Wasp Nest Designs

Discussion in 'Science' started by jcrawford, Dec 10, 2004.

  1. jcrawford

    jcrawford
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    I excerpted a couple of paragraphs from the following wesite on wasps in hopes of analyzing it for evidence of intelligence and design in nest building.

    http://www.angelfire.com/ok3/vespids/intro.html

    Social wasps use paper (wood pulp) to construct their nests. The process is simple... a wasp collects wood fiber by using its mandibles (mouth parts) to scrape it from worn and weathered wooden fences, buildings, telephone poles, and other sources. Sometimes it collects fiber from man-made paper products such as paper bags or cardboard boxes. The insect then chews the wood and mixes it with saliva. This makes the wood fiber extremely soft and moist. After a period of chewing, the wasp adds the paste to the nest structure and spreads it out with her mandibles and legs. After it thoroughly dries; a type of tough, durable paper is formed.

    Most species of social wasps in the USA build their combs horizontally with cells located on the bottom of each one. Though there are a few species of Polistes wasps which hang their combs vertically with the cells facing to one side. These combs are primarily used for brood rearing. Little or no food exists in any of them because most social wasps do not store food. The reason for this is because wasp colonies feed on large numbers of caterpillars, bugs, flies, spiders, etc. and the meat would spoil if the wasps were to store it. In some species such as hornets and yellowjackets, a paper envelope (covering) is built around the combs. This serves as good insulation material since the covering consists of multiple layers of paper sheets. There are air pockets in between each one which help in maintaining a comfortable temperature inside the nest. Certain species of social wasps build open combs without any kind of protective covering, such as the Polistine wasps for instance.
     
  2. Paul of Eugene

    Paul of Eugene
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    Now what do you mean by the word "intelligence" in this thread?

    Are you asserting that wasps are intelligent and design their nests? Since the wasp does not go to nest making school, apparantly the knowledge of how to make nests comes from the inheritance of the wasp. It is an amazing fact, one we cannot understand in detail, that information similar to the kind of information we use to program robotic explorers on mars, is inherited one generation after another!
     
  3. jcrawford

    jcrawford
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    Yes, wasps are intelligent and their knowledge of how to make nests is inherited. The common descent of all animals implies that, as Darwin himself stated.
     
  4. Debby in Philly

    Debby in Philly
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    I once worked in a building where wasps had built a rather large nest right up against a window in a stairwell, creating a cross-section view of a working nest. It was so facinating to watch! The owners just left it there until the season was over, because everyone was so captivated by it (and as long as the window remained closed, it was safe!). Each wasp had a job to do, including ones that just positioned themselves on the entrances and flapped their wings to create air conditioning in the nest! I think the complexity of such things is often used as an arguement for intelligent design and/or creationism. Sure does it for me!
     
  5. just-want-peace

    just-want-peace
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    Hey! This works for me.

    Always seemed ridiculous to me to claim that natural processes, with NO input from a superior intellect (superior to the process) could/would concoct a more complex and workable system than its self.

    But I'm just an uneducated redneck that simply accepts what God said, so what do I know!? :rolleyes:
     
  6. Paul of Eugene

    Paul of Eugene
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    It does look marvelous, doesn't it? The world God made. I guess the only question is - did He make it this way as we see it or did He make it in such a way as to unfold and become the way we see it? Because we see it as if it has a history of unfolding to become the way we see it, that leads me towards the latter point of view.
     
  7. jcrawford

    jcrawford
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    Yes, it is simple arrogance on the part of humans to assert that they are the only intelligent beings on the planet, especially when they have no scientific evidence or data to back up such an absurd and self-aggrandizing claim.
     
  8. jcrawford

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    At least you know the Word of God as an alternative to a reliance on the words of modern men.
     
  9. Gina B

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    Almost everything was created with the ability to adapt to it's environment, but that cannot be used to say that because something adapts, it is evolving.
    Gina
     
  10. Paul of Eugene

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    OK Gina, fair statement! A seed may become a scrawny tough tree high up ina mountain, or a large, luxeriant tree down in the valley - just having adapted to the place it had to grow in. . . . what WOULD be a sign something is evolving?
     
  11. Gina B

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    While I'm not qualified to give any insight that has expertise attached to it, I'll hazard a guess.
    A sign. The only signs possible for us to use would be the same ones that reflect adaptation, as we do not have any complete, accurate, and reliable examples of something evolving. (evolving...going from one species to another)
    Maybe a more accurate sign that would help the cause of evolution would be to show dna changes in the majority of a group within the same location over a period of time.
    Gina
     
  12. UTEOTW

    UTEOTW
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    "Maybe a more accurate sign that would help the cause of evolution would be to show dna changes in the majority of a group within the same location over a period of time."

    We do have examples of new, beneficial mutations spreading through a population.

    "The pattern of genetic variation across the genome of Drosophila melanogaster is consistent with the occurrence of frequent 'selective sweeps', in which new favourable mutations become incorporated into the species so quickly that linked alleles can 'hitchhike' and also become fixed. Because of the hitchhiking of linked genes, it is generally difficult to identify the target of any putative selective sweep. Here, however, we identify a new gene in D. melanogaster that codes for a sperm-specific axonemal dynein subunit."

    http://www.nature.com/cgi-taf/DynaPage.taf?file=/nature/journal/v396/n6711/abs/396572a0_fs.html&dynoptions=doi1104271590

    An example of genes spreading through the parasite Plasmodium falciparum.

    http://mbe.oupjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/20/9/1526

    I'll stop at two examples for now instead of drawing this out into a long list. But it should suffice to point out that we have seen new beneficial genes arise and be swept through and fixed into a population.
     
  13. Helen

    Helen
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    Good grief, UTE, we all show DNA variations. If we didn't, DNA identification in humans would be impossible. Let us know when the fruit flies become something other than fruit flies, or when the Plasmodium become something outside of that group! That is what evolution needs, not variations within kind.

    The wasps show intelligent design; they do not exhibit intelligence as we think of it in humans aside from their instincts.

    The fact that a tree that grows lush in a valley can also survive in a stunted form on a mountain does not show evolution! Not any more than an animal fed a diet deficient in what it needs will remain stunted in growth!

    In short, when you evolutionists can get it straight that no one is arguing variation, great! In the meantime, whether it is antibiotic resistance, nylon-eating bacteria, sickle cells, or a number of other 'beneficial' mutations, close inspection shows that they generally result from a loss of specificity in protein folding or enzymes. Each of these mutations actually causes the loss or reduction of a pre-existing biological system. In order for evolution to have any credence, it must go the other way. Until then, loss only points out the excellence in the design of the original which was able to sustain such losses and keep going. The following is from a friend of mine who is a microbiologist:

    The problem that is rarely recognized is that not all (any?) so-called beneficial mutations fit the needed predictions of evolutionary change by "common descent with modification." Such evolutionary change requires mutations that increase enzyme specificity, create regulatory proteins, transport systems, etc. Examples of these types of mutations are what evolutionists have totally failed to produce. So, for example, an enzyme's ability to degrade nylon is simply the result of a reduction of specificity for that enzyme, enabling it to use a substrate it previously could not use. This could be considered beneficial if there is an advantage for the organism to degrade nylon. But, this, in no way, provides a genetic explanation of how that enzyme's original specificity was formed. Yet evolution claims to account for exactly that, a mechanism of how enzyme specificity originated, not how it became less. Evolution must start at bottom of Dawkins' Mount Improbable, not at the top.

    I would also be interested in specific examples of where increased specificity of a protein resulted in antibiotic resistance. There are many examples where the protein loses most or all of the binding affinity for an antibiotic, but this is not the same as gaining specificity within the same active site. I'm not saying there may not be one or two true examples of resistance resulting from increased specificity at the active site, but I have not seen them. And, even so, one or two out of hundreds hardly constitutes a suitable (let alone viable) mutation mechanism for evolution (1 step forward and 500 steps back).

