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Blood, sweat and tears
February 10, 2007 11:06 AM   Subscribe

Is blood plasma salinity the same as seawater? No, but that proves evolution. "The answer is most definitely NOT that oceans were 1/3 as salty back then. It most definitely IS that the earliest vertebrates did evolve in salt water and then moved into fresh water....They have devised an extremely clever trick in kidney structure to allow salt transport pumps which really take salt back INTO the body from the urine but still manage to use them to produce urine much more concentrated that their body fluids and so excrete salt FROM the body."
posted by Brian B. (66 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
Fortunately for me, I am a college professor and lecturing at you comes quite naturally.
posted by b1tr0t at 11:10 AM on February 10, 2007 [4 favorites]


If in some way this can cause evangelical Christains to reject their own kidneys then I am totally down with that.
posted by Artw at 11:19 AM on February 10, 2007 [3 favorites]


Are you ready for The Rupture?
posted by loquacious at 11:37 AM on February 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


Err...no, but that proves evolution? WTF? All for lolxtians posts, but flagged as gibberish. Learn what 'proof' is and make a FPP.
posted by lalochezia at 11:44 AM on February 10, 2007


about halfway down, he goes "ok, i know there is no such thing as 'reptile'..."
wtf?
posted by bruce at 11:50 AM on February 10, 2007


interesting article, the post could have been worded better, though.
posted by empath at 11:55 AM on February 10, 2007


What is the point of posting this? If you are interested in evolution and biology you should have the Loom in your RSS feed already.
posted by delmoi at 12:01 PM on February 10, 2007


Wow, tough crowd. I thought that was an excellent, well-written explanation of difficult stuff. I love the ending:
Yes, I am getting just a little punchy, but this is a subject I truly love. Everything about biology, including human physiology, is a beautiful product of the evolutionary process. Read Homer Smith to get a more temperate and literate discussion of all this.

So, Uncle Davey, your claim that "the sea must have been a lot less salty than it is now" is completely wrong. You point that "in saltwater cells need additional resources to those needed in freshwater in order to osmoregulate" is entirely wrong for salt water invertebrates, for hagfish, and for any other animal that evolved in saltwater and remained their. It is true for salt water fish because they evolved from fresh water varieties. The pattern of blood plasma salinity in humans and in all vertebrate animals and, indeed, in all animals is a beautiful exposition of evolutionary principles, not a contradiction of evolutionary predictions.

Incidentally, if you ever do get stranded in the middle of the ocean on a life raft with no water, I suggest that you do NOT drink the sea water. Not only is it very salty, the high Mg concentration tends to produce diarrhea which makes your situation even worse. Instead, catch fish and drink their body fluid! It is significantly less salty than seawater. Do NOT catch marine invertebrates and drink their body fluids -- they are just as salty as the ocean.
Thanks for the post!
posted by languagehat at 12:03 PM on February 10, 2007


So there is no such thing as a "reptile" because Class Reptilia doesn't include all the descendants of a common ancestor, in the way that Class Mammalia or Class Aves do? That sounds like a difference between the common and cladistic uses of the term "reptile."
posted by chudder at 12:04 PM on February 10, 2007


Err...no, but that proves evolution? WTF? All for lolxtians posts, but flagged as gibberish. Learn what 'proof' is and make a FPP.

lalochezia, what are you going to do about it? Prove it wrong? If not, then whine less. Your post was gibberish, by the way. You must be one of those who fears natural language.
posted by Brian B. at 12:08 PM on February 10, 2007


about halfway down, he goes "ok, i know there is no such thing as 'reptile'..."

I think the term reptile is just not very specific, or technical.
posted by delmoi at 12:13 PM on February 10, 2007


What is the point of posting this? If you are interested in evolution and biology you should have the Loom in your RSS feed already.

Delmoi, if I was interested in rugmaking I would have the Loom in my RSS feed.
posted by Brian B. at 12:17 PM on February 10, 2007


interesting article, the post could have been worded better, though.

I wonder though if the post had been phrased:
Is blood plasma salinity the same as seawater for vertebrates? No, but that doesn't contradict evolution.
that I might not have clicked through. The article though was very informative, so I'm glad I did. I wish my science professors were even half as lucid as this guy.

Re: fear of natural language: Scientific discourse (or academic discourse in general) is far from natural, so when you talk about "proof" for theories like evolution, it has a very specific meaning. I think that's what lalochezia was complaining about.
posted by Frankieist at 12:22 PM on February 10, 2007


so when you talk about "proof" for theories like evolution, it has a very specific meaning. I think that's what lalochezia was complaining about.


