This was written to me
by Kirsten Llamas, author of Tropical Flowering Plants, and she has given me
permission to post it.
The answer to the
problem, if there IS one, is worthy of courses in physiology and anatomy. No
one should think that science challenges their belief system. One only needs to
have a little flexibility when interpreting the time references in the bible.
“a “day” can have multiple interpretations. We often hear the
_expression_ “in my day”, to mean the entire period of our youth.
Days before there “was light” is not something we can interpret
since night and day is 24 hours to us and there are as many days in a year as
it takes for Earth to circle the sun. Without the sun’s light what was a
It is important to
use the right terms. NO scientist should use the _expression_ that humans
evolved from apes (there were racist connotations associated with apes
and monkeys at the time). The correct representation is that we share common
ancestors that were neither ape nor human as we know them today. The difference
is not something we have to argue about. Apes certainly evolved in a different
way. However humans share almost the same DNA as apes. Interestingly enough
apes are much better adapted to their niches on Earth than humans are. Apes owe
their destruction – not to their environment but to human predation.
While they thrive given their natural habitat, hundreds of thousands of human
babies die every year because we are so poorly adapted that they destroy their
own habitat. But we are also cleaver so some of us survive in spite of our poor
Most people think
that evolution takes hundreds or thousands of years. Wrong. Many studies,
including some on bird adaptation of the Galapagos and plants near the HI
volcanoes prove that adaptation can take place in a matter of a few
generations. This is a separate process from gene changes we call mutations
which happen all the time.
Mutations may be
caused by natural cosmic rays, chemical or accidental changes in the gene
arrangement during cell division. Cell division goes on all the time and it is
a marvelous process and a wonder that it does work a large percentage of the
time. Often cells do NOT divide properly either during mitosis (leading to such
illnesses as cancer) or during meiosis (reduction division into sperm and egg).
Most mutations are lethal or weaken a species though not always. Many
miscarriages are caused by improper division of the gametes or during
fertilization. Some birth defects are the product of improper division of cells
during gestation, others are inherited.
DNA changes do not
mean that plants or animals flip genera. DNA changes are not even necessary to
produce somatic changes. The vast majority of our genes are inactive. For
various reasons certain genes are activated while others become quiescent. If
environmental conditions are suddenly changed genes may be activated that were
quiescent. In a Galapagos study a certain bird living isolated on an Island has a delicate beak that thrives when conditions
are wet, but when a dry period arrives, within a generation or two the birds
develop beaks that can crack the seed of drought tolerant plants. In another
studies in HI, the flow of lava streams separated a large population of
different species into smaller gene pools in many separate niches. Within each
nich different varieties evolved in a few generations.
Recessive genes may
suddenly become the majority rather than the normal minority of 1 in 4. [e.g.
if brown-eyed humans who carry recessive blue eye genes are segregated
from dominant brown eyed people, within 2 generations there will be blue
eyed people running around in the segregated population. There is no particular
advantage of brown eyes over blue eyes. But Europeans are much more often blue
eyed than Africans and Asians who are usually brown eyed.
In addition the
study of biology (forget the word Evolution) shows that plants and animals
produce mutations constantly but most are lethal. Look at the numbers of seeds
produced in one pod/capsule that do not sprout and those that sprout may be
stronger or weaker (or pups with a stronger or weaker sibling). Only those with
good survival characteristics are able to reproduce in numbers that can survive
living in their niche. (e.g. plants in cultivation would not otherwise survive
in the wild that have certain spontaneous mutations/ sports such as too much
variegation which lack sufficient chlorophyll. These plants often
“revert” spontaneously to the norm).
Mutations are rarely
beneficial to a plant or animal. The benefit may be viable in one type climate
but not another. If there is no rain for a few years than one variation of a
species may survive and another die off. That explains why species with wide
distribution – e.g. Tecoma stans ot Tabebuia impetiginosa – may
have adapted to wet and dry niches, poor or rich soil. Conversely mutations
that are not beneficial will die off. We have that problem all the time trying
to cultivate the same plant in our different gardens. Of course we can nurse a
plant along in the garden but nature is not going to help poorly adapted
species. It kills them off ruthlessly. Nature does not PRODUCE adaptations.
Many characteristics are produced and only those that are advantageous survive.
An understand of various forms of pollination is helpful to understand plant
distribution and adaptations.
Therefore it is not
necessary to explain why one species of Monstera has holes in the leaves while
another species leaves are deeply lobed. But if you look carefully the holes in
Monstera leaves represent the line along which the lobes would form but are
discontinued at intervals near the midrib by the lamina. The holes simply
represent incomplete division of the blade into lobes. There may be none or
several reasons why lobes are a beneficial. Ask yourself why the juvenile
leaves do not have the holes. A good reason could be that the lack of light at
ground level calls for more chlorophyll producing area. Also leaves in shade
tend to become larger (relative to the size of the plant of course). Leaves of
the same species may evolve from simple to divided, e.g. Tabebuia spp and
then back from 5 divided to 3 (trifoliolate) or one (unifoliolate).
Finally there are
fossils that provide evidence of evolution by passive adaptation through many
generations. Only higher animals are able to adapt purposefully and
The buildup of
microscopic organic compounds that border on life forms is all around us. There
are microbes and viruses that are considered to be sub-living but reproduce
through infection of living cells. There are probably a great variety of
potential life forms in the oceans at certain depth and temperature. Or perhaps
all around us. When do organic compounds cross over into living? We often
contemplate life on other planets. It will not resemble life as we know it so
would we recognize it? Look how long it took us to identify HIV and we knew it
had to be there. So what is happening microscopically with the things we do not
even know are there.
What is really to
the point is the concept of consciousness. At what level of life does it begin.
How do we think?
converge and reform. We die, our body degenerates into various compounds and
atoms that are taken up by other living organisms. We eat and breathe in the
molecules of what were once parts of other plants and animals or other humans
that came before us and they are at least temporarily part of our bodies.
We give them life though we do not give them consciousness. Or if we are what
we eat, then what?
can’t answer everything nor has anyone proven anything beyond a
reasonable doubt. It REALLY doesn’t matter. These theories are not mutually
exclusive. We just have to open our minds to the means by which they connect.”
Behalf Of Jason Hernandez
Sent: Thursday, March 08, 2012
Subject: Re: [Aroid-l] Holes
address several respondants at once.
"ps why is broccoli like that?"
Broccoli is a
highly domesticated form of sea kale, as are kale, collard, cabbage, and
cauliflower. If you look at a broccoli plant growing, you see the big,
collard-like leaves, with the broccoli head coming up in the middle. Let
that broccoli head grow without picking it, and it will turn into a flower
stalk much like those of various wild mustards. Broccoli is like that
because over the years, people selected for a thickened flower stalk with buds
packed tightly together and taking longer to open.
"On what basis would the primeval leaf be linear?"
thinking of such fern allies as Equisetum and Lycopoduim, as well as
quillworts, all of which have various combinations of linear structures which
function as leaves. It seems to me these would have been derived from the
strings of cells in filamentous algae, but I could be wrong about that.
"What I mean by created was is in made that way originally by God."
I am familiar
with all of this, as I was raised a creationist. I found it left too much
unexplained, and had to do a lot of interpretation to make the science fit the
foregone conclusion: as you do admit, organisms have the capacity to adapt, and
this is the essence of evolution. As to the origin of DNA and its
authorship, I never have understood molecular biology, so I refrain from