What is a Species?

Discussion in 'Creation vs. Evolution' started by Administrator2, Jan 23, 2002.

  1. Administrator2

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    HELEN
    It has been stated many times, on this board and other places, that
    evolution is true because new species are formed. Since, it is said,
    evolution predicts new species will be formed, the fact that new species
    are formed proves evolution is true.
    I think this is a false argument. Everything here depends on the
    definition of species, for if someone can say, "Look, there is a new
    species," then they can claim evolution is obvious. First of all, no
    one is disagreeing with variation. We do that with breeding programs of
    various animals and plants constantly, yet the argument holds that 'dogs
    are still dogs, beans are still beans, pigeons are still pigeons', etc.

    The definition of a species is debated, but most often centers around an
    interbreeding population. Sometimes the proviso is added that this
    population is geographically separated from similar populations, and
    sometimes the proviso is added that this population will refuse to breed
    with members of a parent or sister population. Essentially, however,
    the key is in the breeding preferences.

    And that is just what they are -- preferences. Dogs don't care what
    sort of dog they breed with. Their mating cues are from the sense of
    smell. They could care less what the potential mate looks like.

    Some birds, however, are SO picky about their mates that we cannot even
    see the difference at first. But they can, and their preferences are
    determined by sight, or perhaps a special flying pattern if acrobatic
    flying is part of the mating ritual (which it is with some species), or
    even with some other bit of courtship behavior. Thus, with
    hummingbirds, for instance, we have innumerable 'species', many of which
    it takes an expert to tell apart from one another.

    So it's going to be relatively easy to get a new 'species' of bird and
    pretty hard, or even impossible, to get a new species of dog!

    In other words, species has nothing to do with genetics per se, or with
    what the body looks like, or even whether or not there is some survival
    advantage with this particular mate. What matters to the animals are
    the mating cues, and these vary from kind to kind.

    In other words, we are not defining 'species' -- the animals are! And
    they are 'defining' the word for us by way of which mating cues they
    prefer!

    So let's create a new species. We will take a group of fish -- minnows,
    perhaps -- and isolate them for fifty or so generations. That can be
    declared a new species if you like, with no other criteria! However, if
    we decide to honor the breeding concept, then we will turn the fiftieth
    generation loose in the vicinity of a wild population of minnows. If
    the first group refuses to breed with the second group, voila, a new
    species! If they do decide to interbreed, but we have decided to define
    the new group as a new species anyway, then suddenly we have
    inter-species mating/breeding -- and that is shown to be a close
    relationship which gives 'overwhelming evidence' that evolution is true
    as well!

    Or, consider something called 'ring' speciation. In the norther USA
    there is a type of frog. population A. A wee bit further south is frog
    population B. Suppose both of them get their mating cues from the
    length of day as the days grow longer in the spring. The day lengths
    are not appreciably different between these two populations, so they
    interbreed when they find themselves in the same vicinity.

    As we travel further south, there is population C frog. Their day
    lengths are not much different that the B population areas, so B and C
    populations will also interbreed when they find themselves sharing the
    same area. But population C frogs will not interbreed with population A
    frogs -- the timing is too far off.

    So where did the speciation happen?

    Or consider the case of a type of bird which nests in one particular
    area. Gradually, populations spread out to both the east and the west
    of the original area. Each of the sister populations carries with it
    limited genetic potential compared to the original population, simply by
    being a splinter group. Then, there is a splinter group off of the
    original two splinter groups, one traveling a little further east in
    search of good nesting sites, and one a little further west. This keeps
    going through multiple generations. Because of their limited genetic
    packages now, by the time east bird meets west bird on the other side of
    the world, they look completely different and refuse to have anything to
    do with each other! But if you trace back geographically, you can see
    they are both the same bird at the beginning.

    Both the frog and the bird examples are from real life. These have
    actually been seen. Is this evolution in the way that, given enough
    time, could turn some kind of fish into a man? There is no evidence of
    that!

    What there IS evidence of is
    1. The effects of the limited gene pools on isolated populations
    2. That we are at the mercy of the mating cues of animals

    Because, if it were a spreading population of dogs from north to south,
    or east to west, there would never be a problem of mating desire of an
    individual from population A to any other population of dog anywhere
    else on earth. This we have seen!

    So speciation is an artificial term useful in studying animals, but not
    useful in giving any evidence of the kind of evolution which
    evolutionists say it gives evidence of.

    Evolution has no evidence there. Variation, again, is not being
    argued. But evolution requires the addition (or subtraction) of body
    parts to the extent that a new sort of something eventually emerges,
    such as a bird from a dinosaur. From everything we have seen in real
    life, that not only has not been seen at any level, but it just can't
    happen.

    [ January 23, 2002: Message edited by: Administrator ]
     
  2. Administrator2

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    KEVIN KLEIN
    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Evolution has no evidence there. Variation, again, is not being
    argued. But evolution requires the addition (or subtraction) of body parts
    to the extent that a new sort of something eventually emerges, such as a
    bird from a dinosaur. From everything we have seen in real life, that not
    only has not been seen at any level, but it just can't happen.
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    Your last statement is simply not true. If you had claimed that the
    emergence of new forms "has not been observed directly" instead of "has not
    been seen at any level", then you would be correct. The truth of the matter
    is that there are many indirect observations that allow us to infer
    that evolution is in fact what took place.
    First and foremost is the fossil record. We have a wide range of fossils
    that document the transition from reptiles to mammals, dinosaurs to birds,
    and land mammals to whales, to name a few. Again, while it is true to say
    that no one ever directly observed one fossil form giving birth to
    another, the point is moot because this is not a prediction of the ToE to
    begin with. We must remember that the fossil record is only a small
    sampling of the billions (trillions?) of creatures that have ever lived on
    earth. Given the small sampling that the fossil record preserves, we don't
    expect to find the entire sequence of transitionals. Instead we expect to
    find a few selected examples of the transition and we infer, from simple
    principles, that the others existed but were simply not preserved.

    A second indirect observation comes from genetics. Quite simply, we look at
    species that we expect are related through evolution and examine their
    respective genome to look for evidence of this relationship. The
    human/chimp analysis that Froggie posted on another thread is an excellent
    example of this kind of test. There are others as well, including the lack
    of vitamin C synthesis in primates versus other mammals, the analysis of a
    common DNA sequence called cytochrome C, and many more. The results are
    overwhelmingly consistent with our expectations as if evolution has
    occurred. Again, it is true that no one has directly observed one species'
    genome changing into another's, but that doesn't invalidate the inference
    that it can, does, and did happen.

    And this brings me to the last part of your statement. If you want to
    challenge the ToE, then you need to show why these inferences are wrong
    instead of simply saying "it can't happen". If we have fossils A, B, C, and
    D that form a transitional sequence, why is it invalid to infer that
    creatures transitional between A and B also existed but weren't preserved?
    If genome A and genome B are identical except for a transformation due to
    well-known and common process Z, why is it invalid to infer that process Z
    probably occurred?

    If you want to challenge the whole validity of inference, then you have to
    explain how we can convict murderers without an eyewitness, how we know the
    structure of the atom, and how we know you didn't fly a broom to work this
    morning (no hidden meaning there -- just been reading too much Harry
    Potter!)

    Kevin Klein
     
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    HELEN
    Hi Kevin,
    I’ll stand by my assertion that a new body form has not been seen at any
    level. Seeing something is quite different from inferring it. What you
    referred to was not the seeing of evolution but the interpretation of
    evolution from the fossil record and other data. And while that
    interpretation may be right or wrong, it is still only an
    interpretation.

    Seeing means to see it. The process. Itself. Happening. We have
    never seen it.

    In the meantime, something I have learned is that transitionals, like
    beauty, are very much in the eye of the beholder. What you see as a
    transitional I may see as an interesting variation. Or an unknown kind
    in and of itself. We really do not have what it takes to prove either
    case as far as the fossil record is concerned.

    As far as genetics is concerned, we don’t know nearly enough to make the
    kind of conclusions that you are making. We really don’t.

    Lack of vitamin C synthesis? I know that there are genomic hot spots
    where mutations happen more frequently than other places. Suppose this
    was one? Then, if either or both species happened to be getting all the
    vitamin C needed for awhile just from the foods eaten, the mutation
    could happen and never be noticed as being deleterious in either
    population – and it could be the same ‘switch off’ mutation, no problem.

