Discrete versus Gradualism

  1. Gradualism is the cornerstone of Darwin’s Theory of Evolution because without it, he could not justify the idea that one organism changes into another. ‘Gradualism’ equals ‘Continuity’ but also presupposes a significant change, not just variations around a static mean (regression to the mean).
  2. In math, a function is gradual if continuous. A continuous function has a Grade’ (Slope) at every point. If a function is not gradual (continuous), then it is Discrete and has no ‘Grade’ (Slope). A Discontinuous function is a special case of ‘Continuous over limited ranges’. Some argue that large collections of discrete points appear continuous, thus justifying gradualism. This view were acceptable if and only if the contribution of the discrete points were strictly cumulative (such as when many water molecules form water waves). 
  3. Is Nature Gradual? No, Nature is Discrete from the most elementary particles, to molecules, cells, and organisms. New organisms are created by discrete processes and result in newborns that are measurably different from each parent while all DNA mutations are discrete events. Gregor Mendel observed the discrete nature of biology as early as 1865 in the inheritance of dominant and recessive alleles. Darwin might have learned that from Mendel’s papers sent to him, had he read and correctly interpreted the results. To be fair, Darwin’s gradualism was in line with the incorrect view of his times that considered matter a continuum. Only in the late 1800s the true discrete nature of matter started to become common knowledge. However, today everyone knows, yet the gradualism hypothesis remains central to evolution despite lacking any basis.
  4. The list of discrete elements in biology includes but is not limited to: atoms, molecules, biochemical reactions, DNA, RNA, proteins, enzymes, genes, chromosomes, organelles, cell types (pro/eukaryote), cell division (mitosis/meiosis), sex type (male/female), body organs, organ systems, and organism classification. Changes at the discrete micro level including mutations and exposure to free radicals, radiation, and misfolded proteins are not cumulative and can potentially impact the entire organism. Continuous measure such as temperature, volume and weight are not true biologic properties as these change over the life of organisms and are primarily statistical measures at population level in particular populations, environments and time.    
  5. We classify organisms into distinct groups with little if any overlap and with significant homogeneity within the group. If Gradualism were the norm, all living animals would fill a continuous spectrum which would make their classification in various taxa completely arbitrary. Were gradualism true in time – call this vertical gradualism, then gradualism over the current living – horizontal gradualism – should also be the norm. Instead, we observe that even unicellular organisms with huge populations and short-lived generations do not occupy a biological continuum. Plant diversity over the altitude & latitude continuum is a good example of Discontinuity in Nature: as conditions change, we see a changing mix of distinct species, rather than hybrid species as would be expected if Gradualism were true. Animal territoriality is also an example of discrete successful designs dominating certain ranges and mixing with each other at range boundaries without significantly changing their characteristics. 
  6. What about Speciation and Hybridization? And what about the Fossil Record?  A certain flexibility appears built into each biological design – more in some than in others. What we call Speciation and Hybridization may in fact be no more than adaptations within these flexibility ranges. Without confirming experiments on living organisms, it is impossible to determine whether the Fossil Record shows Gradualism or instead predisposition to Gradualism prompts an incorrect interpretation of the Fossil Record.

Pro-Con Notes

Con: Individuals heights are gradual. Height is one of the characters Mendel used with his pea plants, and height at maturity is influenced by a host of loci.

Pro: Height is not a proper biologic measure because height changes all the time, not just during development and because it is arbitrarily determined. Just as well you can sort by vertical reach or eyes height (on or off tiptoes), etc. – these can be more important for survival than the standard measurement and will throw off your statistics. Also food/climate/parasites during development affect size at maturity. And when exactly is maturity?

Con: Gradualism is the rule in evolution, since different alleles usually differ in their phenotypes only marginally. Phyletic gradualism does not claim that there is an absolutely smooth spectrum of species change over time.

Pro: Alleles are not gradual as demonstrated by Mendel. Darwin decreed gradualism precisely to support “smooth spectrum of species change over time”.Where do you see gradualism when everything in biology is 100% discrete from sub-atoms to atoms, molecules, genes, chromosomes, each element of cell structure and cell process, sexes, prokaryotes, eukaryotes, dominant-recessive, etc. etc.?

Con: The fossil evidence supports gradual changes in species.

Pro: The fossil record is “evidence” in the same sense animation is “evidence” of real life events.

Con: Is the DNA of a newborn measurably different and a significant leap from a random combination of the DNA of both parents?

