More voices rise against the concept of "Species"


(Nonlin Org) #1

If no Species, then no Speciation and no Origin of Species:

Imagining a world without species
Applied mathematician rethinks how we differentiate organisms on the microbial scale


(Brad Kramer) #2

A friendly reminder here to all: You are not obligated to respond in cases like this. Sometimes, it’s better to just let it go.


(Stephen Matheson) #3

That song, BTW, seems frequently misunderstood. :nerd:


#5

Let it go NonLinElsaOrg


(Stephen Matheson) #6

You all are speaking words of wisdom. Oops, wrong song. #sorrynotsorry


#7

The snow glows white on BioLogos tonight…


(Aaron) #8

Do you want to build a strawman?


#9

So you are saying that dogs, chimps, and humans are all part of the same species?


(Nonlin Org) #10

How can they be “part of the same species” if the concept of “species” goes away?
Btw, Dawkins (yes, that one) is on board with this.


(Curtis Henderson) #11

Best post in the thread :stuck_out_tongue:


(James McKay) #12

For what it’s worth, this is another example of a very common fallacy in YEC arguments. It’s the idea that uncertainty or debate about one specific aspect of how evolution happens (or how the age of the earth is calculated) implies total uncertainty about whether any of it happens at all.

I seem to remember comparing it to looking at a cat from a distance. You wouldn’t be able to make out its whiskers, but you’d still be able to clearly identify it as a cat. On the other hand, anyone who applied this particular YEC line of thinking would view it as evidence that cats do not exist.


(Nonlin Org) #13

Your comments do not address the topic.


(James McKay) #14

The topic does not address the following process:

  1. Allele frequencies change with successive generations in any biological population.
  2. The general trends favour alleles that are better suited to the environment, or that otherwise confer some other advantage.
  3. New alleles are introduced when, for example, mutations occur.
  4. Biological populations become geographically separated.
  5. The alleles, and their frequencies, diverge between the two populations.
  6. Given sufficient time, the divergence happens to the extent that the respective populations can no longer interbreed.
  7. Go to 1.

Nothing in this process depends on how, or even whether, you can define what a species is.


(Andrew M. Wolfe) #15

One finds a parallel debate in linguistics over the definition of “language.” Is X a language? Is it a dialect? Or maybe (as these guys argue) we should do away with the politically contentious, scientifically fuzzy term “language” entirely and start using the more neutral terms “languoid,” “doculect,” and “glossonym.”

I mean, imagine a world without “language”…

Gosh, if we got rid of the term “language,” why then, we might be able to say language change doesn’t happen! And then we could completely deny that French, Spanish, and Italian are all descended from Vulgar Latin!

For that matter, we could ditch that whole pesky Indo-European hypothesis entirely! Why, with no term “language,” suddenly there is now zero evidence for the relatedness of everything from Greek, Latin and Sanskrit to Armenian, English, Albanian, Gaelic and Farsi. That’s right — all those careful reconstructions done since the 1700s of thousands of words from hundreds of languages are now completely invalidated by a couple of authors who think we should stop using the term “language.”

Do you see how this is a non sequitur?


(Andrew M. Wolfe) #16

[For my veteran friends here on the Forum… I’ve been lurking for a few weeks, having sworn off forums entirely about six months ago. But sometimes you just can’t “let it go”…]


#17

What is it being replaced with? How is it different than the species concept?


(Nonlin Org) #18

Except your theoretical / fictional “process” was supposed to be proven by said “speciation” which now won’t be a thing no more. Btw, steps 5. and 6. can go a lot faster if you have a bunny, a tophat and a magic wand.

Not the same. In language you don’t have a faulty definition as in Neanderthal specie mates with HS specie when species are not supposed to interbreed by definition.

Don’t know. I guess a continuum of life forms, but that has a huge problem of its own: where are all the transitional organisms? Please don’t say they all died and evolution stopped …or that the pace is so glacial that the white little bunny is an up and coming white dove


(James McKay) #19

What do you mean theoretical/fictional? There’s nothing whatsoever that’s theoretical or fictional about any of it. Steps 1-6 have all been observed both in the laboratory and in the wild. Step 7 is merely a statement of the obvious.

I’m sorry, but that’s just incoherent nonsense.


(George Brooks) #20

I’m not quite sure what y’all are disputing. This is not a productive argument; it’s something a YEC would argue about.

The article attacking the concept of a Species includes a quote from Darwin when there was no biological definition for a Species.

That was back when they used differences in size, shape, color, behavior and everything else they could think of to render a distinct species category.

Which is exactly how we ended up with Lions and Tigers being labeled as two separate species, when in fact they are reproductively Quite Compatible. It turns out the whole Feline branch of life is very closely related genetically speaking.

The biological definition, established by E. Myers in the 1940’s, is not nearly as arbitrary as definitions were when Darwin was alive.


(Christy Hemphill) #21

FWIW, We missed you. :grinning: