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Thread: How do you talk to someone like this?

  1. #1 How do you talk to someone like this? 
    So say we all! xLethal Vixenx's Avatar
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    I was trying to have an honest debate about Evolution and then this happens.... Any one have a better response than I do?


    Arguing with a fundamentalist Christian is like playing chess with a pigeon.

    You could be the greatest player in the world, but the pigeon will still knock over all the pieces, shit on the board and strut around triumphantly.
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    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    "I had to smile at your suggestion. It was witty, but it also revealed a common misunderstanding about evolution that many creationists don't understand. (And you don't understand because perhaps no one has taken the time to explain it.)

    Evolution is not something that happens to individuals: it happens to populations. Natural selection, acting either on pre-existing variety in a population or variety introduced by means of a mutation, changes the proportion of individuals with particular traits so that the typical 'kind' of individual changes over time. In biology speak we say the frequency of alleles has changed."

    Just keep turning the other cheek. It really pisses them off.


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    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
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    As John suggests, be relentlessly reasonable. Other people may learn from the discussion even if the person your are arguing against doesn't. You need to be (and, just as importantly, appear to be) the rational side of the debate. Let others draw the appropriate conclusion.

    At some point, for your own sanity if nothing else, you may need to drop out with a comment that "others can draw their own conclusions about the level of argument" or similar.
    Without wishing to overstate my case, everything in the observable universe definitely has its origins in Northamptonshire -- Alan Moore
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  5. #4  
    So say we all! xLethal Vixenx's Avatar
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    Okay, thank you very much guys!
    I know know about evolution and I know how to explain it in my head but when it comes to typing it out or whatever, I apparently am not doing it right. LOL. I'm always up for learning more so that when pulled into a debate, I don't sound like a complete idiot.
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    Arguing with a fundamentalist Christian is like playing chess with a pigeon.

    You could be the greatest player in the world, but the pigeon will still knock over all the pieces, shit on the board and strut around triumphantly.
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  6. #5  
    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xLethal Vixenx View Post
    Okay, thank you very much guys!
    I know know about evolution and I know how to explain it in my head but when it comes to typing it out or whatever, I apparently am not doing it right. LOL. I'm always up for learning more so that when pulled into a debate, I don't sound like a complete idiot.
    It is always tempting to say more than you are capable of dealing with. Whenever presenting an argument, try and and think what questions it might raise and would you be comfortable answering them (and providing the necessary evidence). What you don't want to do is get out of your depth and find you have to backtrack or "make some stuff up" - that just plays into other people's hands.

    Good luck!
    Without wishing to overstate my case, everything in the observable universe definitely has its origins in Northamptonshire -- Alan Moore
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    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    I am always careful about assertions I make online. If I am in doubt I either check my facts, or am cautious in my statements - "It appears..", . "Sometimes it is the case...." "Many researchers have concluded.....". Occasionally I make a statement that is right at the edge of correctness with the expectation it will be challenged. This gives me an incentive to do some literature search to justify my 'flaky' assertion. I've learned a lot that way.
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    Debating with creationists is like playing chess with a pigeon. They squawk and flap their wings a lot, knock over all the pieces, and then fly back to their flock and claim victory!

    EDIT: I should have read Lethal Vixens signature before posting!
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    He has no interest in it. He simply does not care and views these times of thinking as times of intense thinking. He rather live "LIFE" that is exactly his way of life, put in to 2 simple words, Live life.

    It seems he is not capable of moving out of this sort of loop I imagine he lives the same day over and over again in immensely different ways, but still he lives the same day, the same task, the same people, it makes sense that after so long of doing the same things, moving houses girlfriends, internet, games, movies, people, friends, vacations, experiments, adventures, Thats he would not want to venture beyond these things that he favors as experiences. He simply has no interest in knowing and is logicaly uncapible of seeing out of this loop.

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    Here's what I wonder: What, Lethal Vixen, do you hope to achieve?

    Do you propose to 'educate' this individual against his/her will? To what end?

    Also, on what ground does this person resist your argument? If this is a traditional 'evolution vs. creation' debate, you really need to understand 'scientific facts' do not impress those of a spiritual bent any more than 'Biblical facts' impress those of a secular bent. I've seen and been involved in far too many of this discussions/arguments and I've learned most of the time, the participants are talking about two different matters and neither understand that.
    The universe is a real place. However, you can't see it, you have to imagine it. Like it or not, God designed, built and sustains the Universe. Deal with it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Archie View Post
    Here's what I wonder: What, Lethal Vixen, do you hope to achieve?

    Do you propose to 'educate' this individual against his/her will? To what end?

    Also, on what ground does this person resist your argument? If this is a traditional 'evolution vs. creation' debate, you really need to understand 'scientific facts' do not impress those of a spiritual bent any more than 'Biblical facts' impress those of a secular bent. I've seen and been involved in far too many of this discussions/arguments and I've learned most of the time, the participants are talking about two different matters and neither understand that.
    er... excuse me - "Biblical facts" - these 2 words are mutually exclusive.
    A scientific fact is empirically provable, a 'biblical fact' is anything but provable.
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  12. #11  
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    HaHa! For the most part, discussions on evolution boil down to a lot of people who believe it and have no idea what they are talking about and a lot of other people who do not believe it and have no idea what they are talking about.

    The subject is so broad and pervasive that it defies any reasonable discussion on a large scale basis in a forum such as this.

    What eventually happens is that an argument based on one concept in evolution is improperly countered by an argurment from a different concept.

    Evolution involves at least 10 large concept areas plus many other minor topics. Evidences pro and con exist in, at least, the following major areas: 1. Classification; 2. Comparitive anatomy; 3. Embryology; 4. Physiology 5. Biochemistry; 5. Geographical distribution; 7. Breeding experimentations; 8. Vestigial organs; 9. Mutations; 10. Paleontology.

    It will always be difficult to carry on a discussion on this topic because it is so emotionally charged and many people discussion from their opinions and beliefs rather than the actual facts. Often times there is general agreement on what the facts are, but large disagreement over what they mean or indicate.

    Plus there is a huge misconception as to what creationism is that is created mostly by those who argue that the Bible disproves evolution and those who think evolution disproves the Bible. Neither of these positions is true or accurate. The only aspect of the Bible which might be said to address evolution is that it says God created various "kinds" of animal which could reproduce according to their "kind."

    Creationism, at least from the design perspective, attempts to show the flaws in evolutionary theory without directly insisting upon an alternate explanation.

    I would not, personally, attempt to use anything in the Bible to dispute evolution. The only thing I can think of in the Bible which might even remotely come close to broaching the topic of evolution is in Genesis where it says that God created various "kinds" of animals with the ability to reproduce after their "kind." I have no idea where, if anyplace, on a taxonomy chart the term "kind" might fit nor do I find this is an adequate basis for an argument since it does not directly address anything that evolution shows.

    I would far more rather discuss evolution from the standpoint of the claims of evolution and/or the inablity to adequately explain questionable conclusions.

    What I see in the discussion (at least here) is factions from both sides disagreeing with the other side on the basis of their side rather than on the information which is being expressed. Even in a couple of the posts on this thread, I see the theme that creationists are wrong because they are creationist without any addressment of any creationist claim. They are wrong because of who they are, not because of how they interpret any actual data. That is not any way to have an intelligent discussion.
    Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind. -- Albert Einstein

    If God DID do all of this, is He not the greatest scientist of all? -- dt, 2005
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  13. #12  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    The reason I would assert that creationists are wrong is twofold:

    1) There is no significant scientific evidence for their position.
    2) There is abundant evidence of monumental proportions for evolution
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  14. #13  
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    John Galt:

    I am not sure what kind of evidence is monumental. Maybe you can describe what monumental evidence is, I mean as a genre of evidence, and then point out some of it in specifics. Your claim here is far too nebulous to address.

    Secondly, perhaps you could explain what you think the creationist position is before you dismiss it with an innocuous claim that there is not scientific evidence for it.
    Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind. -- Albert Einstein

    If God DID do all of this, is He not the greatest scientist of all? -- dt, 2005
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  15. #14  
    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner View Post
    It will always be difficult to carry on a discussion on this topic because it is so emotionally charged and many people discussion from their opinions and beliefs rather than the actual facts.
    I think the only "emotion" is from those who think evolution doesn't happen (or happens through metaphysical mechanisms) because they see evolution as an attack on their beliefs.

    It is hard to get emotional about evidence (enthusiastic, perhaps).

    Creationism, at least from the design perspective, attempts to show the flaws in evolutionary theory without directly insisting upon an alternate explanation.
    I'm not sure that is really what creationism is about. They very much have an alternative in mind (even if they try and disguise it by putting it in a frock labelled "design"). And it is a fairly pointless exercise anyway. Scientists already know their data and theories are incomplete. That is in the nature of science.

    Although some people do seem to think that "you can't explain everything therefore my theory is correct" is a logical argument.
    Without wishing to overstate my case, everything in the observable universe definitely has its origins in Northamptonshire -- Alan Moore
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner View Post
    I am not sure what kind of evidence is monumental.
    A pile of evidence as big as a monument. What else would you expect "monumental proportions" to mean?
    Without wishing to overstate my case, everything in the observable universe definitely has its origins in Northamptonshire -- Alan Moore
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    Well, again, you keep claiming to have lots of evidence, none of which you are presenting. It is of no more value than if I claimed there is minimal evidence of macro-evolution.

    Strange said:
    Although some people do seem to think that "you can't explain everything therefore my theory is correct" is a logical argument.
    I am willing to bet you do not see how that relates more to the evolutionists' side of evolution argument than to the creationist side of the argument.

    What is some of this "monumental" evidence?
    Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind. -- Albert Einstein

    If God DID do all of this, is He not the greatest scientist of all? -- dt, 2005
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  18. #17  
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner View Post
    Well, again, you keep claiming to have lots of evidence, none of which you are presenting. It is of no more value than if I claimed there is minimal evidence of macro-evolution.
    I'm sorry but "I don't know about it so it doesn't exist" isn't a very logical argument either. Do a search for "evidence evolution". But for starters, drug-resistant microbes and domesticated plants and animals.

    I am willing to bet you do not see how that relates more to the evolutionists' side of evolution argument than to the creationist side of the argument.
    Absolutely not. Evolution has evidence. Creationism has a book.
    Without wishing to overstate my case, everything in the observable universe definitely has its origins in Northamptonshire -- Alan Moore
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    Strange cites examples:

    drug-resistant microbes and domesticated plants and animals.
    These are examples of micro evolution which is not questioned by even creationists who understand speciation and variation. So far as I know, we have never bred pansies to become geraniums nor have we bred chickens to become turkeys, let alone kitties. Nor are adaptations of a specific microbe to be resistant to a specific drug anything other than examples of genetic potential within that microbe's DNA. This is NOT an example of the type of evolution which claims that fish became human beings. Sometimes, what we have found is that a microbe which became resistant to a particular drug, after a long period of not administering that drug, have become re-suseptable to that same drug. What you have alluded to is the process of variational development. This is not usually a permanent change, as shown by the observations of the peppered moth.
    Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind. -- Albert Einstein

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  20. #19  
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner View Post
    Strange cites examples:

    drug-resistant microbes and domesticated plants and animals.
    These are examples of micro evolution which is not questioned by even creationists who understand speciation and variation. So far as I know, we have never bred pansies to become geraniums nor have we bred chickens to become turkeys, let alone kitties.
    I do hope you are joking and don't seriously think that is how evolution works.

    As far as I am concerned evolution is evolution. If it causes an organism to be reclassified into a new species, that is just a matter of convenience. As the concept of "species" is an arbitrary convention, I don't really see how evolution could "know" that it mustn't cross that man-made line.

    So, I suggest you search for "observed speciation" to find the thousands of documented examples. Here is an article to get you started: Observed Instances of Speciation
    That has references to about 90 published papers, which perhaps you could use as the first layer of the monument you wish to assemble.

    p.s.
    If God DID do all of this, is He not the greatest scientist of all?
    Wouldn't it make him the greatest engineer?
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    Strange said:
    As far as I am concerned evolution is evolution. If it causes an organism to be reclassified into a new species, that is just a matter of convenience. As the concept of "species" is an arbitrary convention, I don't really see how evolution could "know" that it mustn't cross that man-made line.
    I'm sorry, these are scientific terms, not terms invented by evolution questioners. If you don't like to use the terms your people invented, go out and convince them that such terms are improper and are indicative of nothing other than meaningless arbitrary terms. If you are going to insist on changing the meanings of words, it will difficult to discuss anything. I don't think it is very honest to suggest that words which have had significance and meaning for centuries are suddently rendered meaningless by your own unilateral fiat.

    In fact, if "species" doesn't really mean anything, why don't you write to Webster to get that publication to take it out of their dictionaries. Oh, and you might also see if you can get biology text books to quit using that term.

    A fish eventually becoming a human being is not a change in species.

    Plusssss -- I already said: "These are examples of micro evolution which is not questioned even by creationists who understand speciation and variation." So your reply to that is that speciation and variation take place -- for which I readily agree there are many examples. What I said, was that these are examples of micro-evolution, not macro-evolution.

    You are correct that evolution, without a knowledge element, would not know what lines it cannot cross. So why do we have so much trouble finding places where it has crossed our arbitrary lines.

    Your statement that evolution is evolution is a classic example of your earlier complaint: "Although some people do seem to think that "you can't explain everything therefore my theory is correct" is a logical argument." This is pretty much what you have been doing. You have explained nothing but still claim to be correct. I have explained a lot and not claimed to be right.
    Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind. -- Albert Einstein

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    As none of that appears to bear any relation to anything I said, I don't know what to say really. For example:
    In fact, if "species" doesn't really mean anything ...
    I didn't say that so that, as with nearly everything else, is a straw man.
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    I wonder if one can use the argument that if there is no evolution then why aren't we, as humans, all physically and mentally the same?
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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  24. #23  
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    Strange said:

    If it causes an organism to be reclassified into a new species, that is just a matter of convenience. As the concept of "species" is an arbitrary convention,
    and then said
    In fact, if "species" doesn't really mean anything ...
    I didn't say that so that, as with nearly everything else, is a straw man.
    OK, then what did you mean by "arbitrary convention?"

    Webster defines arbitrary as meaning, in this context, "given, adjudged or done according to one's will or discretion; capricious, despotic, imperious, tyranical, uncontrolled."

    "Arbitrary" thus means something that nas no clear or definite meaning or that it can mean whatever the user wants it to mean, in which case it is virtually meaningless to the reader since he cannot know what the stater meant by the term. But Species does have a specific meaning which is universally accepted and if you do not understand that meaning, you have no business trying to discuss this topic.

    Convention, meanwhile, means "general agreement or consent; accepted usage."

    What you have done is created an oxymoron. Something cannot be both arbitrary and a convention at the same time. If it is arbitrary it cannot be a convention and if it is a convention, it cannot be arbitrary.

    Meanwhile, maybe you can provide some of this "monumental" (as John Galt called it) evidence of macro-evolution -- that is some known, observed change in a plant or animal that was not already built into the possibilities provided by its original genetic code.
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  25. #24  
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner View Post
    OK, then what did you mean by "arbitrary convention?"
    Good grief. Really? That is the level of debate?

    The concept of species (and genus etc) is just something we invented to help us organize the world around us. We make decisions about which organisms go in which bucket based on various characteristics. Often other people come along later and make different decisions and move things into a different bucket.

    We decide that two almost identical groups of wolves are different species based on where they live (even though we know they interbreed). On the other hand we consider all domestic dogs to be the same species even though some of them are reproductively isolated.

    There are no borders or barriers that prevent evolution from creating (what we decide is) a new species. For that to be the case, evolution would have to "know" how future taxonomists were going to think.

    This article has a good summary of the problem with defining species: Observed Instances of Speciation

    Meanwhile, maybe you can provide some of this "monumental" (as John Galt called it) evidence of macro-evolution -- that is some known, observed change in a plant or animal that was not already built into the possibilities provided by its original genetic code.
    This article has a number of examples of observed speciation: Observed Instances of Speciation
    It includes references to about 90 published papers. Perhaps you can use these as the first thin layer of the monument you are planning to build.
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    Strange -- you are providing a strawman argument. I have not disputed speciation. What I am asking you to show is how speciation and variations within species (which are micro-evolution) shows that fish through a miriad of similar but unobserved, unsubstantiated, unknown changes, eventually became human beings which is macro-evolution.

    There is considerable evidence that speciation has and continues to take place. Even so, the lines between species and variations is sometimes fine and it sometimes becomes difficult to actually ascertain and distinguish between the two. However, when you get to genus, these lines become a little more firm and so on up the taxonomy chart. The lines between Family are easier to distinguish than between Genus. It is easier to differentiate Orders of an animals than Familes. There are few disputes as to where an animal belongs when it comes to placing it in its Class or Phylum.