    It took me a minute to locate it, but if you look here: http://www.baptistboard.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=36&t=000076

    You will find a response I did some time ago regarding the vitamin C
    argument. To wit:
    If you look at the essay here: http://www.grisda.org/origins/12096.htm, you will find Table 2 -- very
    interesting. The conclusion to this short essay reads, "In conclusion,
    what has the study of many more taxa done? 1) It has greatly enriched
    our picture: rather than the long-held view that vitamin C is required
    in the diet of guinea pig, monkeys and man, we now see that it is
    required also by bats, at least some fish, and many birds; and on the
    other hand, not by all primates.
    Further, animals which make their own do so in different organs: the
    kidney, especially reptiles and birds; or the liver, especially mammals
    and perching birds. 2) There is evidence for a taxonomic explanation of
    part of the diversity between classes and between orders, but hardly
    data at lower taxonomic levels even to carry out a common statistical
    test. 3) It appears to provide more support for change by loss than by
    gain of capability.


    To answer the question further down in your post, it is not that any
    inferences are right or wrong – the point is that they are only
    inferences, and we also have to look at what is really going on right
    here, today, in related fields. And what we actually see does not line
    up with some of the inferences evolutionists would like to make.

    Helen
     
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    KEVIN KLEIN
    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>I'll stand by my assertion that a new body form has not been seen at
    any level. Seeing something is quite different from inferring it. What you
    referred to was not the seeing of evolution but the interpretation of
    evolution from the fossil record and other data. And while that
    interpretation may be right or wrong, it is still only an
    interpretation.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I don't think I disagree with this, but I don't see the point. Atomic
    theory is just an interpretation of the data, but I don't see you
    questioning it.

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Seeing means to see it. The process. Itself. Happening. We have never
    seen it. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I think I agreed with you on that, Helen. If you can't believe something
    without seeing it, then I don't see how you can believe that Jesus was
    resurrected from the dead -- after all, no one ever actually SAW it happen.

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>In the meantime, something I have learned is that transitionals, like
    beauty, are very much in the eye of the beholder. What you see as a
    transitional I may see as an interesting variation. Or an unknown kind in
    and of itself. We really do not have what it takes to prove either case as
    far as the fossil record is concerned.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I think you are underestimating what we know. See
    http://www.gcssepm.org/special/cuffey_05.htm

    or
    http://chem.tufts.edu/science/evolution/HorseEvolution.htm

    for but two examples.


    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>As far as genetics is concerned, we don't know nearly enough to make
    the kind of conclusions that you are making. We really don't.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Please see
    http://biomed.brown.edu/Courses/BIO48/12.Molecular.Evolution.HTML

    This is a good introduction to what we DO know.


    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Then, if either or both species happened to be getting all the
    vitamin C needed for awhile just from the foods eaten, the mutation could
    happen and never be noticed as being deleterious in either population and it
    could be the same 'switch off' mutation, no problem.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Surely that is a reasonable hypothesis. Unfortunately the odds of the
    specific type of "switch off" mutation occuring in exactly the same way in
    all the tested species is vanishingly small. If, however, all primates
    inherited this mutation from a common ancestor then this genetic observation
    makes perfect sense.

    The rest of your vitamin C discussion, while interesting, does not IMO bear
    directly upon the specific genetic inference I was referring to.


    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>To answer the question further down in your post, it is not that any
    inferences are right or wrong the point is that they are only inferences,
    and we also have to look at what is really going on right here, today, in
    related fields.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I totally agree that we have to keep testing our inferences.

    I totally disagree that "it is not that any inferences are right or wrong".
    Unless you are arguing for a position of total relativism, there does exist
    an objective truth -- and some inferences are going to be much closer to the
    truth than others.
     
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    BILLY
    It has been stated many times, on this board and other places, that evolution is true because new species are formed.

    I don’t know who said this, but the evidence for evolution does not rest solely on the emergence of new species, though it is very good evidence for evolution.


    Since, it is said, evolution predicts new species will be formed, the fact that new species are formed proves evolution is true.

    "Proves" is a word avoided in the empirical sciences. The word can be properly applied in mathematics, but nothing is ever proven in the empirical sciences.


    I think this is a false argument.

    I think this is an argument that no evolutionist has ever made.


    Everything here depends on the definition of species, for if someone can say, "Look, there is a new species," then they can claim evolution is obvious. First of all, no one is disagreeing with variation.

    Define "variation" without using evolutionary concepts.


    We do that with breeding programs of various animals and plants constantly, yet the argument holds that 'dogs are still dogs, beans are still beans, pigeons are still pigeons', etc.

    There are many animals under the genus of Canis that cannot interbreed. Same is true of "beans". "Species" is a murky concept, as you would expect from an outlook like evolution, and as you would not expect from a supposedly exact concept like "kinds.", which no creationist is able to define.


    Sometimes the proviso is added that this population is geographically separated from similar populations, and sometimes the proviso is added that this population will refuse to breed with members of a parent or sister population. Essentially, however, the key is in the breeding preferences. And that is just what they are -- preferences. Dogs don't care what sort of dog they breed with. Their mating cues are from the sense of smell.

    If groups are geographically separated then they cannot interbreed.
    Why do you say that the KEY is preference? Where on earth did you get the idea that dogs don’t care who they mate with? Give me some reason to believe that if a dog smells another in heat that copulation will inevitably occur.


    Some birds, however, are SO picky about their mates that we cannot even see the difference at first. But they can, and their preferences are determined by sight, or perhaps a special flying pattern if acrobatic flying is part of the mating ritual (which it is with some species), or even with some other bit of courtship behavior. Thus, with hummingbirds, for instance, we have innumerable 'species', many of which it takes an expert to tell apart from one another. So it's going to be relatively easy to get a new 'species' of bird and pretty hard, or even impossible, to get a new species of dog!

    No , it just means that there are lots of animals that can recognise members of their own interbreeding group better than humans can do that job. The species would die out if it did not have that ability!


    In other words, species has nothing to do with genetics per se, or with what the body looks like, or even whether or not there is some survival advantage with this particular mate.

    Where does this remarkable conclusion arise from what you have said?


    What matters to the animals are the mating cues, and these vary from kind to kind.

    You say that species is a very difficult term to define. I agree. Now tell me how you define "kind".
     
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    RUFUSATTICUS

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>It has been stated many times, on this board and other places, that
    evolution is true because new species are formed. Since, it is said,
    evolution predicts new species will be formed, the fact that new species
    are formed proves evolution is true.
    I think this is a false argument. Everything here depends on the
    definition of species, for if someone can say, "Look, there is a new
    species," then they can claim evolution is obvious. First of all, no
    one is disagreeing with variation. We do that with breeding programs of
    various animals and plants constantly, yet the argument holds that 'dogs
    are still dogs, beans are still beans, pigeons are still pigeons', etc.
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    How does this disprove evolution? The modern approach to taxonomy considers
    a newly evolved taxon (i.e. species) to still be part of the ancestral
    taxon. Thus humans are primates, mammals, vertebrates, etc. and birds are
    dinosaurs. If something is descended from a dog then it would still be a
    dog. Your comments, however misleading, do not reveal a flaw in evolution.
    If you would rather define "dog" by some set of characteristics, please
    define them. Next, propose a genetic proof that some creature descended
    from a dog can never loose these characteristics. That would lend credence
    to your argument. In fact, you have no substantial argument without such a
    proof.

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>The definition of a species is debated, but most often centers around
    an
    interbreeding population. Sometimes the proviso is added that this
    population is geographically separated from similar populations, and
    sometimes the proviso is added that this population will refuse to breed
    with members of a parent or sister population. Essentially, however,
    the key is in the breeding preferences.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Do you believe that horses (Equus caballus), donkeys (Equus
    asinus
    ), and zebras (Equus burchellii and Equus grevyi)
    are of the same species then? They do breed together. What then is used to
    justify their classification into separate species? What about the
    Drosophila species that regularly produce hybrids? Breeding
    preferences are only one criterion. Hybrid viability and fertility
    are two additional factors. Do you have any sort of figures, based upon
    exhaustive literature searches, that show that majority of the observed
    instances of speciation are the result of mate preference and not genetics.
    Your above statements are inaccurate, and thus your following analysis is
    considerably flawed from the beginning.

    --snip--

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>In other words, we are not defining 'species' -- the animals are! And
    they are 'defining' the word for us by way of which mating cues they
    prefer!<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    What about plants? How does you analysis apply to plant speciation? You
    are making a broad generalization about speciation. How does it apply to
    nonmetazoans? What about animals, like corals, that bread through mass
    spawnings? Surely they can't choose whom to mate with since, technically,
    no mating is involved. What's keeping them separate species? Are you
    claiming that speciation is only the result of behavior; that any two
    creatures can have offspring if they desired too? This is another
    considerable flaw in your argument.

