Re: The Practical Uses Of Evolution.

I was commenting on a blog that was about how evolution is false etc, and the author wrote me back asking me (among other things) if there were any practical everyday effects of evolution science.

I do not think they expected there to be any.  Here is the latter half of my response:

As far as the practical effects of evolution on modern humans, we can use the dynamics of evolution to predict how diseases will evolve before they do, which is what makes the development of vaccines possible (because scientists use evolution science to predict what form the virus will take in the near future, then manufacture, distribute and administer vaccines based on a virus that does not yet exist, but will by the time the vaccines are used up).  A healthy understanding of evolution is also vital in treating serious bacterial infections which will adapt to one strain of antibiotics before a course of treatment is through, and it’s vitally important that your doctor know about evolution to treat cancer since most types of cancer evolve resistances to chemo therapy and your doctor has to monitor you closely for signs that the cancer has evolved so he can switch to another course of treatment quickly.  Also supercomputers simulate evolution by natural selection and use the ingenuity of the trial-and-error process of evolution to design things like more aerodynamic airplane wings, stronger bridges etc by simulating reproduction and mutation and letting them “evolve” artificially and re-design themselves.  Furthermore of the many positive genetic mutations found in humans such as those giving stronger bones, greater muscle density, tolerance to high carb diets, resistance to altitude sickness and resistance or immunity to diseases like HIV and malaria, many of them are being researched for potential medical applications.  But my favorite has got to be capitalism, which only works because of it’s mathematical similarity to darwinian evolution.  Oh yeah, and evolutionary algorithms in computer programming.
 
Enough examples?

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About agnophilo

Nerd.
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11 Responses to Re: The Practical Uses Of Evolution.

  1. Gosh I feel like I just started this avalanche of evolution posts now.  And there’s still some snow falling.  

  2. YouToMe says:

    Alrighty..i will respond line by line just b/c we is bored & b/c i finally am at a reg. puter. here goes nothin’. I was commenting on a blog holy crap, really?that was about how evolution is false etc,figures and the author wrote me backwell, that’s a first asking me another surprise! i kid(among other things) if there were any practical everyday effects of evolution science.I do not think they expected there to be any.  Here is the latter half of my response:okay, i’m sitting down. this should be fun. šŸ˜‰As far as the practical effects of evolution on modern humans, we can use the dynamics of evolution to predict how diseases will evolve before they do, (yep prediction) which is what makes the development of vaccines possible (because scientists use evolution science to predict what form the virus will take in the near future, then manufacture, distribute and administer vaccines based on a virus that does not yet exist, but will by the time the vaccines are used up).  A healthy understanding of evolution is also vital in treating serious bacterial infections which will adapt to one strain of antibiotics before a course of treatment is through, and it’s vitally important that your doctor know about evolution to treat cancer since most types of cancer evolve resistances to chemo therapy and your doctor has to monitor you closely for signs that the cancer has evolved so he can switch to another course of treatment quickly.  Also supercomputers simulate evolution by natural selection and use the ingenuity of the trial-and-error process of evolution to design things like more aerodynamic airplane wings, stronger bridges etc by simulating reproduction and mutation and letting them “evolve” artificially and re-design themselves.  Furthermore of the many positive genetic mutations found in humans such as those giving stronger bones, greater muscle density, tolerance to high carb diets, resistance to altitude sickness and resistance or immunity to diseases like HIV and malaria, many of them are being researched for potential medical applications. like those examples given. i never heard the tolerance to carbs or muscle density ones..or maybe i just forgot  But my favorite has got to be capitalism, which only works because of it’s mathematical similarity to darwinian evolution. hmmm interesting.  Oh yeah, and evolutionary algorithms in computer programming.yeah, nifty =) Enough examples? never! okay, maybe. but seriously, you done good

  3. agnophilo says:

    @x_Butterflies_and_Hurricanes_x – Nah,anti-science people have been on xanga forever.  You may have woken a few up, but that’s all.  Btw where are ya on the whole evolution issue?@YouTOme – Har har : )  But yeah, thanks for da comment all the same.

