Evolution doesn’t require experimental verification?

Recently, I have been awestruck by the statement of one of the “reputable” regulars at TSZ that evolutionary theory doesn’t need to be subjected to any experimental testing or experimental verification…

How do you like that?

He erroneously used the famous experiment that verified Einstein’s prediction of gravity’s ability to bend light. Here are the details:
See? Experiments don’t need to be run in the lab, and they can still be valid experiments.

While this kind of statement is nothing new to me that Darwinists deny or ignore the need for the experimental verification of their evolutionary claims, on the other hand, they demand ID to be subjected to the scientific method processes for their claims to be verified…Hypocrisy at its best…

So, why can’t evolution be tested?

For those who are not well familiarized with the scientific method, it is probably a good idea to review some of the requirements of the scientific theory, or hypothesis, just to realize what an impossible task Darwinists would face even if they would like to verify their evolutionary speculations by experiments… While the definitions of the scientific method vary slightly depending on where you look, most scientific methods of a theory or a hypothesis need to meet the 3 main criteria:

  1. It needs to be observable (one kind of animal evolving into another: organs in transition, the third hand evolving to hold the cellphone while I’m driving)
  2. It needs to make accurate predictions (If we tweak this gene this is going to begin to evolve, such as a change the body plans from 5 pound land walking animal to 50 ton whale)
  3. It needs to be replicated by experiments (bacteria without a flagellum put under selective pressure to evolve something resembling a flagellum or a propeller…

Anyone who has been following TSZ and my OPs knows that my calling on the supporters of evolution to help their belief system to meet the criteria of a scientific theory or scientific hypothesis is not new… The public admission by some that evolution doesn’t need to be subjected to experimental testing reached the new, unacceptable levels of ignorance by Darwinists, especially in the view of their arrogant insistence that ID would be subjected to experimental testing to be proven as a scientific theory or hypothesis…

Darwinists either don’t know, or choose not to know, but if they subjected evolution to experimental testing they could prove their theory or hypothesis right and, at the same time, ID wrong…

So, why not do it?

I guess the only explanation for the phenomenon is that Darwinists have not much faith in their own beliefs… It is just used as a facade to make their s”intelligence” look less ludicrous…

339 Replies to “Evolution doesn’t require experimental verification?”

  1. CharlieM CharlieM
    Ignored
    says:

    Entropy:

    CharlieM:
    So in these cases of the mice and the guppies have they mentioned any new alleles or genes appearing?

    Probably yes. I don’t know if they have analyzed the genomes (a titanic task).

    As far as I know, probably not during the time the experiment has been running. At least none with any bearing on their findings. But I’m willing to change my mind in light of evidence. They have studied the genome because they have found that there are at least seven mutations involved in pigmentation.

    CharlieM:
    I agree that diversity is dynamic. Heraclitus was right in that everything is in a state of flux. How we make sense of the dynamism is where differences of opinions arise.

    The scientific method is there to try and help us out of being left with differences of opinion.

    That’s true.

    I like the view of Margaret Colquhoun from the book, New Eyes for Plants: Workbook for Plant Observation and Drawing

    Doing science
    The activity of doing science is the pursuit of knowledge. This is not only something that other people in white coats in laboratories do on our behalf but it is also what we ourselves do many times every day when we discover something we did not know yesterday. Science belongs to the basic daily activity of every human being; indeed it seems to be a basic human necessity. It began in each of us as children when we learned to wonder; when we started to explore things in our surroundings out of interest. Wonder or interest leads to questions and finding out the answers to the questions, one could say, is doing science.

    And IMO jumping to conclusions and making premature assumptions leads to entrenched positions and the subsequent differences of opinion. And we are all guilty of it to some extent.

  2. CharlieM CharlieM
    Ignored
    says:

    Allan Miller: It seems an inevitable – and unexceptionable – corollary of a mutation-fixation process of evolution that a singular event is part of that process. A mutation occurring in one cell in one individual becomes shared by all. I don’t see the problem with calling that ‘new’.

    If one’s not enough, how many are?

    What are you calling new, the first appearance of the mutation or its spread through the population?

  3. Corneel Corneel
    Ignored
    says:

    CharlieM: What are you calling new, the first appearance of the mutation or its spread through the population?

    Let’s try again: you are confusing genotype and phenotype. Selection changes the frequencies of existing alleles. The result will be, besides changes in average population characeristics, the rise of novel phenotypes.