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>So let's create a new species. We will take a group of fish --
    minnows,
    perhaps -- and isolate them for fifty or so generations. That can be
    declared a new species if you like, with no other criteria! However, if
    we decide to honor the breeding concept, then we will turn the fiftieth
    generation loose in the vicinity of a wild population of minnows. If
    the first group refuses to breed with the second group, voila, a new
    species! If they do decide to interbreed, but we have decided to define
    the new group as a new species anyway, then suddenly we have
    inter-species mating/breeding -- and that is shown to be a close
    relationship which gives 'overwhelming evidence' that evolution is true
    as well!<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Please cite, demonstrate, and explain such an experiment, where the
    researcher still concluded that the isolated population was a new species
    despite to ability to fully interbreed and erroneously concluded that
    evolution has happened. (You should also remember that evolution can happen
    within a population and between demes.)

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Or, consider something called 'ring' speciation. In the northern USA
    there is a type of frog. population A. A wee bit further south is frog
    population B. Suppose both of them get their mating cues from the
    length of day as the days grow longer in the spring. The day lengths
    are not appreciably different between these two populations, so they
    interbreed when they find themselves in the same vicinity.
    As we travel further south, there is population C frog. Their day
    lengths are not much different that the B population areas, so B and C
    populations will also interbreed when they find themselves sharing the
    same area. But population C frogs will not interbreed with population A
    frogs -- the timing is too far off.
    So where did the speciation happen?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    http://www.dictionary.com/cgi-bin/dict.pl?term=intermediate
    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/section5.html#pred26

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Or consider the case of a type of bird which nests in one particular
    area. Gradually, populations spread out to both the east and the west
    of the original area. Each of the sister populations carries with it
    limited genetic potential compared to the original population, simply by
    being a splinter group. Then, there is a splinter group off of the
    original two splinter groups, one traveling a little further east in
    search of good nesting sites, and one a little further west. This keeps
    going through multiple generations. Because of their limited genetic
    packages now, by the time east bird meets west bird on the other side of
    the world, they look completely different and refuse to have anything to
    do with each other!<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    You are stretching here. Where is your evidence (cite and explain a study
    if you wish) that they would look "completely different" and "refuse" to
    mate? How many generations and colonizations are involved?

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>But if you trace back geographically, you can see
    they are both the same bird at the beginning.
    Both the frog and the bird examples are from real life. These have
    actually been seen. Is this evolution in the way that, given enough
    time, could turn some kind of fish into a man? There is no evidence of
    that!<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Your logic is flawed. You are correct in stating that, alone, the founder
    effect could not have made man. On the other hand, the founder effect is
    not the only known evolutionary force. Mutation, selection, migration, and
    drift all played a role. You have yet to show the inadequacy of these
    forces.

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>What there IS evidence of is
    1. The effects of the limited gene pools on isolated populations
    2. That we are at the mercy of the mating cues of animals
    Because, if it were a spreading population of dogs from north to south,
    or east to west, there would never be a problem of mating desire of an
    individual from population A to any other population of dog anywhere
    else on earth. This we have seen!<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Are you claiming that no new species can evolve from dogs? I wonder what
    would happen if we began a dog colony with only Great Danes and Chihuahuas?
    Would you expect to see one interbreeding population or two reproductive
    isolated populations? Why? What if an isolated population of dogs (say on
    Cuba) evolves separately from the mainland population? What is to prevent
    the evolution of reproductive barriers between the populations? A mating
    preference gene could become fixed in the Cuban population so that they no
    longer will mate with mainland dogs. Chromosomal changes could also occur
    that prevent or simply hinder successful matings between the populations.

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>So speciation is an artificial term useful in studying animals, but
    not
    useful in giving any evidence of the kind of evolution which
    evolutionists say it gives evidence of.
    Evolution has no evidence there. Variation, again, is not being
    argued. But evolution requires the addition (or subtraction) of body
    parts to the extent that a new sort of something eventually emerges,
    such as a bird from a dinosaur. From everything we have seen in real
    life, that not only has not been seen at any level, but it just can't
    happen.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Please cite a single "evolutionist" source that states that evolution requires the addition (or subtraction) of body parts."
    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/evolution-definition.html.

    Furthermore, you are completely wrong if you think you can divorce variation from evolution.
    Variation is evolution, and visa versa. If you argue against evolution, you
    argue against variation. R. A. Fisher's Fundamental Theorem of Natural
    Selection states that the rate of increase of average fitness is directly
    proportional to the additive genetic variation in fitness
    . In simpler
    terms, the rate of evolution is directly proportional to the variation in
    the population. Variation is so intertwined with evolution, that you cannot
    support the claim that you have a problem with evolution and not variation.

    I also suggest that you do some research on the actual science behind
    speciation and evolution. For instance, in your post you did not address
    prezygotic barriers, postzygotic barriers, hybrid inferiority,
    sympatry, allopatry, and disruptive selection.
    These are all important
    concepts to grasp if you are referring to the process speciation. I suggest
    the following resources:

    Chapters 15 & 16 in Evolutionary Biology by Futyuma.
    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-intro-to-biology.html
    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/evolution-definition.html
    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/evolution-fact.html
    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-speciation.html
    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/speciation.html
    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/
    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/macroevolution.html
    http://www.talkorigins.org/origins/faqs-evolution.html
    http://www.talkorigins.org/

    -RvFvS

    [ January 25, 2002: Message edited by: Administrator ]
     
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    HELEN
    I’ll go down the three posts following my last one and respond to them.

    To Kevin: You likened the inferences evolutionists were taking from genetics and the fossil record to the inferences made in atomic theory, saying “Atomic theory is just an interpretation of the data, but I don’t see you questioning it.”

    OK, first of all, atomic theory is worked with constantly. It is something that is not outside our range of experimentation. That makes the theories viable. We can see if they work or not.

    It is different with evolution. Except for variation, which is usually simply a result of the genetic combinations available to the mommy and daddy (not discussing unicellular asexual reproduction here), we cannot see and do not seem to have any real way of working with the evolution of one sort of thing into another. One of the points I have brought up before is that we have been working with E.coli for over a hundred years now, throwing every mutagent in the book at them. What do we get? More E.coli. One new metabolic pathway, some were bigger, many were dead – but all were recognizable E.coli. This is significant for two reasons: these organisms are among the most studied in the world, and among the ‘simplest.’ However it is appearing that ‘simple’ is not so simple. They are highly complex, appear designed, and have no intentions of changing into anything other than what they are. Now these are unicellular prokaryotes. Why can’t we induce changes which would give evidence to actual evolution of one distinct type into another at THAT level, but we somehow expect that evolution from a fish to a man will be accepted as factual?

    E.coli, secondly, have generation times of about 20 minutes. In a hundred years, that is over 2 ½ million generations. In 2 ½ million generations we cannot get enough mutations to give us something besides more E.coli. Where does that leave us with anything else? In other words, unlike atomic theory, we can’t work with evolution. We can only guess at it. That is why the inferences drawn in the two different fields mean different things in terms of acceptability.

    You then tried to say that evolution inferences were as valid as the Resurrection, as no one actually SAW that happen. However they did see the death of Christ on the cross. There were eyewitnesses – hundreds of them – as well to the living Christ three days, and then for about forty days, later. Again, we do have eyewitnesses to the ‘before and after’. We do not have this with evolution.

    You asked me to look at
    http://www.gcssepm.org/special/cuffey_05.htm

    Cuffey’s “Mammal-Like Reptiles” is a lovely page of drawings of various skulls. The explanation, as he sees it, is quite understandable. But please understand that where he sees transitionals, I see variation. That is all I am trying to get across. As he says himself,
    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>
    Modern reptiles and mammals are very distinctive, easily diagnosable, and do not intergrade. Reptiles are covered by scales, mammals by hair; reptiles are cold-blooded, mammals warm-blooded; reptiles do not suckle their young, mammals have mammary glands; reptiles have sprawling posture, mammals have upright posture.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    This presents an interesting problem. First of all, reptiles are successful as they are. Secondly, mammals are successful as they are. However, in order for one to change to another, there must have been an awful lot of intermediates who also must have been successful as they were. But none are left. Why? We have a successful beginning and a successful ending and by definition the intermediates must have been successful or they would not have been around long enough to continue the evolutionary process. So where are they now? Where are ANY of them?

    And the simple fact is that the differences between mammals and reptiles are stark. The number of mutations required to change cold-blooded into warm-blooded, and all the other changes necessary, must have been absolutely immense.

