Darwin and the age of the Earth

Discussion in 'Biology & Genetics' started by Cenderawasih, Jan 29, 2022.

  1. Cenderawasih Registered Member

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    A question for the biologists . . .

    Received wisdom goes something like this:

    Circa 1860 Darwin had just proposed his theory of natural selection to an unsuspecting world. But the big honchos of the day (Lord Kelvin et al) put a damper on the proceedings by insisting that the Earth is only 20 million years old or something.

    Everyone shrugged and said "Darwin, you're fooked. Twenty millions years isn't nearly enough time for natural selection to produce the biological diversity we see before us. Go stand in the corner".

    Then we found out the Earth was a lot older, all was well, and Darwin smiled for the first time in his life.

    My question is: How exactly did they determine that twenty million years isn't enough?

    A lot can happen in twenty million years.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2022
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  3. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    By reading tea leaves of course.
    Since they scoffed at Darwin's ideas, they sure didn't have an idea how long it would take.
     
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  5. Cenderawasih Registered Member

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  7. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    I don't know. Who are "they"? Got any direct quotes?

    It's hard to examine historical events unless you have some references to the historical record itself.
     
  8. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

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    no
    No, they didn't. The age of the earth wasn't part of the controversy at all. The conflict was between --- ta-dah! --- science and religion.
     
  9. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

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    Some twenty million year periods are busier than others.
     
    sideshowbob and sculptor like this.
  10. sculptor Valued Senior Member

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    punctuated equilibrium
     
  11. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    Stephen Jay Gould
     
  12. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

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    Y
    Yeah. Think Russian history. Nothing, nothing, nothing.... Vikings! assimilation... nothing, nothing, nothing ...Christianization!.... nothing, nothing, nothing,... MONGOLS! occupation.... nothing, nothing, nothing.. IvanIII, national identity restored.... nothing, Ivan the terrible.... misery and nothing..... ROMANOVS..... progress, expansion, European influence, routine misery.... Crimean War... lots more misery, half-assed reform....BOLSHEVIK REVOLUTION.....
    That's how things work. Nothing much happens until something pivotal changes, and then everything happens very fast, until things settle down again.
     
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  13. Dicart Registered Senior Member

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    No, the conflict was mere socio-political.
    Darwinism permit to say that the "best" are the one who rule the world.
    Saying that if the "lords" are ruling over the poors, it is because they have "some merit" due to superior genetic (fitness).

    https://www.history.com/topics/early-20th-century-us/social-darwinism
     
  14. Dicart Registered Senior Member

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  15. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    You're misunderstanding the meaning of "fitness". It has nothing to do with "best" or "ruling". It means fit to survive.
     
  16. Hercules Rockefeller Beatings will continue until morale improves. Moderator

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    Yes indeed. Or, even more precisely, fit to reproduce. It's an evolutionary strategy in many organisms (plants and animals) to die after reproducing (semelparity).
     
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  17. ThazzarBaal Registered Senior Member

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    I would agree ... Fit and able are not always interchangeable terms, but able helps while fit and able fares better than just able. It's money nowadays that helps make one a more fittable fit, although the able and genetic betterment aren't always met with the money. Sometimes old money prevails with inferior genetics while the superior genetics are left in the labor pool of poverty. Crazy stuff ... Natural selection I mean.

    Have a nice day.
     
  18. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    What is often overlooked is that "natural selection" is a passive process imposed by local conditions and does not actively select for specific traits as farmers do by actively selecting breeders with specific qualities.
    It is kinda like the principle contained in the term "last man standing" in context.
    https://ell.stackexchange.com/questions/165449/meaning-of-the-phrase-last-man-standing-in-context#

    p.s. it is important to remember that "superior traits" only applies to survival abilities, not to any particular intelligence or strength.

    Example; the Silvery Salamander can never produce a male, but only clones of the moter and is eventually doomed to extinction, but survives in small numbers as a protected species.
    A case of "intentional selection" of a habitable site for survival.

    Silvery Salamander
    https://localwiki.org/ann-arbor/Silvery_Salamander
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2023
  19. ThazzarBaal Registered Senior Member

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    Interesting bit of trivia. People do natural selection based on traits, but add to these ability to perform whatever desired tasks preferred by the selectors. Sometimes it goes primal, but natural selection is still involved in the choosing ... For whatever reasons.

    Preferences personal to the uniqueness of various types of people coupled with need are typically the dominant determining factors ... Or so it seems.

    As a wolf conducting a human behavioral study, I've noticed similarities.
     
  20. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    now that you mention wolves, there is a very interesting war veteteran restorative program that is designed to rescue and rehabilitate wildlife .
    It is called "wolves and warriors" and shows a remarkable interaction between traumatized war veterans and injured or traumatized wildlife.
     
  21. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    People don't do natural selection. Nature does it. That's why it's called natural selection: selection by nature.

    Are you now claiming to be a wolf - a lycanthrope?

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!



    Are you receiving psychiatric treatment?
     
  22. ThazzarBaal Registered Senior Member

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    I always selected my mating partners. They were naturally selected for various reasons. I'm sure they selected me based on their naturally selective preferences also. I wouldn't unnaturally select a mating partner. It doesn't seem prudent. There are reasons people select who they select and this is part of the process involved In natural selection and ongoing progeny of species.

    As a wolf, I've noticed similarities between humans and my kind. The behavioral study is quite revealing. They are beautiful creatures. Humans I mean. They are very attractive. I don't know why they choose the water to mate in though. Ill keep up with my research.
     
  23. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    I have, several times. "She's cute and all but she's nuts! Best avoid."
     

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