Skip to content
 
If you can read this, either the style sheet didn't load or you have an older browser that doesn't support style sheets. Try clearing your browser cache and refreshing the page.

(Cracked)   Seven animals that are conspiring with atheist scientists to destroy God   (cracked.com) divider line
    More: Interesting  
•       •       •

14583 clicks; posted to Geek » on 19 May 2011 at 2:42 AM (9 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



247 Comments     (+0 »)
 


Oldest | « | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | » | Newest | Show all

 
2011-05-19 12:35:05 AM  
*sigh*

Well, this will either be a very interesting discussion about these organisms and their situations, and the study of biological evolution in general

-or-

it will be another "religion vs. science" poo-flinging contest where the exact same arguments are re-hashed, the exact same talking points are re-debunked, and basically everything but TFA is discussed.

If I were a betting man...

That said, while the examples in the article are very interesting examples of "evolution in action", they are neither surprising nor uncommon. It would be a real challenge to find any example that wouldn't fit, as evolution* is always in action. I would, however, love to see references to actual studies involving the organisms in TFA, especially genetic studies and such. It would be very interesting to see what genetic changes are happening to cause these changes in phenotype and if there are any pleiotropic effects causing unforeseen side-effects. Among other things.

* this is a reminder that biological evolution is defined as genetic change in a population over time (more usually and specifically, the change in allele frequencies over time); while the appearance of new features and new species can be results of these changes, such results are not required in order for evolution occur. All that is required is genetic change over time, whether positive, negative, or neutral
 
2011-05-19 12:52:38 AM  
Sorry Subby, but Catholic God says evolution is real and God's will.
 
2011-05-19 1:15:39 AM  

mamoru: Well, this will either be a very interesting discussion about these organisms and their situations, and the study of biological evolution in general


OK, well I'll start with this sentence from the article:

To make themselves less appealing to their greatest enemies (poachers), elephants all over the world have begun selecting against having tusks at all.

Is this a joke? Because it only seems obvious that elephants that have no tusks have no natural nor man-made predator, therefore survive to continue to propagate the species.

It's natural selection in action: either lady elephants are deliberately choosing tuskless mates, or the only boy elephants surviving into breeding time are the ones born without tusks. Either way, that tusklessness is getting passed on.

Oh. Well...good luck with that religion vs science thing you were mentioning, mamoru.
 
2011-05-19 1:24:29 AM  

jaylectricity: Is this a joke? Because it only seems obvious that elephants that have no tusks have no natural nor man-made predator, therefore survive to continue to propagate the species.


Yeah, but traditionally, males have competed for the affection of those sexy, sexy lady elephants. Not having tusks put one at a major disadvantage. So those lady elephants selecting for tuskless mates represents a huge shift in elephant society.
 
2011-05-19 1:33:55 AM  
Sudo_Make_Me_A_Sandwich: Yeah, but traditionally, males have competed for the affection of those sexy, sexy lady elephants. Not having tusks put one at a major disadvantage. So those lady elephants selecting for tuskless mates represents a huge shift in elephant society.

Indeed. And if, for whatever reason, sexual selection is happening as well as "natural selection" (or artificial, if you want to call it that; that tusked males tend to be killed by poachers, so are selected against), it could help explain such rapid evolution. Sexual selection can carry a "new" or "weird" or even "disadvantageous" (in terms of survival) trait in an unexpected direction very quickly simply because of what one side (usually the ladies) chooses to mate with.

There are interesting hypotheses that human bipedalism may be due, at least in part, to sexual selection.
 
2011-05-19 1:38:16 AM  
And then again, there's this paper from 2002 (well, the abstract, anyway; don't have access to the full paper) suggesting that it is more due to genetic drift during various recent (last few hundred years) population bottlenecks...

They seem to suggest that the numbers taken by poachers isn't enough to account for the tuskless trend in that particular population.

/just what I found on a cursory Google Scholar search to find actual research relating to this
 
2011-05-19 2:03:46 AM  
And, since I'm nerding out a bit, here's one more from 2007that seems to cover more and has studied more populations. Just in case anyone is actually interested in what some easily accessible research says about elephants and tusklessness. ;)
 
2011-05-19 2:48:56 AM  
mamoru: That said, while the examples in the article are very interesting examples of "evolution in action", they are neither surprising nor uncommon

Let's pause for a second to consider that Cracked has a science related list that isn't hyperbolic, doesn't make bogus claims and in short is more worthwhile than a lot of "science" stuff from regular news sources. Yeah, I think I need to lay down for a while myself.
 
