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Author Topic:   Transitional fossils not proof of evolution?
Percy
Member
Posts: 22693
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.8


Message 17 of 223 (315680)
05-27-2006 9:28 PM
Reply to: Message 12 by mr_matrix
05-27-2006 6:58 PM


Re: Speculations
mr_matrix writes:
Now the fossil record is almost complete and provides a huge wealth of information about living species emerging all of a sudden with no evolutionary past. Many evolutionists admit this fact.
If it were really a fact that many evolutionists admit that the fossil record is now nearly complete, then it would also be a fact that many evolutionists would share your viewpoint. But they don't. That's because evolutionists understand that the fossil record is extremely incomplete.
Only a tiny, tiny percentage of the members of any species are preserved in the fossil record. Were this not the case we would be awash in fossils today. You might be old enough to recall the Yellowstone elk disaster of a couple decades ago when overpopulation and severe weather killed thousands of elk, and many have died every year since then, yet you'd be hard put to find a single elk skeleton there today.
Or walk into any woods and find a squirrel skeleton - squirrels in the wild have an average lifetime of about 3 years, the woods are full of squirrels, so all the squirrel skeletons from squirrels of the past few thousand years should just be littering the forest floor everywhere, and be buried in the forest everywhere. My house is in the woods, so every time I plant a new shrub I should be finding squirrel skeletons in every shovel full of dirt.
The reason we don't find skeletons all over the place is that fossilization is rare. It's most common in marine environments, particularly sea floor environments, it's less common in coastal regions, and it almost never happens in upland regions (a significant percentage of ecological environments) because they are areas of net erosion rather than deposition.
It *would* be quite convincing that something was wrong with the theory of evolution if the fossil record were nearly complete and still had many gaps, but that's not the case.
The Camberian explosion has established more than 60 different phyla.
It's the Cambrian explosion, not Camberian, and most of the rest of what you say is as inaccurate as your spelling. All life everywhere is always "fully formed" - this term is just Creationist nonsense. Because all life is always "fully formed", we only find "fully formed" creatures in the fossil record. You quote Derek Agar out of context. You exaggerate Darwin on the likelihood of finding fossil transitionals. You say all species are independent of each other, despite the relatedness that is so visually obvious that many decades before Darwin, Linnaeus was already making classifications based upon it.
Trying to addressing the thread's topic more directly, transitional fossils are not proof of evolution (science is not in the business of proving things, that's mathematics realm), but they are one of the many lines of evidence that support and are consistent with the theory. One prediction of the theory of evolution is that newly discovered fossil species should be consistent with and fit into the current classification system, and that is what we find. It also predicts that as we uncover more and more of the fossil record that more and more intermediate species should come to light, just as Darwin suggested, and that is also what we find.
There are legitimate mysteries out there. Though the origin of some phyla have been pushed back well earlier than the Cambrian by subsequent fossil discoveries, many evolutionists believe that the enormous amount of novelty introduced during the Cambrian explosion has yet to be adequately explained.
--Percy

This message is a reply to:
 Message 12 by mr_matrix, posted 05-27-2006 6:58 PM mr_matrix has not replied

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 22693
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.8


Message 20 of 223 (315739)
05-28-2006 9:31 AM
Reply to: Message 18 by Hyroglyphx
05-27-2006 11:20 PM


Re: Speculations
nemesis_juggernaut writes:
And being that we see all forms appearing abruptly...
The fossil record might possibly present a problem if this were true, but it isn't. For example, there are many places in the world with geological layers of coastal regions showing finely gradated changes in mollusks for millenia after millenia, just the kind of gradual transitions you're referring to.
Land fossils are much more rare than marine (as are land geological layers), so layers recording gradual transitions on land are equally rare and the changes between stages are more pronounced, and this can be a source of misunderstanding. For example, the fossil record of horse evolution includes many occurrences of a change in the number of ribs, and creationists are often led to believe that we should find horse fossils with partially formed ribs. But that's not the way the number of ribs changes. A new rib doesn't evolve from scratch but appears suddenly with a small genetic change that says how many times to invoke the rib gene.
The kind of argument you're advancing assumes that science has a conception of evolution that isn't supported by the evidence, so I think you're approaching this the right way in trying to identify evidence that isn't consistent with evolution, but in order to be successful in this endeavor you need to make certain you have a correct understanding of the evidence. Arguments based upon false or inaccurate characterizations of the evidence that are easily revealed, such as you do here with the fossil record, won't be successful.
How we could arrive at the conclusion that because species within a certain genus have changed must somehow mean that every creature must ultimately be related by a common ancestor is so far from empirical, that I have to question what motivation lies beneath the surface. It must betray some philosophical reason in the adherent.
This drifts significantly off the topic, but just to briefly comment, evolution is accepted by people of all nations, races and religions. I think you'd be hard put to find some common philosophical underpinning. The philosophical and religious uniformity of the opponents of evolution is rather obvious, however.
Species do change over time. There is no species that does not change over time. There is no species that does not evolve.
Again, this is an over-simplification. If a species finds themselves isolated for a variety of reasons, they may experience a loss of alleles, and so lose certain characteristics that are generally seen in the larger, ancestral population.
Species can both gain and lose alleles. They can even gain and lose genes, even entire chromosomes. Your information is incorrect, and it is causing you to reach false conclusions.
But in no way should we jump enormous gaps in the deductive process, concluding that a dog is going to be anything other than a dog, or cat is going to be anything other than a cat.
You're reaching this false conclusion because of your incorrect belief that some leap of logic is involved. Evolution is continuous and represents the accumulation of many small changes over time. Your argument is akin to someone saying, "I know I can walk next door, and I know I can walk to the next town, but in no way should we jump enormous gaps in the deductive process, concluding that I could walk to the next state or the next country."
Since there is no demonstrable evidence, whatever, of such an occurance either in the fossil record or amongst the thousands upon thousands of extant lifeforms living today...
This is the same misrepresentation of the fossil record that you made earlier.
Case in point, reproduction allows information to combine in a variety of ways, however, it cannot produce any new information that was not already existing.
I guess I'm seeing enough off-topic discussion that I'm going to have to start drawing the line on what I'll reply to. I'll just say that this is incorrect and refer you to Message 15. If you'd like to discuss information theory it would probably be best to propose a new thread.
What it fails to present is that if you keep breeding mongrel stock after mongrel stock, that one day a large taxonomical jump will occur. As of now, that is a metaphysical mystery and not something we find in the annals of empirical science.
Evolutionary theory does not propose "large taxonomical jumps" as an explanation of the fossil record. The jumps in the fossil record are due to the rarity and variabilities of fossilization and are not an indicator of sudden significant evolutionary changes.
Afterall, we share 52% biochemical similarity with a banana. Does that mean we evolved from a fruit?
No, it means fruit evolved from us and are the higher evolved form.
Seriously, it just means that we share a common ancestor with fruit, probably safe to say more than 500 million years ago at least.
However, given the enormity of demonstrable balance within nature, we can greatly assume that there is some creative force or cognizance behind the intricacy.
"Balance" isn't the term I would prefer here in this context, but I think I understand your meaning. Nature contains many interdependencies amongst organisms, symbiosis being a common example. But when you use your observation of "balance" to conclude design you are ignoring the "imbalances" that have caused most of the species that have ever existed to be extinct.
--Percy