Pro: Yes. Darwin’s theory of inheritance was “blended characteristics” (gradualism). That is, the offspring was a “blend” of both parents. The contrary idea of discrete alleles of genes had been found and proven by Mendel that hypothesized instead that traits, such as eye color or height or flower hues, were carried by tiny particles that were inherited whole in the next generation.

Links:

https://phys.org/news/2010-11-darwin-theory-gradual-evolution-geological.html

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/library/06/1/l_061_01.html

219 thoughts on “Discrete versus Gradualism

  1. Entropy:
    Allan Miller,

    Nonlin has no other intention than dismiss whatever you say. This is why his/her “answers” have nothing to do with your intended point. (ETA: Besides the fact that Nonlin cannot read.)

    Oh, I know! I’m never going to get anywhere. But then, I’ve never seen anyone get anywhere with anyone in all my years of observing and participating on this topic. It merely amuses me to let people gibber and expose the foolishness of their position.

    I mean, gradualism is debunked because the changes are too small? Come on! That’s got to raise a laugh!

  2. Allan Miller: I mean, gradualism is debunked because the changes are too small? Come on! That’s got to raise a laugh!

    As much of a laugh as “gradualism is debunked because nature is discrete.”

    It’s a tragic comedy.

  3. Corneel: No, I don’t see why I should answer your questions when you flatly refuse to engage with mine.

    You’re not answering any question but trying to argue against this OP. And you have nothing of substance. Your silence is tacit acceptance of these truths.

    Allan Miller: There are real life examples of genetic drift.

    But you’re not citing any? Stop making up stuff.

    Allan Miller: Are you really saying that the only ‘gradualism’ you would accept is an enormous change?

    What is “enormous”? How exactly do you plan on differentiating between random noise variability and “gradualism” without a distinct Beginning A and a distinct End B?

    Allan Miller: Are you familiar with the concept of the illustrative analogy?

    Best stick with real life. Analogies are often false when you cannot produce real life examples.

    Allan Miller: If I replaced letters one by one, would you consider that ‘gradual’ or not?

    If you have a clear Beginning A and DISTINCT End B and your steps are [tbd] equally small, then “yes”. Now, where are your real life examples? Supposedly you want to argue against ID, so how are these steps happening without YOU doing something… in real life?

  4. Allan Miller: So – just to be clear – are you categorically saying that a point mutation is not ‘gradual’ in your book?

    Again, remember A and B? What are your DISTINCT A and B and how do you differentiate against random noise?

  5. Allan Miller: Oh, I know! I’m never going to get anywhere. But then, I’ve never seen anyone get anywhere with anyone in all my years of observing and participating on this topic. It merely amuses me to let people gibber and expose the foolishness of their position.

    Have you considered the possibility that “evolution” might be false and that YOU might be the fool?
    A rational being would see that “evolution” fails for the simple fact there’s a debate hundreds of years after Darwin/Lamarck/etc. IOW, clear evidence FOR “evolution” is missing.

    Allan Miller: I mean, gradualism is debunked because the changes are too small?

    Don’t you mean “changes are too big”? As in from [supposedly] chimp to human?

    Also, this was not addressed by any of you:
    “Yeah, let’s pretend gradualism is missing in action only at the micro level. And let’s brush aside the fact that no gradualism can be seen at the macro level either. No horizontal and no vertical gradualism anywhere in sight, but let’s ignore that.

    Let’s further pretend that the micro has no bearing on the macro. And let’s wish away that inconvenient priest Mendel and his experiments that totally demolished “gradualism” and the “blended inheritance” nonsense. We can do that because of marble, letters, and artist’s conception.”

  6. Nonlin.org:Analogies are often false when you cannot produce real life examples.

    Yes, analogies can be misleading. After all, ID is nothing more than an argument from analogy.

    If you have a clear Beginning A and DISTINCT End B and your steps are [tbd] equally small, then “yes”.

    I have no idea why you think Beginning and End are important. In a series of genetic changes, you have a series of current states, each derived from the prior. If the changes taking place are ‘small’, that process would be regarded by most reasonable people as ‘gradual’. There is no ‘end’ until the lineage goes extinct.

    Now, where are your real life examples? Supposedly you want to argue against ID, so how are these steps happening without YOU doing something… in real life?

