The Mystery of Evolution: 7. Falsifying the Evolution-The Prelude to Something Greater

UPDATE: So far NO IDEAS as to how the theory of evolution can be falsified have been proposed…To make things worst, nobody so far picked up any of MY SUGGESTED IDEAS how to falsify evolution – now clearly numbered from 1-4. 

It makes one wonder what the bases are for believing in the theory of evolution if no one seems to even want to at least try to falsify it…

Please keep in mind that by falsifying evolution you can refute many claims by the proponents of ID!!! Isn’t it what Darwin’s faithful want to do?

This OP is just a prelude to hopefully many future ones, where I would like to focus on the specific examples of how to falsify the theory of evolution…

This OP gives everyone an opportunity for the input on no doubt the many available ways how to experimentally falsify evolution…

As most of you know, Darwinists and post-Darwinists, for unknown reasons, are reluctant to experimentally prove their beliefs, so by the series of the OPs on the many possible ways of falsifying evolution, we can hopefully encourage Darwinists and the like, to do so for their own good… I could definitely help with that…

Here are some ideas on how to falsify evolution that I have come across so far:

How a walking mammal can evolve into an aquatic one?

1. Just as an example, let’s say I would like to evolve some aquatic functions…
How long would it take for me to see some evolutionary changes, if I spend most of the day in the water and what would they be? How about several generations of water-lovers? Can someone make a prediction, as evolutionists often do?

2. How about growing a bacterium without a flagellum, knockout the genes for the flagellum, or make the flagellum not fully functional and see whether the bacterium will evolve anything at least resembling a flagellum or evolves a better functionality of it…

3. How to evolve a function of an existing appendage that is no longer in full use to fully function again? How to make emus and ostriches to fly again?

4. How about finches? Since their beak size seems to change within one generation, could they evolve into another species within short period of time if put under selective pressure or something?

Let’s come up with ideas and put some organisms under selective pressure or whatever makes the organism evolve, and see if we can falsify evolution, so that we can end the speculations, once and for all, about who is right and who is wrong; Darwinists or Intelligent Design proponents…

Let us not hear any excuses anymore!

Let experimental science speak the truth!

I don’t think anybody in the right frame of mind would object to what I propose here… unless…. one doesn’t have the confidence in his or her preconceived ideas that could potentially be exposed…

Let’s begin!

517 thoughts on “The Mystery of Evolution: 7. Falsifying the Evolution-The Prelude to Something Greater

  1. J-Mac,

    There are populations all over the world that have been pearl and clam diviners for countless generations […]

    Getting their daily dousing …

  2. John:

    While speciation itself results from allele frequency change, the speciation rate doesn’t.

    Right, but as I keep pointing out, the speciation rate is a rate, not a process.

    So my question remains: If the speciation rate is not a “macroevolutionary process”, and speciation itself isn’t a “macroevolutionary process” (according to you), then what is the “macroevolutionary process” that you are referring to?

    It seems to me that your definition excludes things, like extinction and speciation rates, that you want it to include. That’s a sign that your definition isn’t working. Since it’s broken, why not fix it?

  3. keiths:
    Alan,

    That’s a terrible definition! Do you see why?

    It was rushed. Though it does reinforce the point I’m making. I’m pointing out that adding macro or micro to evolution fails in creating clear and discrete categories. It is up to those who find the categories useful to provide those definitions.

    How about you have a go?

  4. keiths: It seems to me that your definition excludes things, like extinction and speciation rates, that you want it to include. That’s a sign that your definition isn’t working. Since it’s broken, why not fix it?

    Rather than just asserting it’s broken, why not suggest a definition that does work?

  5. Alan,

    I’m pointing out that adding macro or micro to evolution fails in creating clear and discrete categories. It is up to those who find the categories useful to provide those definitions.

    Who is the imaginary person you are arguing against? No one here has suggested that it’s sufficient merely to slap “micro” and “macro” in front of “evolution” without indicating what the compound terms mean.

    Why not read the thread? We’ve been discussing various definitions and arguing their relative merits.

