Friday, February 14, 2014

Red Blood Cells and Evolution

I am going to put what I came up with today – I am pretty certain my information is valid – and if anyone thinks my concepts are wrong, please let me know! 

I was talking about altitude sickness with a co-worker, when he said that people's bodies get used to the altitude by making more red blood cells to carry more oxygen to all parts of the body. This is true.  It occurred to me that this is a very quick adaption to a different environment.  The body adapts - which is a part of natural selection in evolution. 

Here is the definition of natural selection, the very definition that Creationists and “Intelligent Design” proponents want taken out of schools:  “Natural Selection:  The process whereby organisms better adapted to their environment tend to survive and produce more offspring.”

Do you see any reason that should be kept from children and teens?  (South Carolina is another state that is now trying to ban teaching evolution in the classroom, and their reasoning is because they do not want to teach “natural selection.”  So let’s continue examining our example:

Taking the high altitude example further, Wiki says that native Andean and Himalayan populations have better oxygenation at birth, enlarged lung volumes throughout life, and a higher capacity for exercise. (This seems to show a permanent change in the population – evolution at work.)  Tibetans have a sustained increase in brain blood flow, lower hemoglobin concentration, and less susceptibility to chronic mountain sickness than other high altitude populations.  (This change in Tibetans is different than other populations who live in the mountains, so these abilities of theirs may help them survive better than the others.  (Re-read the definition of natural selection, because it sure looks like why the Tibetans have permanently evolved.)  It is thought that the Tibetans may have been on the mountains for a longer period of time and that is why they have developed these advantages.  (Evolution – change over time.)

Do these people who are against kids learning about natural selection actually think that a person does not change, but the environment is made to fit the person?  They always talk about the “fine-tuned” environment.  Do they not realize that some people die because their heart cannot handle the high altitude?  That is not fine-tuned, and the examples of the high altitude populations show natural selection, not fine-tuning of the environment.

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