This message is a reply to:
 Message 18 by Hyroglyphx, posted 05-27-2006 11:20 PM Hyroglyphx has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 25 by Hyroglyphx, posted 05-28-2006 2:51 PM Percy has replied

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 22693
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.8


Message 28 of 223 (315812)
05-28-2006 5:06 PM
Reply to: Message 25 by Hyroglyphx
05-28-2006 2:51 PM


Re: Speculations
It looks like one of the reasons for your incorrect conclusions is that you misunderstand Gould's theory of punctuated equilibria. You wrote this near the end of your message:
nemesis_juggernaut writes:
Unfortunately, PE claims, (because no such transitions exist), asserts that most species experience long periods of stasis, and then inexplicably make a taxonomical jump.
No, punctuated equilibria does not claim that evolution makes "taxonomical" jumps. Gould attempts to make this clear in the very quote you provided:
Gould quoted by nemesis_juggernaut writes:
Species arise in a geological moment”the punctuation (slow by our standards, abrupt by the planet's).
You've misinterpreted Gould to be saying that speciation arises in a single "taxonomical jump." He isn't. His (and Eldredge's) theory of punctuated equilibria says that the pace of evolution is faster in small populations under significant selection pressures. The theory does not say that evolutionary steps are skipped, only that they occur rapidly enough to decrease the likelihood of being recorded in the fossil record.
An aside: While Gould's theory of punctuated equilibria seems to receive a lot of attention in creation/evolution discussions, it hasn't had much influence within scientific evolutionary circles. It's even surprising that Gould received much credit at all for the idea because his ideas were widely anticipated by someone mentioned in your Mayr quote, Gaylord Simpson. He wrote Tempo and Mode in Evolution way back in 1944.
nemesis_juggernaut writes:
As if that wasn't condemning enough, why do we not see any organism in some transitional limbo right now??? Why do we see everything as we've always known them to be? In a more simplistic way, the fact that we are even contending this should be ridiculous, because if ToE were true, it would be so ridiculously obvious, that this very argument would be trivial.
I explained this earlier while replying to your "fully formed" comments, but I guess it's worth explaining again. I'll take a different tack this time.
It's as if you took a snapshot of trains in the United States and classified them by geographical location. You'd have the New Haven train, the Omaha train, the Dallas train, and so forth. But trains aren't stationary, they keep moving. Take the snapshot a day later and you'd find that the New Haven train had become the Washington DC train, the Omaha train had become the Topeka train, and the Dallas train had become the Orlando train.
In other words, species are just an instant in time of a process of continuous evolutionary change. Another way of looking at it is that species is an illusion. There's actually no such thing as species. Species are just convenient labels that we put on a snapshot in time of what is actually continuous evolution. All reproduction is imperfect and evolutionary change is inevitable. Selection pressures govern the pace and degree of evolutionary change.
Its been my experience that the the horse series is an interpretation of the data, not a solid theory on much of anything.
I never said anything about a horse series.
For example, I live out in Oregon and what was discovered here was the three-toed Neohipparion and one-toed Pliohippus. They were found in the same layer. This indicates that they were living at the same time, and thus provides no evidence that one evolved from the other. Could they have lived during the same era? Sure why not. Except that it goes against that one supposedly lived in the Pliocene era and the other in the Miocene. If they are found intermingled in the same layer, then it either brings into disrepute the geologic column or the relatedness of these two creatures.
This represents another common creationist misunderstanding. When one species diverges into two or more species, there is no law that requires the parent species to go extinct. Parent and child species can be contemporaries. It is likely that this misunderstanding is why you think there is a problem with evolutionary views on Neohipparion and Pliohippus.
You provided this quote as if I had implied something about horse evolution being straight line:
paleontologist George Gaylord Simpson reexamined horse evolution and concluded that generations of students had been misled [by Othniel Marsh’s 1874 horse evolution paper]. In his book 'Horses,' he showed that there was no simple, gradual unilateral development at all. Marsh arranged his fossils to “lead up” to the one surviving species, blithely ignoring many inconsistencies and any contradictory evidence. Ironically, his famous reconstruction of horse evolution was copied by anthropologists.-Ernst Mayr
But I never implied anything along the lines of Marsh's early ideas of horse evolution. I used the changing number of horse ribs as an example while explaining why the creationist term "fully formed" is a misunderstanding of how evolutionary change takes place. New ribs do not evolve from scratch - a new rib arises (or goes away) when the allele that says how many times to invoke the rib gene changes.
but in order to be successful in this endeavor you need to make certain you have a correct understanding of the evidence. Arguments based upon false or inaccurate characterizations of the evidence that are easily revealed, such as you do here with the fossil record, won't be successful.
I agree fully. That goes both ways.
Good. So far it's going just one way.
This drifts significantly off the topic, but just to briefly comment, evolution is accepted by people of all nations, races and religions.
If majority opinion is the qualifying principle, then we should also assume that the Heliocentristic cosmological model was correct on the premise that the masses believed it so.
You've misunderstood the point, and you seem to have ignored what I was replying to from you. You had said this is Message 18:
nemesis_juggernaut writes:
How we could arrive at the conclusion that because species within a certain genus have changed must somehow mean that every creature must ultimately be related by a common ancestor is so far from empirical, that I have to question what motivation lies beneath the surface. It must betray some philosophical reason in the adherent.
My reply had nothing to do with majority opinion. You accused evolutionists of having some philosophical reason for adhering to evolution, and I pointed out that evolutionists come from all nations, races and religions and so are unlikely to have some common philosophical bond. The opponents of evolution, on the other hand, have a fairly uniform philosophical and religious background. In other words, evolutionists aren't particularly vulnerable to your charge, but creationists are.
I know what the evolutionary paradigm maintains,...
The basic errors you've made so far, particularly about PE and transitionals, say this isn't so.
...but unfortunately, these graduating transitions are not seen, as the eminent Gould has already shared with us. He knows it, so what the hell is everyone else's problem?
As Gould himself explained many times after Creationists began claiming he had said such things as you claim here, it wasn't the absence of transitionals in the fossil record that was the inspiration for PE, but the fact that they appear less often than expected. Transitionals are not absent from the fossil record.
--Percy

