Hot topics in Evolution.

David Witherspoon david at linkers.med.utah.edu
Sat Apr 15 18:46:11 EST 1995

In article <3m4glc$r6a at fred.uswnvg.com> Phillip Cave,
pxcave at pebbles.uswnvg.com writes:
>How about the evolution of the human eye? (or eyes in general)
>Here is a quote from Darwin......."To suppose that the eye, with all its
>inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances,
>for admitting different amount of light, and for the correction of
>spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural
>selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest possible
>degree...The beleif [sic, but it wasn't Darwin's fault] that an organ as
perfect >as the eye could have formed by natural selection is more than
enough to >stagger anyone."
>Good luck explaining it without comming [sic] to the conclussion
[sicker] that
>the eye, among all other things, was created by god.

	God screwed up the human eye.  That's why we have blind spots in our
eyes, where the optic nerve plunges through the retina towards the brain.
 There's a 'better' way to do it - as in squid, connect the optic nerve
endings to the retinal cells BEHIND them, instead of between them and the
incoming light.  Proof positive that God exists and is not terribly
(Read Dawkins, "The Blind Watchmaker" for a clear explanation of this and
all the other sophistries we evolutionist-types use to confound the

Back to the unfortunately-ignored question about Hot Topics in Evolution

	The evolution of sex (outcrossing with recombination) is still as hot
and unsolved as ever.  Hamilton and Kondrashov have recently contributed
clear treatments of some competing hypotheses, namely that sex serves to
(1) allow organisms to quickly adapt to their rapidly-evolving parasites
and (2) that sex is an efficient way of eliminating rapidly-accumulating
moderately deleterious mutations.
	For a pleasantly confusing afternoon, discuss the population genetics of
transposable elements as they come to terms with their unwilling host
genomes - these sequences have evolved in numerous clever ways to spread
without causing too much harm to their hosts.  Similar games are played
by other bits of selfish DNA, as well as viruses and other pathogens.

David Witherspoon
	University of Utah

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