    When you have a different species of finch, you still have a finch -- micro-evolution. When you have a different Class, you have a completely different animal. We do not experiment with breeding reptiles and expect to get mammals, yet that is what evolution suggests must have happened. That is macro-evolution. What evolution seems to try to say is that we can show how the bills on a species of finch in the Galopagos Islands changed over a period of time in order to adapt to a change in their food source and, therefore, it is obvious that human beings evolved from fish.

    When it comes to semantics, the reason people can communicate is because almost all words have specific meanings and if one word can signify more than one thing, it depends on the context. Most misunderstandings arise when one uses a word improperly or someone else does not understand the word. Species is not an ambigious term with ambiguous meanings. Taxonomy is not a chart humans thought up and then nature diversified animals in order to fit them into it. Taxonomy was devised as a system to indentify and classify that which we have observed and defined it in an effort to be able to communicate our knowledge about these things.

    I think what you meant with your oxymoron "arbitrary convention" terminolgy was that sometimes the lines are somewhat bleery between different species or even similar but different genera. But we should know when someone is talking on the species level, they are not talking on the genus level. When we talk about different species, we know we are talking about two animals within the same genus. If we talk about two different species of finch, we know we are not including humming birds.

    You are correct that the terminology has been, in a way, arbitrarily developed, but the terms have become conventional terms for anyone with some knowledge of the topic. Any ambiguity derives from the fact that we really don't know the significance or meaning of all that we have observed. And that is complicated by what we have not observed. Whether nature or God is responsible for biodiversity, we don't know a whole lot about what has happened.

    When one is discussing a controversial topic, it is really important to choose one's words carefully. Even then, it is easy for someone who wants to disagree to do so.

    My response to John Galt, requesting the production of the "monumental evidence" which he claimed existed and to which you replied, has never been addressed. "Monumental" would imply one single huge piece of evidence. Since I am aware that no such single huge piece of evidence of evolution exists, I am more than willing to deal with whatever other evidence one might consider supportive of macro-evolution. Evolution on a grand scale of requires a lot more than examples of speciation or genetically encoded possibilities for changes in the size of a bird bill.
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    If God DID do all of this, is He not the greatest scientist of all? -- dt, 2005
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    What I am asking you to show is how speciation and variations within species (which are micro-evolution) shows that fish through a miriad of similar but unobserved, unsubstantiated, unknown changes, eventually became human beings which is macro-evolution.
    Time. How did there come to be fish in the first place? Time. Start out with bacteria, add time, a few climatic, tectonic and similar accidents every few thousand years, then add some more time. Pretty soon you've got weird looking critters with rudimentary neurological activity and something that looks a bit like a spine if you squint a lot. Add a bit more time, a couple of major earthquakes providing some new nutrients and a couple of brand new physical spaces to live in, next thing you know there's something with a spine you don't need to squint to see. And there are thousands of various thingies that might be fish or arthropods or just slime.

    Do this for a million years or two. Then do it again. And again and again and again. The critters that looked so successful way back when have disappeared entirely and the 'replacements' don't look anything like them. They've got teeth! or other new-fangled equipment. Then keep on going.

    20 million, 100 million, couple of hundred million years later. Things appear, change, speciate, all but a few of a species disappears. Then the survivors start speciation all over again in a different direction. 20 million, several hundred million years later.

    There we are! Not quite us, but good enough to get started with.

    A simple question. Do you think that humans will be the same as they are now in a couple of hundred million years from now?
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
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    What I am asking you to show is how speciation and variations within species (which are micro-evolution) shows that fish through a miriad of similar but unobserved, unsubstantiated, unknown changes, eventually became human beings which is macro-evolution.
    The very form of your question belies your disbelief or bias. They are observed in the fossil record, reinforced through the genetics of their contemporary forms, and even pretty obvious in the rather dramatic similarities between fish, reptiles and mammals as their embryos develop and genes express themselves through various stages until finally differentiating into something we'd recognize as a human fetus; most of the changes are pretty well known as well. Non changes are pretty significant as well with many traits shared by all the animals in between as well as nature finding many uses for similar evolved traits, from the limbs as fins, the legs to fins again to the similarity between fish mucus and mammal vaginal lubricants. It's rather amazing how well it all pieces together.
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner View Post
    John Galt:

    I am not sure what kind of evidence is monumental. Maybe you can describe what monumental evidence is, I mean as a genre of evidence, and then point out some of it in specifics. Your claim here is far too nebulous to address.
    Monumental is used here as a synonym for enormous, vast, considerable, interlocked, all but incontrevertible. The evidence that substantiates, validates and demonstrates the theory of evolution is a monument to the scientific method. The variety, depth, quality and consistency of this evidence bears close parallels with Darwin's own characterisation of 'On the Origin of Species': it is one long argument. To dispute the theory of evolution you must either 'find rabbits in the Cambrian', or systematically dismantle the experimental and observational results of tens of thousands of scientists over a period of a century and a half.
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner View Post
    We do not experiment with breeding reptiles and expect to get mammals, yet that is what evolution suggests must have happened.
    I suggest you go and learn a little bit about how evolution works before making any more silly statements like this.

    "Monumental" would imply one single huge piece of evidence.
    I'm not sure how one piece of evidence can be "huge". There is a very large quantity of evidence. But feel free to ignore it all.
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    Responding to adelady:

    Time is really the worst enemy of evolution, not it's best friend. You don't have a lot of 100s or couple of hundreds of millions of years to bandy around willy-nilly.

    If life on Earth had progessed somewhat evenly from the earliest estimates of when it first appear on earth, you would have about 3.75 billion years to work with. That seems to be a somewhat consensual point for the appearace of life on earth though you can find many other estimates. This would provide a large number of 100 or couple of 100s of millions of yearses.

    However, the progress of life has not been smooth and even. It has progressed mostly in fits and starts. There have been virtual explosions of new life forms in short periods of time such as the Cambriam explosion about 530-545 million years ago in which all current phyla of animals can be found to have existed. However, since that time there have been five major and several other minor periods of mass extinctions of life on earth.

    The most recent one, the Cretacious (K-T) ended about 65 million years ago leaving only 15 percent of all species that existed prior to the extinction period. And that was only the second largest mass extinction experienced by life on planet Earth.

    Some early, primitive mammals existed before the K-T extinction which is mostly famous for wiping out dinosaurs. So what you have is only 65 million years for mammals to evolve from their most primitive forms to the current approximately 5,500 known currently living mammals which represent only one percent of the mammals which are known to have existed. Suddenly, you just don't have all of those 100s of millions of years for this to have taken place.

    Darwinian evolution (to which the responses above seem to allude) is based on the concept of very many, very small changes over long periods of time leading to eventual larger changes via natural selection. This process has come into disfavor for the very reasons I outline above -- there is just not enough time in the history of life for natural selection to have created all the biodiversity which exists and all the biodiversity which has gone extinct. Neo-Darwinism adds the element of potential mutation through genetic errors in reproduction. However, the study of genetics has shown us that genes are super strongly resistive to errors in cell reproduction such that even when combined with natural selection, the time line still cannot justify the billions of small changes that would be necessary. Speciation may take place with as few genetic changes as two or perhaps thousands. It is estimated that the original species of finches in the Galapagos evolved into 13 species over a period of a "few million years." (Speciation

    It is easy to talk about millions of years to make changes until you begin to factor in that the number of changes required reaches into the billions.

    As I said, time is one of the worst enemies of Darwinian based evoluion. You just cannot account for billions of changes in millions of years.

    I do commend you, adelady, however for actually addressing an argument relating to evolution.

    Lynx Fox, meanwhile, pulled out the shotgun approach first implying that my arguments are wrong because of my disbelief and bias. Would not the same argument apply to the religious skeptic? IE., he is wrong because of his bias? Of course, we are all biased in favor of our beliefs and interpretations of information but that is not what determines whether we are right or wrong -- it is the information. If you have two people who are operating from the opposite bias, it does not mean that both of them are wrong. Bias has absolutely nothing to do with the rightness or wrongness of a position. When we cannot respond to the information, our fall back position is to respond to the person instead.

    Lynx then alludes to at least three, maybe four, areas of evolution discussion including paleontology, comparitive anatomy, embryology and maybe genetics but does not develop even one of them to a degree that one could respond. But, briefly on comparitive anatomy -- Similarity in structure does not imply evolution any more or any less than it does a common designer. No matter the source of the similarities, organisms within similar environments and with similar functions to perform should be expected to have similar anatomies whether by necessity or by design. For example, all mammals have similar functions to fulfill and, thus, all mammals have somewhat the same equipment to perform those functions.

    John Galt asks me to pull a rabbit out of the Cambrian hat and, well, the phylum into which rabbits fit is there. However, I have not decided whether I think this mitigates against evolution or ameliorates in favor of it, although it may have been tangently addressed in the reply to adelady -- there is a time problem. It is difficult to account for billions of minute changes in millions of years -- do the math. If it takes a few million years to change one species of finches into 13 species of finches (and you still have only finches), how many millions of years does it take to turn a non-mammal into a rabbit?

    Strange said:
    Originally Posted by daytonturnerWe do not experiment with breeding reptiles and expect to get mammals, yet that is what evolution suggests must have happened.

    I suggest you go and learn a little bit about how evolution works before making any more silly statements like this.
    Well, I did not say that, evolution says that. Evolution claims that reptiles became mammals. I quote from biology online: "It is believed that a niche of reptiles deemed the paramammals, which have sufficient distinctions between both reptiles and mammals, to suggest that mammals indeed evolved from reptiles." In other words, if you breed reptiles long enough and often enough, you eventually get kitty cats. But I must commend you for admitting this is silliness.

    On the other hand another recent hypotheses is that humans are derivities of synapsids which were originally classified as reptiles but are now thought to have been amphibians. If this is accurate, I must revise my statement to read that we would not experiment with breeding amphibians and expect to get mammals, yet that is what evolution suggests must have happened. Personnally, I think I would prefer direct kinship with the T-Rex rather than frogs and salamanders. This hypothesis seems to very closely resemble the faery tale where the princess kisses the frog and he becomes a handsome prince. What a comedown the human race suffers based on this view of evolution.
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    Similarity in structure does not imply evolution any more or any less than it does a common designer.
    Of course it does, especially when it's consistent in time, place and measured against the rest of the information which continues to build as with our observational skill over the past 150 years. Of course conceivably it all could be the work of some sort of Laplace demon, or god if you will which left all these crazy and often handicapping genes and other odd renments genes and structure from simpler life forms...much like a crazy car designer who felt compelled to leave odd 19th century car components in your new vehicle--but now we aren't talking science. The point of course there's no need to evoke a "common designer," to explain the biological diversity on planet earth which is the only real case science can make about a god unless one wants to pursue the trivially simple task of dismantling the myriad of creation myths(including the bible).

    "On the other hand another recent hypotheses is that humans are derivities of synapsids which were originally classified as reptiles but are now thought to have been amphibians. If this is accurate, I must revise my statement to read that we would not experiment with breeding amphibians and expect to get mammals, yet that is what evolution suggests must have happened. Personnally, I think I would prefer direct kinship with the T-Rex rather than frogs and salamanders. This hypothesis seems to very closely resemble the faery tale where the princess kisses the frog and he becomes a handsome prince. What a comedown the human race suffers based on this view of evolution. "
    well at least you raise my curiosity... I think synapsids are in their own clade.
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    Lynx Fox said:
    The point of course there's no need to evoke a "common designer,"
    I think that is sort of what I said. My point was that the observed similarities among living things in the animal kingdom (and it would also be true of plants) is evocative of neither a natural process nor a "common designer" process without the preinsertion of an assumption as to the existence of a designer. But even then, the presumption of the existence of a designer does not rule out the added role of natural processes. What we have observed is what we should expect from either process. Comparative anatomy is an argument which can support either side while debunking neither.

    I think that position is pretty much neutral on the subject whereas your position shows a predisposition to discount the possibiliy of common design. If you think I was, on this issue, advocating for "design," it is only a result of your knowledge of my belief rather than an intellectual inspection of what was actually said on the matter. My objection is to using something that is not proof of anything in an attempt to show proof of something. Not necessarily by you, Lynx, in this discussion, but by evolutionists in general.

    I am reminded of Richard Dawkins using a wind carved hill in Hawaii which at a certain time of day casts a shadow that resembles Pres. John Kennedy. He compares that to the carefully designed and sculptured Mt. Rushmore. He uses this to show "disignoids," natural phenomina which resemble design. It is a facet of the appearance of design argument which basically starts with the assumption that since there is no God, those things in nature which appear to have design are merely designoids. What he cannot do is use the wind carved in Hawaii to deny that Mt. Rushmore was, indeed, designed and created.

    The fact that we know some changes are the result of natural processes does not negate the possibility that other changes are the result of design unless, of course, we start with the presumption that no designer exists. I do not have to start with the presumption of a designer.

    I just don't think the argument for evolution or for design based on similarities found in comparitive anatomy, is a strong one either way.
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    I think that is sort of what I said. My point was that the observed similarities among living things in the animal kingdom (and it would also be true of plants) is evocative of neither a natural process nor a "common designer" process without the preinsertion of an assumption as to the existence of a designer. But even then, the presumption of the existence of a designer does not rule out the added role of natural processes.
    To be honest I'm not interested in the least in a level of equivalency which assumes that no level of consistency in scientific observation with any hypothesis is more credible than some abstract, ill defined, and ever changing divine force--that apparently would severely limit itself to designs from past forms(to trick us?) Such thinking might have room in the philosophy sub-forum, but it has no part in a scientific discussion.
    Last edited by Lynx_Fox; April 5th, 2012 at 10:50 AM. Reason: editing
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    Perhaps dayton might like to watch a couple of episodes of "Australia: The Time Travellers' Guide"

    It's probably one of those geographically limited ones so you won't see it, but it's worth a shot. Australia: The Time Traveller's Guide
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    It is perfectly clear that changing the appearances of different species does not require billions or even millions of years, it took way less then a few thousand years that gives us all our different breeds of dogs. How we classify them as all dogs is irrelevant and only has meaning to us. The point is there are so many different types of dogs and it took so little time in reproducing all these different variations.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barbi View Post
    It is perfectly clear that changing the appearances of different species does not require billions or even millions of years, it took way less then a few thousand years that gives us all our different breeds of dogs. How we classify them as all dogs is irrelevant and only has meaning to us. The point is there are so many different types of dogs and it took so little time in reproducing all these different variations.
    I seem to remember that research with selective breeding of wolves showed that it only took about 7 generations to get from feral to domesticated animals with neotenic characteristics.
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner View Post
    Well, I did not say that, evolution says that. Evolution claims that reptiles became mammals. I quote from biology online: "It is believed that a niche of reptiles deemed the paramammals, which have sufficient distinctions between both reptiles and mammals, to suggest that mammals indeed evolved from reptiles." In other words, if you breed reptiles long enough and often enough, you eventually get kitty cats. But I must commend you for admitting this is silliness.
    You give the impression that you think that one day a reptile gave birth to a mammal. That is either a misunderstanding or a misrepresentation (or maybe you are just not expressing yourself clearly).

    There was of course a continuous "spectrum" of animals with decreasingly reptilian and increasingly mammalian features. At some point we draw some (arbitrary) lines and call one group reptiles, another group paramammals, and another mammals and so on. Nothing silly about that at all.
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    Barbi said:

    It is perfectly clear that changing the appearances of different species does not require billions or even millions of years, it took way less then a few thousand years that gives us all our different breeds of dogs. How we classify them as all dogs is irrelevant and only has meani.ng to us. The point is there are so many different types of dogs and it took so little time in reproducing all these different variations.


    Strange said:

    I seem to remember that research with selective breeding of wolves showed that it only took about 7 generations to get from feral to domesticated animals with neotenic characteristics.
    I hope you realize that you are talking about canines and the pre-existing possibilities already built into their genetic code. None of this shows a change in animal, only it's appearance. You still have a dog, for crying out loud. And, in fact, what you have are merely variations of the canine species. I am not an expert on dog breeding, but I am of the understanding that all of our domestic dogs are decendants of wolves. Any of these canines could interbreed with the others. We could enter into an undecideable discussion as to which of these are different species and which are variations, but it would not remove them from being mammals and canines. It does not in anyway show a change in their genetic coding, only in those characteristics which have been emphasized. You could take toy poodles and through selective breeding, return them to being standard poodles. If you had a several centuries to work on it, you could probably breed them back to being wolves.