    Also, duplicated genes are only providing the organism more of what it already has, thus they offer no explanation of how the organism got that gene originally. And, if one of the duplicated genes mutates so that it has an altered substrate range, we're back to the discussion above, this altered substrate range is the result of loss of binding, specificity, gene expression, regulatory control, etc. So, again this provides no genetic mechanism for common descent with modification (which requires a mechanism that explains the origin of these).

    Nor does introducing plasmids or transposons really provide the solution that evolutionists claim. Genetic material on these vectors already exists in the biological world. Introducing them into a specific organism may introduce new genetics to that organism, but not to the biological world as a whole. Hence, transfer of these vectors offers no mechanism for evolution to explain the origin of transport proteins, regulatory systems, etc.

    As for sickle cell anemia, genetically speaking this is very much a loss of function (specifically hemoglobin function). Arguments on this illustrate a lack of common definition of "function." Sickle cell anemia is the result of a missense mutation of the Beta-globin gene. This mutation causes a reduction of the hemoglobin protein's binding affinity for oxygen. The result is that in the presence of low levels of oxygen, insufficient oxygen will be bound by the hemoglobin, and instead the hemoglobin will tend to malform (ie., sickle). This results in the proteins polymerizing and forming insoluble fibers. These fibers can led to a distortion of the red blood cell shape. But genetically, the mutation must be categorized as resulting in a reduction of protein affinity for oxygen. Therefore, regardless of any claims of a benefit from malaria, etc. the actual genetic nature of the mutation hardly provides a genetic mechanism that accounts for the claims of evolution, ie., a mechanism that explains how life arose through common descent with modification.
     
  14. UTEOTW

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    "Good grief, UTE, we all show DNA variations."

    What are you talking about?

    She asked if there were examples of new genes showing up in populations. So I gave her two examples, one from the lab and one from nature, where genes spread through populations. We can debate where the genes came from if you wish, but there is no need for exasperation over what I told her.

    "Such evolutionary change requires mutations that increase enzyme specificity, ... Examples of these types of mutations are what evolutionists have totally failed to produce."

    I believe I have recently given an example of such.

    A gene duplication and subsequent mutation led to a new gene. The new gene had increased specificity in that it allowed the monkey to digest something that it was unable to digest before.

    Also an example of a gene that spread through the population.

    "I would also be interested in specific examples of where increased specificity of a protein resulted in antibiotic resistance. There are many examples where the protein loses most or all of the binding affinity for an antibiotic, but this is not the same as gaining specificity within the same active site."

    Perhaps you have never looked into Vancomycin resistence. Again, something I have posted on here recently.

    Vanomycin attacks a component in the cell well of a bacteria called D-alanyl-D-alanine. A variety of mutations led to resistence to this anti-biotic.

    First two genes, VanR and VanS, code for proteins which detect the presence of Vancomycin. This leads to the transcription of genes VanH, VanA, and VanX. VanH codes for a protein which makes D-lactate. VanA then combines the D-lactate with D-alanyl to produce D-alanyl-D-lactate. VanX then hydrolyzes the D-alanyl-D-alanine which is replaced with the D-alanyl-D-lactate.

    Once evolved, these genes spreads rapidly between bacteria through plasmids. There are even some variations on the theme. For example, some bacteria use VanB instead of VanA. Different genes evolved to do the same function (homologs).

    So just why would bacteria have had prexisting gens to detect the antibiotic? Why would bacteria have had prexisting genes that destroy their own cell wall? This is an example of bacteria evolving new function and that spreading to other bacteria.

    Another example of a packet of new genes that evolved and then spread through many populations.

    "Also, duplicated genes are only providing the organism more of what it already has, thus they offer no explanation of how the organism got that gene originally. And, if one of the duplicated genes mutates so that it has an altered substrate range, we're back to the discussion above, this altered substrate range is the result of loss of binding, specificity, gene expression, regulatory control, etc. So, again this provides no genetic mechanism for common descent with modification (which requires a mechanism that explains the origin of these)."