    But we can’t even get E.coli to make a switch to become something else, no mater how hard we try. How many generations of trying do you think we need? And remember, we are inducing these changes – they are not occurring naturally that we can see! So evolution itself, as an undirected series of changes from WHATEVER cause, is leaving us with NO evidence except for inferences. There is nothing we can work with. All is interpretation of evidently unrepeatable claimed processes.

    My stand is that we need to look at the real data we have today and where it is pointing. It is pointing to stasis within kind, with only variation, also within kind. We cannot get anything else to happen naturally. We can force all kinds of weird things in a petri dish, but that is not the same thing at all.

    As far as the horse family tree, I honestly can’t believe people are still trying to defend that. Fossils overlap when they are found together, indicating they all lived at the same time, or are found in widely different places in the world and were forced into that order despite that.

    The American Museum of Natural History has an exhibit of the horse series. Here is part of a transcript of a PBS television show entitled “Did Darwin Get it Wrong?” which aired January 11, 1981 (source, “Algeny” by Jeremy Rifkin, Penguin, 1984, p. 129):
    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>
    About 1905 an exhibit was set up [in the Amer Mus of Nat His] showing all these horses ... They were arranged in order of size. Everybody interpreted them as a genealogical series. But they are not a genealogical series; there is no descent among them. They were found at different times, in different places and they're merely arranged according to size. But it's impossible to get them out of the textbooks ... As a matter of fact, many of the biologists themselves forget what they are. I had a radio debate with a paleontologist some years ago & when I said there were no phylogenies, he told me I should go out to the Museum & look at the series of horses. I said, "But, Professor, they are not a family tree; they are just a collection of sizes." He said, "I forgot that." <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I think a lot of people have forgotten that!

    Then I read the page you wanted me to read on molecular evolution here:
    http://biomed.brown.edu/Courses/BIO48/12.Molecular.Evolution.HTML

    The author presumes evolution is true to begin with, and therefore everything presented is presented in the light of that. So there is no evidence there that evolution IS true, but only that IF it is true, then here is how we will interpret the data.

    The author also did not discuss the new and beginning understanding of genomic ‘hot spots’ which mutate much more regularly than other areas, nor did he discuss the effects of back mutations, which undo the previous mutations. Now we SEE hot spot mutations. We SEE that they go ‘back and forth’ and do not maintain direction. What we do NOT see is mutational series building up which produces a new body type or morphological feature. This is always presumed, but never seen. Instead, the simple variation we do see is said to be evidence of the much more radical changes we do not see. Now, people are welcome to BELIEVE this, but it should be understood that when that level is reached in interpretation and inference, it really is only a belief.

    Then there was the part about vitamin C production. I wrote:
    Then, if either or both species happened to be getting all the vitamin C needed for awhile just from the foods eaten, the mutation could happen and never be noticed as being deleterious in either population and it could be the same 'switch off' mutation, no problem.

    To which you responded, Surely that is a reasonable hypothesis. Unfortunately the odds of the specific type of "switch off" mutation occuring in exactly the same way in all the tested species is vanishingly small. If, however, all primates inherited this mutation from a common ancestor then this genetic observation makes perfect sense.

    The rest of your vitamin C discussion, while interesting, does not IMO bear directly upon the specific genetic inference I was referring to.


    However the REST of that discussion (and I’m betting you did not bother reading the link I gave you), which you did not find interesting, had to do with the fact that NOT all primates show up with this mutation. And that there are a number of other animals that DO! Now, we have two possible explanations here, whether we are discussing evolution or creation. First, that this mutation is a hot spot mutation and that indeed many other animals experienced it, and may still. But if it is a hot spot mutation, it could back mutate fairly easily and thus produce again the vitamin C manufacturing ability in an animal! Because this is quite possible in either model – evolution or creation – it is not possible to use it as evidence for evolution. You can INTERPRET it within an evolutionary model, but that is quite different from it actually being evidence FOR the evolutionary model. And, to the best of my understanding, the only way you can, again in terms of evolution, account for the fact that other animals have this mutation is to claim convergent evolution, which is the trap door for apparently all anomalous findings. This means, actually, that evolution cannot be disproved at all! If it didn’t work one way, then it MUST have worked the other because, after all, evolution is TRUE!

    I don’t buy that.

    Lastly, I think you misunderstood me when I said it did not matter whether the inferences were right or wrong. I was not talking about whether they were actually right or wrong making no difference, but if you look back at the post, you will see that I was referring to the fact that they were inferences and, whether right or wrong, that did not change the fact that they were only inferences. Of course some will be closer to the truth than others, and yes, I agree with you that this is what science is working towards.

    On the other hand, inferences are just about always made in reference to existing presuppositions, so we have to be very careful to recognize that and not give them more credibility than they ‘deserve’ under those circumstances.

    I think the challenge I would make to any scientist in any field is “are you willing to allow your presuppositions to be challenged?”

    In the case of evolutionists, the answer is almost always a resounding “NO!”
    And, to an extent, I understand that. My switch from evolution to creation took five reasonably agonizing years of internal fight and massive reading. Accepting a challenge to one’s presuppositions is not a path for the fainthearted.

    To Billy:
    You wrote, I don’t know who said this, but the evidence for evolution does not rest solely on the emergence of new species, though it is very good evidence for evolution.

    Billy, the point of my original post is that speciation cannot be used as evidence because the definition of speciation has little or nothing to do with actual genetic changes. However you are right, later on, when you corrected me on the word ‘prove.’ I have seen it used by both sides, but that does not make it right. However Barbarian, here, and others in other places do indeed claim that evolution is true because we can see it in speciation and therefore that is proof. But when the entire argument rests on the definition of species, and when speciation depends so much on simple mating cues for different animals, I have a really hard time with that sort of waffling (which is how I see it). For instance, if dogs depended on sight instead of smell for a mating cue, we would definitely have many different species of dogs. But we don’t. As different as they look, all house dogs, wolves, and coyotes are VERY much interested in each other at the appropriate times. We have many ‘cross-species’ interbreedings which are known and documented and, among both fish and birds, we even have some that are considered cross-genus. Now we can say either that this is evidence of evolutionary relationships or that our somewhat arbitrary taxonomic classifications are sometimes not in line with the real world. Everything here depends on definition where evolution is concerned, and that was the point I was trying to make originally. If we change definitions, then we change where the ‘evidence’ points!

    You asked for a definition of variation. In sexually reproducing animals and plants it is simply the different degrees of traits expressed due to the mixing of the genetic packages of the parents. The genetic material is already there and there is simply a genetic shuffling with each conception. This has nothing to do with evolution or creation, actually. It just happens. We see it. We work with it in breeding programs. For instance, we can get hairy dogs, hairless dogs, big dogs, small dogs, calm dogs, excitable dogs, barking dogs, barkless dogs, companion dogs, hunting dogs – it doesn’t matter. They are all interested in each other and I have never heard tell of any dog birthing an animal that is even on its way to being something other than a dog! Thus we have variation within the canine kind, but no extant examples of anything venturing outside that kind on its way to something different. And that is exactly what evolution requires.

    You said there are many animals under the genus of Canis that cannot interbreed. This, I believe, is due to the physical limitation of size and not due to any lack of desire on the part of the dogs! In the course of offspring varying, though, it is not only conceivable, but shown in real life, that the smaller of the larger dogs and the larger of the smaller dogs just might be able to interbreed quite naturally. There is certainly no genetic complication here!

    As far as beans go, I don’t know. I do know that I put up some scarlet runners along my fenceline last summer and right next to them were some bush beans. And I do have some interesting looking seeds! It will be fun to see what comes up this year when I plant a few… I know that I absolutely destroyed a zucchini crop two years ago because I planted seeds from a group that had grown too near some pumpkins, and squashes are squashes.

    What is a kind? You said no one had defined it. It has been defined a number of times. It is an original population and all its descendents.

    Now, would you please define “kingdom” in taxonomic classification? It is the most basic division of taxonomy, but what defines it please?

    I mentioned that geographic isolation was often added to the concept of speciation and you responded “If groups are geographically separated then they cannot interbreed.” The point is, put them back together and see what happens. Do we really have separate species? Or, exactly HOW are you going to define ‘species’?

    You said, Where on earth did you get the idea that dogs don’t care who they mate with? Give me some reason to believe that if a dog smells another in heat that copulation will inevitably occur.