Rude people whine for lots of reasons. But you've piqued my interest in your faith in proof, which is a philosophical discussion, not a scientific one. There's this little nugget to fret over:

"... in science there is no 'knowledge', in the sense in which Plato and Aristotle understood the word, in the sense which implies finality; in science, we never have sufficient reason for the belief that we have attained the truth. ... This view means, furthermore, that we have no proofs in science (excepting, of course, pure mathematics and logic). In the empirical sciences, which alone can furnish us with information about the world we live in, proofs do not occur, if we mean by 'proof' an argument which establishes once and for ever the truth of a theory." (Sir Karl Popper, The Problem of Induction, 1953)

In other words, we're off the rails here by assuming there is anything but a natural language expression for proof of evolution.
posted by Brian B. at 12:38 PM on February 10, 2007


Scientific discourse (or academic discourse in general) is far from natural, so when you talk about "proof" for theories like evolution, it has a very specific meaning.

Actually it has no meaning.
posted by delmoi at 1:01 PM on February 10, 2007


No I think you misunderstood me, I was just explaining why I though lalochezia was being cranky. I'm with languagehat on this one: touch crowd, great post.
But you've piqued my interest in your faith in proof...
The Popper quote explains what I was trying to say, though much clearer. The quote you cited is exactly my point: the idea of "proof" in a scientific context is only meaningful for things like mathematics. In relation to evolution that rigorous definition doesn't make sense, so it's obvious that you meant something else.
posted by Frankieist at 1:05 PM on February 10, 2007


On non-preview: what delmoi said.
posted by Frankieist at 1:07 PM on February 10, 2007


My point (being the rude character that I am) is that the explanation he posits is barely EVIDENCE for evolution, much less a proof. All his position suports is that the salinity regulation process in nature is consistent with evolution.

There's plenty better evidence for evolution, which in totality add up close very strong support for a scientific proof. Individual small observations do not a proof make.

Tempted to get all adhominemy, but screw it. With logical skills like this on our side, no wonder etc. etc.


As for your FPP:

a) Single link to a discussion page on a blog.
b) Bald assertion that is incorrect: "No, but that proves evolution".
c) I am cranky. I drank too much seawater.
posted by lalochezia at 1:24 PM on February 10, 2007


...at any rate, all of the kids in the comparative anatomy course I am currently subbing should be made to read the article linked in the FPP. Semantic arguments about the wording of the FPP itself aside, any student completing an upper level vertebrate comp. anat. course should be able to outline the same basic ideas discussed therein: we all came from saltwater organisms which subsequently moved into fresh water, then moved back to salt again (prior to moving onto land, for us tetrapods). It's a rather strange concept but it fits the facts of our physiology.
posted by caution live frogs at 1:31 PM on February 10, 2007


All his position suports is that the salinity regulation process in nature is consistent with evolution.

Agreed. I had written as much, but edited it out because I didn't think it was worth arguing any more about the semantics. While Brian B.'s assertion in the FPP that the link proves evolution is not the best of the web, I thought the important part of the post is, you know, the link. And despite being a "single link to a discussion page on a blog" [or a usenet post hosted on a blog], it is what it is: a well-written, informative, and accessible discussion of a complicated subject, which somehow manages to make the evolution of osmotic regulation seem interesting.
posted by Frankieist at 1:40 PM on February 10, 2007


lalochezia, your opinions don't matter. Evolution is a fact, and a theory, I never gave you enough rope to comment either way. Prove a fact? Don't mind if I do. Your mind simply saw "theory" after my word "evolution" and all that scientific rigor you learned in church couldn't hold itself back.
posted by Brian B. at 1:53 PM on February 10, 2007


Actually the essay was pretty good, overall, but the FPP presented it in a poor way, by framing it as a "proof of evolution" type of thing.
posted by delmoi at 2:21 PM on February 10, 2007


delmoi writes ""I think the term reptile is just not very specific, or technical."

No, chudder has it: Reptilia is a clade, so reptiles don't exist (to a cladist).
posted by orthogonality at 2:21 PM on February 10, 2007


er, Reptilia is NOT a clade.
posted by orthogonality at 2:23 PM on February 10, 2007


lalochezia, your opinions don't matter. Evolution is a fact, and a theory.