    Consider a population of mice* with variation in coat colour. Let’s say there are 50 loci that affect the trait, each with a light and a dark allele (L and D). The dark allele increases the pigmentation of the fur with one unit. Let´s start out with a allele frequency of 0.5 at each locus. The average pigmentation score will initially be spread around 25. Only a few rare mice (~1%) will score higher than 33.

    However, if positive selection on dark fur would increase the frequency of D alleles, individuals with exceptionally dark coats will start appearing on a regular basis. Those were not observed previously, so count as novel phenotypes in my book. Yet no novel mutations were required to produce them.

    ETA: funny that you, of all people, fell in the reductionist trap 😀

    ETA2: * mice that are haploid, of course, like proper mice are.

  4. Allan Miller
    Ignored
    says:

    CharlieM: What are you calling new, the first appearance of the mutation or its spread through the population?

    First appearance. I’m surprised you have to ask.

  5. Allan Miller
    Ignored
    says:

    CharlieM:
    So in order to help me with my comprehension what terms would you use for observed changes such as in the case of mice colouration in the experiment?

    Mutation, drift and selection

    And what term would you use for the appearance of fur in mammals from an ancestor that presumably did not have such a thing?

    Mutation, drift and selection.

    Me: Mutation and selection are factual.
    Charlie: I agree, but would you say that the observed differences I referred to are also factual? Two types of evolution can be distinguished, one that just changes the frequency of traits already present and the other producing novel traits.

    Sigh. Evolution The First is termed ‘selection’ or ‘drift’. Evolution The Second is usually mutation.

    In the first observation fur variation was already present but in the second instance, say the first appearance of fur in animals whose ancestors presumably had no fur and changing frequencies is not going to bring it about.

    No. You need variation, then selection. Mutation is a mechanism of generation of variation.

    So for the sake of clarity wouldn’t it be a good idea that anyone arguing for evolution made it clear which type of evolution they were using in any examples they gave? […]

    And they say this shows, “the full process of evolution by natural selection”. Is this not misleading? Does it show the full process? The mutations were already there in the population.

    Sure, but technically it does show the full process of NS. Variation can arise by mutation, recombination or migration. The source of the variation is not part of the process of NS, though it is part of the broader process of evolution.

  6. BruceS
    Ignored
    says:

    What if were fundamental physics that could not do experiments? What if it were fundamental physics where there was a conspiracy of silence to hide the issues with current research?

    I bet that would make the day of a few biologists.

    The following is a rant on this issue by a Real Physicist ™ . Despite the tone she has has some important points to make and his made them seriously in her book, eg).

    Of course, others have said similar things (eg Smolin, Wolt). This is just rantier.

    http://backreaction.blogspot.com/2019/02/particle-physicists-surprised-to-find-i.html

  7. Neil Rickert
    Ignored
    says:

    BruceS: What if were fundamental physics that could not do experiments? What if it were fundamental physics where there was a conspiracy of silence to hide the issues with current research?

    That’s very much a concern.

    I’m glad that Hossenfender is open about this.

    Peter Woit (at Columbia U.) is also a long time critic of physics, though his main concern has been with string theory.

  8. BruceS
    Ignored
    says:

    Neil Rickert: That’s very much a concern.

    ID proponents say that ID cannot penetrate academia because ID is shut out by the some kind of academic prejudice against alternatives to biological evolution. I don’t know if they have quoted these issues in physics as an example to counter those who try to simply laugh off such a charge. But the example shows it is valid to say such prejudices can happen in modern science, and so the ID complaint cannot be simply dismissed.

    To see the real issue with such a charge from ID, one has to look deeper: Whereas ID says evolution is failing, that analogy would not apply to physics, where Sabine H and others in no way say fundamental physics has failed. Also, biology has many active and successful research programs, as does physics in general. These are some ways that any such ID claim of a conspiracy which point to physics as an example can be countered

    BTW, in the comments field, similar concerns about astronomy/cosmology are raised. Sabine links to a paper by Avi Loeb on that issue; he is the astronomer who complained that his ideas on Oumuamua being an alien artefact were not being taken as serious science, which they are, he believes.

  9. BruceS
    Ignored
    says:

    Neil Rickert,

    This paper covers some of the issues on realism in science that we’ve discussed, though from a political/public interest perspective. ID and evolution get mentioned, so maybe it is on topic….
    https://www.newstatesman.com/2019/01/post-truth-world-we-need-remember-philosophy-science

  10. CharlieM CharlieM
    Ignored
    says:

    Corneel: Let’s try again: you are confusing genotype and phenotype. Selection changes the frequencies of existing alleles. The result will be, besides changes in average population characeristics, the rise of novel phenotypes.