    These are not the same kinds of changes one must be able to provide to show how, over a few millions of years, reptiles evolved into mammals.

    Strange also said:

    You give the impression that you think that one day a reptile gave birth to a mammal. That is either a misunderstanding or a misrepresentation (or maybe you are just not expressing yourself clearly).
    Not! Your discussion of dogs seems to suggest that we can breed pekinese and quickly end up with Labradors. Yet, I do give you the benefit of being intelligent enough to know that it would take many generations to accomplish such a feat -- certainly more than the seven generations it may have taken to breed more docile wolves into human-tolerant wolves. But they were still not household pets.

    Strange also said:

    There was of course a continuous "spectrum" of animals with decreasingly reptilian and increasingly mammalian features. At some point we draw some (arbitrary) lines and call one group reptiles, another group paramammals, and another mammals and so on. Nothing silly about that at all.
    I think the word you were looking for instead of "spectrum" was probably "continuum." I certainly understand what evolution claims "must have been" the process. What evolution fails to show are the mechanisms for this to have taken place within the time frame it had to work with.

    What was first used in an attempt to show this "must have been" process was Darwinism, which has been shown to be utterly impossible in this time frames and then neo-Darwinism (adding mutation) which is still incapable fitting into the time frames. It was the fact that serious students of evolution realized these time problems that gave rise to punctuated equilibrium which is capable of fullfilling parts of the time frames but for which there is no evidence of having occurred in time frame of the 65 million years since the Cretaceous (KT) extinction period.

    What you are doing is applying the infinite monkeys/infinite time theory to a very short period of time. You do not have an infinity of time for these changes to have been accomplished. Some (Wikipedia) estimates are that the original domestication of wolves was perhaps 30,000 years ago -- prehistoric times -- and not once has this process produced anything but another version of a dog. This process still does not explain how primitive mammals from 65 million years ago accomplished what we see today.

    I am just totally amazed that you can cite milleniums of the path of dogs (wolves) in which nothing other than a new dog was produced, and still cling to the belief that it tells us how little rat-like mammals which survived the KT extinction became human beings in a mere 65 million years. Do the math -- how many segments of 30,000 years with no change in species do you have to change those rats into humans?







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    Lynx Fox said:

    To be honest I'm not interested in the least in a level of equivalency which assumes that no level of consistency in scientific observation with any hypothesis is more credible than some abstract, ill defined, and ever changing divine force--that apparently would severely limit itself to designs from past forms(to trick us?) Such thinking might have room in the philosophy sub-forum, but it has no part in a scientific discussion.

    Since when did the study of comparitive anatomy change from being a part of the science of biology to being a pholosophical topic?
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner View Post
    Lynx Fox said:

    To be honest I'm not interested in the least in a level of equivalency which assumes that no level of consistency in scientific observation with any hypothesis is more credible than some abstract, ill defined, and ever changing divine force--that apparently would severely limit itself to designs from past forms(to trick us?) Such thinking might have room in the philosophy sub-forum, but it has no part in a scientific discussion.



    Since when did the study of comparitive anatomy change from being a part of the science of biology to being a pholosophical topic?
    When you set up and compare the relative strengths of the evidence for evolution to your fuzzy, unverifiable, shifty ever changing, and ill defined straw-man "designer" as you did here: "is evocative of neither a natural process nor a "common designer" process without the preinsertion of an assumption as to the existence of a designer. But even then, the presumption of the existence of a designer does not rule out the added role of natural processes. What we have observed is what we should expect from either process."
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Since when did the study of comparitive anatomy
    You are not bothering to study comparative anatomy.

    From a strict design point of view, for example, there seems to be little or no basis for the claim that Pekingnese are the same "species" as Great Danes. From what basis are you claiming they are?
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    Lynx Fox said:
    When you set up and compare the relative strengths of the evidence for evolution to your fuzzy, unverifiable, shifty ever changing, and ill defined straw-man "designer" as you did here: "is evocative of neither a natural process nor a "common designer" process without the preinsertion of an assumption as to the existence of a designer. But even then, the presumption of the existence of a designer does not rule out the added role of natural processes. What we have observed is what we should expect from either process."
    Good thing you are not a judge. You would HAVE to consider both sides of a question.

    All I have pointed out is that both sides of this question use comparitive anatomy to support their position.
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    iceaura asked:
    From a strict design point of view, for example, there seems to be little or no basis for the claim that Pekingnese are the same "species" as Great Danes. From what basis are you claiming they are?
    There are somewhere between 20 and 30 definitions of species.

    Wikipedia says:
    It is surprisingly difficult to define the word "species" in a way that applies to all naturally occurring organisms, and the debate among biologists about how to define "species" and how to identify actual species is called the species problem. Over two dozen distinct definitions of "species" are in use amongst biologists.
    Apparently, one can pick whichever of these definitions most suits their purpose. I pick the one that says dogs is dogs and the ain't nothin' else.

    One of the most widely accepted definitions of species is that the animals within a species are capable of breeding and reproducing young which are also capable of reproducing.

    Boiling down what I have read, and confirmed in an article in Wiki (Dog - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia), the genus is Canis. Within that genus is the species Canis lupus from which ALL domesticated dogs (that means every one of them) fit in the subspecies Canis lupis familiarus. Some may yet again subdivide the canis lupis familiarus into further sub species.

    Buuuuuuut -- and I emphasize this -- they are all still members of the main species canis lupus. Pekingese and Great Danes are both members of the same sub species Canis lupis familiarus. That would be the basis of me so saying. If you are able to find a definition which disagrees, please explain how it supercedes this one.
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner View Post
    iceaura asked:
    From a strict design point of view, for example, there seems to be little or no basis for the claim that Pekingnese are the same "species" as Great Danes. From what basis are you claiming they are?
    There are somewhere between 20 and 30 definitions of species.

    Wikipedia says:
    It is surprisingly difficult to define the word "species" in a way that applies to all naturally occurring organisms, and the debate among biologists about how to define "species" and how to identify actual species is called the species problem. Over two dozen distinct definitions of "species" are in use amongst biologists.
    Apparently, one can pick whichever of these definitions most suits their purpose. I pick the one that says dogs is dogs and the ain't nothin' else.

    One of the most widely accepted definitions of species is that the animals within a species are capable of breeding and reproducing young which are also capable of reproducing.

    Boiling down what I have read, and confirmed in an article in Wiki (Dog - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia), the genus is Canis. Within that genus is the species Canis lupus from which ALL domesticated dogs (that means every one of them) fit in the subspecies Canis lupis familiarus. Some may yet again subdivide the canis lupis familiarus into further sub species.

    Buuuuuuut -- and I emphasize this -- they are all still members of the main species canis lupus. Pekingese and Great Danes are both members of the same sub species Canis lupis familiarus. That would be the basis of me so saying. If you are able to find a definition which disagrees, please explain how it supercedes this one.
    Nature doesn't care what we name or put into catagories, the different breeds of dogs occurred rapidly because we were actively involved in selecting those traits which means humans became the active role in their environment that encouraged those changes. It is the same principle in nature that causes changes to occur in how those species change in time. If those breeds occurred without human interference, we might have classified them differently with respect to how we classify other species.

    The point is we name and give definition to everything so we have common understanding of our world we live in but as far as nature is concerned how we define it doesn't necessarily make it true since life did not begin with humans being the first to witness its history or even capable of understanding all its processes. We will always be striving to understand the details of how this planet got to where it is today and how we define it now will most likely change in the future as we learn more.

    You can't learn this from religious teachings since they refuse to add the intricate details of how life changed over time and are content in taking literally a child's version story of a time long ago when those humans knew very little of how life was formed but understood enough to provide a vague story of creation. It lacks so much credibility today because we have learned so much since then that the story had to be rewritten by science since religion refused to grow.
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    "It is surprisingly difficult to define the word "species" in a way that applies to all naturally occurring organisms, and the debate among biologists about how to define "species" and how to identify actual species is called the species problem. Over two dozen distinct definitions of "species" are in use amongst biologists."

    Apparently, one can pick whichever of these definitions most suits their purpose. I pick the one that says dogs is dogs and the ain't nothin' else.
    None of those definitions are based on design principles. They are all based on evolutionary relationship.

    So how did you pick whichever one you picked?

    How did you decide that Pekingnese and Great Danes are the same design of animal?

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    All I have pointed out is that both sides of this question use comparitive anatomy to support their position.
    Your side doesn't.
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    Barbi said:

    You can't learn this from religious teachings since they refuse to add the intricate details of how life changed over time and are content in taking literally a child's version story of a time long ago when those humans knew very little of how life was formed but understood enough to provide a vague story of creation. It lacks so much credibility today because we have learned so much since then that the story had to be rewritten by science since religion refused to grow.
    Nobody with half a brain thinks the Bible is a science book or that the first three chapters of Genesis is a detailed description of the creation it alludes to. The Bible is more a book about the relationship of God to people and people to people. As to the rest of your comment, you really don't seen to know what scientists have been. The following is a short list of very important people who believed in creation followed their area of work or direct contribution(s) to science and math:

    1. Lord Willaim Kelvin -- Absolute Temperature Scale, thermodynamics, transatlantic cable
    2. Joseph Lister -- Aniseptic Surgery
    3. Louis Pasteur -- Bacterioloty, biogenisesis law, pasteurization, vaccination and immunology
    4. Blaise Pascal -- Barometer
    5. Charles Babbage -- Calculating machine, computer science
    6. Sir Isaac Newton -- Calculus, Dynamics, Law of Gravity
    7. Johannes Kepler -- Celestial Mechanics, physical astronomy, reflecting telescope
    8. Robert Boyle -- Chemistry, gas dynamics
    9. Sir James Simpson -- Chloroform
    10. Carolus Linnaeus -- Classification system in taxonomy, Systematic biology
    11. Lord John Rayleigh -- Dimensional Analysis
    12. Sir William Herschel -- Double stars, galactic astronomy
    13. Michael Faraday -- Electric generator, electro-magnetics
    15. Joseph Henry -- Electric motor
    16. Sir John Fleming -- Electronics
    17. John Henri Fabre -- Entomology of insects
    18. Sir George Stokes -- Fluid Mechanics
    19. Joseph Henry -- Galvanometer
    20. Gregor Mendel -- Genetics
    21. Louis Agassiz -- Glacial geology
    22. Sir James Simpson -- Gynecology
    23. Leonardo daVinci -- Hydraulics
    24. Sir William Ramsey -- Inert gases
    25. Berhard Riemann -- Non-Euclidean geometry
    25. Matthew Maury -- Oceanography
    26. Sir David Brewster -- Optical Mineralogy
    27. John Woodward -- Paleontology
    28. Rudolph Virchow -- Pathology
    29. James Joule -- Reversible thermodynamics
    30. Lord Francis Bacon -- Scientific method
    31. James C. Maxwell -- Statistical thermodynamics
    32. Nicolaus Steno -- Stratigraphy
    33. Samuel F. B. Morse -- Telegraph
    34. George Cuvier -- vertebrate palenontology
    35. Max Planck -- Quantum theory

    Many of these people are 18th and 19th Century people. It would not appear their belief in the Bible or reading it or believing in a God of creation negatively impacted their contributions to science and math. Thank God, we did not have to wait until the age of enlightened atheists to establish these scientific baselines which still form the backbone of most scientific investigation, much of which continues to be conducted by men and women who believe God created the Universe and all that is in it.

    The Genesis story has not been rewritten, and I don't think anyone is willing to replace Genesis with a biology text which does not even acknowledge God's role. The Genesis account has been explained in greater detail and mostly by people who actually believed in it. Lest we forget noted early scientist Aristotle identified five elements, none of which were actually elements. Now there was something actually passing for science that really did require a rewrite.
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner View Post
    Lynx Fox said:
    When you set up and compare the relative strengths of the evidence for evolution to your fuzzy, unverifiable, shifty ever changing, and ill defined straw-man "designer" as you did here: "is evocative of neither a natural process nor a "common designer" process without the preinsertion of an assumption as to the existence of a designer. But even then, the presumption of the existence of a designer does not rule out the added role of natural processes. What we have observed is what we should expect from either process."
    Good thing you are not a judge. You would HAVE to consider both sides of a question.
    Actually a judge would not even consider the god side of the argument, any more than they let alien induction evidence into a court of law-- because there is no working hypothesis...not falsifiability, parsimony or heuristics on which to measure the god side. It's just a big hand wave.
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    iceaura said:

    How did you decide that Pekingnese and Great Danes are the same design of animal?
    There you go, building your inane response on a misquote. I said they were the same species after you tried to say they weren't. You were totally wrong and I was totally right. But, now that you mention it, they are pretty much the same design other than their exterior appearance and general size and possibly their coloring, everthing else about them is the same. Refrigerators are designed and other than their appearance, general size and their coloring, they are pretty much the same. Ergo, the similarties of both things are indicative of design.

    iceaura also said:
    Originally Posted by daytonturner
    All I have pointed out is that both sides of this question use comparitive anatomy to support their position.



    Your side doesn't.
    I don't think we sit around talking about this topic all that much, but I do think in this area we tend to think the similaries in living things found through comparitive anatomy are equally indicative of either design or natural process because the way these things are is probably the best way they can be to fulfill their roles on Earth. Land transportation vehicles all have similarities because their design is the best we can make them to suit the purpose for which they were designed. To the extent that your comment, "Your side doesn't," implies that your side does, I would say we only object to your side trying to use that argument when it really doesn't prove anything. There is no reason that nature or design would do anything other than produce similaries.

    Mostly though, I think your view and the similar view expressed here by some others, show just how closed minded you are on the subject. You are so blinded by your disdain toward God that you cannot even see the flaws in your arguments.

    I will say it again, similarities found through comparitive anatomy is not a winning argument for either side on this issue except to those who have a completely closed mind.
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    Re dogs.
    There is no easy answer, as Barbi was saying. Our classifications are somewhat arbitrary. However, one thing all species definitions have in common is the ability of breeding within a species. If you take Pekinese sperm and insert it into a Great Dane bitch, you will get offspring. So we can say those two breeds of dogs are the same species.

    Dayton

    Re your list of creation believing scientists. The vast bulk of these are rather too far back in the past. Modern scientists are much less superstitious. In 1998, there was a survey of the American Academy of Sciences, and 93% of its members did not believe in a deity.
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    Daytonturner agrees that microevolution is true. Many things happen in his lifetime to support it that he cannot deny its validity. That is already a change in his stance, which earlier insisted that there is no evolution at all.

    He thinks that the time since earth existed is not enough to have 'macro evolution' as he (or the creationists) defines it. Because life progressed mostly in fits and starts. It does not progress smoothly like you would see in a good stop-motion movie. I think that He reasons that if it is continuous there would have been fossil records lined up to support it. But it is not clear to me how short is the time he will say that it's a fit and start. And within that time which life has progressed to which.

    He also points out that even the selective breeding of dogs still does not cause in speciation. They are still dogs. Though I would question whether a Saint-Bernard will be able to cross-breed with a Chihuahua, not mentioning whether it wants to. And it takes less than a hundred thousand years to cause such a vast difference.

    So what is the point I like to make? Ah.. it is the topic of this thread: How do you respond to this person?
    I really don't know.
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    Quote Originally Posted by prasit View Post
    Daytonturner agrees that microevolution is true. Many things happen in his lifetime to support it that he cannot deny its validity. That is already a change in his stance, which earlier insisted that there is no evolution at all.

    He thinks that the time since earth existed is not enough to have 'macro evolution' as he (or the creationists) defines it. Because life progressed mostly in fits and starts. It does not progress smoothly like you would see in a good stop-motion movie. I think that He reasons that if it is continuous there would have been fossil records lined up to support it. But it is not clear to me how short is the time he will say that it's a fit and start. And within that time which life has progressed to which.

    He also points out that even the selective breeding of dogs still does not cause in speciation. They are still dogs. Though I would question whether a Saint-Bernard will be able to cross-breed with a Chihuahua, not mentioning whether it wants to. And it takes less than a hundred thousand years to cause such a vast difference.

    So what is the point I like to make? Ah.. it is the topic of this thread: How do you respond to this person?
    I really don't know.
    How many breeds of dogs did we have 10,000 years ago, 2,000 years ago or even a 1,000 yrs ago?
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    Eighty percent of dog breeds are modern breeds that evolved in the last few hundred years, Wayne said. But some dog breeds have ancient histories that go back thousands of years.

    The first dogs that appeared in the Middle Eastern archaeological record date back some 12,000 to 13,000 years, Wayne said. Wolves have been in the Old World for hundreds of thousands of years. The oldest dogs from the archaeological record come from Europe and Western Russia. A dog from Belgium dates back 31,000 years, and a group of dogs from Western Russia is approximately 15,000 years old, Wayne said.