    Given the option, it will occur. Our dog Sam is half-wolf and half-shepherd. Some wolves were being bred for repopulating Yellowstone. At one point a German shepherd stud managed to make sure no fence stopped him! Sam is one of seven from that litter. Evidently three were put down for temperment reasons. Three I don’t know about for sure. Sam is a marshmallow. Simple variation. But you sure know he is part wolf when he hears a siren! Once you have heard a wolf you could never mistake that cry. The interesting thing is that he looks very much like a short-hair gold and white collie! All that aside, male dogs go NUTS when they are aware of a female in heat. Believe me, they DON’T care about anything except following their natural instincts and have to be physically restrained.


    To RufusAtticus: You seem to be depending entirely on definitions to prove your case. You can’t do that! Definitions are NOT the same as data.

    Nor is it up to me to show that evolution CAN’T happen. It is up to the person who claims it can to show it. The burden of proof is not on the challenger. And from everything I have seen, there is no extant evidence of any evolution today at all except for when you redefine terms. But that still does not add vocal chords to a bacteria or even a fish. I remember someone on CARM trying to tell me that humans were really fish, and all I could do after staring at that nonsense was tell him that I still would take my children to a people doctor and not a veterinarian, thank you. At least the medical profession recognizes the difference!

    You asked me if the various Equus varieties were the same species. That is up to you! You are the one defining species. You are then the one who has to tell me why you are classifying them that way. I will call them members of the same kind, however, and I will consider that classification due to their ability to hybridize at least. And yes, they do breed together.

    Drosophila – so many are man-made monstrosities. Why do you then call them all drosophila? There must be something essentially the same about them all, eh?

    You asked about plants. Again, we define species according to our own criteria, but plants sort of do what they want to do. Some cross-pollinate and some don’t. Perhaps we ought to take that into consideration when classifying them instead of claiming that they are interbreeding across our arbitrary classification lines and therefore evolution is true!

    Nor am I arguing that breeding preferences are all there is. However I do think you will find that coral will not fertilize anything but coral….there seems to be a bit of a genetic barrier there…. If there weren’t why don’t we see things that are semi-coral and semi something else?

    Now I noticed this morning that there is an argument (yours? I don’t remember who posted it) regarding the fact that there are no genetic barriers. And yet you wrote in this very post I am responding to, What's keeping them separate species? Are you claiming that speciation is only the result of behavior; that any two creatures can have offspring if they desired too? This is another considerable flaw in your argument.

    Well, now, either one or the other has to be true, doesn’t it? Either there are NO genetic barriers (in which case the entire concept of taxonomic classification should be junked), or there ARE genetic barriers which we see and recognize and acknowledge by the very fact that we have and use a classification system!

    You asked for an experiment where an isolated population was considered a new species which then showed up interbreeding with a different species, thereby indicating perhaps evolution wasn’t really happening. I don’t know about experiments, but I do know about some findings of this happening in the wild with both fish and birds. Woodmorappe referenced a few in the Ark book:

    Hubbs, C.L. 1955 Hybridization between fish species in nature. Systematic Zoology 4(1): 1-20

    Smith, G.R. 1992. Introgression in fish: significance ofr paleontology, cladistics, and evolutionary rates. Systematic Biology 41(1): 41-57

    Etc.

    Ring species documentation abounds, Rufus. But thank you for the opportunity to prove my case. Here are links from both the evolutionists and the creationists. Now, where is the species boundary, please?
    http://www.cs.colorado.edu/~lindsay/creation/ring_species.html
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/library/05/2/l_052_05.html
    http://ucsdnews.ucsd.edu/newsrel/science/mcwarbler.htm
    This link refers to ‘species level differences’.

    What are those? Breeding preferences???

    In the meantime, I was not dealing here with “mutation, selection, migration and drift [which] all played a role.” I am dealing in this thread with the adequacy of using the concept of ‘species’ as evidence for evolution. It is not evidence for evolution even when the definitions get changed both for what evolution is (speciation!) or for what species are (interbreeding populations).

    My argument here is soley with the use of species as evidence for evolution.

    You wrote: Are you claiming that no new species can evolve from dogs? I wonder what would happen if we began a dog colony with only Great Danes and Chihuahuas?
    Would you expect to see one interbreeding population or two reproductive isolated populations? Why?


    Of course they would be two populations, but not out of lack of desire! There would simply be physical restrictions. Nevertheless they are considered one species, right?

    Then you asked about isolating a population of dogs.

    You mean like the Australian dingo?

    They are dogs. They breed with dogs. There is no question but that years of isolation did nothing to make them different from other dogs in terms of willingness to interbreed! In this case we don’t have to ‘what if’ our way through something. We have a real example of what really happened and didn’t happen.

    You wrote: Please cite a single "evolutionist" source that states that evolution requires the addition (or subtraction) of body parts.

    I don’t have to cite anything. Show me vocal chords on a unicellular organism, please. Any unicellular organism. We are supposed to have descended from them. Aren’t vocal chords (and arms and legs and a central nervous system and an enclosed circulatory system and hemoglobin and….) the addition of parts?

    And no, I am not wrong to divorce variation from evolution. Evolutionists try to include it as evidence as a matter of definition, but as I said above, definition does not change data.

    There is no evidence of the change from fish to man in the evidence of variation within the kind. We have both acknowledged the vast variation among dogs above. But they are all dogs. Humans vary, too, in height, coloration, intelligence, coordination, etc. But we know what a human is! Variation is already present in the genome’s potential.

    Evolution into another sort of thing altogether isn’t.

    That’s the difference.

    [ January 25, 2002: Message edited by: Administrator ]
     
