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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Setting Ray Straight on Sexs

Ray Comfort wrote
Why did hundreds of thousands of animals, fish, reptiles and birds (over millions of years) evolve a female partner (that coincidentally matured at just the right time) with each species?

Alright Ray, here's how it may well have happened.

The cellular organisms we started out as, like many today, would have been asexual but with the capability to exchange genes with others of their species. This is beneficial to survival: being able to exchange genes allows beneficial traits to spread throughout the population much faster.

Many generations later, this trait would have been amplified to the point where the creatures must exchange genes with another before reproduction. The exchange itself would also become a little more controlled so that the creature can 'choose' which creatures to exchange genes with. This isn't immediately beneficial to it's offspring, but is a neutral mutation. Later, when the creature develops behaviours which cause it to seek out strongor fertile members of it's own species, it becomes an extremely beneficial mutation.

At this point, creatures have both 'male' and 'female' reproductive systems. Keep in mind that these are still small gooey organisms, so it's not quite as weird as it sounds. It simply means that all creatures can lay eggs, and all creatures can fertilise others.

Now, this is inefficient. A creature needs not develop the fertilising organs in order to reproduce if it can lay eggs, and a creature need not lay eggs

if it can fertilise another. So the next step is specialisation: some members of the species become better at fertilising, others get better at producing eggs. Eventually, the one type becomes incapable of doing the other types job.

The end result? Sexual reproduction. Easy.

I hope this helps everyone understand the subject matter a little bit better, Ray.

Posted on Ray's blog.

PS: POST 997.


  1. Nicely done, Quasar.

    It's a tricky one to explain without it sounding very wishy-washy and hypothetical.

    PS. May I humbly request that we invite MacGyver Jr to publish post 1000 as he got the ball rolling all the way back in July - sort of come full-circle?

  2. It's also ok to admit we don't know exactly how it happened. As Sagan said, it is ok to disavow gut feelings until the evidence comes it. I always find it peculiar that when we can't provide a comprehensive answer to all of life's inner workings and history, the creationist bellows, "Ah ha! Creation it is!". Then, of course, we are called arrogant.

  3. By the way, your explanation is much more believable and coherent than "woman was made out of one of Adam's spare ribs" in a garden with a talking snake and a tree "of knowledge" with deadly fruit. Right...

  4. The problem is that Ray doesn't understand evolution from an even more fundamental level... namely the idea that populations not individuals evolve over time.

    That's why, to him, males and females evolving together seems so ludicrous. To us, however, it seems obvious why they would given population dynamics and the fact that males and females share the same genetic code.

  5. Motion Carried.

    **The Frog Invokes Roberts Rules of Order**

  6. Am I the only one who gets the impression that Ray's notion of how things work is inherantly sexist? Several times he seems (please note 'seems' - he may not mean to do this) to equate the male of a species with 'being' the species, with the female there merely to allow the male to reproduce.

    Just me, or did anyone get this sense from it?

  7. Baldy read the Bible, he is just basing his statements off of that and it is sexist. It was written by a male dominated society where females were second class citizens. You know this though.


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