Definition of evolution and the distinction between micro/macro




Now you have ruined a perfectly good quote mine.

(Chris) #304

So here’s the full paragraph.

Devonian fossils

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,[2] although these traces have also been interpreted as the ichnogenus Piscichnus (fish nests/feeding traces).[29] The adult tetrapods had an estimated length of 2.5 m (8 feet), and lived in a lagoon with an average depth of 1–2 m, although it is not known at what depth the underwater tracks were made. The lagoon was inhabited by a variety of marine organisms and was apparently salt water. The average water temperature was 30 degrees C (86 F).[30][31] The second oldest evidence for tetrapods, also tracks and trackways, date from ca. 385 Mya (Valentia Island, Ireland).[32][33]

You can also look up You can find plenty of other references similarly saying that evidence of tetrapods dates from ~390Mya.

So even if you dispute the Poland tracks my point still stands. It was a false prediction.

(Stephen Matheson) #305

I encourage others to read that article. There is no other evidence there. Just the tracks, currently debated.

Somehow your apology for quote-mining and selective editing didn’t come across.

You are wrong about the “false prediction,” but what is really wrong is your approach to evidence and to debate.

(A.M. Wolfe) #306

Interesting that in order to find scientific writings that describe the theory of evolution as a working hypothesis, you have to go back 58 years. And you have to be sure to include abiogenesis in the definition, which even today’s scientists agree is not well understood. I wonder why you can’t find anything more recent (say, in this millennium) that says that common descent is a working hypothesis… :thinking:

(Haywood Clark) #307

Which ones, specifically? Please don’t cite quotes, as that would be unresponsive to my question. Cite calculations and direct observations ONLY.

That wouldn’t be fair, as it is completely wrong. I note that you haven’t provided a single prediction in response to Christy’s challenge.

And since Stephen brought up evidence, I have a hypothetical for you. If I wrote, “The evidence shows X,” without ever looking at any evidence, would I be engaging in dishonesty?

(George Brooks) #308


Well sure…its always better to agree on definitions… but yoi refuse to use the definitions currently used by our best scientists… and YOUR definition is so arbitrary you havent found anyone who agrees with it.

There is no method for measuring “increases” or “decreases” in information held by any fiven genome!

(George Brooks) #309


Yes you would be dishinesr if you had been given information which refutes the evidence you cite… and you continue to cite it without attempting to undeestand the refutations!


Darwinian evolution is largely understood to include panadaptionism, where all features are under positive or negative selection. The modern theory incorporates Neutral Theory which says that the vast majority of changes (at least for the vast majority of animal/plant species) at the genetic level are neutral. That is one major shift. Darwinian evolution also didn’t have a working mechanism for variation.

So the major concepts that separates the modern theory from Darwin’s original theory is molecular biology and population genetics.

Even Darwin put forward the idea of Punctuated Equilibria, so that really isn’t something new.

LUCA is more of a conclusion than a part of the theory. The modern theory would work just fine for multiple origins of life. The reason that LUCA is accepted by most biologists is that the evidence supports LUCA.


The strata they were looking at was still older than the strata where Ichthyostega and Acanthostega are found, so they would be looking at those strata. The fact that T. roseae is a sister taxa to the main lineage in no way changes its transitional status.


No one is saying that T. roseae is in the direct lineage of living tetrapods. It was more than likely a sister lineage that preserved transitional features found in earlier ancestors in the direct lineage. You seem to be confusing “transitional” with “ancestral”. Those are two different things.

(Chris) #313

Was where to find Tiktaalik fossils a successful prediction or a lucky accident?

As can seen from the University of Chicago Tiktaalik site the prediction was that a a transitional fossil between land animals and fish would be found in rocks between 380 and 363 million years old.

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

To find a transitional fossil between land animals and fish, we start by looking at the very first tetrapods to show up in the fossil record. Then, we look for fish which had a similar pattern of bones in their fins as the tetrapods had in their limbs. [The Search for Tiktaalik,]

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

Was Tiktaalik promoted as transitional. Anyone who was around at the time will remember that it certainly was in the press and science magazines. E.g.

A project designed to discover fossils that illuminate the transition between fishes and land vertebrates has delivered the goods.