  8. Administrator2

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    [RUFUSATTICUS[/b]
    Helen,
    I’m sorry if you missed the point of my post. My post was intended to get you to think about speciation. Most of my questions were Socratic in nature. Your claim that species have nothing to do with genetic compatibility, that speciation is only the result of mate choice. I offered instances (Equus and Drosophila) where species boundaries are determined not by “mate choice” but by hybrid sterility and inferiority. I was hoping you would think about why these species are considered distinct. Instead, the point went right passed you.
    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>You seem to be depending entirely on definitions to prove your case. You can’t do that! Definitions are NOT the same as data.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    You seem to not understand that modern species concepts are definitions that are determine by data. You also do not realize that there are multiple ways of defining “species.” Different fields and taxa use slightly different definitions because of differing aspects of biology. No one definition appears to be universally suitable. In some instances, like ring species, there is no abrupt barrier between species. This makes evolutionary sense because we should find populations in an intermediate level of speciation. On the other hand, if speciation were impossible, ring species should not exist and there would be no fuzzy barriers between “kinds” of organisms.
    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Nor is it up to me to show that evolution CAN’T happen. It is up to the person who claims it can to show it. The burden of proof is not on the challenger.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    You are right that science should go first, and it has. Science has shown that evolution does happen. It is easily observed. It has also shown why it happens. (Hint: imperfect replication) You are left with three choices. Accept the scientific evidence, dispute the evidence, or deny the evidence. Which one do you choose? The ball is in your court now.
    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>And from everything I have seen, there is no extant evidence of any evolution today at all except for when you redefine terms.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    Please provide and explain evidence from scientific literature where evolution is only apparent by the redefinition of arbitrary terms. Otherwise, your statement has zero support.
    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>But that still does not add vocal chords to a bacteria [sic] or even a fish.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    Give another source scientific source where such a claim is made.
    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>I remember someone on CARM trying to tell me that humans were really fish, and all I could do after staring at that nonsense was tell him that I still would take my children to a people doctor and not a veterinarian, thank you. At least the medical profession recognizes the difference!<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    Cladistically, we are still fish. It’s sad if you interpret that statement as a recommendation that you go to a vet.
    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>You asked me if the various Equus varieties were the same species. That is up to you! You are the one defining species. You are then the one who has to tell me why you are classifying them that way.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    It was a statement to get you thinking. [Please consider] hybrid sterility, which effectively prevents gene flow between the species.
    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR> I will call them members of the same kind, however, and I will consider that classification due to their ability to hybridize at least. And yes, they do breed together.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    Define your usage of “kind.” How many species are in the same kind with the equids? How do you know? What criteria do you use? Are cows or pigs or dogs in the same “kind” with horses? How do you know this? At what part of the phylogenetic tree does the horse kind start? Does this apply to all organisms of just horses? Please clarify.
    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Drosophila [sic] – so many are man-made monstrosities. Why do you then call them all drosophila [sic]? There must be something essentially the same about them all, eh?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    Actually, Drosophila is a world-wide genus encompassing a multitude of species. Not a single species is a man-made monstrosity. Hybrids readily form between many species. According to your logic, they should be considered one species. However, they are not considered the same species because of the existence of postzygotic barriers. http://flybase.bio.indiana.edu/allied-data/lk/phylogeny/Drosophilidae-Tree/Dro sophilaphylum.html
    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>You asked about plants. Again, we define species according to our own criteria, but plants sort of do what they want to do. Some cross-pollinate and some don’t. Perhaps we ought to take that into consideration when classifying them instead of claiming that they are interbreeding across our arbitrary classification lines and therefore evolution is true! <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    How do plants have mate choice? That is what you claim defines species. To quote your first post:
    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>In other words, species has nothing to do with genetics per se, or with
    what the body looks like, or even whether or not there is some survival
    advantage with this particular mate. What matters to the animals are
    the mating cues<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    You said this in your first post. You now claim “Nor am I arguing that breeding preferences are all there is.” Which part of you contradiction do you really mean? Your entire first post hinges on breeding preference being all speciation really is. [Were you wrong?]
    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR> However I do think you will find that coral will not fertilize anything but coral….there seems to be a bit of a genetic barrier there…. If there weren’t why don’t we see things that are semi-coral and semi something else?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    So you admit that corals do not fit into your original argument. Coral speciation is due to genetic barriers not behavioral.
    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Now I noticed this morning that there is an argument (yours? I don’t remember who posted it) regarding the fact that there are no genetic barriers. And yet you wrote in this very post I am responding to, What's keeping them separate species? Are you claiming that speciation is only the result of behavior; that any two creatures can have offspring if they desired too? This is another considerable flaw in your argument. Well, now, either one or the other has to be true, doesn’t it? Either there are NO genetic barriers (in which case the entire concept of taxonomic classification should be junked), or there ARE genetic barriers which we see and recognize and acknowledge by the very fact that we have and use a classification system! <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    It is your contention that species are behavior-only constructs. Actually, the flaw is yours. You neglected to read and comprehend that post, which clearly states that the “genetic barriers” referred to is between microevolution and macroevolution. It is not referring to genetic barriers that exist between species. You also have neglected to understand the examples presented by me, which clearly demonstrate the existence of genetic obstacles to gene flow between populations.
    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>You asked for an experiment where an isolated population was considered a new species which then showed up interbreeding with a different species, thereby indicating perhaps evolution wasn’t really happening. I don’t know about experiments, but I do know about some findings of this happening in the wild with both fish and birds. Woodmorappe referenced a few in the Ark book:
    Hubbs, C.L. 1955 Hybridization between fish species in nature. Systematic Zoology 4(1): 1-20
    Smith, G.R. 1992. Introgression in fish: significance ofr paleontology, cladistics, and evolutionary rates. Systematic Biology 41(1): 41-57<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    I specifically asked you to explain any papers you cited. In this case, citing papers is not enough to make your point. You need to demonstrate, summarizing as necessary, how they prove your point. I am not about to go digging through the library. It’s your point. Support it.
    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Ring species documentation abounds, Rufus. But thank you for the opportunity to prove my case. Here are links from both the evolutionists and the creationists. Now, where is the species boundary, please?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    Remember when I mentioned that there were different implementations of species definitions? A “ring species” is a different type of species. It is a transitional stage in the division of one species into multiple ones. I followed your links, and they explain as much. Please go back and read them in an effort to understand. I don’t see how you can use ring species to disprove evolution. They are important evidence for evolution.
    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>In the meantime, I was not dealing here with “mutation, selection, migration and drift [which] all played a role.” I am dealing in this thread with the adequacy of using the concept of ‘species’ as evidence for evolution. It is not evidence for evolution even when the definitions get changed both for what evolution is (speciation!) or for what species are (interbreeding populations). My argument here is soley with the use of species as evidence for evolution.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    Then why do you make rhetorical claims like “Is this evolution in the way that, given enough
    time, could turn some kind of fish into a man
    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Of course they would be two populations, but not out of lack of desire! There would simply be physical restrictions. Nevertheless they are considered one species, right?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    So once again you admit that your initial argument was flawed. Desire is not the only division of species. Domestic dogs are considered to be a ring species with incompatibility between the extremes but gene flow occurs due to intermediates. If you put the extremes on an island, without the intermediates, they would be reproductively isolated. If we didn’t know anything else about them, then they would be considered separate species, especially after generations of isolation and disruptive selection.
    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>You mean like the Australian dingo? They are dogs. They breed with dogs. There is no question but that years of isolation did nothing to make them different from other dogs in terms of willingness to interbreed! In this case we don’t have to ‘what if’ our way through something. We have a real example of what really happened and didn’t happen.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    Yes, the situation of dingoes is one possibility. What about the other ones I offered? Do you understand allopatric speciation?
    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>You wrote: Please cite a single "evolutionist" source that states that evolution requires the addition (or subtraction) of body parts.
    I don’t have to cite anything. Show me vocal chords on a unicellular organism, please. Any unicellular organism. We are supposed to have descended from them. Aren’t vocal chords (and arms and legs and a central nervous system and an enclosed circulatory system and hemoglobin and….) the addition of parts?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    You do to need to cite something, since you claim are making a claim about the nature of evolution. If you don’t have anything to cite, be honest and admit your error. It is your own fault if you don’t wish to support you claims. Please quote and site a single scientific paper, which indicates that vocal chords should evolve on unicellular organisms. I don’t see how the inexistence of vocal cords on unicellular organisms disproves evolution, since no such claim is made. Populations evolve by the gradual accumulation of small changes, which can modify existing structures for novel purposes. Populations further evolve by the gradual accumulation of such novel traits. There is no reason to expect that vocal chords would evolve before multicellularity. I don’t see why you would even expect such. Changes in morphology do happen because of evolution, but there is no such requirement for a population to have a morphological change to have evolved. [Here is a link which explains evolution.] http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/evolution-definition.html.
    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>And no, I am not wrong to divorce variation from evolution. Evolutionists try to include it as evidence as a matter of definition, but as I said above, definition does not change data.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    What definition? Variation is the most important part of evolution. Its not part of any “definition” I know. It has been observed and tested. In other words, it is data. Without variation, evolution cannot occur. Darwin was the first to show this. R. A. Fisher, whom I quoted, even demonstrated this mathematically. Many empirical studies show this as well. No matter what you say on this board can change that. I guess you will keep on using your cartoon of evolution, but maybe some readers might learn something. Go pick up an evolutionary biology textbook and see what it says about evolution and variation. This page also covers it.
    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-intro-to-biology.html
    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>There is no evidence of the change from fish to man in the evidence of variation within the kind.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    So what? I don’t see how this statement aids your argument since no scientist claims the reverse.
    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>We have both acknowledged the vast variation among dogs above. But they are all dogs. Humans vary, too, in height, coloration, intelligence, coordination, etc. But we know what a human is! Variation is already present in the genome’s potential.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    Please define “kind” and “genome potential
    In the mean time, mutation is responsible for variation. Do you have any evidence that mutation cannot have generated the genomic differences between dogs and man as well as within those species? What evidence do you have that variation between taxa is of a different type than variation within a taxon? You appear to be claiming such, support it.
    Do you have that proof I asked for that no organism descended from a dog could ever lose characteristics typical of extant dogs?
    -RvFvS

    [ January 25, 2002: Message edited by: Administrator ]
     
  9. Administrator2

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    BILLY
    Billy: I don’t know who said this, but the evidence for evolution does not rest solely on the emergence of new species, though it is very good evidence for evolution.
    Helen: Billy, the point of my original post is that speciation cannot be used as evidence because the definition of speciation has little or nothing to do with actual genetic changes.

    Oh sure it does! If there is sufficient genetic difference between two animals, they cannot interbreed. The fact that they cannot interbreed is dependent on that difference.

    However you are right, later on, when you corrected me on the word ‘prove.’ I have seen it used by both sides, but that does not make it right. However Barbarian, here, and others in other places do indeed claim that evolution is true because we can see it in speciation and therefore that is proof. But when the entire argument rests on the definition of species, and when speciation depends so much on simple mating cues for different animals, I have a really hard time with that sort of waffling (which is how I see it).
    For instance, if dogs depended on sight instead of smell for a mating cue, we would definitely have many different species of dogs.

    I have no idea what you are talking about here. Why would sight produce more species?

