Definition of evolution and the distinction between micro/macro

(Haywood Clark) #282

Why? You posted your claim earlier in this thread.

Great, but I don’t see any evidence from you. Would you please simply go back and show me where you posted the evidence that tells us what you claim the evidence tells us?

Maybe I’m missing it.

(Chris) #283

From a recent post at EN.

As Stephen Meyer and Michael Keas note in an article, “The Meanings of Evolution,” there are at least six ways people use the word:

    1. Change over time; history of nature; any sequence of events in nature.

    2. Changes in the frequencies of alleles in the gene pool of a population.

    3. Limited common descent: the idea that particular groups of organisms have descended from a common ancestor.

    4. The mechanisms responsible for the change required to produce limited descent with modification, chiefly natural selection acting on random variations or mutations.

    5. Universal common descent: the idea that all organisms have descended from a single common ancestor.

    6. “Blind watchmaker” thesis: the idea that all organisms have descended from common ancestors solely through unguided, unintelligent, purposeless, material processes such as natural selection acting on random variations or mutations; that the mechanisms of natural selection, random variation and mutation, and perhaps other similarly naturalistic mechanisms, are completely sufficient to account for the appearance of design in living organisms.

Given the range of meanings possible I think it behooves people to be clear about what they mean when they use the term, otherwise miscommunication can result. e.g. a simple sentence like “evolution has been verified experimentally” could have very different meanings;
Speaker: “Changes in the frequencies of alleles in the gene pool of a population has been verified experimentally.”
Hearer: “All organisms have descended from common ancestors solely through unguided, unintelligent, purposeless, material processes has been verified experimentally.”

(Chris) #284

No. However going to the wiki article

… physics has the second most citations after space science. … The threshold for space science is the highest (2236 citations), and physics is followed by clinical medicine (1390) and molecular biology & genetics (1229).

So it still looks like it is still cited well above average; unless you can produce better figures for the appropriate field.

(Chris) #285

But then I didn’t include speciation and common descent for any particular group, but since you ask it is quite likely that the human “species” Neanderthal, Denisovan, Erectus, and Florensis all have common descent from the Human Kind preserved on the Ark.

(Haywood Clark) #286

I don’t have to produce any. My point was that it is in the not-lighting-the-world-on-fire category, and I stand by that. I didn’t say anything about whether it was above or below average.

Another major point is that any paper that introduces a useful method for doing something should have been cited hundreds or thousands of times if it had any real utility.

Where’s that evidence that you claimed shows us so much about malaria resistance in this topic? Either I’ve missed it or you never cited any. Which is it? If all you have to do is go back to what you’ve already posted, kindly do so.

(Chris) #287

How about you provide a Definition of evolution and the distinction between micro/macro.


The problem is that such discussions devolve (pun intended) into quibbles about definitions instead of the actual biology and evidence. Its a way for people to avoid the evidence.

(Haywood Clark) #289

Yes, particularly since Chris doesn’t even distinguish between the occurrence (evolution) and the mechanisms producing the occurrence (evolutionary theory).

He seems to be avoiding the evidence, since he has claimed,

without citing any of the evidence!

It seems that it would be more productive to agree on a definition of evidence and stick to it before going any further.

(Chris) #290

What distinguishes Darwin’s Theory of Evolution from the Neo-Darwinian Theory? Darwin said natural selection worked on variation and assumed variation was inexhaustible. Neo-Darwinian theory says that mutation provides a constant source of new variation (and without this variation can be exhausted). So if we want to give definitions that distinguish between them we could say

Evolution (Darwin’s Theory of) = All life on Earth is descended from a few, or only one, common ancestors and the main mechanism by which this has happened is by Natural Selection acting on Variation.

Evolution (the Neo-Darwinian Theory of) = All life on Earth is descended from a Last Universal Common Ancestor (LUCA) and the main mechanism by which this has happened is by Natural Selection acting on variation arising from Mutations.

I believe in modern theory the idea of LUCA is well established and accepted and while I have identified NS as the main mechanism this does not exclude genetic drift. Likewise Jerry Coyne mentioned NS as the main mechanism. Punk Eek is a variation of natural selection so does not need specific mention in the definition.

(Chris) #291

And why not add

Evolution (YEC Theory of) = All life on Earth is descended from the Genesis Kinds created by God during the six days of creation less than 10,000 years ago, and the main mechanism by which this has happened is by Natural Selection acting on the original created variation in those Kinds.

(Christy Hemphill) #292

Here’s why we can’t talk about the YEC Theory of Evolution. In science a “theory” is not any old hypothesis. It’s a model that unites confirmed hypotheses, calculations, and observations from multiple lines of inquiry together in a cohesive explanation that has predictive power. The YEC model doesn’t fit the scientific description of a theory. It is at best a working hypothesis.

