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Reductive Evolution

Posted: 25 Sep 2015, 16:48
by yogi
Reductive evolution is a process where organisms simplify instead of becoming more complex. This phenomena has been cited as the method by which viruses have (d)evolved. The question to be answered was a long standing one by virologists, i.e. are viruses alive? The quick answer is yes and proof of that was shown by studying protein folds of 5080 organisms. "442 protein folds were shared between cells and viruses along with 66 folds that were unique to viruses. What this indicates then, is a branching of some kind."

I realize that the research was done to answer questions about viruses, but the underlying assumption here is that evolution is a fact and not a theory. Regardless of how you feel about all this, I'd advise getting your flu shot as early as possible this year. ... tw&src=SOC

Re: Reductive Evolution

Posted: 26 Sep 2015, 05:24
by Icey
I have to agree with you about viruses. They certainly ARE alive, and yet not always used in vaccines, as weakened or even dead ones're sometimes used so as not to cause illness to the patients. Live viruses learn to bypass drugs which used to kill them, as in the case of antibiotics becoming ineffective, so yes, their mutation could be said to evolve, which therefore lends support to your argument about evolution.

Sorry to say, I totally disagree about immunisation against flu. The flu viruses constantly change (or evolve), and what they hope protects you from this year's strain mainly works on the viruses found 12 months back. Only one in three people benefit from these flu jabs, and they might've escaped it anyway.

One of my sisters works in this line. More than half of her co-workers in the lab refuse to have the jabs as they're produced, as they know what goes into them.

It's known that even if a person has the jab, it doesn't necessarily stop them from catching flu. It may just make the symptoms milder, but people've also been known to die from flu complications even after having their jabs, and they shouldn't be given to patients receiving certain medication or whose resistance's already low.

Re: Reductive Evolution

Posted: 26 Sep 2015, 08:18
by yogi
You and I agree on more things than are obvious from out discussions (debates?). I was being totally facetious when I recommended an anti-flu injection. I see that process much the same as dealing with viruses on computers. There is no way to prevent them, but there are many ways to deal with them once you are infected.

There is a lot of medical advice out there regarding the flu shot, and it's not just the pharmacies that are encouraging people to get it. The idea is that older people suffer more, and indeed it can be fatal for some. I guess the theory is a cc of prevention is worth hundreds of mg of cure. Maybe, but I'm with you. I have yet to get my first flu shot and don't see one coming in the near future.

Re: Reductive Evolution

Posted: 26 Sep 2015, 09:32
by Icey
Well Yogi, it's obviously up to yourself whether you go the route of the injections. Many people do, and don't even get a sniffle, so think it's down to the vaccine. It might be, but it might not. They could've just been lucky.

You know about the health problems in my family, and a couple of years back, my son's consultant said she advised him having a flu jab because of his immune system being weak. I refused to allow it, and she sat back in her chair, arms folded in defence, and seemed offended by the fact that I'd questioned her authority. She's a lovely woman, and been excellent to our son, but this time, she was doing her best to persuade me into her way of thinking.

"I think so ...." she finally said.
"And I think NOT." I replied, so we left it there for me to "consider the advantages".

At our next meeting, the subject was brought up again, but I was still adamant that there was no benefit. The "flu season" was coming to an end, and our son hadn't even had so much as a cold. I made various Manuka honey preparations, and made sure that he dressed appropriately for the weather. It wouldnt've stopped him from breathing in flu germs, but he didn't get it anyway. To my surprise, after asking if I'd made my mind up, and getting the same reply, his consultant leaned over and put her hand on my arm. Smiling warmly, she said: "It was my duty to ask, but I'm glad that you stuck to your guns". She didn't enlarge on her reasons for saying it, but she was happy with the outcome. My son, who had stage 4 Lymphoma, is now in full remission and keeping healthy. They'd also tried to coerce me into allowing him to have 5 other jabs, which I also refused. These included one for a disease which isn't even prevalent in the UK, but since he wasn't going abroad, I saw no reason to put this stuff into him, which definitely contained Thimerosal, which is a compound containing mercury (said by some to contribute towards autism). The body can't get rid of mercury, which can cause cell death and internal organ failure, so there was no way I was going to allow it.

I now accept that you have a point regarding evolution, although whether this happens to all organisms, just a few or at base level, I don't know, but yes, regarding viruses at least, you're absolutely right. It seems to be a natural survival instinct, that the ones with strong DNA or RNA can adapt to their environment and then mutate into a different but workable organism. Fantastic really. Whatever drives them on seems very intelligent in its own way.

Re: Reductive Evolution

Posted: 26 Sep 2015, 09:54
by yogi
The fascinating point in the cited article is that viruses are being viewed as incomplete cells. Once they infect a living cell they can replicate using some of their own DNA/RNA and some of that of the host.

In some ways it appears that DNA has an intelligence of it's own that is using all life forms on earth to replicate itself. I realize that's a bit anthropomorphic, but DNA seems to be at the root of life as we know it. Perhaps it is a life form of it's own that we do not perceive readily. In any event, living things here on earth have managed to sustain themselves for millions if not billions of years. That's one reason I find it hard to accept there are planets with extinct life forms on them in our solar system. Life, just doesn't die off so easily once it gets rooted.

Re: Reductive Evolution

Posted: 26 Sep 2015, 16:21
by Icey
I agree, and in fact, life never dies off really. It merely turns back into a different form. When we die, our flesh disintegrates, but the pathogens (viruses) and everything else turn into gases and nutrients which the roots of plant life need in order to live. Insects, birds and animals then eat this, and so it continues. My grandad used to make us children laugh by singing a song that went along the lines of: "Be kind to your flat footed friends, for a duck may be somebody's grandma ...." but in actual fact .......

DNA contains much smaller organisms inside it. This helps to break it down more simply:
DNA is made up of molecules called nucleotides. Each nucleotide contains a phosphate group, a sugar group and a nitrogen base. The four types of nitrogen bases are adenine (A), thymine (T), guanine (G) and cytosine (C). The order of these bases is what determines DNA's instructions, or genetic code. So, nucleotides are organic molecules that serve as sub-units, of nucleic acids like DNA and RNA. The building blocks of nucleic acids, nucleotides, are composed of a nitrogenous base, a five-carbon sugar (ribose or deoxyribose), and at least one phosphate group.

It's incredibly complex, and scientists're still unravelling it all, but to say that DNA's at the root of life as we know it, is basically true. If we look at it that nitrogen, carbon/sugar and phosphates, when inexplicably joined together eventually make a life form, it seems such a fantastic piece of engineering, but of course, that very word makes me start to question ... whether this's a totally natural, random or designed phenomenon? Whatever it all is, viruses, bacteria or anything else, my thinking was that everything needs a specific pattern in order to be complete and thrive, but no. Viruses, or at least some, can be seen as incomplete cells, yet still work. There's a somewhat difficult to understand piece here, which I found interesting, and you might as well, but the more I read about it, the more I started to grasp. I think we need a microbiology forum Yogi! : ) ... cation/pdf