2011-05-19 3:00:50 AM  
Mad Magazine is the true messiah!
 
2011-05-19 3:03:27 AM  

WTF Indeed: Sorry Subby, but Catholic God says evolution is real and God's will.


Even God is evolving!

That said, the elephant thing intrigues me most of all.
Elephants are remarkably intelligent, but I'm having trouble seeing this as anything other than "last man on Earth" type scenario.

Peacock tails are a pure hindrance for the peacock's actual life, but the peafowls dig it. I can't understand why this would be different, but I'm sure it's possible for people far smarter than me to understand.
 
2011-05-19 3:04:58 AM  
mamoru, you are much too smart for Fark.

anyhow, part of the problem i see here is that while we can talk like phenotypic drift is the only deciding factor, by doing so we throw out any possible avenues of exploration into the relative consciousness of elephants and their possible ability to trend culturally. if one allows such a potentiality, it is possible to see that there could be a "meme" amongst elephants that remembers (externally to the individual) that humans kill the tuskies.

/i know - unacceptable, impossible theory with nothing to back it up.
 
2011-05-19 3:12:08 AM  
I didn't know that growler bears were fertile. That's pretty farking cool actually.
 
2011-05-19 3:19:55 AM  
SJKebab: I didn't know that growler bears were fertile. That's pretty farking cool actually.

Both polar and grizzly bears have 74 chromosomes, so yeah it works.

/yes bears have more chromosomes than people
 
2011-05-19 3:23:25 AM  
minitrue noram: mamoru, you are much too smart for Fark.

Not at all. I was honestly saying in another thread that Fark has some of the most intelligent, clever, witty, and educated commentary on the internet. Granted, when faced with sites like YouTube, Fox, CNN, or any given news site which has a comment section that gets linked to Fark, the bar isn't set too high. But seriously, there are some incredibly intelligent Farkers around here, far more intelligent than I'll ever be.

/unfortunately, such intelligence is often used for misogyny and poop threads :-/

God-is-a-Taco: Elephants are remarkably intelligent, but I'm having trouble seeing this as anything other than "last man on Earth" type scenario.

Peacock tails are a pure hindrance for the peacock's actual life, but the peafowls dig it. I can't understand why this would be different, but I'm sure it's possible for people far smarter than me to understand.


The thing about sexual selection is that it can be purely arbitrary. Sure, peahens go for the pretty, but that could very well have been "lucky" chance. At the right time, a given peahen could have just as easily preferred better camouflage, and then we wouldn't have the impressive peacock's tale today.

If female elephants arbitrarily choose to mate with tuskless males, and there is a genetic component to making such a choice, then sexual selection could account for it. On the other hand, if they arbitrarily only choose to mate with tusked males, then either tusked males would survive (like the peacock) in the face of a certain disadvantage (being poached in the elephant's case, more visible to predators in the peacock's case), or the population would go extinct.

In a battle between sexual selection and natural selection over a given trait (all else being equal), I put my money on sexual selection every time. Sure, I might lose a few bets, but I'd probably win more than I'd lose.

However, based on the papers I found (haven't finished reading the second one, and need to go teach a class now), sexual selection doesn't seem to be the case with the elephants, but rather a combination of drift in small populations and selection from poaching.
 
2011-05-19 3:24:09 AM  
Apparently, the best time to have a fark discussion on anything related to evolution is between midnight and 3 a.m. Anyways, thanks for the link, subby.

/elephants are fascinating
 
2011-05-19 3:27:14 AM  

jpawlikowski: Apparently, the best time to have a fark discussion on anything related to evolution is between midnight and 3 a.m. Anyways, thanks for the link, subby.

/elephants are fascinating


Bevets has to sleep SOME time.
 
2011-05-19 3:34:29 AM  

Sudo_Make_Me_A_Sandwich: jaylectricity: Is this a joke? Because it only seems obvious that elephants that have no tusks have no natural nor man-made predator, therefore survive to continue to propagate the species.