This message is a reply to:
 Message 25 by Hyroglyphx, posted 05-28-2006 2:51 PM Hyroglyphx has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 55 by Hyroglyphx, posted 05-29-2006 1:28 PM Percy has replied

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 22693
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.8


Message 29 of 223 (315814)
05-28-2006 5:16 PM
Reply to: Message 27 by Belfry
05-28-2006 4:09 PM


Re: Speculations
Belfry writes:
At this point I'm wondering if we need an admin to step in. I have REPEATEDLY pointed out that no modern evolutionary biologist works from the assumption of phyletic gradualism anymore...
While I'm not yet convinced any moderator intervention is required, I will note that I share your impression that the important points are either ignored or not understood, requiring that explanations be repeated. I feel like I'm still making the same points that I did in my first post to this thread.
--Percy

This message is a reply to:
 Message 27 by Belfry, posted 05-28-2006 4:09 PM Belfry has not replied

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 22693
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.8


Message 37 of 223 (315835)
05-28-2006 8:33 PM
Reply to: Message 32 by mr_matrix
05-28-2006 6:22 PM


Re: Fossil Gaps
mr_matrix writes:
It is also important to note that phyloginy is not a great supporter of evolution. These phyloginies are based on similarity in appearance. However, even though there are organisms that look alike, there are vast differences between the chemical and the proteins makeup. For example, there are different genetic codes that code for similar structures. If evolutionists were to make a phyloginy based on proteins structures and rRNA in living organisms, the phylogenic tree will collapse and become messed up and confused linking two or more organisms that dont even look alike in shape.
As Belfry noted, just the opposite is true. The concordance between genetic and morphological classifications is one of the strongest evidences *for* evolution.
Since Belfry has already addressed this, I'll just say I'm a bit bewildered by the "black is actually white" approach you and nemesis_juggernaut seem to be taking. If evolution is false then it will be shown by evidence and information which happens to actually have a basis in reality.
--Percy

This message is a reply to:
 Message 32 by mr_matrix, posted 05-28-2006 6:22 PM mr_matrix has not replied

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 22693
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.8


Message 41 of 223 (315902)
05-29-2006 9:23 AM
Reply to: Message 38 by Hyroglyphx
05-29-2006 12:51 AM


Re: Logical fallacies and evidence
nemesis_juggernaut writes:
You are confusing with absence of evidence with evidence for absence, a logical fallacy.
I don't understand how you could interpret this as a logic fallacy. Its almost as if you're acting like a lack of corroborating evidence is some kind of circular reasoning on my part. Let me ask you, what jury would convict anyone without any evidence? What evidence for absence exists? From everyone's logical standpoint, we see a lack of evidence to support an assertion.
You and Belfry are actually talking at cross purposes. You can't see how he could advocate species change when there is no evidence, and he can't see how you can claim that something is impossible because there is no evidence. Neither of you is actually advocating the position the other thinks you are.
Here's the actual core of the problem. You want to see finely gradated changes not for transitions between species, which you concede happens, but between higher taxa, such as genus, family and order. Unless we get incredibly lucky, we're simply not going to find this. The vagaries and rarity of fossilization make it extremely unlikely.
It isn't just the rarity of fossilization that is responsible for this. Another reason is changing geology and environment. In order for us to find such a long sequence in a single place, not only would conditions have had to favor fossilization for an extremely long period of time, not only would it have to avoided such hazards as inaccessible burial and subduction, but the evolving would all have to have happen in the same place. The evolving creatures couldn't migrate to other regions or follow coastlines as the move back and forth near continental margins, or meander geographically with the changing course of rivers. No, they'd have to stay put in the same place for millions of years while the geography and environment fluctuated. Ain't gonna happen.
But extremely long finely gradated fossil series are not necessary for enough evidence to accumulate to conclude that the fossil record is strongly supportive of and consistent with the theory of the evolution. The fact that the very particular and extremely detailed evidence that you want doesn't exist does not mean that no evidence exists, and that's the logical fallacy you're falling into.
This is actually the same point that Mark24 has made to you a couple times. If I could paraphrase his example, a prosecuting attorney does not need every piece of possible evidence in order to convict a defendant. No defense attorney is going to argue (not successfully, anyway), "Sure, there's fingerprint evidence, DNA evidence, time and motive evidence, but the surveillance camera wasn't working that night, nothing was recorded, and therefore you must acquit."
It would be nice if all the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle that is the fossil record were available for our examination, but they're not. Much has been destroyed through subduction and erosion, much is simply too deeply buried. But the fact that most of it is unavailable to us does not mean that there isn't far more than a sufficient amount to reach some very reliable conclusions.
And so Belfry is correct that you're engaging in a fallacy. The lack of evidence of any finely gradated fossil series across higher taxa cannot be construed as evidence that it never happens.
Getting back to the thread's topic, transitional fossils are not proof of evolution. There can never be any proof of any scientific theory. Transitional fossils are just one of the many threads of evidence that support evolutionary theory.
--Percy