  6. keiths:

    As if defined categories never deserved their own names.

    Alan:

    As if I was saying so!

    What was your point, then? Read the exchange again.

    You wrote:

    My quibble is the implication that “macroevolution” implies some additional process other than variation and selection.

    Corneel responded:

    As John has pointed out, research in macroevolution involves such topics as speciation rates. This is not a microevolutionary process defined as change in allele frequency and it is not captured well by mechanisms of evolution that act within species (mutation, migration, selection and drift).

    Distinct categories, different labels.

    You responded:

    All you are doing really is defining categories. Which is fine.

    So what was the point of your response, if not to argue against the idea of giving different labels to the distinct categories?

  7. Rather than just asserting it’s broken, why not suggest a definition that does work?

    Sigh. Read the thread, Alan. Whence this laziness?

    I’m arguing for a notion of macroevolution similar to Allan’s.

  8. keiths, regarding the process of extinction:

    Allele frequencies would be changing, as I explained to Mung, unless all of the remaining organisms were genetically identical. And even then the absolute frequencies would be changing, though the relative frequencies would not.

    John:

    I don’t know what “absolute frequencies” mean, but never mind.

    “Absolute frequency” is a term from statistics. The absolute frequency of an allele is the number of times it appears in the population.

  9. John,

    Why exclude from “macroevolutionary processes” anything that involves (in your sense of the word “involves”) microevolution?

    The reason you’ve given doesn’t make sense:

    Because it makes the term meaningful. Otherwise “macroevolutionary processes” means nothing that “evolutionary processes” doesn’t already.

    That’s simply not true.

    In the scheme that Allan and I are using, “evolutionary processes” encompasses both microevolutionary and macroevolutionary processes. The three terms have distinct meanings.

    So, for example,

    a) speciation is a macroevolutionary process in our scheme, but not a microevolutionary process. It involves more than mere microevolution.

    b) intraspecies evolution is microevolution.

    c) both speciation and intraspecies evolution are examples of evolution.

  10. J-Mac: So, since snakes and humans are also tetrapods, which one of them would be more likely to change into an aquatic one?

    Damn, Joe beat me to it.
    J-Mac, you really need to start reading books: Get one on snakes and start reading the chapter on sea snakes. They are cool! You’ll like it.

    J-Mac: Look at the thread corneel started.

    Moi? This whole thing got started because Allan said that when Creationists mention “body plan”, they usually get it wrong. You went out of your way with figures and everything to prove him right.

    J-Mac: Just because there are snakes living in water doesn’t apply as I was talking about land tetrapods evolving into aquatic ones now.

    But that does matter as it demonstrates beyond a doubt that the morphology of snakes makes them well equiped for an aquatic life style.
    But you are missing the broader point: The observation that whales, snakes and humans are built to the same (tetrapod) body plan is not dependent on evolutionary theory. No change of body plan is required to go from terrestrial to aquatic and vice versa, just a bit of tweaking. You are free to explain that any which way you fancy but that is a plain fact.

  11. Corneel,

    This whole thing got started because Allan said that when Creationists mention “body plan”, they usually get it wrong. You went out of your way with figures and everything to prove him right.

    Why does the phrase “useful idiot” come to mind?

  12. John,

    Yes, allele frequencies change during extinction; it can’t be avoided in a finite population. But the changes are incidental to extinction, do not affect it, have nothing to do with it. When I say “do not involve”, that’s what I’m talking about.

    That’s not correct. The changes in allele frequency are essential to extinction, not incidental. You can’t have extinction without changes in allele frequencies. So again, your definition of “macroevolutionary process” is not working. You wanted it to include extinction, not exclude it.

    If your definition is broken, why not fix it?

  13. keiths:

    There is a population for the change to happen in. There is one individual left (unless multiple remaining individuals die at the same instant). The change happens to that population. The population size goes from one to zero, and so do the various allele frequencies.

    John:

    I find this to be sterile semantics and have no interest in arguing about ti.