    I don’t see YOU doing any ‘real life’ organismal design, to be fair. It is a familiar double standard. At this point, many IDers start talking about computers and Pontiacs. Glad to see you won’t be going down that rabbit-hole, given your stated distaste for analogy. So, where are your real-life examples? Domestic breeds don’t count, I should caution – since you’d disbar them as exemplars of evolution, you can hardly have them as exemplars of the contrasted theory.

  7. Nonlin.org: Have you considered the possibility that “evolution” might be false and that YOU might be the fool?

    Nope. No, it’s definitely you.

    A rational being would see that “evolution” fails for the simple fact there’s a debate hundreds of years after Darwin/Lamarck/etc. IOW, clear evidence FOR “evolution” is missing.

    All that shows is that it is easily denied. Biologists overwhelmingly accept it. Bee-in-bonnet internet punters less so. I find that significant.

    Don’t you mean “changes are too big”? As in from [supposedly] chimp to human?

    In the context of the LTEE, you were grumbling ‘they are still E. Coli’, and show no evidence of gradualism because the generational changes are comparatively minor. That’s a bit of a howler – as is the notion that evolution has chimps evolving into humans, a real ‘tell’ for the relative cluelessness of one’s interlocutor.

    Also, this was not addressed by any of you:

    It was an unfocused, petulant rant. Not sure what, of substance, anyone was supposed to respond to.

  8. Allan Miller: After all, ID is nothing more than an argument from analogy.

    Huh? http://nonlin.org/intelligent-design/

    Allan Miller: I have no idea why you think Beginning and End are important.

    To differentiate gradualism from noise. A and B are needed even when there’s a B to C, D, E…

    Allan Miller: I don’t see YOU doing any ‘real life’ organismal design, to be fair.

    Animal/plant breeding for human purposes. Of course domestic breeds DO count as examples of intentional results that would never happen unintentionally per “evolution”. How so? Because most domestic breeds are NOT VIABLE when not intensely cared for.

    Allan Miller: Glad to see you won’t be going down that rabbit-hole, given your stated distaste for analogy.

    It’s not general distaste. It’s caution and skepticism when there are absolutely no real life examples of “evolution” or its many claims like “gradualism”.

  9. Allan Miller: Biologists overwhelmingly accept it.

    The biologist lemmings have been wrong so many times, it’s funny you even mention them.

    Allan Miller: Nope. No, it’s definitely you.

    Yet no real life examples of “evolution” and NO (NONE) counterexamples to this OP.

    Allan Miller: In the context of the LTEE, you were grumbling ‘they are still E. Coli’, and show no evidence of gradualism because the generational changes are comparatively minor.

    Very wrong. Not that “generational changes are comparatively minor”, but that these changes are just noise around the mean (eColi). Remember, no A to B?

    Allan Miller: as is the notion that evolution has chimps evolving into humans, a real ‘tell’ for the relative cluelessness of one’s interlocutor.

    Darwinistas have no sense of humor. Also, not even a straight story since the designated “common ancestor” looks just like a contemporary ape.

    Allan Miller: Not sure what, of substance, anyone was supposed to respond to.

    And that’s the problem with Darwinistas: no understanding of anything of substance and no logic thinking.

  10. Nonlin.org: Of course domestic breeds DO count as examples of intentional results that would never happen unintentionally per “evolution”.

    Could you give an indication how many generations it took for those domestic breeds to be “designed”? It didn’t happen gradually I trust?

  11. Nonlin.org: Huh? http://nonlin.org/intelligent-design/

    I’m not reading your fucking blog. If you can’t make an argument here in fresh words, I consider the point unrefuted.

    To differentiate gradualism from noise. A and B are needed even when there’s a B to C, D, E…

    What on earth are you trying to say here?

    Animal/plant breeding for human purposes. Of course domestic breeds DO count as examples of intentional results that would never happen unintentionally per “evolution”. How so? Because most domestic breeds are NOT VIABLE when not intensely cared for.

    So your example of a parallel explanation to evolution is something that produces things that need intensive husbandry? Hahaha. Who’s keeping an eye on the dolphins, then?

    It’s not general distaste. It’s caution and skepticism when there are absolutely no real life examples of “evolution” or its many claims like “gradualism”.

    There are certainly no examples of people designing organisms to match any given evolutionary series – new species, for example. Shuffling existing genes, maybe. But that is not the explanandum.

    Explain the thing you think evolution fails to explain to the level of detail you demand of evolution. Bet you can’t.

  12. Nonlin.org: The biologist lemmings have been wrong so many times, it’s funny you even mention them.

    What a feeble argument.