(Stephen Matheson) #293

This is true. The main problem with the “theory” that Chris proposes is that it doesn’t have any explanatory power, and in fact it is based on premises known to be false. But I do believe that a YEC “theory” is possible to articulate with consistency and intellectual integrity. To do this, the theorist would have to include her/his understanding of the “biblical record” as evidence that needs to be explained under the theory. Let’s call this “biblical evidence,” while noting that there is no consensus on how to read the bible and that literalism is not “biblical.” The point is that a YEC asserts that some kind of divine revelation has provided relevant information pertaining to natural history.

The YEC can now acknowledge all of the evidence that is explained by evolution, and can acknowledge the explanatory success of evolutionary theory. They can then challenge the theory by accurately asserting that current evolutionary theory refuses to explain the “biblical evidence” with which the theory is wholly incompatible. (This is because the “biblical evidence” has been discredited thoroughly, but the YEC has the “divine revelation” card to play.)

And so the YEC has a “theory” that Chris has perhaps outlined. To be a respectable theory, it would have to remove reference to “created by God,” since this isn’t relevant in an explanatory sense, but all the rest (founding populations of kinds, their genetic diversity, six days of initial founding, 10K years ago) is “data” that a theory would have to account for once it brings the “biblical evidence” on board. This theory has already failed because it doesn’t explain vast amounts of the data that are explained by modern science, not because a YEC “theory” can’t be articulated.

My point (tl;dr version) is that a “YEC theory” can be a real thing, but in so doing it will have to admit reliance on a ridiculous discredited reading of ancient sacred writings, a reliance that elevates the disputed reading of those writings to the level of evidence requiring scientific explanation. What a “YEC theory” cannot do with any credibility is pretend to be based on conjectures outside those peculiar readings of those sacred writings.

(Chris) #294

The YEC Theory of Evolution has no less predictive power than The Darwinian or the Neo-Darwinian versions; perhaps better. It is also supported by calculations and observations from multiple lines of inquiry.
To be fair though, all three do better at post-diction than prediction.

Others have noted that the theory of evolution is more a working hypothesis than a theory. e.g.

On the other hand there is the theory that all the living forms in the world have arisen from a single source which itself came from an inorganic form. This theory can be called the ‘General Theory of Evolution’ and the evidence that supports it is not sufficiently strong to allow us to consider it as anything more than a working hypothesis. [Kerkut 1960]

It is certainly relevant in an explanatory sense in that it explains where the original kinds came from. Does the [Neo]Darwinian theory explain where the first living thing came from?

It is only relatively recently that science has been redefined on the basis of philosophical naturalism to exclude God and this is an entirely unnecessary restriction for doing good science. Certainly it didn’t hamper many of the great scientists of the past who saw science as “thinking God’s thoughts after him.”

(Christy Hemphill) #295

Really? What’s one thing it predicted?

(Chris) #296

What’s one thing the [Neo]Darwinian theory has predicted?

(Christy Hemphill) #297

Where to find Tiktaalik fossils.

(Chris) #298

That actually turned out to be a false prediction. Tetrapod footprints predating Tiktaalik have been found. Had those been found first they wouldn’t even have been looking in that strata. It was a fortunate accident rather than a successful prediction.

(Stephen Matheson) #299

The prediction was “where to find Tiktaalik fossils” and it was brilliantly true.

(Chris) #300

To see if it was a false prediction we only need to see if the same prediction would be made today.

Tiktaalik roseae, better known as the “fishapod,” is a 375 million year old fossil fish which was discovered in the Canadian Arctic in 2004. The prediction at the time was

Once we have researched all the fossils relevant to the water-to-land transition, we begin to get an idea of what timeframe this transition happened in. We know the lobe-finned fish are from 390-380 million year old rocks. The first tetrapods appear around 363 million years ago. Common sense tells us that the transitional form must have arisen 380-363 million years ago.

In order to find our transitional fossil, we’ll need to find rocks that are between 380 and 363 million years old.

However since then

The oldest evidence for the existence of tetrapods comes from trace fossils, tracks (footprints) and trackways found in Zachełmie, Poland, dated to the Eifelian stage of the Middle Devonian, 390 million years ago.

So if the prediction was being made today they would say " In order to find our transitional fossil, we’ll need to find rocks that are older than 390 million years . Hence they wouldn’t have been looking in the strata where Tiktaalik was found.

The original prediction would not be made today and thus it was a false prediction. Like I said, it was a lucky accident rather than a successful prediction.

(Stephen Matheson) #301

Did you present that Wikipedia quote exactly as you found it? Or did you, say, cut off the sentence, add a period that wasn’t there, and omit important information?

Yes. You did. Adieu.