Yeah, but traditionally, males have competed for the affection of those sexy, sexy lady elephants. Not having tusks put one at a major disadvantage. So those lady elephants selecting for tuskless mates represents a huge shift in elephant society.


Do you mean that the geeky elephants are in?
 
2011-05-19 3:52:50 AM  
Wake me up when you have some macro-evolution.
 
2011-05-19 4:15:11 AM  

untaken_name: Wake me up when you have some macro-evolution.


Lizards giving live birth and having a rudimentary placenta isn't macro evolution?
 
2011-05-19 4:20:41 AM  

Dadoo: untaken_name: Wake me up when you have some macro-evolution.

Lizards giving live birth and having a rudimentary placenta isn't macro evolution?


No, if the lizard grew fully functional wings, opposable thumbs and a top hat then it would be macro evolution.
 
2011-05-19 4:29:44 AM  
untaken_name: macro-evolution.

Evolution is evolution.
 
2011-05-19 4:30:50 AM  
I thought I remembered that the peppered moth thing was made-up BS, but I can't be bothered to google it.
 
2011-05-19 4:36:06 AM  

WhyteRaven74: untaken_name: macro-evolution.

Evolution is evolution.


It's evolution, babyyyyy!!!
 
2011-05-19 4:39:39 AM  

God-is-a-Taco: WTF Indeed: Sorry Subby, but Catholic God says evolution is real and God's will.

Even God is evolving!

That said, the elephant thing intrigues me most of all.
Elephants are remarkably intelligent, but I'm having trouble seeing this as anything other than "last man on Earth" type scenario.

Peacock tails are a pure hindrance for the peacock's actual life, but the peafowlshens dig it. I can't understand why this would be different, but I'm sure it's possible for people far smarter than me to understand.


Peafowl refers to both male and female with Peahens being the female of the species.
 
2011-05-19 4:46:16 AM  
TopoGigo: I thought I remembered that the peppered moth thing was made-up BS, but I can't be bothered to google it.

Nope. There were flaws in early studies, which creationists apparently loved to attack, but subsequent observations and experiments have vindicated the initial findings, despite the flaws in the original research.

Now, creationists apparently use it as a micro-/macro- evolution talking point.

Wikipedia has a good overview. And, believe it or not, the biology articles there are usually quite good and full of reference you can check to confirm the information.
 
2011-05-19 4:47:02 AM  

TopoGigo: I thought I remembered that the peppered moth thing was made-up BS, but I can't be bothered to google it.


Glad I'm not the only one with this memory and apathy towards it.
 
2011-05-19 4:47:30 AM  
tankjr: Peafowl refers to both male and female with Peahens being the female of the species.

Are you saying Peacocks can't be gay? NTTAWWT.

;)
 
2011-05-19 4:50:37 AM  
lh5.googleusercontent.comView Full Size
 
2011-05-19 5:08:58 AM  

mamoru: *sigh*

Well, this will either be a very interesting discussion about these organisms and their situations, and the study of biological evolution in general

-or-

it will be another "religion vs. science" poo-flinging contest where the exact same arguments are re-hashed, the exact same talking points are re-debunked, and basically everything but TFA is discussed.

If I were a betting man...

That said, while the examples in the article are very interesting examples of "evolution in action", they are neither surprising nor uncommon. It would be a real challenge to find any example that wouldn't fit, as evolution* is always in action. I would, however, love to see references to actual studies involving the organisms in TFA, especially genetic studies and such. It would be very interesting to see what genetic changes are happening to cause these changes in phenotype and if there are any pleiotropic effects causing unforeseen side-effects. Among other things.

* this is a reminder that biological evolution is defined as genetic change in a population over time (more usually and specifically, the change in allele frequencies over time); while the appearance of new features and new species can be results of these changes, such results are not required in order for evolution occur. All that is required is genetic change over time, whether positive, negative, or neutral


I could only wish that we could get a couple actual science threads per day instead of the endless stupid religion vs science arguments we get daily. Seriously, it gets so old. That is why the politics tab exists, for all the farking nimwits to endlessly argue about things that most of us don't care about.
 
2011-05-19 5:09:10 AM  

Dadoo: untaken_name: Wake me up when you have some macro-evolution.

Lizards giving live birth and having a rudimentary placenta isn't macro evolution?


When it becomes its own species or another existing species, that's macro-evolution.