    Very wrong. Not that “generational changes are comparatively minor”, but that these changes are just noise around the mean (eColi).

    The E Coli have changed irreversibly. The ‘mean genome’ is not the same as it was. In no lineage is the original genome showing any sign of being revisited.

    Remember, no A to B?

    You keep saying this, and think it profound; it just reads like classically pseud-y gibberish to me. A to B! Remember A to B! Will no-one think of A to B!

    Darwinistas have no sense of humor.

    Oh, you were joking. Sure you were.

    Also, not even a straight story since the designated “common ancestor” looks just like a contemporary ape.

    No it doesn’t.

    And that’s the problem with Darwinistas: no understanding of anything of substance and no logic thinking.

    Ya boo sucks to you too, Professor. Logic thinking, chortle.

  13. Corneel: Could you give an indication how many generations it took for those domestic breeds to be “designed”? It didn’t happen gradually I trust?

    There’s no A to B, remember? No new “species” and not even a toilet trained dog. Just stretched variability soon to regress to the mean when the intervention stops.

    And there’s no quote-unquote about design. Are you saying domestic breeds are in fact not designed? Even Darwin-the-moron got that right.

  14. Allan Miller: I’m not reading your fucking blog. If you can’t make an argument here in fresh words, I consider the point unrefuted.

    I trust you’re still amazed by peekaboo. Why do I bother with less than toddlers?

    Allan Miller: What on earth are you trying to say here?

    Exactly. See above.

    Allan Miller: So your example of a parallel explanation to evolution is something that produces things that need intensive husbandry?

    What “parallel explanation to evolution”? Look, the topic is gradualism. Can you stay on topic? Do you have anything to say about the gradualism we don’t see in nature?

    Allan Miller: There are certainly no examples of people designing organisms to match any given evolutionary series – new species, for example.

    What “evolutionary series”? Lay off the crack pipe.

    Allan Miller: Explain the thing you think evolution fails to explain to the level of detail you demand of evolution.

    Do you have ANYTHING to say on the defense of “gradualism”? I don’t see anything from you and am tired of your bullshit.

  15. Allan Miller: The E Coli have changed irreversibly. The ‘mean genome’ is not the same as it was. In no lineage is the original genome showing any sign of being revisited.

    Known fact: when you release those eColi lab strains, they WILL die out exactly like chihuahuas released in the deep forest.
    And when they do die out, the original genome is the only one standing.
    That is regression to the mean and not at all “evolution” or even “gradualism”.

    Allan Miller: You keep saying this, and think it profound; it just reads like classically pseud-y gibberish to me.

    If you’re not smart enough to understand the basics, you’re a waste of time.

    Allan Miller: No it doesn’t.

    Show it, don’t just claim it.

  16. Nonlin.org: There’s no A to B, remember? No new “species” and not even a toilet trained dog. Just stretched variability soon to regress to the mean when the intervention stops.

    Just flexibility within species A? Ah, so NOT an example of organismal design then? no wait …

    Nonlin.org: And there’s no quote-unquote about design. Are you saying domestic breeds are in fact not designed? Even Darwin-the-moron got that right.

    Oh look. Now they ARE examples of organismal design and NOT the result of flexibility within species.

    Looks to me like you are contradicting yourself. Could you please clarify whether or not domestic breeds are examples of organismal design? Thank you.

  17. Nonlin.org: If you’re not smart enough to understand the basics, you’re a waste of time.

    Seems like everybody who doesn’t agree with you is a waste of your time. You should go to a monastery for like-thinking nincompoops where your time will be very well spent.

  18. Nonlin.org: Exactly. See above.

    Exactly what? You are descending into incoherence.

    What “parallel explanation to evolution”?

    You wish to argue for Design, as the competing theory to evolution. That parallel explanation.

    Look, the topic is gradualism. Can you stay on topic? Do you have anything to say about the gradualism we don’t see in nature?

    No. I have plenty to say about the gradualism we do see, however.

    What “evolutionary series”?

    A new species, let us say. Since you don’t see any evidence that evolution has led to new species, but do consider it the case that Design has, I offer you the challenge to explain how Design wrought those changes, if ‘gradualism’ didn’t. Give me the kind of detail in your explanation you think is missing from ours. I realise the ball will simply lay at your feet as you blink uncomprehendingly, but there you go.

    Do you have ANYTHING to say on the defense of “gradualism”? I don’t see anything from you and am tired of your bullshit.