    Consider a population of mice* with variation in coat colour. Let’s say there are 50 loci that affect the trait, each with a light and a dark allele (L and D). The dark allele increases the pigmentation of the fur with one unit. Let´s start out with a allele frequency of 0.5 at each locus. The average pigmentation score will initially be spread around 25. Only a few rare mice (~1%) will score higher than 33.

    However, if positive selection on dark fur would increase the frequency of D alleles, individuals with exceptionally dark coats will start appearing on a regular basis. Those were not observed previously, so count as novel phenotypes in my book. Yet no novel mutations were required to produce them.

    ETA: funny that you, of all people, fell in the reductionist trap

    ETA2: * mice that are haploid, of course, like proper mice are.

    What you are describing above is the process by which a species, or a kind, or a type, or a baramin, or whatever other term you wish to use, is in harmony with its environment. It is a process by which individual parts that become out of sync with their environment cease to exist while those that remain harmonised survive and continue on their evolutionary path and thus maintaining the viability of the whole. There are examples of this at all levels of life. Dinosaurs were unsuited to the changing environment so they died out. Placentas are unsuited to their new environment outside of the womb so they decay and cease to exist but the organism to which they belong continues to grow. Apoptosis ensures that unsuitable cells die off. Examples are everywhere and at all levels.

    You have given us some general figures which correspond to the deer mouse experiment which is fair enough. But we can look at the actual experiment and at real life to see what is happening. Details of the experiment can be downloaded from here

    There are no novel phenotypes here. It has been observed that the fur of deer mice “can vary in color, from white to black”. I would say that all the mice in the experiment fall within that range. If we were to construct a bell curve of the colour range of mice in each section and then compared the curves then we would see that the peaks would be seen to move closer to one extreme or the other depending on the colour of the environment. I would not call this evolution, I would call it a stabilising force which keeps the population in harmony with the environment.

    And we witness this same stabilising force throughout nature. Polar bears, arctic foxes, snowy owls, sting rays, stick insects are all successful at surviving because they blend in with their environment.

    Where are you seeing the novel phenotypes?

  11. CharlieM CharlieM
    Ignored
    says:

    Allan Miller:

    CharlieM: What are you calling new, the first appearance of the mutation or its spread through the population?

    First appearance. I’m surprised you have to ask.

    I ask so that we can put things in perspective. It is being claimed that the deer mouse experiment shows evolution in action. The mutation event you are talking about is purported to have occurred thousands of years ago, not during the time of the experiment.

  12. Allan Miller
    Ignored
    says:

    CharlieM:
    Me: First appearance. I’m surprised you have to ask.

    Charlie: I ask so that we can put things in perspective. It is being claimed that the deer mouse experiment shows evolution in action. The mutation event you are talking about is purported to have occurred thousands of years ago, not during the time of the experiment.

    You have elided from NS to ‘evolution’. ‘Evolution by NS’ and ‘evolution’ aren’t synonyms. I appear to be having to go over the fundamentals of evolution – grade school stuff. For someone who purports to be able to proclaim that evolutionary theory is wrong, I’d have hoped some grasp of basic theory to have preceded that declaration.

    You are by no means alone.

  13. BruceS
    Ignored
    says:

    Allan Miller: You have elided from NS to ‘evolution’

    You are by no means alone.

    In addition to ‘evolution’, some use ‘Darwinism’ that same way,.

    Even regular contributors to TSZ who are quick to pick apart logical lacuna in others’ arguments.

  14. Allan Miller
    Ignored
    says:

    BruceS: In addition to ‘evolution’, some use ‘Darwinism’ that same way,.

    Even regular contributors to TSZ who are quick to pick apart logical lacuna in others’ arguments.

    And ‘speciation’. Nonlin.org is fond of saying that without “divergence of character” (their quotes), there is no evolution – although this may equally be a misuse of the term ‘divergence’, which would reduce it to a tautology.

  15. Rumraket Rumraket
    Ignored
    says:

    CharlieM: I would not call this evolution,

    And yet it meets the definition of evolution (change in frequency of alle genes in populations over generations, or descent with modification), so what you want to call it personally is irrelevant.

  16. Neil Rickert
    Ignored
    says:

    BruceS: ID proponents say that ID cannot penetrate academia because ID is shut out by the some kind of academic prejudice against alternatives to biological evolution. I don’t know if they have quoted these issues in physics as an example to counter those who try to simply laugh off such a charge.

    But there’s a huge difference.

    Physics works pretty well. The critics are not wanting to throw out existing physics. They are only pointing out the lack of apparent progress.

    ID does want to throw out a lot of what is currently working.