    Sorry, as shown above, even when you have a very small amount of genetic material, duplication and subsequent mutation can lead to new genes with new specific functions.

    But you also have a severe problem in explaining the genetic diversity we see in life. You take the flood as global and recent. Therefore there should be a severe bottleneck in allele frequency. For most animals, there should be at most four alleles for a given gene, most likely even fewer. But this is not always the case. We see much more genetic variation than this. We can even use genetics to look at bottlenecks and what size they were. For human evolution, for example, see

    "Genomic divergences between humans and other hominoids and the effective population size of the common ancestor of humans and chimpanzees," Chen FC, Li WH, American Journal Human Genetics, 2001 Feb;68(2):444-56.

    You would have a very hard time in going through as much "microevolution" as you speculate with such limited genetic diversity.
     
  15. Helen

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    gene duplication is simply that -- duplication. It is not an addition of specificity.

    Why should we see a severe bottleneck since nothing survived outside the Ark to compare what we have with it?

    Why would bacteria have pre-existing genes to detect antibacterial agents? Because antibacterial agents are found in nature -- which is where we got them from.
     
  16. Paul of Eugene

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    Just for the record, I don't view wasps as particularly intelligent, but they do have the instinctive ability to create marvelous complex nests with evident design in some sense of the word design.

    Helen, gene duplication as such is not normally a specificity, but it is a way for an organism to retain one necessary function and still be able to mutate the other gene to another available task. In other words, those organisms that, by chance, have previously duplicated a gene are able, by chance to survive the losing of the one function of the gene as it mutates to another function because the unmutated copy is still around doing the essential first function.

    Or if the mutated gene happens to do nothing for the oranism, they survive the loss of the gene because the copy is still around.

    As for the dna variation stuff, its not a matter of comparing with other possible life scenarios at all! Its a matter of counting how many variations we have in a given gene and figuring out how much time it would take to get that much variation in a given gene.
     
  17. UTEOTW

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    "gene duplication is simply that -- duplication. It is not an addition of specificity."

    And you ignore the example that I gave.

    The additional specificity does not come solely from the duplication event. There is also the mutation(s) that follow. Together, they provide a very good basis for one method of increasing genetic information and for allowing new genes and functions to evolve. This is a method which has very substantial support.

    "Why should we see a severe bottleneck since nothing survived outside the Ark to compare what we have with it?"

    Allele frequency!

    I thought I spelled it out. By sending most animals through a bottleneck of two individuals at the flood, you would be reducing their potential variation at any gene to four variants. No more!

    This would lead to very homogeneous lineages. Yet you propose that there was enough variation as these "kinds" disembarked for them to speciate into a wide variety of forms. Don't you advocate "kind" as being somewhere around the family level? That is surely a lot of diversification in a short period of time from populations with no genetic diversity from which to be selected.

    "Why would bacteria have pre-existing genes to detect antibacterial agents? Because antibacterial agents are found in nature -- which is where we got them from."

    Again, read what I posted. I did not ask why they could detect antibacterial agents in general. I asked why they could detect that very specific one.

    Let me try this again. YEers often claim that such things as antibacterial resistence come about because of a loss of information. They point to AB resistence in particular as generally being the loss of binding sites to which the AB can attack.

    So I gave a specific example of how AB resistence accomplishes this. Vancomycin attacks a specific chemical component of the cell wall. The resistence gets rid of that point of attack. Is this not what is usually discussed when OEers and YEers talk about AB resistence? The bacteria losing the place where the AB attacks?

    But look at how it is accomplished! First the specific AB is detected. This then sets off a cascade of events where the vulnerable part of the cell wall is replaced with a new component that is not vulnerable. This is an active defense using a number of genes acting in concert. It is not a "loss of information." It is the gaining of new pathway that makes the bacteria more likely to survive its new environment.
     

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