WhyteRaven74: untaken_name: macro-evolution.

Evolution is evolution.


No, it isn't. Microevolution is evolution within a species. Macroevolution is transition between species. Learn some science.
 
2011-05-19 5:31:54 AM  

untaken_name: Dadoo: untaken_name: Wake me up when you have some macro-evolution.

Lizards giving live birth and having a rudimentary placenta isn't macro evolution?

When it becomes its own species or another existing species, that's macro-evolution.

WhyteRaven74: untaken_name: macro-evolution.

Evolution is evolution.

No, it isn't. Microevolution is evolution within a species. Macroevolution is transition between species. Learn some science.


Would the grolar bear count as macroevolution then?
 
2011-05-19 5:52:52 AM  
untaken_name: Macroevolution is transition between species

You realize the concept of species is not exactly rigid right? The old definition, doesn't actually hold up. Many animals labeled as separate species are just different populations of the same species. And then you have dogs, which are labeled as domesticated wolves. Which is one of the flimsiest criteria for a species distinction ever. And the consider dogs themselves, look at how much variety there is in dogs, yet they're all the same species. Meanwhile there are numerous bird species where the difference between them is far smaller than the difference between two similar dog breeds. Long story short, your demand makes no sense.
 
2011-05-19 5:54:22 AM  
I haven't really done much gaming lately but all this talk of evolution makes me want to go buy a copy of pokemon black/white.

/Or just wait for grey or whatever that would be called
 
2011-05-19 5:58:36 AM  
cadetstimpy: Would the grolar bear count as macroevolution then?

Seriously, it's not worth it. For people like that poster, there is some magical wall between species. They think it is more than an arbitrary boundary of convenience, which is why there are different species concepts for different types of organisms and different ways of describing the relationships between organisms. Such essentialist thinking has hindered biology forever, and it can't disappear soon enough.

Micro- and Macro- evolution are useful scientific terms as scientists use them, despite that they are both talking about the same thing: evolution. Consider this analogy: I want to measure the growth of a human from infancy to adulthood. How might I measure such things? Well, I could measure "micro" like massing each individual new cell as it forms from cell division. This might be very effective if I'm looking at something small like the development of an organ, the formation of new immune cells, etc. Or, in a different way, on a smaller time scale (rather than size scale), I could measure the person's minute-to-minute mass. I would probably see large fluctuations over the course of a day, with meals and excretions and such. Or, on a "macro" scale, I could measure a person's mass and perhaps height each year. I could then use such data to look at long term trends.

Whether I use the micro-growth measurements or the macro-growth measurements, I'm still measuring the same thing: growth. However, I'm using different measuring styles for different applications of the different data. Day to day micro-growth may be of interest to researchers studying behavior or dietary effects. Year to year macro-growth may be of interest to parents who want to watch little Johnny grow up. But, they are still both different applications of the same thing. And there is no doubt whatsoever that day-to-day micro-growth over a long term results in the trends you see in year to year macro-growth. There is no special divide between them, as they are both just growth. And, you'd have to be a special kind of idiot to insist that the mechanisms seen in micro-growth do not result in macro-growth.

The exact same ideas are true of micro-evolution, macro-evolution, and just plain evolution. They are all about the same thing, but are simply looking at it on different scales, using different tools.

Anyone who insists on saying otherwise merely shows their ignorance of biology, evolution, and what these sciences are actually talking about.
 
2011-05-19 5:58:56 AM  
Dropped into the comments thread for the "Micro- Macro-evolution" stoopitity and there it was! Those creationists are operating from a fixed belief system so will not accept any evidence, no matter how clear or abundant.

And WhyteRaven74 is correct -- evolution is evolution. The "micro- macro- evolution" canard is an invention of the creationists and has no part of "'real' 'science.'"
 
2011-05-19 6:00:52 AM  
mamoru: Such essentialist thinking has hindered people's understanding of biology forever, and it can't disappear soon enough.

FTFM.

Anyone who insists on saying otherwise merely shows their ignorance of biology, evolution, and what these sciences are actually talking about, or is being dishonest in an effort to confuse others to try to "win them over" or something.

Also FTFM.
 
2011-05-19 6:01:47 AM  
Diagonal: And WhyteRaven74 is correct -- evolution is evolution. The "micro- macro- evolution" canard is an invention of the creationists and has no part of "'real' 'science.'"