    Dogs likely originated in the Middle East
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    Quote Originally Posted by prasit View Post
    He also points out that even the selective breeding of dogs still does not cause in speciation. They are still dogs. Though I would question whether a Saint-Bernard will be able to cross-breed with a Chihuahua, not mentioning whether it wants to.
    I really don't know.
    Exactly. By most definitions they'd already be considered a different species.

    And dogs are minor, compared to what we've done with wild mustard plants.
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    Quote Originally Posted by prasit View Post
    Eighty percent of dog breeds are modern breeds that evolved in the last few hundred years, Wayne said. But some dog breeds have ancient histories that go back thousands of years.

    The first dogs that appeared in the Middle Eastern archaeological record date back some 12,000 to 13,000 years, Wayne said. Wolves have been in the Old World for hundreds of thousands of years. The oldest dogs from the archaeological record come from Europe and Western Russia. A dog from Belgium dates back 31,000 years, and a group of dogs from Western Russia is approximately 15,000 years old, Wayne said.

    Dogs likely originated in the Middle East
    This would indicate to me that dogs have separate independent lines from descent from wolves at different times in history. It doesn' seem likely that based on their mitochondria that all modern breeds of dogs came from a few females that science has suggested. Most of our breeds today obviously went through rapid speciation and in a very short period of time that produced the many varieties we have today.

    It doesn't matter that we were directly affecting the outcome of these breeds since we would be considered the strong environmental influence for this to occur. What it does prove is that evolution can respond in a much faster manner then thousands or millions of years as science always seems to suggest of how long it takes to happen. How rapid did the vegetation take to change in some areas or how many sudden climate changes occurred in a rapid time frame in history? Has all of these factors always been a slow progression in changes or were some of them rapid?
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    Has all of these factors always been a slow progression in changes or were some of them rapid?
    Well, it's certainly true that some climate changes have been extremely rapid, not just by geologically 'rapid' timescales.

    There's a fair amount of evidence that the Sahara dried out in the space of 300 years or so. According to this article, it may not have been all over the Sahara instantaneously, but some parts certainly. If you read further, you find that Greenland had a decade to adjust to a temperature rise of about 10C. Astrobiology Magazine

    Rapid changes like this leave animals and plants stranded in unfamiliar or hostile conditions. Adapt or die would be the order of the day. Many will die out entirely or be reduced to isolated remnants in small, slightly less hostile corners of the changed landscape. Some will survive long enough for a few offspring with characteristics better suited to the new challenges to get a foothold. Of course, the area will largely be taken over by immigrants expanding their range - they're already suited to the conditions.

    Don't know whether the evolutionary change itself would be fast in the same way the environmental change was though.
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    skeptic said:
    Our classifications are somewhat arbitrary. However, one thing all species definitions have in common is the ability of breeding within a species. If you take Pekinese sperm and insert it into a Great Dane bitch, you will get offspring. So we can say those two breeds of dogs are the same species.
    It is not so much the classifications which are arbitrary as it is our difficulty of placing some animals into a classification when it seems to defy a classification. I find it totally stupid that people here are still trying to get out of admitting that all dogs are members of the same species and that all domestics dogs are decended from wolves.

    Succesful artificial ensimination can only be accomplished in breeding where the animals could breed in nature if they were so inclined. Many animals of the same species do not breed with other animals of the same species in nature because of their preference toward their own variation. It does not mean they are not the same species. I think if you put a Great Dane bitch in heat in a case with a Pekingese male, we might be surpised at how resourseful a Pekingese can be!!!! And I feel sorry for the Pekingese bitch in heat in a cage with a St. Bernard. Those two breeds of dogs are of the same species, not because I say it but because science says it.

    and

    Re your list of creation believing scientists. The vast bulk of these are rather too far back in the past. Modern scientists are much less superstitious. In 1998, there was a survey of the American Academy of Sciences, and 93% of its members did not believe in a deity.
    Maybe that is why science today creates and sells drugs which end up being more harmful than helpful and they know it before they put it on the market.

    The American Academy of Science was formed in 1780. Wonder what a similar survey would have shown then. It remains that the bulk of todays science is built on the work, the findings, the research and the discoveries of scientists who believed in God. Secondarily, you can find all sorts of surveys and polls which show all sorts of results. A survey of the Discovery Institute made up of mostly scientists (many of whom once belonged to the AAS or other such association) would probably show that 100 percent of them believe in a diety.

    A little more realistic is a recent study by Rice University from which I quote: "Among each of the two general groups, one discipline stood out: Forty-one percent of the biologists and 27 percent of the political scientists said they don't believe in God." That leaves 59 percent of biologist and 73 percent of political scientists who DO believe. Natural scientists are less likely to believe in God than are social scientists

    Prasit said:
    He thinks that the time since earth existed is not enough to have 'macro evolution' as he (or the creationists) defines it.
    Geeeeeeze, how badly can you misquote someone? If you actually had alllllllllll of that time (since earth existed), you might have had enough time for macro-evolution, assuming that life had started at that time and had progressed along an uninterrupted continuum. Earth is estimated to be 4.5 billion years old. The appearance of life used to be estimated at 3.5 billion years ago. I am not going to go through the history of massive life extinctions and rebounds other than to point out that only 65 million years ago the crustaceous (KT) massive extinction removed 85 percent of the species of life on earth. So, rather than your massive misquote which says I have a problem with a 4.5 billion year time line, it is a 65 million year time line that I have a problem with. After the KT extinction, the only mammals in existence were very primitive mammals of a very small size. As the topic asks: how do you talk to people who have to twist, bend and alter what you have said in order to attempt to counter it. If the time line were not a problem, why do you suppose so many people (Stephen Jay Gould the primary one) attempt to explain it with concepts such as punctuated equilibrium. The time line has always been a major problem and only those who really don't understand what they think they believe refuse to admit it.

    What we don't know is how long it takes nature to effect a significant change or how many changes might be involved. But what we do know is that in order for nature to make a new species, it takes a long time and a lot of changes. The reason we do not know how long or how many changes is that we lack enough information to make reasonable guesses. Yet, there are people who gobble up the idea of macro-evolution because they do they don't understand all the implications of what they want to believe because they fear the alternative.

    I'm not sure, but I think Barbi was alluding to the fact that nature did not give us many variations of the dog on her own. It was only when man attempted to "design" dogs to suit his own purposes, did the many variation come to be. (That is not meant to be a sexist comparison.)

    Given an infinite amount of time and an infinite number changes, what macro-evolutionists wish had happened, could have happened. But you don't have an infinite amount of time to effect an infinite number of changes -- unless, of course, you are from infinity. What you have just in the case of mammals since the KT extinction, is 65 millions of years for evolution to have effected what some estimate to have been billions of changes. The math does not work, has never worked based on any mechanism or combination of mechanisms advanced so far. Maybe we'll find an appropriate mechanism. Meanwhile, our observation is that canines only make other canines, felines only make other felines, chickens only make other chickens, fruitflies only make other fruitflies, viruses only make other viruses. This we have observed for 1,000s of years and, in the case of the fruit fly, millions of generations.
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    Re scientists and belief in deity.
    Obviously the numbers will vary according to the population of scientists you survey. I quoted a number from the American Academy of Sciences, which has more atheists than other groups of scientists. Overall, in the USA, only 33% of scientists believe in God. Pew Survey: A Huge God Gap Between Scientists and Other Americans - God & Country (usnews.com)

    I strongly suspect that, in my country, the percentage of scientists not believing in deity, would be much higher, since New Zealand is more enlightened (sorry, less religious) than America. On the other hand, if you did the survey in Saudi Arabia, the percentage of believers would be higher (the atheists got decapitated.).
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    Succesful artificial ensimination can only be accomplished in breeding where the animals could breed in nature if they were so inclined. Many animals of the same species do not breed with other animals of the same species in nature because of their preference toward their own variation.
    Honestly you're making things up now. Behavioral differences that prevent reproduction are a valid means to distinguish species separation....one of many.

    But you don't have an infinite amount of time to effect an infinite number of changes
    For all practical purposes we do have infinite amounts of time. Something as small as less than one percent of a reproductive advantage completely overwhelms an original "parent" species in less than a thousand generations--which is blink of geological time. If separated, it happens even faster.

    fruitflies only make other fruitflies, viruses only make other viruses.
    Ironic because we've actually directly observes these. However you formed your opinion--the result is a profound ignorance of basic biology.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by prasit View Post
    He also points out that even the selective breeding of dogs still does not cause in speciation. They are still dogs. Though I would question whether a Saint-Bernard will be able to cross-breed with a Chihuahua, not mentioning whether it wants to.
    I really don't know.
    Exactly. By most definitions they'd already be considered a different species.

    And dogs are minor, compared to what we've done with wild mustard plants.
    Or Cabbage!!
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    Lynx Fox said:
    Honestly you're making things up now. Behavioral differences that prevent reproduction are a valid means to distinguish species separation....one of many.
    There are numerous opinions concerning how to differentiate species. You pick the one that most suits your purpose, I'll pick the one that most biologists use today.

    According to Wikipedia: "A species is often defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring."
    There is nothing in this general definition which suggests that if two members of the same species do not mate because of a preference for a different variation of that species that makes it a different species. So long as their genetic makeup permits breeding and the production of fertile offspring, they remain the same species under the mainstream definition.

    Now then, I do think I recently read an article which I cannot now locate that some biologists consider this kind of selectivity within a species a precurser to a division of a species. It may be that some in a minority have decided that they feel this difference in mate selection is already a new species, but that goes against the general definition.

    This link Species (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy) leads to an article concerning the complications of decided what species are and should be. The introductory paragraph suggests why it is important to maintain a consistent meaning to the term species.

    But no matter how you slice it, all domesticated dogs are still in the subspecies Canis lupis familiarus. In contrast, there are 41 species of cats in more than one genus, a far more diversified family.
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    daytonturner wrote:
    . So, rather than your massive misquote which says I have a problem with a 4.5 billion year time line, it is a 65 million year time line that I have a problem with. After the KT extinction, the only mammals in existence were very primitive mammals of a very small size.
    So you ignore the 15% of the species that survived the KT extinction, which have already evolved for billions of years. May be you believe that the bigger animals who died out were more evolved? The bigger the better?

    This we have observed for 1,000s of years and, in the case of the fruit fly, millions of generations.
    Who have observed for 1,000s of years? I have not heard of any scientific observation that take so long the period.
    And for the fruit fly, we have been through this before. You must be forgetful. You cannot count 1,000 fruit flies living in the same period as 1,000 generations. Generations have to be in serial. Million generations of fruit fly will take about 8 million days, I suppose, which is about 22 thousand years. Who was the first person who start observing the fruit fly?
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    prasit said:
    Who have observed for 1,000s of years? I have not heard of any scientific observation that take so long the period.
    Then how do we determine that dogs were domesticated 10,000 years ago or even, as someone estimated, as long as 30,000 years ago. You guys seems to attach long observation periods of life when it suits your purpose and then deny it when it suits a different purpose. The reason we know whatever evolution has taken place, took place over long periods of time is because of paleontological evidence. It is your evidence, not mine, that I am using. So would it be your understanding that the fossil record of the last 10-20 thousand years shows a lot of changes in life forms on Earth -- I mean other than showing more extinctions than the rises of new species?

    prasit also said:

    You cannot count 1,000 fruit flies living in the same period as 1,000 generations. Generations have to be in serial.
    Well that might be true if you are tracking one individual strain of a particular animal. Let's say you cross a poodle and a pekingese to get a peekapoo. If you continue with the breeding of peekapoos only, you do end up with parent, child, grandchild, etc. lineage. But at the same time someone else bred a poodle to a pug to get a pugapoo. And they too could have parent, child, grandchild, etc. lineage. But now you have more than one generation being generated at the same time, because you have two strains going. The more strains you have going, the more generations you can observe. So if you are observing 1,000 fruit flies from 1,000 different strains, you would be tracking 1,000 generations at the same time. If generations have to be serial, as you claim, it only creates a more severe time problem.

    Rapid regeneration and the ability to quickly develop new strains is why they have used fruit flies as a major study subject since the early 1900's. The most famous was Thomas Hunt Morgan who began his studies about 1910, but was by no means the first, merely the most famous due mostly to his discoveries in genetics.

    You are correct in one sense, prasit; we went through this before. You were wrong then, and you're still wrong.
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    There are numerous opinions concerning how to differentiate species. You pick the one that most suits your purpose, I'll pick the one that most biologists use today.

    According to Wikipedia: "A species is often defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring."
    Hardly. And I'm not sure why you think what I said is inconsistent with the wiki definition you posted. It's about barriers of that interbreeding...they can be morphological (great dane can't breed with poddle), behavioral (great dane is rejected by wolf pack), habitat driven (city pekanese never meets country husky) . That's just the ones that exist in dogs. There are several other barriers that biologist use to define species (gemetic, temporal) as well as definitions which address viability of offspring for a few generations afterwards. It's not a matter of picking the one that "suits my purpose;" one or more my apply to separate species. Human ability to bypass some of these prezogotic barriers with artificial insemination does not preclude those separations. And yes human artificial selection can put huge forcing on plants and animals such as convert a fox into a far more dog like animal in less than ten generations of the magnitude seldom seen in nature.
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    dayton,
    you seem to be ignoring the fact that the concept of species is an artificial one. It is intended to simplify the complex relationships between organisms in time and space. It is not intended as an absolute division of the biosphere, but as a convenient description of that biosphere. Several of your objections appear to disregard this rather fundamental point. Perhaps you would like to comment.
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    Lynx Fox said:
    It's about barriers of that interbreeding...they can be morphological (great dane can't breed with poddle), behavioral (great dane is rejected by wolf pack), habitat driven (city pekanese never meets country husky) .
    What are you trying to show here? These barriers may well exist, but that does not mean you have separate species among Canis lupis and its subspecies Canis lupis familiarus. Any breed of Canis lupis familiarus can be bread to any other breed of Canis lupis familiarus as well as with the main species Canis lupis. This is why we consider all of them as members of the same species. Nothing in the definition of species demands that all members of a species breed indiscriminantly with all other members of that species. What you are describing is factors which could (and perhaps have) lead to speciation. But until that speciation takes place, you do not have two species. You merely have variations of the same species who may naturally prefer not to breed with other variations within that species. I do not know what would have happened of wolf OR-7, on his long journey from Northeast Oregon into California in search of a mate, had come accross a stray, unattached coyote in heat. Nor do I know if he was hardup enough to have taken on some wild or homebound Canis lupis familiaris in heat.

    Lynx_Fox also said:
    And yes human artificial selection can put huge forcing on plants and animals such as convert a fox into a far more dog like animal in less than ten generations of the magnitude seldom seen in nature.
    Again, I am not sure what your are trying to show here. Even if we did (artificially) breed foxes such that they looked more like domestic dogs, they would still be foxes of a different species within the Canidae family. They could not be interbred with wolves or dogs because they are a separate and distinct species.

    Which leads me to John Galt who said:

    you seem to be ignoring the fact that the concept of species is an artificial one. It is intended to simplify the complex relationships between organisms in time and space. It is not intended as an absolute division of the biosphere, but as a convenient description of that biosphere. Several of your objections appear to disregard this rather fundamental point. Perhaps you would like to comment.

    What you seem to be ignoring is the fact that we have always made up terms to describe things. All terms are artificial terms used to communicate concepts, so duhhhhh to the idea that the concept of species is an artificial one. These terms have specific meanings which allow us to communicate except, apparently, in this case. When we say boy, we know we are talking about a young male human being, not a young female or an old male. These terms, too, have been artificially devised. How many elephants have ever walked up to you and said, "Hi, I'm an elephant," or perhaps, "Hi, I'm a perfledgeath, so don't call me an elephant?"

    Sometimes we have more than one (artificia) term to describe the same thing -- wildebeast and gnu, for example. I can just picture the conversation between two bushmen from different tribes: "Look at that big gnu over there." "That's not a gnu, thats an old." And so they compromise and call it a wildebeast, but the one guy's tribe doesn't get the message and continues to call it a gnu. Still, no matter which term we use today, we know what animal we are talking about.

    We have always artificially assigned designations to things and over a period of time those designations are accepted on a social level. The terms mama and dada do not come from teaching those terms to babies, but because those are among the very first vocalizations from babies which combine consonant and vowel sounds.

    Communications are compromized when one person uses a term in a way which is different from the way someone else uses that term. You cannot go around pointing up into the sky and saying look at that car flying up there heading from Salt Lake City to San Francisco with 150 passengers. Nor, if someone says they flew from here to there, should you picture them driving a car between the two points.