    BTW, in the comments field, similar concerns about astronomy/cosmology are raised.

    Yes, I also have concerns about cosmology. I see it as reading too much into too little evidence.

  17. Neil Rickert
    Ignored
    says:

    BruceS: Sabine links to a paper by Avi Loeb on that issue; he is the astronomer who complained that his ideas on Oumuamua being an alien artefact were not being taken as serious science, which they are, he believes.

    I face the same problem. I have serious ideas about consciousness which apparently I will never be able to publish.

    I don’t see a way of avoiding this. To some extent, a scientist has to be a salesman and market his ideas. The peer review system could never be more than a filter to limit publication to what the journal readers want to read. So someone with new ideas will have to first sell those ideas before he can expect the research journals to pick them up.

  18. Neil Rickert
    Ignored
    says:

    BruceS:

    This paper covers some of the issues on realism in science that we’ve discussed, thoughfrom a political/public interestperspective.ID and evolution get mentioned, so maybe it is on topic….
    https://www.newstatesman.com/2019/01/post-truth-world-we-need-remember-philosophy-science

    At one place he seems to be defending Latour. At another, he seems to be attacking Latour. I wish he could make up his mind.

    Really? Did no apples fall before gravity was thought of?

    Is he implying that gravity is the theory of apple-falling? If so, then it has gone way astray.

    He really ought to understand that when Latour says that scientists created gravity, Latour is talking about the concept of gravity, as currently used by science. I doubt that Latour thinks scientists created the falling of apples. When viewed within the context of sociology of science, what Latour says seems quite reasonable.

    In short, Williamson’s article seems too superficial.

  19. petrushka
    Ignored
    says:

    No one in the age of the internet is denied the ability to publish.

    However, one might have ideas that are not accepted.

    I have ideas about consciousness which I will never publish. But I also think that commercial intrests are driving AI research in useful directions.

  20. J-Mac
    Ignored
    says:

    petrushka:
    No one in the age of the internet is denied the ability to publish.

    However, one might have ideas that are not accepted.

    I have ideas about consciousness which I will never publish. But I also think that commercial intrests are driving AI research in useful directions.

    Consciousness is tough to verify unless it is quantum…

    Discovery of quantum vibrations in ‘microtubules’ corroborates theory of consciousness

    https://phys.org/news/2014-01-discovery-quantum-vibrations-microtubules-corroborates.html

  21. BruceS
    Ignored
    says:

    Neil Rickert: At one place he seems to be defending Latour.At another, he seems to be attacking Latour.I wish he could make up his mind.

    Is he implying that gravity is the theory of apple-falling?If so, then it has gone way astray.

    I took some of those conflicting views as referring to the views in the NYT article that he was criticizing. But I have not checked.that NYT article.

  22. BruceS
    Ignored
    says:

    Neil Rickert: But there’s a huge difference.

    Physics works pretty well.The critics are not wanting to throw out existing physics.They are only pointing out the lack of apparent progress.

    ID does want to throw out a lot of what is currently working.

    Yes, I also have concerns about cosmology.I see it as reading too much into too little evidence.

    Sure

    But what I meant was ID might point out that there can be conspiracies to shut out alternative perspective in science: just look at fundamental physics, they might say. I do agree they would be wrong, but just saying such conspiracies could never happen in science would be an insufficient counter to the ID claim.

    I agree the points you make would be better counters.

  23. Corneel Corneel
    Ignored
    says:

    CharlieM: Where are you seeing the novel phenotypes?

    I see two issues here. One is that the deer mice experiment demonstrates evolution by natural selection, but you are unsatisfied by it because no novel phenotypes were created. Since only a single generation was examined in the experiment, this was not to be expected. If the experiment was allowed to run over multiple generations, things might be different.

    The other issue, which I was addressing, is that you believe selection to be incapable of producing novel genotypes. This idea I tried to address by pointing out that the chance of producing extreme phenotypes increases once the genetic composition of a population changes. You now counter this by saying that the variaton in fur colour in deer mice has a lot of variation in the species as a whole. That is a strange argument, since it is irrelevant to the genetics of the population at hand. For example, a doberman pinscher will not give birth to chihuahua’s just because this variation exists in the species. Furthermore, it should be obvious that extreme phenotypes outside of the variation in the species are possible, given that humans have been able to select for exaggarated characters in domesticated crops and animals. This has nothing to do with bringing those species in “harmony with its environment”.

  24. CharlieM CharlieM
    Ignored
    says:

    Allan Miller:

    CharlieM:
    So in order to help me with my comprehension what terms would you use for observed changes such as in the case of mice colouration in the experiment?