You're being rude for no reason, and I doubt that lalochezia doesn't believe in evolution. It's just that your understanding of science and logic is so stilted you're not able to understand what he's talking about.
posted by delmoi at 2:25 PM on February 10, 2007


Okay, Brian B I think you are confused. Yes, the enormous body of evidence supporting the basic idea of evolution makes it "fact" for all practical purposes, and that body of evidence, considered as a whole, is a "proof" in the general, non-scientific sense. However, one small example of an observation with does not contradict evolution does not a proof make.
Prove a fact? Don't mind if I do. Your mind simply saw "theory" after my word "evolution" and all that scientific rigor you learned in church couldn't hold itself back.
Fact: Stating a "fact" and proving it are not the same thing. For example:
Not a proof (though likely true): Brian B.'s mind simply saw "lolxtians" and assumed that lalochezia objected to his post because lalochezia is a Christian who doubts evolution when there is nothing to suggest this.
posted by Frankieist at 2:26 PM on February 10, 2007


Brian B., he wasn't saying he didn't believe in evolution, he was saying that the fact that blood and sea water don't have the same salinity dosen't prove evolution, but that it does not contradict evolution. Blood and the atmosphere at sea level don't have the same density, but that dosen't prove evolution either, but it certainly dosen't contradict it. Your phraseing is incorrect.

And, btw, lalochezia, your opinions don't matter is pretty rude too.
posted by Snyder at 2:30 PM on February 10, 2007


Joy! I'm mistaken for a Christian. Excellent! Another sterling observation.

As for my opinions not mattering. True. But your lack of rigor does our side a disservice. Our side, being rational people who value the use of language appropriately to support and not weaken our positions. And who are atheists. Who support the teaching of evolution and evidence based courses. Who realize evolution is viewed as a fact and a theory. etc. Oh, I'm tired of credentialing myself here....I could go on, and I doubt your credentials exceed mine. Let's just stick to the....facts?

Proving a fact? Feel free. You can make green invisible sheep conjugate furiously next. But don't come knocking to represent science and rationality with your sloppy language. Sloppy language implies sloppy thought.

A weak observation such as the one stated in your link does not prove either the fact or the theory that you suggest. Period.

.....don't let your error get in the way of your (somewhat ironically) righteous snit.

Toodles!
posted by lalochezia at 2:36 PM on February 10, 2007 [2 favorites]


Yes, the enormous body of evidence supporting the basic idea of evolution makes it "fact" for all practical purposes,

I think you are confused here. The fact is that things do evolve. You're holding this fact in doubt and then use the fallacy of composition to say that I haven't proven it.

And, btw, lalochezia, your opinions don't matter is pretty rude too. Consider what it means as far as supporting your argument.
posted by Brian B. at 2:45 PM on February 10, 2007


lalochezia, I didn't mistake you for anything other than someone who was educated by Christian argument.
posted by Brian B. at 2:47 PM on February 10, 2007


This is a fascinating post.

caution live frogs -- can you expand on the salt-water to fresh-water to salt-water to land bit? The post only talked about the ancesters of vertebrates moving from salt to freshwater, and my grade school evolution classes told me that mammals came from amphibeans that became land animals -- but I would love to hear more actually accurate details. Where do mammals and terrestrial animals come from?

(sorry, this is like making you work. Please feel free to ignore.)
posted by jb at 2:47 PM on February 10, 2007


.....don't let your error get in the way of your (somewhat ironically) righteous snit.

I would feel stupid too if I underestimated everyone as you do. I think we established that you don't know what you are talking about, but wish to suggest that evolution is only a theory. There is no scientific proof of theory as you suggested, see above; and the fact of evolution doesn't need proof, see above. Any process in our bodies that is shown to be adapted from another realm can be said to prove the fact itself.
posted by Brian B. at 2:55 PM on February 10, 2007


Consider what it means as far as supporting your argument.

I consider that it means your an asshole with little reading comprehension, and an intense desire to paint anyone that might say anything non-priaseworthy about your writing as some kind of creationist. You have sloppy writing, but you take any criticism of it as an attack on your principles, and leap to accuse them of rudeness, whining and anything else that you suppose might cause them to critique you (such as saying they doubt evolution when they clearly state they do not doubt it.) You've done it before, and I see you continue do it, and in so doing, ruin a threa about a perfectly good and interesting topic.
posted by Snyder at 2:56 PM on February 10, 2007


I consider that it means your an asshole with little reading comprehension,

And you were lecturing me on rudeness? I did myself a favor it seems.
posted by Brian B. at 3:00 PM on February 10, 2007


And you were lecturing me on rudeness? I did myself a favor it seems.