    But we don’t. As different as they look, all house dogs, wolves, and coyotes are VERY much interested in each other at the appropriate times. We have many ‘cross-species’ interbreedings which are known and documented and, among both fish and birds, we even have some that are considered cross-genus. Now we can say either that this is evidence of evolutionary relationships or that our somewhat arbitrary taxonomic classifications are sometimes not in line with the real world. Everything here depends on definition where evolution is concerned, and that was the point I was trying to make originally. If we change definitions, then we change where the ‘evidence’ points!
    You asked for a definition of variation. In sexually reproducing animals and plants it is simply the different degrees of traits expressed due to the mixing of the genetic packages of the parents. The genetic material is already there and there is simply a genetic shuffling with each conception. This has nothing to do with evolution or creation, actually. It just happens. We see it. We work with it in breeding programs. For instance, we can get hairy dogs, hairless dogs, big dogs, small dogs, calm dogs, excitable dogs, barking dogs, barkless dogs, companion dogs, hunting dogs – it doesn’t matter. They are all interested in each other and I have never heard tell of any dog birthing an animal that is even on its way to being something other than a dog! Thus we have variation within the canine kind, but no extant examples of anything venturing outside that kind on its way to something different.

    Define "different" in this context.

    And that is exactly what evolution requires.
    Darwins finches are lovely examples of animals which formed into different species. Recent work on the Galapagos have shown that an population may be able to produce genetic drift equivalent to that of a species barrier in a very few decades. Now, How much longer would you extimate it would take for the same thing to occur at genus level? Would the resultant animals be "different"?

    What is a kind? You said no one had defined it. It has been defined a number of times. It is an original population and all its descendents.
    What is an "original population"? How do "kinds" correlate with the taxonomic groupings?

    Now, would you please define "kingdom" in taxonomic classification? It is the most basic division of taxonomy, but what defines it please?
    I mentioned that geographic isolation was often added to the concept of speciation and you responded "If groups are geographically separated then they cannot interbreed." The point is, put them back together and see what happens. Do we really have separate species? Or, exactly HOW are you going to define ‘species’?

    If they are apart long enough, they cannot interbreed. That’s what happened in the Galapogas.
    "Species" is a much murkier concept than most people realize, which is exactly what you would expect given evolution. On the other hand, if "kinds" were a real concept, you would expect much more clear-cut boundaries. There is an excellent FAQ on talk.origins which may be summarized as "Whatever you think you know about species is probably wrong." Given that, an obverse definition can be given. If two creatures cannot interbreen, they are of different species. But even there there are huge difficulties, as any breeder of exotic animals will tell you. Most of the time failure to breed pandas is due to behavioral difficulties that the animals have since they have been in captivity, and nothing whatsoever to do with differing genetic make-ups – artificial insemination would probably work better than sitting around getting the male to perform mating, and for the female to accept – or even understand - his courtship behavior.
    The mating behavior you see in domestic animals is as much a product of the environment that the dogs live in as the snout of a Peke is a result of selective breeding. For one thing, sexually mature animals such as dogs are in fact juveniles in almost all other behaviors. What you are seeing is roughly equivalent to a hormone-pumped teenage boy who is presented with a gorgeous female for the first time. His behavior, I am sure you would agree is not representative of how human males court. And just as the human female can refuse, so can the female dog. In fact the female dog has it easier, all Tina had to do to refuse was to sit down. Courting behavior in wild animals in the wild is far more complex than you describe.
     
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    PAUL OF EUGENE
    Paul of Eugene here!

    The whiptail lizards add a whole new wrinkle to the difficulty of defining species. The idea that interbreeding defines the species is ok except, in their case, there is no breeding at all. Yes folks, true sex has been left behind by these independent minded lizards, although they still go through courtship rituals; only female eggs are laid, and no genetic data is transferred before laying eggs. So with interbreeding totally eliminated, you CANNOT use that definition with these lizards! So, in the case of whiptail lizards, what is the definition of the species?

    By the way, please note that reality carries on without paying any attention to our problems coming up with appropriate definitions to describe it.
     
  11. Administrator2

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    KEVIN KLEIN

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>OK, first of all, atomic theory is worked with constantly. It is something that is not outside our range of experimentation. That makes the theories viable. We can see if they work or not.
    It is different with evolution. Except for variation, which is usually simply a result of the genetic combinations available to the mommy and daddy (not discussing unicellular asexual reproduction here), we cannot see and do not seem to have any real way of working with the evolution of one sort of thing into another.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I'm not sure why you think that evolution is not "worked with constantly" and can't be experimented on. There are biologists and paleontologists who work with evolution every day; who test it, and refine it, and try to poke holes in it. While it is true that no one has created a lab experiment where one "kind" evolved into another "kind", most likely that's because such an experiment would be nearly impossible. Consider:

    - It is believed that nature itself requires millions of years to make these kinds of transitions. It is not clear how one could construct an experiement to accelerate the rate of change.

    - In order to experimentally demonstrate evolution, one must reproduce in the lab the proper selective environment and maintain that environment for a long period of time. The experimental difficulty comes in identifying what exactly the "proper selective environment" is. If we wanted to investigate the evolution of eukaryotes from prokaryotes, for example, we would first have to identify what selective factors would lead to that kind of transition. AFAIK this hasn't been done.

    - Given that the natural environment is quite complex (consisting of predation, disease, weather, nutrients, and reproductive opportunities to name a few), it would seem to be quite difficult to reproduce an artificial selective environment without simulating the entire earth or at least a large portion of it.

    Given the logistical difficulties of reproducing macroevolution in vitro, scientists have looked for different domains in which to perform their evolutionary experiments: the genetic code and the fossil record.

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>One of the points I have brought up before is that we have been working with E.coli for over a hundred years now, throwing every mutagent in the book at them. What do we get? More E.coli. One new metabolic pathway, some were bigger, many were dead but all were recognizable E.coli. This is significant for two reasons: these organisms are among the most studied in the world, and among the ‘simplest.’ However it is appearing that ‘simple’ is not so simple. They are highly complex, appear designed, and have no intentions of changing into anything other than what they are. Now these are unicellular prokaryotes. Why can’t we induce changes which would give evidence to actual evolution of one distinct type into another at THAT level, but we somehow expect that evolution from a fish to a man will be accepted as factual?

    E.coli, secondly, have generation times of about 20 minutes. In a hundred years, that is over 2 ½ million generations. In 2 ½ million generations we cannot get enough mutations to give us something besides more E.coli. Where does that leave us with anything else? In other words, unlike atomic theory, we can’t work with evolution. We can only guess at it. That is why the inferences drawn in the two different fields mean different things in terms of acceptability.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    First of all, Helen, while we have been experimenting with e.coli for one hundred years, no one experimenter has run a single experiment for that entire time. I'd venture a guess that the longest experiment lasted maybe a decade -- long enough by your math for only 250K generations.

    Secondly, as I commented above, it is very difficult to reproduce in the lab the specific selective pressures that led to the development of new species. Can anyone say what the natural factors were that led to the evolution of eukaryotes from prokaryotes? If no one has a guess than how can we possibly construct an experiment to reproduce it? Even if someone did have a guess, would we be able to construct an experiment that would provide conclusive results in an observable time frame?

    But none of these complexities mean we "can't work with evolution". It just means that scientists have to choose different domains to experiment with (e.g. genetics and the fossil record). Evolution isn't the only science to have this experimental difficulty. So do geology, astronomy, and astrophysics, to name a few. We can't, for example, construct in the lab a complete working model of the earth in order to test plate tectonics. Does this mean that the theory of plate tectonics is invalid?

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>You then tried to say that evolution inferences were as valid as the Resurrection, as no one actually SAW that happen. However they did see the death of Christ on the cross. There were eyewitnesses hundreds of them as well to the living Christ three days, and then for about forty days, later. Again, we do have eyewitnesses to the ‘before and after’. We do not have this with evolution.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    You've provided no evidence to contradict the fact that no one actually SAW the body of Jesus be resurrected into heaven. The conclusion that he did is based solely on evidence from BEFORE and AFTER the event took place. I'd say that's exactly the same as evolution, except that with evolution we have lots of examples from IN BETWEEN as well.

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>You asked me to look at http://www.gcssepm.org/special/cuffey_05.htm

    Cuffey’s “Mammal-Like Reptiles” is a lovely page of drawings of various skulls. The explanation, as he sees it, is quite understandable. But please understand that where he sees transitionals, I see variation. That is all I am trying to get across.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    These are more than just "lovely drawings", Helen, these are the fossil remains of creatures that once existed. Not only that, according to the article "When placed in proper geochronologic succession, the synapsids naturally form a succession of taxa (genera and families) that progressively become more mammal-like and less reptile-like".