    Species has a specific meaning in biology and no amount of post-modernist interpretation can change the meaning of the word to those who are properly using it. It does not mean animals that could breed but don't; it means animals that are so genetically different that they cannot breed. If the term species can mean different things to different people, how can it mean anything to anyone?

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    What are you trying to show here? These barriers may well exist, but that does not mean you have separate species among Canis lupis and its subspecies Canis lupis familiarus.
    Yes it does. That's exactly what it means. If they won't breed on their own, they can't due to size or other morphological differences, or they don't turn each other on, or breeding doesn't lead to a viable offspring several generations later--than it's considered a separate species. And as Galt continues to point out, and you keep ignoring, it's more a fuzzy line than an absolute physical demarcation for many of the ways we categorize different types of plants and animals especially when it comes to prezygotic separations dealing with opportunities, timing or behavior. You might like it, but those often fuzzy lines ARE THE SPECIFIC meanings used by biologist.
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    Lynx_Fox said:

    Yes it does. That's exactly what it means. If they won't breed on their own, they can't due to size or other morphological differences, or they don't turn each other on, or breeding doesn't lead to a viable offspring several generations later--than it's considered a separate species. And as Galt continues to point out, and you keep ignoring, it's more a fuzzy line than an absolute physical demarcation for many of the ways we categorize different types of plants and animals especially when it comes to prezygotic separations dealing with opportunities, timing or behavior. You might like it, but those often fuzzy lines ARE THE SPECIFIC meanings used by biologist.
    Find me one article from a reputable biological source that says Great Danes and Chihuahua's are not the same species. Here is an article from a scientific source that says they are all dogs are the same species: Why are different breeds of dogs all considered the same species?: Scientific American

    You are fighting against your own scientific people. I am merely repeating here what scientists have said. If you don't agree with those things, you should launch a campaign at the scientific level to change them. I am just the messenger.

    Quoting from the article linked above (writing of bats and bush babies): "If the two mated, however, they may never be able to produce viable offspring; this, in fact, is the primary criterion for dividing similar organisms into different species." It is the ability to produce viable fertile offspring that is the current dividing line, not whether they choose to breed in nature. (Actually, I think there are examples of some animals attempting to breed ((unsuccessfully)) with members of a different species. If, by your classification based on preference, should we now reclassify them as of the same species? By your definition, one could possibly claim that homosexuals are not of the species Homo sapiens because they prefer not to mate with their normal expected mating partners.

    The article does point out that there is a move afoot called the Barcode of Life project by which we may begin classify different life forms according to the DNA coding.

    You guys keep telling me your opinions without ever backing it up with even an iota of scientific backing -- even though I suspect you could find some support someplace, but not in mainstream, reputable research. You just make these leaps of faith similar to the ones which form the backbone of almost all of macro-evolution support.

    I can understand your unwillingness to even consider that evolution may be wrong even in part -- you could end up like the guy in Texas who once sued over the public display of a nativity scene and then:
    “There’s been one lingering thought in the back of my head my entire life, and it‘s one thought that I’ve never been able to reconcile, and that is the vast difference between all the animals and us,” Greene told The Christian Post on Tuesday, as he began to explain his recent transformation from atheist to Christian. The theory of evolution didn’t answer his questions, he says, so he just set those questions aside and didn’t think about them anymore.

    But when the Christians in a town that had reason to be angry with him showed him a gesture of love, he began reconsidering his beliefs altogether. He eventually began to realize that evolution would never have the answer to his questions, he says, and it was at that time he began to believe in God.

    “I kind of realized that the questions I [was] asking you just had to accept on faith without doubting every period and every comma,” he said. He later began studying the Bible, both the Old Testament and the Gospels, and also discovered his belief that Jesus is the Son of God.
    http://www.theblaze.com/stories/athe...e-a-christian/
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    The concept of species, as stated by John, is artificial. The best definition I have seen is something like : "a population of organisms that only interbreed among themselves in the wild".

    However, even this definition is tricky. It excludes things like lions and tigers which can be forced to interbreed in captivity, and would normally exclude things like small dogs and wolves, which will not interbreed in the wild. But the boundaries are still loose, and ill defined. We need to be aware of this.

    However, if we accept this definition, then we have seen evolution to species level. For example, there is a cichlid fish living in Lake Victoria in Africa, which over 100 years (during which time, it has been observed by naturalists) has spawned a sub population which is of a different colour, and will not interbreed with the parent population. By the definition above, that is evolution to a new species.

    You can argue against that by disputing the definition. You cannot argue, though, that evolution has not occurred.

    However, if we can observe small degrees of evolution over a short period of time, then longer periods of time will inevitably lead to larger degrees of evolutionary change.

    On the 65 million years since the KT event.
    65 million years is a very long time for evolution to take place, compared to the 100 years to get a new cichlid species.
    By 65 million years ago, the greatest amount of evolutionary development required for complex life had already taken place. That is ; we had mammals, birds, reptiles, fish etc already fully formed. Over the 65 million years since, adaptive radiation had occurred, but involving less subtle changes. Those changes are like evolving a chihuahua into a Great Dane. Gross changes like that can occur in a relatively short time. So we get simple small lemur like animals evolving into monkey like animals, evolving into apes, and finally humans. Simply changing gross shape and increasing size of parts of the body like the brain are easier to do than the more subtle changes that took the 3 billion plus years before the KT event. After all, humans have achieved that with animal breeding even within less than 100 years.
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner View Post
    You are fighting against your own scientific people
    At this point I'm just at the point of pointing you towards basic biology science so you can learn on your own.

    Chapter 19 - Prezygotic barriers

    Many scientist would consider different dog breeds ring species, where the two extremes can't breed with each other, but there's still sufficient gene flow between them through say medium sized dogs so keep them under the same definition of species--one of convenience despite the obvious physical barriers between them, both physically as well as viability by artificial means because great dane-poodle crossing fetuses would be large enough to kill the poodle mother.

    And this article that talks about some current dog breeds that can't even reproduce between sexes of the same breed:
    http://ginkgo100.blogspot.com/2009/0...ecies-and.html

    I can understand your unwillingness to even consider that evolution may be wrong even in part
    OF COURSE it is wrong IN PART. If not we wouldn't need biological researchers anymore--such is ALL science. While you rummaging around learning basic biology, you might note all the shifting biological classification of numerous species and genus as biologist have brought genetic information to bare. Non of this puts the basic premise of evolution in doubt--in fact it strongly reinforces it.

    In an attempt to bring some levity I'll put of a humorous piece from one of the Scientific American writers about classifying dogs. Are Dog Breeds Actually Different Species?: Scientific American
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    skeptic said:

    However, even this definition is tricky. It excludes things like lions and tigers which can be forced to interbreed in captivity, and would normally exclude things like small dogs and wolves, which will not interbreed in the wild. But the boundaries are still loose, and ill defined. We need to be aware of this.
    The boundary and is not a loose and ill defined; it has already been drawn. It is that the dividing line between species is whether they are capable of breeding and production fertile offspring. Granted there are some exceptions wherein aspects of fertility exists such as in tigons and ligers where the offspring of Panthera leo and Panthera tigris have partial fertility depending on sex, that is, one sex is fertile but the other isn't. There are other cases in which the hybrid offspring is able to breed with members of one parent's species, but not the other.

    Until such time as someone here can produce a document from a bona fide scientific organization that has given members of The Science Forum the right to change the definition of species, I am going to accept the one that everybody else uses. The definition is not tricky at all and tends to be quite adequate until we get to animals (maybe plants, too) for which there are numerous very closely related species and breeding can occur cross-species. However, in these instances, it is equally possible that species designation has been given to what should have been classified as a varient. Even Darwin and his colleagues argued incessantly at times concerning the categorization of some closely related animals.

    skeptic said:

    You cannot argue, though, that evolution has not occurred.
    This is, at best, an example of speciation to which I have not registered any argument. But I am not even sure you actually have a new species. I get the feeling that if you artificially bred them, you would get viable offspring, meaning they would fulfill the definition of same species. Again, species separation is based on actual breedablilty, not on natural preferences in mates. Whatever, this is not an example of macro-evolution.

    skeptic said:
    Those changes are like evolving a chihuahua into a Great Dane.
    Without objecting to the obvious fact that we did not take Chihuahuas and breed them into Great Dane, even if we had we still would have had members of the same species, not a complete new family of canidae, let alone a new order. I hesitate to rate the quality of evolution within a single species as being at the same level of evolution displayed in a new species.

    It does, however, bring up the interesting dichotomy here in that you use an example of man intelligently designing a new variation within a species and seem to feel that it supports evolution more than intelligent design. Those design differences probably would not have occurred had nature been left to it's own devices which is what evolution must rely upon.

    skeptic said:
    By 65 million years ago, the greatest amount of evolutionary development required for complex life had already taken place. That is ; we had mammals, birds, reptiles, fish etc already fully formed.
    I have not been able to find any article which is willing to take a stab at the number of mammals from any level of taxonomy which exited the KT extinction. One would think that if they can estimate the percentage of life that went extinct, the could estimate the number of About the best information I can find is that mammilian survivors of the KT extinction would compare in size to modern-day rats.

    Without knowing how many orders and families survived, it becomes difficult to make any kind of argument as to how these rat sized quadrapods evolved in to, say, elephants and whales. But even if we knew how many orders and families survived, we still don't have the slightest idea as to how long or how many changes are required to accomplish a discernable difference at the order level of the taxonomy chart. I suppose, as an evolution enthusiast, you must say that it can occur in 65 million years. You have no other option but to make that contention, fully support it and vehemently oppose anything that mitigates against it.

    skeptic said:

    Gross changes like that can occur in a relatively short time. So we get simple small lemur like animals evolving into monkey like animals, evolving into apes, and finally humans.
    You oversimplify this process as though it took place amost overnight. Do you have some educated studies which show a potential time line for these changes?
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    daytonturner wrote
    You guys seems to attach long observation periods of life when it suits your purpose and then deny it when it suits a different purpose. The reasonn we know whatever evolution has taken place, took place over long periods of time is because of paleontological evidence.
    A mistake in interpretation. When you say observation, as in observation of fruit fly, I think you mean active observation in real time, not observation by gathering evidence. You seem to use observation in two meanings.

    The more strains you have going, the more generations you can observe. So if you are observing 1,000 fruit flies from 1,000 different strains, you would be tracking 1,000 generations at the same time. If generations have to be serial, as you claim, it only creates a more severe time problem.
    If you insist to use the word generation in this way, then you need to use it consistent when talking about number of generation in evolution. It means there are almost infinitely vast generations for evolution; for example, in only 50 years there is 3 billion generations of human only. Are we talking about billions of billions of billions generations for evolution on earth?

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    The first link you, Linx_Fox, included says this:

    PREZYGOTIC BARRIERS
    Most reproductive isolating mechanisms are prezygotic barriers: that is, they
    prevent fertilization between members of different species from occurring.

    Temporal isolation is a prezygotic barrier in which the
    two species reproduce at different times of the day, season, or year. Wood and
    leopard frogs are an example of two similar species whose ranges overlap.

    Habitat isolation is a prezygotic barrier in which two
    species whose ranges overlap live in different habitats. As a result, potential
    mates from the two species do not encounter one another. During the breeding
    season in eastern North America, five species of small birds known as
    flycatchers are found in different habitats in the same area. One species
    prefers open woods and farmland; one frequents beech trees; one is found in
    alders, one in conifer woods, and one in willowy thickets.
    Both of the examples are of two apparently different species. What is not included is the important information as to whether the sperm from one of the species will impregnate the egg of the other species. If so, it would beg the question as to whether we mischaracterized a variation as a new species. There is nothing here, on its face, which disagrees with the idea that the deliniation of species is based on their inability to breed vis a vis their preference not to breed. There is not enough information included here to decide one way or the other.

    Lynx_Fox said:

    And this article that talks about some current dog breeds that can't even reproduce between sexes of the same breed:
    http://ginkgo100.blogspot.com/2009/0...ecies-and.html
    This article, which also discussed the concept of a "ring species" was interesting, but I am no sure it is helpful to your case. The fact that Great Danes and Chihuahuas would find it difficult (maybe impossible) to breed in nature still does not negate the FACT that the Chihuahua sperm will fertilize a Great Dane egg and the Great Dane sperm will fertilize the Chihuahua egg. This satisfied the current definition of species.

    However, I am quite frustrated by what I consider one of the most diobolical misrepresentations made by evolutionists when the article talks about the breed of dogs that (punnishly speaking) cannot breed. The article says:

    Some dog breeds are not capable of reproducing at all, at least not without
    technological intervention. French bulldog females usually must be artificially
    inseminated because males cannot mount effectively, and the puppies often must
    be delivered by Caesarian section. I am not sure how such creatures would fit
    into the classical species definition. It was not designed for populations that
    can't reproduce at all!

    This completely ignores the fact that this dog breed is not a naturally occurring dog breed. Evolution as a whole is based on naturally occuring changes. In nature, this dog breed would not survive, removing it completely from the taxolgy. The dastardly thing is that you are now using man-made changes which are unnatural to represent nature. It is not nice to fool with Mother Nature. The sad thing is that you don't seem to be able see this problem in comparing man-caused breeding with what happens in nature. It is a misrepresentation of nature.

    The article also misrepresents the position of some creationist when it take a pot shot at creationists who deny speciation. It is true some people do not understand speciation and I suspect I could go down the local bar and question a number of professing atheists who have no idea what speciation is but they believe it. This is hardly different from the person who does not know what speciation is but doesn't believe it. Obviously, this pot shot is more accurately characterized as a cheap shot.

    prasit said:
    A mistake in interpretation. When you say observation, as in observation of fruit fly, I think you mean active observation in real time, not observation by gathering evidence. You seem to use observation in two meanings.
    Sorry, I did not mean to mislead you into believing that we were observing and noting these things before recorded history. As I have tried to point out before, words with different meaning or connotations must be read within their context. I am not aware of any real time observations from 10,000 years ago, are you? If only we had 10,000 years of noted observation. However, the paleontological record of that period of time is fairly complete. (I rest assured there were no dogs in that pre-historic time who lasted long without the ability to mate and bear young. I suspect they were one generation away from extinction at the moment of their birth.)

    prasit also said:
    If you insist to use the word generation in this way, then you need to use it consistent when talking about number of generation in evolution. It means there are almost infinitely vast generations for evolution; for example, in only 50 years there is 3 billion generations of human only. Are we talking about billions of billions of billions generations for evolution on earth?
    Interesting observation. Accepting your math (though I would like to see formula for this calculation), I can only say it shows just how many generations of an animal are required to effect a change. So, you seen any changes in the human genome in the last 50 years, the last 2,000 years? Your numbers go to show how vastly rare genetic changes are and genetic changes are what is required in evolution.

    In nature, however, we do not have the same number or type of branching as we would have in man-directed breeding (such as fruit fly research) for the purpose of altering a line. I could agree that when you breed purebred black labradors to purebred black labradors to purebred black labradors, you do have linear generations in a sense. But if you cross breed a black lab with a golden retriever, you now have two lines of generations, doubling the number of generations in the same time frame.

    This is the first interesting observation on this thread that has given me cause to pause for thought. My preliminary reaction is that multiplying the strains of a species multiplies the generations in a given generational period. My question would then be: when humans procreate are they creating a new strain of human to observe? When they breed a fruit fly to its minimum numbers of hairs, do they have a new strain of fruit fly to observe? I'm not sure if those two conditions are different or the same.

    Under your formula, can you calculate the number of generations of one species of fruitflies since 1910 based on an 8-day generation cycle which would be the laboratory average. One must note that no matter the number, there have been no genetic changes in all those generations. The genetic possibilities for a 2012 fruit fly are exactly the same as they were for the same species of 1910 fruit fly that Thomas Hunt Morgan could have started with. My reading on the fruit fly was some time ago, but as I recall, this is one animal where different species can be easily cross bred, though offspring are sterile. The several genera and species of fruit flies, of course, complicates a comparison to Homo sapiens which are the sole members of their genus and species or if such a comparison is useful.

    Thank you, prasit, for making me think.
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    How did you decide that Pekingnese and Great Danes are the same design of animal?

    There you go, building your inane response on a misquote. I said they were the same species after you tried to say they weren't. You were totally wrong and I was totally right. But, now that you mention it, they are pretty much the same design other than their exterior appearance and general size and possibly their coloring, everthing else about them is the same.
    They differ in a whole bunch of important design features: from size and color to ear shape and fur density and jaw structure, from sensory balance (nose vs eyes) to nutritional requirements and behavioral traits, they are obviously different animals designed for different jobs and different roles.