By being preemptivly rude lalochezia, delmoi, and I, I gather? Yes, you did yourself a favor, inasmuch as you can still pretend your such a wonderful being you are, without taking the time to consider if anyone's criticsm of you has merit.
posted by Snyder at 3:09 PM on February 10, 2007


Snyder, my exchanges with Delmoi prove you dead wrong. He was consisently rude, twice, and I ignored it.
posted by Brian B. at 3:11 PM on February 10, 2007


Snyder, my exchanges with Delmoi prove you dead wrong. He was consisently rude, twice, and I ignored it.

No you didn't, stop lying. You were rude, put words in other people's mouths, and ignored valid criticism. It is a fact, not matter how much you deny it.
posted by Snyder at 3:20 PM on February 10, 2007


Last post. Underestimation based entirely on the lack of display of logic and language comprehension.

"Any process in our bodies that is shown to be adapted from another realm can be said to prove the fact itself."

Please. Go argue for someone else's position. This may be the first time I've said this to anybody, ever, but: go join an evolution-denying evangelical church. Argue for them.

The world does not need this kind of weak, sloppy-minded nonsense spouted in the name of science. It actually diminishes the message and thus the impact of what we believe by replacing accurate language with noise. Science is helped by precise reportage - not language-mangling gibberish as delivered by yourself.
posted by lalochezia at 3:20 PM on February 10, 2007


Ok, my increasing bluntness will have no effect on you or your vauge, unclear writing, your use of blantant falsehoods that either come out of disengenousness or a severe lack of reading comprehension, or your insufferably high opinon of yourself, since the more moderate and civil comments of myself and others were clearly ignored or constured to be vile attacks on you and evolution. I'm sorry to everyone else for continuing the derail of this thread.
posted by Snyder at 3:24 PM on February 10, 2007


The world does not need this kind of weak, sloppy-minded nonsense spouted in the name of science. It actually diminishes the message and thus the impact of what we believe by replacing accurate language with noise. Science is helped by precise reportage - not language-mangling gibberish as delivered by yourself.

Science is branch of epistemology. You illustrate the "peter principle" when you try to police the latter.
posted by Brian B. at 3:26 PM on February 10, 2007


Given that the original message that the linked article responds to was originally crossposted to soc.singles and free.christians, is it safe to declare it a really phenomenally successful troll?
posted by moss at 4:12 PM on February 10, 2007


Brain, you're an uninformed prick.

And I say that as an atheist who believes strongly in evolution.

This is a rare case where the fpp-er actually crapped all over his OWN thread.
posted by empath at 4:45 PM on February 10, 2007 [4 favorites]


empath, I don't need to try as hard as you to believe in evolution and if you want a gold star for atheism, you might want to stop salivating on your forehead because disbelief also has little to do with it.
posted by Brian B. at 4:55 PM on February 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


you might want to stop salivating on your forehead

OK, that doesn't even make sense. empath, I'm not sure if you should be insulted or flattered that Brian B. assumes you have some sort of weird saliva-based superpower.
posted by LooseFilter at 4:59 PM on February 10, 2007


...salivating on your forehead...

What a bizarre metaphor.
posted by delmoi at 5:16 PM on February 10, 2007


Brian B., you're an uninformed prick, and you've destroyed the thread for no reason, imagining creationists where none exist.

But the article was good, though. So thanks for that.
posted by equalpants at 5:19 PM on February 10, 2007


Who is this Brian B. and why has he stopped taking his medicine?
posted by c13 at 5:21 PM on February 10, 2007


At some point, doesn't rationality suggest that Brian B. is sitting back, gorging on the troll chow we keep tossing to him, and laughing his ass off?
posted by John Smallberries at 5:27 PM on February 10, 2007


Having >20 % of the posts, insulting multiple people, jumping to wrong conclusions, using the phrase "salivating on your own forehead" - I give you an 8 out of 10. Bravo!
posted by Bort at 5:56 PM on February 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


chudder, welcome to the thread you crapped in.

Delmoi, your pattern is more bizarre by the hour.

c13, I don't know who you are, and am glad for that.

Bort, thanks for the 8.
posted by Brian B. at 6:38 PM on February 10, 2007


At some point, doesn't rationality suggest that Brian B. is sitting back, gorging on the troll chow we keep tossing to him, and laughing his ass off?

He's had his fill, and is now bloated and "intoxicated", like The Mighty shark.
posted by delmoi at 7:04 PM on February 10, 2007


Brian is that you?