This message is a reply to:
 Message 38 by Hyroglyphx, posted 05-29-2006 12:51 AM Hyroglyphx has not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 43 by Belfry, posted 05-29-2006 9:46 AM Percy has not replied
 Message 49 by Chiroptera, posted 05-29-2006 11:56 AM Percy has replied

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 22693
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.8


Message 50 of 223 (315975)
05-29-2006 12:17 PM
Reply to: Message 47 by Hyroglyphx
05-29-2006 11:18 AM


Re: Speculations
nemesis_juggernaut writes:
The problem is, it was argued for years this is how evolution works.
You say this as if phyletic gradualism were somehow foundational to all of evolution. It isn't. Phyletic gradualism isn't "how evolution works". It used to be a tiny part of evolutionary theory dealing with the pace at which evolution took place.
Imagine someone arguing that trains can't really travel from city to city, and he cites as evidence that it used to be believed that trains traveled at a constant speed between cities, but that it is now conceded that trains travel at a variety of speeds. He then uses this to conclude that trains can't really travel between cities.
You're doing the same silly thing. Before we knew much about mode and pace in evolution (Gaylord Simpson) or punctuated equilibria (Gould and Eldredge, same ideas as Simpson's, but applied to a paleontological context), we assumed that the pace of evolution was relatively constant. This meant we used to believe that as a species changed from one to another that it did so at a relatively constant rate.
But we no longer believe the rate is constant. We believe that species can remain unchanged for eons, and then suddenly undergo rapid change. The largest governing factor affecting the pace of evolution is selection pressure.
You're arguing that the change in our understanding of the pace of evolution is so revolutionary that it invalidates evolution itself, when it is actually a kind of ho-hum realization: "Oh, evolution can be fast or slow, not just one speed - yeah, makes sense."
Even after creationtionists and panspermists repeatedly shown the errors,...
By its tentative nature and because of ongoing research, an inherent quality of science is constant change and improvement in our understanding. Creationist objections span the entire field of evolution. Saying "It's all wrong" and then taking credit when something inevitably does turn out to be wrong makes no sense. It's like betting on every number on the roulette wheel and then touting your gambling skill when one of your numbers comes up - it's a "so what!"
...it was still in the minds of evolutionists as an unassailable fact.
Phyletic gradualism was never considered an unassailable fact.
Now that its so anemic, evolutionists blithely make the transition over to PE and sort of casually make remarks such as you made.
Progess in science is inevitable. You're saying this as if you believe it's a bad thing.
You can go to the history of any topic in science and say the same type of things. For example, why aren't you saying, "Now that Newtonianism is so anemic, physicists blithely make the transition over to relativity." And relativity represents a much bigger revolution over Newtonianism than irregularly paced evolution does over constant-rate evolution.
And the fact is, phyletic gradualism was never the over-arching consideration that you're making it out to be. If you had asked a biologist back in the 1920's if he believed that populations under selection pressures would change more rapidly than those that weren't, he would have answered yes, the exact same answer a modern evolutionist would give.
Every field of science can point to old views that are no longer held, but it is the Creationist speciality to point to such evolutionary progress and conclude that something fishy or invalid is going on. What they should be looking for is discordances between contemporary theory and currently available evidence. What they're actually doing in such cases is criticizing science for doing what it's supposed to do: improve our understanding of the world in which we live.
--Percy

This message is a reply to:
 Message 47 by Hyroglyphx, posted 05-29-2006 11:18 AM Hyroglyphx has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 78 by Hyroglyphx, posted 05-30-2006 9:49 PM Percy has replied

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 22693
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.8


Message 51 of 223 (315985)
05-29-2006 12:36 PM
Reply to: Message 49 by Chiroptera
05-29-2006 11:56 AM


Re: Logical fallacies and evidence
Chiroptera writes:
What tends to be very rare in the fossil record is gradations between closely related species in the same genus (or even in the same family).
Right, and I believe this level of fine gradations that are occasionally found at the inter-species level is what Nemesis_juggernaut is asking for, only at higher taxa levels.
We *do* have gradated changes between higher taxa, but Nemesis_juggernaut wants the same fine gradation level as is necessary for showing inter-species evolution.
Put another way, he wants to measure the distance between New York and San Francisco using a micrometer. But we don't measure such distances to high degrees of accuracy by starting at the very small - we measure them using macro-methods like bouncing lasers off objects. Finding the gradations between the higher taxa does not require the species-level precision that Nemesis_juggernaut is asking for, but it's evidence that doesn't exist, and that's why he's trying to build it up as something important.
In fact, this approach of talking up minor aspects of evidence as if they were theory-breakers is common with Creationists. The most extreme example I've ever seen was Randman's multi-month harangue about Haeckle.
--Percy