    Fuck off then. No-one is forcing you to respond.

  19. Nonlin.org: Known fact: when you release those eColi lab strains, they WILL die out exactly like chihuahuas released in the deep forest.

    So What? That does not make the changes ‘not gradual’, nor does it mean those lineages are ‘regressing to the mean’.

    And when they do die out, the original genome is the only one standing.

    What, there is only one E coli genome? I think you have been misled.

    If you’re not smart enough to understand the basics, you’re a waste of time.

    It’s clear you don’t understand genetics. But hey, you think you’re smarter than me, well done you. Take a massive self-satisfied lick of your lollipop. You’ve earned it.

    Show it, don’t just claim it.

    You claimed the common ancestor looks just like a modern ape. You didn’t show it, you claimed it. Probably didn’t get past all the hair, that’s enough for deep thinkers like you, I guess.

  20. Corneel,

    It’s a curious paradox. If they count as examples of organismal design, they are ‘still dogs’, and as helpless as lab-evolved strains when released into the wild***. Design – that version, at least – appears to suffer from the same ills as evolution. 🤔

    *** (which, to be fair, is not all that helpless if you discount the chihuahuas; ferals do OK, but I’m taking nonlin’s stance for argument’s sake).

  21. Allan Miller: It’s a curious paradox.

    Hee hee. Nonlin is just being too contrary. When you told him he couldn’t claim domestic breeds as examples of organism design, of course he had to do exactly that.

  22. Corneel: Just flexibility within species A? Ah, so NOT an example of organismal design then? no wait …

    Why would you think “flexibility within species” is not compatible with ‘design’?
    What happens is active sorting. Just as with normally distributed widgets that are being sorted in different bins with slightly different characteristics. The first design is the widget. The second design is the sorting for specific jobs.

    Remember you’re not a modified version of either of your parents but an entirely new individual. This invalidates “descent with modification” (because “modification of what”?) and hence “gradualism”.

  23. Allan Miller: No. I have plenty to say about the gradualism we do see, however.

    But no natural examples. Very interesting if predictable.

    Allan Miller: What “evolutionary series”?

    A new species, let us say. Since you don’t see any evidence that evolution has led to new species, but do consider it the case that Design has, I offer you the challenge to explain how Design wrought those changes, if ‘gradualism’ didn’t.

    Different topic. Let’s first agree there’s no “gradualism” in nature.

  24. Allan Miller: So What? That does not make the changes ‘not gradual’, nor does it mean those lineages are ‘regressing to the mean’.

    Of course it does. If those strains die out, there’s no change to speak of (much less “gradual”), and the entirety of the eColi population regresses to the mean.

    Allan Miller: What, there is only one E coli genome? I think you have been misled.

    However you want to slice the common+variable part. Either way, no “gradualism”.

    Allan Miller: You claimed the common ancestor looks just like a modern ape. You didn’t show it, you claimed it.

    https://www.the-scientist.com/daily-news/oldest-fossil-of-ape-discovered-39318
    Go ahead and point to anything in this fossil not present in a modern ape but present in humans.

  25. Nonlin.org: But no natural examples. Very interesting if predictable.

    Different topic. Let’s first agree there’s no “gradualism” in nature.

    Different topic huh? You seem coy about comparing hypotheses again. No actual examples of Design, you say? Hmmm.

    Nonlin.org: Of course it does. If those strains die out, there’s no change to speak of (much less “gradual”), and the entirety of the eColi population regresses to the mean.

    You are proposing a universal law here: All Variants Die Out. In which case, how do you account for polymorphism? And, if two variants are presently each at 50% frequency, which one will die out? Which one represents the ‘mean’, and how is its continued tenure asserted, mechanistically?

  26. Nonlin.org,

    Go ahead and point to anything in this fossil not present in a modern ape but present in humans.

    Given that all they have is some teeth and a bit of jawbone, you mean?

  27. Nonlin.org: Animal/plant breeding for human purposes. Of course domestic breeds DO count as examples of intentional results that would never happen unintentionally per “evolution”. How so? Because most domestic breeds are NOT VIABLE when not intensely cared for.

    Those are perfect examples of evolution. Humans are part of the environment of those organisms, and are effectuating the selective pressure that have caused them to evolve to their present adaptations. If humans were gone, the selective pressure they effectuate would disappear and the species would have to re-adapt to an environment without humans. Which would require many generations.