That is not correct. The way creationists abuse the terms is incorrect, but they are valid and useful scientific terms. See the post I made previous to yours. :)
 
2011-05-19 6:12:08 AM  
WTF Indeed: "Sorry Subby, but Catholic God says evolution is real and God's will."

Then what's this about?
 
2011-05-19 6:15:08 AM  
Steve B. nommus
 
2011-05-19 6:16:58 AM  
Or, from a more authoritative source:

Leading Cardinal Redefines Church's View on Evolution

"An influential cardinal in the Roman Catholic Church, which has long been regarded as an ally of the theory of evolution, is now suggesting that belief in evolution as accepted by science today may be incompatible with Catholic faith."
 
Mef
2011-05-19 6:49:09 AM  

untaken_name:
No, it isn't. Microevolution is evolution within a species whatever we have directly observed and can't possibly be denied by a reasonable person. Macroevolution is transition between species reasonable extrapolation using empirical evidence that would be accepted from any other scientific field, so long as it didn't run counter to deeply ingrained religious beliefs. Learn some science.


FTFY
 
2011-05-19 7:17:48 AM  

God-is-a-Taco: Even God is evolving!


That statement is truer than you may have intended...

/religions evolve too...
 
2011-05-19 7:19:10 AM  
Man, all the smart people here make my amusement at KKK Polar bear seem stupid and childish.
 
2011-05-19 7:28:07 AM  

WhyteRaven74: You realize the concept of species is not exactly rigid right?


No. When the Ancient Latins codified the species according to the instructions from Zeus, they were infallible. Thus spake Zarathrustra.
 
2011-05-19 7:46:57 AM  
Silly subby... You can't destroy what never existed in the first place. *pffft*
 
2011-05-19 8:05:40 AM  
Actual photo of the conspiracy:
i224.photobucket.comView Full Size
 
2011-05-19 8:07:25 AM  

Baryogenesis: Dadoo: untaken_name: Wake me up when you have some macro-evolution.

Lizards giving live birth and having a rudimentary placenta isn't macro evolution?

No, if the lizard grew fully functional wings, opposable thumbs and a top hat then it would be macro evolution.


And he has to have a monocle in his eye, and be smoking a cigar.
 
2011-05-19 8:24:36 AM  

mamoru: Wikipedia has a good overview. And, believe it or not, the biology articles there are usually quite good and full of reference you can check to confirm the information.


I find Wikipedia really good for historical and science/technology kind of stuff. The political stuff? Meh. You get what you pay for.

On to the point of the article, though: If you really wanted to preserve megafauna like the Elephant and Polar Bear, we should encourage sport hunting of them. Managed sport hunting tends to result in an increase in populations of the animals in question, not a decrease.

Don't confuse sport hunting with the other two forms, market hunting and subsistence hunting. Those two tend to result in decreases in targeted species populations.

To that end, the policies of the US Government (not permitting Polar Bear or Elephant trophies into the US) are actually perverse: They reduce the number of people willing to hunt those species, and by doing that they reduce the amount of money spent on things like license fees, which generally go to conservation, and they reduce the amount of money spent in those local areas. When you spend money in Africa or Canada hiring guides, that gives the locals an incentive to maintain that cash flow, and it gives them an incentive to stop people from poaching. You can do that with things like photo safaris either: You can't charge a $750 or $15,000 trophy fee to someone just to take a picture of a polar bear or an elephant. No one in their right mind would pay that.
 
2011-05-19 8:37:53 AM  
no love for cows, dogs, or any other domesticated animals who have changed?
 
2011-05-19 8:49:53 AM  
I can't view the list of these seven animals at work, so I'm going to go out on a limb and guess:

* Nancy Pelosi
* Harry Reid
* Barak Obama
* Elena Kagan
* Ruth Bader Ginsburg
* Mothra
* Janet Napolitano
 
Displayed 50 of 247 comments


Oldest | « | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | » | Newest | Show all



This thread is archived, and closed to new comments.

Continue Farking





On Twitter




In Other Media
  1. Links are submitted by members of the Fark community.

  2. When community members submit a link, they also write a custom headline for the story.

  3. Other Farkers comment on the links. This is the number of comments. Click here to read them.

  4. Click here to submit a link.