    The important point here is that "mammal-like" and "reptile-like" are not subjective measures. As the article states:

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>The presence of diagnosable morphologic differences between reptiles (including the oldest reptiles and the oldest synapsids) and mammals distinguishes them as distinct taxa. This allows us to test evolution by looking for transitional forms between the two. Because many of the bones are homologous, we should find evidence illustrating how these bones were modified over time to become the new bones. Furthermore, these morphologic changes should happen in parallel and in geochronologic succession.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    So right away the science is dispensing with the type of subjective judgements you are engaging in. This is what makes science testable, falsifiable, and objective. In the article I cited, the "diagnosable morhpologic differences" examined include:
    - reptilian jaw bones changing into mammalian middle-ear bones
    - changes in tooth differentiation
    - the exent of teeth in the lower jaw
    - the development of the "lateral temporal fenestra"

    I each case, when the fossils are arranged in geochronological order, these characteristics can be seen to evolve from the reptile-like configuration to the mammal-like configuration.

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>As he says himself,
    Modern reptiles and mammals are very distinctive, easily diagnosable, and do not intergrade. Reptiles are covered by scales, mammals by hair; reptiles are cold-blooded, mammals warm-blooded; reptiles do not suckle their young, mammals have mammary glands; reptiles have sprawling posture, mammals have upright posture.

    This presents an interesting problem. First of all, reptiles are successful as they are. Secondly, mammals are successful as they are. However, in order for one to change to another, there must have been an awful lot of intermediates who also must have been successful as they were. But none are left. Why? We have a successful beginning and a successful ending and by definition the intermediates must have been successful or they would not have been around long enough to continue the evolutionary process. So where are they now? Where are ANY of them?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I don't really see what the problem is. The simple answer is that they are extinct and have been succeeded by organisms better adapted to their environment.

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>And the simple fact is that the differences between mammals and reptiles are stark. The number of mutations required to change cold-blooded into warm-blooded, and all the other changes necessary, must have been absolutely immense.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    "Immense" is a remarkably non-quantifiable claim, and an unsupported one at that. Tadpoles and frogs (thanks, Froggie!), and caterpillars and butterflies are two examples that are morphologically very distinct yet genetically identical. It should be quite clear based on these two examples alone that significant morphological changes do not require significant corresponding genetic changes. Also, without any discussion of the rate of evolution at a genetic level, the fact that the changes might be "immense" does not necessarily indicate a problem. It is generally accepted today that the rate of evolution at a genetic level is more than adequate to account for the observed changes at a morphological level.

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>But we can’t even get E.coli to make a switch to become something else, no mater how hard we try. How many generations of trying do you think we need? And remember, we are inducing these changes they are not occurring naturally that we can see! So evolution itself, as an undirected series of changes from WHATEVER cause, is leaving us with NO evidence except for inferences. There is nothing we can work with. All is interpretation of evidently unrepeatable claimed processes.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I've already explained just some of the difficulties in conducting the types of experiments you propose. Our inability to conduct these experiments does not in any way invalidate the massive amounts of evidence from other lines of investigation.

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>My stand is that we need to look at the real data we have today and where it is pointing. It is pointing to stasis within kind, with only variation, also within kind. We cannot get anything else to happen naturally. We can force all kinds of weird things in a petri dish, but that is not the same thing at all. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    The "real data" that we have today, including but not limited to the fossil record, comparative anatomy, comparative biology, molecular biology, genetics, and biogeography all overwhelmingly support the theory of evolution.

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>As far as the horse family tree, I honestly can’t believe people are still trying to defend that. Fossils overlap when they are found together, indicating they all lived at the same time, or are found in widely different places in the world and were forced into that order despite that. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    This is a very common creationist claim that has been very thoroughly debunked here:
    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/horses/eohippus_equus.html


    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>The American Museum of Natural History has an exhibit of the horse series. Here is part of a transcript of a PBS television show entitled “Did Darwin Get it Wrong?” which aired January 11, 1981 (source, “Algeny” by Jeremy Rifkin, Penguin, 1984, p. 129):

    About 1905 an exhibit was set up [in the Amer Mus of Nat His] showing all these horses ... They were arranged in order of size. Everybody interpreted them as a genealogical series. But they are not a genealogical series; there is no descent among them. They were found at different times, in different places and they're merely arranged according to size. But it's impossible to get them out of the textbooks ... As a matter of fact, many of the biologists themselves forget what they are. I had a radio debate with a paleontologist some years ago & when I said there were no phylogenies, he told me I should go out to the Museum & look at the series of horses. I said, "But, Professor, they are not a family tree; they are just a collection of sizes." He said, "I forgot that."

    I think a lot of people have forgotten that!<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    So a misinterpretation of a poorly arranged museum display from 1905 is somehow evidence against evolution? I don't get it.

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Then I read the page you wanted me to read on molecular evolution here:
    http://biomed.brown.edu/Courses/BIO48/12.Molecular.Evolution.HTML


    The author presumes evolution is true to begin with, and therefore everything presented is presented in the light of that. So there is no evidence there that evolution IS true, but only that IF it is true, then here is how we will interpret the data. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    What the author presumes is stated quite clearly in the paper:

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Some important theoretical background: we want to develop a picture of what happens to a new mutant in a population, lets say a single nucleotide change a one position in the DNA. This is the starting point for molecular evolution.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    So the starting point for the study of molecular evolution is the single nucleotide change - a common occurrence that I assume you have no difficulty with. The remainder of the predictions are derived from this starting point using simple algebra.

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>The author also did not discuss the new and beginning understanding of genomic ‘hot spots’ which mutate much more regularly than other areas, nor did he discuss the effects of back mutations, which undo the previous mutations. Now we SEE hot spot mutations. We SEE that they go ‘back and forth’ and do not maintain direction. What we do NOT see is mutational series building up which produces a new body type or morphological feature. This is always presumed, but never seen. Instead, the simple variation we do see is said to be evidence of the much more radical changes we do not see. Now, people are welcome to BELIEVE this, but it should be understood that when that level is reached in interpretation and inference, it really is only a belief.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Have you ever SEEN the nucleus of an atom? Has anyone? The nucleus of the atom is presumed yet never seen. Does that mean the existence of the nucleus is a BELIEF and not a FACT?

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>However the REST of that discussion (and I’m betting you did not bother reading the link I gave you), which you did not find interesting, had to do with the fact that NOT all primates show up with this mutation. And that there are a number of other animals that DO! Now, we have two possible explanations here, whether we are discussing evolution or creation. First, that this mutation is a hot spot mutation and that indeed many other animals experienced it, and may still. But if it is a hot spot mutation, it could back mutate fairly easily and thus produce again the vitamin C manufacturing ability in an animal! Because this is quite possible in either model evolution or creation it is not possible to use it as evidence for evolution. You can INTERPRET it within an evolutionary model, but that is quite different from it actually being evidence FOR the evolutionary model. And, to the best of my understanding, the only way you can, again in terms of evolution, account for the fact that other animals have this mutation is to claim convergent evolution, which is the trap door for apparently all anomalous findings. This means, actually, that evolution cannot be disproved at all! If it didn’t work one way, then it MUST have worked the other because, after all, evolution is TRUE! <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    There are a few interesting things you failed to note about the table (table 2):
    1. Why is it that within a taxonomic order, all of the tested species generally have the same type of vitamin C synthesis?
    2. Even when there are differences within an order (e.g. primates) the differences can then be grouped by taxonomic family?
    3. If this truly were a random hot spot, wouldn't we expect to see a more or less random distribution across the entire table?

    This is what it means to test a theory. And your "hot spot theory" doesn't make any sense unless it is combined with some sort of common descent.

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>I think the challenge I would make to any scientist in any field is
    are you willing to allow your presuppositions to be challenged?

    In the case of evolutionists, the answer is almost always a resounding
    NO!<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Please provide us with the data that supports your claim that most
    evolutionists think this way.

    [Administrator: edited per author's request]

    [ January 29, 2002: Message edited by: Administrator ]
     
  12. Administrator2

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    rufusatticusa

    Paul,



    There is no one definition of “species” that is universally applicable. In the case of asexually reproducing organism, species usually refers to a lineage of closely related organisms sharing morphological and/or genetic similarities. Taxonomy is arbitrary. In other words, there are no set guidelines on where to draw the boundaries in the hierarchy. What constitutes a species or a genus is usually left up to the experts familiar with the organisms. Many taxa just exist because of tradition. Our human bias also influences where we draw the lines. The biological species concept is just one of the many possible ways to decide if two organisms should be classified as the same species.

    You might want to check out this page for more information (and references) on the various definitions of a species.
    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-speciation.html



    -RvFvS
     

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