    The fact that humans are intending to achieve something when they select for certain traits in crops and livestock doesn’t somehow make it not-evolution. There are countless examples of selective pressures operating without anyone having to “intend” for them. White, snow-covered landscapes select for white/bright predators, or white/bright prey that can hide from predators. Complete darkness or very short distance of vision(such as very muddy water) selects for better hearing/sense of touch/sense of smell.

    The fact that those populations would gradually lose or alter their selected adaptations if the selective pressures were altered doesn’t make it not-evolution. The species that evolved thick white fur to live in snow-covered or arctic environments would gradually lose them or evolve a different camouflage color and pattern if they moved to warmer climates. Populations of organisms that live on dark rocky surfaces evolve dark colors as camouflage, and will evolve bright colors when they move to bright surfaces. It has even been shown to have happened multiple times independently to mice by different mutations.

    That’s what evolution is: change due to selective pressures in a given environment. Change the environment and you change some of the selective pressures, and the population will gradually adapt when that happens due to differential reproductive success.

  28. Nonlin.org: Let’s first agree there’s no “gradualism” in nature.

    No. FIRST you have to tell us what “gradualism” IS. You say about 8 contradictory things about that in your OP. Once that is sorted out we can turn to whether anything you say about where “gradualism” is or is not exemplified is true.

  29. Allan Miller: Different topic huh? You seem coy about comparing hypotheses again. No actual examples of Design, you say? Hmmm.

    The topic today is gradualism as in NO “biological gradualism” whatsoever.

    Not to encourage you to go on on a tangent, but the only confirmed examples of modified organisms are designed. Even Darwin had to [mis]use them because he had no other. Your turn.

    Allan Miller: You are proposing a universal law here: All Variants Die Out. In which case, how do you account for polymorphism? And, if two variants are presently each at 50% frequency, which one will die out? Which one represents the ‘mean’, and how is its continued tenure asserted, mechanistically?

    Did I say “All Variants Die Out”? If so, can you point where? We were talking about some particular strains of eColi, right? They can do just fine in that controlled lab environment (no need to die out). And that’s your answer: adaptation. Only that adaptation is not “gradual”, else you wouldn’t be talking about polymorphism. So once again and from your own musing, you must agree “gradualism” fails in biology.

    Allan Miller: Nonlin.org,

    Go ahead and point to anything in this fossil not present in a modern ape but present in humans.

    Given that all they have is some teeth and a bit of jawbone, you mean?

    Then you can’t point to “anything in this fossil not present in a modern ape but present in humans”? What a surprise? Not. Then the designated “common ancestor” DOES looks like a modern ape. More so in the “artist impression” – the tool of choice for Darwinist indoctrination of the easily impressed.

  30. Rumraket: Humans are part of the environment of those organisms, and are effectuating the selective pressure that have caused them to evolve to their present adaptations.

    Only those animals don’t transmutate into “new species”. Hence not “evolution”.

    Color changes as well as size (including finches’ beaks), metabolic, antibiotic, antibiotic-resistance, and many other adaptations is what organisms do day in and day out. Yet none of these normal adaptations has ever been observed to become permanent after the triggering stimulus has been removed, and none has ever been observed to cause “divergence of character” transmutation into other organisms. Furthermore, these adaptations are limited in scope – for instance, no 2D-bound organism has been observed to become 3D-capable to avoid extinction. Hereditary mutations are variances around a mean and have not been observed to accumulate and promote the hypothetical “evolutionary arms race” superorganism.

    walto: You say about 8 contradictory things about that in your OP.

    Point to the “contradictory things”.

    Rumraket: That’s what evolution is: change due to selective pressures in a given environment. Change the environment and you change some of the selective pressures, and the population will gradually adapt when that happens due to differential reproductive success.

    Yet we see different and DISCRETE (not gradual!) species of bears overlap in the SAME environment. Where is the “selective pressures in a given environment”? And why is “gradualism” missing?!?
    Wait, don’t “explain”. Demonstrate experimentally or shut up.

  31. So, given all that nonlin, what causes what we see? Change of form over time is a fact that needs to be explained, we see it clearly in the fossil record.

    What sort of designer do you believe in? A theistic one or one within this universe e.g. an alien?

  32. Nonlin.org: Demonstrate experimentally or shut up.

    Quite so. What causes the changes we see. Once there were no bears. Then there were. What happened?

  33. Evolution is offered up to explain the observed evidence. What’s your alternative?

    Personally I’m happy to go along with whatever best explains the observed facts. How does your idea explain the fact of extant biology?