    Yet you claim they are the same species. On what design principles do you make that claim?
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    daytonturner wrote:
    Sorry, I did not mean to mislead you into believing that we were observing and noting these things before recorded history. As I have tried to point out before, words with different meaning or connotations must be read within their context. I am not aware of any real time observations from 10,000 years ago, are you? If only we had 10,000 years of noted observation.
    Well, I am mistaken because you use two meanings in one sentence.
    This we have observed for 1,000s of years and, in the case of the fruit fly, millions of generations
    And, again, what have you observed for 1,000s of years? The lack of evidence for macro-evolution or the existence of evidence against macro-evolution?

    About 'generations', you wrote:
    Interesting observation. Accepting your math (though I would like to see formula for this calculation), I can only say it shows just how many generations of an animal are required to effect a change. So, you seen any changes in the human genome in the last 50 years, the last 2,000 years? Your numbers go to show how vastly rare genetic changes are and genetic changes are what is required in evolution
    The only reason I use your interpretation of 'generation' in the discussion is to have a fair comparison of the 'generations' of fruit fly in observation and 'generations' of fruit fly in nature. Using the same interpretation you can see that the observation is too tiny to detect anything in nature that is going on for millions of years. Also, it certainly would not cause a macro-evolution in that kind of observation; even a radical evolutionist will not believe so.
    I myself (and I believe, most people) will not multiply the population with the number generations of each family line and say that this is the number of generations we have been through. A hundred runners running together does not result in running hundred times faster. It just increase the chance of having a very fast runner in the team, who may run 1.2 times faster than the average. So when we talk about evolution, we should not combine two different things into one meanings, it will only lead to less understanding, not more.
    Honestly, have you ever heard someone else use the word 'generation' the same way as yours? A senior US citizen saying "I have lived through billion generations of the American people", perhaps?
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    Evolution is defined as a "undirected" process and as much as science prefers to place different dog breeds under evolution, it is not evolution. When we have to artificially inseminate an organism to obtain the desired results it is directed by humans. If you we take two different organisms from different parts of the planet where otherwise they never would have had any contact and breed them, it is directed by humans.
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    iceaura said:
    Yet you claim they are the same species. On what design principles do you make that claim?

    Do you ever do any research iceaura? Or do you always just pull things out of where the sun don't shine? Something as close as Wikipedia will give you the skinny on dogs. Every domesticated dog known to mankind as the scientific taxological name of Canis lupis familiaris. They are all in one sub-species within the species of wolves -- Canis lupis. This is not my designation, this is the designation assigned to the by biology. If you think it is wrong, perhaps you can convince whoever is in charge of the naming conventions to make a few changes to suit your own preferences. I'm sure your persuasiveness will impress them a great deal.
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner View Post
    Which leads me to John Galt who said:

    you seem to be ignoring the fact that the concept of species is an artificial one. It is intended to simplify the complex relationships between organisms in time and space. It is not intended as an absolute division of the biosphere, but as a convenient description of that biosphere. Several of your objections appear to disregard this rather fundamental point. Perhaps you would like to comment.

    What you seem to be ignoring is the fact that we have always made up terms to describe things. All terms are artificial terms used to communicate concepts, so duhhhhh to the idea that the concept of species is an artificial one.
    You are missing the central point. Television set describes a very definite entity. It is an absolute term - or was until the intorduction of ipads and 4g telephones. Such is not the case with species, or life, or the colours of the rainbow. These are transitional things where the boundary between A and not A is arbitrary and - in a real sense - meaningless. But you try to imbue it with meaning based on the premise that the distinction is absolute.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner View Post
    Species has a specific meaning in biology and no amount of post-modernist interpretation can change the meaning of the word to those who are properly using it. It does not mean animals that could breed but don't; it means animals that are so genetically different that they cannot breed. If the term species can mean different things to different people, how can it mean anything to anyone?
    You are mistaken. Species is typically used to refer to organisms that do not normally interbreed as a consequence of anatomy, behaviour, location, genetic incompatability etc. Lions and tigers are decidedly different species, yet they can interbreed, as can horses and donkeys, and bonobos and chimpanzees.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner View Post
    I just don't understand why these are such monumental revelations to people who claim to be enlightened atheists.

    1. I may be enlightened but I am no atheist.
    2. your assertions are not monumental revelations, but poorly understood regurgitation of miscomprehensions.
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    John Galt said:
    You are mistaken. Species is typically used to refer to organisms that do not normally interbreed as a consequence of anatomy, behaviour, location, genetic incompatability etc. Lions and tigers are decidedly different species, yet they can interbreed, as can horses and donkeys, and bonobos and chimpanzees.
    Are you sure that says what you meant? Should the word "not" be there?

    I have bothered to look up several definitions of species:

    A fundamental category of taxonomic classification, ranking below a genus or subgenus and consisting of related organisms capable of interbreeding – American Heritage Dictionary
    A species is often defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring. – Wikipedia

    In biology, a species is a kind of organism. Loosely speaking, a species is a related group of organisms that share a more or less distinctive form and are capable of interbreeding. – World IQ

    An individual belonging to a group of organisms (or the entire group itself) having common characteristics and (usually) are capable of mating with one another. – Biology Online

    The term species can be defined as a group of individual organisms that are capable of interbreeding to produce fertile offspring in nature. A species is, according to this definition, the largest gene pool that exists under natural conditions. Thus, if a pair of organisms are capable of producing offspring in nature, they must belong to the same species. – About.com
    As you will note, all of these definitions focus on the ability of the members of a species to mate. Only the definition from biology online provides some wiggle room which it says "usually." I am not sure if this is saying that some members of a species are not able to mate or if it means that mating can take place across species lines in which case it is referring to hybridization which is very rare in nature.

    Whatever problems we may have in categorizing species among animals, mammals especially, the problems do not arise in nature so much as when man steps in to manipulate. In nature, the major ambiguities of designating species comes from plants and animals which reproduce asexually -- poor things.

    Evolution is based on what has and will happen naturally, not on what man can cause to happen. In nature, the lines are not all that bleery. That's why we were able to develop such a thing as taxonmy. We did not develop taxonomy and then all the animals decided the should find their spot.

    We do not see ligers or tigons in nature. We do not see mules in nature. These are our own concoctions. We cannot build an atomic bomb and then say that because we can build one, it must also be a natural phenomenon.

    In this discussion many of those who are arguing with the definition of species as it might relate to evolution do so from a standpoint of man's interferrance. The meaning of species is not all that ambigous. With a few exceptions of man induced hybridization, the definition focusing on the ability of the male sperm to fertilize the female egg, provides a dividing line that serves well to determine species differentiation.

    I find it interesting, if not amusing, that you folks are arguing with your own scientifically developed terminology and then you wonder why some of the rest of us are skeptical as to the veracity of your claims. You hardly know what they are yourselves.















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    daytonturner,

    You are picking a very simplistic definition of species. I'd much prefer you examine some papers from theoretical biology or philosophy rather than pluck one-liners off the internet. There is a voluminous literature regarding what a species is or is not that has excersised the minds of biologists and philosphers alike for several centuries now. Some very nice books on amazon too if you are more than casually interested.


    Failing that, the blog and works of John Wilkins, and the references therein, are quite a good place to familiarise oneself with this issue. Try How many species concepts are there? for a brief essay on the species concept and its definitions.


    Wikipedia has a page on the Species Problem.


    I hope you can see that the issue is far from as clear cut as you have described.
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    prasit said:
    The only reason I use your interpretation of 'generation' in the discussion is to have a fair comparison of the 'generations' of fruit fly in observation and 'generations' of fruit fly in nature. Using the same interpretation you can see that the observation is too tiny to detect anything in nature that is going on for millions of years. Also, it certainly would not cause a macro-evolution in that kind of observation; even a radical evolutionist will not believe so.
    This is interesting in that on this very thread we have people arguing for a more expansive meaning to the word species for which I have found only one basic meaning while you argue for a stricter meaning to the word generation for which I have found seven different connotations. What I find interesting is that posters here want strict meanings when it suits their purpose or expansive meaning when that suits their purpose without regard to established actual meanings. They do the same thing when discussing Bible concepts.

    But after looking at the several definitions and connotations for the word generation, I don't think it has any application that suggests the concept I was attempting to show. Prasit was right in that.

    I think a word which might more closely represent what I was trying to convey is purmutations. Generations connotes, as prasit pointed out, a linear succession whereas permutation would connote a geometrically expanding succession.

    What we can do is use the generational factor to compute potential permutations. But, I suppose even then, we need to have a similar understanding of generation and why it is important. Generation relates to the average period of time that exists between when offspring are produced and when those offspring would then begin to produce the next generation of decendants to the original parents. Generational time spans differ from species to species. Humans have an accepted generational span of 25 to 30 years; fruit flies have an average generational span of a few days. Other factors involved in computing permutations would involve the number of offspring produced. Humans usually have one offspring at a time and, depending on their society, average 3 or 4 world wide while a female fruit flies lay an average of 400 eggs over her life span of about 30 days.

    I am not a mathmatician, but I think we could consider that for humans, 100 years would provide three to four generations with the potential permutations depending on the average number of children born to each generational mother reduced by the ratio of males to females. Fruit flies have a generational span dependent upon the period of gestation of the egg, since the female is able to mate within perhaps 15 minutes of hatching. In ideal laboratory coditions, it is possible for hatch to occur in an average of 8 days. Likely, the hatch speed would be slower in nature.

    What this does provide, however, is about 45 generations per year. Given one starting mated pair, the second generation could number about 400 and the third generation (considering one half the progeny are females) could number upward of 80,000 and there can be more than three trillion by the fourth generation which is just over a month down the road from.

    Certainly the laboratory will be more succesful in breeding and have a higher survival rate, than in nature. But the math for the number of progeny produced in a year (45 generations), even in the wild, is astounding. The number of fruit flies that could hatch in the ideal conditions of a laboratory over the more than a century we have studied fruit flies is incomprehensible. (I think we use to call a number like this a killyan. It is so large that if you even saw it, it would kill ya.) Granted, the actual count would be fewer than the potential maximum, given some experimental breeding results in failure to produce living or sustainable products.

    In less than a year, the number of fruit flies hatched could be a number larger than all the humans beings who have ever existed. Over the course of a century, however, the super mind boggling number, I am guessing, could be more than the number of any genus of mammals which now exist. Now then, when you consider the monstrous number of generations and purmutations of fruit flies with no observable genetic changes, one can see how many generations and purmutations of an entire genus can take place with no changes. When you compare that to, say, mammals, there have not been enough generations or purmutations to produce the number of changes we would need to bring about macro-evolution.

    I think mice and rabbits are among the fastest reproducing mammals. A rabbit may live to 9-12 years in a domesticated state but the average life span drops considerably in the wild. In either case, offspring numbering 80 per year would be average, say, 800 in a lifetime at the upper end of the possibilties. Mice are somewhat more prolific averaging 10-12 pups per litter with the ability to have 12-24 litters per year meaning 120 to 188 at the maximum in a year. This production rate is needed since their life space is two years at max and mice are major victims of predation. To reiterate, these numbers compare to the fruit fly's production of 400 offspring in 30 days.

    OK, neither the laboratory, nor domesticated mice (mostly for study) and rabbits as pets, food and fur sources would top out at the maximum of their progeny potential. I use these numbers mostly for the purpose of comparison of those potentials. I know I have descried the comparisons of man induced changes as not representative of nature. But in this case, the laboratory fruit flies, in spite of man's attempts, have not experienced any man induced changes created in an isolated environment which survive when they are reintroduced to natural fruit flies.

    Summing up, the number of purmeations of fruit flies involved in experimentation attains a number that is unimaginable. If it takes a lot of zeros to exicite you, this number would have them. I have not delved deeply into what I think the implications of these comparisons are, but I am sure this will generate considerable responce will afford me that opportunity. I realized when prasit chided me for suggesting one could say he had lived through billions of generations, he was correct based on the way i presented it.

    I would not expect to disuade anyone from his or her belief in macro-evolution, but I really don't think most people have a full appreciation for the number of genetic changes required, the time required, and the number generations required to bring about the life form changes required to effect macro-evolution. Many buy into the concept only because they better understand the implications of the alternative.

    I do welcome someone checking my math and ripping holes in this information, but in the case of the fruit fly, even if I'm off a few zeros, we are looking at numbers of purmutations so huge that the difference over a 100 year period would hardly be significant.

    Most of the above information can be found in articles at Wikipedia.
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner View Post
    skeptic said:
    Our classifications are somewhat arbitrary. However, one thing all species definitions have in common is the ability of breeding within a species. If you take Pekinese sperm and insert it into a Great Dane bitch, you will get offspring. So we can say those two breeds of dogs are the same species.
    It is not so much the classifications which are arbitrary as it is our difficulty of placing some animals into a classification when it seems to defy a classification. I find it totally stupid that people here are still trying to get out of admitting that all dogs are members of the same species and that all domestics dogs are decended from wolves.

    .....

    After the KT extinction, the only mammals in existence were very primitive mammals of a very small size. As the topic asks: how do you talk to people who have to twist, bend and alter what you have said in order to attempt to counter it. If the time line were not a problem, why do you suppose so many people (Stephen Jay Gould the primary one) attempt to explain it with concepts such as punctuated equilibrium. The time line has always been a major problem and only those who really don't understand what they think they believe refuse to admit it.

    What we don't know is how long it takes nature to effect a significant change or how many changes might be involved. But what we do know is that in order for nature to make a new species, it takes a long time and a lot of changes. The reason we do not know how long or how many changes is that we lack enough information to make reasonable guesses. Yet, there are people who gobble up the idea of macro-evolution because they do they don't understand all the implications of what they want to believe because they fear the alternative.
    The reason for this is because there's no expectation that evolution would always move at a certain fixed "speed". The severity of the selection process decides how fast the process will proceed. Consider the example of dog breeds. Right now there are a lot of diverse breeds with lots of interesting, specialized traits. Had human beings not made very targeted breeding decisions about which dogs to pair and which ones to keep and raise, those traits would have taken much longer to appear, if they did at all.

    If a natural environment existed that favored those traits, but it wasn't quite as brutally steep as the human selection, then we'd be seeing them emerge over tens of thousands of years instead of hundreds. It's the severity of the selection that made it happen fast.



    I'm not sure, but I think Barbi was alluding to the fact that nature did not give us many variations of the dog on her own. It was only when man attempted to "design" dogs to suit his own purposes, did the many variation come to be. (That is not meant to be a sexist comparison.)
    Yeah. The natural environment would never have imposed such a steep selection. Also there is not a great enough variety of environments that favor canines for them to become very diverse.

    Given an infinite amount of time and an infinite number changes, what macro-evolutionists wish had happened, could have happened. But you don't have an infinite amount of time to effect an infinite number of changes -- unless, of course, you are from infinity. What you have just in the case of mammals since the KT extinction, is 65 millions of years for evolution to have effected what some estimate to have been billions of changes. The math does not work, has never worked based on any mechanism or combination of mechanisms advanced so far. Maybe we'll find an appropriate mechanism. Meanwhile, our observation is that canines only make other canines, felines only make other felines, chickens only make other chickens, fruitflies only make other fruitflies, viruses only make other viruses. This we have observed for 1,000s of years and, in the case of the fruit fly, millions of generations.
    Here what you're forgetting is that multiple traits exist in any population all the time. There is always variety to pull from. It doesn't have to happen one trait at a time. Combinations of traits could be selected for together in the same generation.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner View Post
    Until such time as someone here can produce a document from a bona fide scientific organization that has given members of The Science Forum the right to change the definition of species, I am going to accept the one that everybody else uses. The definition is not tricky at all and tends to be quite adequate until we get to animals (maybe plants, too) for which there are numerous very closely related species and breeding can occur cross-species. However, in these instances, it is equally possible that species designation has been given to what should have been classified as a varient. Even Darwin and his colleagues argued incessantly at times concerning the categorization of some closely related animals.
    You're getting caught up in words instead of reality. If we want to discuss a concept for which a word does not yet exist, we don't need to write to some academic authority and request permission. The language is pliable.

    If I say "species" but I really mean "animals that can't mate due to purely genetic differences", feel free to call the word police and see if they come arrest me.
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner View Post
    What we can do is use the generational factor to compute potential permutations. But, I suppose even then, we need to have a similar understanding of generation and why it is important. Generation relates to the average period of time that exists between when offspring are produced and when those offspring would then begin to produce the next generation of decendants to the original parents. Generational time spans differ from species to species. Humans have an accepted generational span of 25 to 30 years; fruit flies have an average generational span of a few days. Other factors involved in computing permutations would involve the number of offspring produced. Humans usually have one offspring at a time and, depending on their society, average 3 or 4 world wide while a female fruit flies lay an average of 400 eggs over her life span of about 30 days.

