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

  1. Alan Fox Alan Fox
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    says:

    Joe Felsenstein: 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.

    Thanks Joe. The arguments over group selection vs kin selection seem to have resolved that issue. Not having come across species selection (I’m a layman but even so, it’s a bit disappointing not to have noticed before John Harshman raised it here) I can now see what John was getting at regarding additional processes that apply at the macrevolutionary level. I was hoping for a link to an explanatory resource such as “species selection for dummies”. 🙂

  2. John Harshman John Harshman
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    says:

    Alan Fox,

    There is disagreement over what ought to be called “species selection” and what ought to be called something else. “Species sorting” is another term often used for “something else”. Jablonski likes to reserve “species selection” for differential speciation/extinction based on emergent properties of a species that aren’t genetic. So do Vrba and Gould. I think that’s too restrictive, and that anything that doesn’t involve individual selection within populations ought to count too, specifically fixed characters or characters for which there is no selectable within-population variation. In such cases the only selection that could be going on would be at the species level.

    As Joe mentioned, everyone agrees that group selection could be a thing, and the argument is only over how big a thing it is. I would say that individual selection is responsible for close to all (if not all) adaptation. But species selection would seem to be responsible for some of the patterns of diversity we see. To pick a famous example, the end-Cretaceous extinction was a sudden event during which no within-population response could occur. Species lived or died based on chance or on various fixed characteristics: size, habitat choice, tendency to hide underground, etc. And that extinction had immense effects on what we see in the biota today.

  3. Mung Mung
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    says:

    keiths: That’s self-defeating, because this entire discussion is about semantics.

    Incoherent I say!

  4. Alan Fox Alan Fox
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    says:

    John Harshman: To pick a famous example, the end-Cretaceous extinction was a sudden event during which no within-population response could occur. Species lived or died based on chance or on various fixed characteristics: size, habitat choice, tendency to hide underground, etc. And that extinction had immense effects on what we see in the biota today.

    Ah, that’s very clear. Extinctions create empty niches which are opportunities for other species but a World-wide catastrophic extinction like K-T or the Permian extinction almost restarts the clock.

  5. keiths keiths
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    says:

    keiths:

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

    Allan:

    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’.

    And it’s that additional process that distinguishes speciation from mere continued single-lineage microevolution. No partition, no speciation. So to me, speciation falls decidedly on the macroevolutionary side of the cusp, since it requires that additional partition process.

  6. Allan Miller
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    says:

    keiths,

    But the process of partition may be entirely due to microevolution. For example, a chromosomal translocation which reduces fitness in heterozygotes may be enough to cause speciation, on that cusp. It may, equally, simply result in fixation of a change in chromosome number without speciation. It only becomes ‘macroevolution’ with hindsight.

  7. keiths keiths
    Ignored
    says:

    Allan,

    It only becomes ‘macroevolution’ with hindsight.

    It also only becomes partition in hindsight. So if there’s partition, you have both speciation and macroevolution. If there’s no partition, you don’t have speciation and you don’t have macroevolution. So again, it seems to me that speciation is necessarily a macroevolutionary process, not merely a microevolutionary one.

  8. Alan Fox Alan Fox
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    says:

    Picking up on this, my understanding has evolved somewhat so may I just see if there is still any significant difference in our views,

    keiths: It also only becomes partition in hindsight. So if there’s partition, you have both speciation and macroevolution.

    Assuming you are defining macroevolution as a process that includes speciation and excludes adaptive change within species.

    If there’s no partition, you don’t have speciation and you don’t have macroevolution.

    Ditto.

    So again, it seems to me that speciation is necessarily a macroevolutionary process, not merely a microevolutionary one.

    Simply by definition.

    I’m thinking there is a new process to consider that I was unaware of that now makes sense, species selection during a mass extinction event. So now I would say macroevolution is microevolution writ large plus speciation* plus mass extinctions that give rise to the process of species selection. Are there other processes that occur under the label of macroevolution that don’t occur with microevolution (accepting the definition of adaptive and non adaptive evolution within species)?

    ETA Oops *plus speciation

  9. John Harshman John Harshman
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    says:

    Alan Fox,

    It isn’t just mass extinctions that are macroevolution. It’s background extinction too. Any extinction. I would also consider interspecific competition to be a macroevolutionary mechanism, though it might also be microevolutionary; depends on whether competition results in within-species changes, and it often doesn’t. Adaptive radiation would also seem to be at least partially macroevolutionary, if the radiation results from some key innovation, though of course it’s accompanied by lots of microevolution.

  10. Alan Fox Alan Fox
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    says:

    John Harshman,

    Recall this all started with my assertion that macroevolution was just accumulated microevolution with the corollary that what else is there other than adaptive and non adaptive evolution within species, speciation and extinction. My initial error was not to be aware that the bar is usually set at below speciation to mark the boundary. Subsequently you pointed out the process of species selection which* seems eminently reasonable at my level of understanding. I’m just asking now if there’s anything else I’m missing. From your latest comment, if I understand you, there doesn’t seem to be.

    ETA*

  11. John Harshman John Harshman
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    says:

    Alan Fox: From your latest comment, if I understand you, there doesn’t seem to be.

    Perhaps not. The term “species selection”, like “natural selection”, can cover a wide range of causes, and I can’t think of a macroevolutionary mechanism that couldn’t be subsumed under that label. Still, I won’t say that there couldn’t be.

  12. Alan Fox Alan Fox
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    says:

    Allan Miller:[referring to macro/micro evolution] As with drift, I’m struggling a bit to see your issue here.

    Just to recap, I think this is resolved. At that point in the discussion I was unaware “microevolution” generally refers to adaptive and non-adaptive change in allele frequency within breeding populations and that speciation and extinction are considered “macroevolutionary” processes.

    Additionally, John Harshman has since pointed out the idea of species selection.

  13. Mung Mung
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    says:

    I think I read somewhere that homoplasy ought to be studied under macroevolutionary processes.

  14. Alan Fox Alan Fox
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    says:

    Mung:
    I think I read somewhere that homoplasy ought to be studied under macroevolutionary processes.

    And do you agree? I’m not sure why convergence due to similar or identical niche occupation should be considered macroevolution. It doesn’t necessarily involve speciation, I don’t think.

  15. Mung Mung
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    says:

    Alan Fox: And do you agree?

    Yes, I agree. It’s not a population level process, it’s related to phylogeny. It’s across species, so “above” the species level.

  16. Allan Miller
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    says:

    Alan Fox,

    And do you agree? I’m not sure why convergence due to similar or identical niche occupation should be considered macroevolution. It doesn’t necessarily involve speciation, I don’t think.

    Macroevolution doesn’t necessarily involve speciation. I find this all somewhat Zen – microevolution, one might fancifully describe as the ‘one hand’ not-clapping. When there are multiple lineages, with some kind of relative behaviour that is not fully captured by the separate single-lineage behaviour of each, one has a macroevolutionary trend.

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