  34. Nonlin.org: The topic today is gradualism as in NO “biological gradualism” whatsoever.

    Nonetheless, what about designed gradualism? It is significant. If you insist that domesticated species count as Designed, are the changes ‘gradual’ or not? Stop hiding behind this ‘not on topic’ shit. Anybody who has a clue about the subject matter knows why it is on topic. You, not so much.

    Did I say “All Variants Die Out”? If so, can you point where? We were talking about some particular strains of eColi, right?

    You insist that they, and chihuahuas, are indicative of a general rule, which you term ‘regression to the mean’, which I can only interpret to mean that you expect all variants to die out. If that’s not the case, who gives a fuck about chihuahuas?

    They can do just fine in that controlled lab environment (no need to die out). And that’s your answer: adaptation. Only that adaptation is not “gradual”, else you wouldn’t be talking about polymorphism.

    Their change is a combination of adaptive and non-adaptive change (ie Drift). And is gradual, as far as I understand the word.

    So once again and from your own musing, you must agree “gradualism” fails in biology.

    So no. If E coli change gradually, they are an example of gradualism. If they die when you change the environment, they are still an example of gradualism.

    Then you can’t point to “anything in this fossil not present in a modern ape but present in humans”? What a surprise? Not. Then the designated “common ancestor” DOES looks like a modern ape. More so in the “artist impression” – the tool of choice for Darwinist indoctrination of the easily impressed.

    The fossils you pointed to are literally a molar in one instance and a jawbone and four teeth in the other. This, you opine, makes it ‘look like a modern ape’. Yeesh. This is what you consider demonstrating and not asserting.

  35. Nonlin.org: Only those animals don’t transmutate into “new species”. Hence not “evolution”.

    This. This, right here. This is why nonlin appears utterly clueless about the subject he (yes, of course it’s a he) presumes to critique.

  36. OMagain: Quite so. What causes the changes we see. Once there were no bears. Then there were. What happened?

    Oh, that’s off topic, of course. Chortle.

  37. Nonlin.org,

    Only that adaptation is not “gradual”, else you wouldn’t be talking about polymorphism.

    For the non-specialist, a polymorphism is when a genetic locus has more than one variant in a population. Nonlin is asserting here that this state cannot occur ‘gradually’. Which I find rather absurd, notwithstanding that the original mutation is in some sense discrete.

  38. Mutations are discrete. Their effects are usually not.

    The whole point of the word drift is that most mutations have no observable effect.

    And for those that do have effects, most appear to have continuous effects.

    Height, weight, etc.

  39. What would a gradual change be? Nonlin won’t say. If the new item is distinguishable does that make gradualism false in that instance? If it’s not distinguishable, what’s the sense in which it’s new? Silence from nonlin on what the truth conditions for gradualism are.

    The whole debate is so stupid. Nonlin won’t tell us what gradualism is, but insists it doesn’t “exist in nature”. (It will be noted that this is quite different from fartualism, which exists almost everywhere in nonlin’s OPs.)

  40. OMagain: we see it clearly in the fossil record.

    You see nothing in the fossil record. Much less “gradualism”. Linking fossils to one another is pure prejudice.

    Allan Miller: If you insist that domesticated species count as Designed, are the changes ‘gradual’ or not?

    Not “gradual”. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domesticated_red_fox :

    “By the tenth generation, 18 percent of fox pups were elite; by the 20th, the figure had reached 35 percent. Today elite foxes make up 70 to 80 percent of our experimentally selected population.”

    It’s not that 100% of foxes were 18% domesticated by the 10th generation but that 18% of foxes were domesticated and the rest were not.

    Allan Miller: You insist that they, and chihuahuas, are indicative of a general rule, which you term ‘regression to the mean’, which I can only interpret to mean that you expect all variants to die out.

    Your “interpretation” sucks. No surprise.

    Allan Miller: Their change is a combination of adaptive and non-adaptive change (ie Drift). And is gradual, as far as I understand the word.

    Come again? How do you end up with polymorphism from something “gradual”?

    Allan Miller: If E coli change gradually, they are an example of gradualism. If they die when you change the environment, they are still an example of gradualism.

    Only the eColi do not change “gradually”. Instead, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E._coli_long-term_evolution_experiment :

    “Around generation 33,127, a dramatic increase in turbidity was observed in the population designated Ara-3. They found that the population contained clones that were able to grow aerobically on citrate (Cit+).”