This message is a reply to:
 Message 49 by Chiroptera, posted 05-29-2006 11:56 AM Chiroptera has not replied

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 22693
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.8


Message 61 of 223 (316080)
05-29-2006 7:30 PM
Reply to: Message 55 by Hyroglyphx
05-29-2006 1:28 PM


Re: Speculations
There is no need to go back and reply to my old messages that you missed earlier. The discussion has moved on, you should have replied instead to my more recent Message 50.
nemesis_juggernaut writes:
PE gives reasons for why we shouldn't expect to find very many transitions in the fossil record, again, presumably to cover up the fact that they simply don't exist.
You're like a recording that can only repeat, "Transitionals don't exist." It doesn't seem to matter how often it is pointed out that transitionals do exist, you just keep repeating it.
These are Gould's own words from an essay he wrote in 1981 titled Evolution as Fact and Theory:
Gould writes:
Since we proposed punctuated equilibria to explain trends, it is infuriating to be quoted again and again by creationists - whether through design or stupidity, I do not know - as admitting that the fossil record includes no transitional forms. Transitional forms are generally lacking at the species level, but they are abundant between larger groups.
It is transitionals at the higher taxa levels that you're interested in. Now that I've quoted one of the originators of the theory of punctuated equilibria saying that such transitionals are "abundant", that will hopefully bring an end to your oft repeated and just as often wrong claim that they don't exist, and that punctuated equilibria was proposed to explain why they don't exist.
nemesis_juggernaut writes:
This is a brief synopsis, but I think it conveys that I understand what lies at the root of the theory.
Your errors convey just the opposite impression. It still seems pretty clear that you've misunderstood why PE was proposed. You still think it was proposed to explain the fact that transitionals at higher taxa levels don't exist. But they do exist. PE was actually proposed to explain why finely gradated transitions at the species level are so rare.
Your mistaken understanding of PE even contains an obvious contradiction. First you say:
They also say that when it does make its transition, its usually punctuated by short (geologically/biologically, relative to a vast stretch of time) bursts of change. That rapidity creates less of a chance for us to find solid evidence of such gradations.
Which is largely correct - the steps are normal evolutionary steps produced by selection amongst variation in a population. Then you say:
I was asserting that steps are being skipped.
I presume you mean that you were explaining that PE asserts that steps are being skipped. It doesn't. PE does not propose "taxonomical jumps".
Here, you once again repeat the claim about absence of transitionals, this time at the genus level:
I appreciate your train model and understand what you're arriving at, but odds are odds - and the odds that in the million + fossils on file that none of them clearly show any change from one species creating a new genus through morphology, acts as a detriment.
The claim of the absence of genus transitionals is easily rebutted by providing some examples. Here's a paragraph describing some genus transitionals from Transitional Vertebrate Fossils FAQ: Part 2A, Kathleen Hunts article about transitional fossils over at TalkOrigins:
Kathleen Hunt writes:
Early lemur-like primates: Gingerich (summarized in 1977)
traced two distinct species of lemur-like primates, Pelycodus
frugivorus
and P. jarrovii, back in time, and found that
they converged on the earlier Pelycodus abditus "in size,
mesostyle development, and every other character available for
study, and there can be little doubt that each was derived from
that species." Further work (Gingerich, 1980) in the same rich
Wyoming fossil sites found species-to-species transitions for
every step in the following lineage: Pelycodus
ralstoni
(54 Ma) to P. mckennai to P. trigonodus
to P. abditus, which then forked into three branches. One
became a new genus, Copelemur feretutus, and further changed
into C. consortutus. The second branch became P.
frugivorus
. The third led to P. jarrovi, which changed
into another new genus, Notharctus robinsoni, which itself
split into at least two branches, N. tenebrosus, and N.
pugnax
(which then changed to N. robustior, 48 Ma), and
possibly a third, Smilodectes mcgrewi (which then changed to
S. gracilis). Note that this sequence covers at least
three and possibly four genera, with a timespan of 6 million
years.
I think you're confused about your own position. You keep claiming an absence of transitionals at low, middle and high taxa levels, but the lowest level is just normal trans-species evolution that creationists already concede. The middle level transitions are copiously represented in the fossil record. It is the highest level taxa transitions where you could probably make the strongest case, which is why the Cambrian explosion often comes up in these discussions.
In other words, you would be well advised to stop claiming that there are no genus, family or order transitionals in the fossil record, primarily because it is easily rebutted and obviously wrong.
This is an inferrence and it is an interesting one. However, I feel that there is no legitimate evidence supporting macroevolution.
But you reached this conclusion while under the misimpression that transitional fossils don't exist. In other words, you reached your conclusions based on bad data. You need to incorporate the fact that transitional fossils at higher taxa levels exist into your thinking.
There are scores of secularists in the fields of science who feel the same way, not based on personal predjudices, but on the merits of unbiased science.
There are few ideas in science that are accepted 100% by the scientific community, including relativity. In fact, there are probably more secular scientists who question relativity than question evolution. So what?
If you'd like to discuss horse evolution at the level of detail that you've already begun, then you really should propose a new thread. My only point was that it is a common misconception of creationists that parent species do not survive speciation events. I won't contribute further to pulling the thread off topic.
I used the changing number of horse ribs as an example while explaining why the creationist term "fully formed" is a misunderstanding of how evolutionary change takes place. New ribs do not evolve from scratch - a new rib arises (or goes away) when the allele that says how many times to invoke the rib gene changes.
I couldn't referrences on the changing of horse ribs. Where can I find a source on this?
There's no reference for this, it's just the way evolution works to produce more or less of the same structure. Whether you're talking about centipede segments or insect legs or ribs, the number of segments or legs or ribs changes not because a new one evolves from scratch and or an existing way gradually withers away, but because of a simple change in a gene that specifies how many copies to produce. It's a simple principle applied over and over and over again throughout evolutionary history.
This is why you should not expect to see transitional forms with partial segments of legs or ribs. It's why the creationist concept of "fully formed" is so far off target. All species are always fully formed. It's why species are not final products but just way stations on the way to another species.
Many opponents of evolution are typically creationists, however, this is far from exclusivity.
You are again declaring that black is white. The creationist movement is almost exclusively evangelical Christian. This is as expected, since the objections stem from evangelical Christian interpretations of Genesis, which of course Hindus and Buddhists and Jews and Moslems and so forth do not share.
This is just how I feel about it. And as dogmatically as some adhere to it despite some good arguments against its most basic theory, it seems that abandoning it would betray philosphical suppositions.
And what philosophical suppositions would those be? The common bond among evangelical Christians is obvious, but what common philosophical bond can you find between American Catholic evolutionists, French Protestant evolutionists, Arabian Moslem evolutionists, Pakistani Hindu evolutionists and Indian Buddhist evolutionists? Your charge is absurd. And off-topic.
--Percy

