Evolutionary Immunology
January 4, 2005 9:23 PM   Subscribe

Well, that looks like it evolved in response to carnivorous activity. Just an uneducated guess.
posted by Oyéah at 10:29 PM on January 4, 2005

I think one of the really fascinating questions for future research is whether the evolution of the adaptive immune response is fixed in the vertebrate lineage simply because of the increased survival/reproductive fitness it conferred (obviously it is non-essential since lamprey are still quite happily extant today) or whether it in some way facilitated the evolution of animals with more highly developed nervous systems.
As a biochemist/molecular biologist myself, I find that the more we learn about how living organisms function the less likely the deus ex machina hypothesis proposed by ID theorists becomes-and the more amazing life itself!
posted by MadOwl at 2:50 AM on January 5, 2005

Well, this is "obviously" another disinterested attempt by the "pro-liberal" kulturecamp to blindside the fine work being done today...by scientists who understand God's plan. Frankly I wonder if these "evolutionary" biologists wouldn't mind being "Darwin"ed themselves...but something tells me they wouldn't like that. Someone ought to...teach "them" the meaning of hipocrisy...too bad they're probably too "homosexual" for that.

/half-assed Kaye Grogan impression
posted by clockzero at 4:35 AM on January 5, 2005

...and once again (RE: panda's thumb article) we have people who understand and stay current with biology pointing out that the "opposition" don't even know enough about the current state of things to put together a decent argument.

this is good stuff. in 2004 alone we had this article detailing the immune system evolution, and an earlier one explaining the origins of the vertebrate eye. that's two less targets for the IDers to shoot at. not that they'll pay any attention to either, but i think anyone going to a school board meeting to discuss whether ID is a valid theory would be wise to carry a copy of both articles, as well as one or two others detailing perhaps whale evolution transition fossils, etc. would be pretty funny to see the reaction when an IDist starts saying there's no evidence for one of these and just plopping the paper down in front of them as a response.
posted by caution live frogs at 5:30 AM on January 5, 2005

The interesting question for me is: why does creationism exist? Why have millions of Americans, essentially, rejected science? I'm not satisfied with attributing it to stupidity or laziness.

In my opinion, it is because science appears to lead (and for many, does in fact lead) to atheism and materialism, which repells middle Americans. (It also has to do with the inordinate emphasis on belief in contemporary Christianity, but that's not going to change anytime soon.)

Hate all you want, but only when a rigorous, culturally attractive philosophy that is neither materialism nor creationism catches on will this false dichotomy be overcome.
posted by goethean at 9:10 AM on January 5, 2005

If materialism repels Middle America, they've sure got a funny way of showing it.
posted by ulotrichous at 9:25 AM on January 5, 2005

If materialism repels Middle America, they've sure got a funny way of showing it.

I meant ontological materialism (the idea that all that exists are atoms and energy), rather than ethical materialism (the idea that H2s and McMansions are the highest good). They are related but not always coincident.

There is also the fact that people's conscious ideals are often higher than their actual lived values. It is common to be subconsciously or semi-consciously disgusted by one's own screwed up value system and therefore to consciously articulate a completely different set of values. It is of course the idea of materialism (both ontological and ethical), rather than its physical pleasures, that is repellent.

But this is beside my original point -- that it is the materialistic or physicalistic philosophy that is wrongly thought to follow logically from natural selection -- that is keeping Americans from accepting the theory of evolution.
posted by goethean at 10:25 AM on January 5, 2005

There is energy, regularity, symmetry, organization in every aspect of existence. Intelligence exists at every level of the processes of life, I just don't care to have a pack of mono-literates making the final definition of this universal process, in which we play a small and destructive part. I don't care if a thousand angels danced on the tip of Adam's pen, they never did this existence justice. I would rather hear the voice of the universe whispered or roared in the waves that carelessly break on any shore, carried on the wind of any approaching weather, or in messages strung out like cold bright diamonds in the night sky. Raucous crows echoing off desert walls, make more sense than creationism.
posted by Oyéah at 11:50 AM on January 5, 2005

Oh, this old thing, Oyéah?
Its just a fantastically interesting confluence of dimension, conception, and activity...
It's nothing, really.


posted by jungturk at 12:51 PM on January 6, 2005

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