    Mutation, drift and selection

    But the mutations they found were not observed changes, they were already present in the population. What they did observe was the change in frequency of mutations already present in the gene pool.

    And what term would you use for the appearance of fur in mammals from an ancestor that presumably did not have such a thing?

    Mutation, drift and selection.

    So in the experiment they observed drift and the observed selection, but they did not observe mutations occurring.

    Me: Mutation and selection are factual.

    Charlie: I agree, but would you say that the observed differences I referred to are also factual? Two types of evolution can be distinguished, one that just changes the frequency of traits already present and the other producing novel traits.

    Sigh. Evolution The First is termed ‘selection’ or ‘drift’. Evolution The Second is usually mutation.

    So the experiment demonstrated the First but not the Second?

    In the first observation fur variation was already present but in the second instance, say the first appearance of fur in animals whose ancestors presumably had no fur and changing frequencies is not going to bring it about.

    No. You need variation, then selection. Mutation is a mechanism of generation of variation.

    And do you agree that they did not observe mutations occurring during the experiment?

    So for the sake of clarity wouldn’t it be a good idea that anyone arguing for evolution made it clear which type of evolution they were using in any examples they gave? […]

    And they say this shows, “the full process of evolution by natural selection”. Is this not misleading? Does it show the full process? The mutations were already there in the population.

    Sure, but technically it does show the full process of NS. Variation can arise by mutation, recombination or migration. The source of the variation is not part of the process of NS, though it is part of the broader process of evolution.

    Okay so it shows the full process of NS which distinguishes between the amounts of the pigment pheomelanin in the fur determining its overall brightness value.

    What would anyone who is ignorant of evolution think on reading the following?

    The Wild Experiment That Showed Evolution in Real Time
    By placing wild mice in large outdoor enclosures, an ambitious team of scientists has illustrated the full process of natural selection in a single study.

    It’s a bit confusing because it implies that evolution is equivalent to natural selection. But it has been pointed out that this is not the case. For clarity would it not have been more appropriate for the headline to have read, “The Wild Experiment That Showed Natural Selection in Real Time?

  25. Allan Miller
    Ignored
    says:

    CharlieM,

    I think it really depends how hard you are trying not to comprehend the subject. It’s the old ‘what’s a poor boy to do’ game. A subject I find straightforward mongooses the critic, because they can find someone, somewhere, using terms vaguely. Life must be so tough.

    Synonymising NS with evolution is a common fault, and some people, especially science journalists, ought to know better.

    Armed with your new-found understanding, you will be able spot such cases and tut loudly.

  26. CharlieM CharlieM
    Ignored
    says:

    Allan Miller:

    Charlie: I ask so that we can put things in perspective. It is being claimed that the deer mouse experiment shows evolution in action. The mutation event you are talking about is purported to have occurred thousands of years ago, not during the time of the experiment.

    You have elided from NS to ‘evolution’. ‘Evolution by NS’ and ‘evolution’ aren’t synonyms. I appear to be having to go over the fundamentals of evolution – grade school stuff. For someone who purports to be able to proclaim that evolutionary theory is wrong, I’d have hoped some grasp of basic theory to have preceded that declaration.

    You are by no means alone.

    When did I ever proclaim that evolutionary theory is wrong?

    See my previous reply for an example of treating NS and evolution as synonyms.

  27. Allan Miller
    Ignored
    says:

    CharlieM:.
    When did I ever proclaim that evolutionary theory is wrong?

    Clearly, you do not accept evolutionary theory.

    See my previous reply for an example of treating NS and evolution as synonyms.

    But you now know better.

  28. CharlieM CharlieM
    Ignored
    says:

    Rumraket: And yet it meets the definition of evolution (change in frequency of alle genes in populations over generations, or descent with modification), so what you want to call it personally is irrelevant.

    So do we call the change in allele frequency over time evolution or do we call it micro-evolution? Surely these terms aren’t synonymous?

  29. Entropy Entropy
    Ignored
    says:

    CharlieM:
    So do we call the change in allele frequency over time evolution or do we call it micro-evolution? Surely these terms aren’t synonymous?

    They’re the same. Only difference is time-frame (and creationists’ misunderstanding). Think of it this way: new locus (new gene) would be a change in allele frequency, since there would be a new allele, from 0 to 1. Gene lost is also a change in allele frequency from whatever to 0. Changes in allele frequencies do not refer exclusively to loci where different versions of a gene can be found.

  30. Corneel Corneel
    Ignored
    says:

    Entropy: new locus (new gene) would be a change in allele frequency, since there would be a new allele, from 0 to 1.

