evoution, nature,and sexual reproduction (was Crinum incompatibility)

Jim McKenney jimmckenney@starpower.net
Fri, 11 Jun 2004 19:40:49 PDT
At 06:48 PM 6/11/2004 EDT, Joe wrote:

>But, one thing is also clear; evolutionary theory 
>predicts that reproduction without genetic recombination (i.e., sex) will 
>lead to eventual extinction. 

As I began to compose this post, the "off-topic warning light" began to
flicker. I'll keep it brief, and I promise not to post again on this thread
in the near future. Anyone interested is invited to e-mail me privately. 

First of all, thanks, Joe, for bringing up Cnemidophorus. In an earlier
life I was an aspiring herp guy; I got out at just about the time that the
parthenogenic Cnemidophorus were discovered. Back then, it was pretty
amazing that there should be parthenogenic terrestrial vertebrates. 

I hope you don't mind if I try to poke a hole in the evolutionary theory
you quote. 
>But, one thing is also clear; evolutionary theory 
>predicts that reproduction without genetic recombination (i.e., sex) will 
>lead to eventual extinction. 

I know that that is the standard line, but think about this: there are lots
of organisms which are not known to reproduce sexually. Unless you believe
in some sort of creation, or believe that life has evolved multiple times -
some of them recently - then the extinction hypothesis is very suspicious.
Why? Because if life evolved only once, or if it developed multiple times
but all about the same time, then every living thing has an ancestry no
less or more older than every other living thing. I'm not arguing that
extinction does not occur. What I'm trying to say is that everything which
is alive had to come from some other living thing; some lines are more
stable than others - among vertebrates, turtles for instance. Other forms
of life have apparently been on a fast track. If my ancestry is just as old
as that of a single celled something-or-other which does not reproduce
sexually and for which no sexual phase is known,  then it's apparent that
my ancestors must have changed a lot more rapidly than the single celled
critter's ancestors did. But the single celled "celibate" critters are
still here, and it seems probable to me that they could outlive not only
humans as we know them but all vertebrate life. When the next asteroid
hits, which group is more likely to survive, humans or unicellular

Sexuality makes possible rapid change in response to competition or
opportunity. [Sounds like the plot of a soap opera, doesn't it?] And
instead of enhancing the likelihood that a given group will experience long
term survival, it virtually guarantees that that group will rapidly morph
into something else -leaving an apparent "extinction" in its wake.

What do you think? Doesn't that make sense?

It seems to me that there is a lot of anthropocentric bunk out there going
around as evolutionary theory, some of it disguising its political
underpinnings better than others. Consider the notion, for instance, that
reproductive proficiency is the measure of success. 

OK, Jim , shut up, get off your soap box and go to bed. 

Or at least go out and smell the night-scented stocks. 

Jim McKenney
Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, zone 7 where I realize that I had better
morph my topics if I don't want to precipitate my extinction from this list. 

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