This message is a reply to:
 Message 55 by Hyroglyphx, posted 05-29-2006 1:28 PM Hyroglyphx has not replied

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 22693
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.8


Message 69 of 223 (316197)
05-30-2006 8:07 AM
Reply to: Message 64 by Hyroglyphx
05-29-2006 11:56 PM


Re: Logical fallacies and evidence
nemesis_juggernaut writes:
Look, ToE barely even has circumstancial evidence at its disposal,...If there is no evidence, then no evidence has been proposed.
You keep claiming there is no evidence, we keep pointing out there is. We have to find a way off this merry-go-round.
I'll stick with the thread's topic and only address the evidence for fossil transitionals. Fossil transitional forms exist for the higher taxa, and there are even some fossil series for species/species transitions. Their existence is something you're going to have to deal with. You can't keep saying there is no evidence when there is.
If what you actually mean is that you find the evidence unconvincing, then you have to explain why. The gradually changing forms found in the fossil record that lie between taxa fit into the classification scheme for life, and they are largely congruent with the genetic evidence of descent. If you have problems with this evidence then describe those problems to us. A simplistic "There's no evidence" when there obviously is just doesn't suffice.
I quoted some text about transitionals from TalkOrigins in my previous message. Here are some photographs of a fossil sequence showing gradual plankton evolution taken from A Smooth Fossil Transition: Orbulina:
This is evidence, so clearly evidence exists. But you don't agree with the evolutionary interpretation of the evidence. Okay, that's fine. But this time instead of just repeating the quite obviously wrong "There's no evidence," please explain what it is about this evidence that you find unpersuasive.
Therefore we can't say that lack of a fossil form means that an organism DIDN'T exist.
Neither can we say that it did by that premise.
You've pulled the comment out of context. Belfry isn't claiming existence for things that have no evidence. He's replying to your position that seems to be the same as claiming that the actors in a movie weren't really there between frames.
Instead, we have to look at the fossils that we DO have, in combination with the large amount of information we have about living creatures, to draw conclusions.
And that's what we've done, and the conclusion tells me that it supports animals belonging to its own 'kind.'
This is another topic, but I just want to note that this is nonsense because there is no definition of 'kind'. Even you put it between quotation marks. 'Kind' is from Genesis. I'm just noting this, not trying to introduce a new topic. If you'd like to discuss the definition of 'kind' please open a new thread.
Our objection is based on the lack of evidence. As far as the whale sequence is concerned, I have so many objections that I'm not sure where to begin. Perhaps we can start a thread on Ambulocetus and Pakicetus.
So you concede that there is evidence for the whale sequence, you just disagree as to interpretation. That's good, we're making progress. So in other words, you're not really pretending that all the paleontological museums in the world are really empty or just full of fakes. You're not really claiming fossils don't exist. You're just disagreeing with the interpretation of the fossil evidence. Right? So could we please stop claiming there is no evidence so that we can move on to discuss the interpretation of the evidence?
No openly opposes PE in here. What I see is that they conveniently go back and forth between PE and gradualism.
No one advocates "constant speedism" today, not here or anywhere else. Phyletic gradualism was never some overarching fundamental concept in biology anyway. You're making the mistake of assuming that when someone talks about an example of evolution at a consistent pace that they're advocating phyletic gradualism. They're not. I hope I can talk about the millions of years of gradual evolution recorded in some seabeds without being accused of being a gradualist. The theory of punctuated equilibria does not require that all evolution be unevenly paced, only that it can be. And it is often the case when talking about evolution that examples of consistent slow paced evolution are much easier to talk about, as long as the subject isn't PE.
So please stop these nebulous accusations that there are people here advocating phyletic gradualism. The very next time you think someone is advocating phyletic gradualism you point it out so that we can get to the bottom of why you keep reaching this silly conclusion.
Of course I know what a strawman is and logical fallacies. The last forum I was on used the terminologies quite frequently. It was irritating, not because any of it was true, but because they used it to detract from the actual argument. In the last forum that was a typical tactic. If they had no argument left, they'd simply claim arguments from incredulity, strawmen, logical fallacies, and of course my favorite, ad hominem. Nothing says you don't have an argument more than reverting back to schoolyard name-calling.
You know, I bet it's a pretty safe bet that if you stop saying "There's no evidence" and such that the accusations about strawmen and fallacies will go away. There's plenty of evidence, but it's difficult to discuss when you keep saying it doesn't exist.
--Percy
Edited by Percy, : Fix image width.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 64 by Hyroglyphx, posted 05-29-2006 11:56 PM Hyroglyphx has not replied