    Nitpick: If a new copy of a gene is being created (e.g. by duplication), then we get a new presence-absence polymorphism at that genetic locus. As I see it, the allele frequency of the novel copy-present allele would rise from zero to 1/2N for a diploid population of N individuals, not to 1.

  31. Entropy Entropy
    Ignored
    says:

    Corneel,

    As long as the point gets across. (The way I understand it, locus is the specific position of a gene, and that’s where alleles, different versions of the gene-locus, are found, a duplication would not be at the same locus because of physical impossibility … etc. But whatever works for understanding that’s all right by me.)

  32. CharlieM CharlieM
    Ignored
    says:

    Corneel: I see two issues here. One is that the deer mice experiment demonstrates evolution by natural selection, but you are unsatisfied by it because no novel phenotypes were created. Since only a single generation was examined in the experiment, this was not to be expected. If the experiment was allowed to run over multiple generations, things might be different.

    I’m not unsatisfied by the experiment, just by the way it is being portrayed. Does it show “evolution in real time” or does it show natural selection in real time?

    It would have been difficult to run the experiment over multiple generations when the researchers tell us that:

    Using a mark-recapture approach, we tracked survival of these 481 introduced individuals during five 2-week sampling periods over 14 months, by which time mortality of these mice reached 100% in most enclosures.

    The other issue, which I was addressing, is that you believe selection to be incapable of producing novel genotypes. This idea I tried to address by pointing out that the chance of producing extreme phenotypes increases once the genetic composition of a population changes. You now counter this by saying that the variaton in fur colour in deer mice has a lot of variation in the species as a whole. That is a strange argument, since it is irrelevant to the genetics of the population at hand. For example, a doberman pinscher will not give birth to chihuahua’s just because this variation exists in the species.

    I haven’t been arguing about the production of novel genotypes, I’ve been talking about novel traits and novel phenotypes. And here we have differing ideas about what would be classed as novel. I would not say that the difference between a doberman pinscher and a chihuahua are due to novel traits. Say we take the body plan of a wolf and adjust the dimensions of its various parts then we could arrive at the body plan of any dog. But you could not get novel features such as horns, antlers, fins, wings or prehensile tails. In other words it always remains within the canine archetype.

    Furthermore, it should be obvious that extreme phenotypes outside of the variation in the species are possible, given that humans have been able to select for exaggerated characters in domesticated crops and animals. This has nothing to do with bringing those species in “harmony with its environment”.

    Of course it does. Human purposes and human activities make up a very influential part of the environment of domestic dogs. In the UK dogs win prizes at Crufts due to how well they harmonise with the ideal for the breed stipulated by the experts.

  33. dazz dazz
    Ignored
    says:

    CharlieM: But you could not get novel features such as horns, antlers, fins, wings or prehensile tails. In other words it always remains within the canine archetype

    Going by that definition, humans and chimps share the same archetype, right?

  34. CharlieM CharlieM
    Ignored
    says:

    Allan Miller:
    CharlieM,

    I think it really depends how hard you are trying not to comprehend the subject. It’s the old ‘what’s a poor boy to do’ game. A subject I find straightforward mongooses the critic, because they can find someone, somewhere, using terms vaguely. Life must be so tough.

    Synonymising NS with evolution is a common fault, and some people, especially science journalists, ought to know better.

    Armed with your new-found understanding, you will be able spot such cases and tut loudly.

    So do you tut loudly when micro-evolution is equated with evolution? Obviously you agree that the headline, “The Wild Experiment That Showed Evolution in Real Time” is misleading.

  35. Allan Miller
    Ignored
    says:

    CharlieM: So do you tut loudly when micro-evolution is equated with evolution?

    Nope. They are pretty much the same. If evolution is accepted as allele frequency change in populations, then anything that changes frequency – mainly mutation, selection and drift – is evolution. (I’m actually not a massive fan of that definition – I prefer ‘descent with modification’, though that fails to capture it fully too. But it doesn’t keep me awake nights.)

    Obviously you agree that the headline, “The Wild Experiment That Showed Evolution in Real Time” is misleading.

    And you can pounce on it like … well … an owl when you see it.

  36. CharlieM CharlieM
    Ignored
    says:

    Allan Miller:

    CharlieM:.
    When did I ever proclaim that evolutionary theory is wrong?

    Clearly, you do not accept evolutionary theory.

    On more than one occasion we have been informed (quite rightly IMO) at TSZ that there is no single theory of evolution so you’ll need to be more specific about which theory you think I don’t accept.

    What I am trying to do is distinguish observation from speculation.