    I am not a mathmatician, but I think we could consider that for humans, 100 years would provide three to four generations with the potential permutations depending on the average number of children born to each generational mother reduced by the ratio of males to females. Fruit flies have a generational span dependent upon the period of gestation of the egg, since the female is able to mate within perhaps 15 minutes of hatching. In ideal laboratory coditions, it is possible for hatch to occur in an average of 8 days. Likely, the hatch speed would be slower in nature.

    What this does provide, however, is about 45 generations per year. Given one starting mated pair, the second generation could number about 400 and the third generation (considering one half the progeny are females) could number upward of 80,000 and there can be more than three trillion by the fourth generation which is just over a month down the road from.

    Certainly the laboratory will be more succesful in breeding and have a higher survival rate, than in nature. But the math for the number of progeny produced in a year (45 generations), even in the wild, is astounding. The number of fruit flies that could hatch in the ideal conditions of a laboratory over the more than a century we have studied fruit flies is incomprehensible. (I think we use to call a number like this a killyan. It is so large that if you even saw it, it would kill ya.) Granted, the actual count would be fewer than the potential maximum, given some experimental breeding results in failure to produce living or sustainable products.

    In less than a year, the number of fruit flies hatched could be a number larger than all the humans beings who have ever existed. Over the course of a century, however, the super mind boggling number, I am guessing, could be more than the number of any genus of mammals which now exist. Now then, when you consider the monstrous number of generations and purmutations of fruit flies with no observable genetic changes, one can see how many generations and purmutations of an entire genus can take place with no changes. When you compare that to, say, mammals, there have not been enough generations or purmutations to produce the number of changes we would need to bring about macro-evolution.

    I think mice and rabbits are among the fastest reproducing mammals. A rabbit may live to 9-12 years in a domesticated state but the average life span drops considerably in the wild. In either case, offspring numbering 80 per year would be average, say, 800 in a lifetime at the upper end of the possibilties. Mice are somewhat more prolific averaging 10-12 pups per litter with the ability to have 12-24 litters per year meaning 120 to 188 at the maximum in a year. This production rate is needed since their life space is two years at max and mice are major victims of predation. To reiterate, these numbers compare to the fruit fly's production of 400 offspring in 30 days.

    OK, neither the laboratory, nor domesticated mice (mostly for study) and rabbits as pets, food and fur sources would top out at the maximum of their progeny potential. I use these numbers mostly for the purpose of comparison of those potentials. I know I have descried the comparisons of man induced changes as not representative of nature. But in this case, the laboratory fruit flies, in spite of man's attempts, have not experienced any man induced changes created in an isolated environment which survive when they are reintroduced to natural fruit flies.

    Summing up, the number of purmeations of fruit flies involved in experimentation attains a number that is unimaginable. If it takes a lot of zeros to exicite you, this number would have them. I have not delved deeply into what I think the implications of these comparisons are, but I am sure this will generate considerable responce will afford me that opportunity. I realized when prasit chided me for suggesting one could say he had lived through billions of generations, he was correct based on the way i presented it.

    I would not expect to disuade anyone from his or her belief in macro-evolution, but I really don't think most people have a full appreciation for the number of genetic changes required, the time required, and the number generations required to bring about the life form changes required to effect macro-evolution. Many buy into the concept only because they better understand the implications of the alternative.

    I do welcome someone checking my math and ripping holes in this information, but in the case of the fruit fly, even if I'm off a few zeros, we are looking at numbers of purmutations so huge that the difference over a 100 year period would hardly be significant.

    Most of the above information can be found in articles at Wikipedia.
    If those fruit flies are grown in an environment that offers no selection criteria, then we should expect no noticeable mutation to occur over time. In the absence of an environmental criteria, the criteria of genetic stability prevails. The genome that is the best established, with the least likelihood of causing congenital defects would usually win, and that would be whichever has been around the longest.

    If a criteria is introduced, then probably you would accuse the scientists of practicing husbandry on the fruit flies, and discount their results on that basis. So you see...... there's no way to win.

    Also you're forgetting that many mutations coexist at all times. That's why human beings look different from each other. We've all mutated away from the "ideal human" (whatever that is), every last one of us.
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    Daytonturner,

    You wrote too long for me to keep my attention to read. It would be nice if you can summarize it in a few sentences.

    I am not really interested in the number of permutations of matching genes of both sexes. These will cause normal variations, which are expressed in, e.g. for human, different skin color, eyes color, height etc. But it does not add up. If there are a thousand people who are 10 cm taller than the average, and lets assume that height is currently an advantage to survival, it does not result in the increase of 100m height.
    But if there are a thousand generations in which the tall people keep on mutating to be higher, you can expect them to be very very tall indeed (but not 100m, as at certain height it will turn to be a disadvantage)

    I know about Evolution by reading popular science publication, so I may not know much. But I think evolution is caused by mutations which cause imperfect replication, and some of this imperfect replication turn out to enhance the ability to survive and propagate. The size of population matters in that it help increases the number of mutations in that population to be sufficient enough for the evolution process to continue.

    I am intrigued by your intense focus on the fruit fly experiment. There are a lot of animals that are transformed due to environmental pressure. For example, mosquitoes continue to evolve to be resistant to pesticide, even as new kind of pesticide is introduced every year. Doesn't it count?
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    So many comments, so little time to respond.

    Zwirko:

    Did you actually read all of the article you linked me to? The title is somewhat deceptive to where the author ends up. He starts out by mentioning there are 26 idea in play on how to define a species. He then immediately breaks it down to only seven different "concepts." As he weaves his way through those "concepts," eventually reducing them to two, then to one and also mentions one school of thought that says there are no species.

    His basic idea is that often people in the dicussion are looking at two different things -- what is a species and why are there species. The whys do not define species nor does what a species is tell us how it got that way. His bottom line is:

    There is one species concept (and it refers to real species).
    There are two explanations of why real species are species (see my microbial paper, 2007): ecological adaptation and reproductive reach.

    His final blow is that in a room full of n number of biologists, there are n+1 definitions of species.

    Anyway, Zwirko, thank you for the link to this article (How many species concepts are there? | Evolving Thoughts). I think it would be good reading for anyone partipating in this discussion except for maybe prasit, who seems to get bored after three or four paragraphs!!!!

    If you come away from the article with an actual definition of species other than a group of animals who are capable of reproducing amongst themselves, please post it.
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    daytonturner,

    I don't think you understood the first article I linked to.

    From it we learn that some think there are no species, some think there is one concept of species; that there are seven distinct definitions (with 27 variations) and that biologists can't agree on what a species is. Yet you still maintain it's all so simple. Perhaps you should up publish your findings in a paper?

    If you took anything from the article it should have been that species are NOT "a group of animals who are capable of reproducing amongst themselves". Given that most organisms are not animals and that most organisms do not reproduce sexually, your definition makes zero sense. Your definition is naive and, to be frank, silly.

    The species concept described by Wilkins (with its two explanations) has nothing to do with a "capability to breed amongst themselves". The species concept that Wilkins referred to was simply that "[s]pecies are those groups of organisms that resemble their parents" - described by him as the "generative conception of species". How we define that concept is not simple - seven main definitions exist with numerous variations. Definitions, concepts, and causes are all very different things.

    Where in the article is a definition such as yours reached as a conclusion?
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    kojax said:

    If those fruit flies are grown in an environment that offers no selection criteria, then we should expect no noticeable mutation to occur over time. In the absence of an environmental criteria, the criteria of genetic stability prevails. The genome that is the best established, with the least likelihood of causing congenital defects would usually win, and that would be whichever has been around the longest
    .

    Exactly!!!! It is this tremendous superpower of genetic self preservation which mitigates against the types of genetic alterations required to effect the changes that evolutions insists must have taken place. When cells divide, they have numerous built in-self check systems. They either self correct or totally reject a defective reproduction. This ability deteriorates with age, but what we find is that longer lived animals reach a stage of non-fertility which reduces the possibility of passing on defective genes.

    kojax said:

    If a criteria is introduced, then probably you would accuse the scientists of practicing husbandry on the fruit flies, and discount their results on that basis. So you see...... there's no way to win.
    You are right again. There IS something of a Catch-22 involved. There are only two laboratory possibilities. Experimentation produces a change or experimentation fails to effect a change. A change would be brought about by controlling the environment and/or by introducing some external stimulus. The first question we would have is whether nature is capable or can be capable of providing that environment and/or that stimulus to that same population of subjects. The second question would be whether the changes were permanent or reversionary when the changed subject was we reintroduced to the natural environment, or wether the changed subject could survive in the natural environment

    If nature is not capable of providing the same environment and stimulus, we have only shown that by man intelligently controlling the circummstances, we can effect a change. We have not shown that nature has evolved anything. And remember, evolution is predicated on the idea of natural changes -- not man made changes. This supports design more than it supports natural evolution.

    If no change is brought about or the change brought about dissappears as the "changed" subject is reintroduced to and breeds with a "normal" population or the changed subject cannot compete and survive, it suggests that the natural subjects have reached their optimum design, that any further changes are either detrimental to the subject or are less beneficial to survival. Again, the result tends to support design more than natural evolution.

    kojax also said:

    Also you're forgetting that many mutations coexist at all times. That's why human beings look different from each other. We've all mutated away from the "ideal human" (whatever that is), every last one of us.
    The fact that some of us have green eyes, others have brown eyes and others have blue eyes is not an example of mutations. Nor is the fact that some have light skin while others have dark skin. These are functions of the very complex genetic pool that goes to make up the human genome. We are all "ideal humans" in the sense that we have accurately become the animal that was programmed into the genes we inherited from our parents. We would not be "ideal humans" only if we ended up being something different than a human.

    It might be more clearly shown by the answer to when

    prasit asked:
    I am intrigued by your intense focus on the fruit fly experiment. There are a lot of animals that are transformed due to environmental pressure. For example, mosquitoes continue to evolve to be resistant to pesticide, even as new kind of pesticide is introduced every year. Doesn't it count?
    Count for what? It certainly does not count as macro-evolution. You still have mosquitoes who would be able to reproduce with mosquitoes if the same species that were not resistent to pesticide.

    All that has occurred is that the genetic possibilities already existing in the subject mosquitoes have begun to emphasize those which are not affected by the artificial introduction of pesticide into the environment. (Environment + stimulus.) Were you to removed the artificial stimulant from that environment, a population of non-resistent mosquitoes would begin to increase. This would merely be an example of the peppered moth incident in which when manufacturing smoke darkened the bark of their favorite tree, the darker moths survived better because they were less visible to the predators. (Environment + stimulus.) Then when manufacturing was curtailed and the tree bark returned to its previous light color, the lighter colored moths survived better because they were less visible to the predators.

    They did not end up with a completely different peppered moth. It was the very same moth whose genetic possibilities allowed it to survive in different environments -- not because of evolution, but because of pre-existing genetic potentials. It always has the capacity to be either dark or light. The same with prasit's mosquitoes. Some always carried the ability to resist the pesticide and they still carry the potential to produce non-resistent mosquitoes. That's why we administering pesticide.

    These are not mutations. When the gene pool contains a number of possibilities and one of those possibilities shows up, that is not mutation or evolution. It is merely an expression of one of the possibilites which are already built into the genetic code.

    We generally consider skin color possibilities to be white, black, yellow or red -- or some variations thereof. And they all have red blood. When a child is born within the perameters of those color possibilities, the fact that one is dark and one is light is not an indication of any mutation or evolvement. Now, then, if the child of a human were born with permanently green skin and/or green blood, that would be a dramatic mutation.

    Evolution is natural, irreversable alterations to genetic makeup.
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    Zwirko:

    You are correct to the extent you are correct and somewhat off base to the extent that you are expanding the context of the discussion.

    Hitherto, the conversation has focused on sexually reproducing animal species -- even more specifically mammals. I have in the past, even on this thread, pointed out to the effect that what might be true of sexually producing mammals is not necessarily true of asexual reproduction nor of flora, and that hybridization which rarely takes place in nature is something of an exception.

    Zwirko asks:

    Where in the article is a definition such as yours reached as a conclusion?
    The author says:
    ". . .defines a species as the most inclusive group of organisms having the potential for genetic and/or demographic exchangeability.” [1989, My emphasis.] “Genetic” exchangeability here means the ability to act in the same manner in reproduction – any two members of the species are (more or less) interchangeable.
    He seems to agree with this and it would seem to suggest that members of a species must be genetically close enough that they can effect an exchange or combining of genetic material. It also seems to be a definition rather than a causation. I should think this is not a theoretical potential for exchange, but a practical one that carries the potential of producing offspring. Proof that two animals are not of the same species would be confirmed if that exhange could not include the possibility of offspring. How do you show an exchange or combining of genetic material without viable pogeny? The fact that you can cross breed any dog and get pups is, thus, prima facie evidence that they belong to the same species. The fact that you cannot cross breed dogs and some other members of the Canis genus is evidence that they are not the same species.

    You also misjudge in that I am not especially advocating for this particular definition of species other than for the need to have a common understanding of what one means when one says species. If you are talking about different species of dogs, you are not going to be able to communicate effectively with someone who understands that the current scientific disposition is that all dogs are of the same species, i.e. all listed in the species Canis lupis. It does not seem productive if one says species and then we have to go through the 26 potential definitions to see which one we are talking about. (That is, in essense, what happened earlier in this thread.) This particular definition is relatively easy to apply over the broad spectrum of sexually producing animals. If something is an exception, it is an exception. It should not be incorporated into the rule.

    The main thing I took from the article, as I said before, was the necessity to be able to differentiate between definition and causation arguments. Geographic isolation is a potential causation, not a defintion.

    What do you take away as the definition of species? Or others.
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    What do you take away as the definition of species?
    Simply this: there is no one-shoe-fits-all definition of species. It's complicated and it's fuzzy.

    If I was looking for a catchy one-liner, I would simply describe a species as "a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring" (similar to your own). However, I'd draw a deep breath and then expound at great length on how inadequate this definition is and that it does not apply in many, many cases. I'd also explain that it may not even have any biological meaning in some major groups of organisms, or possibly anywhere for that matter, except in a philosophical sense.

    If you require that I stick to "sexually reproducing animal species" instead of thinking about species in general then I'd point out that there are quite a few examples from the vertebrate group where inter-specific breeding occurs naturally all the time. What do we call those? Simple and strict definitions - and biological definitions in general - have a habit of biting back.

    Since this is a science forum you have to expect a demand for rigorous definitions or an acknowledgement of their futility when issues are raised. I'm aware of how you've attempted to describe species. I'm taking issue with the way you have dismissed others attempts to point out problems with such a definition. With how you appear to casually wave away any objection raised and especially with your characterization of biologists as idiots who don't know what they are talking about. If you go down that road you can only expect the discussion to take the route it has.

    We can use simple definitions without problem - as long as we are aware that they come with a list of caveats stretching from here to the moon.
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    Sounds good to me Zwirko so long as we are not suggesting that dingos are a different species from Chihuahuas because they are geographically isolated and cannot breed or that Great Danes and Pekingese are different species because a male Pekingese might likely find it difficult, if not impossible, to mount Great Dane.

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    Thing is, this whole debate about what a species is, seems to have been largely so you can have something specific you can argue against that relates to a definition of "macro evolution". Yet, you still don't seem to understand the significance of the fact that definitions of classifications are not as clearly set as you would like them to be. The reason, of course, is because nature simply isn't as readily classifiable as you'd like it to be. That is why people keep on telling you the classification is artificial. Ability to interbreed is but one aspect of organisms to consider when looking at how they are related. There is still no real barrier between micro and macro evolution, except for arbitrarily created ones.

    The example of the dogs you also keep misrepresenting. The point is not that they are artificially created, but to show how much variation can be gotten from within the same species through selection pressures. You keep looking at differences and clinging to them for the purposes of advancing your idea of a barrier to macro evolution, but fail to in turn see the significance of the similarities between organisms. You get cat and dog "kinds", but then you get things like hyenas that are somewhere in between. Within our own "kind" you get Neanderthals that existed for 600k years and homo sapiens sapiens that have been around for only 200k years, but who have interbred at one point. Then you have a succession of apes that have evolved for a long time and your choice for macro evolution becomes arbitrary and artificial. Would you call chimps and humans different "kinds"? What about homo erectus and homo habilis? The same thing goes for all the other "kinds". Clear lineages can be shown for the evolution of whales from land dwellers. Where do you draw the arbitrary line?