    I think your lack of interest has less to do with “sterile semantics” and more to do with the fact that my point is inconvenient to your argument.

    You want extinction to be a macroevolutionary process, but by your own definition it isn’t. So you sweep that fact under the rug and declare the issue to be “sterile semantics”.

  14. Corneel,

    So what you are saying snakes and whales have similar body plans.Just like bicycle and submarine. and the evolution of the first into the latter would not require new body plans…lol

    Fins will just grow out of snakes stupid head …because ???
    Yeah…and I need to read more books…

    I’m going to be doing on OP on giraffe’s neck evolution…You will have every opportunity to shine 😉

  15. J-Mac,

    I’m going to be doing on OP on giraffe’s neck evolution…You will have every opportunity to shine

    Is the giraffe’s neck a new body plan?

  16. J-Mac,

    With apologies to those who have J-Mac on ignore:

    So what you are saying snakes and whales have similar body plans.Just like bicycle and submarine.

    Chortle.

  17. J-Mac: I’m going to be doing on OP on giraffe’s neck evolution…You will have every opportunity to shine

    Be sure to include an IDcreationist explanation for the route taken by the recurrent laryngeal nerve.

  18. J-Mac: So what you are saying snakes and whales have similar body plans

    Oh good grief. This is not just what I am saying. If you care to look it up, you’ll find that even Creationists at Reasons to Believe accept that all vertebrates, including snakes and whales, are based on the same “archetype”. And why wouldn’t they? The concept derives from comparative anatomy. No evolution attached, see? It’s safe to accept.

    J-Mac: I’m going to be doing on OP on giraffe’s neck evolution

    Friendly warning: If I see the word “stretching” in there, I will put you on ignore.

  19. On re-reading the exchange on macro/micro, I see I’ve been overthinking the issue. If microevolution is defined as evolutionary processes within species (excludes speciation and extinction) and macroevolution begins* with speciation and includes extinction, then I happily concede that my initial statement “Macroevolution is a term that has a meaning in paleontology, I think. Doesn’t really mean anything much with regard to biology. There’s just adaptation, speciation and extinction.”was incorrect because the general scientific view apparently is to consider speciation as a macrevolutionary event. I still think it is simpler to talk in terms of adaptive (and non-adaptive) evolution, speciation and extinction.

    *Though I’d draw the Venn diagram as three concentric circles – Evolution as the outer circle containing Macroevolution (with it’s subcategories: speciation, extinction) and Macroevolution containing Microevolution (allele frequency change in single populations.)

  20. keiths: keiths

    keiths:
    Right, but as I keep pointing out, the speciation rate is a rate, not a process.

    As I (and others) keep pointing out, that’s right, but we aren’t talking about speciation rate as a process but about the cause of differences in speciation rate as a macroevolutionary process that can’t be reduced to microevolution. I have to wonder if you’ve actually been reading, or at least if you’ve been reading to understand rather than as a source of gotchas.

    So my question remains:If the speciation rate is not a “macroevolutionary process”, and speciation itself isn’t a “macroevolutionary process” (according to you), then what is the “macroevolutionary process” that you are referring to?

    Consider the analogy to microevolution. Microevolution could be defined as differential reproductive success of genotypes. Reproductive success isn’t evolution, differential reproductive success isn’t a process. Drift and selection are processes that are responsible for differential reproductive success. Macroevolution could be defined as differential speciation and extinction of lineages. Speciation isn’t macroevolution, differential speciation (or extinction) isn’t a process. Species selection is the name we often give to processes that result in differential speciation and/or extinction. Species selection is a macroevolutionary process.

    It seems to me that your definition excludes things, like extinction and speciation rates, that you want it to include.That’s a sign that your definition isn’t working.Since it’s broken, why not fix it?

    It’s broken only in your head, because you are consistently misunderstanding what I’m saying. Did the paragraph above help?

    keiths: “Absolute frequency” is a term from statistics. The absolute frequency of an allele is the number of times it appears in the population.

    That seems an odd term for something i would refer to as “absolute number”. In fact, “relative frequency” seems quite redundant. But never mind.