  37. Mung Mung
    Ignored
    says:

    Allan Miller: Clearly, you do not accept evolutionary theory.

    Which one?

  38. Corneel Corneel
    Ignored
    says:

    CharlieM: Say we take the body plan of a wolf and adjust the dimensions of its various parts then we could arrive at the body plan of any dog. But you could not get novel features such as horns, antlers, fins, wings or prehensile tails.

    You are blurring the boundary between novel features and modification of existing features. For example, the morphology of a bat’s wing was obtained by adjusting the dimensions of a vertebrate forelimb. It is also a novel feature.
    Another example: Neither of us would have any problem telling apart the skeletons of a doberman and a chihuahua, but we both would be stumped when presented with the skeleton of a tiger and a lion. Is a tiger a modified lion? I don’t think so.

    I’d argue that when phenotypes occur that are outside of the variation present in the ancestral population, then we should call it new.

  39. CharlieM CharlieM
    Ignored
    says:

    Entropy:

    CharlieM:
    So do we call the change in allele frequency over time evolution or do we call it micro-evolution? Surely these terms aren’t synonymous?

    They’re the same. Only difference is time-frame (and creationists’ misunderstanding). Think of it this way: new locus (new gene) would be a change in allele frequency, since there would be a new allele, from 0 to 1. Gene lost is also a change in allele frequency from whatever to 0. Changes in allele frequencies do not refer exclusively to loci where different versions of a gene can be found.

    The difference is that we can observe micro-evolution. It is a matter of speculation as to how much change micro-evolutionary forces can achieve in the long run.

    From biologywise.com

    It is also believed that microevolution is better referred to as ‘variation’ or ‘adaptation’, that occurs within a population or species.

    Biologists believe that this process over a much larger time scale can lead to so much of genetic change that it may give rise to a new species. This theory is the extrapolation of microevolution over very long time scales. It is termed as macroevolution. The proponents of Darwin’s theory believe in this concept.

    Contrary to microevolution, this theory assumes the addition of new genetic information to the existing genetic structure. In other words, it is the evolutionary changes that occur past the species level. However, so far such a thing has not been observed. Moreover, the difficulty to conduct such experiments is that macroevolution proposes a much longer timescale for species change when compared to a human being’s lifetime.

    The conflict is not about observed data, it’s about the speculations on top of what is observed.

  40. CharlieM CharlieM
    Ignored
    says:

    Corneel:

    CharlieM: Say we take the body plan of a wolf and adjust the dimensions of its various parts then we could arrive at the body plan of any dog. But you could not get novel features such as horns, antlers, fins, wings or prehensile tails.

    You are blurring the boundary between novel features and modification of existing features. For example, the morphology of a bat’s wing was obtained by adjusting the dimensions of a vertebrate forelimb. It is also a novel feature.
    Another example: Neither of us would have any problem telling apart the skeletons of a doberman and a chihuahua, but we both would be stumped when presented with the skeleton of a tiger and a lion. Is a tiger a modified lion? I don’t think so.

    I’d argue that when phenotypes occur that are outside of the variation present in the ancestral population, then we should call it new.

    .
    rather than me blurring the boundary I would say it is you who is ignoring the distinctions.

    Looking at bats, flight was a novel trait when it first appeared in mammals, the appearance of a keeled sternum was a novel feature in mammals, the appearance of the patagium likewise. What similar examples can you give from dogs?

    Lions and tigers are both physical expressions of the feline archetype just as dogs and wolves are expressions of the canine archetype. The chihuahua, the doberman, the wolf, the lion, the tiger; none of these are examples of a modification of any of the others.

  41. Entropy Entropy
    Ignored
    says:

    CharlieM,

    That web site looks too much like done by people who don’t know what they’re talking about. They start by talking about “Darwinists vs creationists.” That’s a dead giveaway of the poor quality of the site. If that wasn’t enough, your quote contains common creationist misconceptions and claims, rather than scientifically-informed explanations.

    So, sorry. I’m not taking that misinformed shit seriously.

    ETA: The web site actually exemplifies my point:

    Entropy:
    They’re the same. Only difference is time-frame (and creationists’ misunderstanding). Think of it this way: new locus (new gene) would be a change in allele frequency, since there would be a new allele, from 0 to 1. Gene lost is also a change in allele frequency from whatever to 0. Changes in allele frequencies do not refer exclusively to loci where different versions of a gene can be found.

    ETA of ETA: What about you tried understanding the points made?

