more engrossed. A neat idea, and one that looks like it may have some basis in fact. (Scary thought, given the human race's reaction in the book to what happens...)

Therefore, the Supreme Creator loves war (2, Funny)

ch-chuck (9622) | more than 11 years ago | (#4343131)

All I can say is if the defense mechanism of the beetle was created by an intelligent designer, with blueprints and all, like Slartibartfast or something, S/he/it must be having a ball. "Ok, we/I create these things that eat beetles, but on the other hand lets make the beetle so it squirts hot crap in the predators face so it really has to work for it's dinner!! Won't that be a rip!!! Hehehe. Then let's make these humans have to toil away for their food also, and blame all their troubles on, hmmm, SIN! Yeah, that's the ticket, they used to live a life of eternal luxery in a fantastic garden but because of this 'sin' thing the now have to slave away to get food, shelter and clothing. Then we'll make those who beleive that stuff work against those who are trying to alleviate suffering, yeah, this'll keep those 'humans' hopelessly confused, just the way I designed it!!"

But there's more.. (1)

unorthod0x (263821) | more than 11 years ago | (#4343134)

You might want to check this [talkorigins.org] for an alternate viewpoint.. I quote:

Much creationist literature gives an inaccurate account of the process. Based on an admittedly sloppy translation of a 1961 article by Schildknecht and Holoubek [Kofahl, 1981], Duane Gish claimed that hydrogen peroxide and hydroquinones would explode spontaneously if mixed without a chemical inhibitor, and that the beetle starts with a mix of all three and adds an anti-inhibitor when he wants the explosion. [Weber, 1981] In fact, the two do not explode when mixed, as others have demonstrated. [Dawkins, 1987, p. 86-87] (Schildknecht did propose a physical inhibitor which kept the mixture from degrading in undisected beetles; in fact, the degradation he saw was probably simply a result of exposure to the air.) Gish still used the mistaken scenario after being corrected by Kofahl in 1978. [Weber, 1981] The same mistake is also repeated in books by Hitching in 1981, Huse in 1983 and 1993, and twice in a creationist magazine in 1990 [Anon, 1990a,b].
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