  21. keiths:
    Why exclude from “macroevolutionary processes” anything that involves (in your sense of the word “involves”) microevolution?

    Because if macroevolutionary processes are to be distinguished from microevolutionary processes they must be different. There is no point in having a term “macroevolutionary processes” if they aren’t.

    In the scheme that Allan and I are using, “evolutionary processes” encompasses both microevolutionary and macroevolutionary processes.The three terms have distinct meanings.

    That scheme only makes sense if macroevolutionary processes are distinct from microevolutionary processes.

    So, for example,

    a) speciation is a macroevolutionary process in our scheme, but not a microevolutionary process.It involves more than mere microevolution.

    What does it involve that’s more than mere microevolution?

    I think your lack of interest has less to do with “sterile semantics” and more to do with the fact that my point is inconvenient to your argument.

    You are of course free to think that.

    You want extinction to be a macroevolutionary process, but by your own definition it isn’t.So you sweep that fact under the rug and declare the issue to be “sterile semantics”.

    Have we established yet that I don’t want extinction to be a macroevolutionary process? It’s the causes of differential extinction that are the process. And this notion that extinction can reasonably be described as a change in allele frequencies is just silly, so you should drop it.

  22. keiths: Why exclude from “macroevolutionary processes” anything that involves (in your sense of the word “involves”) microevolution?

    Simple. To make a distinction between the two. If there’s no distinction, there’s no need for a second term.

  23. John Harshman: As I (and others) keep pointing out, that’s right, but we aren’t talking about speciation rate as a process but about the cause of differences in speciation rate as a macroevolutionary process that can’t be reduced to microevolution.

    If only he would pick up Stanley’s book on Macroevolution. You should make him summarize it before even trying to discuss the topic with him.

  24. Sea snakes break rules of evolution

    “Evolutionarily speaking, sea snakes are some pretty weird creatures. They have evolved both large and small heads very quickly and apparently without being separated geographically.
    When one species becomes two, it is usually because they have become geographically separated.

    Random mutations in the genes of separated animals from the same species slowly turn them into distinct species over time. But this does not seem to apply to the sea snakes in the Indian Ocean.

    These snakes develop new species side by side, and it goes very quickly, according to a new study of four different sea snake species, published in the journal Molecular Ecology [9].

    One of the researchers behind the study is Associate Professor Arne Redsted Rasmussen, an expert on sea snakes at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Conservation.

    “We have looked at four different species. One is a common ancestor for the other three, all of which have evolved from having large heads and being almost three metres long to having small heads and a length of only around one metre – in a very short time,” he says.

    Great bodily differences, small genetic differences

    Although there is a great visible difference between a large-headed and a small-headed snake, on a genetic level the difference between the species is tiny.

    ”There are greater genetic differences between us humans and the Neanderthals than there are between these snakes. In the world of sea snakes you could almost call it a cousin party.”

    Since the species are so genetically similar, the researchers believe they have evolved into different species over a very short period.

    A few genes regulate actions of the other genes

    Rasmussen believes that some of the few genes that vary between the four sea snake species are so-called regulatory genes, which determine what the other genes should do.

    The sea snake with the large head is born with a small head, which grows bigger the older it gets. The same is true of the snakes with small heads, but the difference here is that the head just stops growing long before the rest of the body.

    ”One could imagine that only very few genes may need to be modified to get the snake’s head to stop growing while it’s young,” he says.

    That no less than three species have evolved from having a large head to having a small one, independently of one another, also indicates that this may not be the most demanding of developments.

    ”If it were very demanding, it would probably not have occurred – and certainly not as many times as this.”

    Survival of the fattest

    The more food, the more offspring. This is yet another one of the laws of evolution, and it is also the reason why the sea snakes have evolved smaller heads, according to the researchers.

    A large head makes it possible to open the mouth widely, but it does not provide the same benefits on the seabed as a small head does.

    The small heads enable the sea snakes to hunt snake eels that live in burrows. The small head enables the snakes to enter the tiny crevices, thus getting food that sea snakes with large heads can never get access to.