  42. Corneel Corneel
    Ignored
    says:

    CharlieM: the appearance of a keeled sternum was a novel feature in mammals

    I am surprised to learn that a keeled sternum is not a modification of a regular sternum and that the patagium cannot be obtained by “adjusting the dimensions” of skin.

    CharlieM: What similar examples can you give from dogs?

    Excuse me? You don’t think that morphology of chihuahua’s looks a tad different from that of wolves? It is pretty hard to come up with something more obvious than that, but I believe frequent barking is a novel trait in dogs. Of course, it is also a modification of wolf vocalizations.

    CharlieM: Lions and tigers are both physical expressions of the feline archetype just as dogs and wolves are expressions of the canine archetype. The chihuahua, the doberman, the wolf, the lion, the tiger; none of these are examples of a modification of any of the others.

    Perhaps not, but they are all modifications of the ancestral Carnivora archetype.

    I don’t get it. Why can’t novel features arise as a result of modifying existing structures? It is most peculiar that this is a point of contention.

  43. dazz dazz
    Ignored
    says:

    Notice how Charlie’s BS is no different from the typical creationist tripe, just swap “kinds” for “archetypes” and that’s it.

    CharlieM: But you could not get novel features such as horns, antlers, fins, wings or prehensile tails. In other words it always remains within the canine archetype.

  44. Allan Miller
    Ignored
    says:

    Mung: Which one?

    Bingo! I’ll take the huge bear, thanks.

  45. Mung Mung
    Ignored
    says:

    Allan Miller: Bingo! I’ll take the huge bear, thanks.

    The one with a strange resemblance to Charles Darwin? Do you promise to hug it at least once a day?

  46. Entropy Entropy
    Ignored
    says:

    dazz:
    Notice how Charlie’s BS is no different from the typical creationist tripe, just swap “kinds” for “archetypes” and that’s it.

    Naaaaaaaah! Really? I hadn’t noticed.
    🙂

  47. Allan Miller
    Ignored
    says:

    CharlieM: Me: Clearly, you do not accept evolutionary theory.

    Charlie: On more than one occasion we have been informed (quite rightly IMO) at TSZ that there is no single theory of evolution so you’ll need to be more specific about which theory you think I don’t accept.

    Oh, yawn. Why not just say? How about you list these supposed ‘theories of evolution’, with a simple yea or nay?

    I’ll start

    Lamarckism – nay.
    Progressive discovery of ‘archetypes’ – nay.
    Front loading – nay
    Mutation, recombination, selection, drift – yea.

    Which of those do you think I mean by ‘evolutionary theory’?

    What I am trying to do is distinguish observation from speculation.

    Sure, you’re a humble seeker after truth. You just find confusion wherever you turn, over concepts that most people seem to grasp without having the vapours.

  48. Allan Miller
    Ignored
    says:

    Mung: The one with a strange resemblance to Charles Darwin?

    No, the fluffy one. You’re obsessed!

  49. dazz dazz
    Ignored
    says:

    Entropy: Naaaaaaaah! Really? I hadn’t noticed.

    LOL, I know, I know. There’s a good chance Charlie never noticed though 😀

  50. CharlieM CharlieM
    Ignored
    says:

    Entropy:
    CharlieM,

    That web site looks too much like done by people who don’t know what they’re talking about. They start by talking about “Darwinists vs creationists.” That’s a dead giveaway of the poor quality of the site. If that wasn’t enough, your quote contains common creationist misconceptions and claims, rather than scientifically-informed explanations.

    So, sorry. I’m not taking that misinformed shit seriously.

    ETA: The web site actually exemplifies my point:

    ETA of ETA: What about you tried understanding the points made?

    What I do understand about genes is that there is not one phenotypic trait the appearance of which can be attributed to a single gene.It is the way genes are manipulated that determine which proteins are available to use in the formation of the body.

    And we know that there are complex repair mechanisms and forms of proof reading involved in DNA replication. In other words the cell ha the ability to control the amount of changes that occur during DNA replication.

    So the deer mouse experiment was supposedly, “The Wild Experiment That Showed Evolution in Real Time”. What is the actual physical effect of having different alleles?

    From Figure 5 in the paper there is an image with the accompanying description:

    Matched lines of transgenic Mus (in C57BL/6, an Agouti knockout strain) expressing the wildtype (WT; dark) or the ΔSer (light) Peromyscus Agouti allele. Close-up pictures show the intensity of pheomelanin in dorsal coats and individual dorsal hairs from transgenic mice.

    There are no novel proteins or structures, just different concentrations of an already existent pigment. Having different alleles allows various quantities of pheomelanin to be produced which results in the appearance of a range of coats, From light mice to dark mice. That is my point. See below.

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