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 22693
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.8


Message 80 of 223 (316442)
05-30-2006 11:18 PM
Reply to: Message 79 by Lithodid-Man
05-30-2006 10:54 PM


Re: Again, please look at the primary literature
Lithodid-Man writes:
Phyletic gradualism is not the idea that species change slowly. It is not uniformitarianism from geology applied to biology. I think even biologists make this error.
Your explanation had the ring of truth about it, but I have a question about this:
Lithodid-Man writes:
Phyletic gradualism is the idea that any genetic change in a population must necessarily spread through the entire population or go extinct.
I'm interpreting this as meaning that every individual in a population must possess every allele, which doesn't make sense, so I must be reading this the wrong way.
Anyway, I got my definition from Wikipedia. Here's how the Wikipedia article begins. If you're right then someone should correct this:
Wikipedia writes:
Phyletic gradualism is a macroevolutionary hypothesis rooted in uniformitarianism. The hypothesis states that species continue to adapt to new challenges over the course of their history, gradually becoming new species. Gradualism holds that every individual is the same species as its parents, and that there is no clear line of demarcation between the old species and the new species. It holds that the species is not a fixed type, and that the population, not the individual, evolves. During this process, evolution occurs at a fairly constant rate.
I just finished reading the Wikipedia article on sympatric speciation and I'm pretty sure I didn't understand why its impossible under phyletic gradualism (for which I'm now sure I don't know the proper definition, pending clarification).
--Percy

This message is a reply to:
 Message 79 by Lithodid-Man, posted 05-30-2006 10:54 PM Lithodid-Man has replied

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Percy
Member
Posts: 22693
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.8


Message 88 of 223 (316527)
05-31-2006 9:59 AM
Reply to: Message 78 by Hyroglyphx
05-30-2006 9:49 PM


Re: Speculations
nemesis_juggernaut writes:
I disagree fundamentally because to me, mechanisms acting as the causation for how and why transitions occur is the small piece of the puzzle...etc...
You have different views on so many different things that in the interests of time and of staying on topic, I'm just going to have to let some stand. Maybe this will come up in another thread where it would be on topic.
But we know quite well that trains travel at different speeds. What we don't know is the rate of evolution, not because its unclear, but because we've never seen any trains (macroevolution) at all.
Doesn't this represent a contradiction in your viewpoint? You have no choice but to believe that the pace of evolution is affected by selection pressure, since this is shown experimentally under controlled conditions in the lab, and is consistent with our observations in the wild. And you accept speciation. What you reject is not the variable pace of evolution, but evolution beyond the what you call the 'kind' level for which you have no definition.
Supposedly creationists want their ideas taught as science, but since they can't even do something as fundamental as define their terms there really isn't much hope.
There is nothing to act as a barrier to evolutionary change. Biological change occurs with almost every reproductive event. In the absence of significant selection pressures these changes constitute drift, which can be thought of on a simplistic level as small and undirected changes, while in the presence of significant selection pressures the change can be rapid and directed, for instance, cold selecting for warmer coats.
Yes, punctuated equilibrium helped rid us of the antiquated theory of uniformitarianism,...
Uniformitarianism was long gone by the time PE came on the scene.
...however, my issue with PE has to do with its flagrant effort to insist that we shouldn't expect to see very many transitions within the fossil record.
As has been explained to you many times now, PE is an explanation for why we shouldn't expect to see very many *species/species* transitions within the fossil record. Transitionals between higher taxa levels are very well represented in the fossil record.
I see a couple of problems that can only be laid at your door. First, despite it being explained to you over and over again, you continue to misunderstand something very simple about PE: it's about species/species transitions, not transitions at higher taxa levels.
Second, you keep denying the existence of transitionals. It is silly for us to keep going back and forth with us saying "Transitionals exist" and you saying "No, they don't." I've already posted one set of photographs of a transitional sequence, but apparently that isn't convincing. Is it because you want more photographs? Higher taxa levels? If you explain what evidence it is that you want then we can try to provide it for you. But please, let's stop this silly back and forth about whether transitionals exist or not.
I'm not arguing about the rate. The rate is inconsequential to me because I'm arguing the point that it never began to begin with.
The rate is inconsequential to you, but earlier you argued that gradualism is of overarching importance. I'm beginning to get the feeling that your arguments change according to what it is you're trying to rebut at the time.
Non-directed panspermia concludes one thing that evolution overlooks, or at least makes a plea that many evolutionists are indifferent to; that "life comes from life." If no one can demonstrate that life cannot come from non-life, then a strictly naturalistic explanation of evolution is completely undermined.
I'm not sure why the fallacy in your argument isn't as obvious to you as it is to everyone else. Prior to World War II you could use the same fallacious logic to argue, "If no one can demonstrate the splitting of the atom, then the theoretical possibility is completely undermined."
But this, too, is off-topic.
Its important to many creationists because we believe that souls are on the line.
Now you're going way off-topic, but just briefly, this is what I was talking about before when I said that creationists have a fairly uniform philosophical outlook that is religious, not scientific, in nature.
But what if scientific progression actually determined that the ToE was falsifiable?
The ToE *is* falsifiable.
I was on the evolutionary boat ride, but I recognized holes in the hull and jumped ship.
That would explain why you're drowning.
Now that Newtonianism is so anemic, physicists blithely make the transition over to relativity.
Most of Newtonian law has stood the test of time. Shockingly, however, cracks are appearing in Einsteins theory of Relativity. I mean, we should all be open to wherever truth may lead. Truth, is truth and the truth shall set us free. Even if I didn't like the truth, truth is better than falsehood.
I wish you would work harder to stay on topic. My mention of Newtonianism was just an analogy to highlight the fallacy of equating change and progress in science with error and misconduct. You're wrong about relativity, but this isn't the thread to discuss it.
As I've shared, my main objection to phyletic gradualism, is the 'gradualism,' not so much the pace at which they suppose it has occured.
You're going to have to explain the apparent contradiction of objecting to "gradualism" but not "pace." There must be a distinction there that I'm not seeing.
--Percy