He's right about the peter principle though.
Although, quid pro quo, I assign Hanlon to him.

posted by lalochezia at 7:11 PM on February 10, 2007


lalochezia, no. I was one of the only few against libertarians handing out meth to school children in the meth thread of late. I didn't see you there, but apparently you lurked. Either you didn't like what I had to say, or you can't read.
posted by Brian B. at 7:32 PM on February 10, 2007


Who is this Brian B.

Brian Blessed is a large, sturdy, hirsute British actor probably best known for playing Vultan the Hawk-Man in the Queen-laden masterpiece Flash Gordon and for providing the voice of Boss Nass in Episode 1.

and why has he stopped taking his medicine?

The fact that Mr. Blessed has to call it Mr. Lucidity is well-known to be one of his charms. A feature, not a bug. Brian Blessed on mood stabilizers or antipsychotics would be like Peter O'Toole off the sauce: what's the point?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:42 PM on February 10, 2007


Brian Blessed was also the emperor Augustus in I, Claudius.
posted by rfs at 8:00 PM on February 10, 2007


Good link. Bad thread.
posted by event at 8:04 PM on February 10, 2007


.....against libertarians handing out meth to school children

Classic addict behavior. Hoarding it for yourself. Denial too. Mmmmmmmmlovely meth meth meth meth meth. Just say it. Go on. You should seek help.
posted by lalochezia at 8:39 PM on February 10, 2007


jb - I don't pretend to be an expert on vertebrate evolution (my training is in evolutionary biology, but by practice I am more of a neuroscientist) but if I remember my comparative anatomy correctly, the currently accepted theory is that vertebrates evolved in salt water, and thus should be isoosmotic to ocean water, but only one group (the hagfish) is actually isoosmotic. In contrast all marine invertebrates are isoosmotic. The idea is that the ancestors of modern bony fish (teleosts) evolved in fresh water from saltwater vertebrates, but some returned to the ocean later, leaving freshwater fish hyperosmotic to their environment, while saltwater fish (due to the stint in freshwater environs) are hypoosmotic.

There are some problems with the theory; groups such as sharks and lampreys are also hypoosmotic to seawater, but as far as I know there is no evidence that these groups were freshwater animals at any time. There are people who think that all vertebrates except hagfish evolved in fresh water, and others who think that only some groups did. With bony fish, the facts seem much more clear: modern marine teleosts had freshwater ancestors.

Interestingly, the swim bladder of these bony fish is thought to have functioned first as a primitive lung to help breathe in the brackish fresh water in which they lived. Later, one group of lobe-finned fishes took the swim bladder, turned it back into a lung, and became tetrapods.

So, in a sense, it seems we went salt + gills --> fresh + gills & lung --> salt + gills & swim bladder --> fresh + gills & lung again --> land + lung.

The weirdness inherent in evolution is why I like it, I think.
posted by caution live frogs at 10:37 PM on February 10, 2007 [2 favorites]


Brian Blessed is my new favorite poster on MeFi.
posted by hoverboards don't work on water at 3:38 AM on February 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


Arguing that there are no such thing as reptiles is the same thing as arguing that the dinosaurs are not extinct because birds are dinosaurs. Or that there's no such thing as "humans living in New York" because it's not a single clade.

These terms have useful meanings outside cladistics. Although the cladistic approach can be useful too—I wouldn't trust a species tree that included "reptiles" as a node.
posted by grouse at 6:18 AM on February 11, 2007


I predict this Brian B. fellow will find a way to extract clean energy from impotent rage and monomania. Or...shoot up one of those big-box churches the size of indoor stadiums.
posted by nj_subgenius at 7:12 AM on February 11, 2007


Brian Blessed was also the emperor Augustus in I, Claudius.

A big shout-out to PC 'Fancy' Smith in Z-Cars.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 7:38 AM on February 11, 2007


MeTa.
posted by cgc373 at 10:04 AM on February 11, 2007


Brian Blessed is a large, sturdy, hirsute British actor probably best known for playing Vultan the Hawk-Man in the Queen-laden masterpiece Flash Gordon and for providing the voice of Boss Nass in Episode 1.

You know, it's been a long time since I saw FG, and I had decided in the interim that that must have been Rip Torn playing Vultan. Live and learn.
posted by cortex at 9:03 AM on February 12, 2007


when 2 evolutionist argue a creationist gets his soul polished.
posted by Megafly at 12:40 PM on February 12, 2007


omg ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny!!!!!!11111eleventyone11



not really.
posted by exlotuseater at 2:09 PM on February 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


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