Tiktaalik roseae, a link between fishes and land vertebrates that might in time become as much of an evolutionary
icon as the proto-bird Archaeopteryx. (2006 Nature Publishing Group Vol 440 |6 April 2006 NEWS & VIEWS 747 PALAEONTOLOGY A firm step from water to land Per Erik Ahlberg and Jennifer A. Clack )

But what has happened since? Evidence has been found showing that tetrapods appeared earlier than Tiktaalik.

Tetrapod fossil tracks are known from the Middle Devonian (Eifelian at ca. 397 million years ago - MYA), and their earliest bony remains from the Upper Devonian (Frasnian at 375–385 MYA). [Rise of the Earliest Tetrapods: An Early Devonian Origin from Marine Environment. David George, Alain Blieck. PLOS Published: July 14, 2011,

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. *

The second oldest evidence for tetrapods, also tracks and trackways, date from ca. 385 Mya (Valentia Island, Ireland).

The oldest partial fossils of tetrapods date from the Frasnian beginning ~380 mya. These include Elginerpeton and Obruchevichthys.[34] (Some paleontologists dispute their status as true (digit-bearing) tetrapods.)

*This is the reference I was accused of quote mining. However if you follow the one dissenting reference you will that while Spencer G. Lucas in Thinopus and a Critical Review of Devonian Tetrapod Footprints disputes the evidence for Zachełmie, Poland he agrees with Valentia Island, Ireland can be verified as produced by a tetrapod trackmaker. [accessed Sep 11 2018].
However I still believe that most paleontologists accept the Zachełmie site as being tetrapod tracks.

What was the prediction?
As seen from the University of Chicago Tiktaalik site it was that a transitional fossil would be found in rocks between 380 and 363 million years old.

The discovery of tetrapod tracks ol 385Mya (valentia Island) and possibly older (Zachełmie) means this prediction was false. Had the University of Chicago team had this data they would not have been looking in rocks between 380 and 363 million years old.

Conclusion: lucky accident and it wasn’t transitional.

(Chris) #314

Before the ENCODE project published it’s results evolutionists were saying the human genome was mostly junk. (What did Dawkins say? Wasn’t it that 99% might as well not even be there?). YECs and Intelligent Design theorists however predicted that the genome would be mostly functional. The ENCODE project claimed that at least 80% was functional, although some diehard evolutionists still dispute this. Since then many functions have been found in “junk” parts of the genome and in pseudo-genes. One recent example; DNA previously written off as ‘junk’ actually determines genitals at birth.

(Chris) #315

So we can expect you to provide definitions distinguishing between them?

Anyway I did quite clearly state that my definition was for Evolution (the Neo-Darwinian Theory of).

(Haywood Clark) #316

After you provide the evidence that tells us about chloroquine resistance.

And my point is that it doesn’t make sense, because the occurrence and the theory are not the same.

(Haywood Clark) #317

They claimed that it was transcribed, which does not imply function. They later backed way off from their assertion.


A little bit of both. They already had the ages for the earliest tetrapods like Icthyostega and Acanthosteaga, so they knew to look at older strata. Some of the earliest tetrapods were found in Latvia, and it just so happens that during the time period they were focusing on Latvia and sections of North America were connected. No one had searched for tetrapod fossils in these regions in NA, so they decided to give it a try. There was no guarantee that tetrapods would be found in strata, but they did know from geology and the theory of evolution that they were looking in the right area and in the right era.

It still is a transitional. It’s a fish with legs, for crying out loud.

You once again seem to be confusing the terms “transitional” and “ancestral”. Transitional fossils don’t have to be in the direct line of ancestry. All a transitional needs is a combination of features from two divergent taxa, which would be lobe finned fish and tetrapods in this case.

And that is exactly what happened.


They are saying the same thing now. The ENCODE paper way overstated their results and the claim of 80% function in the human genome has been rejected by the vast majority of the scientific community. For a run down of the mistakes ENCODE made in their conclusions you can read this paper:

Then YEC and ID have been disproven because only about 10% of the human genome is functional.

(Chris) #320

Hmm, that’s interesting. I must look into that when I have time.

(Christy Hemphill) #321

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