    “It’s two different strategies, but both revolve around getting as much food as possible.”

    What do you know… Be careful when you overeat on those super-jumbo-burgers or your head is going to evolve overnight into largest watermelon you have ever seen…lol

    Survival of the fattest after all… 😉

    http://sciencenordic.com/sea-snakes-break-rules-evolution

  25. J-Mac quotes this…

    Great bodily differences, small genetic differences

    Although there is a great visible difference between a large-headed and a small-headed snake, on a genetic level the difference between the species is tiny.

    …in complete ignorance of how it relates to his “body plan” confusion.

  26. keiths, to John:

    Why exclude from “macroevolutionary processes” anything that involves (in your sense of the word “involves”) microevolution?

    Mung:

    Simple. To make a distinction between the two.

    You don’t need the exclusion in order to make the distinction, as I’ve already explained to John.

  27. keiths:
    keiths:

    Mung:

    We are watching the evolution of snakes closely to make sure that anything resembling fins just doesn’t pop out of the snake’s head or ass without changing it’s body plan…lol, which it will not if that happens according to the evolutionary engineering… 😉

  28. Alan,

    On re-reading the exchange on macro/micro, I see I’ve been overthinking underthinking the issue.

    Fixed that for you.

    *Though I’d draw the Venn diagram as three concentric circles – Evolution as the outer circle containing Macroevolution (with it’s subcategories: speciation, extinction) and Macroevolution containing Microevolution (allele frequency change in single populations.)

    Bad move. That would mean that every instance of microevolution is also an instance of macroevolution.

    You’re definitely underthinking this, Alan.

  29. J-Mac: We are watching the evolution of snakes closely to make sure that anything resembling fins just doesn’t pop out of the snake’s head or ass without changing it’sbody plan…lol, which it will not if that happens according to the evolutionary engineering…

    ID is the only hypothesis that is compatible with that, possibility of omnipotent designers and all

  30. John:

    While speciation itself results from allele frequency change, the speciation rate doesn’t.

    keiths:

    Right, but as I keep pointing out, the speciation rate is a rate, not a process.

    So my question remains: If the speciation rate is not a “macroevolutionary process”, and speciation itself isn’t a “macroevolutionary process” (according to you), then what is the “macroevolutionary process” that you are referring to?

    John:

    As I (and others) keep pointing out, that’s right, but we aren’t talking about speciation rate as a process but about the cause of differences in speciation rate as a macroevolutionary process that can’t be reduced to microevolution. I have to wonder if you’ve actually been reading, or at least if you’ve been reading to understand rather than as a source of gotchas.

    I have to wonder the same thing. Is it really that difficult to understand my question?

    Again:

    If the speciation rate is not a “macroevolutionary process”, and speciation itself isn’t a “macroevolutionary process” (according to you), then what is the “macroevolutionary process” that you are referring to?

    You say that there’s a macroevolutionary process that is the cause of differences in the speciation rate. What, specifically, is that macroevolutionary process?

  31. keiths: Bad move. That would mean that every instance of microevolution is also an instance of macroevolution.

    Whereas what I intended to suggest is that macroevolution must include microevolution. If you look at the macroevolutionary time-lines, say from the current population of blue whales to that of hippopotamuses round the hair-pin of their most recent common ancestor, you’d need to consider adaptive evolution as well as speciation.

  32. keiths,

    a) speciation is a macroevolutionary process in our scheme, but not a microevolutionary process. It involves more than mere microevolution.

    I’d go with ‘on the cusp’. Microevolution takes place in a ‘container’ – the gene pool accessible to subgenome alleles (in sexual species, at least). When the container of gene flow is divided in some way, microevolution proceeds in both new containers – but the mechanism of partition is an additional ‘process’.

  33. J-Mac: Can’t argue with that because miracles like that happen everyday…

    So since you were being sarcastic, and wanted to imply that since miracles like that don’t happen every day, we should conclude they never did. By extension we should never believe creationism until we literally observe it happening.