  4. @agnophilo – oh I know.  I should say I just triggered another avalanche.  I’ve done it before with evolution.As far as what my stance is on evolution.  It’s real.  It’s happening. The earth is old.  I didn’t know I wasn’t clear on that? LOL.  I went to school for geology.  Therefore, I am a geologist.  And therefore, evolution is real.  (Actually I went to school for environmental geology, which required me to also take biology classes.  But I learned about evolution in high school, and believed in it ever since.)Though I really hate that term “believed in it” because it’s…not really like that…

  5. Natural selection is not evolution.

  6. agnophilo says:

    @x_Butterflies_and_Hurricanes_x – I agree about “believe in”.  And posting that anti-evolution vid made me think you were on the fence about it.@LoBornlytesThoughtPalace – It isn’t all of evolution, but it is definitely evolution.  Creationist word games not withstanding.

  7. @agnophilo – I liked the video because it pointed out how we should not consider what’s in the Bible to be science and stop comparing it to science.  And that when we teach it in schools, we need to make sure not to offend students by saying this is what scientists think and since this is a science class, you need to learn this.  It’s a touchy subject, as a teacher, as is geologic time, and something that we have to learn to deal with.  I didn’t like that we were “teaching it to impressionable young minds” and some other stuff in there, and a lot of his inaccurate data, it was more about how we should treat the subject in schools. 

  8. @agnophilo – Since I am a teacher who has to deal with these touchy subjects šŸ˜›

  9. agnophilo says:

    @x_Butterflies_and_Hurricanes_x – It’s the latest creationist tactic.  It was a few decades ago normal practice to teach the 6 day creation account in place of biology, geology etc, then it was ruled unconstitutional as religious instruction, so they invented “intelligent design” which couched it in scientific sounding terms.  Now that’s losing court case after court case and so they started the “teach the controversy” movement, saying that we should teach ID as an “alternative” to evolution, saying evolution is “just a theory” etc, and the attempt to put “warning” stickers in biology books singling out evolution and acting like it’s an “iffy” idea, etc.  Also constant attempts to get kids to disrupt science classes by asking accusing questions from apologetic websites, and a movement to have evangelicals homeschool their kids or send them to private schools to insulate them from, well, reality.Now they’re saying “it’s not science, but lets get it in the class somewhere, oh and [insert attacks on evolution here]”.It’s just an even more watered down version of the same movement.

  10. @agnophilo – that may be, but in a school system, it is important to keep kids feeling as if they are in a safe environment.  If we were to outright say that science is the answer and religion is not, they no longer feel safe AND it could get me fired.  In a lot of cases, it would be viewed as similar to a situation like if a football coach who teaches math, for example, were to say that people who played soccer were pussies.That is grounds for termination.  And it’s just one of those things that teachers can’t “force” their opinion on students without stirring up a lot of trouble.  The teacher next door got into trouble for it last year because his own opinion came through a little too strongly when teaching evolution.  I’m not entirely sure because it’s not something that’s allowed to be shared, but I think possibly have been a warning which stays on your record forever (like getting a minor after you’re 18 would). I’m lucky in that I don’t have to deal with THAT touchy of a topic teaching Earth science.  But being on Xanga, I’ve come to learn that there are people who are very bothered with the idea of an old earth and even plate tectonics.  Teachers are in a touch position, because we really can’t allow our opinions to be spoken in class.  We have to keep things as unbiased as possible.  It’s not a place where we can really work toward an agenda. 

  11. However, honestly, I think the material teaches itself.  If the kid is smart enough and willing to learn the material, it makes sense, why shouldn’t it be true?  I mean, that was the case with me.  I was taught not to believe evolution.  But learning about it in school was all I needed to convince me it was true.  EVEN THOUGH my teacher was required to also teach creationism.  If there are still problems with it being part of an agenda… well… that’s not our job as a teacher, it is the parent’s jobs.  And sadly, who’s more influential?  Yeah…

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