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 Message 78 by Hyroglyphx, posted 05-30-2006 9:49 PM Hyroglyphx has not replied

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 22693
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.8


Message 90 of 223 (316591)
05-31-2006 2:04 PM
Reply to: Message 71 by mr_matrix
05-30-2006 6:20 PM


Re: Speculations
mr_matrix writes:
what mechanism do you propose keeps genetic variation from compounding?
You can have as many combinations as you like within a population of organisms but these are limited to the gene pool as I mentioned above.
No, the combinations are not limited to the gene pool. Almost every reproductive event is imperfect and has the potential to generate new alleles, new genes, even new chromosomes. Duplications create a fresh slate upon which more genetic changes can be introduced. Generally speaking, these kinds of reproductive errors are referred to as mutations, and they add to the gene pool.
About this:
Well, whenever you encounter any example of fossils you will explain it in a hypothesis (pure imagiantion)that sound logical to you because it is based on your speculations.
And this:
(unless evolutionists make up a theory that the Cambrian explosion was 1 billion years old, since they seem to be very good at making up such imaginary theories to explain things they cant explain in reality)
These are more in the nature of accusations than debate and shouldn't be part of this thread. If you want to argue, based upon evidence, that evolution is imaginary and made-up, then you should propose a new thread. This thread is about how well transitional forms in the fossil record support the theory of evolution.
Ofcourse they remarkably resemble each other besause they are all skulls of apes. Claiming that such skulls resemble humans is based on speculations.
It is based upon careful observation and measurement. Here's the photograph provided earlier, it's comes from 29+ Evidences for Macroevolution: Part 1:
These are all skulls of hominids. They start with the modern chimp (A, Pan troglodytes), then pick up with the sequence leading to modern humans. B, the oldest, is Australopithecus africanus and N, the youngest, is Homo sapiens sapiens. There is a clear and gradual progression from B to N (though note that three Neanderthals are included, and we're already fairly certain they are only cousins, not ancestors - about the rest there is still debate, to varying degrees, about whether they are cousins or ancestors).
The more recent the skull the more closely it resembles modern humans. Looking at this diagram it is obvious that your comment that "they are all skulls of apes" is incorrect. (By the way, the ape designation contains a large degree of ambiguity since in the most widely used classification systems humans are classified as a type of ape, but I think we all understand what you mean, that you are claiming that none of the skulls but N are human or any relation to humans.)
Yes of course you can, if you assume that these "laboratory conditions" existed millions of years ago to evolve species by reproduction.
You seem to be forgetting that creationists concede that evolution can produce speciation. That's why they define 'kind' as being at a level higher than species, though they never provide any other essential details about the definition of 'kind'. Anyway, it is higher level transitions that creationists reject. The evidence for speciation is undeniable, so creationists have stopped denying it. One doesn't want to get lumped in with the flat-earthers, after all!
What you really reject is the possibility that evolution can produce new genuses and families and orders, and that it can produce novelty and innovation.
Again, you're elaborating further on reproduction and variations and they dont cause evolution into different organisms. Unless you chose to defy genetics and claim that they do!
Defy genetics? You must be very confused about genetics. As I've said, almost every reproductive event includes changes. Since there is no known limit to the accumulation of changes, there are no known limits to the changes that evolution can produce. Classification systems tend to assign relatively arbitrary boundaries in many cases, so not only is there no known mechanism for evolution to stop at these boundaries, there is also no way that evolution could somehow "know" where we've drawn our arbitrary boundaries so that creatures could evolve right up to the boundary, but no further. In other words, there is no possible mechanism for what you're claiming to happen.
--Percy

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 Message 71 by mr_matrix, posted 05-30-2006 6:20 PM mr_matrix has not replied

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Percy
Member
Posts: 22693
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.8


Message 107 of 223 (316882)
06-01-2006 4:58 PM
Reply to: Message 106 by Lithodid-Man
06-01-2006 4:24 PM


Re: Here is another example...
Is anyone else having problems seeing the image?
--Percy

This message is a reply to:
 Message 106 by Lithodid-Man, posted 06-01-2006 4:24 PM Lithodid-Man has not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 108 by nwr, posted 06-01-2006 5:25 PM Percy has not replied

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 22693
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.8


Message 110 of 223 (316927)
06-01-2006 8:40 PM
Reply to: Message 103 by Hyroglyphx
06-01-2006 12:14 PM


Re: Speculations
I think pretty much everyone has taken a turn at explaining to you that you're misunderstanding punctuated equilibria. The key aspects once again are:
  1. PE addresses the issue of the dearth of transitional evidence at the species/species level. You seem to be missing this point.
  2. Transitionals for the higher taxa are copiously available.
You've never addressed these points, and repeating things you've already said and reproducing quotes you've already provided won't help. In order to move the discussion forward you're going to have to address the points people are making to you.
I guess its about time to start a thread on the '29 evidences of macroevolution,' presented by TalkOrigins. I will certainly open one in order to go over those 'many' transitions spoken about in it.
This is already a thread about transitionals, I don't think we need another one. Why not just address the information about transitionals already provided in this thread?
--Percy

This message is a reply to:
 Message 103 by Hyroglyphx, posted 06-01-2006 12:14 PM Hyroglyphx has not replied

  
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