    Hoisted by your own petard. All of you ID-proponents and creationists around here always fail to apply the standard of evidence you demand from evolutionists, to your own beliefs. Hypocrites the whole lot of you.

  34. keiths: What, specifically, is that macroevolutionary process?

    No need to shout. The macroevolutionary process I’m talking about is often referred to as species selection: lineages either speciating at a greater (or lesser) rate or going extinct at a greater (or lesser) rate because of some characteristics for which there is no selectable variation within populations. Have you ever heard of species selection? I swear I have explained this several times already.

  35. keiths: Species selection does not cause differences in the speciation rate, John.

    Steven M. Stanley in Macroevolution: Pattern and Process describes macroevolution as a process in which the unit of selection is species, the source of variability is speciation, and the type of selection is species selection in which the comparison between natural selection as the type of selection in microevolution is between rate of reproduction (natural selection) and rate of speciation (species selection).

    Stanley also writes:

    Species selection deserves status as a distinct, though analogous, description because evolution above the species level is largely decoupled from evolution within lineages. … The decoupling of large-scale evolution from small-scale evolution led me to make the anti-reductionist statement that molecular genetics alone cannot explain large-scale evolution.

  36. keiths: Species selection does not cause differences in the speciation rate, John

    It can. If the speciation rate of each lineage remains constant, but different lineages have different speciation rates, then as the more-speciating lineages come to predominate, the overall average speciation rate would increase.

    (However it is not inevitably true that the speciation rate of descendants is the same as the present speciation rate for that lineage. So it’s an “if”. If on the other hand there is a regulation of species numbers by ecological factors, then species selection might not change the overall speciation rate.()

  37. I tend to agree with those who have viewed natural selection as a tautology rather than a true theory. It is essentially, a description of what has happened, with only weak powers of prediction, in that the kinds of individuals that are favored can often be recognized only in retrospect. The doctrine of natural selection states that the fittest succeed, but we define the fittest as those that succeed

    – Steven M. Stanley

  38. keiths:

    Species selection does not cause differences in the speciation rate, John.

    Joe:

    It can. If the speciation rate of each lineage remains constant, but different lineages have different speciation rates, then as the more-speciating lineages come to predominate, the overall average speciation rate would increase.

    Thanks, Joe. That makes sense. I stand corrected.

  39. Assuming that Alan is done interfering with discussion, let me continue.

    John,

    You’ve made several disparaging references to “sterile semantics”. That’s self-defeating, because this entire discussion is about semantics. We’re discussing evolutionary terms and their meanings — arguing over which terms to use and what meanings are most usefully assigned to them.

  40. @ John

    Looking up “species selection”, there seems to be a lack of consensus on the phenomenon. I’m OK with selection at the level of the gene, the organism and kin selection. Group selection seems to have fallen from favour. Is this a reasonable summary?

    Species selection in the broad sense—also termed species sorting—shapes evolutionary patterns through differences in speciation and extinction rates (and their net outcome, often termed the emergent fitness of clades) that arise by interaction of intrinsic biological traits with the environment. Effect-macroevolution occurs when those biotic traits, such as body size or fecundity, reside at the organismic level. Strict-sense species selection occurs when those traits are emergent at the species level, such as geographic range or population size. The fields of paleontology, comparative phylogenetic analysis, macroecology, and conservation biology are rich in examples of species sorting, but relatively few instances have been well documented, so the extent and efficacy of the specific processes remain poorly known. A general formalization of these processes remains challenging, but approaches drawing on hierarchical covariance models appear promising. Analyses integrating paleontological and neontological data for a single set of clades would be especially powerful.

    David Jablonski

  41. Alan Fox: I’m OK with selection at the level of the gene, the organism and kin selection. Group selection seems to have fallen from favour. Is this a reasonable summary?

    I’d say that selection at all these levels is possible. None are ruled out, all are probably operating. The issue is, how much selection is happening at each level. That is likely to be dependent on what trait you are considering. But the current majority view among evolutionary biologists has individual selection front and center.

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