    Finally, you claimed that the genetic relatedness between organisms point equally towards both design and evolution, but I don't agree. If genes were pure and organisms only had the DNA needed to form their bodies, I'd say it would point more towards design than anything else. But that is not what we see, is it? What we see is exactly the kind of messiness one would expect from evolution. We see exactly the kind of mutational changes that get carried over into successive species, notthe clean gene blueprint one would expect from design. How would you explain that? For example, other apes have 24 pairs of chromosomes, while humans and Neanderthals have 23 pairs. Recent evidence clearly shows that our second chromosomes are fused from two original ones. Doesn't that point towards evolution rather than design?
    Last edited by KALSTER; April 12th, 2012 at 01:42 AM. Reason: Spelling
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    I'm posting this link just for background information really, just in case anyone would like to delve into the shady world of taxonomy a little deeper. This oldish (1999) paper discusses the call for a "rank-free taxonomy": Getting Rid of Species. Part of an ongoing effort to drag the 300-year old Linnean classification system into the world of modern biology.
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    Daytonturner,

    If you say man-made effect should not be included in the natural selection process, then all living things on earth now are going through artificial selection, as earth is getting warmer due to global warming.

    And if you don't argue against minor adaptation (micro) due to evolution but rather against major adaptation (macro) then we should not talk about anything that has less than, say, 1 million generation (the generally accepted definition of 'generation'), especially when you define the major adaptation as causing a separate species.

    Is the fruit-fly experiment targeted for development of new species?
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    prasit: leave it to somone to find a way to misconstrue man directed experimentation and testing with what may or may not be human caused change in the world envirionment which some continue to maintain in spite of the fact that for the last decade Earth's temperature had remained the same. And then to suggest ulterior motives -- as though the evolutionary arguments do not have ulterior motives.

    But you are correct, my ulterior motive is to attain the closest thing to the truth that I can. And I do not believe macro-evolution is truth.

    As to misrepresenting dogs. That was done by your cronies who insisted that because dingos and Chihuahuas (or maybe two other breeds) are geographically separated and thus cannot breed, they are different species or that because a Pekingese probably cannot mount a Great Dane to breed, they are different species. Those are the misrepresentations -- not my continued and consistent claim that all are members of the sub-species Canis lupis familiaris. They are all members of the same species. And no matter how people screw around with the definition of species, all these domesticated dog remain members of the same species.

    The definition of species as a group of organisms which can interbreed is the most inclusive definition and satisfies the needs of classifying almost all sexually reproducing organisms. I am unaware of any discipline that establishes rules of thumb which do not have some exceptions.

    Even as with homicide (Zimmerman case on my mind), there is a general law against killing another person. But there are exceptions to that rule affording affirmative defenses and there are different degrees of homicide depending on the state of mind of the person who caused the death of another. But I am pretty sure they do not change the basic concept that we are not allowed to murder other people. The list of definitions for species which I posted some time back are all from authoritative sources and they all agree with the definition I have maintained. You are arguing against them -- not me, but they are not here posting on this forum in their own defense. And they should not have to, nor should I be required to defend them against stubborn, closed minded people.

    prasit said:

    you claimed that the genetic relatedness between organisms point equally towards both design and evolution
    I think you misunderstand what I said by looking at it from the opposite direction. Without going back to check for sure, I think what I said was that similarities do not show one more than the other. You are talking about genetic differences in what follows the quoted sentence above. My point was that the argument from comparitive anatomy is not a strong one for either evolution or design. If you disagree, you disagree. But the only people who buy into that argument on either side are the respective choirs. Which begs the question -- are you a tenor, baritone or bass?

    prasit said:

    If you say man-made effect should not be included in the natural selection process, then all living things on earth now are going through artificial selection, as earth is getting warmer due to global warming.
    I would not compare supposed man-cause global warming with laboratory experiments on single, animal-specific projects. Which brings up the question as to how man-made warming has caused the temperature on earth to flatline for the last decade with temperatures in the U.S. actually decreasing, especially here in the Pacific Northwest where I am still freezing my A** off.

    prasit said:

    And if you don't argue against minor adaptation (micro) due to evolution but rather against major adaptation (macro) then we should not talk about anything that has less than, say, 1 million generation (the generally accepted definition of 'generation'), especially when you define the major adaptation as causing a separate species.
    Speciation is not macro-evolution. Other than that, I don't know if I understand the rest that paragraph. If you are actually suggesting that you (or someone else) estimate 1,000,000 generations between a change in species there is a serious math problem here. Human generations are 25 to 30 years. That means minimum of 25,000,000 years since the last species change that affected humans and 50,000,000 to the one before that. Considering that 65,000,000 years ago there were only primitive mammals surviving the Crutacious (KT) extinction and uhhhhhh -- surely you can see the problem. Obviously, it cannot take that many years if evolution is an accurate explanation. You may need to flesh this out a little more before I can figure out how to respond to it.

    prasit asked:
    Is the fruit-fly experiment targeted for development of new species?
    There have been hundreds, more likely 1,000s, of fruit fly experiments and I have no idea if or what goals they may have had in mind. Nor am I certain as to whether they were tests or experiments. If a person puts a, b, and c together and obtains result x -- that is an experiment. If a person says, "When I put a, b and c together, it should produce result x," that is a test whether or not result x is attained. The difference is that one is not seeking a specific result while the other is even though we seem to use the terms test and experiment interchangeably. I suspect many projects involving fruit flies are of both these natures. If any of the tests or experiments had the goal of bringing about a new species of fruit fly, to the best of my knowlodge, they have not succeeded in doing so. Perhaps the most significant results of these project has been the ability to determine the extreme ends of the genetic possibilities among different species of fruit flies.
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    Daytonturner wrote:
    Anyway, Zwirko, thank you for the link to this article (How many species concepts are there? | Evolving Thoughts). I think it would be good reading for anyone partipating in this discussion except for maybe prasit, who seems to get bored after three or four paragraphs!!!!
    You may have concluded this by generalizing from what I have said:
    Daytonturner,

    You wrote too long for me to keep my attention to read. It would be nice if you can summarize it in a few sentences.
    So let me be more explicit:

    DAYTONTURNER wrote too long for me to keep my attention to read.

    This means exactly what it says, no more, no less. Don't generalize it.

    You also wrote that:
    As to misrepresenting dogs. That was done by your cronies who insisted that because dingos and Chihuahuas (or maybe two other breeds) are geographically separated and thus cannot breed.....
    Who do you say are my cronies? Why am I not aware of it?

    Lastly you wrote:
    prasit said:


    you claimed that the genetic relatedness between organisms point equally towards both design and evolution



    Please check again. I did not say that.

    Re: one million generations to cause speciation; I put the word 'say' in front, which means I don't really have a good estimate in mind, only that it should be much larger than those done in the fruit fly experiment. And as the experiment's objective is not to get speciation anyway. Let's drop it.

    As for global-warming, I admit it is a mistake to raise this a man-made phenomenon. It is too controversial. May be a better example is the evolution of house cockroach being the result of man-made housing.

    Re: mosquitoes resistance, you wrote:
    The same with prasit's mosquitoes. Some always carried the ability to resist the pesticide and they still carry the potential to produce non-resistent mosquitoes. That's why we administering pesticide.

    These are not mutations. When the gene pool contains a number of possibilities and one of those possibilities shows up, that is not mutation or evolution. It is merely an expression of one of the possibilites which are already built into the genetic code.
    Here is a press release in 2003 that says otherwise

    Mosquitoes' resistance to insecticides: different species share
    the same mutation
    Paris, May 7, 2003

    Species of mosquitoes that transmit malaria (Anopheles gambiae) and the viral fever of the West Nile virus (Culex pipiens) share the same mutation, which confers resistance to the most widely used insecticides. This finding was revealed recently by a team of researchers in Montpellier, France (Mylène Weill et al., Institut des sciences de l’évolution, CNRS - Université de Montpellier II). Their discovery is crucial to combat the growing number of resistant mosquitoes throughout the world. It is published in the May 8 issue of the journal Nature.

    Mosquitoes' resistance to insecticides: different species share the same mutation
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    Another news in 2010

    Malaria fears escalate as most dangerous mosquito mutates into two species

    The most dangerous type of malaria-carrying mosquito, which kills up to a million people each year, is evolving into two different species, posing grave problems for controlling the transmission of the blood parasite.

    Malaria fears escalate as most dangerous mosquito mutates into two species - Science - News - The Independent
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Speciation is not macro-evolution.
    I hope we don't have to descend too far into the murky world of biological definitions again.


    Macroevolution is defined - in simple terms - as change at or above the level of species. By definition, then, observed instances of speciation are examples of observed macroevolution.


    There can be no other type of macroevolutionary event other than speciation. That's all that can ever be observed. That's all there is on the large scale. Change above the species level is nothing but the outcome of multiple and successive speciation events. If you agree that speciation can occur then I think you are doomed, in that you have no choice but to accept macroevolution.


    All taxonomic grades are artificial constructs used for convenience and they all arose by speciation. No organism can ever evolve out of its taxonomic rank (technically speaking we are fish, for example). Given this, and your claim that speciation is not an example of macroevolution, you must be using a non-standard definition of the word macroevolution. Presumably some ID version? I'd be interested to know what that is. As long as it has nothing to with "kinds"...
    Last edited by Zwirko; April 12th, 2012 at 11:21 AM. Reason: clarification
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    prasit said:

    Lastly you wrote:

    prasit said:

    you claimed that the genetic relatedness between organisms point equally towards both design and evolution



    Please check again. I did not say that.
    You are correct, it was a quote from Kalster. Sorry.
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner View Post
    kojax said:

    If those fruit flies are grown in an environment that offers no selection criteria, then we should expect no noticeable mutation to occur over time. In the absence of an environmental criteria, the criteria of genetic stability prevails. The genome that is the best established, with the least likelihood of causing congenital defects would usually win, and that would be whichever has been around the longest
    .

    Exactly!!!! It is this tremendous superpower of genetic self preservation which mitigates against the types of genetic alterations required to effect the changes that evolutions insists must have taken place. When cells divide, they have numerous built in-self check systems. They either self correct or totally reject a defective reproduction. This ability deteriorates with age, but what we find is that longer lived animals reach a stage of non-fertility which reduces the possibility of passing on defective genes.

    Yes. However a sufficiently strong environmental pressure can overcome that tendency. The power of evolution is in the fact that *only* a strong a selective pressure can do so.

    Essentially, our complexity as lifeforms is just a reflection of the complexity of the environment that spawned us. All the data to create us is contained in our starting circumstances. The difference between my perspective and yours is only in that I believe the environment itself provided all that data, and you believe that God provided it. I believe information from the environment itself is what overcomes entropy. You believe either that God overcomes the entropy, or that all DNA is gradually degrading from a perfect starting point (which God gave it.)


    The first question we would have is whether nature is capable or can be capable of providing that environment and/or that stimulus to that same population of subjects.
    The answer to that question would be a resounding "yes!!!!".

    It's just like how if you invent a better mousetrap and patent it, you'll likely make a lot of money. The environment similarly rewards mutations that put the organism at a tremendous advantage over its peers. They all lose, and the better mousetrap wins. (Because evolution is so slow, there's never a need to patent. The new genetic invention will have well more than 20 years to establish itself.)


    The second question would be whether the changes were permanent or reversionary when the changed subject was we reintroduced to the natural environment, or wether the changed subject could survive in the natural environment
    Unless the conditions that were introduced in order to foster the change exactly mirror the natural environment, the answer to this question should be a resounding "no!!!!!". Odds are they're no longer cut out for any existing natural environment and they'll all die before they have a chance to evolve to match it. Evolution to a new environment usually requires the old one to still exist so the species can have one foot in both for a while.



    If nature is not capable of providing the same environment and stimulus, we have only shown that by man intelligently controlling the circummstances, we can effect a change. We have not shown that nature has evolved anything. And remember, evolution is predicated on the idea of natural changes -- not man made changes. This supports design more than it supports natural evolution.

    If no change is brought about or the change brought about dissappears as the "changed" subject is reintroduced to and breeds with a "normal" population or the changed subject cannot compete and survive, it suggests that the natural subjects have reached their optimum design, that any further changes are either detrimental to the subject or are less beneficial to survival. Again, the result tends to support design more than natural evolution.
    I think you're beginning to understand how speciation would take place. An animal initially adapted to one environment that selects for one set of traits gradually begins to migrate into another radically different environment that selects for a different set of traits. Once the transition is complete and its living its whole life in the new environment, the new set of criteria will continue to act on it until it bears little or no resemblance to the creatures that spawned it.

    It's almost exactly what might happen in a lab. You see, the environment itself is what keeps introducing new information to prevent us from succumbing to entropy.



    kojax also said:

    Also you're forgetting that many mutations coexist at all times. That's why human beings look different from each other. We've all mutated away from the "ideal human" (whatever that is), every last one of us.
    The fact that some of us have green eyes, others have brown eyes and others have blue eyes is not an example of mutations. Nor is the fact that some have light skin while others have dark skin. These are functions of the very complex genetic pool that goes to make up the human genome.
    What they are is mutations that are all equally favored by our current environment so there's no reason for one to dominate. However, if our environment were to change in some way where one eye color offered a peculiar advantage, then after a while all the other eye colors would gradually die out, and the remaining eye color would re-differentiate itself into a new variety of similarly effective eye colors.

    That's how it really works. Each trait of an animal has differentiation to it. It's not like new traits are springing into existence complete on an animal that never had any similar traits to it before. It's more like, animals with a bazillion variations of the previous trait start migrating toward one of those variations.


    We are all "ideal humans" in the sense that we have accurately become the animal that was programmed into the genes we inherited from our parents. We would not be "ideal humans" only if we ended up being something different than a human.
    You see? You're looking at our ancestry to argue our "ideal"-ness and I'm looking at our environment to argue our "ideal"-ness. For our environment we are well adapted, and that's what makes us "ideal". If we didn't match our environment, then we wouldn't be ideal anymore.
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    Zwirko said:

    Macroevolution is defined - in simple terms - as change at or above the level of species. By definition, then, observed instances of speciation are examples of observed macroevolution.
    There can be no other type of macroevolutionary event other than speciation.

    That is, of course, your problem to explain. If the only changes we can document or come close to duplicating are changes at the species level, how do we account for the observed differences that we have used to define larger groups at the levels of genus, family and order. That is, how many changes at the species level may have been required to develop a new genus. And then, so on, back through the taxonomy chart.

    I am not sure you fully appreciate what evolution skeptics are pointing out relating to higher levels of changes. I accidently happened across this article recently: http://www.exchangedlife.com/Creation/macro-evol.shtml
    kojax said: (in parts)
    All the data to create us is contained in our starting circumstances.
    Enjoy your choice of the word create in an attempt to defeat creationism.

    The difference between my perspective and yours is only in that I believe the environment itself provided all that data, and you believe that God provided it.
    I think part of the reason for that is that I am unaware of any (other) information which has been promulgated by anything other than an intelligent source. We agree that there is information, but not on the source of that information. Genes are informational data which you seem to think just popped out of thin air from a non-intelligent source. Are you aware of any other data or information which has come from a non-intelligent source? And particularly in perspective of the complexity of the information. What you seem to feel is that information came from some source that is dumber than a worm.

    Even in the movie "Contact," they eventually grasp that the seemingly random signals they are monitoring are intelligently encoded plans to build a transportation system. However, we in all of our intelligence today, attempt to look at a far more complex encoding system for plans to build the most complex systems we know of -- living organisms. And then some try to explain it in terms of a non-intelligent source. I don't think the environment is capable of developing and imparting new information so much as it is capable of recording and reporting. The environment, in and of itself, is more like a book or a newspaper and they cannot write themselves.

    With all due respect to all the contributors here, I just don't think there is a full appreciation of the enormity of the catalogue of information found on just one gene, let alone in the multiplicity of genes in multi-chromosomed organisms. And then some want to say the most complex inforamational system we know of came from nowhere, from no one. It appeared out of thin air.

    I believe information from the environment itself is what overcomes entropy. You believe either that God overcomes the entropy, or that all DNA is gradually degrading from a perfect starting point (which God gave it.)
    With the recent necessary changes in the Second Law of Thermodynamics, I am not sure i understand entropy any more, if I ever understood it at all. Entropy, as we used think it to be, sort of suggested the Universe was in a state of deterioration and disorganization because there was no energy added to that produced by the Big Bang. I am not sure what it means now in the face of dark matter and dark energy. I'm not sure if I agree or disagree with your statement of what I believe on this matter. What I can say is that in respect to dark matter and energy, we accept that it is there, not because we can see it, but because we can see effects that we cannot explain otherwise. Some, when they see other things they can't explain, are willing to accept any cockameany reason other than one which includes God.
    Last edited by daytonturner; April 12th, 2012 at 09:09 PM.
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