    Allan Miller: The fossils you pointed to are literally a molar in one instance and a jawbone and four teeth in the other. This, you opine, makes it ‘look like a modern ape’.

    Not my opinion. I cited an article that claims that (or didn’t dispute that). Very ironic for a Darwinist to say “you can’t reconstitute an organism from a tooth” when Darwinistas do that all the time. Of course no one should build a long and stupid story (like “evolution”) on one molar here and there.

  41. Allan Miller: For the non-specialist, a polymorphism is when a genetic locus has more than one variant in a population. Nonlin is asserting here that this state cannot occur ‘gradually’. Which I find rather absurd, notwithstanding that the original mutation is in some sense discrete.

    So “the original mutation is in some sense discrete” (what “some sense”???) and you end up with discrete forms, yet biology is “gradual”?!? When will the nonsense end?

    petrushka: Mutations are discrete. Their effects are usually not.

    Then why are all lifeforms discrete (distinct from all others)?

    petrushka: And for those that do have effects, most appear to have continuous effects.

    Height, weight, etc.

    And of course (put your finger on it), height, weight, etc. are not biological metrics. They cannot not apply to everything, alive or not. GET IT?

    walto: What would a gradual change be?

    You seem to disagree, so stop being a chicken (or lazy) and come up with a counterexample if you can.

  42. Nonlin.org: Only the eColi do not change “gradually”. Instead, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E._coli_long-term_evolution_experiment :

    “Around generation 33,127, a dramatic increase in turbidity was observed in the population designated Ara-3. They found that the population contained clones that were able to grow aerobically on citrate (Cit+).”

    That’s describing the growth-medium, not the cells themselves you clueless dolt. Because the mutation allowed the cells to take in citrate when oxygen was present, they could continue growing by burning citrate even when all the glucose in the medium had been used up.

    Oh my fucking God when do you ever take a break from being an embarrassment?

  43. Nonlin.org: So “the original mutation is in some sense discrete” (what “some sense”???) and you end up with discrete forms, yet biology is “gradual”?!? When will the nonsense end?

    All changes are discrete if you look at them at a high enough resolution. It’s a question of scale. If you zoom in far enough on a diagonal line on your monitor it will start to appear obviously pixelated and “discrete” even though it might look totally smooth from a distance.

    This is a picture of the same line at two different zoom levels.

  44. Nonlin.org: So “the original mutation is in some sense discrete” (what “some sense”???) and you end up with discrete forms, yet biology is “gradual”?!? When will the nonsense end?

    Let’s say that an offspring is slightly darker in color than its parent. This seems to be a discrete change, from one generation to the next. And let’s say the next generation is a bit darker yet, and this continues for hundreds of generations. Viewed as individual breeding events, we have discrete events. Viewed from a much longer time frame, we have a gradual darkening. There is nearly always going to be some point where discrete and gradual merge. (Rumraket pointed out that this depends on the level of granularity.)

    Then why are all lifeforms discrete (distinct from all others)?

    Do you mean distinct from their parents, or distinct from all other species? But “species” is not a discrete term! In general, it refers to an interbreeding population, with the caveat that sometimes related species can successfully breed in, and sometimes extreme individuals within the same population are sufficiently different so as not to be able to interbreed.

    You are probably aware of “ring species”, where each neighboring population can interbreed with adjacent populations, but populations 2 or more groups apart cannot interbreed with one another. There are several examples of ring species. So where does one species end and the next begin? Could this be considered gradual?

  45. Nonlin.org: walto: What would a gradual change be?

    You seem to disagree, so stop being a chicken (or lazy) and come up with a counterexample if you can.

    Disagree with what? Counterexample to what? What exactly is it that you insist does not take place in nature? What are the truth conditions for a “gradual change”?

    You won’t say what gradualism is, just insist there isn’t any. It’s quite a cute ploy.

  46. Nonlin.org: Then why are all lifeforms discrete (distinct from all others)?

    Are all snowflakes “distinct from all others”? If yes, is that because they have different shapes, or would it be enough if they are in different places or times? Are all atoms distinct from all others? All electrons?

    In other words…What the hell are you asserting, exactly? What does “gradualism” mean?

  47. Rumraket: All changes are discrete if you look at them at a high enough resolution.

    He won’t say, but I think that may be all he’s asserting. I take it he finds that important or comforting or that it must be distressing to evolution defenders.

    Stop the presses! All changes involve change!!! All differences involve difference!!!

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